It is now clear that the House Democrats in the state Legislature were only giving lip service to the idea that they would cooperate with Republican Gov. Linda Lingle to change the direction of the state in favor of “a new beginning.” They are clearly obstructionist all the way.

The way the House Democrats have shelved almost everything she wanted to do in the area of education is a perfect example. That school principals should not be members of any union, let alone the same union of the people they supervise, is so patently obvious as to be ridiculous. Naturally, the principals’ first responsibility will be to the union rather than to the school they supervise. They can move from school to school but will always be a member of the union, wherever they go in this state. They have a much more vested interest in placating the union rather than making the tough decisions that may affect their brother union members. Breaking this link is of paramount importance to improving Hawaii schools.

This is equally true of breaking up the state-run school system into the local boards as Gov. Lingle proposes, which also has been shelved. The whole of the Felix Consent Decree problem is a direct consequence of Hawaii’s state-run school system. This is why such Federal lawsuits haven’t been brought in other states, they can’t. The Federal government cannot accost local school districts in the same manner it can a state run system because the Feds cannot deal directly with local districts, only can only deal directly with states. This has been documented elsewhere. Though never mentioned this would be yet another benefit of breaking up the school system into locally run boards.

But I digress from my point, which is the obstructionism of the House Democrats. It doesn’t matter what Gov. Lingle does, they immediately oppose her and begin bellyaching. It is clear they are doing everything they can to derail her efforts in the hopes it will make her look ineffective and they will recoup their losses at the next election. That the people as a whole see through this is evident in her popularity in the polls. The people aren’t being fooled here and this will come back to haunt the Democrats. The question is how to make them see this so that they can be pressured to continue with her programs. Still churning on that.

Gov. Lingle’s reasonableness, on the other hand, can be seen in how quickly her administration reversed itself on the “Health Center” issue and restored the unspent $1.6 million. Nobody has properly lauded this reasonableness, but someone needs to.

”’Don Newman is a free-lance writer based in Waikiki and can be reached via email at:”’ mailto:newmand001@hawaii.rr.com

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