Letters for Oct. 18, 2014

• Setback would lead to shoreline development • Hawaii teachers face too many demands • Don’t let government use Ebola to infringe on your rights

Setback would lead to shoreline development

Imagine a series of luxury homes visible on the bluffs above shorelines where you fish and surf. Those estates could become legal on Oct. 22 when the council votes on Bill 2461 regarding shoreline setbacks. Bill 2461 has many positive features; however, it includes an unfortunate exemption for coastal properties that are 30 feet in elevation above rocky shorelines.

The exemption would allow developers a 40-foot setback. Existing law requires larger properties to have a 100-foot setback.

This exemption sets an unfortunate precedent by telling developers we’re willing to change our laws for them. It indirectly encourages disrespect. I don’t believe this is the intention of our hard-working council, but we do teach people how we’re willing to be treated. Some coastline areas are also vital for our native seabirds.

The birds are already facing huge challenges. As the NW Hawaiian Islands get submerged, Kauai is destined to be a Noah’s Ark for Laysan albatross. Why would we voluntarily sacrifice their last safe place? They ask for so little.

If developers are encouraged to believe they are more valuable to us than our native birds — or our fish or our soils or our coastlines — we should not be surprised if they feel that way about other native ways.

Council member Mason Chock has proposed dropping the setback exemption in Bill 2461. If you agree with him, please send an email to counciltestimony@kauai.gov. Testify in person if you can. Either way, do it quickly. The council will be considering the bill on Oct. 22.

Hob Osterlund


Hawaii teachers face too many demands

Response to “Lessons in Teacher Turnover” article (TGI, Sunday, Oct. 12). The problem with the Hawaii teaching system is not the lack of qualified teachers. It is keeping the teachers. There are qualified teachers in Hawaii who are leaving the profession because of increasing demands and because of Hawaii’s teacher reciprocity requirements.

I am a California credentialed teacher with 25 years experience. Since Hawaii does not have reciprocity with California, after five years, I could not continue teaching in Hawaii without taking the three Praxis examinations. Instead, I retired.

This year, teachers began the school year with two new curriculums.

Normally, school districts only change one curriculum at a time. Not only are the curriculums demanding but money and time also had to be spent on materials, teacher training, administrative support, academic coaches, and tech equipment and support.

That is a diversion of resources that would be better spent in the classroom and on teacher salaries. Right now, everything is driven by tests. Money is allocated to schools based upon the results of those tests.

Thousands of dollars are spent hiring teams from the Mainland to evaluate and train teachers so they can improve their test scores. In the process, the teachers are required to complete piles of paperwork and spend much of their limited time away from academic preparation and their students.

Hawaii has the resources for quality education. They just need to use them more effectively and bring back the joy of education so that experienced teachers will stay.

Susan Armstrong


Don’t let government use Ebola to infringe on your rights

Ebola is disappearing already. While Ebola panic is being spread by world news, the numbers of cases have been going down in Liberia and Monrovia in West Africa.

See World Health Organization graphs at http://birdflu666.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/ebola-almost-gone-from-liberia-yet-fox-news-calls-for-ebola-camps-in-usa/

Anything that calls for mandatory vaccines or martial law in any fashion needs to be considered an assault on our constitutional rights.

We need to be vigilant.

Ray Songtree



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