Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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October 29, 2008 - MidWeek
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Pro ConCon

As one of Dan Boylan’s 12 or 14 regular readers, I’m dismayed by his recent column “New Con-Con: Should We, Or Not?” In addition to those he consulted, Della Au Bellati, Anne Feder Lee and Tony Gill, he should have consulted Norman Mizuguchi about fixing the broken Constitution to improve our public-school system.

In 1999, then Senate president Mizuguchi introduced a bill to grant the Board of Education taxing authority. At the time, appropriations for education made up roughly one-half of the state budget. The bill passed the Senate and crossed over to the House, where it was stopped. The Legislature was apparently unwilling to reduce its own authority.

Today the board merely formulates statewide education policy. It has no control over the education budget. The governor is responsible for preparing the budget, and the Legislature makes all appropriations.

When things go wrong, the board points to the Legislature for not appropriating enough money or to the governor for not releasing appropriated funds.

To end the finger-pointing, we need a board that is accountable for its policy decisions. We need a board, like the Public Utilities Commission, that is made up of full-time, salaried members.

Upgrading the board will encourage highly qualified people to run. Because the board members would have real power - taxing authority- they’ll lose their current anonymity. They will be accountable for the successes and failures of our schools.

Dan, in the privacy of the curtained booth, vote Yes on ConCon!

Warren Iwasa

Palin not ditzy

Last week’s letter from Mark Felman correctly refuted Dan Boylan’s tired claim that the current economic meltdown was caused by 30 years of Republican deregulation. A recent Wall Street Journal article stated that in that time period no deregulation occurred in the financial sector. (See WSJ 10/15/08) Instead the writer, Peter Wallison, reminds us that in 1998 the Clinton administration ruled that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could create more affordable housing by purchasing subprime mortgages. This enabled Fannie and Freddie to add a trillion dollars in junk loans to their balance sheets, ultimately leading to their collapse.

In addition to spreading misinformation about the economy, Mr. Boylan, Hawaii’s eminent self-appointed political pundit, goes on to insult Governor Palin. Unbelievably, he writes that she is “poorly educated, unread, inexperienced, shallow and, on occasion, downright ditzy.” There was funny stuff, too, as he refers to Charles Gibson and Katie Couric as “gentle interviewers who tried to make her look acceptable.” Gentle? They attacked Governor Palin like a pair of piranhas in a nasty attempt to make her look foolish. Even a very well-known liberal Democrat, former New York mayor Ed Koch, had this to say about Sarah Palin: “Sarah Palin is a phenomenon ... I also think that her performance during the debate with Joe Biden made clear to America that she is no rube, but rather an intelligent, thoughtful person ... She deserves the media’s respect instead of mockery and efforts to destroy her.”

I think Dan Boylan owes an apology to Governor Palin and one to your readers as well.

Lois Abrams
via e-mail

Early voting

There is increasing participation of voters voting absentee by mail, and the need to get information early on the city charter and state Constitutional amendment proposals is critical to make informed decisions. Can the newspapers print the pros and cons at least one month prior to the general election for future elections? Your kokua will help us to make, hopefully, wise decisions. Mahalo.

Roy E. Shigemura

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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