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LETTERS for March 21 issue

By Staff | Mar 21, 2013

Lahaina Yacht Club offers scholarships

Your editorial about scholarship scams was both timely and very informative. Using Kristy Arakawa at Lahainaluna is excellent advice.

One thing for parents and students to remember is that there are a lot of scholarships available from local organizations.

The Lahaina Yacht Club, for example, has two scholarship programs. The first is supported by the LYC Boomvangers. They offer scholarships to any qualified graduate from Lahainaluna High School who will be attending any two- or four-year college.

The second program is offered by the LYC Board of Governors. This program is for any qualified graduate from Lahainaluna that will be attending a trade school. In the past, this program has funded auto mechanics and nurses.

For some reason, the BOG scholarship fund has had no applicants in the last two years. Kids, we want to spend this money. It’s burning a hole in our collective pockets. We want to be part of your success in school.

Parents, get your kids off the video games and get them filling out applications. If you’re considering going to a trade school after graduation, please see Ms. Arakawa today. You snooze, you lose!

MIKE SOWERS, Treasurer, Lahaina Yacht Club


Ban the sale of dog meat

There are many misconceptions in the dog meat trade. It is not about telling people what they can eat or not eat in Hawaii; it is about animal cruelty.

Dogs that are guide dogs help the blind and handicapped people with diseases, enabling them to function in society. Beloved dogs help them with so many functions of life.

Dogs go to mine fields and find bombs. There are bomb-sniffing dogs, and they help in many areas of rescue. In the war in Afghanistan, dogs are treated like soldiers in their helping capacity.

Knowing this, would you find it in your hearts to allow Hawaii to eat dog meat?

It is already a felony to kill a dog! They do it “under the table.” They are knowingly breaking the law doing this. The sale and consumption of dog meat is not illegal yet. We still need a law to ban the sale and consumption of dog meat.

Please go to www.carrollcox.com; there is background on the dog meat trade in the State of Hawaii and thorough investigations.

This extreme cruelty happens in many places in Hawaii. These dogs that are bred for the sale of dog meat in Oahu are treated in horrendous conditions – they have very dirty water, no space and shake in fear of this cruelty.

What you can do to help is call state legislators to support the importance of passing a law, e-mail carroll@carrollcox .com or call Maui Humane Society’s Animal Control.

“The world is a dangerous place, and not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” – Albert Einstein



Hawaii teachers need a new contract

Recently, as a trusted teacher/state employee in my second grade classroom, I had to have Child Protective Services contacted, created another behavior contract for an impulsive student, continued a science lesson on matter and electricity, motivated the well-below diverse reading group, taught three-digit subtraction, created a class book with our stories for all to read and share, and supervised recess for 300-plus students.

And that’s not half of the details I problem-solved today.

Please urge Gov. Neil Abercrombie and his Board of Education to work as hard as families do and settle the public educators’ contract fairly and promptly!

Hawaii is in desperate need of appropriate and supportive leadership. If we are by law required to advocate for our students and their well-being and education, what makes anyone think teachers shouldn’t work toward a fair, decent and reasonable, professional contract? Please help the state’s professional educators.



Was it a mistake?

Last year, the state legislature passed a bill intended to exempt members of temporary task forces from sections of the state ethics code. But in the process, they also exempted themselves from the “fair treatment” section of the code: “No legislator or employee shall use or attempt to use the legislator’s or employee’s official position to secure or grant unwarranted privileges, exemptions, advantages, contracts, or treatment, for oneself or others.”

House Bill 2175, which became Act 208 with the governor’s signature, exempted task force members from these and other provisions – bad enough, since it leaves a wide open door for favoritism when one industry representative is allowed to benefit from information not available to others. But it also broadened a previous exemption for legislators that applied only when engaged in their legislative functions.

Now the exemption applies to ANYTHING they do in their role as a legislator.

An example that would have come under scrutiny prior to approval of Act 208 was Maui Sen. Josh Green’s intervention in a payment dispute between the city and Automated HealthCare Solutions. Although he did not advocate a specific solution, he did call the city offer “unreasonable.” Eight days later, Green received a campaign contribution from Automated HealthCare Solutions for $2,000. When the matter became public, Sen. Green donated the money to charity, claiming that he had not intended to be taking the company’s side.

However, even if he had intended to influence the decision, that would not have been a violation of the ethics code under Act 208’s exemption.

Legislators have claimed that the broadening of the exemption for legislators was a mistake. In this legislative session, Sen. Green submitted Senate Bill 669, a simple, straightforward bill making the correction. Meanwhile, the Ethics Commission submitted four bills (HB209, HB210, SB429 and SB430), each of which would have eliminated the legislative exemption while making other changes in the code.

Les Kondo, executive director of the Ethics Commission, spoke with various legislators and staff about the need to pass a bill to correct last year’s bill.

All five bills that would have corrected last year’s mistake failed to meet the crossover deadline and have died. In fact, none of the five even had a hearing before any legislative committee!

So was the exemption of legislators from the “fair treatment” section of the ethics code a mistake?

It will be hard to convince the public that legislators have not intentionally widened the arena for corruption in government, unless they are able to find another bill amenable to an amendment to correct the “mistake.”

BARBARA POLK, Common Cause Hawaii and Americans for Democratic Action/Hawaii