Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Give health care to Micronesians

Do the words and promises of our government mean nothing? To become the great world power that we are, we tested our atom bombs, hydrogen bombs and other nuclear powers during the 1950s and '60s on unwilling Micronesians. Our bombs vaporized many islands and left others uninhabitable forever.

Our government promised these people medical care in exchange for the use of their islands for target practice. Some of these mothers gave birth to Jell-o babies; many of these people suffered and died from radiation poisoning because of our country's quest for dominance. Our government has paid the servicemen who were involved in the bombings, has paid the civilian workers who were there during and after the test bombings. How in the world can we now stop medical coverage that we promised to these people whom we used as human guinea pigs?

Our governor must secure funding from the federal government and continue coverage until she is successful in garnering this coverage. This reminds me of all the treaties we had with the American Indians.

Pauline Arellano

Say's comments are not helpful

As a chairperson of one of the Hawaii Government Employees Association's negotiating teams, it was upsetting to read and hear House Speaker Calvin Say's comments about contract negotiations.

Mr. Say said that the union leadership needs to consider what the members are saying and urged the unions to settle before September. Despite what he thinks, we have been working hard toward an agreement.

Mr. Say's comment to the unions, the governor and the county mayors, “;Let us all work together and try to stop the bleeding”; is pure shibai. I pose to him: What are he and the other legislative leaders doing to help our state fiscal situation?

The unions have all along said public employees are willing to “;share in the pain”;—so why aren't our elected leaders doing their part to help the state's budget shortfall by exploring other options now, such as tapping special funds or early retirement legislation?

Now that the Council on Revenues lowered its revenue projections, that should be a clear signal to Mr. Say and his fellow lawmakers to take action. But instead, it seems the finger-pointing, hands-off attitude continues.
Peter S. Oshiro
Chairman, HGEA Unit 13 negotiating team

Natatorium is a dangerous relic

We in Hawaii can always be counted on to deny ourselves of any expense. We are told a single-payer national health insurance is expensive so we shy away. We are told tearing down the Waikiki Natatorium is expensive so we shy away. Short-term savings are long-term foolishness. How much is a square foot of Waikiki beach worth to our future? Why must we keep this dangerous wreck of a natatorium hanging in our mothball closet?

Carol Fanning

Act now to help aging population

The Alzheimer's Association, Aloha Chapter, was saddened to learn of the death of Sen. Edward “;Ted”; Kennedy, a true health care champion who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Americans.

As head of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Sen. Kennedy understood the importance of developing comprehensive strategies and policies that address the needs of aging Americans. Consideration was given to those who suffer from chronic conditions, including the 5.3 million Americans who live with Alzheimer's disease.

As it stands today, our long-term care system is dangerously unprepared and ill-equipped to meet the needs of an aging baby boomer population.

According to the Executive Office on Aging report entitled “;Baby Boomers Data: Hawaii 2000,”; 20 percent of the state's population (excluding temporary military personnel) will be 65 years or older in 2020. We know that one in eight kupuna age 65 and older will get Alzheimer's disease or related dementia. Hawaii's availability of memory care units is grossly inadequate to meet the existing need, let alone provide the level of care that will be needed in the coming years.

Sen. Kennedy understood the importance of addressing the long-term care crisis before the 78 million baby boomers need long-term services. It's important that we honor his legacy by supporting the Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act of 2009 that provides additional resources for Alzheimer's care.

Elizabeth Stevenson
Executive director and CEO, Alzheimer's Association, Aloha Chapter

Executive branch needs reining in

Regardless of who is in power—Republican or Democrat—the powers of the president need to be balanced with the powers of Congress. I urge Congress to act to rein in the war-making powers of the president. Illegal actions by executive branches past and present need to be prosecuted.

Robert Miyake-Stoner




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