Raise taxes but don't bail out isle hotels
Make the taxpayer bail out the hotels? Yeah, right ("State aid sought for isle hotels," Star-Bulletin, July 23).
How about this instead:
» Tax the incomes of these hotel magnates at 50 percent on every dollar they make over $100,000 per year. (Personally, I'd do it to everyone).
» Cut the taxes on families earning less than $100,000 a year to zero.
» Put a 25 percent tax on crimeshare -- sorry, timeshare -- sales.
» Reduce room rates for kamaaina to not more than $150, even at the Halekulani and Four Seasons.
» Raise the pay for those with the highest marginal propensity to consume -- wait help, dishwashers, maids -- to $20 an hour, so people in Hawaii can fill the hotel and have a luxury experience.
Treat visitors like our treasured friends
In the past many have looked at our visitors with indifference, even disdain, as if they are an enemy species invading our land.
We can learn from this downturn in our economy. There are many wonderful vacation destinations and most of them make it fun to visit them, and lure those potential visitors away.
I'll give you an example of how to do it right. Twenty-one years ago a young couple from Germany visited my bed and breakfast in Kailua. They were married barefoot and with many flowers on the beach in Kailua. Since then they come to Hawaii every year for a month, now with their grown "Made in Hawaii" children. They rent a house in Haiku, Maui. This friendship has also enriched my family in that we visited and lived in their home in Munich.
I could give you many points on how to attract visitors but it would make this letter too long. Main theme: Make it fun and treat them like a friend. Both sides will win!
We should do more to attract movie makers
So here we go, for June the number of tourists arriving was down 14 percent, and it keeps going down. Everybody know you should not put all of your eggs in the same basket. Besides the tourism industry and military subsidies, what else do we have? Not much.
What about the movie industry? This year it was impossible to get a 5 percent increase of the existing tax credit. Legislators in the finance committees, let me help you here: What is better for the state, 60 percent of $300 million in revenue, or 85 percent of $0?
Give the red carpet to Hollywood producers to work here, they will be glad to give you a share of their $600 billion industry. Let's not be too arrogant about what we have to sell here -- they can also go to Florida to film a coconut tree and a sandy beach.
Let's start developing a full-time industry that doesn't pollute or damage the landscape, is safe for everyone and pays good wages. Lawmakers, we had a special session to fix the Superferry fiasco; let's call for a one in September to fix this major problem. It would be your final exam before dropping the ballots in the box.
It's no fairy tale, it's life in Ewa Beach
I guess I must live in the friendliest neighborhood on the island. Training for my first 26-mile marathon, I walk 30-40 hours per week. There are bike paths, freshly painted crosswalks, police radars and aloha.
The cars at the four-way stop signs always wave for me to cross the road first. People are everywhere, riding bikes, running, walking their dogs, and we all say hello to one another. No, I am not in a fairy tale. I am in Ewa Beach. When I used to live in Waipahu, I took my life in my own hands when walking. Members of this community must have taken it in their own hands to provide a safe haven for us outdoor people. Much mahalo!
Being bike-friendly can make a big difference
My heart is heavy as I write this -- not only because of the recent bicyclist deaths but the fact that on average every day in Hawaii a bicyclist is hit by a motorist (Department of Health Injury Prevention and Control Program 2008).
For more than a year, several bicyclists and I made presentations to neighborhood boards regarding bicycle safety. To date, 29 out of 33 boards supported the Bicycle Safety Resolution. The resolution was also adopted by the Honolulu City Council and Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization and formally presented to Mayor Mufi Hannemann and Lt. Gov. James Aiona. There is wide support for bicycle safety in Hawaii. When will it become a reality?
For the past three weeks, my sons and I have been vacationing in Wisconsin. We've put on many miles riding bikes, and it has been a real pleasure. Yes, there is more room here for off-road bike paths, but the real reason this is a great place to ride is because of the way drivers treat bicyclists. Most drivers move to the next lane to pass us, and not one has come within three feet of us while passing.
In contrast, every day we ride in Honolulu, a driver comes within three or even two feet of us. This happens regardless of whether a car is in the next lane.
I would like to challenge every driver in Honolulu to make today the day to start driving with more aloha toward bicyclists and pedestrians. Be aware we are out there and simply take a second or two to move into the next lane while passing us. The difference you can make is incredible.
Auto safety issues need to be addressed
Safety on Hawaii's highways has gone to the dogs. Our lawmakers couldn't care less and here is the proof. They have allowed the use of cell phones while driving. This is almost like driving intoxicated. You have to take your eyes off the road while dialing. There have been many near-accidents while drivers are concentrating on their conversations. As of this month, California, Washington state, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Utah have prohibited the use of cell phones while driving. Those states are lucky their lawmakers care for their lives. There are 40 countries that prohibit cell phones while driving. Forty countries can't be wrong.
Want more proof of our noncaring lawmakers? They allow people to ride in the back of pickups, even dogs unbelted, yet they have the "Click it or Ticket" campaign. Who's responsible for the four women who were thrown out of their pickup and died in Kunia in 2006? You guessed right. A bunch of no-brain, no-care politicians.
More proof: Leaving an innocent child alone in a car is only a misdemeanor. There have been a few deaths because of this, so why is this not a felony?
Our state needs new people in office who care for you and your ohana. Remember on Election Day, let's get the bums out.
Reborn eatery needs more than a facelift
In Erika Engle's article about the rebirth of the old Crouching Lion restaurant ("TheBuzz," June 6),
she talked about the new owner's plans to give it a much-needed facelift. The food served in that restaurant needs a lot more attention than the structure. The last time we visited the Crouching Lion we found the food so bad that we vowed never to return.
I would hope the new owner, Alan Huie, pays more attention to his new menu than the floor tile, if he expects to get the old crowd back.