For Sunday, July 31, 2011
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 31, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 2:22 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011
These aren't easy economic times. Few cities or states are as fiscally comfortable as they'd like to be.
We at the Hawaii Carpenters Union are reminded of that every day when we try to secure jobs for the thousands of our union workers who are now sitting on the bench.
Ho‘opili, the planned community in Kapolei, is expected to generate $4.6 billion in economic activity and create 7,000 permanent jobs. In addition to the thousands of construction jobs Koa Ridge in Central Oahu is expected to provide, more than 2,500 jobs will be created by the Village Center, medical center and gateway community developments. That kind of job creation is critical to getting Hawaii's third-largest industry — and its members — back on their feet.
Moving forward with these planned communities would go a long way toward drastically reducing unemployment in the state and improving the quality of life for all residents.
Assistant business representative, Hawaii Carpenters Union
Robert Sandla quoted Ben Franklin's biographer on the virtues of compromise ("Debt negotiators need to stick with it," Star-Advertiser, Letters, July 26).
Let me respond with this quote from then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2006 on the occasion of a pending debt ceiling increase:
"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. … We now depend on ongoing financial assistance … to finance our government's reckless fiscal policies. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren."
Fast-forward to today. The resultant deficits from emergency spending bills like the stimulus act sent the national debt soaring to the debt ceiling of $14.3 trillion. And the end is not in sight. The 2011 projected deficit is $1.6 trillion.
Obama was appalled by the failure of leadership in 2006 and voted against raising the debt ceiling. He has no problem with the current failure of leadership. Go figure.
I was a middle school math teacher in Kailua-Kona and a proud member of the Hawaii State Teachers Association from 1994 to 2001.
I loved teaching in Hawaii, but as a parent, I had obligations to provide for my family beyond what Hawaii's teacher salary would allow. After the strike in 2001 failed to get us the contract we deserved, I left for better pay and benefits on the mainland.
Teachers in Hawaii are dedicated to helping children succeed. It is painful to learn that once again they are not receiving the respect they deserve in the development of their contract. The contract process should not be like a football game where one side wins. It should be a cooperative effort where all benefit.
I have met Gov. Neil Abercrombie and HSTA President Wil Okabe; both are honorable people. They should meet and resolve the teachers contract so it attracts and maintains the best teachers for Hawaii's children.
I thought it was ironically funny to get a letter from the state Department of Education, addressed to "Dear Valued Educator," notifying me that my pay was being cut and my constitutional rights were being violated. But I'm not laughing.
The state has decided to follow in the footsteps of other states that have bypassed employees' rights to bargaining, because it is fiscally easy. The state ended negotiations and handed down a unilateral decision to implement a 5 percent pay cut, including school-day furloughs.
Just coincidentally, while all this was happening, I learned that the state funds a "respite" program that sends parents of some DOE students on vacations.
So we can afford to send parents on vacations, but we can't afford fair employment practices for teachers to teach their children?
People needs to re-examine their priorities.
It is unfortunate about the loss of jobs on Guam regarding the proposed military build-up ("Guam projects put in doubt," Star-Advertiser, July 8).
The costs to relocate the proposed military units there would also be very costly. I understand that there would be a loss of work for Hawaii businesses, but please take a look at the bigger picture.
Guam (212 square miles) is just slightly smaller than Molokai (260) with a population of 178,000 (compared to Molokai's 7,500). Think of Molokai already having Hickam Air Force Base and Pearl Harbor Naval Base and wanting to move Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Base onto the small island. Please know that Guam does not have protected watershed areas and relies heavily on catchment reservoirs.
Consider the burden on the American taxpayer for having to support a large military presence on a small isolated island, where all food and supplies must be imported a great distance, and the power needed for desalinization plants when the existing water supplies prove insufficient.
Wouldn't it be more prudent, economical, politically correct and downright courteous to have a large military presence at least somewhere close to where it can utilize natural resources?
How to write usThe Star-Advertiser welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~150 words). The Star-Advertiser reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.
Letter form: Online form, click here