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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 5, 2010

Aviation woes

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

O'ahu aviation tour services, such as Island Seaplane Service, say they lost money when President Obama vacationed here. Aviation fliers in New England had the same problem when President Bush visited Maine.

DEBORAH BOOKER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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As I read the story about President Obama's visit to Hawai'i disrupting commercial aviation on the island ("Obama visit costly to aviation firms," March 2), my mind wandered back to an offhand thought I had several years ago, during one of President George W. Bush's visits to Kennebunkport, Maine.

Every time Bush would come, commercial and recreational aviation within 30 miles of Walker's Point would come to a standstill.

In tightly-populated New England, this meant that almost 20 airports in Maine and New Hampshire would be adversely affected, just as aviation operations on O'ahu were during Obama's visit.

On one occasion, Bush made what was essentially a campaign trip to the region over the Columbus Day holiday, which turned out to be an absolutely glorious New England autumn weekend, providing some of the best flying weather all year.

Yet, hundreds of airplanes were grounded while the president shilled for local Republican candidates. One small flight school operator in Maine, estimated that the presidential visit cost him $17,000 of revenue that long weekend.

When he asked the government if he might be reimbursed for his troubles, he was told, in a word, "No."

As my Piper Super Cub sat forlornly in its hangar that weekend at Hampton Airfield, on the New Hampshire seacoast, I remember thinking out loud, "I hope the next president is from Hawai'i."

Sorry about that, O'ahu.

robert s. o'kane | Rye, N.H.



In all of the recent photos of bank robbers, they were wearing disguises: namely, caps, dark glasses, and one a surgical mask. What good are surveillance cameras if the suspects' heads and faces are covered?

What happened to the sign that read "Please remove hats and sunglasses"?

catherine caldwell | Honolulu



Revenue-seeking proposals by our state legislators have become absurd.

Rainy day fund, tobacco settlement fund, hurricane relief fund; it seems there is no account that is safe from plunder. One is reminded of an addict searching for money in a panic to pay for that next fix. One imagines they may resort to checking the couch cushions and pockets in the dirty laundry for spare change.

If only they would wake up and smell the coffee, they would see the solution is simple. The bulk of the state budget goes to salaries. State employee unions refuse to accept salary cuts. Furloughs have been a disaster. The only reasonable alternative to reduce state expenditures is to reduce the number of state employees.

When times were good, the state payroll increased at a rate far beyond that of increased population. Those extra state workers should be terminated by layoffs or attrition.

The argument that services will suffer significantly is a canard. When times get tough, private industry universally turns to layoffs to reduce expenditures and to survive.

Raiding various state accounts for extra cash will only delay the inevitable and abrogate the intent for which the funds were created in the first place.

rhoads e. stevens | Hawai'i Kai



A letter writer (Feb. 25) bemoans a minimum $100 tax paid by St. George Catholic Church and other churches in response to a recent Advertiser editorial, because of the church's work in helping the less fortunate.

No one will deny the good that they do. However, I do a great deal of charity work like many here in Hawai'i, and ask for nothing in return. Yet I pay a great deal of tax on just about everything. To me, $100 seems like just a drop in the proverbial bucket.

As a matter of fact, after we are gone, there's even a tax on our estate which some would call a "double-dip," since everything has already been taxed at least once. Therefore, we are actually being taxed to death and thereafter as well. Well, our government does need the money more than we do, so what the heck.

walter behr | Mililani



How many times will it take our elected lawmakers to respect the requests of both our police and fire departments, and ban fireworks?

How many times are those lawmakers in question going to insult those who risk their lives at work to protect the public with responses such as "we will raise permit costs and fines," before doing what should be done?

How many people will have to go to emergency rooms of hospitals because they are having trouble breathing, simply because those elected are not doing what needs to be done?

I have never been a member of either the police or the fire department. Still, I have more respect for both vocations than some of our lawmakers. The lawmakers do not go on the calls, or go to the fires, or take the risks.

Also, they obviously have not thought about the impact fireworks might have on those recently back from war.

There is still time this legislative session to do what is right. Do so, or come election time, the voters will be heard.

Dale Blasko | Wai'anae