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HVCB is latest victim of Lingle-hating Dems

It's painfully obvious that the Democrat-controlled Legislature has enormous contempt for the governor and will stop at nothing to undermine her.

Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, with her calls for an inquiry into the Hawaii Visitor & Convention Bureau's spending habits, has successfully claimed one more victim. HVCB chief Tony Vericella, who resigned Monday, has worked hard to help Hawaii recover from the tragedies that have recently befallen our country (9/11, SARS outbreak, the Iraq war).

It's a fact that Hawaii needs tourists to contribute to the economy. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that the economy in Hawaii is sinking into more debt year after year. Why can't we afford school books for our children, or better health care? Our majority-party Democrats, year after year, tax and spend our money to the point that we are falling into economic turmoil.

Governor Lingle, regardless of the Democrats attempts to undermine her, is committed to fixing Hawaii's economy. How do the Democrats respond to our governor's pledge? By doing what they do best ... business as usual. Doesn't Hawaii deserve better?

Michael Sana

Abortion banners will traumatize kids

There is a court decision pending on an anti-abortion group's desire to fly banners (towed by airplanes) over Waikiki showing disturbingly graphic images of aborted fetuses.

As a mother of two small children, I already have experienced the devastating effects these images have on children. My 5-year-old awoke in the middle of the night for two weeks, crying about seeing "bloody babies" in her sleep.

While I have the right to protect my children from what I deem inappropriate through the ratings of movies, the ability to change the channel on the television and parental controls on the computer, apparently I have no right to protect my children from these images on trucks or towed by airplanes as they drive down the street or fly over the skies of Waikiki during a family outing at the beach.

Where is the logic in this? Why does the mental well-being of my children and the children of many other parents in Honolulu and our rights as parents take a back seat to the rights of a small group of activists from Southern California?

Eileen Dervisevic

Act of kindness counters wallet loss

On July 16, an unfortunate event was followed by an overwhelming gesture of kindness at Nick's Fishmarket in Waikiki.

A patron at Nick's, dining with his wife in a nearby booth, took it upon himself to brighten our day after overhearing that our wallet had been lost. This patron, known only to us as Mark, discreetly informed our waiter that he would like to treat us to dinner that night.

With conflicting emotions of disheartenment at losing the wallet and gratitude and awe at this extreme display of good Samaritanism, we didn't know how to act or what to do. We are truly at a loss for the right words to express how appreciative we are of the wonderful deed done by this extraordinary man named Mark.

Much mahalo and God bless. Your kindness is a true example of the aloha spirit!

Darren Muranaka and Amy Kushiyama

'Salesman' actor deserved Po'okela

Jeers and boos to the Hawaii State Theater Council and its Po'okela award selection committee in failing to recognize the stellar performance of Don Pomes as Willie Loman in Hawaii Pacific University's "Death of a Salesman."

The well-deserved accolades and standing ovations he received from reviewers and all who were fortunate to witness his performance in a very grueling, demanding role once again taints the credibility of the Po'okela awards. Bravo to Don Pomes, director Joyce Maltby and the cast and crew of "Death of a Salesman."

B. Anderson

Lingle's changes: some good, others awful

Governor Lingle promised us changes and she has indeed kept her promise. Some of the changes have been good, some OK and some not just bad, but horrendous.

For starters, let's hear her lament about our economy and what we cannot afford. But can we afford a second aquarium with a $75 million tax relief price tag? Can we afford to ignore the schools, the elderly and others who truly needed assistance?

As for the trip to Japan to encourage the tourist trade, it is a boondoggle with a capital B. The talks and meetings were with the politicians. Just how effective could that be with their economy in the dumps?

What really needs to be done is taking care of the negatives here at home that turn off tourists so Japanese visitors can feel safe if and when they make the trip.

Let's think of positive ways to use the $231,000 the trip cost and make Hawaii the destination for everyone, including the Japanese. So what if previous governors made similar trips? Does that make it right?

Nancy Jeffs

Teachers are paying more for insurance

I am a resource teacher, having finished my doctorate in education, and I just got my paycheck for the first time since the public school teachers union insurance program (Voluntary Employee Benefits Association) was dropped.

It is $30 less. Multiplied by 24 payments, the difference amounts to $720 more out of my paycheck for less comprehensive coverage.

The state's employee health insurance system is now a monopoly and that's bad business. When I spent five weeks after the teacher's strike lobbying legislators for continuation of VEBA I was told "we understand, but we need you in the state system to make the state system look better."

I am in teacher recruitment and retention for special education and it's hard enough to keep teachers in the program when they are hit with the cost of living shock.

This health insurance situation need not cost the state any more than it was already contributing. In fact, if all state employees were enrolled in VEBA, everyone would benefit.

Susan Arias


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