Hotels' loss is illegal rentals' gain
Conspicuously missing from the news article (Star Bulletin, July 6
) on the depressed hotel occupancy rate were the following significant explanations:
» The illegal vacation rental business is flourishing. These operations are ruining our residential neighborhoods by turning them into commercial activity centers, and are siphoning off a significant amount of business from the hotel industry.
» It is a standard law of supply and demand that when demand is down, prices are lowered, not raised, to attract business. Could the average statewide daily room rate rise of 7 percent have any bearing on driving visitors away from hotels and into illegal vacation rental units?
In short: "Occupancy down 6.5 percent," "Room rates up 7 percent," "Illegal vacation rentals epidemic."
Doesn't that make one wonder about the coincidence?
In the light of the above insights, don't you think that a further investigation into illegal vacation rentals and the anemic enforcement of the problem is warranted?
Stann W. Reiziss
Lim's compassion showed at early age
Regarding the death of Appellate Judge John Lim (Star-Bulletin June, 14
I, too, would like to add my remembrance of Judge John Lim, not as an adult, but as a high school senior.
Intelligence is limited without compassion, and John had both. As president of the Key Club at Farrington High School, John initiated a tutorial program to benefit the students of Kalihi Kai Elementary School. Every week, 100 students from Farrington would trek the long block to work with them.
To have the awareness, foresight, motivation and compassion to institute such a program, at such a young age, indicated to me an exceptional person who put himself out there to help others.
Kalihi Kai School
Make reckless teens care for survivors
I agree with Rae Ann Reichert's June 29 letter to the editor
, "Killing someone is more than a 'mistake,'" that the teenager responsible for the death of her daughter due to reckless driving should have been held accountable by the prosecutor and that ultimately he never did learn a lesson.
Juveniles who maim and kill due to sheer recklessness must serve jail time and perform community service in hospitals and rehab centers, and witness firsthand the consequences of their actions, the gaping wounds, the cries of the injured, the pain of patients struggling to recover, the pain of the survivors trying to cope with the suffering and loss of their loved ones. How will they learn if they don't experience it firsthand?
My deepest sympathies go to the innocent victims and survivors. May they see a measure of justice with lessons learned.
Sad but true -- not only tourists are rude
I agree with Raj Bose (Letters, July 6
) about how rude people shouldn't abuse the aloha spirit of Hawaii's people. But you are going to find rude, foul-mouthed people wherever you go. I've found more than my share of them in Port Angeles (where I live), and the majority of them aren't the tourists. If a person is a rude, drunken foulmouth to begin with, chances are that he is going to be that way when he goes on vacation.
It is sad that our society is spiraling down to this level, but what can you do aside from moving to another home?
Former Hawaii resident
Port Angeles, Wash.
Hamas shows terrorists can be defeated
Now that Hamas has taken control of Gaza -- with Fatah in full flight -- one critically important lesson can be learned. It is not that Israel's withdrawal made things worse in every respect for everyone concerned, nor that negotiating with terrorists leads to their empowerment. The most important lesson from the Hamas takeover in Gaza is that it is, in fact, quite possible to defeat a terrorist organization within days.
The defeat of the Fatah terrorist organization was accomplished by Hamas entirely by force of arms. Many Israelis believe that there is no easy solution to terrorism: It always has to be some long, drawn-out and complicated effort involving political maneuvering, concessions (always by Israel) and endless, pointless negotiations.
But considering that Hamas ended the reign of Fatah terror and eliminated most of its leadership in less time than it took Israel to win the Six Day War, maybe there is another solution. Unlike the accepted punditry and "common knowledge" in the West and in Israel, Hamas has proven that, yes, there is a military solution. Think about it.
Visualize new era of scented trash craters
During a time when Hawaii is considering shipping our garbage across the ocean to other people's backyards, have our legislators thought of the full realm of possibilities available within Hawaii? Such as turning the naturally formed containment shapes of Koko Head and Diamond Head craters into sanitation disposal areas?
Or seal off the outer ocean rim of Hanauma Bay with boulders and dirt for fill material, which could be scraped off of its inner cliffs?
Crop-duster aircraft could daily spray a layer of fresh, tropical-scented disinfectant over the garbage using aromas such as banana, plumeria, pineapples, fish, etc. After thousands of years, the material might decompose into rich nutrients for future crops or entertainment parks!
Bush's words betray his true feelings
Among other truths, the Declaration of Independence holds this to be self-evident:
"... that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Unfortunately, in the wake of I. Lewis Libby's recent scoot from full justice for his role in the "outing" case of a government agent, Valerie Wilson must assuredly take issue.
So, too, must the families of 57 poor and poorly represented Americans who were put to death in Texas because then-Gov. George Bush refused to commute their sentences.
In a speech back in 2002, President Bush said this: "You've got to understand there are some in this world that simply do not adhere to the ideals we believe in. In Iraq, they don't put their hand over their heart and say, 'Liberty and justice for all.' They don't believe in liberty. The dictator who runs Iraq doesn't believe in justice. He only believes in liberty and justice for those who he decides get liberty and justice."
The dictator only believes in liberty and justice for those who he decides get liberty and justice. Truer words were never said.
TO VETO, OR NOT
Keep funding Academy of Creative Media
Gov. Linda Lingle has suggested that she might veto Senate Bill 1922
, which provides funding and housing for the University of Hawaii's Academy of Creative Media, founded by world-renowned and homegrown producer Chris Lee.
As a member of the UH faculty, I am constantly focused on making sure Hawaii's young people receive the foremost education possible. Part of this requires expertise in diverse fields, and the development of areas that will bring the freshest and most creative minds to our islands -- and keep our homegrown talents here.
Lee's Academy for Creative Media is a perfect example of what we need. It's an opportunity for local and outside talent to mix and provide creative energy that can only serve to promote and enrich our state. Though my own expertise is in the medical sciences, I appreciate the impact of the visual arts on the well being of any locale.
I hope the governor will reconsider and sign this bill into law. And if she doesn't, the Legislature, which passed this bill with a unanimous vote on the initial pass, should override the veto.
Mark M. Mugiishi
Assistant professor of surgery
John A. Burns School of Medicine
University of Hawaii
Director of surgical education
Kuakini Medical Center
Governor has good reasons for vetoing certain bills
Our state legislators are once again too focused on politics as usual to the detriment of the taxpayers. The latest example of this is the special session that will be called for the sole purpose of overriding any bill that Gov. Linda Lingle vetoes, without regard to other possibilities. Relatively easy changes to some bills would mean the governor would sign them into law.
One bill concerns pedestrian safety. Lingle said her reason for vetoing it is because of the source of the funding -- a source that would cost us federal funds in the amount of $80 for every $100 we need to spend on repair and maintenance of our highways.
Another bill requires the state to pay the full asking price for agricultural land rather than using the eminent domain law to purchase it at market value. Again, this would cost taxpayers more than is necessary for the land.
These seem like easy solutions. There are other bills that have easy solutions as well. We need to remind our legislators that they are supposed to represent our best interests rather than doing business the same old way.
Improve Hawaii's protection from invasive pests
An article on June 28 about the bills Gov. Linda Lingle is likely to veto mentioned Senate Bill 1066
, which would enable the Hawaii Department of Agriculture to charge a $1 service fee per incoming sea container, to raise dedicated funds for invasive species inspection and treatment.
For the past couple of decades, HDOA has not been able to conduct adequate inspections of incoming goods because the annual funds for inspection services have not kept up with the amount of incoming cargo. This fee-for-service mechanism is the only way to ensure that the funds are commensurate with the amount of incoming cargo. Although the original bill included a similar inspection fee for air cargo, that did not make it through the Legislature this time.
In the past few years that we have been trying to get a dedicated funding source for inspection and treatment services, we've received a horde of new invasive pests, including the bee mite, wiliwili gall wasp, ohia rust, a new macadamia nut scale, the Taura Syndrome virus in a Kahuku shrimp farm, and more. Many more harmful pests can reach our shores if we aren't vigilant.
A survey this year showed that the public supports this fee for inspection services. Lingle has until Tuesday to sign or veto bills, and the Legislature is set to convene in a special session. Please urge our elected officials to support this important measure.
Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species
Labor bill override exposes legislators' pandering
I expected to see Senate Bill 1642
at the top of the Gov. Linda Lingle's veto list, but was disappointed that it was not there. Surely, if any bill would be vetoed for the good of the people of Hawaii, it would be the bill relating to labor. This bill requires public employers to negotiate over procedures and criteria on promotions, transfers, assignments, demotions, layoffs, suspensions, terminations, discharges, or other disciplinary actions.
After some research, I learned that this bill was passed by the House and Senate; vetoed by the governor on April 24, and was overridden by the House and Senate on May 1. So this bill now is law.
I know the Democrats need the public unions' money and manpower to help get re-elected, and they don't want to go against their union bosses, but they should hold their heads in shame for putting the unions before the people of Hawaii. Remember, only your constituents can vote for you, and not all of your constituents are public union members. See ya at the polls.