Give price breaks to visitors from Japan
Instead of spending Hawaii Tourism Authority money on a very ill-timed marketing scheme, why not temporarily suspend the transient accommodation tax for the Japanese people affected by the disaster and work with the hotel industry to provide other cost-saving incentives for these people to travel to Hawaii as a safe haven?
Use the $3 million HTA had in mind for advertising to subsidize flight costs to here from Japan. This would actually help the people who need it most, to be in a welcoming and safe place, while Japan recovers.
Hawaii would benefit from the spending boost, and it would underline Hawaii’s great concern and connection to Japan and the rest of Asia.
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Hawaii needs to work on its aloha spirit
So the Hawaii Tourism Authority is going to spend $3 million to increase tourism. Let me give you a tip that will cost nothing.
After spending six weeks here from Ohio, we see gross discrimination against outsiders (read: tourists). At many locations, entrance fees are for "visitors only" while locals are admitted at no cost or reduced cost.
Add to that the confiscatory and seemingly endless taxes on everything and that makes this a very poor vacation destination.
We shall not be back and shall certainly tell everyone we can of our impression of Oahu.
Not quite the "aloha spirit" you constantly refer to.
Pepper Pike, Ohio
Aloha spirit showed during tsunami scare
My family arrived at Honolulu Airport at about 8 p.m. on March 10. After securing a rental car, we made our way to our oceanfront rental in Waianae. We turned on our television only to learn of a tsunami heading our way.
We are from wilderness-hardened Alaska, so quickly gathered a few blankets, matches, kitchen pots full of water and very little gear and headed for the mountains. We drove up a winding mountain road until it came to an end. Not knowing where we were, or if we were safe, we relied on the locals, who told us that we would be safe there.
About midnight a local family camping nearby learned we were from out of town and had no food and very little supplies. They brought by what may have been a life-saving gift of two large plates of strawberry cheesecake.
We will ever be grateful for the generosity and aloha spirit of the Hawaiian people.
Kailua public toilets are bad for tourism
Earlier this month, I took my daughter, who was visiting from the mainland, to Kailua Beach on the Windward side.
When I went to use the men’s room, I was totally unprepared for what I saw: dirt and feces all over the stalls and urine all over the restroom floor.
That bathroom is so antiquated and dirty. I feel really bad for all the first-time visitors who use these restroom facilities, and from a conversation with my daughter, the ladies’ restrooms were in similar decay.
With all the visitors coming to Kailua Beach, it’s a shame to have our guests subjected to such unexplainable decay. The city Parks Department and the Hawaii tourism bureau should step in immediately to address this situation.
Pot dispensaries are camel’s nose in tent
While in Honolulu, I came across an article titled "Profitable Pot" in the Star-Advertiser (March 20), a disturbing piece about medi-pot and the pending legislation in Hawaii that would allow for the distribution of pot through a dispensary.
As a drug policy expert for more than 25 years, I can tell you that Hawaii is sliding down the same slippery slope as a few states have done.
For example, in one California city 12 percent of medi-pot cardholders are younger than 21.
Another alarming example is the number of pot shops that overwhelm cities after this type of legislation is passed. Areas in Colorado and California have more pot shops than McDonalds and Starbucks combined.
The bottom line is this: Pot shops, or so-called dispensaries, are in business to make money for their owners. They have been tied to organized crime gangs and are often multi-million dollar centers. They are easy marks for criminal activity because of the valuable marijuana crops and large amounts of cash.
Beware Hawaii. Don’t make the same mistakes other states have and are currently paying for in health care and societal costs!.
Executive director, Drug Free America Foundation, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Pensions based on overtime is wrong
I had to write and say "Good for you, Star-Advertiser." You’re finally investigating some of the back-door things our Legislature is doing to the local citizenship.
For example, to base pensions on "overtime" is sick. Not only that, it is wrong.
Our representatives like to spend our money to keep themselves in office. It’s difficult to keep a civil conversation when you run across idiotic administrators taking money from the citizens.
The next step is to print the names of those who condone this wrongful act.
In addition, any member of the Legislature who would make a mockery of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s proposal to address this should be named and ushered out the front door with unemployment applications so all citizens can see them.
Revised ethics bill is unethical and unfair
Passage of the "ethics bill" that would allow lawmakers to receive up to $200 would be a terrible mistake. Essentially, it would create a pay-to-play environment, in which those without $200 would not have equal access to the lawmakers.
There are two very important problems with this bill.
First, it provides an opportunity to purchase favoritism.
More important, it would create a situation where ordinary citizens and community organizations without $200 to spare would not have an equal opportunity to "educate" their legislators on key issues.
Not only unethical, but unfair.