Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Needy UH chiefs need donations

Dear UH President Greenwood:

Thanks so much for your note (coming a few days before Christmas) informing the faculty that our salaries are being cut 6.67 percent.

Of course, we are always ready to sacrifice for the good of the university.

What was shocking, though, was the fact that you and other top administrators have already cut your salaries by 6 to 10 percent. This means that at the full 10 percent, you and the medical school dean are reduced to a piddling $450,000, the law school dean to $360,000, business school dean to $337,000, the Manoa chancellor to $327,000, etc.

What true sacrifice!

Since we all know that the heart of this university is top administrators such as yourselves (and not the faculty, or clerical or janitorial staffs), such terrible pay cuts are a serious blow to our institution. May I offer $20 to start a “;Top UH Executives Fund”;?

Hopefully, my colleagues will also contribute. After all, as a community, we feel each other's pain!

Noel J. Kent, professor


P.S. On second thought, after the pay cut, I cannot afford the $20 anymore. So I'll send $10. Sorry.

'Ivory tower' cliche misses faculty's value

Aloof from presenting all facts, Sunday's editorial stated that University of Hawaii faculty live in an ivory tower (”;UH faculty needs to grasp reality,”; Star-Bulletin). This is an elegant cliche that ignores what the faculty produces for Hawaii's taxpayers. The reality is that the UH faculty generates hundreds of millions from external grants and the administration collects up to 38 percent as overhead. The rest goes to postdoctoral researchers, students and technicians, who in turn pay taxes to the state for wages received. Hundreds of professors sweat 50 to 60 hours a week using evenings, weekends and holidays to fulfill research and teaching obligations. And what about the basic human aspect—responsibility that pushes the professor to protect his students from losing assistantships that the state or UH administration does not provide? This is neither ivory tower nor greed. UH faculty clearly have been underpaid in relation to mainland faculty for years. New professors cannot afford a tent while the cost of living in Hawaii is one of the highest in the nation. Ivory tower or sand castle? Let the public judge.

R.A. Garcia


Name 'Scenic Point' after Barack Obama

President Barack Obama's hometown of Honolulu should have several sites named in his honor.

One with personal meaning to the president is the place where he scattered the ashes of his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, in 1995 and his grandmother, Madelyn “;Toot”; Dunham, in 2008.

Regardless of Obama's writings on the dreams from his father, these women raised him and profoundly influenced his life. They shaped his intellect, values, character and world view, and inspired him to achieve. Obama offered their ashes to the Pacific Ocean on Oahu's east shore at a place now simply marked “;Scenic Point.”;

It would be fitting to rename that place, also known as Lanai Lookout, to “;President Barack Obama Inspiration Point.”;

Greg Knudsen

Hawaii Kai

President should not make more promises

During his vacation here, I'm hoping that Mr. Obama doesn't make any New Year's resolutions for 2010. I mean, the Defense of Marriage Act and “;don't ask, don't tell”; still exist, despite his campaign promises to get rid of them. So, why make any new promises, Mr. President? I'm old-fashioned. I'm a man of my word. I don't go back on mine, if I make anyone a promise. I wish more politicians had integrity like that.

Braddoc DeCaires


Health care bill would slap capitalist greed

We are on the threshold of a historic accomplishment. The health care reform bill has already been watered down, but there's still a chance to improve it when the House and Senate reconcile their versions.

Give Americans the choice of a public option. Congress should model the final bill after the House version, which contains a national public option—the key to real competition, greater choice and lower costs.

Finance health care fairly. The Senate would pay for part of reform by taxing the benefits of some working Americans. The House, on the other hand, would pay for reform with a small surcharge on the wealthiest Americans—a far better approach.

This a great chance to take health care back from the greedy capitalist ideal: Make as much money as you possibly can and to hell with all the rest. As a nation we can do far better.

Malachy Grange


TSA's pat-down policy not enforced equally

With two metal knees and a metal hip, I set off the metal detector every time I fly. I'm then shunted to one side and eventually scanned from head to toe with an electronic wand.

Fair enough. But then, after the wand has detected the metal joints, I'm given a full-body pat-down.

“;What's the point of this?”; I'll sometimes ask the Transportation Security Administration agent.

The answer almost always is simply, “;It's policy.”; But one time a chatty agent responded that neither the wand nor the metal detector could catch explosive powders or liquids that might be taped to my body.

“;You mean like for all those people?”; I replied, nodding toward the line walking freely through the metal detector. He shrugged and even smiled. After all, he didn't set this policy.

Unless passengers with metal joint replacements are considered more likely to be terrorists, this makes no sense. What's needed is for everyone to get the same full-body pat-down. Either that, or we should be prepared to accept the occasional disaster triggered by non-metal explosives.

David Pellegrin






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