Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Taxing visitors right thing to do

The Legislature deserves our appreciation. They spared Hawaii's humble majority. Hawaii's people and pure culture are one in a million and no other place nor culture can compare. The isles are like fine jewels to the world and a treasure to the nations. People will always come here and can afford to pay a bit more. With few warm-weather states, they escape to idle here. We all clean up behind those who litter the islands.

Waikiki food prices have always been sky high for tourists and burdensome for residents year-round. 2008 rentals were up $3,000 to $4000 a month! Residents can't afford that, but visitors can and did and will do so again. Nothing stops them. Residents pay year-round for infrastructure overload and crowded conditions and wear and tear on roads, parks and beaches. State taxes support the visitors industry.

As such, a “;visitors tax”; is just and deserves to exist. It's chump change to wealthy travelers, taken in stride with little thought, if any, and irrelevant. Many would say the visitors tax is fair game — tax away.

Susan Kay Wiess

Ala Wai

Waikiki meter increase hurts locals and access

Oahu lost a great champion and friend on June 19 when Duke Bainum died suddenly. His wife Jennifer and their two sons can be proud of Duke and the issues he fought so hard for. One of the most important city services was trampled the day after Bainum passed away with the passage of amended Bill 25.

The City Council and Mayor Mufi Hannemann could only see numbers on a budget sheet rather than the true meaning of Bill 25. The issue was always about free and casual access to Waikiki's recreational areas by local families, not any monetary bartering of a parking meter rate increase.

There was a reason the meter rates had not changed. It was always that the city provided a service to Hawaii's poor families so they could relax and enjoy Waikiki without being charged an entry fee as if they were entering some private recreation park. Only Councilman Charles Djou held the banner against the entire Council in favor of the people.

For those who have future political ambitions, the public will know where your heart truly was on this seminal issue of access to Waikiki. It was folded away in your pocketbooks rather than with the will of the people. Yes, the public will now bring a bag of quarters to Waikiki to pay the mayor's ransom, but every quarter that fills the meter will be a reminder of the change for the worse that the mayor's Council has wreaked on the city's most weak and vulnerable segment — its poor people.

John and Rita Shockley


An ounce of prevention would help our health

I am a medical doctor who has seen medical care in America decline over the past 20 years, due to the outrageous machinations of the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical companies. People are so afraid of “;socialized”; medicine that they won't even begin to solve the problems of our current system, which is worse than socialism.

We need creative solutions to keep people healthy. More preventive medicine is crucial. Lower premiums (or tax rebates) for people who stay healthy and underutilize the system. A national insurance plan (portable from state to state) in which basic preventive medicine and emergency care is covered for everyone, with no “;pre-existing conditions”; clauses.

Type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are, for the most part, caused by poor diet and lack of exercise. These diseases are not only preventable, they are reversible. If we put money into public health centers where people learned how to prepare healthy food and get on a weight loss exercise program, we could reverse diabetes, prevent heart attacks and save tons of money.

When we are talking about America's health and life-or-death care, it is unacceptable to be also talking about corporate profits. If we want a strong nation we need healthy citizens. We need to invest in revitalizing our minds and bodies.

Courtney Richards, M.D.


Loud motorcycles don't seem any safer

We have all read the statistics on the increasing rate of motorcycle accidents on Oahu.

Many of the motorcycle operators have explained to me that a loud exhaust system on their bikes allows other vehicles around them to hear their location while driving on the roadway. Since the statistics do not support this theory, the modification of the exhaust system serves to do nothing but be a pure nuisance to everyone around them. Especially for those individuals who happen to work at night.

Michael Nomura


Natatorium too good to totally demolish

I disagree with those who have called for the demolition of the Waikiki Natatorium.

The Natatorium is important for several reasons: First of all, it is a memorial, not only to those who served in WWI, but also to the great names connected to it, such as Duke Kahanamoku and Esther Williams. Equally as important, the Natatorium is unique and beautiful, with gorgeous period architecture. If restored, it would be a green alternative to chemically regulated pools, and it would be ideal for people who are uncomfortable swimming in the ocean.

Demolishing the Natatorium is unwise because it also protects the neighboring manmade beach from erosion and filling it in would be tacky and disrespectful. This beautiful, historic landmark deserves to be restored.

Katarina May





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