My wife and I have made the Big Island our home for over 25 years. We strongly oppose any form of legalized gambling here in Hawaii. Every year I remind our legislators to remain vigilant and NOT approve gambling legislation. They must resist the lure of the gambling lobby and the illusion that gambling benefits our economy.
They must diligently seek other means to improve our economy and pay for the cost of governing. Tourism dollars will be diverted to casinos, shipboard gambling and the state lottery and in fact will tax our fragile economy, rather than enhance it. Our island paradise will be destroyed forever!
The only deterrent to those who cannot afford to gamble is the cost of airfare to travel to any of the other 48 states where it is allowed. Let’s keep it that way! Many families receive assistance from the state and county: food stamps, subsidized housing, medical and car insurance, subsidized school lunches for their children and monthly stipends. They also receive help from food pantries of churches and other nonprofits.
In hopes of winning the big one, they will gamble away their limited finances and immediately become homeless. A terrible wave of desperation and hopelessness will sweep across every community. Every day, our local newspapers give evidence of this growing despair. Law enforcement officials recognize that desperate people become dangerous people. They will pawn their valuables, and when depleted will resort to stealing, scamming and preying upon the elderly. Be assured: Drunkenness and domestic violence will increase!
Many seniors live alone, and they will be targeted by these desperate people. Home invasion and assault will increase. Suicide driven by despair will increase.
A rise in organized crime and prostitution will plague our islands. And, make no mistake, once gambling becomes legal, it becomes permanent! Forever — no turning back! Learn from the other 48 states. This decision will be final!
Begging, panhandling, poverty and fear will replace our aloha spirit forever. Hawaii is an attractive resort destination where people willingly spend their vacation dollars. Legalizing gambling will deter not attract visitors. Our children and their children will ultimately pay the price of our folly. Just say NO!
Ripoff No. 1: On a recent trip from Hilo to the mainland, I needed to make a credit card phone call to notify my ride that the flight was delayed. Imagine my shock when I received a $40 charge on my statement for a 30-second phone call! The long-distance carrier was a mainland company! What happened to buying local? Why isn’t Hawaiian Telcom providing this service? What official at the Hilo airport is getting kickbacks for allowing this?
Ripoff No. 2: I recently tried to buy shirts on Kmart’s website. They were on sale for $11, and free shipping was advertised for orders of $50 or more. When I go to the check out, the price reverted to the original $22 per item AND a shipping charge of nearly $20 was added on! I phoned customer service and spoke to a supervisor, who informed me that the sale prices and free shipping do not apply to Alaska or Hawaii. I found no disclaimer excluding Alaska or Hawaii.