Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Monday, April 20, 2009

DOE like a gas guzzler that needs an overhaul

The Department of Education is a gas guzzler of an organization that requires an inordinate amount of money to keep it going. Furthermore, it is shocking to realize that when the DOE gets more money it becomes even less efficient — a lot less.

DOE funding has increased substantially in recent years. In fiscal year 2000 the DOE operating budget was $972 million. The operating budget increased each year since then so that seven years later it more than doubled to $2.186 billion.

However, the substantial funding increase resulted in only a slight improvement in the quality of education, as indicated by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

It's as if the owner of a gas guzzling vehicle put more than twice as many gallons of gas in the tank as usual, but all of those extra gallons made it go only a few extra miles. That would defy the laws of physics. The DOE is an organization that defies the laws of rationality.

The DOE should be replaced with a modern public school system that operates efficiently and demonstrates good performance.


John Kawamoto



Revise tax strategy to help true residents

Taxes are the hot issue right now. The state needs money and we can't agree on where to get it or how we are going to save it. I have two suggestions to explore.

The first is taxing motor vehicles by value as opposed to weight. I never understood the weight thing. How could it be possible that my friend's 1980 Chevy van will cost more in fees than my other friend's $95,000 2009 Porsche?

Will a heavier truck wear the road down faster? This could make sense when you compare a Camry to a big rig, but a difference of a few hundred pounds? If that's the case shouldn't we weigh the driver and passengers too?

The other is to increase the property tax for people who do not file with the state of Hawaii. Residents now pay $3.29 per $1,000 for homes. I say let's make the wannabe kamaainas pay the commercial rate of $12.40 per $1000.

The unforeseen benefit to this will be a reduction in the “;not for locals”; Trump type of developments. This will naturally increase the focus on affordable housing.


Mark Ida

Salt Lake


Legislators should fund anti-smoking programs

Hawaii citizens need to know that legislators are preparing to balance the state budget in part by cutting adult and teen anti-smoking programs.

Doing so would sentence many of our citizens — including young people and those yet unborn — to a lifetime of health problems and decades of costs for our state.

If the wording in SB 292 survives the conference, Hawaii can expect to see teen smoking rates increase, just as they did in Massachusetts, California, Florida, Indiana and Minnesota after those states' anti-smoking programs were cut.

It is no longer debatable that as smoking rates rise, so do health problems and costs. Short-term thinking by the Legislature could result in decades of sorrow and additional health care expense.


Carol Kozlovich



Panel goes overboard by gutting OHA budget

We are appalled by the decision made by the state Senate Ways and Means Committee, under the leadership of Committee Chair Donna Mercado-Kim, to reduce the Office of Hawaiian Affairs general fund budget in HB 900 HD2 to zero.

We understand the state House of Representatives passed a budget of $2.6 million in general funds for OHA as part of a way to help with the state's fiscal crisis, so it puzzles us why the Senate would take the extreme position to zero out OHA's budget.

Is this a way for the Senate to say, “;We wash our hands of Hawaiians,”; that it's not their kuleana to support native Hawaiians?

OHA, through wise management of its resources, has provided for the needs of its Hawaiian beneficiaries with very little help from the state. It seems OHA is being penalized for being a prudent manager of its resources.

We understand the law mandates state support of native Hawaiians, but it seems that Senator Mercado-Kim and her committee have, in effect, voted to ignore the law.


Davis Ho





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