Letters to the Editor
Thursday, March 20, 1997

Cartoon to the editor

By Paul F. Miczer

Public must stop dumping
on unions, state workers

It would appear that Kerry A. Krenzke (Letters, March 11) has something against the unions -- or namely me! Unions exist to protect employees, public and private, against bad administrations.

I am trying to support my family on what I earn as a union member. Yet what I earn is not enough to live on, so I have to take another job just to make ends meet. The average non-administration state job pays about $12,000-$15,000 annually. This is the average pay per year for my bargaining unit.

The payroll lag would have a large economic impact on the state economy. If it takes effect, all state employees will be burdened with hundreds of dollars in late payment penalties on home mortgages per month and other penalties on their other financial obligations. This is saving money?

My solution is a simple one. Hold state department heads responsible for overpayments. When an employee is overpaid, it is the fault of the department head -- not the payroll office. If and when an employee refuses to repay, legal action could then take place.

Daniel Munn

Automobile safety check
is a legal public scam

Each year, car owners are ripped off to the tune of millions of dollars in a scam condoned -- yes, even mandated -- by the government. I'm referring to the annual auto safety check. Even new cars must be checked.

Who conducts these checks? Attendants at your local filling station, who may know as much about cars as my grandmother. The more honest stations conduct the check in about two minutes, collect the fee of $15, and let you go on your way.

But there are others who insist on making more out of the situation. They'll check your headlamps and invariably find they are out of alignment. It takes one turn of the screw for each light and they collect another $10. Time consumed: 20 seconds.

If you have tinting on your windows, they'll check to see if it meets regulatory standards. Another $9 for the check.

One service station owner told me that the safety check was a subsidy to service stations. Without it, gas prices would be much higher.

If the government is truly concerned about safety, why not apply the law only to older vehicles?

Bert Dohmen

Kudos to Ben Cayetano
for supporting schools

People are demanding leadership and vision -- and that's what Governor Cayetano is giving us! The governor has produced innovative and bold initiatives for education.

He's extended the school year by seven days of instruction. He's given substantial raises to teachers and responded to their concerns about professional dignity and respect. Many schools will see construction projects speeded up and an additional 400 classrooms added as a result of his $1 billion capital improvements project budget.

Our governor has said education is his top priority, and his actions are consistent with his vision. What can each of us do to support that vision?

Kathleen de Silva

Governor cannot keep
his word on many things

I am not surprised that Governor Cayetano is losing the respect of the people of Hawaii. When he was first elected, he promised us many things, including that education would be a priority.

In what was essentially a staged event, the governor proclaimed that he had settled with the Hawaii State Teachers Association just before its members were to strike. If he had negotiated the contract when he first came into office, parents, teachers and children would not have been used as pawns for his own political gain.

Students would not have missed a day of school. These so-called extra days of teaching are a scam because they won't be implemented until 1999!

In Cayetano's State of the State speech, he also promised tax credits for homes, children and businesses. He has now reneged on those promises. Why should we have a governor in office who cannot keep his word?

We can promise him one thing: He will not be governor in 1998.

Ernest Chun

Great Aloha Run director
races to its defense

Columnist Pat Bigold painted this year's Great Aloha Run (GAR) with such a broad brush of criticism as to mitigate what might be reasonable (Feb. 18):

Consider the "Sounds of Freedom." They are unique, not found in any other race in the United States, and people travel from many regions just to appreciate their ambience. Not count them? Why not? They pay an entry fee, wear a running number and are timed. If it looks like a runner, shouldn't it be counted as a runner?

Runners jumping onto the course from a variety of angles? It happens in all big races and in the Honolulu Marathon as well. It has nearly destroyed the San Francisco Bay to Breakers, and is a perennial problem for all race directors. Compared to other large foot races around the nation, GAR probably has less than average.

People wandering across the course? Much as race directors wish otherwise, it happens. Because we cannot predict when and where such an event might occur, lead runners should be led by a police solo bike. Apparently, it didn't happen this year and it was Bigold's only valid criticism, although he fails to note that we always have provided a police escort in the past, were unaware of its absence this year, and will take care of it next year.

This year's GAR was a very good event. And, during the last 13 years, there have been over a quarter million finishers with no tragedies or major unexpected medical problems. The record speaks for itself and for one of the world's great foot races.

Dr. Jack H. Scaff Jr.
Race Director, Great Aloha Run



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