to the Editor

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Sunday, April 22, 2001

State employees always a step behind

Valerie Baldovi (Letters, April 16) wrote about the teacher who received her 30-year service certificate two years late. I also work for the state, although only for 12 years. I had to wait a year for my certificate.

Who knows, by the time I reach 30 years, it may be three years before I get my certificate, and I'll never get a 10 percent raise during a contract term. Such is the plight of a state employee.

Charles W. Santiago

Legislature must play role in strike

When Star-Bulletin columnist Rob Perez states that, "Teacher pay is no issue for the Legislature in relation to the restoration of annual pay raises based on seniority," (Raising Cane, March 18) he ignores the fact that it was legislative action that removed such raises more than 20 years ago. It would seem that the proper remedy for a legislative action is another legislative action.

The importance of annual pay raises is made clear by comparing the pay of Hawaii public school teacher Duane Eldredge to what he would be earning in a Minnesota school district where I taught.

Because annual increments have been awarded sparingly here, Eldredge, who has been teaching for 11 years in Hawaii, is only on step four of the last negotiated salary schedule. He has a master's degree, but his annual pay is only $34,461.

Had Eldredge been teaching in Lake Superior School District No. 381 in Minnesota, he would be on step 11 earning more than $49,000. The latter school district's salary schedule is quite comparable to Hawaii's. It is the annual increments that make the difference.

Hawaii's statewide system makes it unique. That's why the Legislature had to take the action it did. It is responsible for the laws which govern collective bargaining in this state.

John O. Salls

Loosen the grip of fossil fuels

I urge the Legislature to pass a real net metering bill and to set some requirements for renewable energy to be part of our resources. Even if HECO, MECO, HELCO and Kauai Electric don't understand renewables, other companies do and they have been trying to enter our market for years. It is time to pry the grip of oil, coal and burning tires loose from our throat.

With a monthly payback for privately generated power, companies would have the incentive to offer credit on renewable and co-generation packages for home and business that would increase everyone's power reliability, while lowering oil imports and reducing the need for another fossil fuel power plant.

Whether this is what HECO wants or not, it is most definitely what the state and county general and community plans have stated as goals.

Please, legislators, help Hawaii move forward with energy planning for the rest of us, and not stay stuck in 50-year-old thinking.

Daniel Grantham
Haiku, Maui


"The people will always remember him. We have 1.2 billion people, but the life of every Chinese person is precious."
Jiang Zemin,
President of China, paying his respects to the family of Chinese fighter pilot Wang Wei, who died after his jet collided with an American reconnaissance plane over the South China Sea April 1.

"That just makes me want to stay even more."
Madeleine Lepage,
Protester at the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, after a tear-gas canister thrown by police exploded a few feet away.

It's clear that aloha is a thing of the past

I just finished reading the April 17 Letters to the Editor and Editor's Scratchpad online. It's been awhile and I hadn't known the Honolulu Star-Bulletin was saved from extinction at the 11th hour until this moment -- and it feels like deja vu.

From the letters "Who would want to visit Waikiki?" by Mike Reilly, to "Discourtesy and danger rule the road" by William J. Henry Jr., to the Scratchpad "No waves of aloha at the beach" by Jason Seaborn, the message comes repeating loud and clear: Hawaii remains uninhabitable because its soul -- its aloha -- died ages ago amid overcrowded streets and underpaid workers, stifled by paradise pollution aimed higher and higher on the luxury status scale.

If ever I had pause to reconsider my move away from Hawaii to Washington in 1996, after living in the 50th state since 1973, I don't any more.

Carol Banks Weber

Drug program was founded by inmate

In an article printed on April 1, "God or Government?," a program called Narconon was identified as being sponsored by the Church of Scientology. Narconon, however, was founded by William Benitez, an inmate in 1966 at the Arizona State Prison.

He was granted permission to start treating 20 convicted drug addicts on a trial basis. Benitez and today's Narconon program are based on the technology of L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard discovered that drugs stay in the body and developed a technology to handle it, which is salvaging the lives of hundreds of thousands.

Narconon's recidivism rate is lower than most other programs and, for this reason, is strongly supported by Scientologists as well as by others of other faiths.

Sakura Thompson
Church of Scientology, Honolulu

Bottle bill will make cost of living go up

Your April 18 editorial favoring the bottle bill accepts what the Container Recycling Institute tells you.

Do you think it is impartial? Where do its budgets come from? Recycling taxes and fees? The editorial buys the "jobs creation" and "litter cleanup" arguments. Please compare a job sorting dirty bottles at minimum wage with a job on a super-clean filling line making consumer beverages.

Please tell me the cost of your newspaper will not go up when you have to implement new accounting, tracking, delivery and vending machine changes to accommodate the collection of a tax.

Costs must be passed on even in Hawaii Nei. This bottle tax makes no economic or environmental sense in this state.

Paul Smith

Cyclists have trails, if not the roads

What's with all the letters lately from bicycle commuters? You've read those peevish complaints: "We get no respect from SUVs; not enough bike lanes, unfinished or dead-end bike routes..." Time to get with the program, fellow bicycle nuts. You are getting to be as noisome as a bunch of spotted owls under a full moon.

In Mililani, where the roads are wide enough for cars and bikes at same time, one typically drives, not bikes to the local fitness center to mount exercise machines. (If you bike to that location, you tie up your trusty Schwinn to a four-foot, rusting, dented, rack, provided by Mililani Shopping Center.)

I give credit to our local McDonald's that offers a big, well-fitted bike rack in a dedicated space. This is not a lament or gripe, honestly. Recreational bicyclists know the story, and still have use of the spacious Oahu trails. (Witness the boom in sale of full suspension bikes.)

Now we road warriors only await the bicycle equivalent of the SUV for road use near the old Mililani Shopping Center.

Gerry Siegel

Letter guidelines

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point on issues of public interest. The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed, must include a mailing address and daytime telephone number.

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