Letters to the Editor

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Audience members rude wherever you go

Tuesday's letter to the editor by Gail Morgan made me laugh. She complained about loud talkers at the "Cats" show and a jazz concert, and said that this would never happen in Europe.

Well, I remember attending an opera in Venice, where the audience rudely hissed at a singer. That's something I haven't seen elsewhere -- not even at the Met in New York.

However, I am ashamed to admit that I lost my temper during an opera in Honolulu. A man in the row behind me was humming along off-key and tapping his foot off-beat. I kept giving him the evil eye, but he wasn't looking in my direction.

Finally, I was so irritated and exasperated I threw my program at him. He was so shocked he stopped his humming and foot-tapping. After the show, my husband berated him. Result? The man never returned to subsequent operas -- or at least not to our section of the balcony.

Glenda Chung Hinchey

Cabanilla should apologize to Filipinos

Rep. Rida Cabanilla's behavior is very degrading to the honor and pride of the Filipino people. It's so disrespectful that Cabanilla would ally herself and defend Leon Rouse by giving him a job at the Legislature, even though he's a convicted child molester who served eight years in prison for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old Filipino boy in Laoag, Philippines (Star-Bulletin, April 9).

The leaders of our community should demand that Cabanilla denounce Rouse and ask her to publicly apologize to the Filipino people of Hawaii and the Philippines for her actions.

Jean Santiago

Higher conveyance tax can help with housing

In response to Nani Medeiros and Linda Smith's April 27 column on affordable housing, raising the conveyance tax rates on transactions above $600,000 to 20 cents per $100 and 30 cents per $100 for those transactions over $1 million was explicity mentioned in the final version of the Affordable Housing Task Force report.

Raising the conveyance tax would affect only 7 percent of all transactions, many of which are second or third houses for wealthy nonresidents. The statement that increasing the tax would make housing unaffordable is pernicious because it sounds like it affects the very population we are trying to help, which it does not.

Quadrupling the rental housing trust fund from these increased revenues is one direct way to build more affordable housing; this is not a point of debate. Streamlining the administrative process helps, too.

We agree with the governor's advisers -- implement the plan. Increasing the conveyance tax on high-end transactions was a key element of the plan.

Michael Ullman
Homeless services consultant

Pearl's fallen heroes wrongly used for profit

The Arizona Memorial, the USS Bowfin and the USS Missouri are reminders of heroes who once served and died for our great country. They should be honored as such. The National Park Service, the Bowfin and the USS Missouri Association are maintaining these reminders.

After 9/11, the Arizona Memorial became very busy. No bags were allowed through the inspection area. The Bowfin association put up a baggage storage area and charged $2 per bag. Prior to this, people were discarding their bags or one person would sacrifice their visit and watch the bags while the rest of their group made the visit.

There is a private enterprise that does not have anything to do with these museums but uses them for their profit. The Navy leased land around the Bowfin to these people and, they immediately started charging the visitors for parking. They put up a little shack and intercepted the visitors before they got to the Bowfin and charge $3 per bag.

Shortly after, a big white tent was installed; they called it the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center. In this tent are food booths with outrageous prices. Now there is a Maui Divers booth. What next, a Ferris wheel, a roller coaster? This is not a circus.

How can our U.S. senators and representatives allow this to go on? Doesn't anyone have any respect for our fallen heroes? How can the Navy allow this, as most of the fallen heroes were Navy personnel? Using the dead to make a profit is totally wrong and so very disrespectful.

Les Lunasco

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