Tuesday, June 12, 2001
Thanks for helping keep dental clinic openBravo to the Star-Bulletin and to Helen Altonn for raising the community's awareness of the Queen's dental clinic and Dental Residency Program (Star-Bulletin, June 4).
Bravo to the state Department of Health for keeping this program alive for at least one more year.
This valuable program is one of a kind in our state providing emergency and routine dental care in a hospital setting for any and all that needs it. It is one of those services that nobody appreciates until it is gone; then it is too late.
Lingle leads GOP to left on social policyIn his May 28 letter to the editor, Rep. David Pendleton claims that Linda Lingle and the Republican Party are working for true reform and that "Hawaii's last best hope is a revitalized two-party system."
I agree that we need to revitalize a two-party system, but we're not going to have a two-party system if the Republican Party models its social policy after the extremely liberal Democratic Party. And this is exactly what Linda Lingle is trying to do.
All we are going to do is end up with two Democratic parties: one called the Democratic Party and the other one called the Republican Party.
[Quotables]"It turned out to be one big form of pain relief." Kevin Polk,
Former Hawaii resident and inventor of SunViz, a hand-held sunburn calculator for Palm OS devices. SunViz lets the user calculate exactly how many minutes an individual can stay in the sun before burning.
"I'm ready for this part of the journey to be over." Richard Williams,
Oklahoma City bombing victim, before Timothy McVeigh was executed yesterday morning.
Mink hold on voters on Kauai is looseningWhile reading Richard Borreca's June 7 story, "Mink faces changes in her district," I could not help feeling that Patsy Mink, is simply whistling past the graveyard. Here on Kauai, as elsewhere in the 2nd Congressional District, changing demographics are working against her. And Patsy claims she is not worried.
Well, I believe Patsy can be beaten in her 2002 re-election bid. Reapportionment of her district will work against any Democrat. Kauai's local Democrat activists are frustrated and angry over a growing Republican presence where there was once almost none, and the Democrats' abandonment of core constituency groups such as labor. Recent Democrat statements claiming they must move to the center politically in order to be re-elected especially hurt Mink's chances, given her personal political philosophy, which can only be categorized as left of Lenin.
Finally, all of Kauai's citizens are fed up with Patsy's continued refusal to open even one office anywhere within the district she represents. Nothing could show Patsy Mink's disdain for her constituency's opinions and concerns any better. Whoever is the ultimate Republican challenger to Patsy, with hard work and determination, he or she may never have a better opportunity to defeat her than in the 2002 election.
Beware invasion of the orange conesRemember the movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"? It was so good, Hollywood remade it twice. I have a story Hollywood ought to eat up like so much popcorn. It's called "Invasion of the Orange Cones."
Innocuous-looking orange cones sprout up where none existed before, causing classic traffic jam scenes like those in "Independence Day," "Deep Impact" and other destroy-the-city movies. All our available hours are slowly, inexorably sucked up by these orange cones, and people are left surrounded by them -- nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
Virtually every street in Honolulu is infested by these infernal creatures, courtesy of our state and city departments of antitransportation -- not to mention the Board of Water Supply, which is infamous for tearing up newly paved roads.
These orange cones -- and the projects they represent -- slowly multiply in such a stealthy fashion that no one makes a big deal about them, yet we're held hostage by them. I wonder how many hours we lose as a society due to orange cones. Coupled with the legendary non-synchronization of our traffic lights, it's a wonder we get anywhere.
Hurricane fund should go back to consumersConsumers who paid into the Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund (HHRF) should have their premiums refunded. From the outset, the HHRF was an expensive charade foisted on homeowners to satisfy lender requirements to maintain hurricane coverage.
The reality is that the fund never had sufficient assets to provide coverage in excess of eight cents on the dollar. The Legislature never had the courage or wherewithal to deal with the root problem, which was the threat of foreclosure on homeowners who couldn't afford the excessive rates charged by the HHRF.
When private insurers finally reappeared on the scene, HHRF participants, such as myself, were unceremoniously told we could no longer maintain our coverage through the HHRF.
The state use of the HHRF amounted to consumer blackmail. To now use the $2 billion for a "rainy day fund" only adds to the humiliation already inflicted. Refund the money!
Health fund deal shouldn't be brokenI am appalled by the Legislature's politically motivated, election-minded, last-minute false-crack to the state's public workers by monkeying around with their health fund. Many feel that our public workers have the greatest benefits package in the world, which will cost the taxpayers big bucks in the near future. Both are unfortunately true. However, as a state worker vested in the system, I would like to present my position.
I view any change to my health benefits as a change in the terms and conditions of my employment and the breaking of my deal with the state. I left the private sector for a state job primarily for the job security (also no longer a guarantee) and the fantastic benefits package. I consider these elements as part of my compact with the state to give them my talents rather than pursuing a career in the private sector.
It is through no fault of mine that the state mismanaged its money. This was done by the legislators themselves, as well as former Gov. John Waihee's running a $500-million budget surplus into a $500-million deficit and letting the economy go straight to hell. As many economists predicted, it will probably take the state another couple of decades to recover from the Waihee years; in the meantime, the solution is to shaft the public workers.
Any changes in the health fund should apply only to new hires who know the score beforehand. To break promises in mid-stream is not part of the legitimate business world and certainly not something we want to teach our children.
Roy Frank Westlake
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, must include a mailing address and daytime telephone number.