Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Thursday, November 12, 2009

Symphony's loss is loss for soul

What a sad low note. After a long spring crescendo accompanied by the angst of empty coffers, we had a blip of hope and joy as the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra musicians and staff were finally paid and launched into their fall season.

It was tragic that the financial ax fell so precipitously on the careers of these talented musicians. The community has lost a great inspiration to its heart and soul. Many of us have lost our usual healing ritual of attending magnificent concerts. Many young musicians will lose their gifted teachers.

Music is ephemeral. There is no product to look at once it is finished. It is probably easier for us and our government to financially justify building roads or bridges or schools rather than investing in the arts.

Yet life in our world would be insipid without music and other arts. We are softened to deeper, more peaceful unity as people through the common language of music, dance and art.

Let us invest in these more graceful forms of transformation to soothe out the adrenaline rush of sports, political wars, economic or personal stress, and reinvigorate ourselves as we are enriched by those artists who thrill our greater selves.

Suzanne Hammer






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Give folks cash for health care

It is insane to pass a health bill costing $1.2 trillion dollars. Medicare should serve as an example. This health care is estimated to eventually cost us over $15 trillion dollars over the next 10 years.

Politicians, do the sensible thing: Require every citizen to obtain their own health care, medical and dental, from any company and state and then give every single citizen $10,000 each year to cover it all for that year. Any money left over can be placed in a special IRA for future expenses.

At $10,000 per citizen per year and 304 million people, that would be just over $30.4 billion. Use the remaining $870 billion to build up the infrastructure of the U.S.

Dale Hammond



Rail needed for next generation

As a local boy who has been studying on the mainland for the past three years, I've been particularly encouraged by all of the good news on the rail project because I believe that rail transit is one of the best investments that we can make for our island's future. Not only will construction of the project create 11,000 high-skilled jobs in construction, engineering and related fields, but once the rail line is complete, it will serve the tens of thousands of new homes expected to be built in places like Ho'opili in West Oahu and the 30,000 new jobs projected for Kapolei by 2025.

Those new homes and new jobs will eventually be filled by members of my generation, and that's why it's so important for Hawaii's young people to step up and support the economic engine which is Honolulu's rail project. Through affordable housing and smart job growth in transit-oriented development zones, the rail will provide Hawaii's young people with an opportunity to one day return to the islands and enjoy the same high quality of life we enjoyed when we were just keiki.

Tyler Dos Santos-Tam

Yale University, New Haven, Conn.


Engineers note rail's limitations

The Hannemann administration says rail will reduce traffic congestion. What it is saying is that in 2030, on the day rail opens, 840 commuters per hour who used to take their cars will switch to bus/rail.

What it is also saying is on that same day, there will be (compared to today) 6,000 additional car commuters per hour during rush hour trying to get on the H-1 freeway.

We all know H-1 during rush hour is full today. Where will these 6,000 cars go? Will they fit on H-1? No! They will be stacked up all over West Oahu in the morning and East Oahu in the afternoon. They will cause a massive traffic jam.

The source for this data: honolulutransit.org, then “;Library-Alternatives Analysis Chapter 3,”; pages 3-25.

Stop the transit tax. The Hannemann administration engineers say rail will fail to improve mobility through the H-1 corridor on Day One.

John Brizdle

Palolo Valley


Teachers should take pay cuts

Hooray for House Speaker Calvin Say for having the guts to say “;no.”; Raiding the hurricane fund makes no sense; neither does raising taxes to offset the burden of a few. The unions and the public employees have done a great job of disguising what the true picture is. It should have never gotten to the point where the kids' educations are being harmed because of furlough days.

If all the rhetoric was true about public employees doing their fair share, then take a pay cut—not time off with no pay. There is a huge difference. Work the same hours for less pay. Services would not be impacted and the education of our keiki would not be affected.

People working in the private sector have had to endure that hardship. Getting second jobs to make ends meet and cutting back expenses have been a reality for a while already.

Don Chun



Shame on our so-called leaders

Shame on you, Hawaii leaders.

From the governor to the state Legislature to the superintendent of schools and the Board of Education: Shame, shame, shame!

As a proud citizen of Hawaii, I was appalled at the recent Fox News story that highlighted the lack of leadership that each of these offices showed in the union contract decisions resulting in the school furloughs and the loss of instructional time for our children. It was bad enough that we already have the shortest instructional time of 180 days of the nation; to lose even more will truly have a negative impact on student learning for years to come.

It was frustrating to hear our governor admit that her focus in the contract talks was not on the welfare of our children but on keeping jobs and then to see her try to use this situation to promote her political agenda regarding placing the office of the schools superintendent under the governor's authority. Where is Pat Hamamoto as an advocate of our children? As the state's leading educator, she should have at least advocated a process that was less convoluted to help her schools as they individually tried to provide more instructional time. It was embarrassing to see Board of Education Chairman Garrett Toguchi try to wiggle his way out of this horrendous situation by pointing fingers to others. And finally where is the Legislature? Where is the leadership our state so desperately needs from Colleen Hanabusa and Calvin Say, who appear to be so ineffective in making a stand for our children?

Ernesta H. Masagatani