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Don Chapman

Letters To The Editor

Wrong on union

I have noticed that over time, Bob Jones’s columns have been sounding more like diatribes than thoughtful commentary. His most recent column, “Public Worker Unions Too Greedy,” stoops to a new low. As someone who has a weekly opportunity to offer thoughtful insight into important issues, he instead has been doling out pieces that are nothing short of baseless, nonsensical right-wing rhetoric.

Mr. Jones seems to know very little – if anything at all – about HGEA and what we stand for. While HGEA’s primary purpose is to improve the standard of living of our members and ensure that they are treated fairly, we are also cognizant of the critical issues facing our state and collaborate with different sectors and industries – businesses, nonprofits and government – to help move our state forward.

Mr. Jones may be surprised to learn that the reason for the public employee benefit structure was to compensate for the lower pay public employees received as compared to private sector employees. And this pay inequity remains today. It was upsetting to read his statement: “We’re all in tough times and public employees are not being paid sub-standard wages or benefits.” For four years, HGEA members have endured pay cuts and paying a larger share – currently 50 percent (the highest cost-share of government workers in the entire country) – of their health insurance premiums. Half of our members make an average of $35,000 a year, and those with family medical coverage pay more than $600 per month. His uncaring attitude and lack of understanding for public employees is a shame. He clearly has the “What about me?” attitude, and that’s very unfortunate.

At a time when our community needs to come together to tackle the issues facing our state, it is sad to see Bob Jones attempt to perpetuate some myths about public employees in an effort to divide us. Shame on him, and shame on MidWeek for allowing him to waste valuable print space.

Randy Perreira
Executive Director
HGEA/AFSCME Local 152

Goodbye, NRA

Editor Don Chapman’s column “The Tipping Point On Gun Control” inspired me to share this letter I sent to the National Rifle Association canceling my lifetime membership. It seems concerns such as ours are being repeated with variations now in most of our 50 states. The number and similarity may well create a “tipping point” toward positive actions that are long overdue. Thank you to Mr. Chapman for speaking out on the urgent need for gun controls. This is my letter:

In 1965 I joined the NRA as a lifetime member. I had returned a few years earlier served in the European theater in WWII.

I grew up in a hunting and fishing culture. My father taught me how to shoot and respect weapons. In turn, I taught my son and daughter how to “plink”with a .22 and how to treat weapons.

I joined the NRA because it promoted values and policies which I supported and believed in. So I fet compelled to purchase a lifetime membership rather than only an annual one. Moreover, I was then more comfortable telling friends I was an NRA member.

During the past several decades, however, I have felt increasingly uncomfortable as a member of NRA. I have observed through its voice, the magazine American Rifleman, an increasing number of advertisements for weapons other than those designed for hunting game and improving marksmanship. In addition, the articles seem to have become more and more closely related to the potential markets for the ads, shifting away from my interests.

Those changes have been accompanied by the NRA’s vigorous support for such policies as legalizing civilian access to automatic weapons, concealed firearms, armor-piercing bullets and large-capacity magazines. Those are at odds with my principles.

Consequently, I am requesting that you cancel my lifetime membership with NRA.

Dr. Les Wilbur
Honolulu

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