to the Editor

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Saturday, May 12, 2001

Legislature heads back to dark ages

I can't believe that the fine work to open up the legislative process in conference committees last year has, only one session later, been thrown away. It appears that the Senate president and the House speaker have decided to give a few legislators all the power of decision-making in the conference committees.

Where does that leave the voters? If our legislator is not a committee chairman, does he or she have no voice? How can voters decide how to vote at the next election if we don't know the voting record of our legislator on issues of importance to us? Or could it be that the non-powerful legislators go along with this? Then they don't have to take a vote on anything. They can tell us (true or not) how they would have voted if they had been allowed to, depending on what they think we want to hear.

I am proud of my representative, Ed Case, who voted against this change back to the dark ages and very disappointed in my senator, Brian Taniguchi, who voted in favor.

It's no wonder the Republican Party is getting stronger. It seems the Democratic Party has a death wish.

Joyce Loo

Verizon gets no ringing endorsement

I live in Hahaione and have been without Verizon phone service since Thursday night.

I contacted Verizon Friday morning at 7 a.m. to ask if they could forward calls to my cell phone and also provide additional minutes for my cell phone (also Verizon) until repairs are completed. They said that they would enable the call forwarding and call me back regarding extra minutes for cell phone. They also said that phone service would not be restored until 7 p.m. Monday.

I called them back at 9:30 a.m. to ask whether the call forwarding will be enabled. They said that they have received a lot of requests and that it may take some more time.

As of 1:20 p.m., I was still waiting for call forwarding to be enabled and for Verizon to call back regarding my request for extra cell phone minutes.

Verizon needs to improve its service when something like this happens.

Mark Nelson

DOE should be an independent entity

Based on Paul LeMahieu's excellent talk at the Arcadia Retirement Residence recently, my conclusions are listed below.

1. Make the Department of Education a separate entity from state government. With its own revenue-raising means, the DOE will finally have authority along with accountability. This will correct a major handicap of the DOE.

The staff of this new education entity should not be unionized. This will avoid present labor-management conflicts, and hopefully enable problems to be addressed as "ours" rather than "my interests against yours."

This should be part of the next Constitutional Convention to make fundamental changes to our education system.

2. Provide Special Education through a different structure. Rather than saddle the DOE with the sole responsibility, take a team-approach with all of the appropriate agencies participating in a joint effort. Those agencies other than DOE (or its new entity) should then be required to provide their own staff and funding to assure full compliance with the Felix decree. This should then free teachers to teach academics, their basic mission.

Henry Uehara


"Here we are...less than a week before a scheduled execution. I am frankly astonished that these documents have just appeared at this late date."
Nathan Chambers,
Timothy McVeigh's attorney, on more than 3,000 recently discovered FBI documents on the case that had not been turned over to McVeigh's attorneys at the time of his trial.

"This (medal) will finally bring everything to a close."
Joseph Kamaka,
Marine veteran from Maui who received the Bronze Star this week for saving his platoon leader's life during combat in Vietnam. On discovering recently that Kamaka had lived through the battle at Que Son Valley, the platoon leader, retired Col. David Blizzard, recommended Kamaka for the Bronze Star.

"It's pretty shocking for people to see that."
Jane Maxwell,
Program manager for the Suicide and Crisis Hotline, on new statistics showing suicide as the eighth leading cause of death in the United States. More people in Hawaii commit suicide every year than die by homicide or in traffic accidents. The suicide hotline number 521-4555.

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