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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Democrats, GOP must close ranks

David Shapiro's Oct. 10 commentary ("State Legislature is in the dark") should be read in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Democrats and Republicans must cast aside partisan politics and inane solutions, and aggressively pursue economic recovery. Hopefully, our effete politicians will surprise us.

Advertising is unnecessary. People know we're here. Sporting events (triathlon, marathon, major golf events, canoe races, etc.), airlines, the HCVB, hotel chains — all sell Hawaii. We enjoy tremendous media coverage. We do not need to waste money on additional advertising or promotions. We should instead:

• Make it illegal to charge different rates (hotels, golf courses, etc.) to visitors.

• Punish severely any assault on any person (mugging, beatings, etc.).

• Implement the most stringent, inflexible screening of passengers' luggage on airlines to and from Hawai'i. In other words, make Hawai'i a safe destination.

John S. Carroll

It's time to start making smarter decisions

We need to diversify our business here. How many tourists can we sway to come out? The Royal Hawaiian Band in Japan? Come on! Can we build any more chic stores that no locals ever shop at? This is not Milan.

What if there was no more airplane travel — how would we survive? We supplied the world with sugar and pineapple — how about food for ourselves? We have the best soil and year-round growing cycles. Yet we depend on elsewhere to survive. Not akamai.

Why not gambling? It might bring strip bars or prostitution? Too late.

This is the biggest red-tape, old-boy state in the country. The democratic system takes so long to make a decision that time does it for us.

Remember the Feds wanted to buy us a rail system but we thought it would mire the beauty of the island? Like skyscrapers? We snoozed and lost millions.

Look around — our schools are the worst in the country but hey, we have a great bus system.

Wake up, Hawai'i.

Scott Cress

Vouchers for airfares would solve problem

As I was vacationing in the Islands, I read about many different ways to stimulate Hawai'i's economy. I would like to offer another modified idea to some that have been pitched.

It is clear the Hawai'i economy is dependent on tourists and their dollars. Well, when I think about going to Hawai'i or any other place, the first thing I do is to see how much airfare is. If it is reasonable, then I am much more inclined to research it further, i.e., flight and room availability. It is that initial sticker shock of airfare that is the deciding factor for many people such as myself.

Instead of offering vouchers for food, luaus, etc., offer a $100 to $200 voucher for airfare. This could also be done for interisland fares as well. How about $60 round-trip interisland airfares? This way you get the locals and tourists renting cars, staying at hotels, etc.

Take it from someone who loves Hawai'i but does not live there, this bait will motivate.

Craig Guy
Santa Barbara, Calif.

State is the problem, not our salvation

On Oct. 17, The Advertiser published a letter from Ed Cesar recommending that an office of economic improvement be created. His suggestion raises two major questions:

• Why do we the people of Hawai'i continue to have faith that the state government will succeed in lifting Hawai'i out of the economic slump? The state government did not succeed in the past 10 years when Hawai'i suffered an economic downturn while the rest of the United States enjoyed one of the best economic booms in history. The state's present recommendations for economic recovery sound the same as the ones I have heard for the last 10 years.

• Cesar's letter strikes a nerve because an office for economic improvement already exists: a state bureaucracy with a long name, but ending with Economic Development. The fact that Cesar recommends the formation of such a bureau eloquently comments on the job that agency is actually doing — and also again points to the futility of our belief questioned in point one of my letter.

Cless A. McFarland

Legislators must also address key failings

As our "Legislators look at the state's economic crisis" in hopes that they can "keep Hawai'i afloat," I hope they have the courage to consider more than just surface symptoms.

Sept. 11 certainly created the tsunami wave of fear that has driven thousands from the beaches of our "one-horse economy." But we can ill afford to lose sight of the fact that it is only when the tide of visitors hits absolute rock bottom, as it has, that the fundamental weaknesses in the pilings of our state's economic system become once again painfully visible.

When this wave passes, we will still be leading the nation in such unenviable races as woefully poor education for our youth and a top-heavy public service system being strangled by an inability to create any meaningful union reform.

So the real question for our legislators is not just "Can they keep Hawai'i afloat?" but will they then have the courage to, once and for all, attack the root causes of our fragile economic underpinnings? If they don't, we will continue to live at the mercy of external events versus becoming the masters of our own destinies.

Irv Rubin

Suspend Jones Act, bring back boat days

The airlines are continuing to cut passenger service to Hawai'i. Flying is the only way for people to get here. Our hotels are losing $2.7 million a day.

I propose that our congressional delegation obtain emergency suspension of the Jones Act, to permit cruise lines to provide passenger service between the Mainland and Hawai'i.

It will be a cultural joy to have boat days back again.

E. Alvey Wright

Public classrooms need screens installed

Hawai'i's public school students are at risk from dengue fever. The infection is carried by mosquitoes, which bite during the day, when students are in school. Most people don't realize that screens aren't generally provided for our classrooms. Ask any teacher.

Unless the state acts quickly before the winter rains begin, we can expect infected mosquitoes in our classrooms. Many will feel the state is not protecting our students. Wouldn't this be a good time to provide extra jobs and install those screens ASAP?

Peggy Haring

LeMahieu departure comes at a bad time

As a certified public school teacher, I am deeply saddened and disappointed to hear of the recent resignation of our superintendent, Dr. Paul LeMahieu.

I am saddened because I know that LeMahieu had a clear, beneficial plan set out for our public schools. He is one of the top experts on educational standards, a movement that other school systems, in other states, already have in place.

I am disappointed because rather than try to convince LeMahieu to stay, knowing that he has made positive improvements to our educational system and that his resignation came at a time when the possibility of federal receivership of our Department of Education is almost a reality, Gov. Cayetano chose to hang on to his petty resentments guised under the pretenses that LeMahieu has made the best choice for the education system of Hawai'i.

Trancita Winquist

LeMahieu didn't play the governor's game

Ben Cayetano warned schools chief Paul LeMahieu that he would be fired for thinking outside the "yes man" box. Do you think we can possibly find anyone to fill the open position who's qualified to be anything other than a yes man now?

As far as the conflict-of-interest charge goes: The test should be is the public agenda progressing, regressing or standing still — not are you a perfect yes man?

LeMahieu has my best wishes to find a more suitable place to be a professional.

Steve Purnell

Cruise ship workers stayed until the last

It's insulting to me and all ship employees that American Classic Voyages Vice President Lei Fountain and another unnamed officials suggested that the ship didn't stop at its last port of call on Friday for fear that ship employees would leave without finishing their jobs.

We didn't stop at the last port because company officials feared that the ships would be seized by government officials, stranding passengers and employees alike. All the employees provided first-class customer service until the last guest was off the ship Saturday morning, and then we stayed around even longer to finish our responsibilities and help each other.

The spirit of aloha was alive on both the MS Patriot and the SS Independence until the last employee walked off the gangway. There are many reasons the company went bankrupt, but the employees on the ship were certainly not the cause. The company failed us, we did not fail the company.

Darren Hochstedler
Former entertainment manager/pianist, MS Patriot

Don't stop UH roll

Hey, Coach Jones! It ain't broke no more, so don't fix it!

Kalei Kukui

LeMahieu's demise was predictable

The term "sweetheart deal" seems particularly apt just now.

My wife picked me up at school yesterday afternoon, and I happened to mention to her the current difficulties in which our former state supe has managed to embroil himself, predicting "His days are numbered," little realizing the number had shrunk to zero.

I know there are some who are not going to be thrilled with this observation, but this is just one more sorry example of a prominent member of the over-educated, under-experienced, glib, pretentious demographic cohort I refer to as the Cry Baby Boom elite biting the dust.

The supe was, in my opinion, what folks in the military bureaucracy within the Beltway sometimes call a talking dog. When some fast-rising high muckety-muck wearing an eagle or stars on his shoulders wants to sponsor a dog-and-pony show for this or that reason, he will often bring in a talking dog to make the pitch. The pitch will invariably be polished, glittery and replete with all manner of dazzle and swift, smooth answers to all questions posed.

Whether the pitch has anything whatsoever to do with reality is a matter of little concern to the talking dog. The main thing is to close the deal, make the sale, get the funding commitment, whatever. The job of the talking dog is to drag in the stunned bear. What happens when the bear wakes up is someone else's problem.

And who pays the price for all this pretentious, arrogant, glib effluent that the Cry Baby Boom elite specializes in pouring out over a once-decent society? Innocent children — the least able to defend themselves against the predations of the arrogant — that's who.

Here again, we see it is the innocent children — those sentenced to public schools in Hawai'i — who will pay the price for all the arrogance that was doled out under the pretense of "standards-based education." The supe talked the talk, but he (like most in his pitiful generation) didn't have what it takes to walk the walk. After three — count 'em, three — years of a virtual free reign and billions of tax dollars expended, we still have zero curriculum and no performance standards with which to measure either student or teacher performance.

Prediction: After all the hullabaloo dies down, nothing much will actually change. Our students will continue to be cheated out of an education day in, day out by a cold-hearted, uncaring "state system" of public education.

Oh sure, impressive words will fly like snowflakes in a blizzard, but the will to make the effort needed to actually bring about long-overdue change simply does not exist within the ranks of the Cry Baby Boom elite who are now — regrettably — in charge of our society.

Thomas Stuart