Saturday, May 21, 2022 |
Share this story
• Commit to children’s health
• Be accountable for salaries
• Enforce uniformly
• Look to future with imagination
• For shame I assume
Commit to children’s health
The recent veto by President Bush of legislation to provide health care to millions of children is appalling. This means that over 9,000 children in Hawai‘i who are eligible for coverage under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program will now suffer as a result. And when our children suffer, we all suffer.
As if to add insult to injury, the president vetoed health insurance for children in the same week as he proclaimed an official “Child Health Day,” which the administration described in a press release as a time to “reaffirm our commitment to helping children develop good nutrition habits and active lifestyles, so that they can grow into healthy and productive adults.”
Health insurance for children is not a political issue that can be brushed aside by proclamation. This is about helping children, period. A bipartisan majority in Congress recognizes that in America, no child should go without health care. Most responsible leaders also know that if nothing is done, the situation is only going to get worse. The cost of health care is soaring out of control and working families simply can’t keep up.
Our children need a lot more than rhetoric to grow into healthy and productive adults. If President Bush really wants to show commitment to children’s health, he should give them annual check-ups, vaccinations and regular contact with a pediatrician who knows and cares about them — he shouldn’t just give them a press release and soundbites.
Randy Perreira, president
Hawaii State AFL-CIO
Be accountable for salaries
I thank Horace Stoessel for the Guest Viewpoint (“Salary Commission work merely a plan for increases?,” Forum, Oct. 1) about the recent administrative salary increases awarded by the Salary Commission.
The viewpoint clarifies that salaries were increased by 25 percent effective July 1, 2007, and they will be increased by 7 percent on Jan. 1, 2008, 7 percent on Jan. 1, 2009, and 7 percent on Jan. 1, 2010, when compounded, a net increase of over 50 percent. Are we talking about a salary commission or Santa Claus?
Yes, the salary commission “has expressed its intention to foster administrative accountability and performance-based pay by requiring appointers to justify salary raises.” But as usual will it simply be the fox guarding the hen house with no real “teeth” in this equation to foster the intent that these words imply?
I am reminded that since the days of Gary Hooser being on the council to the time when Mel Rapozo took the baton and ran with it, we have been waiting for a performance audit to be done of our government — all in vain. A few years ago the council even appropriated $500,000 for this audit but obviously it was nothing but a token gesture as the majority of the council still refused to pass it leaving councilman Rapozo (who has pushed the hardest for this audit) frustrated.
The article implies that unless accountability extends to the top of the administration, the gigantic increases in salaries may mean nothing more than higher taxes down the road. Unless the voters approve a county manager’s system, is this county capable of operating like a private business with accountability and pay for performance?
In recent weeks, many have mentioned the current low price of inter-island airfare as a reason why no additional alternatives are needed. One-way tickets that once sold for well over $100 can now be purchased for $39, $29, or sometimes even $9.
However, these discounts have caused both Hawaiian and Aloha to post significant quarterly losses since go! entered the market last year. Additionally, Hawaiian is currently suing go!; they are seeking $173 million in damages and a one-year ban on ticket sales. The low fares we currently enjoy are not sustainable and it is entirely possible that one airline will be driven out of business. In fact, Hawaiian alleges that go!’s business model is to eliminate Aloha and then raise ticket prices.
Recent history has proven that limited competition causes the carriers to become very comfortable with the inelastic portion of the demand for their services. For example, many tourists and businessmen will continue to travel inter-island whether the price is $9 or $100 a ticket.
One can only speculate if the Superferry can directly compete with the airlines. I suspect it might appeal to a unique class of travelers. The ability to take one’s vehicle will likely attract building contractors, school groups, larger families, car enthusiasts, individuals uncomfortable with flying, etc. However, if the price of airline tickets skyrockets again, many occasional flyers may appreciate having an alternative.
Regardless, the right to own and operate a business cannot be subordinated to the whims of the general public — America is a representative republic and not a democracy. The need for competition or the lack thereof makes for an interesting discussion at the water cooler, but it is ultimately not a determining factor in whether or not the Superferry is allowed to operate. The rule of law is the ultimate authority in this case. Our elected officials must ensure that the relevant laws are clear, constitutional, and enforced objectively and uniformly without prejudice.
Brian W. Young
Look to future with imagination
I am a citizen of Hawai‘i and I have a constitutional right to intra-state travel. You say, “Then fly, fly, fly.”
When do you think the cheap air fares will go away? I believe soon as competition drops. The traditional mode of transportation in Hawai‘i has been by sea. What is in the minds of the few who deny the citizens of this state the right to travel. What is next? … a visa to travel to Kaua‘i? Look at the island … rich resorts and locals to serve them. Is that pono? Interisland travel by residents of Hawai‘i will bring back a sense of aloha and independence for the islands and not just dependence on the barge and the plane. Look at the future with imagination, not fear.
For shame I assume
Just to let you know that after reading the letters that you publish, I am most disappointed that you allow the letters that encourage the disrespect of the law of the land to dominate. As part of the silent majority, I am ashamed of the treatment of the governor by the protesters of the Superferry. This is most shameful. To say that I am from Kaua‘i will forever be branded by the protesters’ actions. Auwe.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
By participating in online discussions you
acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful
discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments
are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines,
send us an email.