SEE 'TAPPED' WITH THE SURFRIDER FOUNDATION
The recent proposed sale of Betsill Brothers' property in Waihee caused quite a firestorm!
Especially sensitive to the public is the idea of bottling and exporting Maui water.
Aside from the fact that plastic water bottles could ring the Earth many times over in just one year, the unregulated bottled water industry drains water tables across the country
selling tap water!
Surfrider Foundation's Maui Chapter will be showing the movie "Tapped" at Choice, the health bar over by West Maui Vibes (by Pizza Hut). The screening will be on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at 6 p.m. Check it out!
LES POTTS, Napili
CANDIDATES, CORRUPTION AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM
Many people, when they hear about protests and marches, feel fear instead of excitement. While they are angry about bank bailouts, foreclosures, inflation, unemployment and underemployment, it is tempting to believe that if we just hold on and sit tight, everything will get better and go "back to normal."
But what if it won't? What if there are fundamental flaws in our system? What if our campaign funding structure itself encourages corruption that will only get worse until we clearly call attention to it, thereby stopping it? And what if that corruption, if left unchecked, will continue to eat away at our standard of living?
The field of ethics warns us against putting people in positions with inherent conflicts of interest. For instance, a person shouldn't be employed by someone they are charged with monitoring. You can't be someone's boss and employee at the same time. Yet that is exactly what private financing of political campaigns does. Whoever pays a person is, by definition, their boss.
At the same time as the wealth of our country has gotten increasingly consolidated into the hands of the few, campaigns have become more expensive. Thus, candidates must raise huge sums from the few who still have disposable income - mostly, the top banks and their closely affiliated corporations.
This is a vicious, downward cycle. Investment banks engage in profitable yet risky practices. This isn't regulated because the regulators have been promised future lucrative jobs, and because their top bosses - Congress and the president - depend on these banks for campaign funding.
The banks' unsound practices, which include investing in and betting against the same securities, of course eventually crash, and the politicians bail them out while the economy plummets. Most citizens then have even less disposable income, so candidates must depend even more on banks and large corporations for campaign funding. This cycle has gotten tighter and quicker.
This unholy alliance between politicians and banks has led to increasing poverty worldwide, and I believe is the core impetus for Occupy Wall Street and all the "occupy" movements in over 1,000 cities internationally.
How to reform campaign finance? Most current elected officials, by definition, want to keep things status quo.
Hawaii's own Makana sang his solution to our president and numerous world leaders at APEC: "We'll occupy the streets, we'll occupy the courts, we'll occupy the offices of you, 'til you do the bidding of the many, not the few.
NETRA HALPERIN, Kihei
MAHALO TO ROI ROUNDUP PARTICIPANTS
The invasive roi was purposely introduced by the State of Hawaii to Oahu and the Big Island from Moorea in 1956 with the goal of creating a commercial fishery. Roi quickly spread to all the main Hawaiian Islands, but the envisioned fishery never materialized after roi caused a number of ciguatera incidents.
In contrast to the benefits roi was expected to bring to Hawaii, they now compete with fishermen by consuming up to 146 native fish per year, per roi.
What I love about the Roi Roundup is that the founders and organizers have come up with a creative and fun way to educate our community and address this problem on a local level. They actively engaged 48 divers in conservation efforts, and these educated divers will most likely continue to eradicate the invasive species when possible in their own fishing grounds; much like gardeners weeding their gardens.
Imagine if all stakeholders approached problems in the way that Brian, Darrell, Jackie, Stuart and Kuhea have by creating this Roi Roundup tournament. Instead of pointing fingers and placing blame, they focused on what could be done by local people who use the ocean as a resource and educated and encouraged them to take care of it in this way.
Much mahalo to Maui Sporting Goods, Hard Rock Cafe, Tri-Isle RC&D and all organizers and participants for continuing to support this worthwhile endeavor.
TAMARA PALTIN, Napili
AG ZONING ISN'T ROCKET SCIENCE
Once again, the Maui County Council has shown themselves to be unclear on the concept.
The people support the reduced agricultural property tax rates as is for real, functional, full-time farms! What we object to are reduced taxes for "gentlemen farmers" - those people who have their million dollar homes on formerly zoned ag land and, at best, sell the avocados or whatever from a couple of trees to a veggie stand and claim ag tax rates!
And no, a couple of riding horses is not agriculture either.
We also object to former farmland that lies fallow for many years yet still receives the tax break. It should be taxed as unimproved residential/business property.
Don't make rocket science out of ag zoning, councilpersons. It's very simple. Pass an ordinance that requires individuals claiming ag property tax rates to file a copy of their Federal Income Tax Schedule F (farm income for individuals) or the corporate equivalent federal tax form once a year and demand that it reflects a real effort to make a living from agriculture.
Do what's right for real farmers - not what's "right" for your bucks-up campaign contributors!
AL RABOLD, Kula
STOP SPRAYING MAUI'S SKIES
I try to do everything right. I work, pay taxes and am raising my daughter to be a responsible, caring citizen, like me. I teach her right from wrong.
For the life of me, I just cannot understand why the skies of Maui are being sprayed on a daily basis by chemicals from airplanes. Please take a pause and look up in the sky. It is not your imagination that you have been seeing strange, murky skies over Maui. We are being purposely sprayed
by airplanes that fly near the islands like a thief in the night.
They are spraying toxic aerosol chemtrails on a daily basis. This is not a freak of nature or clouds or contrails. These are chemicals that have aluminum and barium in them. The reason "why" is very complicated. The response "what can we do?" is something we have control over.
I urge all citizens of Maui and even part-time visitors to go to www.youtube.com and type in "What in the World Are They Spraying?" You will then be enlightened (like I have been), saddened (like I am) and then angry (like I am). I urge you to contact your local councilmen, Congress, lawmakers.
I urge you to support Elle Cochran, West Side councilwoman, in her quest to bring about a bill banning chemtrails and aerosol sprays over Maui. If not for you, do it for your children, soil, water, ocean and the future generations to come. What is happening is wrong in every way.
PATRICE FARNER, Via E-mail