Letters to the editor


POSTED: Sunday, June 07, 2009

Furloughs will hurt teachers

As a teacher of Maui County I would like to express my concerns with Gov. Linda Lingle's (proposal that) all state workers be forced to take three furlough days each month. For teachers, the financial impact will be devastating. Our health insurance premiums are already increasing by $2,000 a year for a family plan. When added to the pay lost through the furlough program, teachers would be taking a financial hit greater than $15,000 annually.

The DOE currently spends $20 million a year on teacher recruitment, and 60 percent of us leave after three years due to financial hardships. I have greatly enjoyed teaching in Maui and would hate to have to leave. I challenge Linda Lingle to find me a way to live on the West Side of Maui that my salary would cover.

Marybeth Frieday

Special education teacher, King Kamehameha III School

State workers lucky to have jobs

I am in favor of Gov. Linda Lingle's steps to furlough workers. Reading comments in both papers leads me to believe that the majority of the comments are going in favor of that as well. When Lingle mentioned that 70 percent of the state budget is wages, it hit me like a ton of bricks! Did anyone think that maybe we have too many employees and should cut back on them? That would give us more income in good years to do things that need doing like repairing our infrastructure.

My family has been hit with a job loss in March 2008. A year later my son is still unemployed. He is a skilled professional but his industry was hit with high fuel costs and in the end they closed shop. A few thousand in Hawaii lost jobs as a result of that company going away. My husband worked for the same company before being forced to retire last year due to his age at 60. I can't remember when his union last had a raise.

State workers should realize that the state could go belly up, like California. Where would they be then? If state workers think it's all so bad, by all means, go into the private sector and see if you can even get a job.

So folks, take your medicine, shape up and hope the furlough of two years doesn't turn into a permanent job loss as a means of government survival.

Kathryn Kane


Gay marriage could help Hawaii

State taxes rising and services cut. Mandatory furloughs for state workers. UH-Manoa slices $50 million from its budget. Had enough?

What's the fastest, easiest way to relieve this crisis? Recognize same-sex marriage.

Currently, the only states recognizing same-sex marriage are cold-weather places. Yet according to UCLA's Williams Institute, same-sex marriages have brought $111 million to Massachusetts alone since 2004. That's just for ceremonies, receptions and lodging of guests. The institute also found that over half of the same-sex couples who married earned over $100,000 a year.

In short, some of the tourists not here are in New England, spending thousands for their special day. Some even live here—jetting off to have their marriage recognized in someone's state.

Since voters gave the Legislature the power to define “;marriage”; in 1998, it could repeal the ban now and make us the first warm-weather and Western state recognizing same-sex marriage, ahead of California.

Whatever you think of same-sex couples, the “;gay dollar”; spends just as good, and nothing says “;aloha nui loa”; like legal recognition of your marriage. Can Hawaii afford to miss this wave?

Hannah Miyamoto





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