Be sure water is safe
So we can now add hexavalent chromium as one more contaminant in our drinking water.
I say "one more," because there are several others, so say both the Honolulu Board of Water Supply and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, that are within "safe thresholds."
Safe for whom? It used to mean safe for the average 40-year-old healthy white male. But the human population includes mothers, pregnant mothers, nursing mothers, young children, adolescents, grown-ups, older folk — some with one or several organ problems, perhaps — and so on.
One in six children in the U.S. has neurobehavioral disorders. We know that there are developmental neurotoxins out there that can damage a fetal and infant brain.
Are some of these problems generated by multiple contaminants in potable water? If we don’t ask, we’ll never find out. "Safe thresholds" is more than just misleading, it is possibly dangerous to human health.
It’s time also to change from "safe thresholds" to the precautionary principle, which for the most part has been adopted in Europe.
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Pay substitute teachers
Before the state Department of Education spends $1.9 million for a new softball stadium for Kapaa High School, how about paying the $20-plus million the DOE withheld from substitute teachers’ pay beginning in 1996?
Substitutes were awarded back pay for just the five years from 2000 to 2005. Appeals, court costs, attorney fees and other issues have increased it to $30 million. The last appeal was denied in August and now taxpayers must pay for 14 years of being cheated by our employer. In the private sector that employer would be fined and in jail.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie should stop giving $77 million to the unions and the DOE and pay Hawaii’s substitute teachers. Also, hold those responsible accountable with criminal prosecution and penalties.
Doll insults Hawaii
I opened the newspaper to see another stereotypical misrepresentation of Hawaii: American Girl has decided to grace us with their 2011 ‘Girl of the Year’ from Kauai ("Local girl," Star-Advertiser, Dec. 31).
Oh, the joy.
I can’t understand why people from the mainland seem to think that girls from Hawaii have to look like California surfer girls. How does that promote American Girl’s mission to "give voice to a diverse range of personalities and backgrounds?"
How diverse of you, American Girl, to make your new doll look like she could be from anywhere on the continental United States with her green eyes and sandy-colored hair.
Is it too much to ask American Girl to represent Hawaii with a true Hawaiian girl who isn’t dressed like some tourist in Waikiki?
By the way, American Girl, you should probably pick up a book to see what traditional hula lei, garments and instruments look like, because I have never seen a purple ‘uli’uli in all my life.
Freedom over security
In responding to your "Big Q" question about whether WikiLeaks has been good or bad, I observed that most people think it is bad.
WikiLeaks has performed a great patriotic act, and it’s embarrassing it wasn’t done by an American.
Our government should not be involved in anything that it cannot own up to publicly. Security? Posh!
Americans seem to have forgotten that in the wars we’ve fought, the blood spilled for more than 200 years have been for freedom, not security.
Julian Assange’s actions will have little if any effect on our security, but it says much about our freedom to know what our government is up to. The government probes our privacy at will, yet wants to protect its own?
Let’s take a breath and recognize that our government sometimes plays way too fast and loose, and it’s time to rein it in.
Santa Fe, N.M.