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Letters to the Editor

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Public workers are hurting, too

James Wagoner complains that while many workers are suffering, "government employees have received pay increases regularly with no loss of benefits" ("Abercrombie should limit entitlements," Star-Advertiser, Letters, Jan. 12).

Wagoner’s facts are incorrect. For instance, over the last year, I and my workmates at the University of Hawaii at Manoa have taken pay cuts of nearly 7 percent and are now being charged higher co-pays on our medical expenses. Pay lags have been instituted. And don’t forget the hundreds of state workers who lost their jobs in late 2009.

So yes, Mr. Wagoner, lots of people are hurting and jobs are scarce and we need to address these problems creatively, and the sooner the better. But blaming our public workers is both misguided and destructive. We are part of the solution, not the problem.

Noel Kent


Shapiro unfair in casting blame

Undeterred by the fact that the Tucson murderer is an apolitical lunatic, Dave Shapiro assigns at least partial responsibility for the crime to those trigger-happy hotheads, code words for tea party members, talk show hosts, probably Fox News and generally anybody who disagrees with the Obama administration policies and says so with passion ("Hateful rhetoric could cost us our freedoms someday," Star-Advertiser, Jan. 12). I don’t recall Shapiro making similar connections when liberal hotheads were brutalizing George Bush.

By the way, in the continuum from moderate to extreme discourse, where do Shapiro’s "Volcanic Ash" attempts-at-humor cheap shots that belittle our local politicians fit?

Tom Freitas
Hawaii Kai


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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 Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published.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 your area of residence and a daytime telephone number.

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Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813


Senate should keep invocation

The state Senate should scrap the idea of eliminating the opening day invocation as suggested by its president, Shan Tsutsui. There is no provision for separation of church and state in our official documents.

At the first Continental Congress in 1774, the same debate occurred concerning the opening prayer and who would say it.

Samuel Adams said he "was no bigot," and "could hear a prayer from any gentleman of Piety and virtue, who was at the same time a friend to his Country." Jacob Dutche read from the Bible and referred to Jesus.

George Washington stated that freedom could not be retained without the morality and good character that are created and supported by religion. Every year, the Senate should be reminded that our inalienable rights come from the Creator, not government.

Mary Smart


Prisoners need family support

I applaud and endorse Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s intention to house our inmates in Hawaii rather than on the mainland.

I have been a criminal defense attorney for more than 37 years. I have witnessed the devastating effect that mainland incarceration has on the inmates and, more important, on their families, especially the young children.

With the exception of the career criminals, nearly all of the prisoners will be released by the Hawaii Paroling Authority at some point. Their success will depend greatly on family support. It is virtually impossible for a family in Hawaii to regularly visit a family member jailed in Arizona. If inmates are serving their times in our state, they can have weekly visits with family and together formulate a feasible plan that would take effect upon release.

The paroling authority is always concerned about where the parolees will live, whom they will live with, and where they will work. These concerns can readily be addressed if an inmate is in Hawaii and can work with his or her families.

Paul J. Cunney


No rich donors, no symphony

I, too, am starved for a symphony. I was chairman of one in the Midwest for a half-dozen years. However, the solution is not to play pap like the William Tell Overture ("Honolulu can sustain a successful symphony," Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, Jan. 13).

With a hundred or so musicians, symphonies are expensive productions. They can get only about a third of their needed dollars from ticket sales and, like art museums, must look to the rich for about two-thirds of their needed dollars.

Until those people come forward here, we won’t have a symphony.

Jim Beaman


No symphony but yes to rail?

It was so distressing to read of the demise of the Honolulu Symphony. I am wondering how the City and County of Honolulu, which cannot afford perhaps $50 million to support such an awesome symphony orchestra, will be able to support an overhead fixed-rail system that will cost at least $5 billion just to build.

Gloria Kaneshiro

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