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Wednesday, January 20, 1999


Lucky judges can retire after serving 10 years

In his Jan. 8 letter, James Kawachika of the Hawaii State Bar Association belittles the opinion of a teacher, a member of a group of professionals who we all know are underpaid and overworked. Kawachika, in essence, wrote that if teachers don't like how much they are paid, they should go looking for a better-paying job.

Teachers provide a major service for our community. They do so at great personal sacrifice. Every politician says education is a priority, yet they fail to come through with supportive funding. Yet these teachers continue to serve.

When we discuss judicial pay, let's also look at what judges receive after only 10 years on the bench. They are paid $87,000 a year, then can retire at any age with their pension paid and all medical benefits.

Teachers may receive, as part of their compensation, a sense of accomplishment as they watch the progress of their students. Judges, on the other hand, may serve for only 10 years with an eye to retiring. Then they can join their colleagues in the private sector with a nice base salary from their public service.

Maybe the judges should learn from the teachers. After all, if judges are only serving for the money, maybe they too should return to private practice -- if it's as good as Kawachika states.

John Souza

Public servants should send kids to public schools

Recently some judges resigned their seats on the bench because of insufficient pay. Two of them claimed difficulty in affording private school tuition for their children on their judicial salaries.

While our judges may be overdue for a pay raise, how many parents in this state can't afford to send their children to private school, and must send their kids to the school system that our public servants have created for us? How many other public servants are sending their children to private schools?

If elected officials and other public servants are sending their kids to private schools, isn't that some kind of admission that the public school system is somehow inferior and inadequate?

Perhaps if it was mandated that all public servants must send their children to public schools, our state school system would receive better grades when compared to other public school systems across the country.

Mark Marziale
(Via the Internet)

SCBM councils should produce pamphlets

School/Community-Based Management councils could provide the needed manpower to develop information pamphlets for parents on performance standards for each grade level.

The councils within each high school complex would collaborate as a group to ensure consistency.

Each PTA could then help distribute information through the classrooms to parents, cutting costs to the Department of Education.

As parents and teachers know, sometimes a lack of money results in a lot of creativity. Let's work together to use current resources more effectively.

Laura Brown
(Via the Internet)

Jan, Nancy represent well the left and the right

Diane Chang's Jan. 11 column on Janice Judd and Nancy Bey Little, two retired ladies who love to write to the editor, was brilliant. Those of us "girls" who reach a certain age know in our bones that we can solve all the problems of the universe, if only others would listen to us.

Since Chang's two subjects cover the left and right of the political spectrum, I claim my place -- square in the middle.

Beverly Kai
(Via the Internet)

The issue of fireworks should be put to a vote

I have lived in Hawaii for almost 30 years. I absolutely HATE New Year's Eve here. My asthma acts up, my pets get scared. One year I had to drive a friend home and it was scary -- like driving through a war zone.

On New Year's Eve, I went to California. It was heavenly! I went out to dinner with a nice man. The food was good and there were no fireworks.

It would be interesting to have a special election and put the question of fireworks on the ballot. I really do wonder how the vote would turn out.

Personally, I think the fireworks issue may be a gender issue. Most men and boys I know enjoy setting off a bunch of noisy fireworks. I think the women are just along for the ride.

Mimi Sumpf
(Via the Internet)

Other things are more dangerous than fireworks

How many people died from burning fireworks last year? How many people died from drunk drivers causing some type of car accident? So why not ban the sale of alcohol at all stores?

We are slowly losing our freedoms because of some government officials who are always trying to tell us what we can and cannot do. I suggest we put the issue on a ballot and let the public decide once and for all. The same-sex marriage was put to a vote and the public made that decision.

William Wong
(Via the Internet)

Please spare us from firecracker smoke

We breath carbon monoxide 363 days a year, so let's put an end to the celebration with fireworks on the remaining two.

John W. Werrill

Legalized gambling needs to be closely monitored

I read Dalton Tanonaka's Jan. 8 column advocating limited gambling as a money source for Hawaii. Limiting access to the casinos only to tourists is an excellent idea -- if it really can be enforced. But other restrictions should be part of the proposal:

1) The casinos must be operated by a unit of the state. This is one reason the Colorado lottery works.

2) The beneficiaries must be cast in absolutely unbreakable stone. For the first few years of the lottery here, the members of the state legislature interpreted the provisions of the constitutional amendment very liberally and for their own purposes. It was not until a second amendment got on the ballot by petition and was passed that we could be sure that the money was going where it was supposed to go.

Carl M. Brandauer
Boulder, Colo.
(Via the Internet)

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