Tuesday | December 06, 2016
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Your Views for November 18

Be a donor

I was personally and deeply touched by the article entitled “Gift of life,” celebrating the generosity of Angie Toma and her desire to become an organ donor for her friend (Tribune-Herald, Nov. 15).

On Nov. 15, my brother celebrated the 23rd “transplantiversary” of his donor kidney! On Dec. 8, I will celebrate my 10th. His kidney was donated to him by a member of the congregation for which he served as senior pastor in Indiana. My kidney, however, was harvested from a nonliving donor whose heart and lungs were also transplanted into other patients waiting for a second chance at life.

If you are hesitant about becoming a living donor, I would encourage you to indicate on your driver’s license or by some other means your intention to donate your organs posthumously, thereby giving the precious gift of life to patients in need.

My family and I are forever and immeasurably grateful for the extension of life for my brother and for me, granted by two generous persons and families who were willing to make such loving sacrifices.

Maxine Kottwitz


Defending teachers

I want to write about the teachers, about their suicidal faces, their blank, disappointed looks. The rushed way they cross the campus like life is somewhere else and they are not really there. I heard shared by other teachers that kindergartners are asked to fill in bubble sheets to rate their teachers. I asked if they even know how to read yet. Of course not.

There is something always wrong with teachers, with every little thing they do as they become another piece of data in the endless private corporatization of education. They have realized they actually work at Walmart and not at a school. Their education, training and experience are not of value. What matters most is that they are cheap and stay cheap as constant failures (except for a few exceptions who are on leadership teams).

There is desperation in their faces. One teacher said that she drives to work quitting in her mind each day.

Teachers were recently evaluated using the Danielson Rubric Tool. They received “basic” almost across the board and “proficient” in perhaps one category. The administrators are not academics, but managers. There is no intellectual curiosity or interest in core subjects, and arts, languages, accelerated programs, librarians are all slashed and thrown into the trash.

This could be the reason teachers stumble around like they’re in a hurry, to a destination unknown to them, as they close their eyes and blink and blink again, wondering if this is at all true and what else will be “put into place” to further take away any shred of academic freedom left as they stand there, naked, proven inadequate again, needing “fixing” some more … .

To pair with a union advocate and file grievances is akin to writing a master’s thesis. Take this on year after year, and a teacher becomes burnt out, indeed.

Leave teachers alone. Spend money on our broken economies, families and basic human needs. It is cheaper to pick on teachers; it is time to put that money into repairing damaged ecosystems, job creation, affordable health care and solutions to chronic poverty. There needs to be conversations about these and not whether teachers failed yet again.

Susan Kay Anderson


Decriminalize pot

Hats off to staff writer Peter Sur, who has delved into past issues of the Tribune-Herald for “This day in history.” In 1937 (the year marijuana became illegal in the U.S.) the feds seized the first plants ever found in Hawaii, charging three persons with possession.

Fifty years later in 1987, the state kicked off the “largest marijuana eradication effort in state history,” destroying 35,000 plants in Puna using “chemical methods” (Agent Orange?). It was the “first such effort in the country.” Today, the war continues in Puna and elsewhere.

Yet, 75 years of failed efforts has not changed U.S. drug policy. One may ask, “Why make the same mistakes and expect different results?”

But the tide has turned. Two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized cannabis, and 18 states plus the District of Columbia approve of medicinal cannabis.

There has been an awakening of the American people. There is still a long road ahead, but the influence of pharmaceuticals companies, the prison industry lobby, governmental stubborn intransigence and the influence of the religious right is weakening as the American demographic landscape and culture changes.

Historically, the war on cannabis has been a war on people of color. Sadly, in the islands, most arrested and imprisoned are of Hawaiian ancestry. It is not very likely that Hawaii will legalize cannabis soon. But it is the wish that the new Legislature will move to decriminalize in its upcoming session in January. State residents need to become involved and supportive to give the Legislature the assurance that it would not end a political career to move the state toward decriminalization.

It would also be a great improvement if Mitch Roth stopped prosecuting petty misdemeanor cannabis arrests, to ease the burgeoning prison population and save precious taxpayer’s money.

Seventy-five years is too long to pursue a failed policy.

Andrea Tischler



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