DOE knows which teachers make the grade
Don't believe the hype that thousands of Hawaii public school teachers are not qualified by the federal government (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 24
). On Thursday I received a letter from the Department of Education's Office of Human Resources stating that I am not a highly qualified teacher. Ironically, on the same day I also received a certificate from the DOE in recognition of my "10 years of faithful and loyal service to the people of Hawaii."
I exceed the requirements for being a highly qualified teacher: bachelor's and master's degrees, Hawaii state teacher license, and I'm working on my Ph.D. I am a tenured teacher, too, which also shows my competency and qualification as a professional educator. It seems that DOE needs to carefully go through its records rather than shaking up us teachers for the information that DOE already has! How many other teachers have been wrongfully issued the same letter from DOE? I stand by my teacher colleagues. DOE, check the records with the Office of Human Resources.
Teacher, Farrington High School
A hotel guest surfs the Internet while the other surf rolls in at scenic Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuku.
Turtle Bay's serenity is the amenity that draws visitors
In responding to Gov. Linda Lingle's bold, positive proposal for the state to buy the Turtle Bay resort property (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 23
), Keith Vierra, vice president of operations for Starwood Hotels and Resorts, said that a stand-alone hotel makes it harder for guests to get amenities. He greatly misses the point that a majority of us see as clear as a rainbow in Manoa -- the natural scenery is the amenity people want at the Turtle Bay hotel. One can get all that other stuff in Waikiki, Waikaloa, Kihei, Keauhou, on and on and on ...
Not buying Turtle Bay property comes with a price tag, too
I watched several politicians being interviewed about the governor's proposal for the state to purchase the Turtle Bay project. I watched the Democrats sitting on their hands during her speech, while Republican lawmakers applauded.
After making the required pleasant comments that it is a good idea, Democrats then turned to how would we pay for it.
Either they are incredibly shallow thinkers or they are just so anti-Lingle that they feel a need to oppose every idea she puts forth.
The real question is the cost if we do not buy the project.
1. There will be a 15- to 20-year period of road work that will cost who knows how much and stretch from Turtle Bay to the freeway. This is a cost that will occur in direct response to the gridlock once the expansion project gets started.
2. There is a big cost to the community in property values and lifestyle that will be absorbed by North Shore residents. Difficult to quantify, but significant.
The state can issue bonds to fund the purchase and pay 4 percent to 5 percent. This is $15 million, more or less, per year. This would be money well spent to preserve the nature of a community.
I hope that the legislators take a broader look at the real cost of passing up this opportunity.
Combine ceded lands deal with Turtle Bay purchase
Perhaps the governor can protect the North Shore and address the "ceded lands" issue at the same time by buying the Kuilima properties and turning the Turtle Bay resort over to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs instead of the current settlement package of $200 million in cash and land that apparently satisfies nobody ("State and OHA make land deal
," Star-Bulletin, Jan. 19).
Given the right incentives, the property could become a cash cow for OHA's other projects. The overall project with its nature set-aside would complement the Waimea Valley purchase by providing another in a string of natural settings on the North Shore to be explored by Oahu residents and those staying at the resort.
Now we just need similar preserves with appropriate supporting development and accessibility from the North Shore over by Kahuku, Haleiwa and Kaena Point.
Honor victims like Cyrus with donations
Recently Honolulu residents responded to the shock of Cyrus Belt's tragic death by leaving balloons, toys, lei and notes on the Miller Street overpass. While these roadside memorials are a tangible way the community grieves the loss of a neighbor, they often result in hundreds of dollars spent on items left outside to decay.
Contributions to charities, such as Catholic Social Services or Helping Hands Hawaii, would assist other "at risk" children, allowing the loss of one child to benefit others. When action is called for, let's make the choice of a living memorial.
Wandering child should have raised alarm
With all respect to Honolulu's finest, according to news reports, before Cyrus Belt was killed, the 2-year-old was found wandering alone by a police officer who escorted him back home to the boyfriend of his mother. The officer then left.
Considering the questionable past of the boyfriend, should this not have been cause for a lengthy investigation to discover why the child was alone in the first place, thereby avoiding this catastrophe?
Even the most minor accident on our highways or suspicious behavior of a homeless person on the street are afforded hours of investigation by a fleet of police cars.
John L. Werrill
No drug tests? Then no pay raises
So the Board of Education is refusing to fund random drug testing of teachers (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 25
). Gov. Lingle, please refuse to fund the teachers' pay raises. The teachers are claiming an unreasonable search and a violation of their right to privacy. Well, I am employed in the transportation industry, and I have been subject to random, reasonable cause and post-accident drug testing for more than 20 years. As the safety of the public correctly trumps my rights, so does the safety of our children trump the teachers' rights. Line 'em up and swab 'em -- or no pay raise.
By that logic, why not take everyone's DNA?
I take issue with Rep. Barbara Marumoto's Jan. 23 letter
advocating collecting DNA samples from people charged but not convicted of felonies. Is she unaware that a person who has been charged but not convicted of a crime is presumed innocent?
Under the bill she is touting, if a person is charged with a felony, but the charges are later dropped or reduced to a misdemeanor, or a grand jury finds that the prosecution doesn't have enough evidence to go to trial, or a plea bargain reduces the charges to a misdemeanor, or a mistrial is declared, or the jury is deadlocked, or a jury finds the defendant "not guilty," Marumoto still thinks the government should have this nonfelon's DNA on file.
She says, this bill will "save lives" (she forgot to say "for the children"). Well, if the government can "save lives" by keeping DNA samples of certain nonfelons, doesn't it logically follow that the government can save even more lives by keeping DNA samples of every nonfelon -- that is, every resident of this state?
If Marumoto believes that our civil liberties, including our state Constitution's guarantee to the right to privacy, should be suspended if they interfere with law enforcement's ability to maximize convictions, why is she only advocating baby steps toward a police state?
Hedge funds in Hawaii will need regulation
Thank you for your Jan. 16 editorial "Legislative action needed to nourish Hawaii's hedge funds
," which acknowledged the Securities branches of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and its recent national award for its investor education program. We appreciate having our dedicated staff recognized for their outstanding effort. In 2008, we look forward to increasing our educational efforts to reach more Hawaii residents, including school-age students.
The editorial mentioned a proposal that hedge fund licensing be streamlined. Hawaii, however, does not license hedge funds. Under current law, most large hedge funds only provide notice filings with the state, while other funds register with the state as investment advisers.
In 2006, the Legislature passed the Model Uniform Securities Act (Model USA). This model act, drafted by experts across the nation, made Hawaii's securities regulations among the most sophisticated and modern in the country. The law (HRS 485A), along with new rules, takes effect this July. The law and rules are examples of how the Legislature and the administration have worked to make sure we have balanced and updated regulations that are comparable to those of other states currently hosting robust hedge fund industries.
We fully support diversifying the economy and have talked to Akamai and others about bringing hedge funds to Hawaii. We have to be sure, though, that our regulations continue to address the problems hedge funds have experienced nationally, and that efforts to attract hedge funds do not come at the expense of protecting Hawaii consumers. With the ongoing collapse of the subprime lending market, there is no better time to recognize that sound investment regulation is the cornerstone of a sound economy.
Commissioner of Securities
Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
Lawyers want more money at our expense
I agree with the editorial in the Jan. 22 Star-Bulletin ("Allow nonlawyers to keep providing mundane legal services
"). This seems to be another attempt by lawyers (i.e., the Hawaii Bar Association) to influence the change of law so that they can make more money. As their pockets are being filled, ours will be emptied with higher costs for everything.
Even seemingly simple acts, such as buying a used car from a friend, could cost you a few more hundred dollars due to potential lawyer fees for drafting up a bill of sale and new title; or maybe the next time you bump your head and an ambulance is called, if you refuse service/transport, you might be required to wait (as will the ambulance crew, thus tying up services that could be available for more serious cases) until a lawyer can oversee the signing of the "refusal of care/transport" waiver, as this is also a legal document affecting the rights of a person.
What next? Will we be required by law to visit a board-certified doctor just to put a bandage on a paper cut? How much regulation and micromanagement do we need in our lives?
Federal teacher standard isn't realistic
What a demoralizing headline ("Teachers fail grade
," Star-Bulletin, Jan. 24) for us teachers! It is so rare for teachers, either corporately or individually, to receive recognition for their work. Now we are faced with this insult.
While the statistics may be alarming, or alarmist, let's look at what the requirement for highly qualified teachers really means. A special education teacher in a high school setting must not only be highly qualified in special education, but also in each content area, such as math, science or English, for every subject he or she teaches, which could be several. That's simply not realistic considering the time and money needed to fulfill such a requirement. It is a shame that the Star-Bulletin has to fall into the Bush administration's trap and join in the denigration of teachers. You can do better; we deserve better!