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Letters to the Editor

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Jones Act ought to be preserved

Lee Catterall’s Sunday article ("Time to ship out?" Star-Advertiser, June 27) on the Jones Act presented good arguments for thinking twice before abandoning this legislation that protects America’s merchant marine fleet. There are some living arguments for keeping the Jones Act, too.

In 1994 New Zealand abandoned its version of the Jones Act. The immediate result was lower shipping costs between its islands and around its coasts, to the benefit of business and consumers. Foreign ships stepped in and competed.

But competition brought its own costs. Invasive insect species came ashore at ports all around the country. New Zealand sailors lost jobs to slave-wage foreigners. The cost to New Zealand’s own shipping companies led them to cut off shipping between New Zealand and Australia.

Not a disaster, true, but the island country’s coastal shipping is now largely in the hands of shaky foreign lines.

 

Russ Lynch
Kailua

 

Be careful before cutting DOE jobs

I was sad to read about the loss of 400 school positions. I hope the state Board of Education thinks long and hard first.

Do board members recall the Felix Decree, which placed the school system under federal control? Between 1994 and 2005, Hawaii had to spend millions defending itself for underserving special-needs students, in addition to money to fix the problem. Cutting special education jobs is short-sighted. Vacancies exist because special education is a demanding field with a shortage of trained teachers. Does the board realize that cuts to contracted special education services and positions may land them back in 1994, when a federal court ruled that Hawaii had grossly neglected disabled students?

 

Kelly Arbor
Arcata, Calif.

How to write us

The Star-Advertiser welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~175 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 Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published.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
E-mail: letters@staradvertiser.com
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

DOE job ‘cuts’ just a shell game

Reading "400 DOE jobs face cuts" (Star-Advertiser, June 26), I thought that it was April Fools Day.

The government is going to save millions of dollars by letting go employees who don’t exist (and would never exist because of a hiring freeze). Taxpayers will save even more by moving real employees to other departments.

Meanwhile, there is the fear that the resulting unfilled jobs in the state Department of Education might be seen as unnecessary. I expected the article to go on to suggest that the "staff reductions" will result in additional "saving" because there will be no increase in unemployment payments.

 

John Faris
Honolulu

 

Take first step away from oil

The "Hands Across the Sand" demonstration made a statement for clean, renewable energy. Understandably, it’s hard to change when we’ve been brainwashed into believing oil is the only way to fuel our society. Being intellectually lazy isn’t an excuse for not changing our ways. Research into algae oil for a fuel replacement shows it produces zero emissions, along with solar, wind and fuel cell technology. How perfect is that for the sun-kissed shores of Hawaii? All it takes is a single step to start this journey.

 

Peggy McArdle
Kailua-Kona

 

BP is the real extortionist

I was watching Fox News and couldn’t believe what I heard. Newt Gingrich and Sean Hannity were talking about the Gulf oil spill and how President Barack Obama was "extorting" $20 billion from BP and using presidential powers he didn’t have to destroy corporations of this country.

First, BP formerly stood for British Petroleum, not American Petroleum. Second, I’d say BP and the other big oil companies have been extorting billions from U.S. taxpayers for years now in the form of tax breaks and unpaid royalties for using up our natural resources.

 

Ramona Maiman
Hauula

 

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