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Letters to the Editor


Teachers union not being reasonable

The position taken by the Hawaii State Teachers Association is unconscionable.

This is the same teachers’ union that supported Furlough Fridays at the expense of our children.

It is indeed unfortunate that the state Department of Education had to go to impasse in order to implement a new contract.

However, in light of HSTA’s refusal to take the proposal to a vote of the membership, it seems there was no choice without jeopardizing Race to the Top funding.

The contract is reasonable in light of the current budget realities, and HSTA is not demonstrating that its leadership can keep commitments made and collaborate in reasonable solutions.

The teachers and children of Hawaii deserve more.

Barbara P. Mathews

Teachers should strike over pay cut

I’ve heard so much phony rhetoric about the keiki being our most important asset. This paper even sponsors an edition in their honor, but when it’s time to back up this talk, it’s the teachers that get their pay cut.

The proposed rail gets funding. The NFL gets $4 million. The stadium gets major repair money. Half the sidewalks in Waikiki are being repaired. All of this is good, but it doesn’t do a thing for students and shows what the priorities really are.

If I were a teacher I would advocate a strike, and I would stay out until these fabulists put their money where there mouth is.

Tom Pickett

Driving while using cellphone a danger

How hard-headed we are!

Continuing to drive while using the cellphone has been proven to greatly delay a driver’s reaction time to a point that it is seriously dangerous to be behind the wheel.

With total disregard to other drivers, these idiots continue to place us in harm’s way. I don’t know about you but I have respect for other people’s right to live.

Seriously, $97?

Raise that fine to $500 and not only the perp will feel the pain (in the wallet) but hopefully the funds could help the city with the budgeting.

If they can’t pay it, then confiscate the phone, license and/or the car.

You want to talk on your cell, pay the bus driver and enjoy your ride. This way you will not put innocent drivers at risk for your selfish irresponsibility.

Noreen Santiago
Ewa Beach

State nurses deserve better pay, benefits

Registered nurses who work for the state are being asked again to take a back seat by the governor to continued pay cuts, increased medical contributions and frozen step movements for years of service.

It would be nice if our state looked at the vital duties our state nurses do and how they are compensated way below their equals in the private sector.

State nurses have swallowed their pride for the last couple of years to assist with the budget downfall. It is now time for other options to be looked at. Going to arbitration seems the only fair way to resolve this issue.

Michael Springhetti

Don’t let bureaucrats mess up land gift

Although I don’t personally know Jeff Stone, I do know of him as a first-class developer who has in the past assisted the Hawaiian community.

I commend Stone for his generosity in donating 300 acres of land in Makaha for the betterment of our host people, and am hopeful that the bureaucratic tie-up at the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the bottleneck at Kamehameha Schools can be remedied so that this worthy project can move forward.

In Waimanalo, an area owned by DHHL was overgrown with koa haole, and community-minded citizens cleared the area and installed tables and seating allowing the community to utilize the area, albeit without the proper city permits. Rather than determining if the community favored the improvements and assisting in obtaining necessary permits, DHHL bureaucrats determined that they themselves didn’t favor the project and looked for every excuse to remove the improvements.

It is my sincere hope that the governor and the DHHL director take a more active role in Mr. Stone’s endeavor rather than allowing bureaucrats to drive the decision-making process.

Whitney T. Anderson

Governor neglecting needs of his troops

In putting up road blocks to the Army’s helicopter high-altitude training on Mauna Kea, Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii’s commander-in-chief, is also telling his soldiers they, too, can’t train at home. Why? Because of the "impact such as noise, disturbance to the land and effects on hunters and hikers."

What? What about the screaming sirens day and night from police cars, ambulances and fire trucks? How about the constant noise we in Nanakuli get from both PVT and Waimanalo rubbish dumps, along with the added noise from the endless stream of their rubbish trucks? Don’t they qualify for road blocks?

Apparently the governor is unaware that as commander, he is expected to look after the needs of his troops. Anything less will create disrespect along with a wrath of anger not only from his soldiers and their families but also from us veterans and our families.

Bill Punini Prescott

Social studies help with critical thinking

I fully agree with readers who have opposed the proposal to reduce the social studies requirement in the public schools. Perhaps the issue is not so much how many credits to require but how to teach it so students can have a better understanding of the society in which they live.

In the course of teaching social science at UH-Manoa for nearly 35 years, I could sense a gradual decline in student understanding of historical, social, political, economic and cultural issues over time. A good number cannot explain fundamental concepts like government, checks and balances, due process, rule of law, social justice and many more terms that we take for granted. In social studies, you learn about critical thinking, but this seems to have disappeared in many of our students.

So let’s not diminish social studies partly because other states are not requiring that much. A good grounding in the humanities, history, culture and social science will make our students better scientists, engineers, computer experts and technical specialists in the future.

Belinda A. Aquino
Professor emeritus, UH-Manoa

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