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Letters to the Editor


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POSTED: Monday, May 18, 2009

Tagging tourists will hurt tourism

I am wildly excited that all crime in the wonderful city of Honolulu has been eradicated. It must have happened if there are so many police officers with nothing to do while on duty. This was evident as I recently watched four officers ticket the fine visitors to this city, all apparently guilty of the heinous crime of jaywalking.

These crimes were committed at the corner of Kealohilani and Kalakaua avenues. I watched the officers stand back against the buildings, just waiting to pounce on unsuspecting tourists as they crossed while the big red hand was flashing.

I saw one entire group of six older tourists grabbed at one time. Wow, at $130 a pop that will for sure top the city coffers. The damage created by this is in no way offset by the pennies that the fines generate. I watched as one older lady burst into tears and a younger girl completely lose her mind when the officer told her how much it was going to cost.

With tourism at an all-time low, I bet we can say goodbye to them as they will never be back. The swine flu will not last forever, and with crazy hotel taxes and harassment for walking down the street, you can bet Mexico will start to look better to these folks.

Robert Jones

Kona

Hawaii schools must treat art and music as essentials

A few days ago, my husband, Dwight, was asked to demonstrate the guitar and steel-guitar to students at Laupahoehoe School. The presentation was held in a beautiful modern music building.

I noticed there were many musical instruments locked in cages and asked about the music and arts program at the school. To my surprise, no real arts program exists except for a part-time ukulele teacher who knows he will not be teaching music again next year.

More than any other subject, the arts are the single most neglected part of our curriculum today. It is often phased out because of lack of time or money. Arts education draws out the best in kids. Studies show that it engages students and encourages discipline, commitment, persistence and an interest in learning.

The arts also help to motivate students who would otherwise drop out of school. After all, you cannot teach kids to read and write if they are not in school. Ask any teacher about students who do not like school but love music or art. What alternatives do they have if these essential programs are taken away?

As a former school principal whose curriculum included the arts, I encourage schools to seek ways to restore this essential and important program in their schools. Our students desperately need it.

Pua Tokumoto

Laupahoehoe

Legalization of marijuana could provide tax income

I think the time has come for Congress to remove marijuana from the sacred Schedule 1. I think that “;Drug Czar”; John P. Walters lies to us when he says marijuana is addictive. Where are all the bank robberies and stolen car rings attributable solely to marijuana addiction?

Keeping marijuana illegal means young people associate with people who deal harder, more dangerous drugs, which is the influence most people know to avoid.

If marijuana were decriminalized, then the growers and sellers would make more money, and the government could put a “;sin tax”; on the marijuana.

Phil Robertson

Kailua

Obama is wrong about health care satisfaction

In a recent town hall meeting, Barack Obama argued that most Americans are satisfied with their health insurance. This is fundamentally not true. In fact, recent polls show a majority of Americans support a single-payer system. Furthermore, in 2006, half of bankruptcies were the result of medical bills, despite these people having insurance. Seventy-five percent of those who have trouble paying their medical bills are already insured.

Private insurance does not provide the coverage “;most Americans”; need and “;most Americans”; know this. Don't let the health care lobby sabotage the real reform America needs. Support the single-payer or strong public option.

Richard Page

Honolulu

Bigotry against Muslims is not the American way

I am amazed at people's interpretation of religious tolerance and the American way. We stand for the freedom of all. This includes Islam.

The Sept. 11 tragedy is no excuse for this kind of intolerance. Does no one remember the Pearl Harbor attacks? This caused discrimination towards the entire Japanese race because of the actions of only a few Japanese.

We need to learn from our mistakes, forgive, and move on. People shouldn't endorse bigotry. While I am not a follower of Islam or any religious group, I believe in the freedom for all religions including Islam.

Kristina Domingo

Waipahu

We will soon find out if no man is above the law

“;Enhanced Interrogation”; sounds like something dreamed up by a public relations firm because “;State Sponsored Sadism”; sounds so bad. Either way, it broke our laws; it broke our treaties; and, it broke our hearts for the damage it has done to our beloved American ideals and our reputation in the world.

This atrocity was authorized by President Bush and Vice President Cheney. How do I know? Cheney has said so repeatedly; and, with a great deal of pride.

All my life I've heard that “;no man is above the law.”; We are in the process of finding out if that is true or is just another empty platitude. If true, Bush and Cheney must be tried for the laws that they violated. It must be done for our ideals to be restored and, for America to be made whole again.

Rick Lloyd

Honolulu

               

     

 

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