BOE CONCERNED ABOUT BUDGET CUTS
It has become clear that Hawaii’s economy is not improving as quickly as we had hoped, and that a recovery will be slowed by the tragic natural disaster in Japan. Gov. Neil Abercrombie has stated he intends to continue providing “government services that people expect” as he and the legislature prepare to make difficult budgetary decisions in coming weeks.
I agree with Governor Abercrombie, and strongly urge him and the legislature to prioritize crucial government services that people not only expect, but deserve and need, especially during difficult economic times. As we know, Hawaii’s public schools are still suffering from the impact of an unprecedented, nearly half-billion dollar reduction that resulted in layoffs, furloughs, cuts to programs, classroom equipment and supplies. Campuses are deteriorating and teachers are increasingly being forced to do more with less.
The board is gravely concerned about additional proposed cuts to education amounting to $110 million in the next two fiscal years. Such drastic funding decline would cripple our schools, placing a tremendous burden on teachers to the detriment of students’ education. The Department of Education has warned the legislature that another round of deep reductions will hit the core of our schools, likely leading to layoffs of educators, crowded classes and fewer student support services.
While revised revenue projections may reflect an even greater shortfall, I urge the legislature to do all it can to protect public education, including potentially delaying the implementation of Act 167.
As challenging as Hawaii’s financial condition is, we cannot afford to shortchange education, as our state’s social and economy prosperity depends on students who deserve and need a quality education to become responsible and productive global citizens.
GARRETT TOGUCHI, Chairman, Hawaii State Board of Education
HUI MEMBERS ENJOY MEMORABLE TRIP
Nineteen Hui O Wa‘a Kaulua crew members have returned safely from our training with ‘Ohana Wa‘a on the Big Island. We had an amazing time and learned so much. We spent the first day driving around the island — literally. We went from Hilo to Volcano, where we stopped to take our Na Opi‘o through the lava tubes and to show them Kilauea. Then we went around through the south end and up to Kawaihae, where we camped out for the next three nights in 90 mph winds. Woohoo... made Maalaea wind feel like easy breezes.
In Kawaihae, we learned some new chants, we got to help lash Makali‘i, practiced our knots and splicing, did our swim test and some of us got to sail. We bonded with our ‘ohana from the Makali‘i crew, Namahoe crew, Hoku Alaka‘i crew, Iosepa crew and even our Japanese ‘Ohana from Kamakura.
We spent our last day together at ‘Imi Loa at U.H. Hilo. Going over the Hawaiian Star Navigation Chart and looking over the stars in the planetarium was amazing. We learned about way-finding and mapped out a voyage to and from Tahiti. But the 3-D show in the planetarium was definitely a highlight for us all. WOW!
Mahalo nui to member Ray Hutaff of Valley Isle Excursions for help in sponsoring our trip to the Big Island. And another mahalo nui to Kaimana Barcarse, Dennis Chun, Chad Paishon, Pomai Bertelmann, Keali‘i Bertelmann, Paleka Baybayan and all those on the Big Island who put this amazing event together. It was an experience never to be forgotten.
We are all back out the halau wa‘a at 525 Front St. in Lahaina. We’re lashing the deck, and our Na Opi‘o are sanding away.
ANELAOKAHIAU GUTIERREZ, Executive Director, Hui O Wa‘a Kaulua
TIME FOR SOME SENATORS TO GO
Many U.S. senators are declining to run for reelection.
Some of them have been in office for a very long time.
The present state of our federal government and its lack of proper oversight is a direct result of a group of senators stuck in another age, with outdated ideas of the world order and who practice their craft with a heavy dose of fear.
Why else would we be in the trade imbalance position we are in with Communist China?
Why else would we be like addicts, returning again and again, to the perverted monarchs of Saudi Arabia to save us from all things... higher gas prices?
The average voting American is at fault, too. Always sending what they believe to be tried and true, they send again a man or woman who becomes more closely in tune with the cacophony of Washington, D.C. Their speeches become tired and repetitious. There is nothing new from their office, and they defile the old. They respect nothing as they desperately try to hold onto their Senate seat — the only kind of work they have ever known.
Every once in a while, one of them gets a fire lit under them, like Sen. Barack Obama. His ambition led him onward to try for the seat of the President of the United States. But almost without exception, when a senator has made it to the White House, ruin and chaos have followed.
Senator Obama is too well-trained as a legislator. As a senator, he might have grown old in his seat and wasted away, but he decided to push on. Due to circumstances and the help of another senator, Joseph Biden, he pushed himself into the White House and thence commenced the raid on America’s wealth.
The plunder continues.
ALFRED BROCK, Via E-mail
RELIGION IS A CHOICE
Please don’t push religion down my throat! Lahaina Town is a historic district, and that Jesus sign should not be there!
The “Jesus coming soon” sign at Mala is out of the main stream — not on a major highway — and it is atop a church.
Not everyone believes what you believe. Religion is a choice — I choose not!
SU CAMPOS, Napili
GRANT COURSE VALUABLE
How wonderful that the University of Hawaii Maui College’s VITEC program publishes available classes in The Maui News. It was through that publication that I learned about and attended a basic grant writing course taught by instructor Jackie Harp on March 1. Not only is Jackie a visionary teacher, she has already brought in millions of dollars in grant funding to Maui.
Now, she has begun sharing her expertise with a full class of hopeful grant writers, both non-experienced and experienced. Although the world of grant writing has become increasingly competitive as the amount of funds available declines, Jackie encouraged us to network, and many in the class with experience did share knowledge with the rest of us who are just starting out.
I hope UHMC does expand on this course — and keep the tuition reasonable — to include the next level with more hands-on grant writing instruction and collaboration. It seems the main interests of those attending the class were to help our community, whether it be animals, people, environment, etc. We all wish to help Maui in areas where the current government may be limited or unable to provide. Thank you once again, Jackie, for sharing your expertise and for all you do to help Maui.
TAMARA PALTIN, Napili