Letters to the Editor

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In a time of crisis, lawyers did their part

On 1958, President Eisenhower designated May 1 as Law Day. Law Day 2004 affords us the opportunity to reflect upon the privileges we enjoy and the responsibilities we bear as citizens of a nation founded upon laws that protect our rights and ensure our freedom.

It is also an appropriate time to acknowledge the contributions of more than 1,100 attorneys from every state, including Hawaii, who gave their time and legal talents to help victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. These lawyers volunteered through Trial Lawyers Care, the largest pro bono (free) legal services program in history.

TLC was created by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and state lawyer associations, like Consumer Lawyers of Hawaii, immediately after Congress established a September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, designed to provide prompt relief to victims' families.

In the end, TLC lawyers provided free legal services to more than 1,700 families of 9/11 victims and helped obtain recovery from the fund without having to go to court.

Helping others in time of need is a hallmark of the American way of life. So, for Law Day 2004, we should remember how our laws help us protect our freedom and our way of life.

Roy J. Bell III
Consumer Lawyers of Hawaii

Teachers deserve raise more than Council

It was nice to read that the City Council members may receive a 21 percent pay raise (Star-Bulletin, April 23). I am sure that they deserve it because they help our community. Not like those teachers who do little work and have to continue their education through out their career. They had to strike for 20 days and all they received was a 3 percent raise and lost retirement benefits in the process.

It isn't like teachers help our community or have the power to help sculpt young minds to become better people. Let's make sure to underpay those who are in direct contact with our keiki and can inspire them.

I have been using sarcasm to make a point. Ask your children, they can explain it to you because a teacher took the time to educate them.

Michael Coviello

Schools should not survey sex orientation

I know I am not the only parent who does not want my child subjected to sexual orientation surveys created by those who advocate homosexual behavior. These surveys are intrusive and inappropriate for young children, but they will become a reality if the resolutions that recently passed through the House and Senate are enacted.

I admire Carol Gabbard of the Board of Education and her daughter, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo, for having the courage to voice their opposition to these measures, and for pointing out glaring statistical flaws in the legislation. I agree with Carol Gabbard when she says we don't want any child discriminated against or harassed for any reason. But the DOE's own numbers show that harassment of homosexual students is rare. Why waste tax money and our educators' valuable time conducting a study on a problem that barely exists?

Vivian C. Ah Sam
Ewa Beach

Drug pool will help, should be expanded

As lawmakers who have worked hard to bring prescription drug relief to our state, we are encouraged by the news, announced by the state administration, that Hawaii will join Michigan, Vermont, New Hampshire, Alaska and Nevada in a multi-state purchasing pool to lower the cost of prescription drugs for people in Medicaid.

Medicaid spending continues to rise and is a huge burden to Hawaii's state budget. Prescription drug spending for people in Medicaid has risen about 20 percent a year for several years, and the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs is the primary reason. However, we can and should do more.

We encourage the administration to include the 300,000 people who will be eligible for Hawaii Rx Plus in this purchasing pool. Hawaii Rx Plus is scheduled to begin July 1, and this agreement will allow Plus beneficiaries to receive deeper discounts and rebates on their prescription drugs. The formula is quite simple -- the more people who are in the purchasing pool, the better chance the states will have to negotiate the best discounts and rebates.

We also encourage the administration to bring state workers into this agreement.

Sen. Ron Menor
(D, Mililani)
Rep. Roy Takumi
(D, Pearl City-Pacific Palisades)

Elementary story brings fond memories

Thank you for your article on my elementary school ("Wailuku Elementary to mark 100 years," Star-Bulletin, Feb. 29). I printed it and shall keep it in my memory file for my descendants. It made me proud to have been a student of such a stately school. Memories abound of my 6:30 a.m. walk from my home near the Star Soda & Ice Works on Mill Street to the school.

Pundy Yokouchi was my neighbor, quiet and studious Eichi Oki lived across the street, Nadao (Najo) Yoshinaga was a close family friend and Fujiko Katsutani was my tutor in swimming at the Wailuku Gym Pool.

Many of my classmates were my best friends from kindergarten through 1947, when we all graduated from Baldwin High School: Lilian (Tomita) Matayoshi, Grace (Low) DePorter, Annette (Shigezawa) Sumada, Takashi Matsui, Edward Jim, Paul Low, and last but not least, Mitsue ("Pluto" Taguchi) Suzuki.

My kindergarten teacher was Mrs. Yoshikane; I also had Mrs. Crockett (3rd and 6th grades) and Mrs. Weight (4th and 8th grades). Kindergarten was frightening, even though Mrs. Yoshikane was kind and gentle. Mrs. Weight was totally opposite, with yardstick in her hand to control the unruly. I owe my educational aspirations to her.

May Day was festive, as partner "Pluto" and I -- with six others also dressed as pilgrims -- grasping streamers in our hands, danced round and round the "May Pole," wrapping it with the many-colored streamers.

You made my day!

Jane (Midori Morimoto) Watanabe
Pearl City


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