Letters to the Editor
CULTURAL, ARTISTIC EVENTS NEED EXPOSURE
Bob Krauss offered an excellent column on Jan. 29, "Catch a canoe to this festival." He quite appropriately deplores the visitor industry's carelessness in notifying its guests of upcoming non-commercial cultural, artistic and folkloric events.
We were for many years annual visitors and for the last 15 years residents. For these past 20 years, this has been very much the case.
Unhappily, the newspapers must assume most of the responsibility for this unfortunate failing. An information box in some conspicuous place each week to inform visitors of such non-commercial events would have been read closely by us and, one can only suppose, be closely read by today's visitors, who are being pumped up with commercial events that seem, all too often, to be focused on Tahitian rackety-dance and "fire-knife champions."
Such stuff has little to do with life as it is lived here in Hawai'i nei.Ward Stewart and George Vye
HAWAI'I BIOTECHNOLOGY IS A BOON TO FARMERS
The Jan. 22 commentary "Too many unknowns to give biotechnology carte blanche" is rife with inaccurate and ideological claims against agricultural biotechnology.
One is the implied anti-business claim that corporations are only in it for the profit. Well, duh. What business, including farms, is not seeking a profit? What is even more boggling is the writer's presumption that farmers won't profit, too, and worse that they will become "more and more dependent on corporations."
Having grown up in farm country, I know farmers are an independent lot. Here in Hawai'i, for example, many small papaya growers have chosen to grow biotech papaya, and profitably. Other papaya growers choose to grow organic and conventional crops.
Around the world, about 7 million mostly dirt-poor farmers have freely chosen to grow biotech crops. Why? Increased yields on the same acreage, lower costs associated with less use of pesticides, more flexibility in crop rotation, and less tilling. Less tilling reduces fossil fuel use, soil erosion and air pollution.
All this adds up to reduced overall costs, reduced health risks, a cleaner environment and less time in the field. Less time needed for farming means more time for family and other economic activities.
It is puzzling how the writer can be engaged in agriculture and have no apparent appreciation of farmers' independence and freedom of choice.Rick Klemm
Executive director, HARTS Hawai'i
A FEEL-GOOD STORY THAT SHOULD BE EMULATED
This is a belated thank-you to all the key parties involved in saving Waimea Park for our future generations as a public area. It took all their collaborative efforts to make this happen.
It just goes to show you that when you have a leader like our Mayor Mufi, who stepped to the plate to facilitate and also work with the seller, good things will emerge.
It's a feel-good story that should be emulated more often, especially with all the big problems we have in our state.Bob Matsuwaka
KITEBOARDERS ARE VITAL PART OF SCENE
I was visiting Hawai'i when your Jan. 16 article about complaints against the Kailua Beach kiteboarders appeared. I went there twice during my short visit, and those hours are among the most memorable of my stay in your beautiful state.
I wonder if the residents of Hawai'i fully appreciate the astonishing human diversity that is part of the ecology of Kailua Beach. Perhaps you take it for granted.
To a visitor from Boston, Kailua Beach felt like the ideal Hawai'i of our best hopes, a place for almost all ages and colors and varieties of the human; families especially and many children; kayakers, windsurfers, snorklers, swimmers, waders, joggers, readers, grandpas. The kiteboarders are part of this richness. I hope they stay there and prosper.David Thorburn
IS THE CAP WORKING? PRICES ARE LOWER
I'm not sure if the gas cap really works as it was intended, but how many of you who have lived in Hawai'i most of your lives have ever seen the gas prices drop? Remember last summer when we were paying $3.50 to $4 per gallon?
There must be some reason that it's partially working, otherwise we would probably be paying even more than that. The oil companies wouldn't budge and there wouldn't be anything drivers could do about it.
How about using some of the state overtaxed surplus to drop the gasoline tax?Bill Romerhaus
DEVOTION TO LAW
POLITICAL SPECTRUM SUPPORTS JUDGE ALITO
Surprise! Our state senators will oppose Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court.
As reported in The Washington Post, all 54 of Alito's former law clerks support his nomination. This group includes people with a wide range of political beliefs, including self-described "left-leaning Democrats," NAACP and ACLU members. They have commented that their former boss is "a man of great decency, integrity and character" and "that his approach to judging is not about personal ideology or ambition, but about hard work and devotion to law and justice."
Judge Alito has more prior judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in more than 70 years, and the American Bar Association gave Judge Sam Alito its highest possible rating, a unanimous well-qualified.
None of us knows how Judge Alito will rule on any specific case. What we should care about is his integrity, character and devotion to law and justice. Why don't our senators understand this?Laura Kunewa
LINGLE SPEECH SHOWS WHY SHE SHOULD STAY
In 2002, many people asked me why I was supporting then candidate for governor Linda Lingle. I told them that her perspective on important issues transcended political parties. Gov. Lingle's State of the State speech of Jan. 23 is what I will show anyone who asks me why I support her re-election.
Gov. Lingle has always been able to shatter stereotypes, and her speech was a prime example of her ability. It was comprehensive and compelling. She spoke about the need to change our unfair tax system, protect the environment, promote alternative energy, help the homeless and shore up our social safety net. Her speech was inspiring, and it detailed the concrete steps necessary to accomplish those worthy goals.
Many people remarked that her speech could have been given by a Democrat. The important issues, like a fair tax system, a clean environment, a strong education system, are not the sole property of any single political party. Progress in our state has been held back by politicians who hold on to stereotypes, such as who can talk about what subjects, who is entitled to certain political offices and how our problems should be solved.
The past three years under Gov. Lingle's leadership show how she has guided our state to financial success, which enables us to address and solve the longstanding problems in our communities.Ted H.S. Hong
$10 MILLION SPENDING ON SHELTERS NOT ENOUGH
Gov. Lingle is proposing to spend $10 million on "refurbishing Hawai'i's homeless shelters." I cannot imagine how that will be anywhere near enough to address this most important challenge of offering hope and support to those, including families with children, mentally and physically challenged and elderly, most in need.
I haven't reviewed statistics recently, but I know there are more people homeless in Hilo than ever before.
I doubt that 2005 "was the best year ever" for our homeless brothers and sisters in Hawai'i. Let's, in the spirit of Queen Lili'uokalani, make 2006 a year when aloha becomes public policy.Eden Peart
Withholding money from even basic services and letting roads and schools shamefully fall apart and then calling it a "surplus"? What a junk state!Volker Hildebrandt
PROBLEMS WITH HAWAIIAN COMMUNITY COME TO FORE
The Forbes case highlights several problems in the Hawaiian community:
Involvement is not maha'oi because a claimant says the artifacts belong to all Hawaiians. And, the final court decision will be "precedent setting."
Although these problems will impact the sovereignty issue, the final problem, lack of leadership, has the biggest effect. We need leaders whose innate leadership traits, coupled with learned and cultivated traits, are entirely used for the betterment of the Hawaiian people. They will need knowledgeable advisers willing to be devil's advocates.John Fox
CASE'S DECISION IS DISAPPOINTING
Ed Case says you should not let people "who don't have a clue about Hawai'i decide who will represent you in the U.S. Senate." Unfortunately, Mr. Case's actions demonstrate that perhaps he has lost touch with those Hawai'i values he touts so callously.
One of our strongest values in Hawai'i is to honor our kupuna, which Sen. Akaka most certainly is. We honor our kupuna because of their experience and knowledge, the sacrifices they have made for us and their ability to act with consciousness and consideration. We also honor them because a good society cares for and respects its elders — especially the great ones.
Perhaps the most disappointing thing about Mr. Case's actions is that he did not even have the courtesy to discuss his plans with Sen. Akaka, Sen. Inouye and Rep. Abercrombie, other than to notify them a few hours before he announced. At the very least, they deserved that — they've earned it.
This move is not about "transition," as Ed Case has proposed. It is simply bad politics. He sees an opportunity to advance his position, and he is taking it. Sen. Akaka, even by Ed Case's own admission, is an effective and valuable member of Congress. Sen. Akaka is also a gentleman and statesman. He has served us well and truly represented the people of Hawai'i with honor and aloha.
It is ironic and sad that Mr. Case warns us about believing our own Hawai'i political leaders, as well as leaders from around the United States, whose praise for Sen. Akaka is heartfelt and deep. It is also ironic and sad that in the same breath, he preaches that he knows better and we should listen to his implication that he is the answer to protecting Hawai'i's future.
I have a hard time believing that Hawai'i is in danger unless we replace a great senator with a new one. Hawai'i does have a small delegation in Congress, just four members. But those four members have done tremendous things for us because they have acted as a team. Hawai'i's future strength in Congress depends on continued commitment to working together and putting the team ahead of the "I."
Mr. Case's actions demonstrate that he has missed this important point. Many of us have supported Mr. Case at different levels and in different ways. We were excited about his opportunity to learn and gain influence in Congress. We felt strongly that he would make a great senator when his time came.
Sorry, Ed, but this is not your time. Your actions clearly demonstrate that the right person for the job is already on the job. He is our Sen. Daniel Akaka.Alapaki Nahale'a