Letters To The Editor
April 07, 2010 - MidWeek
Where’s the proof?
Jade Moon writes that “racial and homophobic slurs” were tossed around and a senator was spat upon by people who say they heard and saw this at the Tea Party. But not one has produced one shred of evidence! A $100,000 payment was offered to anyone who could produce a photo or video as proof of these allegations. In the day of cell phones with cameras and iPods and such, this should be easy, right?
Yes, Tea Partiers are loud and they are angry. I happen to be one of them. I am a 62-year-old grandmother, former business owner, with a master’s degree. I am a published author and a respected member of the community. I worked hard for everything I have and I pay plenty of taxes. I am not a racist or homophobe! For Ms. Moon to label the Tea Party movement as such is nothing more than a gross generalization and a slander of decent people based upon unconfirmed information.
I would suggest that there are more than a “few morons” reporting the “news” nowadays.
Tea Party fun
In his column “What A Dream Governor Would Do,” Bob Jones wrote, “Maybe I sound like a Tea Party freak, but I’m not.”
Actually, Mr. Jones, you are! Your desire to cut spending, your unhappiness with the union control in Hawaii and your longing for a balance of power make you a “Tea Party freak.” We “freaks” are really normal, everyday people who are concerned about the direction of the country and the state. We work hard. We want smaller government, lower taxes and transparency in the Legislature. We want our freedoms protected, most notably life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We strive to be good citizens and want to leave America and Hawaii a better place for the generations to follow. So welcome to our world, Mr. Jones. Feel free to join us on April 15 at the Capitol where we hope our “freaky” voices will be heard.
Poor public workers
I take offense at Bob Jones’ implication in his “Dream Governor” column that public workers are overpaid and “gold-plated” with benefits and pensions that private sector employers can’t afford. I would love to earn the $40/hour in wages and benefits he claims we do, but I don’t. I’m mid-scale for a Unit 3 clerical worker in the HGEA union, and I can’t even afford the average rent for a studio apartment, which is around $1,000. What about those workers who are earning wages below mine? How do they survive?
After the almost 8 percent pay cut we took this year at UH, my hourly wage is around $18/hour. I see entry-level jobs in the private sector advertised for $15/hour. And I’ve been with the state 18 years! That’s less than a $1/hour raise each year!
And what about those “gold-plated” benefits? What he does-n’t explain is that the state does-n’t apply the Pre-Paid Health Care Law to itself, but negotiates with each public sector union as to what it will pay as an employer. So while a private sector employee will pay only 1.5 percent of his or her salary toward health insurance under the law, state employees have to pay 40 percent or more of the actual premium. This means a private sector employee earning $2,000/month would only pay $30 in premiums, but a state worker earning the same amount would pay $90!
But because of the current budget crisis, the governor has forced all state workers to pick up the increase in health premiums, so we are paying more than 40 percent of the premiums - more like 50 percent to 60 percent!
Mr. Jones also doesn’t divulge the history of how our union ended up with binding arbitration. We did strike in 1994, and because it was so widespread and disruptive to public services, notably the business sector as affected by the Bureau of Conveyances, the Legislature agreed to binding arbitration to avoid further inconvenience to the public. Many of us didn’t want to give up our right to strike. But others felt it was the more “civilized” and modern way to handle disputes.
Lucky Mr. Jones is only governor in his dreams.
HGEA Unit 03 Steward
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