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Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Sign thief can tidy up other neighborhoods

Hey, please let the Pearl City "serial sign thief" know that he or she is welcome in Kailua. We've got telephone poles littered with garage sale signs and "work at home" scam signs they can warm up on while our politicians figure out what they're gonna befuddle us with this year.

Robert "Rabbett" Abbett

Lawmakers quibble needlessly about film

I still remember watching "Jeopardy" during a question in which the answer was "Hawaii." None of the contestants responded correctly, and host Alex Trebek commented that Hawaii really needed to work on its advertising.

We spend God knows how much to send people all over the world to give out leis at airports to promote Hawaii. Now we have an opportunity to latch onto Disney magic with the "Lilo & Stitch" animated movie, and lawmakers are concerned that maybe talks started before they were asked? Sure, ruin a deal that will never come again.

Lawmakers want to shorten the deal with Disney because they don't think that tourism officials contacted them before negotiating the deal? Think about it, lawmakers: If you build a deal with Disney soon enough there might be Hawaii-themed rides at its many theme parks.

The movie, the DVD, the soundtrack, the toys -- how could Hawaii officials not see the incredible opportunity this is? How naive must they be to believe that a deal with Disney may be overlooked. Instead, we'll send people to airports around the world to pass out leis. I'm sure those people with leis will reach many more than Disney with their silly movie, which early reviewers are calling a masterpiece.

Pedro Haro

Isles rank lower in violent crime

The Star-Bulletin's recent drumbeat about crime in Hawaii tells only part of the story ("Isles top nation for thefts," June 11).

Compared to other places, your property's not very safe here -- but you are! That's worth remembering when we beat ourselves over the head with crime numbers.

In 2000, Hawaii's violent-crime rate was less than half the national average and ranked 43rd in the nation, according to FBI figures.

States with even less violent crime were either in the upper West (North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana) or the far Northeast (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire). High violent-crime states, with one exception, were all in the southeast -- Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, New Mexico and Tennessee.

Such geographical patterns suggest violence may be part of regional culture, so the aloha spirit is real when it comes to violence.

Sadly, that's not true for property crime, especially larceny-theft. We really did rank No. 1 there. Some of that is because the FBI rate disregards our tourist population. We'd "only" rank No. 6 if our theft rate were based on actual population, including visitors. Small consolation.

At least we're not Florida. Our tourism competitor was tops in violent crime and No. 3 in property crimes.

John M. Knox

Dems' economic policy hurts small business

In response to Martin Rice's letter ("Lingle's looking out for Big Business," Star-Bulletin, June 17): He is right about the oil companies' profits, but he does not address under whose administration this consumer gouging occurred. The Democratic leadership proposed a populist but counterproductive way of treating the symptom, not the cause, of price gouging. Competition of ideas and in businesses leads to better products at lower prices. The proposed price cap will further drive out small, independent gas dealerships, which are a staple of the small towns on the outer islands. So if someone does question the wisdom of the Democratic economic policy, is that a bad idea?

The question to ask is, are you better off today than you were 12 years ago? As former President Bill Clinton said, "It's the economy stupid."

Wally Mahan

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