Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Monday, November 16, 2009

AARP endorses health reform

Older Americans can breathe a sigh of relief. After carefully monitoring the latest developments and studying the various proposals, AARP's all-volunteer Board of Directors has decided to endorse the Affordable Health Care for America Act.

This is especially welcome news for those of us who've been forced to choose between spending money on daily expenses or paying for health care and drugs. The House plan protects and strengthens Medicare, helps seniors struggling with the high cost of prescription drugs by closing the dreaded Part D “;doughnut hole”; and allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

When Congress took up the debate earlier this year, it was not at all clear a bill would emerge that addresses the crippling cost of prescriptions. No more excuses. Let's finally fix our broken health care system.

Lorraine Tobin






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Incentives could help solve UH crisis

While the citizens of Hawaii are understandably outraged by the Furlough Fridays decision for our public schools, a new contract for the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly has yet to be agreed upon. Hopefully, the governor, the Legislature and the university negotiators see more clearly now that trying to balance the budget on the backs—and the future—of our young people is not a good idea.

Here's a better way: retirement incentives. About 40 percent of the UH faculty are of retirement age (62-75). If half of this group retired, we would have a win-win situation:

» The state and the university would save money now and for years to come as older faculty with salaries of $75,000-$200,000 are replaced with new faculty who can be hired at less than half those amounts.

» Students would benefit by not having their classes and programs cut.

» New, younger faculty would be afforded opportunities instead of collecting unemployment or working at jobs outside their chosen profession.

» The older, less-enthusiastic faculty could enjoy their “;golden years”; instead of feeling financially compelled to work indefinitely to make up for proposed salary cuts.

Pat Neils



DOE should redeploy some of its office staff

Why not take all the former teachers from the state Department of Education's Central and District offices and mobilize them back into the classrooms on furlough days—where they belong?

As perhaps half the staff in the DOE's Central and District offices are former teachers, why not immediately redeploy them to restore school teaching on Fridays for all students and, at the same time, reduce the student-to-teacher ratio by half? We have too many cooks in the DOE central administration, overanalyzing curricula.

Von Kaneshiro



Redirect court costs to needs of students

Some open questions to the state of Hawaii, the teachers' union and the people of Hawaii:

» How much is it costing the state and the Hawaii State Teachers Association to continue the legal battle over furloughs?

» How many furlough days could be eliminated by redirecting that money to the schools?

» Which is better, giving more money to high-priced attorneys or giving an education to our children?

Let us not lose sight of the forest for the trees—both the HSTA and the state should look at the fees they are paying and who is losing what. Eric Seitz, if you're not doing this pro bono, you should be ashamed that you are riding our keikis' backs to the bank; and you, Gov. Lingle, how can you fund the state's attorney(s), but not the schools? Please stop paying for the courts and start paying for our schools!

Robert B. Seiple



Some folks just don't like any development

It seems to me that there are some organizations and groups that have formed with the specific mission to stop anything and everything. They wanted to stop all development, regardless of any benefits it might bring or who it might serve. They wanted to stop the use of treated well water, regardless of the fact that the treatment has been in commercial operation for many years and that many areas of Maui County have been and continue to receive such treated water. They wanted to stop the interisland ferry service, regardless of the benefits it might have provided to the farmers, businesses and people of the island.

Now they want to shut down the largest agricultural operation and only remaining sugarcane plantation in the islands, regardless of the jobs they provide or other benefits they provide.

I wish that these “;anti-everything”; people and groups would spend less time trying to stop everything and more time trying to find ways to work for the needs of the community, or that they would go away and find another community to disrupt.

Alexander Davis