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Wednesday, March 14, 2001


Teachers are leaving state in record numbers

In her March 7 letter, Jackie Kido, director of communications for the Office of the Governor, clearly articulated the administration's lack of understanding of education in Hawaii. If our teachers are being paid as generously as implied, why aren't people flocking to teach in our beautiful state? Why are so many certified teachers leaving?

Contrary to Kido's assumptions, the administration's pay offer will not attract or maintain quality teachers in our state. The stalling of a contract agreement for two years has already created unnecessary stress in the lives of people who have the important job of educating our children.

I know several Hawaii teachers who have already left to teach in California and Nevada. They send email back describing the combined effects of the lower cost of housing, groceries and gasoline, and the increased salary schedule complete with annual increases.

To have books and computers without a competent teacher is foolish. Pretending Hawaii can't afford to educate its children is ridiculous.

Joseph Barnett

Cayetano should take time to visit campuses

Who is this "Education Governor?" Has Cayetano forgotten that he promised to make education his No. 1 priority? Or did he just say the right things to get elected?

Wake up! His pledge of support for Hawaii's education system has been ignored. Both our public school teachers and our university educators are being treated like second-class citizens.

It's about time Cayetano put aside his stubbornness due to his inability to understand our education system. When has he been in a classroom, except as a student? He should get out of his office and wander around the campuses.

Governor, this is your final term. What will you be able to say that you have accomplished? How do you want to be remembered?

Susan A. Pcola-Davis



"You can't come from the outside and presume you have all the answers because you don't even have all the questions."

Evan S. Dobelle
On being responsive to faculty, students

"Looks like we're headed to the brink."
Paul LeMahieu
On the possibility of a teachers strike

"It feels like egg yolk."
Imi`ike Keliiwaiwaiole
Describing the dangerous mercury to which children in Halawa were exposed

Legalize gambling to get much-needed revenue

For the past few years, the Legislature has wrestled with how to fund education.

Both the Hawaii State Teachers Association and the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly are now preparing to strike. We need to quickly settle these contracts with our educators, and give them the pay raises and benefits they deserve.

It is important to keep the best and brightest educating our future leaders. At the same time, we need to raise approximately $1 billion to repair the infrastructure of our schools and universities. Because we have underfunded education for years, we are now at the crossroads.

I suggest that we have a state lottery, which would be used only to fund education. As I see it, it is either the lottery or raise taxes. There are no other choices.

George Waialeale

LASIK is dangerous in the wrong hands

Your Feb. 19 story, "LASIK surgery draws critical eye," was a welcome look at the evolution of the business side of vision correction. As discount LASIK centers entered the Hawaii market, consumer focus shifted from education about the surgery and the surgeons' experience to the cost of the procedure.

Hawaii has seen its fair share of "slick advertisements," as your story mentioned. In less than two years, we see the negative effects, and careful people reconsider the rush to get cheap LASIK.

After years of vision corrections, our practice has performed more than 7,000 surgeries to improve people's eyesight. In each case, we encourage education and realistic expectations.

We applaud the efforts of the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to warn people about the poor business and medical practices of some LASIK centers.

Offers of cheap surgery -- and the slick ad claims that focus on cost rather than outcome -- often mean cost-cutting where there should be none.

We urge patient to take the responsibility to investigate:

Bullet There are many ways to research LASIK and LASIK surgeons. The Internet is just one. Call the Better Business Bureau and get referrals of well-respected physicians from other disciplines.
Bullet Look at outcome statistics -- i.e., percentage of problems compared to the national average -- and policies regarding complications.
Bullet When a LASIK center touts thousands of procedures, ask specifically about the surgeon you would see. Specifically, look closely at outcome statistics for that surgeon.
Bullet Be wary of centers that ask for money upfront and limit visits for pre- and post-operative consultation. Some don't give your money back should you change your mind.

In the right hands, LASIK is safe and effective with minimal risks and side. But it's still surgery, not a haircut.

Tyrie Lee Jenkins, M.D. Carlos Omphroy, M.D.

Bicycling on street is safer than sidewalk

In her Feb. 26 letter, Nancy Jeffs asserted that "bike riders cannot ride safely in traffic," then went on to write of riding on the sidewalk being safer.

As someone who bikes to work most of the time, I caution you and your readers: Jeffs does not speak for all cyclists.

I regularly ride in traffic and do not find it unsafe. In many cases, it is much safer than riding on the sidewalk. Riding on roads, rather than on sidewalks, also allows me to safely proceed at a high enough rate of speed to make cycling a practical alternative to driving.

In residential neighborhoods, sidewalks are often blocked by parked cars; often, people park in driveways, but do not completely clear the sidewalk. Riding on the road gives one a much better view of cars driven in and out of driveways, as well as making you more visible to drivers and giving you more time and room to react to those cars.

In business districts, pedestrians moving without regard to normal patterns of traffic create hazards. Pedestrians often walk out of businesses onto the sidewalk without looking both ways, suddenly appearing right in front of you as you're biking on the sidewalk.

Nobu Nakamoto

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