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Friday, April 7, 2000

Tapa


Binding arbitration favors unions

The laudable goal of avoiding public worker strikes, resulting in disruption of vital services, is commendable. Most unit disputes are now, by law, settled with binding arbitration.

While the result should be salient, a devilish detail got overlooked: There is no control over the arbiters'.

If the law had a provision, which tied arbitrator's awards to the previous biennium revenue increases, the current controversy dividing union and government leaders would not have occurred. I introduced a bill that would have done this back in 1978.

If that bill were now law, legislators would not be faced with the two options available:

Bullet A tax increase to pay the legitimately bargained-for increases.

Bullet Protracted litigation between the collective bargaining units and the state, a case that will probably be won by the unions.

John Carroll
Former State Senator
Honokaa, Hawaii

Union lovers should be voted out of office

I'm sure there are many hard-working, dedicated state and city employees. However, the state auditor's report on the Department of Transportation underscores the flaws in the civil service system -- that the potential for fraud, abuse and waste is built-in, and that the system allows workers to slack off with little fear of reprisal.

The excessive number of supervisors, some with no one to supervise, obviously points to a complete overhaul of the DOT. I know of people who got jobs with government who were told to "slow down" because they were making everybody else "look bad."

Comments have been made by legislators and union leaders that there is no outcry for civil service reform. Well, here's one taxpayer who is tired of paying for a bloated, inefficient government, and who is 100 percent behind Governor Cayetano's demands for reforms.

Perhaps the only way to achieve meaningful change is to vote out some of the entrenched Democrats whose only allegiance is to public employee unions, and who've forgotten they're supposed to serve the rest of us, too.

Brian M. Kim

Premise of pornography study is dubious

I disagree with the premise of University of Hawaii Professor Milton Diamond's study, as described in A.A. Smyser's April 4 column, "Pornography can be beneficial." The study made the correlation between an increase in the availability of pornography and the decrease in sex crimes.

Also needing to be taken into account are control factors such as increased participation in assertiveness training, more sex crime prevention programs, healthy socialization initiatives, etc., held in the same time period.

In addition, how do we know that the 60 percent figure showing the decline in the incidence of rape could not have been even higher if available pornography had been decreased, in combination with the implementation of the aforementioned healthy programs?

Cliff Lum

Hawaiians aren't better off as Americans

In his April 3 letter, Scott Murphy wrote that "Hawaiians are better off under the U.S." If this is true, why do Hawaiians still suffer as if they are Third World socio-economic statistics?

Steve Tayama
Waimanalo

Many bad bicyclists cruise the roads, too

Khalil J. Spencer's April 3 letter criticizing bad drivers brought up some important issues regarding motorists and "the often-misused family vehicle," as he put it. Yes, there are many people on the road today who have no business being there.

But, in all fairness, many bicyclists shouldn't be there, either.

I see bicyclists running red lights, turning without signaling, riding down the middle of two lanes of cars as well as weaving between vehicles. If they want the respect on the roads that they are demanding, they should try to ride a bit safer.

When operating a ship, smaller boats must yield to bigger boats for one very good reason: Have you ever seen what a cargo ship can to do a small fishing boat?

This same applies to cars and bikes. A one-ton vehicle is certainly no match for a bicyclist who insists on not obeying the law.

Those who ride bikes need to remember that a car is much bigger than their vehicle, and a little courtesy to others would be a big help.

Julia Tennant

Smokers have only themselves to blame

I agree with Ted Chernin's April 1 letter, "Dangers of smoking known for decades." He hit the nail on the head.

It's disgusting to read about smokers being awarded millions of dollars from tobacco companies. I don't own stock in those companies and hold them blameless.

I'm a smoker and can already notice the adverse effects it's having on me -- but it's my own fault. No one forced me to smoke; it's of my own stupid choosing -- the same for all those claimants!

Mrs. L.G. Crockett
Ewa Beach

Restaurant is helping to raise money for Maili

The conditions at Maili Elementary School are some of the worst in Hawaii. With a chicken farm nearby and heat rising above 90 degrees in the classrooms, children are subject to an unhealthy environment that is not conducive to learning.

With media coverage on the school's woes, I am very happy that the state Department of Education and the private sector are taking steps to help the students of Maili Elementary, which deserves the same attention and resources as schools in other areas.

I'd particularly like to commend the efforts of Kincaid's Restaurant and its general manager, Michelle Glarner, who decided to help Maili Elementary raise money for desperately needed air conditioners. The public should support its promotion in which guests donating $5 to Maili Elementary will get a $10 gift certificate to Kincaid's.

Nicole Hayashi
Former Teacher
Maili Elementary School


Quotables

Tapa

"I didn't plan to be any particular
rank. I always felt, if I did the best job
I could, everything will fall into place.
And it pretty much did."

Barbara Wong
ASSISTANT CHIEF OF POLICE ON OAHU
AND THE HIGHEST RANKING WOMAN
ON THE FORCE

Retiring at age 46, after 28 years with the
Honolulu Police Department, to attend the
University of Hawaii Law School

Tapa

"When it comes to Waikiki,
business is more important than
the First Amendment."

Dan Foley
CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY

Criticizing the approval of a Honolulu City Council
bill that would add street performers to the list of
groups that are regulated in their use of
Waikiki sidewalks


Don't regulate Waikiki street performers

When I travel to foreign cities, I enjoy hearing the various musicians who perform on the streets. It enhances the traveling experience. I loved seeing the singing accordianist with the beret and cigarette hanging from his lip in Antwerp, the Peruvian band in Paris, or the panflute player in Holland.

So let the music flow and the streets of Waikiki come alive. The tourists love it and we are lucky to have them. Don't overregulate!

Brad White

Elian's return to Cuba deserves local support

I applaud the editorials and syndicated columns supporting the return of Elian Gonzalez to his family in Cuba. As a father who had his own son taken away (in my case, legally), I know what Elian's father is going through.

I was young and naive when I went through a divorce with my son's mother; I did not get in-state custody. As a result, when she left Hawaii, she took my son with her. I had no legal standing.

I also know some of Elian's father's pain in not being free to contact his son, for my ex-wife refused to get a telephone. It was like my child had died; I couldn't even talk to him.

It's good to see a measure of common decency and interest in Elian's welfare expressed amid all this anti-Cuba hysteria. The stands taken in support of what's best for Elian, as well as recognizing the rule of international and U.S. law, are very much appreciated.

Those who feel the same should join our informational picket every Friday, from 4 -6 p.m., on Ala Moana Boulevard in front of the Federal Building.

Thomas C. Mountain
Kaneohe

OHA logo


Federal recognition is vitally important

In Rice vs. Cayetano, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the State of Hawaii's constitutional provision allowing only Hawaiians to vote for Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees violates the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The court narrowly focused its decision on the validity of OHA's voting restriction.

In fact, the court specifically stated that "we assume the validity of the underlying administrative structure and trusts." Furthermore, the justices purposely avoided addressing whether native Hawaiians have a political status similar to Native Americans and Alaska natives.

While the decision did not diminish the trust assets currently administered by OHA, it has been reported that attorneys are preparing to launch further attacks on various Hawaiian rights and entitlements.

This decision reiterates the need for federal recognition of the political status of Hawaiians as indigenous peoples. Thus, we call upon all Hawaiians to support federal recognition and implementation of reconciliation as provided in Public Law 103-150 (the Apology Resolution).

More important, the need for unity and consensus among Hawaiians is critical to protecting any diminishment of our rights and entitlements.

Keali'i'olu'olu Gora
Lieutenant Governor
Ka Lahui Hawaii

Holo I Mua
Hawaiian Roundtable



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