Special disaster fund would protect tourism
We support a $5 million "tourism rescue fund" to be held by Hawaii Tourism Authority for use in getting the word out that Hawaii is still in business following a disaster.
The 45 days of rain in early '06, followed by a record sewage spill into Waikiki waters and then the 60 days of stigma, would have certainly qualified for these funds.
Frank Haas, an experienced marketer at HTA, can make excellent use of this money to right our canoe should another disaster strike. Following the '06 disaster, Haas scrambled for funds and public-relations kokua from the industry. If he had not had to spend his valuable time and energy searching for money and arm-twisting, he could have had our message into the market immediately and not missed a beat.
With committed and accessible funds, Haas can get a media campaign into high gear quickly. Time saved translates into saved jobs and businesses. Put the money in the bank and sit on it. Let's make sure funds are available in the event another disaster strikes Hawaii.
Waikiki Beach Activities
Lawmakers should stop oil price gouging
The news story in yesterday's Star-Bulletin
should serve as a wake-up call to Hawaii residents that the high price for gasoline is not going to change unless we hold certain politicians' feet to the fire.
The price for crude oil has now fallen to below $54 a barrel, but gasoline prices have not followed that trend. This is one of the criticisms of the industry that led to the passing of the first price control law. To fight the law the refiners claimed that they always lowered prices when they received lower prices. That doesn't seem to be the case now.
The refiners have neutralized the situation with the help of the governor's office and the Public Utilities Commission. They also are being aided in this rip-off by lawmakers who don't have the political will to resist the refiners' publicity campaigns.
The refiners claim that much of the (pricing transparency) information required of them is proprietary. How can that be? It is abundantly clear that the two refiners' price structures are in lock step. If one raises prices, the other follows knowing that they have a captive customer base. The real reason they don't want to reveal this "proprietary" information is that they would be extremely embarrassed if they had to reveal what they have been doing to the Hawaii consumer.
It would be in the refiners' best interest to provide the information mandated by law rather than have a veto-proof Legislature enact a more draconian set of laws to regulate the industry.
The Legislature can no longer sit on its hands and hope the governor will do the right thing; clearly she won't. It's not enough for lawmakers to say that they provided the means to end gouging, they need to force the issue.
Withholding funds would betray troops
Rep. Neil Abercrombie has officially come out in favor of "losing" in Iraq ("Abercrombie says forget about Iraq surge funds," Star-Bulletin, Jan. 9
). He and his fellow Democrats have proven during the last 35 years that they have no interest in maintaining the security of the country whose Constitution they have sworn to uphold and defend.
Now Abercrombie is promising to cut our brave troops off at the knees. Abercrombie and his Democratic colleagues are threatening to do the exact same thing to U.S. troops that they did to the South Vietnamese army in 1975.
For those readers who don't remember what happened when South Vietnam collapsed, there was a blood bath in Vietnam and Cambodia. Of course, the Vietnamese communists didn't follow us home. The radical Islamofascists will follow us back to the United States. I put it to the Star-Bulletin readers as to whether they think we should fight the terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere around the world, or whether we should fight them in the United States.
Myren R. Severin
U.S. Army (retired)
Bush's troop surge plan is idiotic
Regarding President Bush's appearance on "60 Minutes" last Sunday: Apparently President Bush does not want to listen to reason and seems to think a 21,500-troop surge in Iraq is the best way forward. I have had enough of this manure. I think we should have Bush impeached on any of the numerous crimes he has committed. I am mad as hell!
Let's separate Iraq into 3 states and leave
There should be no escalation of military activities in Iraq. American troops should remain there only as long as is necessary to separate the Kurds, Shias and Sunnis into three sovereign states. A procedural mechanism should be established to fairly compensate families relocated with properties and other assets of equal value.