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Saturday, January 27, 2001

Teacher compensation should be results-based

Teachers want and deserve high pay for their jobs. The citizens of our state would like to see better educational performance from our children.

The answer to both of these goals is found in how we increase the pay to our teachers.

I propose that we find the funds to pay our teachers properly, putting them on average in the upper 25 percent for pay nationally. However, this should NOT be an across-the-board pay raise.

Our students should be tested throughout the school year in their core curriculum of arithmetic, reading and writing.

Those teachers whose students show the most improvement over the course of the year should receive the highest compensation. Teachers whose students show the poorest improvement should have to undergo additional training.

The beauty of this system is we are not asking that teachers instruct their students on how to meet some standardized national achievement test. We are motivating them to have their students improve and show that they are skilled teachers.

This system would allow teachers to start with a clean slate in each classroom. It would not matter how advanced or behind the national curve a classroom was when a teacher entered the school year.

This system should please the teachers union and the state. The union would garner a large and needed pay raise for its members. The state would know that the salary hike would most benefit those who improved our children's education the most.

R.J. Kirchner
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Enforce the law against feeding pigeons

If the law against illegal feeding of pigeons was enforced, it might make a big difference (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 22). Almost every day, I know of three people who feed the pigeons in Ala Moana Park; they have for years.

Am I the only one who notices them? Or is this just overlooked?

Larry Mackey

Volleyball coach deserved criticism

Radford Nakamura is off base with his Jan. 23 letter criticizing Henry Kim's Jan. 17 letter. Nakamura said Kim blasted University of Hawaii men's volleyball Coach Mike Wilton.

Kim did no such thing. All he did was bring out some points of interest about Wilton's selfish behavior.

Bullet Nakamura said that the 12 free tickets Wilton gets are for the coach's compensation because Wilton lost the bonus from television station K-5, a private business. Bad reason. That so-called compensation is not included in his contract. No other coach in the UH Athletic Department receives as many free tickets for personal use, not even football's June Jones.

Bullet There is no criterion that a person is qualified to be hired as a collegiate coach simply because he was an All-American volleyball player. Anyway, Aaron Wilton was not a first-team All-American; he was on the second team. Besides, the dictionary defines nepotism as undue favoritism shown toward relatives in securing jobs.

Bullet Finally, if Nakamura attended most UH men's volleyball games these past few years, he would know that fans are not coming back as in previous times. In fact, in the last five years, five starting players and a promising one left the program before their eligibility was up. This should tell you something about Coach Wilton.

Albert Mizushima

People who jeered increased motivation

I am one of the five people who walked all the way around the island in support of equal rights for all people.

It is true that we had some nasty and ugly things said to us while we were out there. But, overall, for every nasty thing uttered, a hundred other people gave us signs of support. I would like thank them.

At the same time, I'd also like to thank those who shouted nasty, vile and hateful things at us. Every time they did, it just strengthened my resolve. It gave me the push I needed to continue on the march.

When I thought I could no longer go on, that I did not have the energy to take another step, I thought of what was shouted at us. That alone gave me the energy to make it all the way around the island.

Someone asked me after the march, "Isn't a civil union the same as same-sex marriage?" I said yes, except for the name.

The truth is it is the same but I want no part of marriage; why would I want to take part in something that -- more than 50 percent of the time -- ends in divorce? I want something that will last forever.

I must also remind people that civil unions weren't the only thing we were marching for. We were also demanding the same rights and protection that the straight community receives. That protection is known as civil rights.

Michael J. Golojuch Jr.

March is based on blasphemous premise

In your continuing coverage of the around-the-island Civil Union/Civil Rights march, one of the protesters said the goal was to "awaken a sense of moral shame in our opponents."

Don't they feel a sense of moral shame themselves? They are setting an example for young people, whose minds are vulnerable, that homosexual behavior is an acceptable choice when it obviously goes against God's laws.

I find this whole matter extremely offensive and wonder who it is who supports these people by giving them media attention.

Mary Malia

Big Island hired a 'quality' police chief

I'd like to publicly thank the Hawaii County Police Commission, as well as all of the residents of the Big Island, for the opportunity to be considered for the job of chief of police for the Hawaii County Police Department.

Coming from Oahu, I knew that the process was going to be a challenge, yet I was treated fairly and professionally. My family members and I were shown great hospitality by everyone involved. A special mahalo to John and Karen Vares from Kona, whose friendship, love and support made it all possible.

Finally, I congratulate Chief Jimmy Correa on being selected for the job. I am confident that over time he will restore complete community confidence in the Hawaii County Police Department.

From the time we spent together, I can tell that Jimmy is a quality person and a good family man. He has the integrity to complete the task at hand.

Maj. Robert Prasser
Information Technology Division
Honolulu Police Department



"We need a definition of exactly
what is a vote. That sounds funny,
but after Florida you can see how it
goes to the heart of an election."

Linda Lingle

How the state needs to review its election laws
to avoid what happened with the Florida
presidential ballot recount in 2000


"It's a great speech.
(But) I want to know where the
money is coming from."

Romy Cachola
In praise of Mayor Harris' vision and the
proposed programs mentioned in his State of
the City address, but stymied by where the
money will come from to pay for it all

Tax break for all is better fiscal policy

Tax credits are a great way to allow tax breaks on selective income levels, but are these credits being utilized by those who need them? Filing tax returns is already a burden with convoluted instructions, so it must be even harder for those who have difficulty reading or understanding how tax breaks will benefit them. My guess is that these targeted taxpayers don't even apply for these credits.

An across-the-board tax break is a fair and equitable solution for all taxpayers. Our local economy will benefit from more consumer dollars spent here, which allows for employers to hire more workers. More workers means more taxpayers. The state will see the $180 million it expects to lose if food and medicine are exempt from the excise tax ("Show us the money," Star-Bulletin, Jan. 16).

In order to be fair, any ruling has to benefit all people not a select few. Hawaii may not have the nation's highest income tax, but when applying the cost of living here, it results in fewer dollars in your pocket to spend.

Craig Watanabe

Don't waste money on fluoridating water

Fluoridation is estimated to cost $21 million. It is much higher when considering its benefits to children's teeth.

Only a small percentage of our water is used for drinking, and a smaller percent is consumed by the number of children in relation to the total population.

Much of our water is used for industrial, commercial and agricultural consumption. In the home, most is used for washing clothes and dishes, bathing, flushing and watering the lawn.

The benefits of a school health program employing dental hygienists is far superior to fluoridation and costs less than $750,000. This would be a program to increase spending on!

The state should assist the Kalihi-Palama Health Center. It provides dental as well as other services such as optometry, pediatrics, family planning, mental health, etc. The number of patients served has increased from 1,537 the year it opened in 1975 to 58,039 in 2000.

A vaccine to prevent tooth cavities is in research now. Therefore, there are more pressing needs in our educational system than fluoridation, and that is where the money should be used.

How Tim Chang

Foes of fluoridation are hurting community

We go down the same road each time the issue of water fluoridation comes up before the Legislature.

Critics will charge it causes every social evil and disease known to man. Most of the time is wasted on trying to disprove these countless accusations.

In the end, politicians are unwilling to use common sense and run for cover, saying table it, it needs more study, maybe next year.

But if more and more major cities are fluoridating their water, shouldn't we seriously discuss this?

We have fluoridated water on our military bases. Bottom line: How does the dental health of these children compare to the general population?

We need legislators who:

Bullet Will at least hear and seriously consider fluoridation for the overall good of the people.

Bullet Will demand facts and throw out negative accusations that are more steeped in emotion than reason.

Bullet Have budgetary common sense, since the CDC estimates that for every $1 spent on fluoridation, it could save as much as $80 in treatment costs for dental cavities in children.

Aren't you tired of hearing that Hawaii has one of the poorest dental health in the country?

Those who oppose fluoridation should at least propose a cost-effective alternative. If they can't, they should get out of the way.

Timothy Shiroma
Wailuku, Maui

California's electricity woes could hurt Hawaii

It appears that California's economy will be hurt by a shortage of electricity. And we here in Hawaii will suffer from any downturn in California's economy, such as fewer tourists coming from that state.

Therefore, let us put the blame where it belongs -- on regulation, which prevented:

Bullet The building of new power plants, causing a shortage of electricity.

Bullet The utilities from making long-term contracts for electricity supplies, worsening the shortage.

Bullet Utilities from raising rates so as to force conservation of electricity. This resulted in brownouts.

Regulation, not deregulation, is the culprit. Regulation is much loved by the Democrats in California, and it is time for Republicans to pin that tail on the donkey.

Mark Terry

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