LETTERS for September 17 issue
‘LOSER FACTOR’ IMPACTING UNEMPLOYMENT RATES?
I was talking with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, and when the conversation got around to work, he said he had been wrongly fired and was collecting unemployment — $550 a weeks’ worth!
He had just returned from a trip to the Mainland for a month while collecting the “easy” money and planned to go back to live there, because his unemployment benefits would follow him for the remainder of the 18 months he has been allotted. He would do this until “the economy turned around.”
Times are hard, and it is extremely difficult to get a job, but this guy is on a holiday. How can the economy turn around while you are draining it?
I suggested that he consider starting up a small business with his new funding partners: YOU & ME, the U.S. TAXPAYER.
I reminded him that although you deserve unemployment benefits to try and “bridge the gap” between jobs, you should do everything in your power to get back into the program of living a self-sustained existence.
He said he couldn’t find a job that would pay him as well as the benefits were paying him. Talk about a “bridge (the gap) to nowhere.” What a loser.
That’s when I started thinking about what I call the “loser factor.”
The news media reported today the negative details of a rising unemployment rate and its effect upon our nation’s economic recovery. Sir, you are milking the system for unemployment benefits and falsely adding to that increase, draining monies that could be redirected to better uses than your tragic plight to live the high life.
Statistics for Hawaii show that in April 2009, we spiked at 48,035 unemployed. That was 7.4 percent jobless. By July, we reduced that to 45,314 unemployed and lowered the unemployment rate to 7.0 percent.
If you take into account that in January of 1999, the State of Hawaii listed a workforce of 604,000 people, and then take a look at the fact we have 645,471 today, 45,314 of which are listed as unemployed, you start to realize that many of the workforce that are unemployed moved here during the fat times and are now stuck here without a job.
The hardworking agriculture folks that tragically lost their jobs after getting left behind by the real estate vultures, are accounted for in the 1999 statistics. They were in career jobs at their respective plantations, and although they are a significant part of the current unemployment rate, you have to accept that the unemployment rate in 1999 was at 5 percent. Still, a portion of the current numbers are agricultural layoffs, but it is my opinion that the added 2 percent in today’s figures can largely be attributed to low occupancy rate layoffs in the hotels. The agriculture layoffs for Kapalua and Maui Land & Pine are factors, sure, but the people who moved here during the economic explosion of the first part of this century, and now find themselves jobless, make up the rest. Realtors, timeshare sales and marketing, restaurant employees, resort operations, retail, etc. make up this group of unemployed transients.
Hotels and resorts, now is the time to discover the unemployed talent that we have on island and put them to work for you. Resist transferring people into available positions from out of state and employ locals first. Get the list of unemployed ranks from the state and sift through them, find a candidate that has skills you can use and call them in for an interview. Every hotel should have an area set aside to grow their own vegetables and herbs to feed their masses — hire displaced ag workers to develop and maintain the garden. Donate the fresh products to the hungry and earn tax credits. Rehire your layoffs to work beautification projects or to perform community service for your cause.
I am no expert, but if you put your minds to it, I am sure you can find many creative ways to help out our unemployed.
So, all of you that rightfully receive benefits and are keeping your ship afloat until you can make ends meet, keep on pushing because in the end you will succeed.
All of you reading this that are on the take and getting a tan at the beach, reading US magazine and trying to decide which happy hour to hit, take note that you are making it tougher on all of us as a whole by not trying to pull your own weight. Spend your benefit money here on local products and businesses, and at least try and help to infuse the economy with your new found booty. Don’t be a part of the problem — become a part of the solution and get back to work.
STEVAN HOLT, Lahaina
RESIDENTS TO PROTEST USE OF FOIE GRAS
There will be two peaceful demonstrations. Your readers who care about animal rights are invited to volunteer with us against two restaurants that serve foie gras.
Demonstrations will be held Sept. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. at a Kihei restaurant, and Sept. 25 at a restaurant in Lahaina from 6 to 8 p.m.
For information, call 879-0025.
Foie gras is cruel, as it is produced at factory farms where they force-feed ducks pounds of corn three times a day. It’s forced down their throats with metal tubes from a machine, injuring the inside of their throats and stuffing them until their livers swell up and become diseased. This is painful to the duck and unhealthy to eat, as it is literally diseased liver.
Factory farms say ducks are dumb, so it’s easy to do this to them. However, they are beautiful creatures, graceful on water, and deserve a natural life without torture.
BARBARA STEINBERG, Kihei
SCHOOL THANKS HULA GRILL
For over 12 years now, Hula Grill has supported King Kamehameha III Elementary School with the “Hula Grill Educator of the Month Award.” We here at King Kamehameha III want to take this opportunity to thank Hula Grill for their dedication and generous support of the staff at our school.
It is greatly appreciated that community organizations like Hula Grill recognize that all of us have a vested interest in the education of our children. Thank you for sharing our vision that children succeed when families, schools and communities work together.
STEVE FRANZ, Principal, King Kamehameha III Elementary School
STUDENTS REWARDED WITH SPECIAL LUNCHEON
On Friday, Aug. 28, some of our students were treated to a very special luncheon. Some 159 students were rewarded for their accomplishments during the fourth quarter of last year. The groups included Renaissance Gold, Silver and Bronze Partners Qualifiers, 4.0 students, B.U.G. winners and Ai Do Kea (students that improved their GPA by at least .5 points).
The students received invitations earlier in the week, and when they arrived in the cafeteria on Friday, they were ushered into a festive, brightly decorated seating area set up just for them. The luncheon was made possible, for the second year in a row, by the efforts of some extraordinary Lahaina Intermediate alumni and some of their families and friends.
These wonderful members of our community decided that they wanted to give something back to LIS and perhaps inspire some students. Most of these folks work together in the hotel industry and are proud to share their success stories with our students. These individuals sponsored, prepared and then served lunch to our students.
Mahalo to all of them for their dedication and true heart!
Thank you to Trixie Ganer, Sherylyn Yadao, Daisy Yadao, Jackie Phillips, Andy Mangiduyos, Jay-R Tagayuna, Jean Ewing and Kalikoleua Storer.
BECKY ALTIER, PCNC Facilitator and Renaissance Committee Member, Lahaina Intermediate School
‘REDO THE IMU!’ A GREAT SUCCESS
The Lahainaluna High School Foundation and Stadium Development Committee would like to thank all the individuals, companies and organizations that, through their generosity, hard work and dedication, made our Tailgate 2009 event such an exceptional success. The Tailgate is a LHS athletics celebration and awareness event for the stadium project, “Re-do the IMU!” — a project to bring a sports and events stadium to Lahainaluna and the community of West Maui.
Our sincerest mahalo to Neil Everett, Cool Cat Cafe, Maui Executive Transportation, Media Systems, Island Ice, Maui Soda & Ice, Pineapple Grill Restaurant, Maui News, Lahaina News, Pacific Radio Group, H Hawaii Media, Princess Nahienaena Elementary School, LahainaTown Action Committee, The Wharf Cinema Center, King Kamehameha III Elementary School, Sacred Hearts School, Anthony Griffith, Canoes Restaurant, Lahaina Cannery Mall, Lahainaluna High School, LHS Boarding Department, LHS Band and Cheerleaders, Ridiculust, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Lahaina First Ward, Kumulani Chapel, Maui TV News, Maui Time Weekly, Anne Friedman and Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua,
We also want to thank all the West Maui businesses that displayed our event poster, and all those Front Street businesses that decorated their storefronts.
Mahalo to all the volunteers who helped with set-up, breakdown, decorating and working the various booths.
And thanks to all who attended Tailgate 2009 and supported us through donations, brick paver and merchandise purchases.
JEFF ROGERS, Development Coordinator, Lahainaluna High School Foundation