Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Sunday, July 19, 2009

Closing libraries hurts the poor

When libraries are closed, access to information becomes the privilege of the rich.

It is astounding and tragic that the remote Hana Library and four other state libraries were slated for closure due to funding cuts.

Gov. Linda Lingle recently allocated $40 million of taxpayer money to provide a boarding deck for the privately owned and illegally operated Superferry. This $40 million will never be recouped. Closing Hana Library will save $20,000.

What more can we take from the Hana community? Right now the public schools are open only four days a week to save money.

Our libraries are one of the most important structures in a democracy. We must provide access to information to all citizens, not just the wealthy.

Rena Rejoice Blumberg



Disappointment rules budget crisis

Last week Gov. Linda Lingle stated she was “;disappointed”; with the 5 percent pay decrease proposed by the state unions.

Really? Disappointed? Well, let me tell you what I am disappointed about. I'm disappointed that in the midst of what the governor calls a “;fiscal emergency”; $1.4 million of our tax dollars was spent on refurbishing the mosaic in the state Capitol. I'm disappointed there was $1.7 million spent on cleaning the state seals in the Capitol building. I'm disappointed that the governor ignored this “;fiscal emergency”; that was obviously brewing over the last year while she traveled to Iraq and the mainland for her own political agendas. I'm disappointed that this governor who claims to be “;open-minded”; has only one thing on her mind: furloughs.

But I'm most disappointed in those people who vilify and curse the hard-working state employees who are only trying to survive while still paying the same taxes and high prices as everyone else. Hawaii is supposed to be about aloha and ohana. Nowadays, it seems like it's more about “;everyone for himself.”; Remember, those state workers who you want to see laid off are your aunties, your uncles, your neighbors and others who live in this state and have grown up here.

Shawn Lathrop



Library closures need another look

During tough economic times people are visiting our island public libraries for access to materials, services and support more than ever. Our libraries provide early literacy training and foster lifelong learning, providing access to reference materials, databases and electronic resources. Our librarians provide reference services and help with Internet access and technology. Our libraries operate to provide everyone free and equal access to information and promote intellectual freedom for a democratic society.

In remote areas such as Hana this is very critical. We need and must find a permanent solution to stabilize funding for these rural libraries, which are and must remain a priority. With nearly three-quarters of the cost of library operations in personnel, the reduction of open hours and staffing and reaching out for community volunteers to supplement permanent staff should be exhausted before a library is closed.

William Anonsen





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