Letters: Hawaii Tourism Authority not needed to draw visitors here; Gambling would harm …

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Gambling would harm communities

State lawmakers reportedly are prepared to have serious discussions about whether to allow some form of legalized gambling (“Hawaii gambling bills under serious review,” Star-Advertiser, Jan. 27). Let there be no mistake: Legalizing gambling would be grave.

Hawaii must stay the course with its conviction of sustaining and enriching communities. It must be strongly opposed to all forms of gambling. Gambling exploits those who can least afford it and undermines community values. Millions of Americans are problem or pathological gamblers, with many between 12 and 18 years of age.

Social and economic costs include unemployment benefits, welfare benefits, physical and mental health problems, theft, embezzlement, bankruptcy, suicide, child abuse and neglect, domestic abuse, divorce, incarceration, work absences and homelessness.

Hawaii must hold steadfast against legalized gambling; the costs far outweigh the benefits.

Ron Bode

Kaneohe

HTA not needed to draw visitors here

Defunding the Hawaii Tourism Authority probably would be a great money saver (“Hawaii Tourism Authority readies for defunding,” Star-Advertiser, Jan. 25).

People know Hawaii’s here. They’d like to come. And many don’t want anything to do with a resort area, in which they are fleeced for “resort fees” and parking.

While we’ve never been privy to the amount of TAT (transient accommodations tax) monies received from vacation rentals, I know most hosts were paying them. I had a vacation rental, but not now. Many former guests have called and will not come back until they can stay in vacation rentals.

Move forward with many fewer, and only hosted, vacation rentals and people will come back. Meanwhile, spend the TAT on our Third World roads.

Debbie Aldrich

Haleiwa

Diversify economy with TMT project

Gov. David Ige called for a robust digital economy in order to “compete globally while earning higher wages” and “reverse the brain drain” (“Gov. David Ige calls for economy to pivot to technology,” Star-Advertiser, Jan. 26).

In March 2020, Gordon Squires, Thirty Meter Telescope vice president, said the latest estimate for the cost of the TMT is $2.4 billion. The construction and maintenance of the facility all translate into good local jobs. This brings money into Hawaii.

We have a shovel-ready project with all the legal hurdles having been scaled. All we need is leadership.

Build the telescope and bring scientific prestige to Hawaii. Show the world that we are business-friendly. Let the world news be our travel industry advertisement. Diversify the economy with technology.

Jim Wolfe

Nuuanu

Owners should clean up ocean barriers

Regarding recent articles blaming beachfront property owners for beach loss and erosion due to walls, sand bags and sand burritos in front of their properties, I find the reporting confusing (“Hawaii’s Land Board cracks down on illegal seawalls,” Star-Advertiser, Jan. 23).

I happen to use a beach with all three of these defensive measures being used for many years at great cost and effort for the property owners. It’s a bummer when the sand is gone and we can no longer walk along the beach due to these various structures blocking the way, but the sand comes and goes regularly due to swells, tides, currents and rising sea levels.

The thing that my beach-using neighbors and myself are most upset about is when these owners do not take responsibility for their sand bags and black cloth burritos and broken cement that wash onto the beach and into the ocean. Beachgoers often remove them while the owners plan more barriers.

The state should require the owners to clean up the mess, because the ocean will win its battle to reclaim some of the world’s coastlines.

Chip Hartman

Sunset Beach

Put guardrails along scenic Kaiwi byway

Many people have commented favorably on the recently installed boulders at the Wawamalu Beach section of Sandy Beach Park on the Kaiwi coast.

They demarcate generously sized access areas for the many recreation activities at Wawamalu Beach and were sought from the city’s Parks Department by the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board.

The next step is the installation of highway guardrails that will preclude vehicles from departing Kalanianaole Highway to and within the natural features (dunes, native vegetation, burial sites and white-sand beach). The guardrails, also sought by the neighborhood board from the state Department of Transportation, would improve driving safety on the Maunalua-Makapuu State Scenic Byway, while contributing to a safer park for wildlife and recreation such as surfing, fishing, beaching, tide-pooling and relaxation on this treasured, undeveloped coast — the closest such coast to Oahu’s population center.

William Reese Liggett

Kaimuki


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