to the Editor

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Monday, November 17, 2003

Price of drug plan will only increase

Regarding the story "Gov backs cheap-drug law," Star-Bulletin, Nov. 14:

Any program to provide medical benefits like this prescription drug plan cannot effectively control price inflation. So what may start out as something the state can afford, in the long run will cost more and more money to support, or state officials will have to figure out a rationing scheme, which also will not work in the long run to hold down the cost of the total program.

The reason is very basic. Any first-year student of economics knows the answer. When there is virtually unlimited demand for any product or service, there are inevitably rising prices.

Jerry Okamura
Kula, Maui

Traffic gridlock costs more than a tax hike

I'm tired of all the potshots taken at Governor Lingle for her stand on light rail on Oahu. She is not proposing a tax. Lingle said she would again seek authorization from the Legislature to let all counties raise the excise tax to pay for transportation projects like the one now being proposed for Honolulu.

In essence, she is asking the state Legislature to give up some of its power of the purse. Local taxing control is what she is asking for, something that both Rep. Joe Souki and Sen. Sam Slom should keep in mind when criticizing the governor.

We already pay a tax for not having an efficient mass transit system. The tax is called lost productivity. The gas we use while idling in gridlock, the extra time we have to take to get anywhere on the island, the cost of transport time added to any goods we buy, are a hidden tax no legislator or city councilman will publicly acknowledge. Productivity is key to improvement of our economy.

Let us hope this time we look beyond the myopic views of the naysayers and proceed with a vision for the future.

Wally Mahan

Give FDA power to stop poisoning by tobacco

An unhealthy misconception is the myth of "Smokers' Rights." This immoral right to poison with tobacco is the result of an unjust law passed by Congress in 1905. When the Food and Drug Administration was established then, tobacco was omitted from regulation, although it was already known to be a powerful drug. Swallowing only five drops of nicotine can kill the average person.

More Americans have been killed by tobacco poison than in all the wars we have fought, now more than 400,000 victims annually. These tobacco-poisoned victims can suffer like war victims, many of them coughing up blood and suffering the greatest pain possible, a number 10 on the medical pain scale.

More than 9 billion dollars of legal advertising by the tobacco industry and the influence of tobacco -- using family and friends -- is overpowering to many youngsters. Their supposed free choice to decide whether to use tobacco becomes an influenced choice. Many of our youngsters cannot resist. Please do not defend this unfair, harmful legal right. Instead ask Congress to change it.

Edward Arrigoni

It's time to send in another quarterback

Why is Timmy Chang so indispensable? His performance in the past three University of Hawaii football games has been erratic, frustrating and downright uninspiring. He understandably is under tremendous pressure to break out of his slump, but that is not happening.

My burning question to Coach June Jones is, why isn't a quarterback replaced when he is not getting the job done game after game after game? Or does hell need to freeze over before that happens? Auwe!

Roy Uehara

Schuler makes dreams come true in Makakilo

There must be something more worthy of sign-waving protest in Makakilo than the construction of new homes ("Slower Makakilo growth is urged," Star-Bulletin, Nov. 15). I am a first-time home buyer in one of Makakilo's new Schuler developments.

Schuler Homes is making it possible for people like me, a single parent of three, to purchase homes by building affordable single-family houses in Makakilo. When I began my search for a home everywhere else on the island was just too expensive to even consider.

The new residents of Makakilo are not the only causes of traffic in Kapolei. People come here to shop from all over West Oahu.

Instead of condemning homebuilders for providing opportunities of affordable home ownership to Hawaii's residents, we should be praising them for helping make peoples dreams come true.

Kristin Paulo

Kids need to spend more hours in school

Longer school days are absolutely necessary (Editorial, Nov. 13). I have heard that the number of actual classroom hours in Hawaii's public high schools is about 41/2, if you take out lunch plus two breaks during the day. That's unheard of on the mainland.

But that may not be the root of the problem. Unlike mainland public K-12 systems, where school districts have autonomy, Hawaii's public schools are state run; there's a scholastic ceiling on how basic curricula is taught.

What challenge then is there for separate schools and individual districts to compete for excellence awards to both teachers and students? What extras in both time and teaching methods can be added for those students who are candidates for college preparatory work, or altered to provide for students needing more time to complete basic courses required for graduation?

Yes, in Hawaii teachers' pay scales lack incentive to improve their own skills. And schools lack sufficient money to provide the very best study material and equipment (not to mention the deplorable physical condition of many buildings.)

Unlike these drawbacks, one easy improvement would be to extend the school day to at least six hours, with monitored study halls mandatory for students with less than a B- (85 percent) overall grade.

Marjorie Scott


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