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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, September 27, 2001

Letters to the Editor

Reduce hotel rates, air fares as a lure

I read where Gov. Cayetano got together with business and tourism officials and decided to run a marketing campaign touting Hawai'i as a "refuge."

This is a waste of money because people aren't coming to Hawai'i right now because they think Hawai'i is unsafe, but because they think getting on an airplane is unsafe.

We're not going to get people on planes by telling them something they already know, namely, that Hawai'i is a nice place to visit. We have to give them a real good reason to get on a plane, and that should involve money.

Give them a financial incentive to come here: reduced hotel rates and reduced air fares. Don't spend millions trying to persuade people about something they already know. Instead, use that money to subsidize a strategy of lowering air fares to Hawai'i and lowering hotel room rates, or giving cash rebates to visitors.

In this case the state would have to spend money to make money, but unlike TV commercials, when people take advantage of the subsidy or rebate, at least you know they're coming, or are already here.

Les Kamm

Being an American now something special

I am a new American who has been a citizen of the Philippines for most of my life. I have always been proud about being Filipino, and I sought to teach my Scot/Irish/Filipino children to take pride in their Filipino heritage.

When I decided to become an American, I did it more out of convenience rather than allegiance to the country I now call home. I would often say "You Americans are like that," and my husband would always counter with "Don't forget: You're an American now."

I swore allegiance to America in 1993, but I became a true American on Sept. 11, 2001. Since that day, you will often find me flying the American flag, singing "America the Beautiful" and shedding tears for American souls — my fellow American souls.

I imagine that all new Americans feel the same as I do. We are no longer Filipino Americans, Japanese Americans or Arab Americans. We are simply Americans. Don't let the difference in our skins or accents fool you. Underneath, our hearts bleed red, white and blue.

To those Americans who have taken their anger out on all Arab-looking Americans or feel "uncomfortable" being around them, ask yourselves if you would like others to judge you by the atrocity committed by the "typical-looking" American: Timothy McVay.

Don't forget that being an American means that most of us are descendants of new Americans. Don't forget that being an American means that we don't persecute others for the color of their skin or the God they worship. Don't forget you're an American. I, for one, will never forget.

Theresia McMurdo

Fund-raising efforts need some scrutiny

Although I am as heartbroken as the next American regarding the recent tragedies, I am a bit concerned with all the recent fund-raising. Recent campaigns are expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for the survivors of those who perished in the terrorist attacks.

Those with nonprofit experience will tell you that the process of assisting the needy involves planning, followed by fund-raising, and not the other way around. Those in need, and the steps taken to assist them, are mapped out and the capital is then pursued to pay for such services. Does anyone know, or is anyone asking, who is holding and controlling the anticipated billion-dollar influx of donations?

In addition, the goal of many nonprofits is to assist those "who fall through the cracks" and whose needs have not been met by the traditional outlets such as insurance companies, the Defense Department or employers. I assume that the majority of those who tragically died on Sept. 11 were covered by life insurance or employer plans. Why are the families of surviving civil servants, or employers, receiving extra assistance as opposed to the single firefighter who dies in a house fire or the average American who dies at the hands of a drunk driver? Is tragedy subject to qualitative analysis?

Also, how much is enough, and will other nonprofits, and those who depend on them, suffer the consequences of hyper-kindness as their budgets hit the red for 2001?

Dan Morin

Keep our economy strong: Think local

During the next weeks and months, our economy will be challenged even more here than in other parts of the nation.

The people of Hawai'i will need to make a conscious effort to help each other by buying local goods and services. Rethink a California vacation and think about Kaua'i, the Big Island or even an O'ahu hotel. E-mail all your Mainland friends your favorite Hawai'i shopping Web site. Buy locally grown foods. Christmas-shop now.

Hire local construction companies and ask them to use as much locally supplied building materials as possible, even if there is a small premium. Don't hold back on a project. Interest rates are low and conducive for new building or remodeling.

We can individually grab our life vest and jump ship, leaving some to drown, or we can all stay on board and together we can keep the ship afloat.

Craig Watase
President elect, Building Industry Association of Hawai'i

Flag desecration view wouldn't be welcome

Thank you for printing the very moving political cartoon of the Iwo Jima-type flag-raising at the World Trade Center site.

It now is becoming politically advantageous for politicians to make a trip to New York, some even by special train, to visit the crash site, meet with rescue workers, condemn the terrorists, maybe a minute on the TV news, and have a photo-op, usually with the flag in the background.

I would hope as common decency that none in our Hawai'i congressional delegation makes such a trip. They believe it is free speech for someone to defecate on or otherwise desecrate our flags. They are also against any move in the Senate to even allow a vote on the flag desecration amendment.

It is unlikely our Hawai'i delegation would be welcome.

Frank D. Slocum

To defeat terrorism, we must look inward

In 1927, Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, "Do We Deserve the Hatred of the World ... Why?" The question has never been adequately answered by our government, and is even more pertinent today.

To eradicate terrorism, our society will either have to become less free and perhaps completely repressive, or more open.

The first option already has a momentum of its own and took a step forward with the newly expanded power of the FBI and CIA at the expense of our civil liberties.

The second option is more complex, but requires, at the least, an honest evaluation of the entire picture, including an answer to Mrs. Roosevelt's question.

Ann Gryczan

Don't go to war over trade center attack

The terrorist attack on the World Trade Center was a tragic event for our country. But we should not try to resolve it by war.

I know whoever is responsible for the deaths of thousands will pay for what he has done. I know that we have a right to be angry, but we must keep a cool head about this and handle this situation carefully.

Jessica Morishima
'Aiea High School, Grade 9

Hawai'i blood donors, your gift was precious

To all the blood donors in Hawai'i who might be disappointed that your donations did not make it to the survivors of the events of Sept. 11, please be aware that you have made a huge difference in the lives of many people.

During the past year, my mother, Nancy, fought her own quiet battle with lymphoma. She needed multiple blood transfusions and used many other blood products, especially in the last few months of her life. As a family, we thanked God for each of you who took time out of your busy schedules to give blood.

It was something you didn't need to do but you did it anyway. Yours was a gift of time — each transfusion gave us time to visit and talk about old times, time to sit together by the pool and watch grandchildren grow, and time just to be with someone special.

I am sure that I speak for many other daughters and sons, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers when I say that your donations are priceless, for they have given and will continue to give that most precious gift — life.

Diane Fowler Eisele

OHA money should be distributed to us

Dumping money into education as a means of helping all Hawaiians to better themselves is the most misguided sales pitch on this Earth.

From time immemorial, wasn't it up to individuals to determine and aspire to what they would want to be and work toward achieving that goal?

As I understand the process, in order for any Hawaiian to get money from OHA, his request would have to contain some qualifying activity relating to Hawaiian culture. As a caregiver to my parent, how will OHA help me after the medical benefits are pau?

I feel OHA should do away with all of its wheel-spinning bureaucracy and design an equitable process to distribute all monies to all Hawaiians so all of us are able to determine what we would want to do that will make our lives better.

Franklin K. Yang

Turn administrators back into teachers

You really don't have a major teacher shortage, Mr. LeMahieu.

There are many teachers in your executive building and your district offices statewide who, somehow, have been able to pull some strings to get out of teaching and into cushy, air-conditioned administrative jobs.

They justify these positions by writing curricula for the teachers to implement. Many of these curricula are duplicative but written with a different slant, or are impractical and waste teachers' time. And many proposed curricula get filed as an "accomplishment." None of these curricula has been critiqued by you or your inept elected Board of Education.

I also understand through an article in The Advertiser that there are approximately 600 certified teachers who are not teaching in classrooms, a number of whom are special education, science and math teachers.

So I suggest you get these teachers back into class and eliminate these administrative positions. And pay the teachers what they settled for.

Ray Pua

Weed & Seed program cleaned up Chinatown

As a resident of the Chinatown area (first Weed & Seed site), I can proudly say the Weed & Seed program really works. Since becoming a Weed & Seed site, our neighborhood has seen many positive changes. Our streets are safer and our community stronger.

West O'ahu may be the next official Weed & Seed site, but what people don't seem to realize is that Hawai'i's neighborhoods don't have to wait to be selected or meet a certain level of criteria in order to incorporate the Weed & Seed strategy. All you need is a community willing to work together to reach a common goal.

The key is taking pride in your community. Weed & Seed didn't go in and "fix" our neighborhood. They gave us the "tools" and enabled us to take back our neighborhood from drugs and crime.

While we still have much more work to do, I'm proud of how far we have come and encouraged by the dedication and commitment everyone still shows to rebuilding our neighborhood.

Dolores Fees Mollring

Motorcycle racing deserves coverage

As a spectator of Supercross and Motocross in California, I hear about the rising popularity of this sport in Hawai'i and would like to see these events covered.

It is said that Hawai'i has some very young and good candidates to contribute to the sport. However, we don't give them the coverage they deserve to get sponsorships or fans because this event, although full of races in Hawai'i, isn't as popular as other sports.

Joseph Herrera

Tim Chang, 2003 Heisman candidate

You heard it here first. Tim Chang will win the 2003 Heisman Trophy after setting a new record for NCAA Division 1-A total career passing yardage. Go Warriors!

Lunsford Dole Phillips