WAKE UP, HAWAII
As a lifetime resident of Hawaii, I have been very proud to have an island resident become president of the United States. I sincerely believe he is a man of integrity and will try and bring that same integrity to our country in the coming years of his first term.
However, I am ashamed of our own local elected officials’ failure to rise above partisanship, special interest groups, self-serving unions and corporate big money interests in the absence of the real needs of our people here in Hawaii. It is time to separate the wheat from the chaff — though I don’t see much wheat out there.
We need some real long-term LEADERSHIP with pragmatic VISION to get this state turned around in the right direction. Priorities must be examined over and over again until we get it right. Otherwise, I am afraid we are in for more years of economic decline with high taxes, high unemployment, continued high cost of living, stagnant wages and poor education for our children.
Recently, we all witnessed the horrible catastrophe in Haiti. What saddens me to no end is seeing so many people whose family members, friends, coworkers and so forth are buried without circumstance, recognition or dignity.
Of course, our situation here in Hawaii is nowhere near as dire or in any way a natural disaster as in Haiti. But our people are suffering, too, through loss of employment, home foreclosures, more taxes, lack of adequate education and the continued rise in the cost of living.
Not all of us are survivors, and some have been sadly lost in the chaff forever as time marches on innocently.
I am a proud American and I love my country. I am optimistic and hopeful about our country and see us making great strides into the 21st century. I wish I could say the same for my state.
To our elected officials, if the phone is ringing, it is truly a WAKE UP CALL. And to our youth, I say, get educated, get involved and help guide our state back to prosperity and dignity.
DONALD KENNEDY, Lahaina
FIND SOLUTIONS TO FURLOUGH FRIDAYS
There were many times when I disagreed with former Superintendent Pat Hamamoto, but I am a product of the Hawaii Public School System, and so I thank her for her many years of service.
In her retirement plans, she has become more of a leader now than ever before. The fact that we as a society are allowing the “economic crisis” to jeopardize our students’ futures is outrageous. By volunteering to read with children in her retirement, she is volunteering her time and leads the way in the richness of human capital that we must tap into.
If we are doomed to another year with Furlough Fridays, I would like to see more creative solutions. Can we have the students learn about their own sense of place during time away from classroom instruction? Can we form a partnership with others in the community and local kupuna to educate the keiki about the ahupua‘a system hands-on and in their own backyard?
It is a priceless lesson in culture, ecology, history, sustainability, hard work and teamwork that Hawaii as a state would be much richer for. If there are lo‘i or fishponds or heiau that need to be restored, have community members and students work together to accomplish the project and perpetuate the culture.
Protesting can be effective, but sometimes we need to move forward as a community to ensure we are using every resource to our best advantage.
If teachers can’t teach the children on Fridays, who will?
KA‘AINA KEALOHA, Kahului
STATE LOTTERY COULD HELP FUND EDUCATION
Very pleased and feeling the momentum of support for a statewide lottery. I, along with others, have been advocating a lottery for years.
A recent article in The Maui News also stated we are behind in the number of school days on a national level. We are behind the rest of the states in having a lottery.
I am not naive enough to think lottery funds would all go direct to education, as they should, but if only ten cents on the dollar does, that’s ten cents less needed from taxpayers.
How do we get this much-needed lottery legislation on a ballot, which will let the people decide? Writing letters to politicians does not work. Who’s in favor of a statewide lottery? Make some noise!
BURT T. BELL
OBAMA TAKING ON BIG BUSINESS INTERESTS
All this bashing of President Obama makes me wonder about the whys and the where it is all coming from.
Since there is so much greed in America’s big business — banks, pharmaceuticals, insurance, auto makers, mega corporations, etc. — that he is trying to quell, I can only concede that that’s where the source is. And what political party is involved? Guess!!!
In some of our books, George W. Bush was one of the worst presidents we’ve ever had in our memory, which dates back a long way. All these present day critics were quiet those eight years.
Now that President Obama is trying his legal best to undo some of that crap that went on, the boo-birds are screaming over the candy that might be taken away. Do those big business people — I won’t call them leaders — deserve those mega million-dollar bonuses? I think they should get the hell taxed out of them. Well, you’re entitled to your opinion; I’m entitled to mine.
Make no mistake — if President Obama was only half as good as he really is, he would still be a hell of a lot better than what we had for the recent eight years. I believe he’s attempting to take care of the little guy for a change, and the big guys don’t like the change. Just my mana‘o.
GORDON C. COCKETT, Lahaina
JUSTICE FOR ALL
In the not-so-distant future, justice will ultimately prevail, and equal rights will be extended to all regardless of race, creed, gender or sexual
orientation. In years to come, subsequent generations of Americans will look back at the current arguments and laws against legalized civil unions with disbelief and reproach.
History shall reveal present-day homophobic beliefs and prejudicial laws for the bigotry and discrimination they have always been. Historical perspective today exposes other once popular but now reviled laws, such as those permitting slavery, denying women the right to vote and forbidding interracial marriage, for the misguided and unjust policies that they were. As with these previous injustices from yesteryear, an enlightened awareness shall lay bare the flawed arguments and wrongful laws presently being employed against extending equal rights to same-sex couples through civil unions.
Civil rights should never be denied to anyone. Equal treatment under the law demands that same-sex couples be granted the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as those received in marriage by opposite-sex couples under state law. Despite whatever temporary legal setbacks civil unions may suffer in the coming months or years, liberty and justice for all requires of us to continue fighting the good fight against bigotry and discrimination.
As a moral and just society, we must not quit until all forms of institutionalized discrimination are inevitably relegated to where they belong — forever cast into history’s rubbish heap.
MICHAEL RA BOUCHARD, Hilo