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Friday, March 9, 2001

Tapa


Legislative report slanted toward GOP

We recognize a newspaper's prerogative to reflect its corporate bias on its editorial pages. But newspapers that purport to offer quality journalism separate fact from opinion in reporting the news. Therefore, you have a responsibility to readers to let them know where you stand.

Your March 3 coverage on the work in the House featured the Republican point of view on what's happening and stopped there. As a result, your report was unbalanced and biased.

For example, in reporting on the recalled bill to exempt principals from collective bargaining, you highlighted the fact that Rep. Ed Case, a Democrat, supported the measure. But you ignored that three Republicans opposed the measure. Why leave out that salient fact?

You also failed to report that the Republicans announced they would recall three bills. Yet when it came time to make the move, three of their members abruptly left the House floor. As a consequence, the GOP couldn't muster the required votes to recall the third bill.

I understand if the Republican philosophy is your corporate preference. But if you plan to incorporate that bias into your news stories, please include a consumer warning.

Rep. Marcus Oshiro
House Majority Leader

Reagan's tax cuts didn't cause deficits

I find it distressing that partisan politicians are using outright falsehoods to attack President Reagan's tax cuts in the 1980s. It's equally alarming that these falsehoods are being perpetuated by possibly unwitting accomplices in the mainstream media.

President Bush recently advocated refunding of overpayment of taxes to the people who paid them -- the citizens. Democrats immediately cried that we cannot go back to the days of huge deficits, which they say were created by the Reagan tax cuts. This is an outright lie.

The federal government, in the wake of Reagan tax cuts, experienced record growth in revenues from all five levels of individual taxpayers -- from the poorest to the wealthiest. These tax cuts resulted in a dramatic inflow of revenue to government coffers.

The deficit was created by the Democrat-led Congress, which spent the increased revenues faster than they were collected.

Also, it is worth noting that, in a punitive tax environment like Hawaii, large tax cuts spawn economic development and increased tax receipts for government.

Obviously, this is a lesson that has been missed by our longtime Democratic leadership in Hawaii, who continue to sustain our state's position as one of the highest-taxed in the nation and then spend every cent they have taken from the people.

I am hoping that the honest and hard-working people of Hawaii will come to realize that they can do a better job of spending their money than politicians can.

Sen. Fred Hemmings (R)
25th Senate District
Kailua-Waimanalo

Common sense, good dental habits are best

In a Feb. 5 letter, James Growney pointed out that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) considers the fluoridation of water to be one of 10 great public health achievements.

In response, New Age magazine's November/December 2000 issue stated that, contrary to the CDCP, excess fluoride is responsible for the discoloration of teeth. Also, DNA damage to autoimmune diseases is documented.

I used simple common sense to prevent caries in my kids (limiting their soda, crack seed, candy, gum, etc., which local kids eat in excess) until adulthood, and they are still cavity free. Also, consistent brushing and regular dental visits helped.

G. Woo

Vote against polluters is appreciated

Thank you for your balanced March 3 article on the CO2 dumping issue. And mahalo nui loa to the directors of Kona's Natural Energy Laboratory for making a courageous and very thoughtful decision. Their vote against the dumping experiment demonstrates a real concern for public opinion, tenant welfare and the cultural effects on Hawaiians. It also demonstrates their desire to protect our ocean for all users, including our multimillion-dollar tourism industry.

Dr. Nihous' comment about the Union of Concerned Scientists' opinion is inaccurate. Remember, he is involved in this experiment as an employee of the contractor.

Sadly, this experiment is another demonstration of big government run amok. The Department of Energy could be favoring alternative renewable energy sources; regrettably, they advocate continued use of fossil fuels to generate electricity, thereby accommodating the polluters.

Shame on the Department of Energy for its irresponsibility, lack of respect for the public's wishes and failure to be concerned with Hawaii's marine environment.

Raphael Chaikin
Kailua-Kona

Hawaiians are still waiting for justice

We as native Hawaiians live in a racist Hawaii. Sad, but so true. Hawaiians have been wronged for years. The government, both state and federal, wants no responsibility for the injustices inflicted on Hawaiians.

I am a native Hawaiian, while some of my cousins are simply known as Hawaiians. The difference? The amount of Hawaiian blood I possess. Hawaiians are the only racial group in this "free and equal" nation to be classified by blood quantum. Racist? I think so.

I am tired of seeing homeless Hawaiians. I am tired of the sweetheart deals that the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands produces, such as the Waimanalo Beach Park or the Waimanalo Polo Field. These non-Hawaiian lessees pay a dollar a year for these prime properties that Hawaiians could live on.

When all is said and done, we Hawaiians still come from this aina. We are the essence of these islands. So for those of you who feel all Hawaiians should be treated as if we wanted America to invade our nation, think again.

Adrian K. Kamalii
President
'Ilio'ulaokalani Youth Coalition


Quotables

Tapa

"I don't think I'm feeling
very much Japanese any more."

Masami Teraoka
ARTIST WITH ROOTS IN JAPAN, WHO'S LIVED
IN LOS ANGELES, BUT WHO FINALLY SETTLED
DOWN TO A HAPPY LIFE IN WAIMANALO

Whose Japanese woodblock-like paintings will
be featured in a new exhibit at the
Honolulu Academy of Arts

Tapa

"UPW members were
defrauded of their right to the honest
services of their director."

Steve Alm
U.S. ATTORNEY IN HAWAII
On the 43-count federal indictment filed against
United Public Workers head Gary Rodrigues and his
daughter for fraud, embezzlement and money laundering.
Rodrigues is charged with skimming over $200,000
from two union health benefit plans by arranging
secret payments to firms owned by his daughter.


Set out clearly what needs to get done

The impending Hawaii State Teachers Association strike and the continued frustration surrounding public school education in general are two parts of a much bigger problem requiring bolder leadership and better insight.

As all of us agree, a comprehensive solution that underscores the value of education is required immediately. However, simply increasing wages or demanding performance won't eliminate the divisiveness. Here's my two cents:

Bullet Make our expectations about education clear to teachers, administration, parents and students. Define what our goals are and make them measurable. What should our children know and understand at each grade? How should Hawaii's schools compare to national and international standards? What kind of performance increases should we target? How many students should graduate from high school and enroll in college? How much should we spend per student per year to provide an excellent education?

Bullet Give the schools the tools they need to get the job done. This means better textbooks, after-school tutors, smaller classrooms, year-round schooling, performance bonuses, etc. If you don't have the money, find it.

Bullet Hire the right people and pay them well. Increase starting teaching salaries to attract promising talent, generously reward teachers and principals who are doing a terrific job, and remove anyone who is underqualified or consistently underperforming. This sink-or-swim model should apply to the entire Department of Education, including administration.

Bullet Get out of their way. Let the teachers do what they do best. Make sure the money is there to keep the machine humming and carefully watch those benchmarks to be sure we are all headed in the right direction. Keep politics out of the cycle.

James E. Kerr
President and CEO,
SuperGeeks.net

Civilian tours are useful to understand military

A March 5 letter by L. Manfredi described my comments about the value of military education tours for civilians as "thoughtless." I sincerely regret that my comments may have been interpreted in that way.

What I said about participating in a civilian education tour of Department of Defense schools and base facilities was in response to the suggestion that all such civilian access might be curtailed.

As a member of Hawaii's Board of Education, in a state that has a large population of students who are military dependents, I found the experience to be very valuable.

In a broader context, I feel that we are fortunate to live in a country that allows opportunities for civilians and the media to observe and learn about its military first hand. That said, safety and proper procedures should never be jeopardized or compromised.

The Ehime Maru accident was tragic and will haunt many of us for a very long time. I share the community's sense of grief, and my heart goes out to the families of all of those affected.

Karen Knudsen
Second Vice Chairperson
Hawaii State Board of Education

Not giving a decent raise would be criminal

I don't like the idea of giving any public employee a 22 percent raise, but we must do something to ensure that our children are taught by qualified individuals.

The state cannot fill all teaching positions with certified teachers. They are anticipating a massive shortage in the next three years. They can no longer fill their needs by going to the mainland because our compensation cannot attract or retain qualified mainland hires.

I am not a teacher and have no children, but I do know the value of an educated society. Education is an equalizer of opportunity and ensures that business will have a steady, reliable work force.

It is of such social importance that not to give our children the best smacks of malfeasance of criminal proportion.

Christopher Lewis
Ewa Beach





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