Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Saturday, November 07, 2009

AARP endorses Medicare bills

As a volunteer advocate for AARP, I'm pleased that the association has chosen to endorse the Affordable Health Care for America Act (HR 3962) and the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act (HR 3961). These two bills deliver on the priorities we've been fighting for.

AARP is supporting these bills because they protect and strengthen the Medicare program that 186,000 Hawaii seniors depend on. These bills lower prescription drug costs by closing the Medicare Part D “;doughnut hole”; and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices. They make sure seniors get access to the doctor of their choice or can find a new doctor when they need one. Also, these bills provide benefits to seniors and people with dis-abilities so that as they age, they can continue to live at home in their communities.

AARP supports commonsense solutions that will help put Medicare on more stable ground so Medicare can save money and continue to provide good coverage for seniors. The House plan does that.

Jim Crowe

Kula, Maui





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Gov. Lingle eager to solve crisis

While agreeing with Hawaii State Teachers Association Vice President Karolyn Mossman's recent call for a resolution to Furlough Fridays, I am disappointed in her eagerness to continue playing the blame game and admonish Gov. Linda Lingle for her decision to sign the contract agreed to by the HSTA and the Board of Education (”;Teachers can't carry budget burden alone,”; Star-Bulletin, Island Commentary, Oct. 29).

State leaders should focus their time on what can be done to minimize the impact of budget cuts on public education. To that end, Gov. Lingle has encouraged the Department of Education and the HSTA to consider using teacher work days or seasonal breaks for teacher furloughs. She has also proposed extending the school year to make up furlough-impacted instructional time. She has also expressed a willingness to consider other options, including renegotiation of the teachers' contract.

While the Lingle administration does not have direct input on how the DOE or University of Hawaii restricts its spending, we are committed to trying to limit the budget deficit's impact on students by shielding the DOE and the UH from additional budget restrictions. The state is also working hard to draw down the maximum amount of federal stimulus funds available for education.

Linda L. Smith

Senior policy adviser

for Gov. Linda Lingle


We seem to have lost aloha spirit

The evening news on KFVE-TV Nov. 5 had a poll question that asked: Would you be willing to pay higher taxes to help take care of the homeless? An astounding 82 percent said “;No.”; I suppose given the state of our current economy, it might be expected.

My take is much different. The aloha spirit this state used to be noted for has somehow disappeared. Our citizens no longer see the least among us as human. We see the gay community as having no rights. We see those needing health care as not deserving. We have decided our children's education is of little importance, so those who can send their children to private schools. We have underpaid our teachers and now place much of the blame on them for the failure of our elected representatives to plan for the future.

We have finally found our enemy and they are us, we who will not participate in our own democracy.

Robert Lloyd

Ewa Beach


We should all share sacrifice

So, state Rep. Marcus Oshiro, Rep. Corinne Ching and Gov. Linda Lingle want Hawaii's teachers to renegotiate their contract to restore the instructional days now that students and their parents have raised a fuss about Hawaii's school year being the shortest in the nation. The catch: All three are talking only about having teachers make all the sacrifice to restore the lost instructional time.

How about we all share the sacrifice to provide a sound education to our children? Teachers agreed to the pay loss from the furlough days. What have the governor and the rest of us sacrificed? Nothing! We still have the state's “;rainy day”; fund and the (now pointless) Hurricane Relief Fund sitting unused in the bank - if those in power haven't already secretly spent both on their pet projects.

There is also the money from the Federal Stimulus Act that was supposed to be spent only on education. It appalls me that our legislators, who accepted a

30 percent increase in their salaries early this year, talk so glibly about other people sacrificing for the good of our public school children. How about them putting part of their pay boost into the kitty to pay for eliminating the furlough days?

Thomas Graham Gans