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Nurses' strike
Death penalty proposal

Lingle broke her trust with Hawaiian people

Governor Linda Lingle has already broken her first promise to the people of Hawaii -- less than one month after taking office. She has done a classic flip-flop and has now decided she will not directly make a $10.3 million payment to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs as promised during her campaign, but instead will ask the 2003 Legislature to approve a request for payment. This is more than just a broken promise to Hawaiians; it represents a broken trust between Hawaiians and our state's highest leader.

During her campaign, Lingle proclaimed if elected she would immediately transfer the money to OHA since she knew how and where to access those funds in the state budget without having to go through the "normal legislative process." However, during a recent meeting with state House Democrats, Lingle acknowledged that she would have to submit a bill to the Legislature asking for funds.

We trust this is not foreshadowing of things to come regarding Lingle's dealings with the Hawaiian community. We expect the governor to do her homework, tell the truth and live up the promises she makes.

Ikaika Hussey
President, Democratic Party Native Hawaiian Caucus

Hawaii is learning another lesson

Economics 101 teaches that supply and demand drive prices. Lack of supply means lower quality as well as higher prices. Aloha and Hawaiian airlines are now allowed to collaborate and control interisland seat capacity. What that really means is that they can maximize profits during high-demand times by offering fewer seats.

The federal government -- at the urging of our own representatives -- negated interisland competition, and now we're going to see what that means. If interisland seats are limited during peak times, prices will rise, service will decline and sooner or later, after significant public suffering and complaints, lobbying will bring back some sort of competition.

Yes, the cycle of politics. When will we ever learn? We hear newly elected leaders speak about "new vision" but no union lay-offs. Past Democrats were elected upon the same promises, weren't they? What's new about that? Isn't labor the largest state budget expense?

Let's cross our fingers but keep our eyes open as the new administration collaborates with the old Legislature. I just hope our children and elderly aren't again to bear the burden.

Dave Miho

Holmes' credentials should be verified

How arrogant of Mayor Harris to appoint former City Councilman Steve Holmes as our first "energy czar."

As a constituent in Holmes' district, I wonder when he will keep his word to prove he has two degrees from the University of Iowa, with all the environmental knowledge and expertise that supposedly came with them. University officials have said they have no record that Holmes received any degrees.

My immigrant grandfather had to drop out of school in the third grade to work, as there were no social services in 1909 to help support his parents and siblings. He was proud to be self-educated and was honest about his deficiencies. He succeeded out of sweat and 15-hour workdays.

Mayor Harris, how dare you appoint a man who has such a cloud over his head.

Barry Markowitz
Hauula, Hawaii

Americans need to study world history

Math and science were two of the most prestigious academic courses to take in the past, and many still favor those courses as prerequisites for successful careers.

However, I believe the current global conflicts make it necessary for all adults to have a basic knowledge of world history so they can appreciate and comprehend the many differences in culture, language, religion, philosophy and geographical boundaries of the countries that are mired in irreversible and perennial disputes.

Not much makes sense to peace lovers without knowledge of each country's historical background. Reading newspapers and magazines would become much more comprehensible with such knowledge.

Toshio Chinen
Pearl City

Bush takes wrong approach with N. Korea

How is it that the United States during the Cold War established peaceful relations with the more dangerous Soviet Union and China, yet after 49 years still cannot negotiate peace with North Korea? Contrast also U.S. ability to establish peaceful relations with Vietnam. Is the strategy of "Give up first, then we'll talk" reasonable for the greatest military power the world has ever seen? Might not the wisdom of "A great nation does not seek vengeance, it re-establishes justice" be a more appropriate principle to follow?

Is not President Bush capable of a strategic peace breakthrough with North Korea such as those accomplished with the Soviet Union and China by Republican presidents Eisenhower and Nixon?

A strategic shift is urgently needed in U.S. policy from Korean War hostility to creative engagement with both Koreas for mutually respectful peace. A cue can be taken from the remarkable peace-building contacts and projects with the North that recently have been initiated by South Korea's leaders. Should the United States, both an invited an unwanted lethal force on the peninsula, be any less inventive in making peace with the North? Or any less inventive than it was with the Soviet Union and China?

Glenn D. Paige
Professor Emeritus of Political Science
University of Hawaii

Give Guam freedom from our tax money

As a U.S. taxpayer, I humbly request that our Congress initiate immediate measures to move the people and the island of Guam toward independence. The island holds no strategic military value and the people pay no federal taxes, yet they draw billions from the federal treasury.

It is my belief that Congress never intended to keep Guam in the American family. Why else would it mandate that Guam's political status remain as an unincorporated territory?

Michael Paulino

Hawaiians understand need to preserve land

The Dec. 30 letter demonizing "fanatical nature worshippers" such as Sierra Club/Earthjustice for working to save a piece of land on the Big Island from commercial development needs to be addressed. I do not know why the Queen Liliuokalani Trust is in financial trouble, but to blame it on environmentalists is ludicrous.

The original inhabitants of Hawaii, ancestors of the land, were nature worshippers who would most likely favor preserving land instead of paving it for a parking lot and another shopping center. I imagine the Hawaiian kids whom the writer refers to would vote to preserve the land, or would at least be more creative than to build another shopping center.

Jeff Carter
Honaunau-Kona, Hawaii

All-Star band stirred memories of isles

Regarding the All-Star Hawaiian Marching Band:

This is just a short note to say how very proud my husband and I were to see all the youngsters from Hawaii marching in the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day. We weren't expecting to see a band from Hawaii marching in the parade. When the cameras set their lenses on the band, well, it was such a shock, it just brought tears to our eyes and a huge feeling of pride filled our hearts.

We moved from Hawaii to northeastern California about three years ago and we sure miss the aloha, the food, the weather and our friends. We plan someday to move back to Kona.

Mahalo for all that hard work and for the pleasure of seeing all the young people from the islands participate in the Tournament of Roses Parade. They all did a fantastic job!

Ken and Victoria Staal
Wendel, Calif.


More thoughts
on the nurses' strike

Picketing nurses do obstruct traffic

In response to Nan Nishihara's letter of Jan. 2, "Give picketing nurses time to get out of way," why do nurses need five minutes to get out of the way of a car crossing a sidewalk going into a driveway of the hospital?

Ten to 30 seconds would be more than enough time.

File Keliiaa

Public grapples with complex strike issues

While the nursing strike moves into the fifth week with little progress, it seems to me the public is having a difficult time understanding the issues. As a nurse at Queen's for 17 years, I am grappling with them as well. Patients are unfortunately caught in the middle of this labor dispute.

Hospitals are faced with the daunting task of controlling costs while technological expenses increase and reimbursements from Medicare and insurance companies decrease, and, at the same time, assuring safe and competent patient care at all levels.

The nurses see their benefits being stripped away by management -- sick time essentially being decreased, retirement benefits changing to a dubious cash balance system, and staffing problems being temporarily solved by forcing nurses to stay beyond their scheduled shifts.

I love my work. My coworkers are competent, caring people who feel nursing is more than just a job and who are dedicated to improving the lives of others. Being dedicated myself, it is extremely difficult to justify walking away from patient care for any monetary reason. Queen's has been a very good employer, devoted to giving patients the best possible care. Management has told us that during the strike the patients are being well cared for, and for that I am truly grateful.

These are just some of the complex issues we're dealing with. There are more. With all the negative impact this strike is having on people's lives (those of patients, nurses and management), I can only hope that with compromise on both sides we can quickly come to an agreement and do what we do best -- deliver quality patient care.

Mike Fullerton, R.N.

Why should nurses support stockholders?

As the optimist that I am, I was hoping on New Year's Eve that the absence of the nurses from the streets meant that a settlement had been reached. Oh, how sad to learn that was not the case.

After seeing the movie "Maid in Manhattan," I'm reminded that there are those who spend $5,000 for an outfit while there are those who, through no fault of their own, can't afford $5 for an outfit. Something is wrong with our society when health benefits are slowly ebbing away, and when work benefits and sensible work hours are fading away, as with our local nurses.

It is a sad commentary when a hospital can afford to fly in nurses and their families from the mainland but can't afford to offer sensible work hours to our nurses. I've seen replacement nurses fumble with hospital equipment, hunt in vain for properly sized needles to start an IV and more ... but I fear that if I speak up my clients will suffer when I can't be by their side.

For all that is sane and humane, please settle the strike and bring our nurses back. I'm sure the replacements are needed back home. We need our nurses back in our hospitals. Let the stockholders get real jobs and stop looking for the nurses to support them.

Carolyn Martinez Golojuch
President, PFLAG-Oahu
League of Women Voters
Dignity Honolulu
Clinical Social Work Society of Hawaii

Kaiser nurses make visits pleasant

For the last eight months, once a week, I have spent a minimum of one hour at the Ambulatory Treatment Center at Kaiser Moanalua Medical Center. I have the utmost praise and respect for the nurses who have been involved with my visits. The true compassion, sincere caring attitude, knowledge and efficiency, without forgetting the humor, have made my weekly visits a relaxed period.

These dedicated professionals without a doubt are surely the best.

John H. Tyler


Capital punishment and Hawaii

Death penalty proposal is reactionary

I find it nothing short of barbaric to even think of introducing the death penalty to Hawaii ("Lawmaker calls for isle death penalty," Star-Bulletin, Jan. 1). Yes, the death of Kahealani Indreginal is a tragedy and an outrage. Yes, the death of any child should sadden the community as a whole and condolences do not even begin to make up for the loss or the pain the family is most definitely feeling.

Yet, vengeance and the well-documented inadequacies of the death penalty do not justify such a reactionary response.

State-sponsored execution is murder, no matter how you try to justify it. There is a documented list of innocent people who have been murdered by the states on the mainland. Murder by the state in the name of its citizenry is a heinous act and should not be endorsed by the people of Hawaii.

I give my heartfelt sympathies to the family of Kahealani. In many ways it seems like an inadequate response, but the introduction of a politically motivated act is revolting and does not honor the memory of this child.

Herb Barrow
Hilo, Hawaii

Better parenting, not death penalty

No death penalty for Hawaii! Our police, courts and prisons are already overburdened and the death penalty will not deter such crimes.

While Kahealani Indreginal's death was a despicable act, her parents must bear some of the responsibility for letting a young child wear so much gold jewelry at one time. That child paid a high price for adult recklessness. Life in prison for her killer is a fair response.

Evelyn S. Pacheco
Hilo, Hawaii

Proposal will generate publicity, nothing else

While it's certainly a popular idea, Sen. Willie Espero's proposal to reintroduce the death penalty for child murders is dead on arrival at the Hawaii Legislature.

Rather than dealing with the mundane but important issues of his district such as the crystal meth epidemic and related crime, traffic congestion and poorly maintained schools, Espero prefers to deal with an issue that will never see the light of day, but will get him time in the papers and on talk radio shows.

The Star-Bulletin's Jan. 3 editorial was absolutely correct when it said the "proposal is a display of vengeance with no rationale or constructive end."

Garry P. Smith
Ewa Beach

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