to the Editor

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Sunday, December 30, 2001

Taxing liquor won't bolster ailing economy

If Governor Cayetano thinks that the liquor tax should be doubled based on the "liquor is a luxury" theory, then he should understand that traveling to Hawaii for a vacation is also a luxury.

Right, then tell that to the thousands of Hawaii residents who have jobs that depend on the visitor industry. Also, if liquor is a luxury, then we could do without it and the state would receive nothing in taxes instead of the current tax.

I realize that the state is searching for additional revenue to supplement the loss of taxes from the drop in tourists since the Sept. 11 tragedy. But we must be patient and seek long-term benefits instead of this quick fix that focuses on a few sectors of the economy to bail us out.

Michael Nomura

Church-state separatist turns over a new leaf?

Was Mitch Kahle sucking up to Star-Bulletin religion writer Mary Adamski, as his Dec. 20 letter ("Religion stories are unbiased, engaging") suggested he was not? A promoter of "theists and atheists getting to know one another" or a bully and a bigot? You decide.

Just five days before Kahle's letter was published, his henchmen marched into our church during a Sunday evening service -- like religious Taliban -- demanding we take down our inspirational Christmas display attached to our building with the words ""Happy Birthday Jesus" because it "offended" them. He then proceeded to write the city Department of Planning and Permitting, wanting it to enforce his edict.

But be assured, if God could convert a persecutor of the church like Saul of Tarsus and turn him into the mighty Apostle Paul, just think what great things he can do with a Mitch Kahle.

Pastor Bill Stonebraker Sr.
Calvary Chapel


"Now it's time for America to serve the veterans. We just can't let the flag drop."

Solomon David Dennis

Street performer and taxi driver, on the need to continue John H. Rogers Jr.'s campaign to bring attention to veterans' issues. Rogers was a familiar sight to motorists as he waved an American flag to morning commuters on the corner of Kapiolani and Kalakaua across from the Hawaii Convention Center. Rogers died Dec. 22 while flag-waving at his customary post.

"When people were singing, dancing, making jokes, this street was really happy."

Rose "Psychic Rose" Stevens

Licensed peddler in Waikiki, on a court ruling striking down a city ordinance against street performers. The decision means that mimes, jugglers, musicians and other Waikiki street performers have a constitutional right to perform. City officials say they may appeal the ruling or redraft the law.

Two airlines have not competed in prices

Public sentiment seems to be against the merger of Aloha and Hawaiian airlines. The typical reason used is the lack of competition.

Where have these people been all these decades? Have they not seen how each airline mirrors its fare structure against the other? When Aloha raises its fares, Hawaiian is quick to follow. When Hawaiian lowers its fares, Aloha quickly follows suit. Exactly what competition, pray tell, are these people blindly referring to? Have they already forgotten how Aloha and Hawaiian conspired to kill any third airline that tried to fly in our skies? Anybody remember Discovery Air? Remember when United wanted to fly between islands? Aloha and Hawaiian cried like 5-year-old children.

I'm neither for the merger nor against it. There may be legitimate economic reasons for a merger, and it may turn out that the existence of a combined, presumably stronger airline is in Hawaii's best interests. Or would those arguing against merger rather see both airlines die and United take over the inter-island business?

James Ko

State is submitting to merger too easily

It is truly sad that our governor, along with other politicians and business people, are so willing to let Aloha Airlines and Hawaiian merge without a fight to keep the competition healthy.

No one has mentioned the possibility of trying to attract outside investors to keep Aloha afloat. This is, after all, a free enterprise system, not a forced one (or is it in this case?). They have now taken the choice away from us. Saying that Aloha will go under may be a true statement, but merging the two airlines is not the answer.

It is very easy to let the Sept. 11 attacks be the reason for the demise of Aloha Airlines, but at least convince the public that all other options have been exhausted. This is not just a matter of one company merging with another in a benign situation. This is truly a merger of such magnitude that it will change the face of air travel in Hawaii forever.

We need options. We need choices. We certainly were able to get the ferry system up and running in the days just after the attack. We need innovators and creative thinkers to help solve this problem -- not politicians and business people who are not thinking about the consequences of such an action.

Marlene Kufrovich

New Star-Bulletin is appreciated

As a matter of principle, my wife and I were delighted that the Star-Bulletin has continued publication. And as a matter of principle, we dutifully subscribed to the Star-Bulletin upon our return to the islands. What a pleasant surprise!

The Star-Bulletin is an entirely different paper under the new ownership. It has better coverage of national and international events. The business section gives detailed information on new developments mentioned on television. We especially appreciate the Sunday Wall Street Journal excerpt.

We used to feel out of touch while in Honolulu. The new Star-Bulletin has changed all that. Thank you.

Leon M.S. Slawecki

Selfish attitudes govern isles

Hawaii residents present a litany of excuses for uncivic behavior and attitudes:

>> "I'm so used to running red lights, and the state has the audacity to install cameras to catch me. That's unconstitutional."

>> "I like to drive alone to work, or anywhere else for that matter, and I don't care how long it takes, or how many other cars are on the road."

>> "They won't let me gamble away my savings here, so I'm going on my annual splurge to Las Vegas."

>> "I'm a cruise ship and they still haven't built a terminal that's decent for me to arrive at."

>> "I'm a bus but people still resist getting on me to ease the traffic, for fear of meeting other people."

>> "I'm on the City Council and next week we are going on our annual trip to study mass transit. This time we are going to Afghanistan."

>> Better to join our separate airlines, so we can have "ThePlane," "TheBus" and someday, "TheTram."

>> There's a bill in the works to remove crosswalk signs. They are unsafe.

>> Did you know it's an offense to pick up litter here, because we pay people to do it, when they get around to it.

>> The tide went out, and never came back in the Ala Wai Canal, so now we have the world's first silt walkway. No more studies.

Is it any wonder we are the most isolated place on the planet?

John L. Werrill

Letter guidelines

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point on issues of public interest. The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed, must include a mailing address and daytime telephone number.

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