Letters forTuesday, May 15, 2007

• Get involved

• Integrity of teachers defended

• Quit whining, let’s repair

• Just live aloha

• Vote ‘No’ on 2203


Get involved

Please keep Kaua‘i the “Garden Isle.”

I come to Kaua‘i from Maui to get away from the hustle and bustle of our over-development.

Sadly, I’m noticing it here now. Everyone I’ve spoken to has many concerns regarding all the proposed developments and many want to do something but don’t know how.

The key is to get involved. Write “letters to the editor,” attend council meetings, get involved with the planning process and support groups who want to help better your island. Especially, get the youth of today involved. Together represent Kaua‘i and you will make a difference.

On Maui, a nonprofit grass-roots organization called the Save Honolua Coalition was formed three months ago. Since then, the group has gotten several hundred supporters, over 6,000 signatures on petitions from locals/visitors, $1 million from the Maui County Council and put enough pressure on Maui Land & Pineapple Company (owned by Steve Case) to pull their plans for an 18-hole golf course/40 luxury homes around Honolua Bay. SHC wants to purchase the land around Honolua Bay to preserve it for our present and future generations.

Please Kaua‘i, don’t make the same mistakes Maui has. Kaua‘i has many jewels that need to be protected and cherished for forever.

For more information on how to kokua visit: SaveHonolua.org, Savekokee.org, malama-mahaulepu.org and Napali.org.

Elle Cochran

president, Save Honolua Coalition, Lahaina, Hawai‘i


Integrity of teachers defended

There are over 13,000 teachers in Hawai‘i. Four were arrested for drug use. State legislators and the general public were led by Gov. Linda Lingle in a panic-stricken drive to drug test teachers. Four out of 13,000 made an illegal choice and the cries of the villagers are screaming for justice and safety of children; all that’s missing are torches and pitchforks.

No one has stepped forward to defend the integrity of teachers. Not one legislator, not one administrator, and foremost, not the governor. And while these are the very people that hire teachers, none of them has mandatory drug testing as a requirement for their salaries.

That’s the main issue: teachers were not allowed to receive their raise without agreeing to drug testing. In a political knee-jerk reaction, the governor made it an all-or-nothing “deal” over salary negotiations. Teacher merit was never a consideration. The difficulty of recruiting and retaining new teachers wasn’t given feeble recognition. All 13,000 teachers were blamed for the mistakes of four.

In response to to the outcry of, “teachers are with our children two to six hours a day, we must be sure our children are safe,” remember: teachers are also parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, neighbors, coaches, counselors, and church members. Does it follow, then, that all parents, grandparents, etc., who spend two to six hours a day with children need to be drug tested? “Teachers are state workers, they shouldn’t refuse drug testing.” Welfare recipients get their money from the state. Should they be drug tested before receiving their monthly checks?

Mandatory drug tests are inappropriate for salary contract negotiations. While drug testing is required for many job applications, it’s rarely, if ever, used as the sole criteria for employers to give employees raises.

Drug tests usually include guidelines and have the clause “reasonable suspicion” clearly stated. In stark contrast, nothing is in place for Hawai‘i’s teachers.

Approximately 40 percent of teachers were willing to go without a raise in order to maintain a sense of dignity. What a display of strength of character.

Terese Barich

Koloa


Quit whining, let’s repair

It seems like nobody is more sensitive to name-calling than us haoles. Who knew that a race of people which has been so historically adept at domination and control of wealth and resources, even at the expense of the freedom, survival and sovereignty of indigenous populations, could be brought to its knees by an epithet?

I hope my brothers and sisters of European descent can wipe the tears from their eyes long enough to read a history book or two and recognize that about the only thing we really suffer is the occasional indignity of name-calling. We still manage to control most of the nation’s wealth and exercise most of the influence. By every measure, people of European descent fare better in the United States.

We always seem to land on our feet.

I have heard it stated, “The cry of the oppressed is not always just, but if you do not hear it, you will never know what justice is.”

Name-calling should be evaluated in context. It may be insensitive and hurtful and ignorant of individuality, but one must always remember that unless a name also reflects real social and institutional oppression, then it is just a name. Even in the context of Hawai‘i, with a diverse local population well-represented in government, white people enjoy tremendous power and privilege. Instead of whining about hurt feelings, more whites should be examining why resentment exists, and working to repair historical and present injustices.

Katy Rose

Hanalei


Just live aloha

I’m Filipino made in Hawai‘i, but still considered a haole. Believe me, I know I have a spirit inside of me, because my religion teaches me that.

So, before anyone else gets paranoid about the word haole, no worry, you also have a spirit inside you.

Hawai‘i is a place where we of multi-color people are living together side by side. That’s the best thing that we all can get along.

Okay, there are a few rotten apples that’s true. At least we aren’t parading down the streets in white sheets and claiming we are superior.

Just live aloha … and no stress on the word haole.

Howard Tolbe

‘Ele‘ele


Vote ‘No’ on 2203

I am a 100 percent disabled service-connected veteran. My wife (56 plus years) Betty and I live year round in the Homesteads. We love Kaua‘i and do not want to be any place else.

We both sincerely believe (Big Box) Bill 2203 is misguided and should not be passed.

We also know first hand having owned and run many mom-and-pop businesses successfully for years. We do have deep feelings for small business and also completely understand the necessity for competition. We believe it’s the government’s obligation to encourage competition, not stifle it. The best judge right or wrong is the market. Let the people choose whether or not they want it. I’m thankful there are companies willing to risk a large investment believing they have what the customer wants. Consumers need protection and competition works best, not government regulations.

Charles and Betty Armstrong

Kapa‘a

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