Kishimoto And Title IX

How could Civil Beat miss this issue? (May 14, 2018)

Your article on the positive evaluation of DOE Superintendent Christina Kishimoto (“School Board: Schools ‘Heading In The Right Direction’ Under New Leader”) omitted a very important issue which many feel she has sidestepped: the department’s failure to address long standing violations of the federal Title IX Act, also known as the Patsy Mink Education Act.

This is puzzling since Civil Beat uncovered the egregious violations in an excellent piece of investigative journalism in February (“Female Athletes Get The Short End Of The Stick At Some Hawaii High Schools”).

After the Senate Committee on Education hearing on April 16, ACLU attorney Jongwook Kim told me that, “It is ironic that Hawaii, where Patsy Mink comes from, is one of the worst states in the country for compliance with the Act that is named after her.”

DOE Superintendent Christina Kishimoto during DOE board meeting.
DOE Superintendent Christina Kishimoto during a board meeting. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

This has been going on for decades in Hawaii with parents’ complaints being ignored. If it wasn’t for the Civil Beat article in February that unearthed the seriousness of the situation, this shocking issue would still be buried by the Board of Education and its superintendent.

Based on the Civil Beat article and our own investigations, we sent a demand letter to the department asking them to have an adequate plan in place by start of the 2018-2019 school year to meet the requirements of the Act. What Kishimoto proposed today is woefully inadequate. They continue to ignore the real issues.

This hardly qualifies as “highly effective,” as stated in the Board of Education’s evaluation of Kishimoto. How could Civil Beat miss this issue? Talk to the ACLU and parents and students affected by this issue.

— Malachy Grange, Honolulu

Homeless Perceptions

Please don’t use stereotypes (May 11, 2018)

Bob Jones’ letter in response to Neil Milner’s column has two glaring errors (“Homeless Perceptions: This reader is ‘shameless, blameless’”).

First, he dismisses those with substance abuse, implying they are solely at fault for their present condition. This ignores the fact that addiction is a disease, the same as cancer. (Would you be so callous towards a person homeless because cancer had prevented them from holding a job?)

Jones might reply that cancer is not a choice like using alcohol and drugs are, but that is not true. Unless you have always abstained from nicotine, alcohol, ate vegan food and exercised, you most definitely have made choices that raised you risk of cancer. Just like their person who takes a drink or lights up a ciggy raises their risk of addiction.

Secondly, Jones ignores the fact that many of the homelessness, at least at the start, do not fall into the substance abuse category.

Rather they are people with psychological conditions such as veterans with PTSD, people who came here under the free compact treaty, and people who due to economic conditions such as losing their job cannot afford a place to live. Sometimes they end up with substance addiction as a result of their homelessness, but that’s different than because of it. There are a few homeless people who truly choose that lifestyle and don’t deserve pity or help, but they a tiny minority.

Jones is correct that the cost of housing is an big issue, perhaps the most pressing one we face. But he should not perpetuate stereotypes of homeless people when discussing how to reduce their numbers.

— Bryan Mick, Honolulu

Hawaii’s Hot Economy?

Our unemployment rate is “fake news” (May 14, 2018)

If Whole Foods needs workers, tell them there are thousands that we taxpayers are subsidizing that are living on the streets (“Will There Be Enough Workers For Hawaii’s Hot Economy?”). Tell the state and city and county to put them to work so our taxpayers money doesn’t have to be used for them.

The 2 percent unemployment rate is fake news. Put all the freeloaders to work. Make them work to qualify for subsides. Quit giving everything to these freeloaders.

— Harry Statts, Honolulu

Investment Property Taxes

We can’t trust the Legislature (May 15, 2018)

Counties here have always given a property tax break to homes occupied by residents who own them (“Taxing Investment Properties To Help Teachers Is A Bad Idea”).

The same break should be extended to homes occupied by residents who rent them. Pay for that tax cut by raising taxes at least as much on investment homes not occupied by residents.

Maybe some owners will decide to add their vacant homes to the long term rental market. But since we can’t trust the Leg to do the right thing, it should not be given the unfettered right to raid the only serious source of funds for counties.

— Michael Williams, Kula