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Money isn't the issue in nurses' strike

It is important that the community and our patients know that the registered nurses are not on strike for the money. A very good wage increase was offered but there are even more important issues at stake, those being safe patient care, retention of nurses and professionalism. Nurses are striking because they have too much mandatory overtime, they are injured on the job due to poor staffing, and because of poor staffing our patients are denied the care they need.

It is upsetting that the hospitals are bringing in replacement nurses. We are often told that the hospital is in bad times because of Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements and that there is no money to fund projects or increase staff. Where does the money come from to bring replacement nurses here and pay their high wages?

The nurses are striking to protect our patients and our nursing rights, and to ensure the provision of safe, quality nursing care. Please support the registered nurses, for they are doing this for you and the nursing profession.

Patricia Ezera, RN

Blame managed care for nurses' strike

Having come to within 18 months of retiring from corporate life and making my home on the Big Island, I faithfully read portions of Hawaii's online news. I have been following with interest the nurses' labor strike. The demeaning, demoralizing garbage that nurses have to put up with from various medical administrative groups is only a symptom of the real problem.

I am speaking of "managed medicine." For the life of me I do not understand why the Americans let themselves be duped into believing that pencil pushers could manage health care better than trained health professionals.

Until the American people demand the end of managed medicine, there will be more of the same to look forward to in the health-care arena.

The paradox of this whole mess is that even though the pickets are declaring "patients first," a strike is not in the best interest of the patient. Whatever agreements are reached, they will be temporary because they will not address the real issue: Managed care does not work.

Roy Dean II
Bethany, Okla.

Foul odor emanating from Kauai airport

As a Republican I have endured decades of what I perceive to be dishonesty, dirty dealing and insider preference in our local governments. Now we have a golden opportunity, via the new state administration, to demonstrate how a government by, for and of the people should operate. This opportunity must not be squandered.

I read with a sinking heart about the recent shenanigans regarding Lihue Airport and former Kauai Mayor Maryanne Kusaka's staff ("Air security hires raise controversy on Kauai," Star-Bulletin, Dec. 10). This type of dirty dealing is unacceptable. While it initially appears that no laws were broken, it still stinks to high heaven.

I urge the new state administration to do whatever is in its power to actually correct (not just spin) the situation.

In our state it appears that opportunity knocks every 40 years. I hope that the Republican Party will answer that door and police itself. I, for one, do not have another 40 years to wait.

Eric R. Anderson

BOE should let student member vote

In his Dec. 10 letter to the editor, Bill Nelson pointed out that the student member on the Board of Education should not be given a vote because he is not elected by the public. I would like to point out that the 13 other members of the BOE are not elected by the students and thus the constituents subjected to BOE decisions, the students themselves, actually have no say in choosing the people who are affecting their education. Having the one member of the BOE who actually has to attend public school not have the right to vote seems ridiculous and rather undemocratic, especially if he has the same responsibilities and obligations as other members.

Yoon Jee Kim
New Haven, Conn.
Roosevelt High School graduate
Chairwoman, Hawaii State Student Conference 2000

Aquaculture industry needs encouragement

A Dec. 2 article outlined community concerns that have delayed the establishment of an open-ocean tuna farm off the Big Island's west coast. While community input is part of the process, it is important to our future that the people of this state encourage the pioneering efforts like those of Hawaiian fishermen involved in the Ahi Nui Project and other sustainable ocean aquaculture enterprises.

The state ocean leasing law was amended in 1999 to permit leasing of state marine waters for commercial aquaculture to expand and diversify our economy. The law requires strict environmental monitoring to help ensure that our ocean resources are not hurt by such operations. At the same time, there is great community concern about the environmental damage caused by overfishing. Ocean farming has great promise to provide our state with fish for local consumption and export.

While these visionary enterprises must be subject to public scrutiny, they also deserve every opportunity to succeed because Hawaii should be among the leaders in development of U.S. aquaculture, not only on land but in the ocean.

James J. Nakatani
Hawaii Department of Agriculture

Fast-food chains gobble up landmarks

I was standing in line for a plate lunch earlier this week at Kenny's Burgerhouse when I learned from a note taped to the register that they would be closing at 4 p.m. on Dec. 14.

At first I thought the drive-in was closing early that day so the employees could attend a holiday party. I soon realized the sign meant that another local landmark was closing for good. The workers behind the counter confirmed that the owner was selling the property to McDonald's.

Now, I can drive down the road to Dillingham Boulevard or over to Liliha and School streets to eat at a McDonald's. I can fly 6,000 miles to another city in another time zone and eat at exactly the same McDonald's.

But I can't go to another Kenny's, anywhere.

We need to institute a "local drive-in preservation act" to keep national chains from completely diluting the uniqueness and "flavor" from our lives. Pretty soon, the only place you'll be able to see a real, old-style, local drive-in meal will be on the back of a Hawaii nostalgia T-shirt.

Blaine Fergerstrom

How to write us

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). 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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Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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