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Airlines got merger they wanted after all

For several days the printed and TV media have aired stories of interisland travelers bemoaning the high cost of travel and the limited number of flights. When Hawaiian and Aloha airlines applied to merge the hue and cry from the public forced our congressional representatives to shoot down this proposal. Everyone was ecstatic, but this feeling of euphoria was short lived.

The powers that be turned right around and gave Hawaiian and Aloha an exemption and allowed them in essence to do the very thing they wanted -- to act in tandem -- as if they had merged. They collaborated on schedules, raised fares, cut back on flights, thus giving the traveling public no choice.

There is no free enterprise, no competition. They have a "take it or leave it" mentality.

That old cliche that if it "walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck" sure fits here. What Hawaii needs is a third "no frills" economy airline with low airfares and many open routes like we had in the past, such as Mahalo Air and Mid-Pac Air. It would really "fly" now.

Steven T.K. Burke
Pearl City

Jones Act monopoly raises cost of living

Hawaii is the only state that depends on shipping for securing goods. Other states are supplied via trucks and railroads as well. For the past 83 years Hawaii has been subjected to the federal Jones Act, which forbids free trade via shipping. Only two shipping lines service Hawaii, thus creating a very powerful monopoly.

For the past 40 years, Senator Inouye has strongly defended the Jones Act. It is also well known that the Jones Act has been defended by dedicated lobbies that often come in the form of campaign contributions. The result of the Jones Act is that the cost of living in Hawaii is the highest in the nation. Competitive shipping to Hawaii would reduce the cost of living by half.

Senator Inouye should consider resigning. He has been in office more than 40 years, he has brought home the bacon over the years and achieved a high seniority position in Congress, but it is time to go.

The brightest hope with regard to the Jones Act is that newly elected U.S. Rep. Ed Case supports legislation in the U.S. House that would exempt Hawaii from the Jones Act. This would save the Hawaii consumer $250,000 per year or save a family of four $1,000 per year!

Robert M. Lowe

Sharon's policies are bigger threat than Iran

It seems that Congressman Ed Case has bought into the neoconservative game of remaking the Middle East, with Iran our next target for "liberation" (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 13). Rather than building confrontational scenarios, we should be promoting a congenial atmosphere for the success of the pro-democracy forces in Iran.

Case says that Israelis view Iran as "a direct threat to their country for the same reasons we view Iraq as a threat." Well, considering the absence of evidence that Iraq was ever a threat to the United States, Israel has nothing to worry about. Israelis have by far the most powerful military, including the only nuclear weapons, in the region. Their Phalcon early warning radar system is said to be more sophisticated than our AWACs. Of whom shall they be afraid?

It could well be argued that Ariel Sharon and his policies constitute the gravest threat to peace in the Middle East. Now that Saddam is gone, is there anyone left in the region who can match Sharon's long record of brutality?

As to Iran scaring "the bejesus out of Israel," would you care to rephrase that, Ed?

William Bailey

'Chalk' saga reveals power of free speech

Well, talk about the power of the pen and press! First there was the Star-Bulletin's Aug. 10 editorial, "'Hopscotch rebellion' reaches Honolulu sidewalks," then an Aug. 12 Corky cartoon on free speech and a news story, "Sidewalk scrawling charges to be tossed."

Just two days, and a spokesman for the city prosecutor's office announced that Sebastian Blanco and a 17-year-old girl, arrested for drawing on the sidewalk in chalk during a peace demonstration, will not be charged with a crime.

The protest was in honor of the atomic bomb anniversary, and the chalked slogan, "Remember Nagasaki," landed the two Fort Street Mall demonstrators in jail.

Now Blanco and the anonymous teen join the ranks of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi and Dick Gregory, the peaceful demonstrators who have seen the inside of a jail in pursuit of the freedom of speech and assembly. Credit goes to attorney Eric Seitz, the Not in Our Name organization and the American Civil Liberties Union for stepping up to the plate.

Arvid Tadao Youngquist

Hawaii's image needs updating

The governor's concern about breaking up the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau contract unknowingly pointed to the source of Hawaii's long running recession. She said, "We worked ... a hundred years to create the image of Hawaii that we want ... How do you maintain that ... image?"

I believe the image of a happy fantasy island, filled with simple island natives whose young love to dance for tourists, steals from Hawaii's children the chance to be taken as seriously as others are when they compete in a world-wide economy.

Tourists, who are no longer coming to Hawaii in droves, obviously agree. The 100-year-old image "we" like is not the one they buy anymore.

During her campaign the governor said she wanted change; this is a great place to begin a debate on changing Hawaii's image. Let some new minds experiment with a new image based on all the impressive cultures from which the children of these islands descend. Let's showcase their magnificent contributions to dance, architecture, science, art, music, philosophy, cuisine and religion to name a few. These things are more fascinating to the sophisticated 21st-century tourist than HVCB's made-up image.

George L. Berish

'New beginning' hasn't materialized

The people of Hawaii are finding out that Governor Lingle's campaign promises are far from being kept.

One of her big platforms was restoring trust in government, but with her many appointments of friends, campaign workers and their relatives, the debacle of paying for press coverage with taxpayer money (through the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau), it seems as though government is more suspect than ever before.

Now, with her administration's latest clash with the state auditor, the governor is backpedaling on her previous praise of auditor Marion Higa.

The bottom line is we should all stay tuned and keep those promises in mind. As we see more of them being broken, we'll see that Lingle is not delivering the "new beginning" she sold to Hawaii.

Sharon Ohata


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