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Editor's Desk // Letters
Don Chapman

Letters To The Editor

Misinformed

It appears Larry Price was given incorrect information regarding the recently ended federal mediation between the State of Hawaii and the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA). In his column “Hawaii’s Strong Teachers Union,” he wrote: “A federal mediator was assigned, but the agreement was violated by the governor when he issued a unilateral statement to the meeting without jointly including HSTA.”

It is not accurate to imply that federal mediation ended for any reason other than HSTA’s choice to exit discussions. On Oct. 4, the federal mediator informed the state’s negotiating team, including myself as a Board of Education representative, that HSTA would no longer continue participating. Chronologically, it was only after this notification and several statements by HSTA members – including an HSTA publication indicating HSTA’s belief that mediation had failed – that the governor issued his statement expressing his disappointment that the teachers’ union had left negotiations.

Having been involved in collective bargaining throughout my career, I find it encouraging that the state and HSTA have since returned to the table – although this time without the federal mediator – and are scheduled to resume negotiations again in early December. Negotiations are necessary to reach an agreement so that our teachers can vote on a contract for the 2013-2015 school years and resolve the dispute.

Jim Williams
Member, Board of Education

Taxi facts

I am a taxi driver for Aloha Cab, a local with 15 years of taxi-driving experience on Oahu. After reading the recent article on Eco Taxi, I must comment.

Is Mr. Jung accusing all cab drivers or the whole taxi industry of going the long way and trying to go to every stop light to run up the fare? This is defaming to cab drivers on Oahu. Mr. Jung, a lawyer, is aware of the nature of the accusation.

He also fails to mention all of the expenses that go along with being an independent contractor, including stall rent, taxi insurance ($2,000 to $3,000 plus). Also, airport taxis pay a $5 per trip ticket, with all the gas expenses, etc. So Mr. Jung should be aware of the costs associated with doing business in the state of Hawaii. It is absurd to say we are getting rich, unless a driver is working 24 hours a day.

The traffic light issue is a City and County transportation problem that has been ongoing for decades. I don’t believe Eco Cab has found a way to avoid long traffic lights and traffic,. There have been incidents of Eco drivers making illegal turns, speeding and driving recklessly to get to a fare first – I’ve had an incident on Bethel Street.

Finally, to say Eco fares are 10 to 20 percent cheaper than other taxis is exaggerated and bogus.

Larry V. Ikei
Honolulu

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