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Friday, May 28, 2010
Letters to the Editor May, 2010
By Letters to the Editor @ 12:13 AM :: 13031 Views

Bullying up and down the DoE Chain of Command 

Letter to the Editor

The DOE/BOE has set up a store front web site full of eye candy and empty promises. The site boasts the need for parent and community input but does nothing to nurture that relationship. To get access to anyone in the chain at either the BOE or DOE, you better be ready for a long wait, lots of red tape and a few solid brick walls.

Bear in mind these are the same people that Neil Abercrombie wants to hand over more control to. As a parent and concerned community member I am not willing to let this happen as it puts our children at further risk of misuse and abuse of authority, personal agendas rather than fighting for our children and continued corruption that in the past has done little to nothing to improve our schools.

Here is my story:

It has been a long eight months to get anyone at all to listen and recognize that my eight year old daughter was continuously physically attacked and mentally and emotionally bullied by not only other children but the staff as well. I recall reading an identical article back in 2007 about bullying in the public school system and the neglectful manor in which it was handled by the DOE. I was horrified that a family to have to go through the mental and physical outcomes of bullying that scar children for life. Shame, shame on the Hawaii Board of Education who did little to nothing to help this family overcome the ongoing tragedy. Little did I know I was about make that same journey with my daughter starting at the beginning of this school year.

This year has been a long struggle for myself and my 8 year old daughter. My daughter transferred schools to a very small school in Kailua-Ka'elepulu. Within the first few weeks of school, my daughter was physically attacked four classmates who held her down kicked her and threw grass on her. Because my daughter reported the incident, she was labeled as a tattletale and was continuously harassed and berated in and out of class. Besides the mental anguish it caused my daughter she continued to report that the other kids in class called her names and would physically harm her. On several occasions, because of her size, she came home with poke marks on her stomach that caused bruising.

After asking the principal to do a report on the incidents, I receive a haphazard report that had two words on it "bullying" and "teasing". There was no collaborative plan that included a triad of parent, teacher and other school officials to work and monitor the problem. When asked what would be done to rectify the problem, I was told that it was school business and that I was not part of the process.

Again and again I reported the downward spiral of my daughter school work, her emotional state moving towards the dark side and her psychological fragile state. Neither the teacher nor the principal was willing to work with me to improve her academics or to make the other kids stop harassing her in class. In my frustration of no action taken by the school, I took the bullying charges up to the district superintendent who said she had called the principal and on the sole word of the principal the superintendant was satisfied that procedures had been followed and she would not look into the matter any further.

On 20, April 2010, we initiated a police report because two girls conspired to seek out my daughter, restrain her by the wrists and pound on her arms. Again, I reported this to the district superintendant who reported back to me that (again) she would not take any action because the principal said it was "just school yard play". Apparently the district superintendant is unaware of the definitions of accident and bullying. I informed her of the difference of school yard play when an accident happens and is unintentional and bullying in which two children conspire to seek and do harm to another child. This has been documented in the police report and with the child psychologist. The district superintendant was remiss if properly carrying out the duties of her office. It was indicated that she did an investigation but it was one sided as we were never contacted.

The harassment did not stop with the children, the staff harassed my daughter for telling about the bullying, calling her a trouble maker, said they could not trust her and told her they need to find her a table just for bad kids. This too has all been documented and reported to the principal.

We have attempted to get a copy of the latest incident report and have been told we are not privileged to any information even though it concerns our daughter. The principal promised us a report on three separate occasions and now said she is not going to provide us with a copy. We do not believe that she conducted a thorough report as our daughter was never questioned or given the opportunity to tell her side of what happened to any school official. Nor did the school contacted us to inform us that any action taken or that they had a plan of action to ensure the safety of my daughter at the school. Again, I requested this information at all levels and again, they are basically telling me "it is none of my business".

When is bullying not a parent’s business and when did schools and education systems become jury and judge? I have a three inch binder, plus much more information concerning this issue. The binder has traveled to the district superintendents office, the Hawaii superintendants office and he main office of the BOE. Each time it sat for over three weeks and absolutely nothing was done. The issue is now on the desk of deputy superintendant, who I first contacted over a month ago. On Monday I asked for a call back─ nothing. On Tuesday I asked for a call back by 2 pm or I would consider the office to be noncommittal and unresponsive to the resolve of this issue. I did not receive a call back.

Through this whole process the one thing I have learned is there is no accountability in the BOE system. They do not have to report back to the parents, they do not have to do anything. They can simply say, "we believe procedures were followed".  My question is, how after 8 months of physical and mental bullying could a solid procedure be effective when the bullying has continued? Because of the lack of leadership and action to prevent bullying, we have taken our daughter out of the school early. Our daughter has endured teasing about her weight, she has come home with notable bruises where other children have poked her in the stomach, she has had clothing ripped because she was pushed to the ground and she has been humiliated by staff members.

According to the laws, every child has the right to a safe educational environment. We pay our BOE members much more than the public is aware of. Some reaping over a six digit income. They are public servants who should not be marching to the beat of their own drum, but to the beat of serving the public. Bullying is a serious issue in our schools. If we cannot rely on our education leadership to keep our children safe, what kind of problems and issues will these kids develop? Because of the continued bullying we had to take our daughter to a child psychologist. This is not something I ever expected to have to do.

The complacency of a large machine (the BOE/DOE) that feels they are accountable to no one has come at the cost of the well-being of our children I stand alone as one parent with one child, but how many more are standing alone out there?

The BOE has made a call to parents to get more involved and to be a positive influence in schools, I am here, where are they? Are these really the people we want to hand more control over to? How about making them accountable for doing their job to a proficient level? If they were a university basketball coach and were hired to get the job done, they would be retained or fired based on their abilities to produce. The Hawaii DEO/BOE has proven to be highly ineffective; the statistics are on their web site. However, they rely on the fact that most people are too busy or just simply not aware that it exists, that they will never be held accountable for their continuous poor performance or their neglect of doing the job as a public official that they are suppose to be doing.

Lynn Soots

Kailua, Oahu

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Chase Dem Politicians

Dear Editor:

I honestly don't get it, a citizen breaks a law and they get put in jail, but politicians can break laws, subvert them, ignore them, change them and little or nothing is hardly ever done to them. I say little or nothing because of Rod Blagojevich. At least he got busted, but it also shows how you really have to screw up royally to be arrested if you're a politician, and last I heard he was (not in jail where he should be) but on some reality television show. Are our politicians above the law?

A day before Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced his candidacy for Governor, he opened a campaign office in Kaua'i. Some might also argue he has been unofficially running for mayor for months now. How is this legal, when the law states he has to resign as mayor before he can run for governor? He still (by the way) has not resigned as mayor.

What the mayor does on his dime, I guess is his business, but I particularly don't like him campaigning for governor when Honolulu sewers are a mess, there a severe garbage problem, the streets are full of potholes. I also don't like the way he has used taxpayer money to fund pro-rail messages, seemingly trying to shove rail down the people's throats. I was just wondering if there is some kind of special deputy that goes around arresting politicians. I'm joking, but maybe there should be.

Joe DeMarco

Oahu

 

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Sex Trafficking Legislation May Be Vetoed by Governor! Your support is needed! 

Dear Editor,

Hawaii is one of the few states without comprehensive laws against human trafficking! 

Hawaii legislators in both the House and the Senate have finally come together to change the status quo by passing Senate Bill 2045, crucial legislation that criminalizes sex trafficking in Hawaii.  This is a critical step toward creating the comprehensive laws necessary to eliminate human trafficking.  As the bill goes to Governor Lingle for signing, however, it is in grave danger of being vetoed.

This vital legislation is on the Governor’s desk after passing both the House and Senate.  Please take action to ensure that Senate Bill 2045 is signed!

The Governor of Hawaii needs to hear that it is critical that Hawaii take this first step toward developing comprehensive anti-human trafficking legislation.  Hawaii can take this step by passing Senate Bill 2045.

Call the Gov.'s office at 808-586-0215 or email her at governor.lingle@hawaii.gov.

For more info: http://www.traffickjamming.org/testimony.html

THANK YOU!!!

Laureen Jacobi 

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Hawaii County: “This is not the time to raise taxes”

Open letter:

This is an open letter to the Hawaii County Council concerning the Special Meeting scheduled for June 7, 2010, for final reading of the 2010-2011 Budget Proposal.  This Budget Proposal as presented by the Mayor contains significant property tax increases for residences on Agricultural Land and non-0wner occupied residences.  These tax increases are designed to raise revenue for the County during tough economic times because the size and cost of the current County Government greatly exceeds the Country’s current income.

As President of the Kona Board of REALTORS, I represent approximately 500 professional REALTORS who in turn represent hundreds of thousands of clients who have purchased or plan to purchase property in the County of Hawaii.  Many of those clients are your constituents while many others are not Hawaii residents.  Yet all are interested parties to the tax decisions you will be making and all will be harmed by the proposed increases.  I urge you on behalf of the Kona Board of REAL:TORS and the clients we represent to reject these proposed tax increases and to move instead to reduce the size and cost of County Government.

Now is not the time to raise property taxes.  The entire County is feeling the effects of the economic recession which has gone on far too long and is projected to continue for months to come.  Just like the rest of America, many Hawaii County property owners are losing money on their investments and watch helplessly as their equity and financial stability disappear.  they are caught in a situation where there are no buyers for their property and they cannot afford to continue negative cash flow situations.  Tax increases of the magnitude proposed will certainly force these owners to lose their vacation property, second home, long term rental, farm or commercial property to bankruptcy or foreclosure.

Each failed property further exacerbates the problem by increasing the reluctance of future investors to bring capital to Hawaii County.  It is a terrible cycle: decreased ability to pay plus higher taxes leads to failed ownership, leading to abandoned and unmarketable properties, leading to diminished property investments, and resulting in less revenue for the County.

The County must begin to exercise its responsibility to reduce the size and cost of Government and refuse to raise property taxes.  You owe it to both the resident owners and non-resident owners of property on this Island.  Mahalo for your consideration.

Charlie Parry, Realtor Broker

President, Kona Board of REALTORS 

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Democrat Candidate: DJOU VICTORY SHOWS THAT A MAJORITY OF HAWAII VOTERS ARE STILL SEEKING CHANGE 

MAY 23, 2010 

KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII 

Saturday, Hawaii voters elected Republican Charles Djou to Congress over two Democratic challengers. However, the Democratic candidates weren’t the only losers in the hard fought special election. 

Forty-eight year incumbent Senator Daniel Inouye put everything on the line to provide an unprecedented amount of support to his chosen candidate, Colleen Hanabusa. In the end, voters turned their backs on the Senator’s influence, with Hanabusa earning less than a third of the total votes cast. 

In the wake of the defeat, the Senator tried to focus attention on the fact that the Democrats won a combined total of nearly 60% of the vote. However, the greater message from the election is that an even larger number, nearly 70%, voted against the efforts of the powerful Senator and his far-reaching political establishment. 

Even so, Inouye has the well-earned respect of many of Hawaii’s voters, leading some to consider him safe from the anti-incumbent fever sweeping the country. However, Hanabusa’s poor showing is a clear indication that the Senator may face strong opposition from two very different sources in his upcoming bid for re-election. 

Republicans are the obvious threat with candidates like Djou making headlines across the nation. But in the heavily Democratic state of Hawaii, another threat has gone largely unnoticed. There are many Democratic voters in the state who remain highly energized by their election of President Obama. Many of them are questioning whether incumbents like Inouye and loyalists like Hanabusa, will be able to champion the kinds of change that inspired so many of them in 2008. 

If a candidate can capture both the support of those Democrats and Hawaii’s center right Republicans, Senator Inouye may find himself the target of a new coalition of voters seeking change from both sides of the aisle. 

Andy Woerner 

Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate Hawaii 

www.AndyForUSSenateHawaii.com

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Sign stealing, thugs ruin integrity of elections and campaigns

As a candidate for State House running against an incumbent this November, my campaign already faces an uphill battle. Republican or Democrat in city or state races, all of us who are running for elected office know we have a hard handful of months ahead of us. But when our opponents or their supporters engage in thuggish campaigning, including stealing yard signs and taking down banners, our campaigns become exponentially more difficult.

Neighborhoods should be aware of stolen signs and bully campaigning as we move into campaign season. The issue is beyond my campaign and its property. My district, and others with contested elections, is blessed to have multiple members of its community willing and eager to represent its best interests. The behavior exhibited by those who stole campaign material is directly in conflict with the best interests of our communities.

Richard Fale,

Candidate for State Representative District 47

www.RichardFale.com 

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Gay Marriage: Levinson’s Reducto ad Absurdum

To The Editor:

Alarm bells!  Alarm bells!  Justice Levinson wrote the Baehr opinion, which wasn’t even a majority, but a mere plurality opinion.  To date, Levinson’s opinion is the only one that ever reached the audacious conclusion that marriage laws discriminated on the basis of sex.  Every other court has rejected that ridiculous notion. 

See In re Marriage Cases, 183 P.3d 384, 436-40 (Cal. 2008), Jones v. Hallahan, 501 S.W.2d 588 (Ky. 1973), Conaway v. Deane, 932 A.2d 571, 588-89 (Md. 2007), Baker v. Nelson, 191 N.W.2d 185 (Minn. 1971), appeal dismissed, 409 U.S. 810 (1972), Hernandez v. Robles, 855 N.E.2d 1, 5-6 (N.Y. 2006), Baker v. State, 744 A.2d 864, 868-69 (Vt. 1999), Andersen v. King County, 138 P.3d 963, 987-90 (Wash. 2006) and Singer v. Hara, 522 P.2d 1187, 1189 (Wash. Ct. App. 1974).

These decisions also include a decision by the California Court of Appeals and three decisions by the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, that were later affirmed by the Court of Appeals.  

See In re Marriage Cases, 49 Cal. Rptr. 3d 675, 706 (Cal. Ct. App. 2006), rev'd on other grounds, 183 P.3d 384 (Cal. 2008); In re Kane, 808 N.Y.S.2d 566, 566 (N.Y. App. Div. 2006), aff'd, 855 N.E.2d 1 (N.Y. 2006); Samuels v. New York State Dep't of Health, 811 N.Y.S.2d 136, 143 (holding that state marriage law is “facially neutral”), aff'd, 855 N.E.2d 1 (N.Y. 2006); Hernandez v. Robles, 805 N.Y.S.2d 354, 370 (N.Y. App. Div. 2005) (“[B]oth men and women may marry persons of the opposite sex; neither may marry anyone of the same sex.  Thus, there is no discrimination on account of sex.”) (Catterson, J., concurring), aff'd, 855 N.E.2d 1 (N.Y. 2006).

Moreover, regarding Justice Levinson, “[o]ne scholar has described Baehr as ‘an affront to both law and language that well deserves its place on the list of worst decisions.’  Bernard Schwartz, A Book of Legal Lists 184 (1997).  ‘The Baehr decision is so contrary to both established law and common sense that one is almost speechless before this patent reductio ad absurdum of equal protection jurisprudence.’  Id. at 183.”  Paul Benjamin Linton, Same-Sex Marriage and the New Mexico Equal Rights Amendment, 20 Geo. Mason U. Civ. Rts. L.J. 209, 217 (2010).

So, here’s some irony for you.  The author of the worst and most judicially activist opinion in the history of the same-sex “marriage” era is telling everyone not to worry about advice from Justice Levinson. Levinson’s judicial activism in Hawai’i is over with now because he now has respect for the law?  Pardon my cynicism, but that’s a bit much to take.

If the Governor is going to take her advice from Justice Levinson, we’re all in trouble.

John S. Carroll, Esq.

Ahualoa, Hawai’i

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Anti-Superferry Lawyer defends Maui ‘Single Member District’ scheme  

Dear Sir,

The Single Member District Voting proposal reported in the Maui News on May 9, 2010 that has been proposed by the West Maui Charter Working Group, and rereported on your website contacted factual inaccuracies. First, the Working Group is composed equally of Republicans and Democrats -- including Tea Party participants. The working group includes both past supporters and opponents of the Hawai'i SuperFerry service.

The proposal was introduced by Council member Jo Anne Johnson, a Republican, and is also strongly supported by business friendly Council member Gladys Baisa, a Democrat.

Single member district voting on Maui is not a Democrat or Republican issue or an environmentalist or development issue. The proposal to change to single member districts is supported by most voters in Maui County especially communities like Lahaina and Ka'anapali.

You or your readers are welcome to contact my office for more information related to this important community issue on Maui.

Lance D Collins

Secretary, West Maui Charter Working Group

  *   *   *     

If one line of opinion from HFP (see our two sentences below), then we must be hitting a sensitive spot.  Good.  Here’s more: 

What the fuss is all about>>> From the: May 9, 2010 News Read (Only the last paragraph is from HFP, the rest quotes Maui News)

Maui Proposal aims to implement district voting

WAILUKU - Sixty-five percent of Maui County voters would favor changing the current system of electing County Council members to one that would create "nine single-member districts," according to a recent poll commissioned by a group supporting the idea.

Proponents said the intent of their proposed charter amendment is to make sure County Council members are actually voted into office by the constituents in their districts. But they also said the plan would eliminate the need for candidates to run expensive countywide campaigns and help attract fresh faces to the council.

A number of current and former members of the council were elected to office by receiving a majority of the vote countywide - but lost the vote in their home districts.

"We feel single-member districts would allow the different communities to have more control over who their council member is," said Gordon Cockett of the West Maui Charter Working Group, which hired QMark Research for the poll of 503 county residents from April 20 to May 1.

(This is a move by the anti-Superferry protesters and enviro extremists such as Maui Tomorrow to take over the Council.  Which eco-billionaire paid for their poll?  Hmmmmm.)

read more  

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Victory over protectionism: Hawaii GMO Papaya to be sold in Japan

Dear Editor,

Good news.  Japan will be accepting GMO papaya from Hawaii.  This has got to be the best news for the island of Hawaii’s economy in years.  In spite of all the anti-GMO rhetoric coming from the County council.  Hopefully it may bring them back to reality, that is, if they are capable of recognizing an economic benefit to their economy.

The scientifically unsubstantiated anti-GMO scare tactics are starting to fail.  Which is not surprising, since they are not based on any scientific evidence but only on fear.

Thanks to the industry’s persistence, the University of Hawaii, and all those scientists involved, in providing Japan with the factual scientific information on genetically engineered papaya, and overcoming the anti-GMO scare tactics, so that Hawaii can re-establish the exportation of papaya to Japan.

Hawaiian agriculture, with a lot of help from Dr. Dennis Gonsalves of the USDA, has done what no other agricultural sector has done by winning approval to market a genetically modified food crop (papaya) in the U.S. and Japan.  See the website below: http://westernfarmpress.com/citrus/gm-papaya-wins-approval-0421/index.html

Don Gerbig

Lahaina, HI

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SB2646 Surfing Reserves

Aloha,

Senator Fred Hemmings' Bill SB2646 to designate certain ocean areas of Oahu as surfing "reserves" would not only be an appropriate tribute to the ten years that one of our most successful surfers spent in the State Senate, but would give recognition to the historical significance and the future value of these world famous surfing areas.

To address the valid concern of some legislators that the designation of "reserve" has no meaning, perhaps the next version of the bill could have wording similar to the recent designation of the Kawainui Marsh as a "wetland of international importance." A designation such as "surfing area of international importance" would focus attention on these areas to help assure that they will be protected for future generations.

Chuck Prentiss

Kailua, Oahu

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220 say no to Koa Ridge development

Aloha mai,

I have attached 220 signatures on a petition against Castle & Cooke's proposed Koa Ridge development.  This petition was created by concerned students at Leeward Community College and represents the concern of Hawai'i's youth for food security, sustainability, and a reduction to urban sprawl. 

Mahalo nui loa,

Z. 'Ākī

Hoa 'āina o Hawai'i 'imiloa

 

To the LAND USE COMMISSION.

WITH GREAT APPRECIATION:

WHEREAS, there has been submitted a proposal for the unsustainable construction of a subdivision (Koa Ridge) in Honolulu County, for consideration:  WE, the undersigned, concerned Native Hawaiians and concerned people of the islands of Hawai'i, who believe in Aloha 'Aina, Malama Pono, Food Security (through the augmentation of locally-owned organic farmland), Economic Independence, Healthy Living, Sustainability, and Truth, earnestly protest against the proposed Koa Ridge in favor of a solution that truly supports economic cultivation, environmental conservation, deference of Native Hawaiian culture and values, and progressive sustainable endeavors (keeping the land for agriculture).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I ka LAND USE COMMISSION.

ME KA MAHALO:

'OIAI, ua ho'okomo 'ia he noi no ke kukulu 'ana o ke kaiahale (Koa Ridge) i ka ahupua%u2018a o Waipi'o a me Waiawa, no ke kakepakepa 'ana mai:  'O MAKOU NO, ka po'e i kakau ma lalo iho, na kanaka Maoli, a me ka po'e o ka pae 'aina o Hawai'i, i hilina'i i ke Aloha 'Aina, Malama Pono, Ka Mea'ai (ma o ka ho'onui 'ana i ko ke kama'aina mala 'okanika) Ho'okele Waiwai Ku Lanakila, Ke Ola Pono, Ka Nohona Kahiko o ke Ahupua'a, a me ka 'Oia'i'o, me ke 'ano mana'o ku'e kuo'o i ke noi no ka Koa Ridge me ka 'i'ini no ka ha'ina e kako'o ana i ka ho'olohi'o 'ana mai o ho'okelewaiwai, ka malama 'ana mai i ke 'ano nohona, ka ho'ihi 'ana mai i ka Mo'omeheu Maoli Hawai'i me na loina Hawai'i a me ka holomua o ke 'ano 'oi loa aku o ka maluo (ho'omau i ka 'aina no ka 'oihana mahi'ai).

(Signed 220 students, faculty, and community at Leeward Community College.) 

 

 

 

 


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