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Monday, March 30, 1998

Values of our country are totally screwed up

So, the president is wringing his hands about the poor performance of U.S. students in science and higher mathematics. Well, Mr. Clinton, don't blame the teachers. Just look at your own values and the values of the nation. The money and prestige are in medicine, law, business and athletics.

Among these, only medicine requires scientific study, and none require higher mathematics.

Donald E. Evans
(Via the Internet)

Sierra Club selective about environmental concerns

As one who routinely follows matters before the City Council, I would like to comment on David "Kimo" Frankel and the Sierra Club's recent ratings of "pro-environment" votes of the Council members. It provides one group's viewpoint on land-use legislation that affects us all.

While most of the issues selected by the Sierra Club were anticipated, the exclusion of several key decisions made the impartiality of the report card suspect. Perhaps it was slanted to make some Council members look good at the expense of others.

For example, the Council last year voted to permit the Le Jardin Academy to construct its new campus next to the Kawainui Marsh wetlands. Interestingly, the Sierra Club left Council members' votes on this project off its 11-issue scorecard, while including no less than two votes on the Waikiki revitalization legislation, three on Lihi Lani, and three on Ka Iwi.

In the case of Le Jardin, several environmental groups joined to oppose the project, but the Sierra Club was curiously silent. Understandably, certain Council members' approvals of this project would have lowered their Sierra Club environmental ratings.

The Sierra Club should continue to do what it does best, and educate the public on environmental issues. It will only tarnish its reputation if it continues to allow Frankel to engage in politicking under the guise of objectivity and impartiality.

Patrick Lee
(Via the Internet)

Everybody should give feedback on reorganization

As a city employee, I will be affected by the mayor's reorganization plan. I think that the employees and the public could have furnished some good input into the proposal through facilitated focus groups.

But now we should read the proposal, discuss it with others to get various viewpoints, and offer our suggestions to the mayor. After all, no one believes the city's organization is perfect; it can always be improved.

The reorganization will go into effect on July 1. I know, wherever possible, the mayor will utilize suggestions from the public and employees to make the reorganization one that will best serve the people of Oahu.

Toni Robinson
(Via the Internet)

Driver's license renewal just vroooms along

It's very common for people (including myself) to complain about poor government services, so it's really a pleasure for me to offer my kudos after an experience I had today.

With my birthday coming up, it was time for me to renew my driver's license. I received a reminder notice, something I recall complaining about not getting a few years ago when I accidentally discovered I was driving with an expired license.

While I knew that the ridiculous knowledge exam had been abolished, I was still pleasantly surprised at how fast I flew through the renewal process. Less than 15 minutes! And what a deal -- $18 for six years!

The best part of this encounter was that every employee who helped speed me through was friendly, courteous and efficient.

It's this kind of positive experience that will help keep me calm when I compute my state tax bill. Wouldn't it be great if other agencies in our bloated government were as user-friendly?

Harvey Shapiro
Hawaii Kai
(Via the Internet)

Raise the GET but not on food and medicine

Hawaii is paying the price for being everything to everyone, with our state on the verge of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

This is paradise. We have everything -- affordable housing, child care in the form of the A-plus afterschool program, medical programs like Quest, the H-3 and a convention center. But we are about to build another prison when common sense tells us it is cheaper to lock offenders away in prisons on the mainland. Auwe!

We should reconsider giving tax breaks to citizens in the form of raising the general excise tax to 6 percent and eliminating the tax on food and medicine, like in California.

Each front-page headline these days brings more economic bad news, which prompts me to save instead of spend any tax relief I might receive from the state.

My fears are that your next headline may say that my own job is axed. I don't believe I am alone in this thought about feeling insecure, lacking confidence in government solutions to the economic crisis, and raising the GET, excluding food and medicine.

Lena Tanaka

Bishop Estate should fund more kinds of schooling

The Bishop Estate trustees can make an important contribution to Hawaii and in particular to the Hawaiian community by creating more schools for children of Hawaiian descent -- particularly schools offering vocational training and teaching occupational skills.

Training these children in various skills would bring a talented labor force into the community.

A lot of Hawaiian children with no labor skills and not of the Kamehameha elite are idle and unemployable -- in Waianae, Papakolea and Waimanalo, which are hotbeds of crime. With proper training and employable skills, these children could enjoy a status in today's Hawaii, where presently many of them are outcasts in their own homeland.

Wasn't it Princess Pauahi Bishop's wish to educate the children of Hawaii all of them, not only the brightest?

Mel Maemori

Bishop Estate Archive

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