Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Parents are key to education

In the past week's local talk radio discussions on why charter schools are successful and public schools are failing, no one could give a forthright answer. The reason is simple: The parents of children who attend charter schools, as well as private and parochial schools, are actively involved in their child's education, assuring they attend school, monitor homework and keep apprised of progress.

It is easy to place the blame for mediocrity in the public schools on teachers and inadequacy of the schools themselves, but it's probably heresy and politically incorrect to say that a large part of the blame should be directed at public school parents who care less and are not involved in their child's schooling.

A good teacher can only teach so much if a student has no interest in learning and succeeding; it is the parent's job to see that this doesn't happen.

Paul Miller


Honolulu Symphony must be saved in full

The Honolulu Symphony is, without question, a great asset to the people of Hawaii. It does so much more than just play concerts, as its members are community leaders who make possible many of our cultural organizations and educate thousands of our children. For the long-term health of our community, it must be brought into a condition of financial sustainability.

To those who are not knowledgeable about orchestras—and, sadly, this includes much of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra board and executive director—the idea of downsizing to a chamber orchestra to save money sounds good. Unfortunately, it just plain doesn't work.

You don't downsize a football team's offense from 11 to six to cut costs—it takes 11 to play. Likewise, to perform the music audiences want and deserve to hear, it takes a full orchestra. Reducing the symphony to a chamber orchestra will reduce costs, no doubt. It will also reduce revenues, and not by just a small amount. The net result is that you're back where you started, in a financial hole, but now with a smaller orchestra playing repertoire that serves a much smaller audience. Oh, and not to mention those musicians who were laid off and now can't pay their bills.

The solution to the problem is not easy, but it is most certainly not a chamber orchestra. The musicians themselves have many good ideas, if only the board would listen. So, HSO board: Either listen or step aside and make way for someone who will. There are many in the community who care about the future of the Honolulu Symphony. Do you?

Dr. Donald Reid Womack

University of Hawaii-Manoa Music Department

Honor veterans today and every day

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month each year our nation has set aside time to remember those who have sacrificed in order for us all to enjoy the freedoms that many of us take for granted. We must honor not only those who gave their lives in defense of our way of life and national ideals but all who have answered the call.

We lose national treasures daily as those who have served our nation so valiantly pass away. These patriots understand what it means to answer the call of their country and defend freedom. We must learn from these veterans before it is too late.

I am honored today to lead soldiers who have answered the same call as our predecessors did. Most soldiers within my company enlisted after our nation entered into Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom; they had no delusions that they would not be going to war. They all had a choice to ignore the call or answer it; they chose to answer it. I am humbled daily by these young soldiers and their families who understand what it means to sacrifice.

Please honor the service of patriots past and present by assisting them in their struggle to receive care and benefits promised to them, by sending care packages and letters to troops currently deployed, by attending ceremonies held in their honor this Veterans Day, or just passing simple words of thanks to servicemembers when you see them.

Capt. Aaron Workman


Disarmed soldiers left defenseless

Fort Hood's most important question has yet to be asked: How, in heaven's name, can Americans tell the world our warriors are superbly trained to safely carry weapons among their civilians, while at home we disarm them on a U.S. Army base to make them attractively packaged targets for easy and efficient slaughter?

Over 40 American warriors were forced to die, be maimed, or watch their fellow warriors be murdered and maimed, by a single fanatic, because they were forced to wait for civilian police protection—just like the poor souls of undeveloped African nations whom the U.N. disarms in the name of peace, and then stands aside as the now helpless people die humiliating deaths at the hands of a fanatic minority from whom they cannot defend themselves or, God help them, their loved ones.

Shame, and curses, on military leaders who ordered or allowed our warriors to be made into defenseless shooting targets, and suffer the indignity of being unable to defend their neighbors. Those responsible should be identified and held to account before Americans agree to “;move on”; this time.

George L. Berish





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