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Monday, August 25, 2003




We are teaching
our children
how to hate

The uproar over a white student attending Kamehameha Schools sparks feelings that go well beyond the preservation of heritage, it touches on a hate shared by many in Hawaii.

I will not debate whether a white student should attend the school, my goal is for someone to take notice of the racially driven hate that is so common in the islands and in our schools.

Racism exists in every state, but Hawaii is different. Here racism is accepted and encouraged almost as tradition. Perhaps the most disturbing statement made in the debate was one by a woman in the profession of developing young minds, Lilikala Kameeleihiwa, director of the University of Hawaii Center for Hawaiian Studies. She said, "When our kids get into a beef with this boy, they're going to get thrown out. Our children will suffer. This is a very bad decision."

I have a few questions: Who does she mean by "our children"? Hawaiians only? Is a white child not worthy of rights or humanity? Is it OK for the students to "get into a beef"? Is it their right? Will the wrong be done when they "beef" or simply when they get in trouble for it?

The saddest state of affairs in Hawaii is the teaching of violence and hate to children. If they react, they are just doing what they are taught.

The parents, educators and society we have built in Hawaii should be held accountable, not the young minds we have developed.

Michael Deconinck
Pearl City


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Bus drivers risk losing riders and respect

So the idiot minds of the bus union and bus operators are determined to strike. Is it worth losing what little respect some citizens may have for you?

Or are you so brazen that a few dollars is worth more than respect? Where is your sense of aloha and taking care of the very people you are using as shields, like only cowards do? They are the very ones who pay your "underpaid wages" of more than $44,000 annually, plus awesome benefits.

Sleep well, and hope this doesn't bite you later.

Bob Ruiz
Honolulu

Where do I sign up for cushy bus job?

Our bus drivers make a ton-o-money with massive bennies. Please strike. Please continue to be so arrogant that you make the public mad enough to get rid of you. I want your cushy job. It sounds divine: no risking your life fighting fires or crazed junkies, no saving kids from themselves and trying to teach them something important. Just drive a bus.

Where do I sign up?

Joseph T. Bussen
Kailua

Honolulu can't afford 'the best' bus system

The city bus drivers' current pay and benefits -- 100 percent paid medical -- are better than that of our teachers, police officers and firemen.

The drivers receive 15 percent toward their pensions, while the majority of government workers receive 8.3 percent. In my opinion, teachers, police officers and firemen provide more value to our society than the city's bus drivers.

Government officials tell us that 75 percent of the bus operating budget goes to personnel costs, with fares accounting for only 27 percent. The rest of the operating budget comes from our property taxes. Considering the poor economy, it is time to cut pay and benefits that are too generous to continue a business operation.

Now the bus drivers' union want increased pay and other benefits that would boost costs by more than $30 million in the third year of the contract.

I say OTS should declare bankruptcy or let the union members strike. Replace them with temporary drivers at no more than $18 per hour, not to exceed 20 hours per week and pay 60 percent of medical benefits after two months. As temporary workers, they would not receive pension, sick leave and holiday pay, insurance, or any other benefits.

OTS should add 15 minutes between buses on all routes and eliminate some daily runs. Bus riders should pay at least 30 percent of operating cost. The city can't afford the "best transit system in the nation."

Wilbert Wong
Kaneohe

Jones' contract is obscenely excessive

Why should the people of Hawaii pay for the private school tuition of June Jones' children, airplane fares and expensive seats in Aloha Stadium for a man who clearly has more than enough money to pay for these things himself ("UH unveils Jones' current contract," Star-Bulletin, Aug. 19)?

Requiring the state's taxpayers to pay for frills and personal expenses that this man can easily cover himself is corrupt, parasitical and disrespectful.

It demonstrates an arrogance and so-what attitude on the part of the University of Hawaii and state oversight officials.

Jones should immediately repay these unnecessary non-salary expenses. The incentive bonuses are a good idea. But there are no provisions for Jones to reimburse the state if he falls short in performance, malfeasance, illegality, character, morals and NCAA violations.

Honest professionals need nothing other than salary, normal benefits and explicitly detailed incentives and penalties. This contract goes much too far.

Phillip St. James
Honolulu

Only the deserving are underpaid

June Jones is overpaid. By the way, so are Evan Dobelle and all his friends. I think bank presidents are overpaid. Ever have your faucet repaired? Plumbers are overpaid. Longshoremen are overpaid. Attorneys make way too much. Fix your car? Mechanics are overpaid. So are hotel managers. Bus drivers are overpaid. Airline pilots don't work enough hours for all the moolah they make. My accountant takes too much from me.

Our legislators receive in three months what many labor a year for. Overpaid. City Council members work all year, but for what we get in return, they make way too much.

I bet Joe Moore is overpaid. My uncle and aunt are retired; they said they make more in retirement than when they were working. Obviously overpaid! Hell, I'm overpaid.

Cops, firefighters, teachers and the brave men and women of our armed forces? Now, they could use a pay raise.

Mark Middleton
Kapolei

Where are those ruby slippers?

The director of Diamond Head Theatre's recent play, "The Wizard of Oz," suggests that the colorful Land of Oz could be Hawaii. If so, then our real-life Wizard could be named Dobelle, who rules his huge academic Emerald City in green Manoa Valley.

Linda, the Good Witch of the North, does not trust our Wizard and snubs him because he publicly favored her foe, Mazie, the Witch of the West.

Donna, the Scarecrow with a big brain, says that when it comes to the Wizard, the dangerous equations of 1-plus-1 just won't add up to 2. Her friend, Ralph, the Tinman with a big heart, thinks it's wrong for the Wizard to raise student tuitions and administrative salaries while he lives in an opulent castle without paying for its remolded finery. Mark, the Cowardly Lion, bravely challenges Dobelle, declaring his Emerald City faces a crisis of confidence.

Together, the three follow the Yellow Brick Road and discover the Wizard isn't so wonderful after all. They want him to climb back in his hot air balloon and leave Oz-Hawaii forever.

So where does all this song and dance leave us Hawaii Munchkins? All together now, join hands, gaze skyward toward Manoa's Emerald City, and start tearfully singing the play's hit song -- "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

Wanda Kulamanu Ellis Au
Honolulu

Dems use deception to raise money

Did you get one of these in the mail, too? It looks like a FedEx or Priority Mail envelop with bold lettering that reads: "Express Priority, Urgent." On the other side is a form that appears to have been filled out by hand, with a blue ink pen. The ink was smudged in places, further convincing me that this was indeed a hand-addressed envelope. When I opened it, I found it was a solicitation for contributions to the Democratic National Committee.

On closer inspection, I could see signs that the envelop was not hand-addressed at all. It was machine printed to look like it was hand-addressed. The smudgy blue ink was a nice touch. It made it look so real.

Some may consider this a clever gimmick, but clearly it is deceptive. It is something appearing to be what it is not. It is sad to see the DNC use deception as a fund-raising tool.

John Pritchett
Honolulu

Take-charge officers deserve accolades

On Aug. 12 at 3 p.m. on H-1 Freeway near the Punahou overpass, I sustained a flat tire and lost control of my car. It careened across four lanes of traffic and nearly caused an accident.

Two police officers, Lt. Santos Jr. and Officer Aaron, came to my aid immediately. One helped me call the tow truck, while the other directed traffic. Officer Aaron even fixed my flat tire and finished before the tow truck arrived. She would not accept a reward either. I was on my way to a medical appointment, and they saved my day. Please convey my appreciation to these two officers who diffused a very stressful situation.

Leilani Tang
Kaneohe

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