For Sunday, November 20, 2011
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Nov 20, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 2:05 a.m. HST, Nov 21, 2011
The Chinatown Business and Community Association represents many small business owners who struggle daily to meet their obligations and support the economy by paying rent, employees and taxes to our government. Medical insurance represents almost 30 percent of an employee's pay.
The Hawaii Medical Service Association's frequent rate hikes these past few years need to stop, at least for the time being, until there is hope that the economy is turning around and small business owners can afford to pay them.
If rates were approved, we are fearful that many will face unemployment and other hardships will follow, leading to vacancies in our storefronts, homelessness or people going without insurance coverage.
Our poll shows members are unhappy with reduced services with increased costs to individuals and employers. Our members resent the unfairness of HMSA having a flush reserve fund and unreasonably high pay for its CEO while yet also cutting back doctors' compensation and members' benefits.
HMSA needs to show more heart and aloha to its members, the doctors and other service providers and the people of Hawaii. They need to cut waste and unreasonable expenses but not reduce members' benefits, increase costs and create more hardship on our people.
Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock
President, Chinatown Business and Community Association
Diane Ravitch pitches a good point but misses the mark, whereas William McKenzie argues the mark but loses the point ("Family Bathwater: 'Education tests ignore role of family income,' by Ravitch, and 'Don't throw No Child out with bathwater'" by Mckenzie, Star-Advertiser, Oct. 3).
The bottom line is the worn, forgotten fact that education starts with the parents, guardians or mentors that the children have early in their development.
Yes, economics and government intervention play a role for us adults, but for the children this stuff goes right over their heads, not through them.
The answer is informing your children about their options by being worthy role models when it comes to everyday life.
Live on the street, or live your dreams? There are countless stories of children who from all walks of life have turned their lives around because of unselfishness and determination shown by us adults. The simple truth lies with us.
Put the cellphone down and tune out TV, while asking the same of your child. Talk about test scores, the bullying that comes from that, the pressures of social biases, the peer pressures and then, and maybe only then, once you may have gained their trust, you'll feel what it means to be a child left behind.
I have been a member of Kaiser Permanente Hawaii for many years, and I have no complaints about the quality of the health care I have received. But I am concerned about the organization's massive advertising campaign -- themed "Thrive" -- which includes full-page, four-color ads in your newspaper.
These ads have been running with a frequency that approaches blitz proportions and, having worked in the advertising business, I know how much they cost.
Growth via new membership is an important part of business for Kaiser, and ad agency executives argue persuasively for their clients to maintain a strong media presence in tough economic times. But after an $800,000 third-quarter net loss, Kaiser might consider a trimmer, less-expensive campaign. Then maybe it could avoid a fourth-quarter loss, cancel or lower its requested 8.8 percent rate hike, and dispel the suspicion that "thrive" refers to the financial health of the corporation rather than the physical and mental health of its customers.
John Wythe White
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit is over. Hawaii spent millions of dollars to make sure we looked good to the world. We tied up essential personnel (fire, police, ambulance, security forces the military, etc.) to make sure the island was safe for foreign heads of state. The homeless were moved out of sight and, in their place, trees planted. Roads, parking lots, beaches and other favorite island places were suddenly off limits.
The Star-Advertiser reported Nov. 15 that "early indications are the APEC conference might not have drawn 20,000 visitors nor added $165 million to the economy as forecast, but it likely gave Hawaii something of more value: a new image."
I didn't know we needed a new image. Image has little to do with the land, and more to do with the people on the land.
Now that APEC is over, we'll probably see the homeless back where they always have been and the trees removed from along Nimitz. It is our people who are important and of value. We are not an image to be marketed and portrayed to the world. We are lucky to live in Hawaii, because we are Hawaii!
APEC has local politicians dreaming again that Hawaii is the obvious international business hub of the Pacific Rim.
A state that is perennially voted one of the most unfriendly business climates by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is last or nearly last nationwide in education, is one of the most highly taxed in the USA, manufactures almost nothing, and is run by a one-party pay-to-play political system?
Unless these facts are addressed and resolved, the politicians' dream of Hawaii as an international business hub will remain the hallucination it has been for decades.
Buying an aloha shirt was the first thing I did on my first trip to Hawaii in 1983. That shirt, which I still own, says "welcome, relax, and enjoy the beauty of our islands."
The APEC leaders were given high-quality aloha attire that they fully expected to wear for the group photo, as is traditional for the meeting. President Barack Obama's decision to forgo wearing the aloha attire for the photo was silly and a wasted opportunity to promote Hawaii.
The whole world already knew the APEC meeting was in Hawaii. Wearing coats and ties for the photo did not hide that fact. Aloha wear is a big export item for Hawaii and loved the world over.
After all the painful traffic delays and other inconveniences we locals endured for APEC, having the attendees wear aloha attire for the photo was the least Obama could have done.
Unbelievable! Our sad University of Hawaii Warrior football team gets featured on Page 1 of the Nov. 13 Sports section while our winning UH Wahine volleyball team gets relegated to Page 3.
They each could have at least shared Page 1.
Maybe if Coach Greg McMackin earned the same (low) salary as Coach Dave Shoji, the football team might start winning?
Kelly Greenwood has confused fact and opinion in her discussion of biocontrol of strawberry guava ("Introduced gall mites could get out of hand," Star-Advertiser, Letters, Nov. 14).
First she claims a mite will be released to control strawberry guava. Actually, it's an insect related to the one that produced the biblical manna in the Sinai Desert; rather impeccable credentials.
Second, she claims that all organisms evolve over time. Again not true. Turtles and crocodiles have been happily doing their thing since the Triassic, way before the whole "Jurassic Park" scene with T. rex, triceratops and velociraptors.
She thinks ohia and strawberry guava are closely related. They are both members of the plant group the Myrtacaea, but there are 5,650 other species in the Myrtacaea.
She thinks there is no science behind this decision. There is more than 10 years of good science by hardworking people who won't make a dime on this. These are people who love ohia and Hawaiian forests.
I guess it boils down to: Some of us see manna from heaven, others just see insect droppings. Some of us want to save Hawaiian forests, others are more worried about the gigantosaurus under our bed.
Botany Department, University of Hawaii-Manoa
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