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Monday, April 12, 1999


Politicos love to spend, hate to cut expenses

Giving the state Board of Education taxing powers is like giving a bottle of whiskey and the keys to a Ferrari to a teen-ager.

Well, maybe not, but the bottom line is the same: Hawaii residents will be paying an increasingly larger portion of their gross income to taxes.

Isn't it obvious that the governor and the Legislature want to increase our taxes as a solution to every social and economic problem? Tax and spend our way into prosperity, what a concept!

Bruce Wong

Why not let everybody raise taxes?

Senate President Mizuguchi should not stop at giving taxing powers to the Board of Education; he should give the power to tax to all other state departments.

Collective bargaining costs? Budgetary shortfall? More staff? No problem. Just raise taxes.

Mizuguchi's next move could be to allow the departments to pass laws in their own areas of responsibility. Perhaps then we could do away with the Legislature altogether.

Y. Umeda
Hilo, Hawaii

Giving BOE more power is foolish

Senate President Mizuguchi's grandstanding proposal to give the Board of Education more power -- including the ability to raise taxes for education -- caught Governor Cayetano and Speaker Say completely off guard.

Mizuguchi's proposal would add another layer of insane bureaucracy. It would burden our Board of Education with more politics, when it should be focusing on giving the public schools more freedom to operate innovatively, the way private schools do.

The best situation to improve our public schools is to mimic the private business sector by giving power to the consumer rather than to a bureaucracy.

School vouchers would do this, but it's anathema to power-hoarding government officials, who have lame and loony notions of what constitutes innovative ways to achieve organizational effectiveness.

The problem is not a money problem; the problem is our constipated, monolithic Department of Education with its "me before thee" corporate culture that I hope Schools Superintendent Paul LeMahieu is working diligently to change.

Alan T. Matsuda
Via the Internet

"(Designers) don't want to get
their clothes wet. I tell them,
'It's only water. If it rains,
it's the same thing.' "

Dorys Foltin
On how the Hawaii resident has to convince designers to
let models wear their clothes underwater
so she can capture it on film

"Now that we have hula
as our state dance, I know
we will be able to turn our
economy around."

Sam Slom
Commenting, tongue-in-cheek, on the impact of a bill
declaring hula as the"official" dance of Hawaii and alluding to
legislative inaction on measures that would
battle the recession

Public workers need raises to survive

How disheartening to read that House Finance Chairman Dwight Takamine sponsored a bill that would block new pay raises for public employees for four years. Such cold-hearted, short-sighted thinking has led to widespread demoralization and the loss of many of our best public servants to other states.

If Takamine wants to freeze the pay of public employees, many of whom are barely making ends meet, he should also freeze the prices of utilities, food, clothing, automobiles and other goods and services. He should also freeze legislative salaries.

This is just another inane proposal by a politician looking for the easy way out at the expense of the underpaid, underappreciated and much maligned government worker.

A competent legislator should be looking for models to benchmark some of our best programs. We need effective program planning and evaluation, and innovative ways to revitalize the economy, rather than proposals to drive away the best of our remaining civil servants.

Gary Helfand
Professor of Public Administration
University of Hawaii-West Oahu
Pearl City

State favors 'Baywatch' over kupuna

It is appalling and just plain stupid to cut out the teachings of our kupuna from the schools ("Budget cuts leave kupuna out in the cold," Star-Bulletin, April 6). Hawaiian values like lokahi and kokua are necessary for everyone to know, especially on a tiny island.

The state spends millions of dollars to bring in the "T&A" show, "Baywatch," yet it cuts out a most important cultural resource.

Steven Tayama

Waimanalo Via the Internet

Pay reduction is better than unemployment

I read Albert A. Burns' April 5 letter to the editor, and I do agree with him on a few points. But I'd have to say that I'd rather drive a truck for "Baywatch" for more than $1,000 a week instead of collecting unemployment. That amount would be still less than the 30 percent wage reduction requested by "Baywatch" producers.

What Leo Reed did may have been good union negotiation, but it could have easily backfired.I'm quite sure that his drivers won't agree with me now but maybe the next time this tactic is used, there's always unemployment.

J. Bell
Via the Internet

Cayetano isn't protecting Rodrigues

What a cheap shot letter writer Don Arakaki takes at Governor Cayetano (Star-Bulletin, March 29) for speaking out in support of the attorney general's investigation of the Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate trustees, but not doing the same against United Public Workers union leader Gary Rodrigues.

Actually, the governor was asked about Rodrigues by a Star-Bulletin reporter, but nothing was printed about it. The governor said he deals with Rodrigues on a case-by-case basis, but they do not socialize. Moreover, the allegations made against Rodrigues relate more to federal labor law than state.

As for the Bishop Estate investigation, Governor Cayetano served with Richard Wong and Henry Peters in the state Legislature and considered both his friends. Nevertheless, he did not hesitate to ask Attorney General Bronster to conduct an investigation into the KS/BE trustees after leaders in the Hawaiian community and beneficiaries of the trust came forward.

Kathleen Racuya-Markrich
Press Secretary
Office of the Governor


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