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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, March 1, 2010

Visitor thank you

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

The number of U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan is nearly 1,000, and the civilian casualties are rising as well. Patricia Blair says it's time for America to get out of Afghanistan.

BRENNAN LINSLEY | Associated Press

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HEALTH CLINIC WAS EFFICIENT, HELPFUL

This is a huge rave for the Waikiki Health Center on 'Ohua Avenue. I was visiting Waikk for a month and needed quick medical attention after catching a bad virus shortly before I was supposed to fly home.

The employees in the clinic were professional, extremely organized and efficient, and even billed my insurance. The physician assistants were the best. I received exceptional quality care and attention both times I was seen.

What a wonderful service they provide to anyone who needs medical help. Thank you for helping me, especially Jeanelle Ponce and Joseph Luna. The community is lucky to have you.

Kathy O'Connell | Edmonds, Wash.

AFGHANISTAN

AFTER NINE YEARS, U.S. NEEDS TO GET OUT

The number of U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan is approaching 1,000. The civilian casualties are rising horribly in this ninth year of American aggression. War has never been the best answer to settle conflict.

Former Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson's recent death reminded me that it was his efforts with the CIA that funded the Taliban. Isn't it time that our country stopped these foolish games that show so little regard for human life?

A child should be able to be born into a peaceful society. Not one more death. Not one more dollar for war and weapons of mass destruction.

patricia blair | Kailua

GAMBLING

HAWAI'I EXPERIENCE DOESN'T NEED GAMING

Gaming advocates say the gaming industry is great. They claim the state will meet or exceed its financial obligations. Why would our legislators want Hawai'i to legalize an industry that is designed to take large sums of money from individuals?

We all know that the "house always wins." Why would we want visitors to leave Hawai'i knowing that they gambled away their life savings? I have read gaming is most attractive to those who can least afford to gamble.

Some say that there is no correlation between crime and gaming. Jack Abramoff, a former gaming lobbyist, is currently incarcerated for bribing government officials and defrauding American Indian tribes of millions of dollars.

In conclusion, gaming is inappropriate for Hawai'i on many levels. Hawai'i is the most beautiful place in the world and our long-term goal should be to protect its natural beauty.

Hawai'i will always attract the high-end visitors for its beauty, its volcanoes, and its diverse cultural heritage. Let's seduce visitors to come to Hawai'i for an experience that will transform their souls and help make this world a better place.

mark guerin | Honolulu

FIREWORKS

CULTURAL EXPERIENCE NOT WORTH DAMAGE

Even though fireworks are a big part of our culture, I don't think they are worth all of the accidents and damage caused by fireworks every year.

Although they are pretty to watch and fun to use, are they really worth all of the injuries and property damage? Fireworks pollute the air and hurt people with lung diseases and asthma. They also make the roads difficult to see, which can cause more accidents.

The loud noises startle pets and disturb people. People use illegal fireworks because they think they can get away with not following the rules. If we ban all fireworks, it will be more obvious when people are breaking the law, and it will be easier to catch those people.

Michelle Urunaka | Mid-Pacific Institute, Grade 8

HAWAI'I INCOME TAX

CUT WITHHOLDING TO OFFSET REFUND DELAY

Since the state will not give me my 2009 tax refund until after June 30, 2010, I am thinking of asking my employer to reduce my withholding to zero from now until October 2010.

jared ishimoto | 'Aiea

CEDED LANDS

MISMANAGEMENT NOT A REASON TO SELL

From the Territorial Government to the present, politicians have consistently overspent. This forces them to come up with "creative" ideas to supplement their shortfalls when the economy eventually sours.

They wouldn't have to look far if they simply managed ceded lands properly. Thousands of acres have been leased by politicians to their friends for as little as a dollar a year. A previous governor even suspended landing fees at the airport, which sits on ceded lands, for two years, just to allow airlines to bring in more tourists. We all know that didn't happen. It was just another sweetheart deal.

There is no question the state has mismanaged ceded lands. But this rationale should not be used as an excuse to sell such a precious resource. A year ago, legislators voted to preserve ceded lands. Now they're trying to sell them. How can we trust these people?

We need leaders who can balance budgets. Then they wouldn't have to raise taxes, legalize gambling or sell ceded lands. This election year, let's vote for people who will make the tough decisions needed to revitalize our economy. We definitely do not need more creative ways to tax us or squander our resources.

rowena akana | Trustee, Office of Hawaiian Affairs