Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Monday, December 01, 2008

Aloha is nowhere in sight for visitors

Recently, I took a foreign trip. The so-called welcoming party at the Honolulu Airport upon return was terrible. Imagine if you will after many many hours on a plane, arriving very early in the morning to a strange place, exiting the plane and immediately having people bark at you, “;Get in the first bus. I said get in the first bus, not the second bus.”; Yell. Yell. Yell. I thought I was back in basic training again.

On we went to get into the first Wiki Wiki bus, dirty and smelly as it was, all the while these “;ladies”; were yelling at us. I suspect many travelers did not know just what they were saying. I tried to apologize to those around me. Where were words like “;Welcome to Hawaii, please and thank you”;? Nowhere. As a U.S. citizen I, with a small handful of other passengers, breezed through immigration, customs, and was on my way home while I suspect the massive horde was still bumbling its way into “;paradise.”;

This airport needs to be much more welcoming.

Several days later when I took a couple of new-found friends to show them Waikiki, we could not find a bench anywhere along Kalakaua where we could sit and enjoy the ocean view without gagging on the urine stench. Every bench smelled like an outhouse, and the two main bench/table areas were horrible.

I asked a Waikiki greeter lady why the city did not wash the benches down more often. She said “;the trades are not blowing today. That is why they smell so bad. You should tell the mayor.”;

Ha. This is not welcoming the tourists. People should not have to wear a mask to tolerate the stench in Waikiki. Clean it up, Mayor!

I would like to apologize to visitors for the current state of the state. Hawaii needs to be more welcoming to all, visitors and returning residents.

Shame on us. At a time when each and every tourist should be treated like royalty, they are treated worse than cattle. Aloha?

T. A. Ruby


go! has nerve taking Aloha's name

It was not enough for go! airlines to drive Aloha Airlines out of business, but to take its name and disguise itself as the former local airline is like pouring salt on the wound (Star-Bulletin, Nov. 29). It has not even been a year since the demise of Aloha Airlines and many of the employees are still sensitive about what happened to them and their beloved island carrier. For many, it is insulting, shameful and a classless act to pretend that it is the original Aloha Airlines. But based on go! airlines' past unethical labor practices, it is hardly surprising. I hope that the people of Hawaii will remember this when they book their next island flight.

Gary Takashima


Council has obligation to defeat Bill 6

Why does the bed and breakfast issue need to be a brouhaha? Why doesn't the City Council end the turmoil by voting against Bill 6 and providing the Department of Planning and Permitting with the necessary resources to enforce the law already on the books?

Unfortunately, the majority did not prevail in 1989 when the city issued non-conforming use permits to B&Bs and Transient Vacation Units (TVU's) that were in operation at the time. Although the city let the genie out of the bottle, it did not subsequently provide the department responsible for the enforcement with the means to enforce the law it had enacted. Consequently, illegal B&Bs and TVUs mushroomed all over the island, especially in coastal communities. Contrary to the claims of proponents of Bill 6, which would legalize thousands of the illegal operations, the 1989 prophecy by the community that these hotel-like accommodations would spread through residential neighborhoods, with negative impact, has come to pass.

Contrary to what some claim, the Council in 1989 did not impose a “;moratorium”; on the issuance of permits for B&Bs and TVUs. The word “;moratorium”; means the temporary cessation of an activity. The consolation prize to the community was not a moratorium, but a promise that no more permits would be issued in the future. Those issued in 1989 were to be phased out through attrition. Close to 1,000 of the establishments permitted at that time remain in operation and the community is trying to hold the Council to its 1989 promise that there would be no more.

The law is clear, and getting a GTE or a Transient Accommodation Tax license does not buy legality. How can Council members not feel mocked when testifiers unabashedly admit that they are breaking the very law that previous Council members passed, and they are told by the illegal operators that they will not go away?

I wonder why some of our Council members support a measure that violates our planning and zoning laws, reduces long-term rentals, helps escalate rents and housing prices, and undermines the safety and quality of life of our residential neighborhoods.

Where is the public interest in Bill 6?

Ursula Retherford


Lingle should discuss budget with Obama

Gov. Linda Lingle says that she is working on the budget and cannot get away to attend the National Governors Association meeting with President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden. Did they not tell her the topic of discussion was going to be the economy and it was not a party junket?

This tells me that when she was off island, doing everything that she could to distance Obama from his home state of Hawaii, she was not paying attention to her job as governor.

I hope everyone remembers this when she tries to run for the U.S. Senate or any other office. We really do need people in elected office who can multi-task, which Lingle now has proven that she is incapable of doing.

Michael J. Golojuch Jr.


Lingle has no good reason not to attend

I could think of any number of good reasons not to swim in shark-infested waters or jump out of an airplane at 10,000 feet.

However, in stark and inexplicable contrast, in one of the most significant presidential elections in our history a man with new and promising ideas, not to mention strong ties to our remote island state, calls a meeting to address all the state governors and Gov. Linda Lingle is too busy to attend?


John L. Werrill