Letters to the Editor

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Friday, June 10, 2005

Women earn less because of choices

I would think that Jeanne Ohta, 2002 interim executive director of the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, would be more empathetic to the plight of men and boys, but she seems hostile to the thought (Letters, June 5). She responded to May 31 "Gathering Place" column that called attention to neglect in men's health care and boys' education.

Ohta wonders why women make less than men. Statistics showing that women make about 80 percent of men's wages fail to account for differences in career field, hours worked, travel, risk, job responsibilities and other factors identified in Warren Farrell's new book, "Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap and What Women Can Do About It."

It's common sense: Due to NAFTA, large corporations are sending jobs to Third World countries for cheap labor; because newer employees earn less, many corporations are forcing early retirement of senior employees, so if women truly make 80 percent of men's wages for equal work, why would any business hire a man if hiring a woman would increase their profit margin?

Ultimately everyone will be held responsible for the decisions they make. Warren Farrell has good news for the women of America: If you're willing to make the same choices as men, you can earn just as much as they do.

Ryan Anakalea

Think boys have it hard? Then get going

Gerald Nakata (Gathering Place, May 31) wonders why there isn't a "Commission for Men and Boys." My answer simply is, start one. Women fought long and hard to get the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, have sat as commissioners on its board, have been a consistently squeaky wheel for funding and have assured girls have some hope of an equal chance at education, health care and in sports.

If boys and men are falling behind, as Nakata complains, then it is time for the likes of him to get with it, stop articulating and start assembling a body to assure they don't fall too far behind. With the majority of legislators being men, it should be an easy task.

My guess is that if a commission is established, it will be just a matter of time before its funding far surpasses the roughly $90,000 the women's commission scrambles for each year. My guess is his commission would get about 28 percent more funding, in keeping with the January 2005 payequity.org reports that indicate college-educated women earn 72 percent as much as college-educated men.

Maybe if men felt less entitled ...

Susan Pirsch
Makawao, Maui

Bible does not allow 'tolerance' of gays

The videotape about tolerance toward homosexuals shown to the King Kekaulike High School students on Maui is an attempt by homosexual activists to indoctrinate homosexuality into our education system (Star-Bulletin, June 4).

Their definition of tolerance is that all values, beliefs, truths and lifestyles are equal. I was brought up in an era when the Holy Bible was the standard for tolerance in a nation brought up by Christian principles.

The Bible makes it clear that all values, beliefs, lifestyles and truth claims are not equal. It teaches that the God of the Bible words are true and that if something is not right it is wrong. Homosexuality is wrong.

Yesterday's outrage has become today's standard.

Melvin Partido Sr.
Pearl City

Editor's note: King Kekaulike High School officials required students to have written parental permission to see the videotape.

Gay students need safe environment

The Interfaith Alliance Hawaii is concerned about the controversy centered around the showing of the video "It's Elementary: Talking about Gay Issues."

We think "It's Elementary" provides a venue for understanding and an opening for dialogue in our community. The unfortunate truth is that gay students are facing verbal and physical harassment in our schools. We need to respond with a program that will stop harassment and address the issues.

After viewing this video, we don't think it portrays Christians as "bad guys" or is "promoting a gay agenda." It simply and accurately shows the lack of acceptance on the part of some Christians and the importance of creating a safe environment in our schools for gay students.

Regardless of one's religious beliefs, it is unacceptable for some students to face harassment and discrimination in school. Hawaii must provide a safe and healthy learning environment for all of its students, regardless of sexual orientation.

Robin Nussbaum
Board member, The Interfaith Alliance Hawaii

Symphony gives kids hope for reconciliation

We had a great year with the Honolulu Symphony! We participated in Carnegie Hall's LinkUP! program, where we got to play our recorders along with the symphony at our concert at Blaisdell. It made us feel so good to see the musicians and symphony ohana working together to help us learn more about music. We were so eager to listen to more beautiful music that we even went to three real symphony concerts with our music teacher.

Our school was chosen to participate in another LinkUP! project, "How Do I Get to Carnegie Hall?" It was a game we played with students from New York City, using long-distance video technology. We got a chance to work with Honolulu Symphony assistant conductor Joan Landry. She made us feel so special. We hope we can see her conduct a concert one day.

Now we are worried that the people in the Honolulu Symphony aren't getting along and there won't be a symphony in the future. In LinkUP!, the theme song was "A Simple Melody" by Nick Scarim. It talked about how music brings people together. Part of the song says, "And no matter that we're far apart or misunderstand each other, music always seems to reach our hearts and brings us all together."

We hope everything works out with the symphony so there will still be one in Honolulu. We want other children to experience what we were lucky to experience this year. And we want to go to more concerts, too.

Jen Samantha Rasay Lourenz Aletha Fayloga John Tristan Guillermo Sara Lee Saramosing Jordan Ray Macadangdang
Grade 5 music students
Kalihi-Kai School

Sirens should not be used so often

The sounds of sirens seem to be constantly in the air, at least for those of us within earshot of a highway, road, fire or police station, and that includes almost everyone on the islands. This incessant and unnecessary noise pervades our peaceful island without anyone questioning why.

Certainly one can understand that if there is a true emergency and the traffic is not complying with the readily visible warning lights, then justification exists to turn on the noise to clear the traffic. But to turn the sirens on every time the paramedics, fire or police have a call is absolute abuse of the system.

In discussing this with a paramedic, he says the traffic will not move unless they turn on the sirens. I disagree. It is like the shepherd boy calling "wolf." We are so inundated with the sounds of sirens for supposed emergencies that most of us wonder if they turn the sirens on to go for a plate lunch. After nearly 30 years in health care as a physician, and being chief of staff of a major medical center, I know that it is more than obvious that not every one of these runs requires a siren.

All we can ask as the public is for these departments to change the protocol that requires the use of sirens every time any call is put out to emergency personnel and selectively use this obnoxious tool only when necessary. I think you will find a much more responsive citizenry when sirens are truly needed.

Gary R. Johnson

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