TOURISM SCHOOL SHOULD BE SEPARATE
As a 30-year travel industry executive, including a tenure as president and COO of Hawaiian Airlines and a former Travel Industry Management School advisory board member, I am deeply concerned about the loss of the TIM School's independence.
As someone who strongly believes in the need for a premier travel industry school in Hawai'i, I find it extremely disturbing that your editorial staff and the relatively new university administration appear to be rushing to judgment over the future of TIM.
TIM has not only remained a relevant part of the university, the Hawaiian community and the worldwide travel industry, it has actually excelled. Year after year, TIM, its students and faculty are the recipients of numerous academic and industry awards and certifications.
Through those achievements and its innovative programs, TIM has long held a leadership position in the global travel and tourism industry. Its graduates, students and faculty have not only served as a unique resource in Hawai'i, but are often at the forefront for identifying, addressing and providing innovative solutions for a variety of travel industry issues.
TIM needs to be strengthened, not subjected to the bureaucratic ways of the business school, serving so many different academic disciplines.
It is my opinion that a merger as contemplated will diminish the TIM mission and organization, lay aside the almost 50-year history of academic and individual accomplishments, tarnish a hard-earned world-class reputation and quickly lead to the marginalization of what should be the leading travel industry and tourism education and knowledge-creation program in Hawai'i and the Asia-Pacific region.
Robert W. Zoller | Honolulu
MAKE LEGAL WHAT IS ALREADY HAPPENING
Through advertisements we are coerced into believing bigger is better. We are subliminally programmed to buy more than we need.
We choose fast foods and drinks that have been proven to be bad for us. These vices are choices that we make.
Should we charge an exploitation tax for companies that are allowed to advertise, suggesting people buy their product even if they can't afford it, don't need it and could affect their health?
To allow gaming in the state of Hawai'i would only make legal what already is happening daily in the state, whether you know it or not.
Unlike Ben Wong's opinion (Feb. 10), I would applaud any politician who tactfully would explore the possibility that gaming could be an asset to our deficit-ridden economy.
dawn hayashi | Honolulu
INDUSTRY APPARENTLY HASN'T AIDED NEVADA
I am flabbergasted that the state Legislature is advancing gambling bills as a panacea for our financial woes.
If gambling is so good for the economy, why does the state of Nevada have — according to the University of Nevada — a $881 million budget shortfall this year, a 13.1 percent unemployment rate, 40,000 families in the state making less than $15,000 per year and the highest foreclosure rate in the nation?
If gambling is good for the economy, why is Nevada in much worse shape than Hawai'i?
j. rex pippin | Waimea, Big Island
LEGALIZATION WOULD PASS IF PUT TO VOTERS
It is about time the Legislature is at least entertaining legalized gambling.
1. More than a quarter billion dollars flow every year from Hawai'i to Nevada. Not a dime of it is taxed.
2. You can't legislate morality — prohibition proved that.
3. Forty-eight states run gambling, yet the myth persists that "crime" would take over if allowed here.
Gambling is probably more popular among the people of Hawai'i than any other state. Could anyone seriously tell me that it wouldn't pass by a large margin if ever put on a ballot?
So if it's the people's wish and would greatly reduce our billion-dollar deficit, it needs to be considered seriously.
Mark Stitham | Kailua
MONEY NOT MEANT TO PAY FOR EDUCATION
As a legislator I was often counseled about the importance of knowing the history and intent of a measure.
The governor, her administration and some legislators are ignoring the intent of the rainy day fund, which was to provide assurance that there would be a health and human services "safety net," especially for those who are the most vulnerable in our society.
It was not meant to help balance the budget, or to leverage collective bargaining negotiations, and certainly not to be used for the elimination of furlough Fridays.
The cost of public education is a core government function that must be funded by dedicating general funds and given high priority. Furlough Fridays are the result of negotiators' failure to recognize the need to set a minimum standard for school days, then building negotiations upon those standards.
Let's not pit the needs of educating our children against the needs of our poor and disabled, because one side will surely end up losing.
dennis arakaki | Honolulu
TAKE OPPORTUNITY TO JOIN PAC-10 NOW
It appears that the Pac-10 conference is seriously considering the addition of two members, Utah in particular and one other school.
Former UH president Evan Dobelle was a strong advocate for the university to make this move if the opportunity arose. That opportunity is right now. The benefits for us academically, financially and athletically are numerous. No doubt the budget strain would be eased by a big jump in attendance at sports events, especially, of course, football.
I would urge Dr. M.R.C. Greenwood and her administration to take an advantage of this golden opportunity for our university and put together a proposal to promote the UH as the missing piece for the Pac-10.
To hesitate or delay will be very regrettable, and no doubt when the dust settles from these reorganizations, we will be in a less desirable position in a weakened conference.
As the old saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained. If we are not successful, at least we can say we gave it our best shot to make a landmark step forward.
peter caldwell | Honolulu
RAISING GAS TAX WILL HAVE MANY BENEFITS
If legislators want to balance the state budget, they can do it in a way that would retard sea level rise and ocean acidification, reduce the trade deficit, lower the likelihood of foreign wars, improve national security and make Hawai'i a more pleasant place to live — simply by taxing fossil fuels.
Respected economists tell us that the social costs of petroleum use are roughly $2 per gallon equivalent of gasoline. We recover the social costs of alcohol and tobacco by taxing the user at the point of sale, so why not fossil fuels? I suggest an immediate 20-cents-per-gallon tax, increasing by 20 cents per year for the next nine years, which gives everyone time to plan.
At the same time, we should reduce the excise tax and taxes on desirable activities such as saving and investing. Carbon taxes are coming. Why wait for every other state to go first?
Neil Frazer | Honolulu