Letters for Thursday, July 17, 2008

• Pitch in, don’t take away

• Improving medical care access

• Con con referendum most important

• Opposition is broadly based

• Bliss of letter writer

Pitch in, don’t take away

Open letter to those who stole computer equipment from Kapa‘a Middle School:

A public school is funded by tax dollars. If you purchase anything in Hawai‘i, have a job, drive a car, get a tax refund, you’ve contributed to public education. If you went to a public school, you used state tax money. Your theft not only hurts Kaua‘i’s children and teachers, you’ve hurt yourself.

Karma, dude.

You have no idea how much time and money it will take to replace the things you’ve stolen. Public schools are seriously underfunded. Some schools don’t have enough money to pay for supplies. There is consideration that parents may have to pay a “materials fee” to help cover costs. And now, with this huge theft, it does even more damage to public education.

Suggestion: Return the stolen property. Offer to repair or pay for the damages you caused. Help instead of hurt.

Terese Barich


Improving medical care access

The Hawaii Medical Association applauds Senators Akaka and Inouye, Congressman Abercrombie and Congresswoman Hirono for voting in favor of The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (HR 6331), which would stop Medicare physician payment cuts of 10.6 percent. Their support is a critical step in keeping our hospitals open and physicians in business to care for our seniors, disabled and military families.

However, even without the cut, physician reimbursements do not cover the cost of providing medical services, and this should not be the only step to improving the access to medical care problem in Hawai‘i. The current access to care crisis will continue to threaten the health of Hawai‘i’s citizens if more measures are not taken.

While Governor Lingle allowed the “Medical Corps Bill” to pass, which creates a study to examine physician incentives for working in rural areas, HMA urges Hawai‘i legislators to work harder on implementing a multi-tiered approach to protect the health of their constituents. Medical liability reform, which would cost the legislature and taxpayers zero dollars, and increased reimbursements from health insurers are crucial elements to alleviating this crisis.

Hawaii Medical Association will continue advocating for physicians and their patients. It will also take a combined effort from the people of Hawai‘i, asking their legislators to pass long overdue, meaningful reforms that will improve access to quality medical care. We are ready to help.

Cynthia Jean Goto, MD, HMA president


Con con referendum most important

With all of the hoopla of the presidential, state and county elections, many are overlooking the constitutional convention referendum, yet it is probably the most important to the Neighbor Islands. For all my many years on Maui, I’ve repeatedly heard complaints about our “Oahu-centric” state government and they’re true. It’s built into our constitution.

Our Legislature is divided into a House and Senate, each elected based on county population. Obviously, O‘ahu has the dominant position and there are no checks and balances to right it. We may as well eliminate one or the other and save a lot of money.

However, the fathers of the U.S. Constitution foresaw this problem when they created the federal Legislature. They feared that the House, with membership based on population, would allow the major population states to run roughshod over the others. In their wisdom, they created the Senate with two members from each state and gave it predominant powers. Because each state was equally represented, no single one could dominate the others thus checking the power of the more populous states. To avoid voting ties, the vice-president was also given the position of president pro-tem of the Senate and the tie-breaking vote. We must do the same.

If we indeed want to eliminate “O‘ahu-centric” govenment, it is imperative that every Neighbor Island resident vote yes on con-con and fight to change the structure of the Legislature. And remember, our state Supreme Court has ruled that not voting on the con con is equivalent to a “no” vote so you must vote “yes.”

Al Rabold


Opposition is broadly based

In his letter July 16, Joseph Crocona (“Ignorance is bliss,” Letters, July 16) loosely implies that Kaua‘i’s opposition to the Superferry is somehow tied to the “Reinstated Government of Hawai‘i.”

For the record, Kaua‘i’s opposition to the Superferry is broadly based. For better or for worse, support for the “Reinstated Government of Hawai‘i” is a much more narrow and specialized interest here. Undoubtedly there is overlap, but one group does not rely upon nor represent the other. It’s important to maintain that distinction.

James Thompson


Bliss of letter writer

In regards to letter entitled “Ignorance is bliss,” Letters, July16: freedom of expression and freedom of the press was demonstrated when your letter was published.

Regardless of our stand on the Superferry, this diatribe clearly demonstrates our privilege to be citizens of this country. Mahalo to The Garden Island newspaper and the letter writer who managed to rebut his own argument. Take care. Aloha.

Mike Ferguson



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