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Letters for Friday, August 8, 2008

• What aloha spirit?

• Unfair is the way we live

• Pereira’s impact, indeed

What aloha spirit?

While we doubt that this will ever get published, we finally had our fill of reading the many letters full of obvious bias and even veiled hatred such as Andy Melameds’ recent, mindless, tirade.

I guess we are a couple of those “evil, rich Mainland haoles” that raise the ire and hatred of so many. We first visited Kaua‘i in 1982, fell in love with the people and the beauty and decided that this was where we wanted to retire.

We worked 60-70 hour weeks for 15 years, have never even owned a new car and finally saved enough in 1997 for the down payment on our future retirement home here (that we still have a mortgage on).

We visit for two months a year (the house is not used as a vacation rental but remains empty the other 10 months), and thus uses no services during that time. We give to the Humane Society and the United Way, and employ a local gardener to mow the lawn in our absence. Our visits to the beach leave them cleaner than when we arrived, we often have stopped and pick trash from the side of the road thrown from car windows by residents who supposedly love the ‘aina, our money supports local business, and for this we get:

Higher tax rates because we are not permanent residents, threatened with violence at the Na Pali lookout by local teenagers (drunk, by the way), have had ice cubes thrown at us at Lydgate Park by local teens and called ####ing haoles and get nasty looks from local residents at the gas stations and stores. Locals use the word “haole” like Mainland white people used to use the N word in the old south. Some “aloha spirit.”

Recent letters by the Tolberts and others threatening to take the tax increase out on hard-working people were without a doubt irrational, misdirected and out of line. However, we become upset when we read statements from our councilors suggesting that they “limit the number of tourists to Kaua‘i” (How? Issue visas — will we need a passport too ?), see the attempts to limit and segregate B&Bs and vacation rentals and force tourists into “designated tourist areas” (where is Father Damien when you need him), and now veiled attempts to punish non-resident owners with punitive and directed higher tax rates in the name of “fairness” (anybody got a shipload of tea for the harbor).

Sometime between 1982 and today, the real aloha spirit that we had experienced has died.

We are sick of being labeled as “rich Mainland haoles,” because we worked very, very hard for everything we have, and deserve equal and fair treatment, not discrimination, hatred and abuse. Our visits leave Kaua‘i a better place, which, from what we have seen, is more than some residents can say.

We are sure that if this is actually published, the outraged responses will be “If you don’t like it, leave.”

However, we doubt that many residents even realize what they have lost.

Aloha spirit? Bah, humbug.

Barry Dittler, Mike Peyatt

Wailua/Syracuse, N.Y.

Unfair is the way we live

Timeshare taxes unfair? America and Hawai‘i have been unfair to the Native Hawaiian people till this day, and you timeshare people like to talk unfair?

First of all, why are these extra taxes to be payed by timeshare owners? Where are these extra taxes going to? What is the purpose for these extra taxes? Timeshare owners, you can have the vacationer pay the taxes. They will then know they are still getting the best and only on Kaua‘i can you have the honor of enjoying the secret land and the loving aloha we have to share with our visitors. So they are getting the cream of the islands. You pay for what you get and with Kaua‘i, it’s the best so don’t worry too much about not having vacationers. They will always come back. So, someone please answer my question, then I can understand a little more about this tax, because unfair is this world, and we move on even with these gas prices. People still drive is unfair. We are at war and America is sending billions of dollars to other countries. And don’t forget they made Hawai‘i America unfair. We are the richest people in the world and we have nothing to show, so timeshare owners, I understand unfair. We all do. It has been happening for years before I was born and till this day, so hop on and get ready for a long unfair tax.

Trinidad Naea


Pereira’s impact, indeed

Mahalo to The Garden Island, “Pereira’s impact to be lauded at lu’au,” Aug. 6.

I join lu‘au organizer and dedicated Waimea High School teacher Basilio Fuertes in meriting the deeds of another committed student-athlete-teacher-administrator, Patrick Pereira. Not often do we read of ordinary people who make a difference in the lives of children who have no hope in what commitment and education can offer.

My husband and I are both WHS graduates who look to newsworthy stories of bringing life to students who thought they’d never amount to anything. Like Pereira, we too had “growing pains,” being told that we weren’t “good enough,” or that we belonged in “another class.” Many of us would find places to hide and cry about it. Many of our parents could not give us the sympathy, understanding, or resources we needed to face these treatments. Many of us escaped the culture and moved away to the Mainland, struggled for independence, wandered around looking for answers, only to meet up with people there, or from Hawai‘i, who had the same struggles. Never a moment’s loss, this was a discerning experience.

Unlike Pereira’s win, and as a former homecoming queen we lost our homecoming game. The loss taught us to seek comfort in one another and build-up school spirit. I mean the kind of spirit and comfort it takes to look beyond the loss, the discipline to tell the difference between winning and losing, being true to fellow students who suffered embarrassment, being loyal to school and classmates, to finish school, look forward to what the future has to offer, to move on and to find ways to maintain our committment for a “better life.” This is the kind of high inspiration and example that Fuertes, Tomimoto and Bulatao offered to many of us who had insignificant “minimum chances” in high school.

I proudly salute these role models who in their time impacted many of us to become high school graduates, even when we thought we were failures. They taught us then, and even now, show us how to be true and faithful. Pereira is an example of what it means to be authentic. He brings smiles and laughter to us and most important, it is his dedication to his task and his giving to students 100 percent is something to be admired.

Go, Blue.

Genara Buza-Campos



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