Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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March 08, 2006 - MidWeek
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Med school facts

In his column of Feb. 22, Bob Jones seems to imply that the University of Hawaii cannot afford to operate both a new medical school at Kaka’ako and the proposed Cancer Research Center. He unfortunately weakens this questionable theory with incorrect facts.

Mr. Jones wrote that “the medical school’s operating cost has zoomed from $10 million a year to $22.5 million.” Fact: Prior to moving to Kaka’ako, it cost $18 million in state general funds to run the John A. Burns School of Medicine in fiscal year 2005. This year it’ll be $20.5 million. It is true that future costs will rise as more researchers and staff relocate to our new facility, but it’s been many years since our budget was only $10 million.

No question it is expensive to train top-quality physicians and conduct world-class research. But it’s even costlier to face a shortage of medical doctors and other healthcare professionals trained at JABSOM, much less those attuned to the special needs of our Island citizens. The investment in first-rate labs at our new Kaka’ako campus enable our growing cadre of world-class scientists to do biomedical research that promises to improve our lives while also serving as a magnet for private biotechnology companies.

If we fulfill the dream of building both a medical school and the Cancer Research Center in Kaka’ako, we will reap the benefits of a continued supply of well-trained healthcare professionals, exciting and important advances in medical research and the diversification of our economy.

That is worthwhile investment in the future health of the citizens and the economy of our state.

Sam Shomaker Interim Dean, John A. Burns School of Medicine

Dr. King’s dream

Thank you for publishing the photos from the NAACP benefit in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s birthday in the Honolulu Pa’ina section. Just looking at the photos, I know Dr. King would have been pleased at the multi-racial, multi-ethnic crowd gathered to honor his dream.

Sandra A. Simms


The real Lenny

Rich Figel’s letter about Lenny Klompus, Gov. Lingle’s senior adviser for communications, misinforms your readers on many counts (“Selling Lingle,” Feb. 1). And I say that not only as Lenny’s wife, but as someone who speaks from experience.

First, Lenny does not sell Gov. Lingle. She is highly popular because her initiatives are common sense approaches to Hawaii residents. The governor works every day to make life better for all the people of Hawaii.

In other words, good government sells itself.

As for Figel’s misinformed comments about the Aloha Bowl, which Lenny and I once owned and directed and eventually turned into a football double-header, it was not a get-rich-quick scheme. When Lenny and I took over the game, we inherited a debt of nearly $1 million which, in time was paid off completely. Also of note is that under NCAA rules, 75 percent of gross revenues from each bowl game goes to the participating schools.

How does one get rich when you are mandated to allocate 75 percent of your businesses gross revenue to one entity? It was, however, the way we had to run our business, while paying overhead and all other expense items. Also, we did not double the ticket price. That is a patently false statement.

What was the impact of making the Aloha Bowl a double-header? It pumped up the state economy by bringing in more visitors, and it was a big step toward establishing an eventual Final Four national football championship.

Mr. Figel’s knowledge was not only lacking in that one area as Bowl Games of Hawaii in the ‘80s and ‘90s had a dramatic economic impact on our state. One paper reported on its business page that the games provided nearly $100 million to the state coffers.

Moreover, as mentioned earlier, despite operating on a slim profit margin, the Aloha Bowl contributed tens of thousands of dollars to local charities, including the American Cancer Society, United Cerebral Palsy and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

That’s not opportunism. That’s a commitment to supporting the community.

So the bottom line is, Lenny communicates the governor’s and lieutenant governor’s initiatives to the people of our state.

What Lenny did in a previous life simply was good business and provided a backdrop for his future caring work in public service.

Send your letters to MidWeek Letters, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, HI. 96813; by fax to 585-6324, or by email to dchapman@midweek.com. Please include your name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers. We print only the letters that include this information, but only your name and area of residence will appear in print. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.
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Workers Deserve Justice

I participated in a 2-day public awareness educational project to support the Hyatt workers’ efforts to maintain safe quality jobs. 

Most volunteers were not Hyatt workers but supported justice for “the working men.”  This is a “David vs. Goliath” battle between Goldman Sachs’ Hyatt Regency and their exploited workers.

The workers are not demanding unreasonable wage or benefit increases, but are fighting to ensure their jobs are not subcontracted or outsourced to individuals in other states or countries such as India.  They also want Hyatt to implement safety measures to reduce injuries because Hyatt has the highest percentage of injuries of any local hotel.

On 4/16/10 the Security and Exchange Commission sued Goldman Sachs (Hyatt’s parent company) for misrepresenting facts to mislead people.  Goldman subsequently lost $10 Billion in market value shares during the trading session.  On 7/15/2010, Goldman agreed to pay $550 million in a settlement with SEC, and this fine was the largest commission penalty for a Wall Street firm.

Goldman Sachs and the Hyatt have demonstrated a continual pattern of altering facts to conceal injury rates and to maximize profits at the expense of working individuals.  We must ensure that their deceptive, inappropriate corporate practices are no longer tolerated and implemented.

Keep good quality and safe jobs in Hawaii for future generations by preventing subletting or outsourcing of jobs.  We have already lost 6 million jobs by outsourcing to foreign countries.  Support the American economy by protecting workers.

Glenn Yoshimoto

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