Current BOE has done good job
In his column, David Shapiro ignores the dedicated efforts of elected Board of Education members and their contributions to public education ("Good BOE picks by governor will get resources to schools," Star-Advertiser, Feb. 16).
Shapiro makes an irrelevant comparison between Kamehameha Schools trustees and BOE members, who don’t receive salaries and oversee a statewide system that serves all children and suffered an unprecedented, nearly half-billion-dollar budget cut. Despite challenges, the BOE has worked with the Department of Education to maintain a nearly decade-long trend of rising student achievement.
As Maui’s BOE representative, I have the utmost respect for my fellow members — including Don Horner, an excellent choice by Gov. Neil Abercrombie — who volunteer their time, energy and expertise because they value education.
As Mr. Shapiro acknowledged, the new BOE won’t "have to reinvent the wheel" as the current BOE and the DOE have laid a strong foundation for educators and students to continue thriving.
Maui member, Hawaii Board of Education
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Lightning storm a sign from God?
As I watched the most incredible lightning storm I’ve seen in more than 20 years in Hawaii, I couldn’t help but seriously wonder if the Almighty was demonstrating his discontent with the passage of the civil unions bill.
Great start, Neil.
We now have no hurricane fund because the governor needed the cash to pay off campaign promises. Instead of trimming the budget, he’s thinking of taxing pensions so he can spend even more hard-earned taxpayer money on who knows what. He’s among those pushing for a rail system that will be grossly over budget and only scratch the surface of what is really needed.
And we’ll now have civil unions, without a notion of what it will ultimately cost taxpayers and the character and values of our state. I’m afraid to ask what is next.
Hawaii having a crisis in values
As a progressive activist, I’m trying to make sense out of the inconsistent actions of our Democratic-led state Legislature.
On the one hand, legislators easily pass the civil unions bill. Then, with complete disregard, they don’t even pass the Death With Dignity bill out of committee.
In addition, while they extend an open hand to those struggling with foreclosures, they turn around and place a stranglehold on our community by affirming gambling as an answer to our budget crisis.
From my perspective as a minister and a moral educator, we have a crisis in values that is very evident in our political leadership.
This paints a dismal picture for our future.
Politicians doing well to divide us
Our politicians and radicals have done a good job of dividing we the people.
Why is there so much anger at the wealthy or so-called rich not paying their share? The top 1-2 percent pay 40-60 percent of all taxes, while the bottom 47 percent pay nothing.
Do we really want a redistribution of wealth so we are all in the same category?
We now have the greatest system in the world, in which each one of us has the opportunity to move up and enjoy a better lifestyle. I have problems only with elite politicians who have forgotten about the voter and are controlled by the unions and special interests.
We are not born with a D or an R stamped on our foreheads. We have been given brains to make choices. Let’s use them to educate ourselves and not just be followers.
Weather Service can still continue
Barry Hirshorn, Pacific region chairman of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, said, "Budget cuts proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives could jeopardize public safety and increase the severity of disaster losses in Hawaii" ("Cuts could kill, union says," Star-Advertiser, Feb. 20).
U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono said that the "cuts are focused on reducing or eliminating programs that relate to climate and ocean monitoring. Those who claim that global warming is a myth find the hard data produced by such monitoring inconvenient."
The hard data that both Hirono and Hirshorn conveniently overlook are that the government is $14 trillion in the hole and elections do have consequences.
The solution is so simple. Reduce the pay across-the-board for all National Weather Service employees. Nobody loses their job and we can all sleep soundly knowing that we have the best people on the job protecting us in case of an emergency.
Sand Island not a practical site
There are several reasons it is not a good idea for homeless people to live on Sand Island ("Move homeless to Sand Island," Star-Advertiser, Letters, Feb. 24).
It is too far for them to walk. There are no businesses close to Sand Island that sell food and other things the homeless need. There would be too many people in one small area, and fights might happen. Sand Island is isolated from the police. The homeless village would take over the whole park. The people on the cruise boats that dock at Aloha Tower would pass by, and the homeless people may be doing things the tourists would not want to see.
Washington Middle School