Your Views for January 7

Break the pact

I moved back to Hawaii in 2005, and since then everything seems to be going backwards: our roads are becoming unusable (take a drive on Waianuenue, Kinoole or Kilauea), our beautiful parks have been closed or are suffering from neglect (Hakalau, Kolekole, Waikaumalo, to name just a few on the Hamakua Coast), the bus system has become a joke, homelessness has exploded, and we can no longer even recycle our newspapers. No wonder so many people are leaving the state.

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During this period of going backwards, our public servants have been doing fine. So fine, in fact, that 75 cents out of every taxpayer dollar is now gobbled up by public employee salaries, medical and retirement benefits. That 75-cent bite leaves only 25 cents to pay for improvements, and 25 cents doesn’t go far; either we continue falling apart or we raise taxes to pay for our generous, repetitive salary increases and ever-growing public employee expense. Neither of these options seems very attractive.

So, what to do? I’m at a bit of a loss here, but firmly believe that we have organized a self-supporting system between unionized public employees and politicians: i.e., if you — the unionized public employee — will vote for me, then I — the politician — will acquiesce to salary/benefit growth for you. Then we repeat.

The results of this system are clear: Average public employee salaries are now higher than the average salaries of (private employee) taxpayers.

Public service has become less about service and more about consumption of taxpayer dollars. It’s the taxpayers who today are the servants, working in servitude to provide comfy salaries and benefits to the public employees.

Somehow, someway, I think we need to break the pact between unions and politicians if we are ever to start moving forward again.

Skip Sims

Ninole

Herbicide ban

Regarding the article about the herbicide ban not being a sure thing (Tribune-Herald, Jan. 5): Three years ago, I posted the following in Facebook. Today, are county workers any safer in their outfits and procedures?

Dec 15, 2016, 2:16 PM

“I passed a county worker spraying Roundup on the grass, weeds, and bushes on the side of the road. The poisonous mist cloud surrounded him. Unlike GMO field workers, he did not wear a protective jumpsuit or mask. LOLO.”

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Miles Matsumura

Hilo

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