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POSTED: Tuesday, October 07, 2008

B&B bill is a wolf in sheep's clothing

The City Council bed-and-breakfast bill opens the door for investors earning "resort rate" returns to compete with local residents for housing. While it claims to be about B&Bs, its proponents openly argue for entire-house transient vacation rentals (TVUs), and if this bill passes, that is just what they will get. A bill that was really about helping out locals who need a little extra income would require the B&Bs to be owner-occupied and would require proof. This bill says that a property manager is sufficient - that means a TVU.

What difference does it make? Legalizing TVUs will move the market from the current scattering of small-time lawbreakers to larger investors such as hotel chains and other corporations that can turn entire neighborhoods into resorts.

Waikiki was once a residential neighborhood that was sacrificed so that the rest of our island could benefit. Now they are proposing to sacrifice the rest of our island, but for whom? Realtors, property managers and owners of B&B/TVUs are the only ones who will benefit.

Lisa Marten
Kailua


Back-room dealings hurt isle residents

Your columnist Richard Borreca sure hit the nail on the head when he wrote that Mayor Mufi Hannemann "is a huge roadblock to the political ambitions of Gov. Linda Lingle, Senate President Colleen Hanabusa and Rep. Neil Abercrombie" ("On Politics," Star-Bulletin, Sept. 28).

That sure explains why Hanabusa played such a key role in persuading Ann Kobayashi to run for mayor and then appeared in TV ads for her campaign; why Lingle has failed to provide leadership on the rail transit issue; and why Abercrombie's old buddy Ben Cayetano has come out of the woodwork to toss bricks at Hannemann and assist Kobayashi.

It's so sad that the public good always seems to take a back seat to political ambitions and grudge, and that we all lose unless we see through the shibai and hold politicians accountable.

Chad Haili
Honolulu


Don't fear technology that saved papayas

Kau Councilman Bob Jacobson said it is difficult to trust the scientific community because it ruined organic papayas on Hawaii island. He said this at the hearing for Bill 361, which calls for stopping biotechnology research and development for taro and coffee.

The misinformation about science and transgenic papaya is frightening. Of the 35 million to 40 million pounds of papaya grown in Hawaii, more than 90 percent are transgenic papayas sold to local and international markets. Transgenic papaya is safe to eat, and delicious! Genetic engineering saved the papaya industry from papaya ring spot virus (PRSV) devastation. Without it, there would not be a papaya industry - organic or conventionally grown. Transgenic papayas lessen the presence of PRSV and provide a better environment for conventional and organic papaya.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and organizations such as the World Health Organization say transgenic crops are just as safe as conventionally grown crops. Safe and responsible technology must be supported, particularly in these harsh economic times.

Loren Mochida
Director
Hawaii Papaya Industry Association


Soon we all might be able to afford homes

One of your headlines of Oct. 2 reads, "Oahu home prices drop to 2005 levels." Please send an alert when they reach 2000 levels, for at that point I and thousands of other Hawaiians might imagine actually becoming part of the market for homeownership. Until that point I will continue to rise each morning and say a prayer to the gods of our aina for a democratizing, deflationary recession or depression that can cure our society of its addiction to "stuff"; that eliminates the politically motivated inflation that serves only fat cats; that brings us the promise of better lives with less debt.

It looks like the gods are finally taking pity on us poor mortals. A better day might be upon us - if the politicians don't steal it way. Again.

Richard Weigel
Honolulu


Give the government back to the people

With the news of the past few weeks, we have all seen how the current administration's economic polices have turned out. While there is enough blame to go around, I don't think we want to continue on our current path. John McCain said our economy was strong and that he wasn't planning on changing the status quo. With these kind of goals, I don't think the U.S. or the world would survive economically (although we might not anyway).

Maybe it's time to take a page out of FDR's playbook and set up an agency to stop the foreclosures. Also in the news last week was a story of a 90-year-old woman who tried to commit suicide because her home was being foreclosed on. How many more stories like this will have to surface to get something done?

We have seen what big business can do under the Republicans; let's give the government back to the people. The Constitution starts "We the people," not "We big business."

Dennis East
Kihei, Maui