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Monday, June 14, 2004





Caseload demands more CPS workers

Harold Hong complained about Child Protective Services workers who "remove children from homes and schools, just on an anonymous phone call" (Letters, May 27). This leaves the impression that CPS workers lack integrity on the job. Nothing is further from the truth.

CPS social workers and aides work tirelessly to uphold laws and rules designed to protect Hawaii's children from abuse and neglect. They usually carry caseloads well above any acceptable norm. CPS workers regularly work beyond their eight-hour day. They take paperwork home with them. Worst of all, they live with the constant fear that one of "their" children might be hurt because the worker didn't have the time or resources to follow up as necessary.

The last Legislature considered caseload limits for CPS workers. Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland and Rep. Dennis Arakaki have long advocated on behalf of CPS and supported the caseload reduction. This would have helped the workers, concerned citizens such as Hong and, most of all, the children in need of protective services. Unfortunately, the Department of Human Services workers are still waiting for DHS to provide some long-awaited relief.

Rather than allowing the criticism of CPS and its employees, the state needs to address the problem by increasing staffing and limiting caseloads. We look forward to working with DHS to see this happen.

Nora A. Nomura
Field services officer
Hawaii Government Employees Association

Voters want their dreams to come alive

I have been having recurring nightmares about the two major anointed presidential candidates, both of whom have much negative baggage. After accepting their nominations and spending millions on negative campaigns, they left the electorate with selecting the lesser of the evils.

But recently I had a new dream that both of these major candidates had a change of heart and donned the manteau of statesman rather than politician, and both declined the party nominations. They both announced that the country was owed more and that by acclamation both major party nominations should be given to an honest political maverick. The names of John McCain, Joseph Lieberman and Colin Powell flashed on my dream screen.

If only dreams could come true.

Frank D. Slocum
Waianae

Reagan's inaction helped AIDS take hold

It is sadly ironic that much of the coverage of President Reagan's legacy has been silent about the fact that for more than six of his eight years in office he did almost nothing to raise awareness about a disease that would quickly become one of the worst plagues in history -- the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

While Reagan was certainly one of the most charismatic world leaders of the 20th century, his administration's inaction led to major setbacks for HIV/AIDS science and discrimination against people with AIDS, and contributed to a staggering number of deaths.

The epidemic was first reported by the Centers for Disease Control on June 5, 1981, 21 years to the day before Reagan's passing. Yet it was not until October 1987 that then-President Reagan would publicly speak about it. By the end of that year, 59,572 cases had been reported and 27,909 Americans had died.

In 2003, according to UNAIDS, the global HIV/AIDS epidemic killed more than 3 million people and an estimated 5 million acquired HIV, bringing to 40 million the number of people around the world living with the virus.

Perhaps one of the most enduring legacies that I will remember of Reagan is a powerful phrase he never uttered. It was made famous by AIDS activists fighting for their lives: "Silence = Death." This mantra is a metaphor that has mobilized and empowered individuals and organizations worldwide to raise awareness, not only about HIV/AIDS but other deadly diseases as well, from breast cancer to Alzheimer's.

Eduardo Hernandez
Maunalani Heights

Hannemann's 'attack' wasn't out of line

Although Roland Louie (Letters, June 12) claims not to have made his choice for mayor between Duke Bainum and Mufi Hannemann, the fact that he is "disgusted" with Hannemann's "attack" of his opponent at the recent forum in Waikiki makes it apparent where his support lies.

I am proud to admit my support of Hannemann for mayor, and was present at the same forum. These so-called attacks called for Bainum to finally admit the facts to voters. For example, Bainum has repeatedly accused Hannemann of catering to special interest groups, like unions and big business. Hannemann was merely pointing out that Bainum "cannot have it both ways." Bainum went after many of the same groups for endorsements and donations as Hannemann, such as SHOPO.

Hannemann won all of these, fair and square. For Bainum to turn around and point the finger after losing to Hannemann is simply hypocritical. The people need to know these things, and Hannemann is honest and direct enough to call a spade a spade. I want those qualities in my mayor!

Mona K. Wood
Honolulu

Teens lack sense around alcohol, cars

Today's youth generation is very different from what it was when our parents were children. The risks are greater and the standards are higher when it comes to drinking and driving.

Statistics show that in 2003 alone, 17,419 drivers from the ages of 15 through 20 died in fatal car crashes that were alcohol-related. This is the number one cause of death for teenagers. What it really comes down to is pressure and a lack of common sense.

Teenagers often drink and drive to be accepted, but not always. Some do it for the adrenaline, some for the fun, but most from not having enough will power not to drink and drive.

Organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the National Commission Against Drunk Driving help this from continuing.

Overall, youth driving can be perilous, and almost always leads to death.

Jasmin Chun
Student
William Paul Jarrett Middle School


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[ BRAINSTORM! ]

The ponds at the state Capitol are full of icky green stuff. What, besides holding an election, can we do to get rid of all that scum at the Big Square Building? Or should we just replace the ponds with something else?

Tell us what you think, whether you know of a way to clean the ponds or if you'd rather see a remodel of the Capitol grounds. Anything would be an improvement.


Send your ideas by June 16 to:

brainstorm@starbulletin.com

Or by mail:
Brainstorm!
c/o Nancy Christenson
Star-Bulletin
500 Ala Moana
7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Or by fax:
Brainstorm!
c/o Nancy Christenson
529-4750


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The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). 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 and include a daytime telephone number.

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