Letters 4-3-2013


Jessica’s Law

Hawaii needs one

Hawaii is one of only six states that does not have Jessica’s Law. Named after Jessica Lunsford, a young Florida girl who was sexually battered and murdered in 2005 by a convicted sex offender, the law is designed to protect children from sexual predators and reduce a sex offender’s ability to re-offend. It requires electronic monitoring of those who have sexually assaulted a minor and it establishes a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years for felony sexual assault of a minor.

Hawaii only requires a paltry two-year prison sentence for adults who have been convicted of sex crimes against a child.

During this legislative session, Sen. Sam Slom introduced a version of Jessica’s Law in the Hawaii Senate, but it failed to pass. Sens. Gilbert Keith-Agaran, Michelle Kidani, Clarence Nishihara, Brian Taniguchi, Glenn Wakai and Senate President Donna Mercado Kim; signed on as co-introducers of the legislation. But where were the rest?

This bill should have sailed through on a unanimous vote and been signed into law. For a state that prides itself on its kieki — not having Jessica’s Law on the books is a disgrace. I urge everyone to contact his representative and demand they support Jessica’s Law.

Kurt Hansen

Kamiyopga, Tokyo

Church and State

Government hypocrisy

How many of us were inconvenienced last week with two state and county holidays in one week? With so many in a year and all that paid sick and vacation leave, there can’t help but be a few ‘double bangers’ thrown in because there are only so many weekdays after all.

But the one that sticks in my craw is Good Friday. Just a week or so ago we read about the public schools in Madison, Ala., banning children from saying “Easter” bunny so as not to infringe upon the rights of others. Oh, and don’t forget, it’s not Christmas break anymore, it’s “winter” break. But how quickly our state and county are to vacate their strong work ethic and PC stance on Good Friday — a purely Christian holiday. What hypocritical bull.

And here’s another conundrum that’s hard to swallow: The recent Chicago teachers’ strike (for the children, of course) was a resounding success for teachers and the union. Chicago teachers were already among the nation’s highest paid ($76,000), but their success in dollars has surely contributed to city’s budget deficit now resulting in the need to close 53 public elementary schools. The return on investment has been dismal with the 2012 graduation rate of only 58 percent and the youth unemployment rate pushing 25 percent for teens in general and a shocking 94 percent for black teens. This isn’t just a poor ROI, it’s criminal.

Back on local issues, Mayor Kenoi’s opposition to his recent 22 percent pay raise is laughable. It’s easy to publicly state you are against pay raises when raises are an independent Salary Commission decision. But the folly is not the over-generous raises, it’s their reasoning: to ensure employees aren’t making more than their bosses. Clearly, the collective bargaining monster is out of control.

Vehicle registration fees are up 57 percent; fuel taxes are up 14.5 percent; my property taxes (West Hawaii) have gone up and we all pay more due to the county’s inability to collect on DHHL delinquencies, and the Hilo muni golf course continues to receive substantial subsidies from the county. Consider the proposed county budget for the third year in a row does not include GASB payments for retiree liabilities. But Kenoi says that’s OK because we’re not alone in this short-sighted planning: neither the state nor Maui County nor City and County of Honolulu has made any GASB payments, either. Don’t worry, be happy. We’ll go down together.

Michelle Kerr

Waikoloa