Letters to the editor


POSTED: Monday, June 08, 2009

Furloughs help to preserve jobs

I have been in the employment business for the past 28 years, and this recession is the worst I have ever seen and is predicted to get worse. It seems that the people who are complaining about the governor's decision to furlough state workers are not really seeing the true picture of what is happening in our state and the world.

This is not a matter of raising taxes to cover the shortfall, since the businesses themselves are struggling to survive. Once they have more to pay toward taxes, that will mean more loss of jobs, or the people of our communities who have to pay the increased taxes will buy less because of higher costs, which means less business for those companies.

By furloughing state workers the governor is saving state jobs. It is much better to be working than not at all. I just met a woman who was laid off from her job of 36 years who believed she would retire with that company; and her husband, who was recently laid off from his job of 36 years, too, with a company in the hospitality business. If you were this couple, would you rather have a job and work for the state with three days off a month, or no job and a bleak future? How do I help people find jobs when there are few jobs in our community? I am sure those people who don't have jobs right now would prefer to be state workers.

Signe Godfrey

President, Olsten Staffing Services, Honolulu





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Lawmakers should address real problems

Wow, first Hawaii is cited as having the second-highest Internet porn use after Utah (of all places!). The latest study rates Hawaii second in alcoholism. But apparently the red-shirt crowd and a few pandering legislators have determined that the “;greatest threat to the family”; is same-sex couples wanting equal protections under the law.

All of us would benefit greatly if gay marriage opponents spent even half of their passionate efforts solving real problems of the Hawaii ohana instead of continuing to foster divisiveness and bigotry.

Jeff Merz



Furloughs will increase wait time for services

The initial reaction is that the state workers are bearing the brunt of these hard economic times, but this is only partially correct. The public will share by the extra wait that will result from the imposed (monthly) three-day furlough. What may have taken 15 minutes may now require a 45-minute wait, so taking time off from work to do government business will cost an extra half hour of the public's pay.

Business will suffer also because payments, permits, license and other governmental requirements will be delayed. Everyone will suffer some economic loss during these hard times.

Leonard Leong



Rail will provide alternative to cars

There's lots of talk about the increase in gasoline taxes, just when gas prices are rising. Rates are also likely to go up on parking meters as well as at the municipal parking lots. This means we will all find ourselves paying more and more to drive our cars.

The American Automobile Association has determined the cost of owning and operating a car at somewhere over $8,000 per year, depending on gas prices and parking fees.

The bright spot and the light at the end of the tunnel is a train that's coming. Rail will give us an alternative. We can either drive our cars in traffic and pay more for gas and parking, or we can take the train. The choice will be ours.

Jason Wong



State employees face a double whammy

For years and years, the state has been “;stealing”; the future from its public employees by siphoning off “;excess”; profits from the Employee Retirement System to balance the budget. Now, they want the public servants to sacrifice their present lives, which will also affect their retirement dates and income—a double whammy.

There has to be a better way.

Susan Nishioka



State workers paying for Superferry fiasco

Apparently a student of the right wing's “;fair and balanced”; concept, Gov. Linda Lingle wants to furlough state workers and reduce their salaries near 14 percent, while trimming her own paycheck 5 percent.

Remember when, without batting an eye, Lingle put the state $40 million in debt to build Superferry docking facilities on Maui? Unfortunately, due largely to the governor's miscalculations, the Superferry was scuttled and has filed for bankruptcy. Now the taxpayers and state workers appear as the fall guys to pick up the tab for Lingle's misadventure on the Alenuihaha Channel.

How could this happen? A quick check shows the Superferry provided Lingle with thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. Impeachment anyone?

Smoky Guerrero