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Off the News

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$100 not nearly enough to help state budget

State Rep. Rida Cabanilla seems to be missing an opportunity here.

The lawmaker has proposed changing privacy laws so that anyone could get birth records for a "person of civic prominence" — an elected official or candidate for public office — for a $100 fee. She thinks this will "calm the birthers," the people who have agitated for the release of President Barack Obama’s long form birth certificate.

Whether or not anyone thinks that will work, another strategy might raise a lot more money for the state’s hungry coffers: Have the original placed under glass, and then charge a fat fee for someone to view it — in person, just like the Book of Kells in Dublin.

Hawaii has at least two more years of Obama’s first term of office to cash in on the birther phenom. 

School’s probation sends a good message

The state Charter School Review Panel’s decision to initiate probation procedures against Myron B. Thompson Academy over concerns of nepotism is a necessary and timely step.

The school came under scrutiny after it was learned that Principal Diana Oshiro had hired four members of her family as staff — including a nephew to serve as athletic director at a primarily online school with no athletic teams.

The academy was slow to respond, but the review panel was not. As the panel’s vice chair put it, "All charter schools are being tainted because of Myron B. Thompson’s hiring policies and are being questioned."

Independent charter schools, exempt from many state regulations, can be innovative and valuable alternative sources of education. But they are public schools, supported by taxpayer dollars, and must be held accountable.

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