Pro-drug testers won't stop there
The director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project (Letters, April 26
) asks an important question: "So why exactly should an employer care if a worker chooses to relax in the evening with a joint rather than a martini, so long as use of either doesn't affect his or her job performance?"
Sadly, the promoters of drug testing are attempting to force their vision of reality onto others. For teachers who would trade a raise for drug testing, ask yourself, what will prevent cultural fascists from mandating thinking tests?
No invasion of privacy if test is negative
Re: "Teachers call drug tests a deal-breaker for state" (Star-Bulletin, April 24
). I am a nurse who moved to Florida from Hawaii, and I hope to return to Hawaii to live within the next few years. Whenever I seek employment, drug testing is a routine part of the process. I have no problem with the testing, since the results are only released to a select few and I have nothing to hide. Perhaps teachers would be more comfortable with a process that is similar: test everyone as part of the employment process, then randomly with cause.
I now teach nursing, and even our students are required to be drug tested before they can enter the nursing program. We have to provide the clinical facilities with proof that our students meet the same standards as any of their employees. If taken in the context of protecting the recipients of our care, being drug tested is a minor issue. If taken in the context of protecting privacy, if one has no illegal drugs in their system and the information is only released to protected receivers, it is still a minor issue.
West Palm Beach, Fla.
Station ambulances at center of Waikiki
Since 1975 I have lived at or near Waikiki at Ala Wai and Kalakaua Avenue. Five to 10 times every day, 365 days a year, we are subjected to the ear-piercing sirens of ambulances responding to calls in Waikiki. Thousands of residents along Kalakaua and surrounding neighborhoods endure this multidaily invasion into our limited peaceful existence. The solution is as simple as falling off a slippery rock.
The ambulances begin their treks from Young Street, a good mile or more from their destination. During afternoon rush hours, they are typically caught in the same motionless traffic as the rest of us, which delays their arrival by precious minutes.
When one considers that a substantial majority of calls are going to end up in the center of Waikiki, why isn't there an ambulance stationed in and dispatched from Waikiki? It would seem all that would be needed is a parking space from which to be dispatched.
The thousands of residents who live along this corridor have been subjected to this screeching, shattering intrusion long enough. Put the ambulance in Waikiki where it can reach its needed location in seconds instead of minutes and at the same time eliminate the noise and unnerving intrusions.
'Steadfastness' shows poor thought process
Bush's truculence against even GOP calls for U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' resignation is more of his "stay the course" style ("Without public trust, Gonzales should go," "Our opinion," Star-Bulletin, April 23
). It is not steadfastness in the face of battle so much as it is the rigidity of a man with almost no structured thought processes.
What passes for "faith" and "steadiness" to audiences of his followers is actually an absence of ability to think problems through in a measured and informed manner and to make decisions based on a preponderance of the evidence presented to him. If Bush doesn't like the evidence, he simply dismisses it.
This is not leadership; it is rather a clear and present danger to the safety of the United States.
Composer knew value of a strong message
Having had the privilege of singing in the Honolulu Symphony and Chorus' recent presentation of Mendelssohn's oratorio "Elijah," I had time to ponder the composer's own thoughts about the story's message. Mendelssohn's librettist, a Lutheran clergyman, urged the composer to soften the prophet's zeal and anger, but Mendelssohn declined. He said he wanted the prophetic message to speak to the rabble or riff-raff in the court and among the people.
Elijah and Mendelssohn, where are you when we need you now?
Elected officials too free with tax money
How can this be? We have a mayor who remains intent on squandering billions on a rail transit system that will forever increase our property and excise taxes 20-30 percent. We have a governor who sides with a dictatorial Environmental Protection Agency that wants Honolulu to spend almost a year's worth of tax revenues ($1.2 billion) on secondary treatment of neutralized sewage that's currently discharged far off shore and deep in the ocean where it causes no environmental harm.
How could we have elected people who don't seem to understand the value of a dollar? Or a billion?
Anti-union tactics unfair to workers
Rep. Colleen Meyer got it wrong in her "Gathering Place" commentary Tuesday
on House Bill 760 and the Employee Free Choice Act. As almost any worker who has tried to form a union can tell you, the current labor law system in our country is broken. Half of the people who don't have a union say they would join one tomorrow if given the chance, because they know it's the best way to improve their lives.
Unfortunately, too few ever get that chance because employers routinely block workers' efforts to form unions through both legal and illegal means. Twenty-five percent of employers illegally fire workers for supporting a union, and employers are found guilty of firing or mistreating more than 20,000 workers every year. When employees consider unionizing, their employers routinely subject them to mandatory anti-union meetings in an attempt to scare them into rejecting a union. The fact is, the American labor law system is too weak to stop them.
These bills are about supporting the democratic rights of workers by enacting new penalties when employers try to coerce workers and allowing workers to establish union representation at a company if a majority of the employees signed a union card. HB 760 and the EFCA are about supporting workers' democratic rights, and deserve the support of our legislators.
Lawmakers, governor should work together
Hmmmmm ... sounds like a dilemma.
Months ago, Gov. Linda Lingle fired the director of the Department of Transportation, but everyone else wanted him to stay.
Recently, everyone else voted out the director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, while the governor wanted him to remain.
Aren't our elected officials overdue to put aside their differences and move forward? Please don't let potential hopes of progress continue to drift away into the past. Future generations deserve the positive results of our present best efforts, not less.
Our elected officials should work together and develop certain standard core values and goals toward preserving and maintaining our fragile environment, community infrastructure and quality of life.
No justice in mandatory sentences
Long prison terms born of mandatory sentencing and its host of enhancements, minimums and repeat offender statutes endanger society by creating dangerous hard-core criminals.
In theory tough on crime mandatory sentencing and its tentacles are suppose to protect society from the hard-core violent career criminal.
In actuality one size fits all mandatory sentencing has proven to be an indiscriminate net filling our county jails and state prison with an overflow of second offense addicts, the mentally ill and an assortment of nonviolent minor offenders, most housed in overcrowded cells with hard-core criminals as tutors.
This condition has resulted in a multimillion-dollar fiscal drain of much needed state tax dollars as we send thousands of local inmates to mainland private prisons to receive a mainland criminal education.
Inmate, Oahu Community Correctional Center