Letters to the Editor

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City should privatize parades, other events

Mayor Mufi Hannemann is to be commended for finding private sector funding for Brunch and Sunset on the Beach, thus ensuring that the taxpayers will no longer be footing the bill. This is an important precedent. Attention must now be given to making sure this policy is extended to the sponsors of special events -- parades, festivals, special street closures, etc. Under the Harris administration, the city often picked up the tab for police presence at these events -- either by paying overtime or diverting on-duty personnel from their normal duties.

If we are saving $230,000 a year for the Brunch and Sunset events, think of how much more will be saved if this policy is extended to all events.

Lynne Matusow

King stood up for garbage workers, too

Every year on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I marvel at the fact that one of the few groups of municipal workers who do NOT get the day off are the city's refuse workers. The reason this is ironic is that when Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis in 1968, he was specifically fighting for the rights of sanitation workers. Surely we could endure one day without rubbish pickup in appreciation of the man who thought everyone -- including garbage men -- should be treated equally, and with dignity, under the law.

Nick Whitney

Local boards would help save schools

The roof collapse at Kailua Intermediate School last week, where my son is a student, brought home the sad state of the school infrastructure in Hawaii. I grew up in Wisconsin, where the public schools were funded by a portion of the local property taxes and we had local school boards and superintendents. Our schools were modern, clean and were a projection of the way our community viewed itself. Our schools were the best. Our teachers and administrators were respected in the community and viewed as leaders.

In contrast, in Hawaii the schools are literally "falling down," and the state Board of Education is known as a wasteful and stagnant bureaucracy, with the teachers union seen by most parents as a barrier to implementing the No Child Left Behind Act. When will the state legislators get rid of the state BOE in favor of local boards? When will we have school buildings that are modern (gee, how about air conditioning?) and the pride of our communities? When will teachers be viewed as community leaders, not obstructionists to educational progress?

The Hawaii school system is a failure, and the sooner the Legislature admits it and instead lets communities be empowered to run their own schools, the better.

Stuart Browne

New rules punish longtime recyclers

The nonprofit organization I work with has been recycling aluminum cans for years. We usually take our crushed cans in once a year. At 35 cents a pound, our last haul of 620 pounds netted us a little more than $200. It's a lot of work for that money, but knowing it helped the environment made it OK.

On Dec. 30, I was home and watching the news when it was announced that starting Jan. 1, the price for crushed cans would go down to 5 cents a pound. I was shocked that we had not gotten more notice so that we could have redeemed the approximately 400 pounds of crushed cans we currently have. I am sure there are others caught in this same situation.

At 5 cents a pound, it is more economically feasible to throw them in the rubbish, but we can't do that in good conscience. It is apparent that the ones being punished are those who were recycling before Jan. 1.

Paula Aurio

As usual, young golfer performed with grace

Much of America sighed when Michelle Wie missed the cut Friday at the Sony Open, but her adult demeanor, appearance and sweetness were in evidence, as always.

Her parents must be very proud of their daughter. She is a real credit to them and her age group.

Try again, Michelle. It will happen.

Helen E. Rummell

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