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Dobelle shrugs off UH budget realities

I want to express my gratitude to the authors of "Dangerous Equations" for the in-depth article covering University of Hawaii President Evan Dobelle's tenure (Insight, Star-Bulletin, July 6).

The article confirms what I felt has been happening during the last two years at the university. As a faculty member, I cannot accept the costly personnel additions to the administration and the outrageous salary of the football coach when most programs will be facing crippling cutbacks in faculty; when teaching facilities are inadequate and unrepaired; when students cannot get the courses they need to graduate; and when faculty members do not receive the salaries they deserve.

As an alumna, I am deeply saddened and angered by the degradation of the university I attended and now work for.

I can only hope that the Board of Regents rectifies this situation and strives as hard to find funds for the students and faculty as it did to find monies to pay the football coach and other administration officials.

Patsy K. Fujimoto

Democrats favor HGEA over taxpayers

Now maybe the voters of this state will understand why the Democrats have a donkey as their mascot. After the way members of the Democratic-controlled Legislature talked and acted during the special session, they pretty much all looked like jackasses.

After last year's session, the Democrats were patting themselves on the back for passing civil service reform by doing away with binding arbitration. But then they thought the next governor would share their party affiliation. It's obvious that if all the union members followed the advice of their respective leaders, Governor Lingle would never have been elected. However, there were many union members who wanted change. Now part of that change has been reversed by the special interests of the Hawaii Government Employee Association and the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate.

They have shown their true colors by blindly following the dictates and wishes of the HGEA leadership and overturning their "success," while turning their backs on the taxpayers, yet again. Their interest is to stay within the good graces of the union leadership and retain their current jobs in public office. House Speaker Calvin Say and Senate President Robert Bunda, in particular, and the Legislature in general, should be ashamed of this blatantly obvious political pandering.

Jim Fromm

Audit findings will help Vericella improve

I do not excuse Tony Vericella for wrongly using state dollars for minor personal expenses ("State audit blasts HVCB," Star-Bulletin, June 26). But to judge him as unfit to continue as president of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, or to question his dedication to the state's most important industry, is off the mark.

In my professional and personal dealings with Vericella, I found him to be thoughtful and responsive. His public apology and immediate reimbursement were testament to that. I believe the auditor's findings will help, not hinder, his future managerial performance.

Dalton Tanonaka

It's the governor who's putting people first

House Speaker Calvin Say and Senate President Robert Bunda attempt to justify the Legislature's party-line overrides of six of Governor Lingle's vetoes by arguing that the Democrats put people first (Star-Bulletin, July 10).

The implication, of course, is that Lingle doesn't put people first. The reality is that by restoring fiscal discipline to the state government, the governor is putting Hawaii's people first. Many other states have reached the point of fiscal crisis because of excessive spending and economic downturn. Rainy day funds exhausted; they are now slashing social service and education budgets, laying off public workers and raising taxes. Only fiscal discipline, like Lingle's, can keep Hawaii from having to make the same tough choices.

The irony of the situation is that while Speaker Say and President Bunda criticize the governor's discipline as cold-hearted, they acknowledge that they are depending on her to restrict spending if the state's fiscal situation doesn't improve. Their preferred fiscal policy seems to be to budget and spend based on their belief that the fiscal situation will improve, and to let the governor take the heat for any necessary restrictions and cuts if their expectations don't pan out. This might be a good strategy for electing Democrats; it is not good fiscal policy.

Say and Bunda close their op-ed piece by saying that the Democrat-controlled Legislature also represents the people of Hawaii. They are correct, and they need to start acting like it.

Bradley Davis

Perhaps mayor needs to take out the trash

Mayor Harris says he wants to implement an island-wide curbside recycling program (Star-Bulletin, July 9). I do not believe him. If he were serious about achieving this goal he would come up with a plan that would really work.

Up until the city announced that it would start curbside recycling, I was having my recyclables picked up from my curbside weekly by Horizon Waste Recycling. When the city made its announcement, Horizon ceased operations. Then the city failed to provide a recycling program. Auwe!

Now Harris does not even want to provide us with separate bins for our recyclables. He thinks people can use the same bin for recyclables as they do for their garbage. Nonsense! Where will I put my garbage while the recyclables are in my bin? Where will I put my recyclables while I have garbage in my bin?

Meanwhile, I am keeping the bin that Horizon provided me. At least I have someplace to store my recyclables until I can take the bin to my local recycling center. It seems like Harris isn't the one taking out the trash at his house, or he would understand the basic principles of trash accumulation and devise a recycling program that works.

Celeste Rogers


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