Letters to the editor


POSTED: Thursday, December 24, 2009

Teachers merit thanks, respect

As the furlough crisis continues, public school teachers need to know that we stand behind them with respect, and are committed to working with them to continue improving education. We thank teachers for the extra hours they had to put in to fit the curriculum into a four-day week and for fighting to keep enrichment activities included.

We thank them for being patient with our children when they come back from three-day “;vacations,”; and for simply trying to make the best of the unacceptable situation. We know that teachers are motivated by teaching kids, not by financial gains.

As parents and community members, we are committed to improving public school education in Hawaii; to erase the stigma attached to public schools; to get our government and our union leadership to care about education; and to raise expectations for our children.

We are committed to stop the demeaning treatment of teachers, because insulting teachers is an insult to society.

Olga Boric-Lubecke

Save Our Schools Hawaii, Honolulu





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Ending animal abuse helps humans, too

According to a recent nationwide report by the California-based Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), Hawaii was named one of the top five states with the worst animal protection laws.

Why is Hawaii in the doghouse when it comes to animal abuse? According to the ALDF, which also named Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi and North Dakota among the worst, “;legislative weaknesses seen in these states include severely restricted or absent felony animal cruelty provisions, inadequate animal fighting provisions, and lack of restrictions on the future ownership of animals for those convicted of cruelty to animals.”;

It's time for Hawaii to start taking cruelty to animals seriously — for the safety of both animals and humans. Studies show people who abuse animals are just getting warmed up. In three surveys of women's shelters in Wisconsin and Utah, 74 percent of women living with companion animals reported that an animal had been threatened, injured or killed by their abuser. A study conducted by Northeastern University and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals found that people who abuse animals are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against humans.

Animals cannot vote, but those who love and care about them can. Please encourage lawmakers in your beautiful state to work to adopt and enforce stronger laws that protect animals and punish abusers. For more information, visit http://www.HelpingAnimals.com.

Amy Skylark Elizabeth

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Norfolk, Va.


Insurance firms still calling the shots

It appears that the health care reform bill has lost its effectiveness without the public option and the Republicans can claim victory. The losers are the people without any viable insurance coverage. Without the public option, the bill will not check insurance companies from raising the premiums.

The Republicans and some Democrats whom the insurance companies bought have done everything possible to stymie President Barack Obama at every turn. The GOP has been the party of “;no”; and refused any bipartisanship, but Obama has been reticent at best about this most important issue. Calls for him to take a more prominent role fell on deaf ears and the bill appears doomed to be a whittled-down version. Failure of an effective bill will be Obama's Waterloo, as Republican Sen. Jim Demint once predicted. At this point, it appears to be, and Obama and the Democrats will settle for something less and call it a victory and historic.

Millions will continue to suffer with an inferior product and the insurance companies still calling the shots.

Gary Takashima



Kudos to whoever put up holiday sign

There is a small corner park in Makiki, across from the post office, which has been simply, but tastefully, decorated for Christmas. Then there is the very clever sign announcing “;Mele Makiki-Maka!”; Kudos to whoever is responsible for this delightful addition to the Mele Kalikimaka spirit. I, for one, appreciate it.

Karyn Abe