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UH football brawl | MADD rating

Parents are ultimately responsible for sex ed

Sexual problems are eternal. With the advent of AIDS, a life-threatening disease with no known cure, it is vital that people pay attention and be educated properly to save their lives. Because your family's sex-ed philosophy may not be my family's sex-ed philosophy, as evidence by the opposing views expressed in letters to the editor, I propose that public schools refrain from mandatory teaching of the politically correct but ineffective sex-ed courses.

Instead, they should establish voluntary classes offering factual medical information and staffed with qualified health-care professionals to advise and assist students of all ages, with no holds barred.

Parents and the public should be encouraged to attend and learn from these classes so that they can, in turn, can teach their children at home according to their own philosophy. Parents brought their children into this world; it is the parents' responsibility and obligation to teach and guide their children safely through life.

Chester Lau

News media should dig deeper into Rodrigues

It's time for the news media to take a more objective view of the true Gary Rodrigues' legacy and go beyond the puff pieces that praised his earlier contributions to labor. For all that, it's doubtful he was worth the $200,000 annual pay he had the United Public Workers board quietly vote for him a year ago.

It's time to raise more vital questions, such as:

>> What was the nature of the relationship between Governor Cayetano and Rodrigues? Did their connection help or hurt public employees overall? Why did Cayetano publicly and relentlessly attack the more democratic teachers union while lauding the dictatorship at UPW?

>> How was union democracy (the necessary checks and balances) at UPW undermined by Rodrigues? What were UPW state executive board members doing when these crimes occurred, and did they act responsibly?

Unions are vital, especially today when corporations are leading attacks on them and trying to privatize services for their own profit. Unions need real democracy and rank-and-file control over their officials to protect against a leader's corruption and the institutional failure of the elected board, as happened at the UPW.

John Witeck

Credit-card frauds avoid prosecution

Stolen identity almost always results in stolen money and reputation. A few years ago a business associate of mine started getting thousands of dollars in bills from credit card companies. His checks started bouncing and he almost lost his car and job.

Shortly after finding out someone had gotten his Social Security number and began opening accounts in his name, we were contacted by the Secret Service, which deals with credit card fraud. The agency produced multiple copies of ATM pictures of the person using the credit cards and taking out more than $20,000 over a period of about a month. We knew the woman in the picture, but the agents refused to prosecute because the total amount did not exceed $70,000.

The total was over $30,000. More than a dozen people were aware of the mess that stuck the victim with a bad credit rating for more than nine months.

This perpetrator is still scot-free and living in Honolulu.

When we tried to discuss this with the Secret Service agent assigned to this case, he indicated that the credit-card companies that were victimized would refuse to prosecute a case involving such a small amount.

Now these same companies are lobbying Congress to eliminate many of the protections of the bankruptcy law and deprive law-abiding citizens of the last recourse to get their lives back together.

The prospect of no prosecution for the criminals and absolute enforcement of harsh debt-repayment laws for the long-term unemployed hurt by the failing economy is surely an incentive for some people to rip off others.

William E. Woods

Teachers forced raise state could not afford

Teacher Steve Klein disputes Governor Cayetano's statement that he "gave the teachers a big pay raise but did not give away the store," and calls it "revisionist history" (Letters, Star-Bulletin, Nov. 28). Here are the facts:

The HSTA demanded a four-year, $295 million contract. The governor rejected the demand as unaffordable and offered a two-year, $94 million contract. HSTA rejected this offer and went on strike two months before high school graduation.

The three-week strike was settled for $98 million, plus another $13 million one-time retention bonus. The settlement was $184 million less than HSTA's original demand, and only $17 million more than the governor's final pre-strike offer.

Clearly the strike could have been averted. But Klein and his fellow teachers instead chose to leverage the education of their students to force the governor into giving them what the state could not afford.

From 1997 to 2003, Governor Cayetano increased the pay for starting teachers from $25,000 to $34,300 -- a nearly $10,000 pay increase in just six years. This, during times when many people were losing their jobs or taking cuts in pay or benefits.

Under the new contract, Hawaii's starting teachers salary is higher than the average starting salary in virtually every Western state. When he ran for governor in 1994, Cayetano promised he would increase teachers' salaries. He did just that, and without "giving away the store."

Jackie Kido

Some of the 'best and brightest' prefer UH

John Culliney made the unsubstantiated claim that "the best and brightest high school grads will continue to go to college on the mainland" (Letters, Nov. 20).

I've had many chances during the past five years to visit the University of Hawaii and meet and talk to many students there. I've been very impressed with many of the students with whom I spoke, a group that includes several valedictorians of local high schools, and many students who were accepted to mainland colleges but chose to attend UH. Many of these students were impressive to the point that they were being aggressively recruited by multiple employers, even during an economic downturn.

I was quite surprised to find that, according to Mr. Culliney, none of these students are among the "best and brightest high school grads."

Nobu Nakamoto

Iolani athletes did suffer with infections

In response to your Nov. 28 article titled "Schools fight invisible enemy," I must disagree with Iolani's athletic director Carl Schroers. In the article he says that no problems with infections have been reported with the kayakers and paddlers.

I kayaked for Iolani during the 1994-1997 seasons. And in that time I suffered from at least three staph infections attributed to the Ala Wai. Several other members of the team had similar problems. However, at the time, the team was barely recognized by the school. We practiced in the morning, before any of the trainers arrived and, as a team, spent no time on campus. So there was little, if any, communication about possible health problems the team faced.

I encourage Mr. Schroers and all of the athletic directors to pay special attention to their students who enter the Ala Wai. After all, if the water is toxic enough to kill the jellyfish, how healthy can it be for humans?

Justin Li
Chicago, Ill.

Lawmakers must stick to 'no gambling' vows

A recent poll asked each legislative candidate in the Hawaii general election, "Do you favor legalized gambling?"

Almost every winner said "no." Only four of 65 winning senators, representatives and OHA board members said "yes."

Special thanks to Speaker Calvin Say for his comment: "Gambling is not the panacea to our budget crisis."

Mahalo, legislators, for your strong positions against legalized gambling in Hawaii. Please remain committed to this platform on which you were elected. I hope bills to promote any form of gambling, including lotteries, will not pass out of committees. This will allow us all to devote our time and resources to bills that address solid, long-term solutions to challenges facing Hawaii.

When Jim Boersema, a paid gambling lobbyist, appeared on your radio program, "Price of Paradise," I asked him one question: Why should we waste our resources debating gambling in the Legislature when more than 90 percent of those elected said "no" to legalized gambling? His only answer was, "Legislative candidates do not like to take positions on controversial issues." He must not accept or respect "no" as an answer.

A story in your Travel section on Nov. 24 provided a stunning exposure of various ways in which gamblers are robbed in Las Vegas. No wonder the Honolulu Police Department stands strongly against legalizing gambling in Hawaii.

Jack Karbens



More thoughts on
post-game melee

Civil behavior and win would settle dispute

Out of all the discussion and whining about the University of Hawaii-Cincinnati game, I have yet to hear the only logical solution. For the controversy to be settled, UH should visit UC next year. If they beat UC and walk away without a brawl, then the "Warriors" can truly talk about how they got their "licks" in. Until then, silence should be the rule.

James Roller

Rematch would allow team to make amends

The aftermath of the University of Hawaii-Cincinnati football game was an unfortunate one; however, I agree with Coach June Jones in hoping we have a rematch with Ohio. Hawaii can then make amends with Cincinnati, no matter whose fault the incidents were.

We would have a second chance to show Cincinnati our true aloha spirit, not the senseless actions by players and fans who were caught up in the moment. I'm sure that since everyone (players and fans alike) has had a chance to think about the whole thing, things would be different the next time.

Should our Warriors or Wahine ever grace the east with their presence, Hawaii will be remembered not for what happened at the past UH-Cincinnati football game, but for the spirit of aloha shown to them at the rematch.

God help the Warriors or Wahine should they play back east, especially in Ohio, for revenge will be on the opponents' minds. Let's embrace a second chance, if we're fortunate enough to have one. This time, let's be smart and consider our reputation and our players' safety.

Rae Marie Fujioka

Both players and coach behaved badly

I was appalled to see the University of Hawaii and the University of Cincinnati brawl after an awesome football game last weekend. This kind of behavior is inappropriate. What was more appalling was the response of the two head coaches, especially June Jones.

I remind Jones that it takes two to tango. The UH football players did not show any restraint. They should have walked off the field, ignoring the words of their opponents. The Cincinnati players may have started the brawl, but Hawaii contributed by retaliating.

Coach Jones and the UH team have to remember that they represent the school and the state of Hawaii, and they need to represent us better than they did after the game with Cincinnati. They should stop behaving like spoiled brats and act like true adults -- with respect, dignity and integrity. That is how the University of Hawaii football team should represent Hawaii residents.

Alan Kim



MADD rating system
needs to be reviewed

I can understand your confusion -- expressed in your Nov. 25 editorial -- about the fact that Hawaii was slapped with a D+ grade for fatality trends on its recent MADD report card when alcohol-related fatalities decreased in the three-year period of 1999-2001 from the previous three year period. The "fatality trend" grade was one of eight graded subjects in MADD's Rating the States report and it accounted for 30 percent of the overall grade given to each state.

Whenever MADD-Hawaii discusses fatalities, it refers to total alcohol-related highway deaths. I completely agree that by looking at the total number of fatalities, Hawaii has improved and a D+ grade appears to be in error.

The problem is that the number of fatalities was not the yardstick used to "Rate the States." The measure was based on the percentage or rate of "alcohol positive drivers" involved in fatal crashes.

This number -- actually a percent -- was further complicated by combining the rate of adult drivers with that of youth drivers. MADD's statisticians and researchers believe that their method of using drinking drivers -- instead of overall fatalities -- as the measure is a fairer and more scientifically sound method than using total alcohol-related fatalities in calculating fatality trends and a state's progress in addressing the impaired driving problem. For those of us not schooled in statistics, the numbers are very difficult to understand.

For the past three years, I have served as the national chairman of the Rating the States Task Force. Although scientifically the current complex method of assessing fatality trends may be preferred, I will recommend a hard look at this unintuitive system before employing it again in 2005. I'm sure other states are receiving similar questions from those who take the time to do some addition.

Carol McNamee
Mothers Against Drunk Driving-Hawaii

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