Letters to the Editor
RAIN RUNOFF A BLIGHT ALONG THE COASTLINE
During this last bout of rain, large runoffs have occurred throughout the island, but none so disgusting or filthy as the Leeward dump runoff.
Directly after the Ko Olina exit on the H-1, there is a large runoff coming from the mountain above. Sitting directly at the peak of this runoff path is the city dump.
The current conditions in this area of coastline are disgusting; this particular stretch of water, which is home to many fish species as well as a turtle-cleaning station, no longer has its clean and clear-blue look, but rather the water takes on the look of chocolate milk.
With the dump sitting directly above the beach and the absence of a containment or cover system to divert or catch runoff from the dump, we in the community are very concerned about the possibility of a large negative impact on the reef from this dirty runoff.
How much longer must the residents of Leeward O'ahu deal with the dump and its negative impact on our life and land?Nick Youngleson
INTERNET TAX WOULD BE ANOTHER BURDEN
This has got to be the icing on the cake. In the already burning tax hell that is Hawai'i, our so-called leaders continue to stoke its flames in the hopes of wringing every last possible tax dollar from us. Senate Bill 2222 would urge online Mainland businesses to tax Hawai'i buyers 4 percent of the purchase and remit the tax to Hawai'i.
There already is an idiotic 4 percent use tax law in effect for such transactions, but without teeth to it. However, both SB 2222 and the use tax law are insulting to the point where it becomes personal. It is almost criminal to tax citizens for business conducted out of state.
You say outside transactions negatively affect local businesses? Blame your elected officials for making it incredibly difficult to do business here. The higher prices needed to offset these taxes result in less spending, or consumer spending somewhere else, which results in even higher prices or business closures. It is a worsening cycle that is skewed with reports of a blossoming business environment.
To compensate for this, however, our brilliant leaders continue to use us as fiscal sponges with little remorse and with no end in sight.
Want a bit of "vision" that a million people already have, government leaders? Try taxing less on businesses to help encourage more local spending. Not only will you get the same effect that you would if you taxed the consumer this Internet tax (except not in your coffers, ahem), but newly interested outside business would add to local revenue.Chase Gilleres
GREAT JOB, HPD, ON H-1 TRAFFIC CONTROL
Impressive — that is the only word to describe the traffic control on H-1 below Middle Street.
On March 17, a traffic accident occurred around 5:15 a.m. Traffic could have been tied up with police vehicles parked randomly along the road. Instead, the police cars were in a single lane approximately 75 feet apart. This gave motorists a chance to slow down before the traffic accident. The merging of traffic was easier since only one lane was affected. Any slowdown or backup in traffic would not be caused by HPD, but by all the rubber-necking drivers.
Traffic control was handled in an organized and professional manner. Great job, HPD!Leonard Leong
BETTER DEFINE STATE AGRICULTURE DISTRICTS
With Hokuli'a resolved, the Legislature needs to clarify what is appropriate use in agriculture districts statewide. A stepping stone to do this is to really determine what is prime and marginal agriculture land in Hawai'i.
Ninety-six percent of the agriculture district on the Big Island is considered marginal, with 79 percent on Maui, 75 percent on Kaua'i and 66 percent on O'ahu. The agriculture district should not be used to bank land. Instead, only "real" prime agriculture should be in the agriculture district. "Real" marginal agriculture lands should be classified either rural or conservation.
In other words, current proposed legislation (Senate Bill 3097) that would allow development on marginal agriculture land is like writing a blank check to pave over our island.Aaron Stene
Kailua, Kona, Hawai'i
LINGLE IMPRESSIVE IN KAUA'I DAM CRISIS
I've been paying close attention to the daily unfolding events of the Kaloko dam tragedy and I must say, though some may think it brought to light certain deficiencies of government, I think it highlighted the efficiencies of the current administration.
I was impressed to read how quickly and effectively the governor took control of the situation. She wasted no time in signing an emergency proclamation, coordinating efforts with her various department heads, reaching out to the Kaua'i community in a town hall meeting and getting engineers on the ground to inspect Kaua'i's reservoir dams.
Her honesty and openness about the situation has been refreshing to hear, compared to the "blame game" that so many politicians engage in. And she has remained focused on real priorities, like helping those who have suffered from the flooding, repairing damaged roads and infrastructure and working to prevent future dam breaches.
Instead of pointing fingers, I want to give a hand to Gov. Lingle for showing true leadership.Lillian Rulon
OBJECTION TO TRANSIT: LOVE AFFAIR WITH CAR
I read Mr. Terrence Ching's letter on March 21 and admire his mathematical abilities but feel he is missing the main objection against mass transit. It will not be serving everyone, only the ones along the course.
Has anyone taken a poll of the people who will benefit from this transit system or can benefit from it if they are going to ride it daily?
Most families of four will not ride the transit to save $10.83 per day to drive themselves around. Hawai'i people love their automobiles.Bobby Chang
KEEP HEADLIGHTS ON DURING RAINY WEATHER
With our rainy and gloomy weather, it pays to keep vehicle lights on in daylight. Many drivers are now following this practice. Other drivers and pedestrians can see your vehicle more easily.
The Greyhound Bus Co. reduced its accident rate 50 percent by requiring its drivers to keep headlights on during the daylight.
I have noticed many local bus drivers (TheBus) drive with headlights on in the daytime — a very good idea.
Some car rental agencies have late-model vehicles that have headlights that automatically remain on whenever the vehicle engine is started. These rental agencies are lighting their way to reduce accident problems.Le Roy Henry
STATE MUST NOT NEGLECT ITS AIR AMBULANCE NEEDS
The tragic crash of a Hawaii Air Ambulance that resulted in the deaths of its three crew members and the critical problems now confronting the interisland and inter-facility transport of patients demand serious attention.
This must be a call for the state to seriously consider its fragmented ability to provide for the basic needs of its citizens and a time for the residents of Hawai'i to demand a solution that addresses and fills the unique needs that our geography creates.
The state has long relied on the goodwill of the military to provide MAST helicopter transport. This service is now suspended for the foreseeable future.
Hawaii Air Ambulance, a private company, has struggled to meet the needs of ill and injured citizens in the Islands, flying over 200 missions monthly in small, older planes, with two tragic crashes in as many years.
Even when flying at capacity, patients often face delays of hours or even days before they can be transported for the specialty care they may require. With the innovations in medical care and technology now available, delays in treatment clearly lead to loss of life and poorer outcomes.
O'ahu remains the center for specialized medical care perhaps even more than ever with the loss of specialists on the Neighbor Islands despite their growing populations.
Each day, thousands of residents and tourists are transported on interisland flights aboard modern, efficient and safe aircraft. At a time when the state is awash in revenue and is offering a $70 million tax credit for a new aquarium to attract ever more tourists, it continues to neglect the need for an integrated and comprehensive pre-hospital and interisland transport system for its citizens and those visitors.
Reliance upon the military, Hawaii Air Ambulance and other piecemeal solutions fall far short of meeting the ever-increasing needs. Hawai'i's unique location and geography create special challenges that will require similarly unique solutions and something more than good intentions and goodwill.Daniel C. Smith, M.D.
FIRE ITS CHAIRMAN
STATE DLNR NEEDS NEW DIRECTION
The Department of Land and Natural Resources is in need of an overhaul, and its chairman, Peter Young, should be replaced.
Mr. Young has demonstrated a single-minded mentality toward fisheries management and an inability to work with the public. He has rejected accepted fishery management tools such as bag limits, size limits, slot limits and seasonal closures, and views complete closure as the only viable option. Fishermen have merely asked that the department use these long-ignored tools, but it appears that Mr. Young is firmly entrenched in his convictions.
The DLNR has the manpower, the policymaking ability, the enforcement capability and the funding, and yet has mismanaged our fisheries completely. The department has controlled this resource for decades and now chooses to blame the user groups for its troubles. Where is the accountability?
Fishermen and other user groups merely work within the guidelines set by the DLNR. The direction and operation of our fisheries are not within their control. It is true that there are those who abuse the resource by violating fishery regulations, but this is an enforcement issue, another area mismanaged by the DLNR.
Our aquatic resources have been neglected for decades. What is needed is active management of this fishery. The DLNR chooses not to manage the fishery in a hands-on approach but rather chooses to close it off to fishermen.
Mr. Young claims to be "committed to working with the fishermen," but it is clear that his commitment is toward commercial dive operators and ocean closures.
Recently, Mr. Young has been vocal in his disdain of House Bill 2881 and Senate Bill 3047, two landmark bills that would bring credibility and fairness to fisheries management. Passage of these important bills would serve to bring scientific analysis and a true understanding of our fisheries to light. They would demand that future marine closures be analyzed first to determine if a closure or some other management tool would be the most effective measure at that time.
The Waikiki coast, for example, is beginning to suffer some depletion due to an invasive algae. A marine closure would not be the appropriate tool in this instance. Mr. Young, however, feels that any new closures based on science would be overly burdensome and would prevent the DLNR from using Marine Protected Areas as a management tool.
Mr. Young has had his hand at the reins long enough. Instead of working with the public, he has managed to alienate himself and his department from those who know the resource best. His single-minded approach to resource management is not in Hawai'i's best interest.
Before any meaningful change can occur, he needs to understand that the blame for our fisheries decline rests solely on the department itself. Simply put, the DLNR calls the shots and we merely use the resource in the manner prescribed by the department.
Gov. Lingle needs a new person at the helm, and soon. A proactive leader who works with the public and is willing to break the status quo will bring our ocean resources back from the road to disaster.
Gov. Lingle, are you listening?Brian Kimata