to the Editor

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Thursday, March 29, 2001



"They understand these folks, some of them are in dire situations financially."

Kekoa Paulsen,

Spokesman for Kamehameha Schools, which owns the land under Coolidge Apartments in Moiliili and is seeking lease rent hikes of nearly 750 percent. The landowner agreed to waive interest payments of $85,000 if the elderly apartment owners would give up ownership of their units.

"These guys are mean. They don't have no mercy for guys like us."

Robert Akutagawa,

Retired school maintenance worker, age 85, and one of the residents who signed away ownership of his one-bedroom unit in the Coolidge Apartments owned by Kamehameha Schools

All children would be at risk during strike

I read with interest the Hawaii Labor Relations Board decision to declare 322 special education teachers essential workers in the event of a teacher's strike. The board says this decision was made because these 322 teachers are required to "avoid or remove any imminent or present danger to the public health and safety."

Baloney. This decision is a political one, with one eye toward public relations and the other squarely on the Felix court monitor. Of course special needs students' health and safety will be at risk if they attend school during a strike. But where's the board's concern for regular education students? One of my sons began kindergarten when he was 4 years old. Wouldn't his health and safety be of concern? What about 5, 6 and 7 year olds?

My other son is now in fourth grade. I won't send him to school during a strike because of my concern for his safety without adequate supervision. Doesn't the board value the health and safety of every child?

Rebecca Rosenberg
Special education teacher

More states should pass hate-crime laws

Bravo to Steven E. Marsh ("Hate-crime definition should be expanded," Letters, March 26). He said exactly what I was thinking when I read Michelle Malkin's March 22 column regarding the crime against the 13-year-old boy. He said it much more eloquently though. Hate-crime legislation should be reconsidered by all states based on this case.

The perpetrator of this crime received 20 years. Those who killed Matthew Shepard received life sentences. In the eyes of the legal system and because of hate-crime legislation, this boy's life was considered less valuable than Matthew Shepard's, even though both suffered equally.

Mr. Marsh, I agree when you say, ANY crime that results in the death or injury of another human being should be considered a hate crime. Period.

James Roller

How far should conservation go?

Your March 23 editorial, "Energy plan needs jolt of conservationism," was incomplete. Taking your point that we should all voluntarily experience discomfort and/or inconvenience in order to save energy, we then should (via our behavior or through government regulation) also do all we can to discourage formations of new businesses or the transplant of existing businesses to our shores.

Why? Because each new business uses energy. The fewer business we have, the less energy used. You would have us adopt the slogan "don't patronize businesses" because that would save the environment. But it destroys prosperity, doesn't it?

Richard O. Rowland
Chairman, Legislative Coalition
Small Business Hawaii

Bankruptcy reform hurts consumers

This week the Senate and House passed legislation regarding "bankruptcy reform" that will further impoverish poor and middle-income Americans. The bankruptcy reform bill was largely written by credit card and banking interests who paid out millions of dollars in campaign donations in the last three years.

This legislation is purported to have been created in response to the high number of bankruptcies occurring in the nation, though credit card companies continue to experience record earnings. My question to the industry is: With this legislation in your suitcase, will you be lowering your rates anytime soon?

Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan reduced the prime rate three times recently and I have been unsuccessful in getting meaningful reductions on my credit cards. How many other people are experiencing the same thing? And after this "reform" what recourse do citizens really have with credit card interest rates?

Juliet Begley

Cost of burying power lines too high

The HECO Kamoku-Pukele power line is not in my back yard, but if it is put underground the added cost will affect me and my community. Those who opposed the line say that it would cost only an additional $15 million to put it underground and the entire island can share the cost.

Those who still work have to take two or three jobs to make ends meet. And children suffer because their parents are gone.

One neighborhood in town demanding underground lines, and making everyone else pay for it is unfair. The $15 million would be better spent on helping our schools.

Juanita Kahoonei

Students can help avoid school shootings

There isn't any one way we can avoid shootings in our schools. We have to take several precautions to avoid it. I think the shootings that occurred recently at mainland schools were committed to get attention or because the students have problems that only they know about.

Schools should offer more counseling services. Students can help by being a good friend, and being concerned if a friend is acting differently. Be attentive and listen to what your friends have to say. Don't judge them in any way. Be supportive and if they want more help, tell them to call a hotline.

If they sound serious about doing something dangerous, report it immediately to the police or an adult you trust.

Melody Yoshimura
Aiea High School

Keep the hurricane fund for a rainy day

Pay attention to Arthur Lessing's March 8 letter, it makes sense. Rebating the Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund would be like believing the grasshopper instead of the ant. It took seven years to build the fund. Why should we just cash in the chips, bury our heads in the sand and try to convince ourselves that Hawaii will never have another storm?

Some say that HHRF insurance isn't real insurance; the HHRF would never have been able to pay for an Iniki loss on Oahu. They are saying the same thing in Florida, the Carolina's, California, Washington State, etc. Those state insurance pools can't pay for the big one either. That's the nature of catastrophe insurance.

At least the HHRF, when stacked-up against the others, graded second only to the national flood program for it's ability to pay claims.

Compare the wording and cost of your hurricane policy. Is it cheaper now that your insurance company is covering the risk? Is your deductible the same as it was before? Is there a guarantee that your insurance company will be around or pay all losses after the next hurricane?

Keep the money in the fund so that it can be utilized the next time HHRF insurance is needed. Refunding the money will do nothing but leave us unprepared.

Or do you believe that the grasshopper should win over the ant?

Marcia Dolotina

Letter guidelines

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point on issues of public interest. The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

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