From the Forum
POSTED: Saturday, January 31, 2009
Online readers are able to respond immediately to Star-Bulletin stories through our Web forum, which can be accessed at the end of stories, editorials and columns at starbulletin.com. Below is a selection of forum comments that appeared last week. Most forum contributors use pseudonyms; their "names" have been omitted here.
"Governor describes a sinking ship of state," Star-Bulletin, Jan. 27: I've experienced wage freezes and a 7.5 percent pay cut in my career. Tough, but we make it through somehow. The governor and government employees have to make sacrifices just like the public sector has had to. Picking the public's pockets through fees and taxes to keep the status quo would be a disaster.
Cutting worker salaries and raising taxes - typical lolo thinking. How about cutting unnecessary spending? The government cannot be everything for everybody. It's time to reduce government by reducing programs and services. Government should focus only on the necessary services like social services for the elderly and handicapped.
Seems like only a couple of years ago these dingbats were wondering what to do with a $150 million excess.
Realistically, there aren't substantial alternatives for diversifying the state's economy. Its geographical isolation, or location, makes it that way. I'd say do a great or better job in the lone industry, tourism. Make it the best in the world for service quality and price. Each visitor should go home thinking it was the best and most satisfying vacation experience of his/her life. As for the military spending, treat the military folks like family. It's because of them that many residents have jobs and security.
It's time for the state labor unions to jump off the gravy train and jump on the save-where-you-can, pay-as-you-go wagon! This includes voluntary pay cuts and benefit cuts or else RIF - reduction in force. If the private sector has to take hits, the public sector needs to do the same.
Whether you like Gov. Lingle or not, she is not to blame for the state's bloated budget. Our Legislature has been controlled by Democrats for nearly the past 50 years. Our state has been a leading example of creeping socialism. Just look at all of the "safety net" programs in the budget. With the global recession upon us, we now find that socialism does nothing to contribute to our growth and prosperity.
"Visitor arrivals drop 16.5 percent," Star-Bulletin, Jan. 29: After evicting Hawaiians and locals from Waikiki for the likes of Gucci, Hermes, Coach and Prada, how poetic that the tourists are not coming now. Shame on the state for planning nothing for residents. They ruined Waikiki and we have nothing to show for it. Biggest joke is Kamehameha Schools' $84 million Royal Hawaiian failure. They had the chance to showcase Hawaiian culture to the world and they put in a few Hawaiian plants and expensive wood sculptures surrounded by Chanel, Cartier, etc.
People can go to any city and stare at concrete, why pay to come here and do it? Many tourists leave disappointed at what Hawaii has developed into and won't return. They come for relaxation, palm trees, sand and sun and get panhandlers, thieves, and Rodeo Drive and Vegas mixed with Asian Tijuana-type vendors.
I personally think Hawaii's government has lost sight of why tourists come to Hawaii. The majority of tourists are not from tropical climates. We are from states and countries that don't have year-round warm weather or are near the ocean. Hawaii is different and to us, beautiful as the trade winds blow and we see the ocean everyplace we go. Aloha.
"Report urges teacher support," Star-Bulletin, Jan. 30: Check out all the report recommendations. They can be summarized as "spend more money." Spending more money on education is a great thing if it has the intended effect. But we just don't have anymore of the green stuff.
Maybe HSTA should be more involved in the evaluation of teachers. It takes a lot of documentation by the principal to get a bad teacher out. Maybe HSTA can have a Teacher Development section that would go into schools and observe teachers red-flagged by principals. After all, seeing is believing. HSTA can help the teacher improve or suggest another career.