Restore funding for school nurses
Senate Bill 742 and House Bill 244, which were identical in wording, would have provided funds to make 29 school nurse positions permanent throughout the state. Unfortunately, these bills died on the vine in the Legislature.
The students and families that have received the nurses' assistance will go without it starting next school year. At a time when our public health concerns are on the increase, I was hoping that public support would persuade our lawmakers to include one of these bills for passage.
Please contact your state legislative representatives so that our students and their families can continue to receive this support. As a student services coordinator at a small public elementary school, I can vouch for the invaluable help our school nurse has given us.
One senator does his best to quash reform
When this legislative session opened, the Senate and House Democratic Party leadership loudly proclaimed, "We have heard the voters call for campaign finance reform!"
They're giving us change all right, but as my momma said, "Be careful what you wish for!" SB 459 was a good reform bill until Democratic Sen. Cal Kawamoto amended it into something that even further corrupts the entire process by raising the amount of legal donations to a previously unheard-of height. We asked for campaign finance reform, and we're getting more corruption.
If SB 459 passes, the reformers will no longer just talk about the appearance of impropriety, they can shout about outright corruption.
Moreover, the gambling industry with its unlimited funds can literally buy everyone who voted for Kawamoto's corrupt bill. Originally, few of the reformers worried because they were sure that Kawamoto's version wouldn't pass.
Guess what? It's passing and could reach Governor Lingle's desk.
Will she veto this travesty? Kawamoto hedged his bets by amending another bill to restore the governor's emergency appropriation previously cut by the House, and now the governor owes him a favor, or so he probably hopes.
Kawamoto historically kills campaign-spending reform bills in his committee or in conference, even bills that pass the House unanimously. Everybody else can go home because Kawamoto is a one-man Legislature!
Meanwhile, the good news is that Sen. Les Ihara's good campaign-reform bill, SB 1606, has a chance of passing; especially if the public gets behind it. Contact your legislators today.
Quit the name-calling and just govern
It really makes me sick to hear one politician -- regardless of party -- accuse another politician of playing politics (Star-Bulletin, April 19). After all, isn't that what they are?
Hawaii residents knew all about Governor Lingle's politics when she was Maui's mayor and now since she has become governor. They know the history of Democratic Party politics.
So someone please tell Lingle to stop treating the public like mushrooms, get on with the business of state and stop calling the kettle black.
Kenneth L. Barker
Pearls of aloha cast before swine
With our cultural diversity and strategic location, I have always felt Hawaii could play an important role in international trade and world affairs, but after the House resolution regarding "Aloha to Saddam," I'm not too sure.
Associating aloha with the Butcher of Baghdad has got to be the equivalent of throwing pearls before swine. Hawaii must never get so desperate to compromise its culture to make a few cheap political points against this administration.
Don't cut the money for adult-education
I'm enrolled at the Windward Adult Education School, taking classes in English and math. My last formal education class was 42 years ago. I've forgotten a lot of simple math problems and English rules. Neither this math nor English knowledge is needed in my current employment.
I'm taking these classes to prepare myself for a higher job-classification level. Both of these classes have given me an incentive to study and do my homework.
Governor Lingle should not cut the budget from adult education. This is not a karaoke or country line-dance class. Without these educational classes, I and others like me would not be able to better ourselves. More people would end up on welfare and food stamps, and the state and city would end up spending more money fighting crime because of increased drug use and theft.
Whole court system is 'dysfunctional'
As reported in the Star-Bulletin on April 12, Governor Lingle, as speaker at a Federal District Court Conference the day before, said that "people say the Hawaii Supreme Court is dysfunctional."
Good for her. That needed to be said. It is a mark of her superior leadership that she actually leads. Instead of making a feel-good talk to those judges and lawyers, she gave them something substantive to chew on.
It would have been even better if she had expanded her observations to the entire court system. Perhaps she did not do so because the Supreme Court holds the key to improvement throughout the system.
If that is so, then it is hoped that a functional Hawaii Supreme Court would first take a close look at the dysfunctional Family Court system, which seems to provide an atmosphere of injustice, lack of accountability and complacency in an area already fraught with heavy emotions and concerns for child welfare.
Richard O. Rowland
Cable news is now a flag-waving contest
In response to Don McDiarmid Jr.'s April 17 letter on balanced news coverage: How can anyone accuse the U.S. media of liberalism when CNN and the Fox News Channel wrap themselves in the flag, endorse the administration's slogan of "Iraqi Freedom," gloss over Iraqi civilian casualty figures and turn the rescue of a private into a soap opera, all while deliberately keeping the true horrors of this war away from the viewing public?
If the first Gulf War was a video game, this one plays like a miniseries.
Development owners' claims are groundless
The owners of the Hokulia development on the Big Island are angry that Judge Riki May Amano has refused their motion to have Circuit Judge Ronald Ibarra removed from their case because of purported bias (Star-Bulletin, April 12).
Now, because she ruled against them, they are saying Judge Amano is biased, too. They are acting like spoiled rich kids, whining and crying because they don't yet own the judiciary. They want us to believe they are the victims of prejudice when Judge Ibarra or any other judge rules against them.
Instead of accepting the modest changes that Ibarra ordered to stop such problems as muddy water runoff and the desecration of burial sites, Hokulia filed a 1,500-page motion to have the judge recuse himself. Then, when Ibarra handed the motion over to Amano to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, Hokulia whined that Amano was biased because she was once quoted as saying that she thought her colleagues were "strong and honorable."
When rich corporations like Hokulia manipulate the judiciary this way, they subvert the whole concept of equal justice.
Bad behavior in sports must be punished
Finally, someone has stepped up to the plate to curb the poor sportsmanship that has permeated all sports from kids' through the professional ranks. Hawaii High School Athletic Association Executive Director Keith Amemiya's recent sanctions of those involved in the alleged assault on a referee in the recent state soccer championship is the first step (Star-Bulletin, April 11). Players as well as spectators need to be put on notice that improper behavior will not be tolerated. We need to put fair play back in the game.
It is time for all local sports leagues to follow suit by supporting game officials and putting aloha in our competitions.
Past president and head coach
Honolulu Quarterback Club
Victory cries divert Americans from truth
Hawk be not proud nor quick to shriek your victory screams. Once again you have invaded a defenseless country and murdered countless innocents, and many of your best and bravest. Have you reduced the threat of terrorism? Or have you created in your wake 10 new terrorists for every one you killed?
Were you there to capture an evil man? In a grand, dramatic scene we watched your bravest topple a statue of the man you sought. Did you do this as a symbol or to fool us?
We see brave fledglings wearing flowers in their hats as looters and vandals rip what's left of the City of Peace to shreds. Is this the stability you crave?
You wage an illegal war so that someone -- sometime, somewhere -- does not have the capability to build his own weapons of mass destruction. Does this not give to others the right to do the same?
In your own country you instill fear and breed hate and rip to shreds those freedoms and rights that made it great. You have turned this great country into the most feared and hated of all time, and you are arrogant and proud.
In horror, those of us who love our country witness its demise. Hawk be not proud, nor shriek your screams of victory as you sink your talons in our breast.
Hawaii's ed system incredibly bad
As one who graduated from a mainland teacher's college with a teaching certificate, obtained a master of arts degree in education, taught students from K through college sophomores and had 3 children who attended public schools in Hawaii, I can only conclude that our public schools are way below national standards and in disarray.
While we have many dedicated and excellent teachers in Hawaii, our student test scores consistently rank near the bottom when compared to other schools in the United States. It's incomprehensible that all our teachers would be underpaid, and do not have teaching certificates and backgrounds in the subject matter they teach.
It's a matter of neglect and lack of commitment to education that students do not have textbooks to take home and study and that our teachers do not have the supplies they need. It's incredible that substitute teachers are not college graduates with teaching certificates. There is little accountability in Hawaii's public education system. How does anyone know the candidates for the Board of Education and their qualifications in a statewide election system?
Hawaii needs higher standards. Our young people have a thirst for knowledge and are eager to learn. Let's get behind the federal school act and make the necessary reforms to meet the standards.
Bag claim, passenger pick-up need work
Most of us were pooped out from our plane trip from Las Vegas, having attended a milestone reunion of our graduating class of 1953, our 50th! We slowly assembled at the baggage claim area.
What happened next was befuddling. As the luggage came along the conveyer, the speed was such that if you did not identify yours quickly there would be a rather long wait until it came back around, or you could race around trying to retrieve it. Wow! For us senior citizens, that's difficult.
After we got our luggage, we headed outside to wait for our rides. As there was no one there to pick us up immediately, we were asked three times to keep moving in the Diamond Head direction. We were moved away from where we had told our drivers to meet us. Anxiety built up. Gosh, talk about being pooped out. Whew!
Can't anything be done to improve the services at the baggage claim and passenger pick-up areas? Possible solutions are spreading out the luggage and slowing down the conveyor. Regarding the pick-up area, can't the three lanes closest to the curb be designated as pick-up lanes?
We need the kokua of state officials responsible for the Honolulu International Airport to solve these problems.
Roy E. Shigemura
What Democrats need is a real Dream Team
After much reflection, I've come up with the Democratic Dream Team to run against President Bush in 2004. For president, it's Hans Blix hands down, and for vice president look no further than "Baghdad Bob" (don't worry about immigration status, we have many illegal immigrants in America). This would assure all the American people of 24-hour spin with nary a bit of truth to any statement made by either person.
I'm sure this Dream Team would have 100 percent support from our congressional delegation and possibly one of our senators. Think about it, Democrats.