Thursday, April 20, 2000
Judicial punishment doesn't fit the crimeSo Shawn Schweitzer only has to spend 16 months in jail and four years on probation for kidnapping and killing Dana Ireland. Meanwhile, people are routinely sent to jail for years and years for growing marijuana.
Something is seriously wrong with our values and our judicial system.
Dana's death led to enhanced sentencingThere have been many changes on the Big Island following the brutal murder of my daughter, Dana. Many have asked my wife and me if any of those changes are a legacy of Dana.
I consider enhanced sentencing to be something that Dana has given to the citizens of Hawaii. The law should be renamed the Dana Ireland Act.
Dana Ireland Archive
Unions are taking advantage of publicThe unions are their own worst enemy. Local 5 didn't need a collective bargaining process to eliminate the health benefits of its retired workers' spouses. Two years ago, with one finely crafted letter, health benefits were eliminated.
Now the Hawaii Government Employees Association is using false and misleading advertising, which it refuses to amend, to incite and anger its members.
One of the reasons for civil service reform is the HGEA and United Public Workers turning a blind eye to overtime abuse. Reports on UPW prison guards making $80,000 per year and HGEA hospital workers making $100,000 annually necessitate a change.
The system is obsolete. The patients suffer, the workers suffer and we pay for it. Any wonder why the governor wants a privately run prison?
Accountability depends on collective bargainingI am a special education teacher. I believe in accountability. But there is a danger in the movement to separate accountability from collective bargaining. The debate is forgetting the main factor: administration and its influence on what happens in the classroom.
When there is a chronic discipline problem, for example, nine times out of 10 it is because the principal wants there to be a discipline problem, for personal reasons. If the administration fails to cooperate on discipline, there is nothing a teacher can do.
I've heard of cases of elementary school students assaulting and sexually harassing other students. The administration's response was, in effect, to befriend the culprits. When this happens, it signals students that they can manipulate the teacher and administrator against each other.
I have also heard of administrators badmouthing a teacher to parents. Parents can be fooled by a clever administrator into thinking he/she is trying to help the situation, when the principal is really exacerbating classroom problems to harass a teacher out of the school. I've heard of several cases of this happening.
Appealing to the district for help doesn't do much good, since reprisals against a teacher for filing a grievance can take many unexpected forms. I know from personal experience that reprisals are alive and well in the school system.
"You know how scary it is
when you're walking through an airport
and (you hear), 'Hey, Chef Sam!'
My family...should be family
of the year. They're fatherless,
husbandless so much." Sam Choy
FAMOUS HAWAII-BASED CHEF On his travel-packed calendar that keeps him away
from his family in Kona for weeks at a time
"It's a disservice to the men
who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor,
Corregidor, Iwo Jima, Midway,
Coral Sea and other battles.
You can't have a Japanese war flag
flying on a U.S. warship." Harry P. Ogg
PEARL HARBOR SURVIVOR Thursday, April 20, 2000 On the plan to portray the USS Lexington
as a Japanese carrier for a movie
Is Castro holding Elian's relatives hostage?Some people, perhaps most, believe Elian Gonzalez should be with his father. Others say he should stay in the U.S. with his relatives.
Yet none of us really knows what would be best, as all our information about the family is limited, despite what we read in the newspapers or watch on TV.
These days, it seems that both father and son would be welcome to stay here. But Juan Miguel Gonzalez has expressed no interest in immigrating; who knows what he would really like to have happen.
Curiously, there has been not a huge amount of discussion about his relatives and friends back in Cuba. Or should we refer to them as hostages?
Diatribes against Cuba are misguidedAs the imbroglio over Elian Gonzalez grows, we can expect even more savage attacks on Cuba and its revolution in the media. One example was the diatribe written by Michael Laosa of Cox News Service, which ran in your April 15 Insight section. He prattled on about "oppression" and "dictatorship" and "anti-family" behavior by the Cuban government.
Laosa may be entitled to his misguided opinion about Cuba and its revolution. But one wonders from where he received his information. Probably from the right-wing exile groups, particularly the Cuban American National Foundation in Miami, that are holding Elian hostage in this country.
More must be spent on schooling HawaiiansOn April 11, it was reported that Kamehameha Schools' operating budget will go up $59 million. Constance Lau, a Kamehameha trustee, said the spending rate for fiscal 2000 has been set at between 2-6 percent of the charitable trust's $5 billion endowment or between $125-300 million. The entire budget was a conservative $159 million.
Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, who established the estate in 1884, would be outraged that the estate reaches only 6 percent of the Hawaiian population. To quote Kamehameha chief executive officer Hamilton McCubbin, "The 6 percent is obviously far, far below what we would expect."
Parents of children of Hawaiian ancestry must demand that the estate pay for private schooling, starting with pre-school, until they expand the school system. Ninety-four percent of Hawaiian children are stuck in our dismal public school system.
We must demand better education for more Hawaiian children.
Hawaii Revised Statutes
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