Letters to the Editor
Emergency session must focus on tourism
Emergency powers, excise tax breaks, capital gains relief, spending cuts and construction proposals. Auwe. All these legislative measures should have been done at the last session.
Ask the unemployed tourist industry workers how a tax break, capital gains relief or construction stimulus is going to immediately help them now. It's the tourist industry that needs stimulus.
That should be the focus. Get the tourist back to Hawai'i.
The legislative economic stimulus is missing the target unless it provides immediate assistance to our economic jugular: tourism. Consider this proposal:
As a global incentive to re-attract tourists to Hawai'i, aggressively advertise a $100 voucher for a three-day stay, $300 for seven days and $500 for 10 days or more. The state-funded voucher would be given to each tourist, couple or family at the airport or dock upon arrival to be spent only in Hawai'i at any hotel, restaurant, store or shop. It could be used at several tourist locations until pau. Offer would continue for 30, 60 or 90 days.
This proposal addresses the emergency, by energizing the tourist incentive to travel. It focuses on the immediate problem. The potential result is hotel, restaurant and most tourism workers returning to work. Products are sold and replenished. Businesses remain in business. Taxes are collected.
Ralph Kawekiuokalani Hiatt
Survival depends on different approach
I believe Hawai'i politicians will do everything possible to continue to make doing business in Hawai'i difficult, even in light of this unbelievable crisis. Politicians have gotten us into this problem, and they are not the answer to getting us out.
This is about economic and personal survival. If I could do anything about it, I would:
- Repeal the Jones Act and accept any flag on any ship as long as it meets our standards of operation. Shipping costs to and from the Islands would really be competitive.
- Declare Honolulu to be a duty-free port, something like Hong Kong. We already have an overabundance of retail infrastructure to accommodate such a move.
- Allow gambling in (and only in) the form of horse racing beautiful racetracks and surrounding parks, earthy smells and exciting entertainment.
Business would boom and the tourists would return. And we would not have to spend another billion dollars we do not have.
Protesters should protest with enemy
I would like to thank those individuals who care so much about peace that they would devote their time to displaying their feelings publicly on the street in front of the Federal Building.
Their protest signs would be far more effective if they appeared on international television, perhaps mixed in with the signs saying "Death to Americans" currently waving in many other foreign cities right now.
In fact, I feel so strongly about it that I will contribute toward travel arrangements for those interested in promoting peace in the Middle East. It would please me no end to see some determined pacifists carrying signs shoulder to shoulder with those so passionately and singlemindedly determined to seek our destruction. Maybe those "No War" signs would be more effective than the terribly violent countermeasures we are resorting to.
To those of you who share my sentiments: I invite you to send your contributions to support a Middle East Peace Invasion to Mayor Giuliani in the name of your favorite peace group. Imua pono.
Kai ben Herschel
I'm tossing in the towel over education's mess
This teacher quits. This teacher has endured enough headaches from ineffective administrators, misinformed irate parents and a variety of behavior defiant disorder students.
This teacher has enjoyed no support from administrators, when a minority of students manipulate adults, wreak havoc in the classroom and violate the rights of others to learn.
Those others are a majority of sweet, good-natured and well-behaved students. They are being deprived of an education, and this teacher's right to teach has been violated.
Does a teacher have a right to teach after spending thousands of dollars on an education, studying constantly as a way of life, planning carefully thought-out lessons that have continuity, and supplementing materials to enrich the classroom experience with her own money?
After nine years of teaching, this teacher quits; and it is a loss for me and you because another caring, talented and effective teacher is moving on.
This teacher wants to let my students know that my leaving has nothing to do with anything they said or did. It's grown-ups who are being "bad" in the Leviathanian mess of an education system in Hawai'i.
I wish parents would demand more.
Government messed up on handling LeMahieu
Congrats to the executive and legislative branches and the BOE. Two steps forward, three steps backward. Again.
They hired Paul LeMahieu as superintendent and he began doing what was necessary to get the much-needed reforms accomplished; the teachers liked him and moved forward with him. A step forward. He got the special education reforms on track for accomplishment, and a time reprieve. Another step forward.
Then they began questioning his motives, even though they were getting the results necessary to keep the federal bench out of special education.
And the governor wouldn't support him and argued with him. One step backward.
And the legislative committees that should be working with him stopped. Two steps backward.
And the BOE began to doubt what he was doing getting scores up, schools on track and special education where it was supposed to be years ago. Three steps backward.
Is Judge Ezra knocking at the door again? I think I hear him.
Smoking ban wouldn't turn off the Japanese
This letter is to Rene Mansho and other City Council members, restaurant owners and occasional letter writers who say Japanese visitors would not patronize restaurants if a smoking ban is put into effect.
If the health concerns of restaurant employees and nonsmoking patrons do not sway you, think about this: If a tourist from Japan is willing to put up with a nonsmoking flight of eight hours or longer to travel to Hawai'i, what makes you think he cannot endure one or two hours not smoking while dining in a restaurant?
Hawai'i must be opened up to more cruise liners
If the events of this past week haven't shown Sen. Daniel Inouye the error of his ways, it is time we all pointed it out to him. Inouye must now lead the charge to open up Hawai'i's interisland cruise service to foreign-flag vessels and repeal the antiquated Passenger Services Act, which prohibits foreign-flagged liners from operating in Hawai'i or from transporting them to or from Hawai'i and the U.S. West Coast.
Granting American Classic Voyages a monopoly and coddling it with protectionist legislation have done nothing to open up Hawai'i to cruise tourism; it has only served to constrict it.
Just think of the possibilities and the massive number of passengers who would be brought to Hawai'i's shores if lines such as Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, NCL, Princess and Royal Caribbean were allowed to operate an interisland itinerary such as the Patriot and Independence did.
And no, I don't think we'll ever see ships operating with an all-American crew. Surely they can be persuaded to employ a certain number of Hawai'i residents as part of their contract to provide cruise service to Hawai'i.
HMSA might also remember doctors
In his Oct. 22 letter to the editor, Gary McCarty was shocked and pleased by the premium refund check he received from HMSA.
If only we doctors could be so pleased.
Year after year as a physician in Hawai'i, I have seen HMSA cut my fees overall with no negotiations beyond "take it or leave it."
Meanwhile, HMSA continued raising premium rates to subscribers.
Now it seems HMSA has a huge surplus. Although it is appropriate to refund some of the surplus to the subscribers, HMSA should also share it with doctors like me who have endured their fee cuts. After all, we are the ones who actually provide the healthcare services.
Rhoads E. Stevens, M.D.
Health plan rates should be left alone
Why can't Hawai'i's elected officials resist the temptation to "control" the private sector? They now want to invade our health plans and arbitrarily set the rates plans can charge. This is nothing but a huge power-grab by state government, and healthcare consumers must speak up now.
Kaiser and HMSA, two nonprofit community health plans, are among the best in the nation. I read where they both received the highest recognition for quality awarded to U.S. health plans. Plus, both provide affordable options for Island families.
HMSA's recently announced program extending health coverage to laid-off workers is an outstanding example of the plan's ability to make the right decisions and reach out with relief when it is needed most.
I do not want state government mandating the rates of my plan. I trust the experts at Hawai'i's nonprofit plans to make the right decisions when it comes to benefits and the cost of services. After all, they've been doing it successfully and fairly for over half a century.
Contact your elected officials now and say "No" to legislation that would give the state this unreasonable authority over our health benefits.
Diane N. Marshall
Does anthrax kill mosquitoes?
Maybe we should spread all suspicious white powder we find on mosquito-nesting grounds. Then we can get back to focusing our energy on rebuilding our economy and our lifestyle.