With a little help, Chinatown can prosper
Chinatown needs to look after its own as we work to make the area a place of prosperity and pride ("Chinatown at a crossroads," Star-Bulletin, June 18
). I've worked in Chinatown for two years, enjoying the First Friday launch, gallery walks and influx of small businesses that thrive on the district's historic and multiethnic roots.
Evidence of another Chinatown is still around us -- the homeless at doorways and bus stops, drug deals at night. Like Waikiki, Chinatown struggles for a genuine sense of community. Gretchen Dykstra, first president of the Times Square Business Improvement District, visited Waikiki when it was in the throes of birthing its own BID. Asked about chronic problems of homelessness, drugs and prostitution, she said, "Times Square takes care of its own" -- meaning solutions that did not simply push the disadvantaged into surrounding areas.
This week Chinatown stakeholders are coming together. There's a lot to address. Small businesses and landowners need incentives to upgrade properties without going bankrupt. Artists and shopkeepers need reasonable rents. Visitors need safe streets. We can learn from other cities -- Denver's downtown partnership, Providence, R.I.'s "tax-free zone" for artists -- and get creative with tax credits and grants. Then it's up to us.
Ticket cost isn't related to airline safety
In regard to Scott Noltie's June 16 letter to the editor
: All airlines come under the same safety regulations regardless of the price of tickets.
Also, it is very nice of him to be concerned about the wages of the employees of go! airlines.
Perhaps, to ensure better quality of anything Noltie purchases, he should pay more for everything he uses and then he will feel safer and be contributing more money to the employees of all the companies with which he does business.
I remember when we had $39 fares to all the outer islands by all the interisland carriers. It made our yearly vacations much more enjoyable to spend a few days on Maui, then Hawaii and on to Lanai. The fares were so reasonable that we kept our rooms on Oahu while we were traveling to the other islands.
If go! can do it, more power to them. The people are the ones who will benefit.
Fort Mill, S.C.
Base entitlements on need, not ethnicity
Oswald Stender's essay on the moribund Akaka Bill in Sunday's Star-Bulletin
was singularly unconvincing. The sum of his argument for the bill is that protection of entitlements for Hawaiians is justified by the cost savings to society of raising Hawaiians out of poverty. He states that Hawaiians' poor economic and social conditions justify such entitlements.
Hawaiians as a group do suffer, but so do other ethnic groups. There is no racial or ethnic group in America that is not affected to some degree by poverty, poor education and inadequate health care. Hawaii-ans are not alone. Then why should Hawaiians receive entitlements -- to subsidized housing, health care or education -- that are not provided to others? That's the question that neither Stender nor Senator Akaka has answered.
Basing entitlements on race or ethnicity rests on the false assumption that all members of the preferred group are in need of the benefit and that no members of other groups are. I seem to remember that a few years ago Stender was receiving more than a million dollars per year as a trustee of the Bishop Estate. Given that, should his Hawaiian ethnicity qualify him for publicly subsidized housing or health care regardless of his need?
Certainly there is good reason for the state to support services to help people who are economically, socially or educationally deprived. There is, however, no valid justification for doing so for members of one race to the exclusion of all others -- or doing so for people who do not need the assistance. That is the principle underlying opposition to the Akaka Bill; its provisions rest on racial preference, not need.
Palestinians cause their own problems
The problems that the Palestinian people have are problems that they squarely created themselves when they elected Hamas as their government. The Palestinians have been warring with their neighbors for 10,000 years now. In their Islamic jihad, in their call for the destruction of Israel and the West, in their thirst for blood, in their terroristic ways, they are destroying themselves. When the twin towers went down they were dancing in the streets. They get no sympathy from me. Now they are on the verge of a full-blown civil war. Why can't they live in peace, and why is Islam such a violent religion?