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Dems' veto override wastes public funds

Here's a little something the people of Hawaii should know: The Democrat-dominated Legislature voted to override Governor Lingle's veto of SB 317, which allocated $30,000 to the Korean War Commission. Yes, it is true that when this bill was passed during session, the vote was unanimous. However, Lingle vetoed it because she was able to get the $30,000 donated from private sources rather than take the money out of the budget, which is headed toward an alarming deficit.

The Republicans tried to explain that there was no need to override the veto because Lingle was able to raise the money herself. This override was obviously a political show to undermine the governor. I hope the Democrats will learn to work with the governor this upcoming session.

Michael Sana

Colorado halau treated to a memorable visit

I am happy to see the aloha spirit is alive, well and thriving in Hawaii. Thanks to the generous assistance provided by the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club and the island of Kauai, our Colorado Springs hula halau -- Pacific Pride and Island Hearts -- was able to provide our dancers a first-time visit to the Aloha State. It was a tremendous opportunity and experience for these children to explore and perform publicly in the land where this ancient dance that we love so much originated. Our halau was welcomed with open arms into the community from Day One. It was a pleasure giving the gift of song and dance back to the people who made our stay so memorable.

The Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club, and in particular Simon Jongert and Rod Lau, made a dream become reality for our halau and our children. They most graciously donated all of the rooms at no cost for the group. Without their support, none of this would have been possible.

With all the trouble that is going on in the world, it is reassuring to know that there are organizations and individuals out there who continue to reach out to better the lives of the people, especially our keiki. Mahalo nui loa.

Rich Wong
Pacific Pride & Island Hearts

Case stood his ground for the environment

Rep. Ed Case deserves the gratitude of everyone in Hawaii for taking a tough stand for the environment during last month's debate over the Interior Appropriations bill. His leadership in fighting for the environment, despite determined opposition, sets a strong example for his fellow members of Congress.

In a series of close votes, conservation-minded members of Congress tried to address a number of the country's most pressing environmental concerns, including stewardship of our national forests and protection of their last remaining roadless areas, the plight of Yellowstone Park and its bison, the Klamath Basin Wildlife Refuges in Oregon and California, concerns about public land grabs throughout the western United States, and the dramatic underfunding of our nation's national parks, refuges, open space and recreation needs. Case consistently voted to protect America's treasured lands.

Protecting our wildest, most beautiful places is an American tradition and should not be abandoned now. We have always protected the unique natural places that make this country special. Case's recent courageous efforts honor that tradition well, and we thank him.

William Meadows
The Wilderness Society

Top tourism job seems too good to be true

I'd like to apply for the job of running the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau. Let's see, the job's goal is to increase tourism in Hawaii. You're supposed to do this by attending meetings all over the world at Hawaii taxpayer expense and spout the same story over and over. It doesn't matter that the story never changes; it doesn't matter that you talk to the same people; it doesn't matter that nothing new or original is added to the story; it doesn't matter that you're turning off any prospective customers you might accidentally bump into.

So doing the job is a snap. But then the real good parts of the job show up. You're paid more than $20,000 a month plus benefits and perks. You can misuse the powers of the job, and you can spend taxpayer money for personal things you know you're not supposed to -- if you're caught, just apologize and give the money back -- and no one seems to care that the tourism you're being paid to increase is decreasing.

But the best part is, you quit the job and they pay you six months' severance and tell you what a great job you did. (As I recall, when I was out there working, if you quit your job you were out of there within two hours with no severance.)

Heck, I'm 80 years old and I can handle this easily. Can I have the job?

Robert W. Levy

Trace Hawaii's money woes back to Waihee

Rich Figel's July 1 letter to the editor, "Yes, we should know whom to blame" for Hawaii's plight, fails to hit the mark. Remember, when Ben Cayetano became governor he realized that Hawaii was in a terrible financial state because of his predecessor John Waihee. The trouble continued even in the good years of President Clinton. This is not a new problem, but a continuing one that the Legislature fails to resolve.

John Walsh
Pearl City

State rules are unfair to mainland hygienists

The state of Hawaii enforces a regulation that requires all dental hygienists applying for a state license to have passed their national board exams within the last 12 months. This is a discriminatory policy directed at favoring residents, and ignores the experience of a professional hygienist.

The other 49 states do not require national boards within 12 months of applying for a license. They use a policy of reciprocal licensing, whereby they recognize other state's licensing, the hygienist's work history and references. The state may implement a local practical exam or state policy test; which is reasonable since the dental regulations vary from state to state.

That is why more than 30 positions go unfilled each year in Hawaii. This industry will grow by 32 percent a year, and those vacancies will go unfilled because the locals cannot fill them and the state prevents hygienists from the mainland from getting a job.

When it comes to your health care you deserve better. Let your state know you want unfair and discriminatory laws repealed. You want your state to fill those 30 jobs a year and help generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in local revenue, taxes and income.

Jon-Paul Mickle




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