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Letters for Monday — March 6, 2006

•Soldiers honored

• Free speech ramblers taxing

• Surprised substitute teacher

• Any end in sight?

Soldiers honored

On behalf of the Kauai soldiers of the 29th Brigade, Hawaii Army National Guard, a heartfelt thanks to the residents and administration of the county of Kauai for making the welcome home ceremony held at Vidinha Stadium a resounding success.

The support we received over the last 18 months from our fellow Kauaians was truly overwhelming, and this heart-warming ceremony constituted a final milestone which will remain a significant part of our lives.

Thanks again, and LUCKY WE LIVE KAUAI … E Maka’ala Kakou.

  • James R. Jimenez, Lihu‘e

Free speech ramblers taxing

Most people do not have the time or opportunity to testify before the County Council, so for those who make the effort, their devotion to civic responsibility should be applauded.

But where do we draw the line on those individuals who would use this platform to introduce ideas and subjects that are not germane to the agenda item under discussion? If you watch or attend the televised council meetings and other governmental forums, the same small band of speakers are almost always in attendance with something to say on practically every issue that invites public comment.

These self-appointed watchdogs can be helpful and have given useful testimony on crucial issues facing the county. But there are times when the person in charge of the meeting should cut them off and move on, which is exactly what happened during a council committee meeting last month when the chairman pounded his gavel and called an impromptu recess to halt a rambling speaker who was more concerned with his own agenda than the one he rose to speak about.

It seems as though just because the chairperson calls for testimony, these chronic testifiers feel obligated to respond, as if the meeting was being held solely for their benefit. Perhaps out of fear of being accused of depriving free speech, those in charge of public meetings grant speakers so much latitude that it leads all too frequently to oratorical transgressions that would make temporary deafness an enviable condition.

County government requires input from the public, but the public has an obligation to respect the rules of order, which by necessity prohibit the flagrant use of self-serving rhetoric disguised as legitimate testimony.

Unsubstantiated claims and statements that are obviously inflammatory should be stricken from the public record just as they would be in a court of law.

While no one is advocating the censorship of public opinion, it is nonetheless incumbent on those testifying to stick to the issues at hand and avoid lapsing into superfluous monologues, which tend to shorten tempers and discourage other speakers from coming forward.

I can’t help but wonder if those who monopolize the public speaker’s chair would get to the point a lot faster if the television cameras were not there.

The right of free speech must never be abridged, but there are times when you wish someone would kindly ask the speaker who is holding the audience hostage to PLEASE SHUT UP!

  • Stephen O’Leary Wailua

Surprised substitute teacher

Imagine my amazement to find in my mail when I returned from knee replacement surgery that I must pay $100 and attend evening classes totaling 30 hours in order to maintain my status as a substitue teacher at Kauai High School.

Note that this is only for “higher” substitute teachers.

When I attended the required 30 hours three years ago, I was really at a loss to understand why the information I received in those classes couldn’t have been taught in one three-hour session.

Now, it seems, I need to not only learn 30 hours more of “vital” information on how to be an effective substitute teacher.

As I have written before, I am constantly impressed not only by the wonderful teachers who are at Kauai High School, but also the students and office personnel. Couldn’t this $100 be put to better use by offering it to the regular classroom teachers, for additional, challenging supplies, who are spending so much time and energy in class preparation? I understand that it is necessary that all personnel be aware of new policies, regulation, etc., but 30 hours seems to me to be a little cumbersome and wasteful.

Is it only substitute teachers who seem to be so in need? As a substitute teacher, I see myself in a position to do my very best to follow the regular teacher’s instructions so that when she or he returns to the classroom, the class work will flow with as few problems as possible.

  • Irma Ekno Lihu‘e

Any end in sight?

Once again, the Bush administration has been caught in another big lie.

When will it end? When Bush is impeached? Or when his term ends? Bush knew about 9/11 a month before it happened, and did nothing to stop it.

Bush knew about Hurricane Katrina, then denied later that he knew what was going to happen, but was caught on film, as we are now witnessing.

The problem is that 50 percent of Americans seem to think this is all a “foolsball” game, and Bush is their quarterback.

This is no game, this is our present and future that Bush is squandering.

Running up record deficits every year.

Allowing our soldiers to come into harms way for nothing.

Allowing 9/11 to happen.

Allowing Katrina to happen.

Allowing 1 trillion dollars in T-Bills to be sold to foreign countries, which “we the people” will be paying off when we want our Social Security.

And now, Bush wants to hand over our security to the E.A.U. because they have the fifth-largest oil reserves in the world.

Every Republican out there who is backing Bush simply because he wears your team colors is not a real American.

You are simply a mindless follower, and you should be deeply ashamed of yourself.

  • Dennis Chaquette Kapa‘a

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