Letters to the editor


POSTED: Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Acceptance of gays awaited

“;Mom, Dad ... I'm gay.”;

In a society that is accepting and within the context of a loving family, these words should not be so hard to utter. The difficulty of expressing these words to my parents are paramount to the generational divide that exists amongst the young and old, the conservative and the liberal.

Fortunately, I have time on my side. Before 1967, people of all racial backgrounds could not marry in all states; when will gays and lesbians attain these rights? Fortunately marriage equality was realized in two states in the past week, and the nation's capital will now recognize these unions. When will Hawaii proclaim its fairness for all?

All the polls show that the youth in this nation are in favor of rights for gays and lesbians. In time, young people will make up a majority of the electorate and progress will triumph. While the red-shirts march loud and angrily today, how long can they sustain? How long can you really fight against something that does not pertain to you? Soon your war cry will be silence, and that will be music to my ears.

P.S. Mom, Dad ... I'm gay.

Van Law


Captain's actions worthy of praise

Americans everywhere have great reason to be made proud by the story of Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama cargo ship which was attacked by Somali pirates. Not only did Phillips offer himself to save the lives of his fellow crew members, but while in pirate custody he attempted to escape not just once, but twice. Phillips' actions prove that America is truly the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I can't help but recall the words of President John F. Kennedy who said, “;The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And there is one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender or submission.”;

While thankfully few of us will ever experience the tribulation Phillips went through, we can apply that same spirit of relentless courage which refuses to give up in all areas of our lives back here at home. Let's not give up on our economy, on our community, on our children, or chief of all, on our future. God bless America!

Daniel de Gracia II


Skip the plastic, use your own bag

Unfortunately, we do not see Down to Earth's move to “;biodegradable plastic”; bags as a responsible move to help the marine environment. Besides the concerns that there is no such thing as biodegradable plastic, these bags that they will be distributing will take nine months to five years to degrade. That means marine life will still be in danger from these bags for those five years.

Also people may be more likely to litter these bags thinking they are harmless. Changing from a disposable plastic bag to a disposable “;biodegradable plastic”; bag is not helping their customers to make the real lifestyle changes necessary to make a difference. People need to look at their use of plastic and help reduce it. This means making actions like, bringing their own reusable bag when they go shopping, part of their lives. Stores can help by only providing boxes (like Costco does) and charging for paper bags to discourage their use.

Suzanne Frazer and Dean Otsuki

Chairpeople, Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawaii


Don't make kids suffer for budget

Congress has passed a stimulus bill where education in Hawaii is to receive millions of dollars. One would think that Gov. Linda Lingle would be thrilled that much needed monetary help was being given to our schools during this economic crisis. Thrilled she may be, but not for the schools.

Instead she has stated that she plans to use the millions of dollars of stimulus monies intended for education to balance the state's budgetary shortfall. This should be criminal. The money allocated for education should be used as intended by President Barack Obama and the United States Congress. Our children should not have to suffer in order to balance the state's budget. The people of Hawaii need to urge our lawmakers to persuade Gov. Lingle that the monies intended for education should go to education. Elected officials should have the best interests of the people in mind when making their decisions, not a balanced check book.

Christine Farina

Kauai teacher

Teachers lament painful losses

Our state was given $90 million in the stimulus package to use solely for education to ADD to the funds we have. Our governor is saying that she is going to take the money and put it into the general budget to meet needs other than education. Can she do that? Can she be held accountable if she does that?

Because of financial cuts of 20 percent to the Department of Education in Hawaii already, my school has lost an English teacher, reading teacher, librarian, and tech teacher. We do not have art, music, drama or P.E. teachers in our school. We do not have a preschool.

The governor is also talking about “;cutting”; teachers' wages and medical benefits by as much as 10 percent or more. This stimulus money could stop that and put some of our teachers back to work.

Please help us in any way you can to see that the stimulus money goes to education in Hawaii in addition to state funds NOT in place of state funds. We just can't continue to perform as a school and state system without help.

Niyati Brown

Big Island teacher / Hawaii State Teachers Association board of directors

Schools sorely need stimulus

In addressing the Hawaii State Teachers Association's annual convention delegates on April 5, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye stated that Congress passed the stimulus bill with the intent of education getting billions of dollars. Inouye added that “;every penny was intended for education”; and not to “;fill the deficit gaps of the states.”; His remarks were in response to Gov. Linda Lingle's recent plans to essentially use $90 million of stimulus monies intended for education to balance the state's budgetary shortfall.

Federal rescue dollars allocated for education should be used as intended by President Barack Obama and Congress. Teachers understand we all need to share the pain during this economic crisis. But Hawaii's children should not have to pay a disproportionate share to balance the state's budget.

Use the federal dollars intended for Hawaii's public school students to save the schools!

Ted Banta

Pahoa High and Intermediate School teacher




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