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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Monday, November 1, 2004

Letters to the Editor

Aloha, Hawaiian must provide better service

Which island can see mankind's past and future through the telescopes on its mountaintops?

Which island possesses the greatest diversity of climates for an area its size?

Which island lights up the sky as it crawls into the sea?

On which island does the sun set on one side long before it sets on the other side?

Which large island has been most adversely affected by the interisland airlines' drastic cutback of routes and time schedules, severely curtailing its contact with the rest of the state, the mainstream, the loop?

Which island needs the stewardship of our congressional delegation, governor, state Legislature, Public Utilities Commission, anyone who will require the interisland airlines to return reasonable service, time schedules, direct routes and prices, and not allow them to irresponsibly abandon non-lucrative routes?

Perhaps the politicians who traditionally rally at Hilo's Mo'oheau Park on the eve of the election can get Aloha and Hawaiian to provide Hawai'i with air service that meets the needs of the people and the state. I bid good luck to those booking flights in and out of Hilo to attend this rally.

Richard Y. Will

Gov. Lingle must get serious about drugs

I recently attended the Travel and Tourism Research Association's "Beyond Visitor Satisfaction" conference in Waikiki, where "visitor dissatisfaction" was also discussed.

In 2003, the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism interviewed 10,000 visitors hailing from all of Hawai'i's major market areas: Mainland U.S., Japan and Canada. Over 90 percent of these visitors said they had "no problems" while in Hawai'i.

On the other hand, the largest "safety issue" or dissatisfaction issue in Hawai'i in 2003, according to those visitors surveyed from these major markets, involved being "solicited by drug dealers." In fact, there are over twice as many of these complaints than there are of visitors being "solicited by prostitutes," or their "valuables stolen," or their "room vandalized/robbed," or their "car vandalized/robbed," or even "physical violence." Worse yet, most of the "solicited by drug dealers" complaints have come from Hawai'i's major West Coast market. This is Hawai'i's core market.

For this reason, I am a little dismayed at Gov. Lingle's failure to fund the total drug control program passed by the recent Legislature. The Republicans argue that the current passed and partially funded drug program is less effective than the program proposed by the Republicans. But the fact is that it is a step in the right direction.

When tourism and our core market's major complaint is drugs, then community leaders need to act aggressively to correct this problem. Hawai'i needs an aggressive drug control program now, Republican or Democrat designed, whatever. Hawai'i needs to get tough and stay tough on drugs.

Bob Hampton
Waikiki Beach Activities

City should rework perilous crosswalks

The other day, my husband and I were driving on the Pali Highway when we saw an elderly lady crossing slowly in the pedestrian crosswalk. The crosswalk had no accompanying traffic light. We saw the elderly lady and stopped to let her pass.

However, a car in a lane next to us didn't see her and kept going. We were planning to honk to alert the other driver, but thankfully she managed to just get across the street before the car hit her, though it was a very narrow miss. The car never even slowed.

I believe it was difficult for that car to see her, though it was in broad daylight, as she was a diminutive woman on a huge highway, with no light to alert the driver that a pedestrian was crossing.

Is it possible for the city to put traffic lights where there are crosswalks or eliminate all pedestrian crosswalks without traffic lights? These are truly "traps for the unwary," and I believe our city will be safer if this were remedied.

Julia Park Verbrugge

Bottle law program doesn't make sense

The bottle law is a waste of time. Bottles and cans fill up less than 1 percent of our landfills, and I truly believe that those who will recycle to receive their refunds already recycle anyway.

The bottle bill tax hurts everyone. I cannot afford to pay an extra $1.20 for a case of soda. If the case costs $6, that's a 24 percent tax (if you include the GET).

Holding dirty cans and bottles in our homes from now until Jan. 1 is not only an inconvenience but a health hazard.

We must put an end to interest groups, such as the Sierra Club, from raising our taxes even further for their special interests!

Justin L. Tanoue

Cutting away to UH game is nonsensical

KKEA sports radio cuts away from the final game of the World Series to carry a run-of-the-mill UH Wahine volleyball match against an inferior opponent.

It makes you wonder what could happen if KKEA's programmers were employed elsewhere in town:

• KHON suspends its presidential election-night coverage to broadcast a Makiki neighborhood board meeting.

• KGMB switches from the Super Bowl for a Pop Warner showdown between Mililani and Kahuku.

• KHNL pre-empts the Olympics to go "live" for a 5K race around Kapi'olani Park.

Decision-makers at KKEA and the UH athletics department — people into sports so much they've made careers out of it — couldn't see that the World Series trumps a mid-season volleyball match.

Let's hope their next contract has an escape clause.

Doug Carlson

Pharmacy program is much appreciated

I am an 18-year-old and on the road to finishing high school at Mililani High. I'm planning on going to college to become a pharmacist, and until recently my only options were thousands of miles away on the Mainland, far away from friends and family.

Luckily for me, the Board of Regents recently approved the pharmacy program at UH-Hilo. Amazingly, it was approved the same day I was taking a campus tour. I received the news at the end of my tour and felt as if I had just won the lottery.

I'd like to extend my sincerest thanks to the Board of Regents for approving a program that will let me reach my goal without traveling across an ocean. Thank you again.

Andrew Zdyrski

Law bans excessive exhaust noise, but it isn't enforced

What is it with our state lawmakers and government? I thought they were supposed to be working for the people of Hawai'i to help protect and perpetuate the quality and integrity of our Islands.

Our government had passed a law making it illegal to install or alter any exhaust system on a vehicle that will increase the noise emitted from the vehicle. Yet our lawmakers did nothing to assure that it would be enforced. Sure, they said you could get fined if you break this law, but do you think the police care about enforcing this law? When I call to file a complaint, the police said they were too busy and would only enforce it if it were in conjunction with another violation.

Do you think that the reconstruction department enforces these standards? They don't even know of this law. Do you think that the state would ever think of sending someone to these muffler shops to stop them from this illegal business?

I don't think they have ever considered doing something so drastic. Do we dare think that some of our paid officials have the smarts to think of coordinating our safety check stations with some standards at the reconstruction station?

All we get are excuses. Having been born and raised here and having also lived on the Mainland, I see how backward our state is in getting anything done. Why is it that officials have to wait until things reach crisis proportion or they are threatened with a lawsuit before they respond?

The longer our state and city wait to tackle this problem, the larger it gets. In the meantime, more and more citizens have to suffer as the volume grows louder and more consistent. What used to be a background traffic noise has become obscene intrusion affecting everyone.

Is there anyone in our state government who cares about this issue, or have they all rolled up their windows and shut their doors? They should try coming outside sometime and listen to what's going on around them.

L. Tom

Beware inroads of GMO papaya

On Oct. 17, Andrew Hashimoto, dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture at UH-Manoa, wrote an opinion piece that began "Picture Hawai'i without papayas ..." I say, picture Hawai'i without GMO papayas. Imagine Puna's farmers using organic, ecological and sustainable methods to grow healthy trees in a biodiverse mixed field. Disease is on the decline and markets are returning. Imagine a sustainable future for the papaya in Hawai'i.

UH-Manoa and its GMO papaya partners have invested millions of dollars and 10 to 15 years of work to produce the GMO papaya. According to Hawai'i Department of Agriculture statistics, 40 percent of the papaya farms have closed since the introduction of the papaya in 1998 and the price per pound to the farmers has dropped 50 percent, yet UH continues to declare that the GMO papaya "is one of the University of Hawai'i's proudest accomplishments."

Dean Hashimoto states that the Rainbow papaya underwent years of rigorous testing. What was the team from UH and Cornell testing for? Did they perform long-term feeding studies? Did they search the new genome for new proteins that could have been created, or suppressed amino acid expressions, or silenced genes? Did they study how the papaya could affect an ecosystem, soil, insects, birds, bees or animals? Did they check to see if the various viruses could recombine with other plant viruses? Is the public able to see this data of no harm?

He states that three federal agencies, the USDA, EPA and FDA, "all concluded that the 'Rainbow papaya' was safe, wholesome and had the same nutritional value as other papayas." But these three agencies have never conducted a single test on the papaya. Only the patent holder, UH/Cornell and their partners, looked at the papaya in the invention stage. The three federal agencies merely accepted the data provided, and no follow-up studies on effects to health, environment, economic or cultural life have ever been conducted.

I believe it is time to step back and realize how big the unknowns are and what the price will be for ignoring the big picture. If the GMO papaya had not been introduced, we would have to look for safer and more ecologically friendly farming methods or varieties or grow something different.

The National Organic Standards Board (USDA) has sold out the U.S. organic papaya farmers and consumers when they made the ruling that organic papayas could contain GMO seeds and still be called "organic." I don't know a single organic farmer or organic consumer who agrees with this ruling.

I recently read the transcript of the first European Union Conference on Co-Existence of GMO and non-GMO agricultural crops. It was concluded that since cross-pollination of GMO with non-GMO crops was assured, a structure of liability on the crop's creator should be in place first.

Once seed is out there in its genetic clothing, it is what it is, and contamination increases slowly over time with cross-pollination and movement of seed by humans, animals and birds. There is no way of telling if a seed is GMO unless you test it, thereby destroying it.

Nancy Redfeather
Director, Hawai'i Genetic Engineering Action Network