ECONOMIST PAINTED INACCURATE PICTURE
In his exploration of the economic impact of gambling, Leroy Laney (Letters, Feb. 15), paints an inaccurate picture of casinos.
First, peer-reviewed research refutes Laney's claim that casinos are linked to a variety of social problems, including crime and divorce.
In addition, a mountain of evidence proves that casinos stimulate local economies, resulting in increased jobs, incomes and opportunities for local businesses who would supply these new facilities.
Indeed, as Laney suggests, gambling success stories are pervasive — and for good reason. Many communities have flourished after the introduction of casinos, including several tourist destinations.
For example, Stephen Perry, who oversees the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, says of a nearby casino, "It has become one of our most powerful selling tools There was some fear in the hospitality industry early on that it would capture and retain customers... That fear has been laid to rest."
Laney's fears that casinos would conflict with Hawai'i's image also are unfounded. Not only do casinos generate billions in tax revenues for critical social services, but they are national leaders in corporate charitable giving.
Certainly, Laney is entitled to his opinion. However, I believe our industry's track record of success speaks for itself.
FraNK. J. Fahrenkopf Jr. | President, CEO, American Gaming Association
CAN HONOLULU REALLY AFFORD RAIL SYSTEM?
They want to raise taxes and now they also want to pressure the governor to just sign the EIS for the rail project without analyzing its fiscal consequences.
Are they serious?
This is the type of action that has brought our economy to its knees.
This is why there is such an enormous amount of foreclosures, bank failures and borrowing by city and state from the federal government — spending was made without checking on the ability to repay.
Can the people of Hawai'i afford the rail? Mayor Hannemann and 39 representatives say yes, while Gov. Lingle says "let me verify."
The city itself is working on a review to present to the Federal Transit Administration.
Voters demand that spending be responsible and not political.
H-3 took years to work out an acceptable EIS and yet it still got built and now serves the people of Hawai'i.
The rail will be built, but let us do it right.
john guzman | Honolulu
SÄMOA STILL NEEDS OUR ASSISTANCE
Please Hawai'i, with all that's happening weatherwise, Haiti in particular (be prepared for more, here and everywhere), we can't forget our brothers and sisters in Sämoa.
They suffered terribly last year with the tsunami and we must continue to help.
Liz Hey | Kapa'a, Kaua'i
COMPLACENT LEADERS MAKE BAD DECISIONS
Earlier this year, House Speaker Calvin Say recommended deferring HB 444, citing his desire to protect fellow House members.
At the same time he introduced a multitude of tax increases, increases that will directly affect the livelihood of many Hawai'i residents. There is a contradiction in his rationale. In a time of economic difficulty, what serves a greater detriment to re-election: granting reciprocal benefits to same-sex couples or demanding more money from taxpayers?
Complacency has driven our leaders to make these appalling decisions. Legislators have come to recognize their offices and seats as their "own." Candidate filing opened earlier this month, yet only a handful of incumbents have filed. Many believe that despite voter dissatisfaction reelection is guaranteed.
Meager voter turnout and low numbers of citizenry active in the legislative process justify this mindset, but our leaders' actions expressed through poor legislation are not.
Hawai'i's people must exercise their civic responsibility. There will never be consensus, but the people must stand for honest and genuine leaders.
Mark Aoki | Honolulu
IS SENATOR AGAINST OR FOR PUBLIC OPTION?
Since Sen. Daniel K. Inouye has announced that he is seeking another term, we need to know if he is in the race for us, or just for the power that comes from holding office.
I want to know where he stands on the public option (for health insurance). If he is for it, then why has he not come out strongly? He should use the power he has as appropriation committee chairman to get more of his fellow senators to sign Sen. Michael Bennet's letter calling for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to get the public option passed through reconciliation.
If he is against the public option then Hawai'i needs to find another candidate who will stand up for all Americans.
michael golojuch Jr. | Kapolei
SMOKE-FREE CONDO HAS LONG WAY TO GO
Dr. Elizabeth Tam (Island Voices, Feb. 19) should see the cigarette butts strewn all over the third floor garden deck of the Kukui Plaza, which is designated as a smoke-free condo.
Stairwells and the front of the Diamond Head Tower are also favorite smoking areas. She also should check with other condos. What a surprise she will get, I am sure.
howard saiki | Honolulu