HGEA’s demands aren’t over yet
What is going on with our leaders and negotiators? Is the governor on the side of the unions or are he and his team just not smart enough to understand what is happening?
We are trading a 5 percent pay cut for nine more days of paid vacation for Hawaii Government Employees Association workers. This is not a fair trade. It will cost us more money and give HGEA workers 30 days of annual vacation, taking away more days of service to the public.
In a few years, HGEA will be demanding a 5 percent pay raise and will have given up nothing.
We need to get someone on our side to reduce spending and level the field, not mindlessly give away our tax dollars.
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Workers don’t deserve criticism
I am saddened by the general public’s reaction to the tentative agreement for the new Hawaii Government Employees Association contract. HGEA employees are taking hit after hit as the economy tries to recover and it seems that fact has been lost.
Since when did the public employee become the target of public angst and frustration? This is the Aloha State, isn’t it? Where’s the aloha for our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers? After all, let’s not forget that HGEA employees are working-class citizens just like you and me.
The workers hurt by these cuts aren’t workers pulling in six-figure salaries. They are the people who work hard, have families, have homes and have aspirations of being successful.
The next time you come across state employees, perhaps you should thank them for what they do and what they have sacrificed.
Turtle Bay delay was a blessing
Thank you for the editorial, "Turtle Bay reset welcome" (Star-Advertiser, Our View, April 4).
It is incredible that a major development plan could have started based on a 1985 outdated city planning document. The City Council in 1985 was inept, and fortunately a recent state Supreme Court decision requires a revised plan that should include the many changes over 30 years, such as infrastructure and road construction.
As the editorial points out, the project could have proceeded without any recourse if it hadn’t been for challenges by the community and environmental groups. We do not need short-term gains that may seem initially attractive and then suffer long-term remorse in the depletion of Hawaii’s precious land resources.
Taxes should be more progressive
Have any of our elected leaders taken note that gas prices are soaring out of control — with devastating impacts on families’ incomes, businesses, air travel and the transportation of goods, causing a substantial rise in prices and making it financially hard just to drive to and from work?
Unnamed, authoritative "industry analysts" claim it is due to the war in Libya or Japan’s tragedies, but that is rubbish. The monopolistic oil companies continue to roll up profits in the order of hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
General Electric and other big corporations pay little or no taxes and get huge rebates or subsidies from the government. When will our elected officials speak up and try to halt the robbery at the gas pump, close tax loopholes and enact a more progressive tax structure that makes large corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share?
Rail funds could have fixed roads
Mayor Peter Carlisle’s announcement of the awarding of $946 million in contracts for rail construction and equipment is putting the cart before the horse — or, in this case, the rail before the money.
There is no guarantee from the Federal Transit Administration that rail construction can even begin and no guarantee from Congress that it will provide the $1.5 billion the city is counting on. Much like the ceremonial groundbreaking the city contrived on Feb. 22, this is another fake announcement from the city that rail is on track.
As of now, the city has spent more than $200 million on rail consultants and engineers and is budgeting $21 million to establish the rail transit authority. If it had spent even half that amount of money on repaving our crumbling roads and building new roads that alleviate traffic bottlenecks, we could already be enjoying much improved transportation.
Politicians ignore real transit needs
In more than 50 years of driving on Oahu, I have never seen our streets and roads in worse shape.
We are told that sufficient repair funds are lacking because politicians violated our trust by giving away highway funds for frills.
And now our government, pandering to special interests, wants to build a poorly conceived, underfunded train with borrowed money, on which very few drivers have agreed to ride.
Let’s please spend what we have on our crumbling infrastructure: ragged roads, bursting water mains and clogged sewer pipes.
Lobbyists for the empty, ugly train must wait until our priorities are satisfied.
John M. Corboy