For Saturday, July 16, 2011
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 16, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 4:52 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011
‘Temporary' sure lasts a long time
The Abercrombie administration released a statement detailing changes to public employee wages and benefits effective July 1, the start of a new fiscal year: "It is important to remember that the state budget reflects a 5 percent temporary pay reduction and 50/50 split on health care premiums and those cost reductions are to be distributed throughout all state agencies."
A 5 percent temporary pay reduction? The Hawaii Government Employees Association took a 5 percent "temporary" pay reduction back in 2009. HGEA Unit 9 nurses, in addition, lost their "step movements" (pay commensurate with time and experience) indefinitely.
The governor's definition of "temporary" seems to depend on how much money the state government wastes during any particular fiscal year or until woefully underpaid nurses go to arbitration or the public gets fed up with a health care system on the verge of collapse.
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Neighbor islands deprived of seat
I was born on the Fourth of July and feel that it is undemocratic and un-American that the population of Hawaii Island, which has increased 25 percent since the last census in 2000, is being denied an additional Senate seat in our Legislature, so that military people who are not considered state residents and vote in other states can be included for reapportionment purposes.
This is political chicanery, worse than gerrymandering, and should not fly.
It's good to hear that neighbor island advisory committees, whose advice has been ignored by the Oahu-centric reapportionment commission, are threatening a lawsuit. It's taxation without representation.
Neighbor islanders, we can't ignore this injustice. We want our additional state Senate seat, and deserve it.
Ua mau ke ea o ka ‘aina I ka pono.
U.S. treats Pacific like its own lake
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates insisted that the U.S. should continue to enlarge its already gigantic military footprint in the Pacific Rim ("Greater U.S. presence sought in Pacific," Star-Advertiser, June 4).
This is truly worrying, because it shows that at the highest policymaking levels, the old imperial tunnel vision of the Pacific as an "American lake" is still alive and well.
For one, this is a strategy that will surely lock us into a costly and dangerous arms race with China. Of course, if a real shooting (read nuclear) war ensues, we know what group of mid-Pacific islands will be caught right smack in the middle.
Gates also doesn't bother explaining how in an era of spiraling multi-trillion-dollar national debt and withering government revenues and public services where the financial resources to sustain any of this will come from.
Let's partner with China, Japan and other nations in demilitarizing the Pacific.
Democrats are wave of the past
Richard Borreca's column on Sen. Daniel Akaka highlights Hawaii's increasingly ineffective representation in Washington ("Political wisdom suggests Akaka should take early retirement," Star-Advertiser, On Politics, July 10).
Borreca suggests that the issue is finding someone who can assure this Senate seat remains in Democratic hands. That would be precisely the worst outcome for our state.
The odds are extremely high that the Senate will return to Republican hands. While Sen. Daniel Inouye may continue to benefit Hawaii, the era of unchallenged "earmarks" is over. Hawaii will need one Republican senator who, because of her record of accomplishment, could have immediate influence — former Gov. Linda Lingle.
In the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, Hawaii is even worse off. Perhaps the Republicans can convince Charles Djou to give it another run and also find a viable candidate in the 2nd District. If not, I suspect Hawaii can count on just about nothing extra coming our way from Washington.
James A. Martens
Politicians can't fix broken society
Gov. Neil Abercrombie was only partially correct when he said he was the biggest obstacle to accomplishing his "New Day" goals.
The governor seems to accept responsibility for addressing and resolving all the social ills of our day. But when a society has become as dysfunctional as ours, government action alone cannot stem the tide.
It is folly to believe any politician can fix a broken society. When people begin looking to government to solve their problems, they become enfeebled and apathetic. Abercrombie, insofar as he encourages this mentality, is an obstacle, but so are we when we shirk social responsibility.