LETTERS for September 10 issue
MARINE POLLUTION A SERIOUS PROBLEM
Finally, People Magazine had an article about the plastic floating stuff in the northern Hawaiian Islands. Will someone take this seriously and do some clearing is the next question.
I would like to invite every person who feels drawn to write, call, fax or e-mail their council member, state representative and senator, Congress, Surfrider Foundation and various other groups I have read about, and anyone else who might assist in getting this out of the ocean before it gets into us.
I recently did an art project with some preschoolers, where they were given ocean scenes to paint. Nine out of ten volunteered to paint the ocean black. Even when I suggested blue or green, they went back to black.
Art is for kids. Are the kids telling us something? I pick up trash on the beach and recycle the plastic. Let’s hope we can convince the rest of the world and country to do the same.
DOT BUCK, Pukalani
HELP SEWAGE TREATMENT BY HALTING DEVELOPMENT
I appreciate Blackie’s thoughts on covering up the sewer odors at Kaanapali. But with both Honokowai and Kaanapali smelling like crap, here is a better solution: Stop building all those new wings to Kaanapali’s hotels, and stop building all those new hotels and timeshares in Honokowai/Kaanapali!
SU CAMPOS, Napili
STOP GIVING AWAY AMERICANS’ MONEY
Recently, I read in the news that Federal Reserve Bank of New York was going to loan $200 billion to banks and companies that provide credit cards. It’s called a TALF — Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility.
I thought that was strange, because I don’t want to see my tax money taken and lent out to credit card companies at low rates, who will then lend the money out at incredible rates.
I wrote to the Board of the Federal Reserve and received a shocking reply in return. Not only is the Federal Reserve going to loan this money, they are going to use $20 billion of the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) to back up any losses that the companies might experience.
Why are they adding that cherry to the top? Well, the $200 billion is being loaned on a “non-recourse” basis. Non-recourse means that only the item used as collateral may be collected if a default occurs.
So, if someone fails to pay their credit card bill and goes into default, then the United States government will pay the bank off. If everyone who has a credit card drops their card and the whole thing falls apart, the banks will not be held liable.
Americans will still have to pay 18 or 20 percent interest on credit card loans or go bankrupt to shed them.
Why is Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner getting away with this? Is it because he used to be the president of the Federal Bank of New York?
What is being described here is taxing us… to lend money to banks… to lend to us at a high interest rate to pay our bills, whether it be for a television set, clothes, food, a car or a house.
It is clear the plan is insupportable. Does it seem to you that the government of the United States, and our nation as a whole, is bankrupt and out of money? We are the people. Who wants the TARP and TALF sham to continue?
ALFRED BROCK, Via E-mail
BAN SHARK TOURS IN MAUI WATERS
(The following letter was sent to the Maui County Council concerning a measure to prohibit shark tours and related activities.)
My deepest gratitude to Councilman Wayne Nishiki for such brilliant work! Unfortunately, such action is too late for Oahu, but has the rare opportunity to set the standard for the Big Island and Kauai.
Please give serious consideration to pass this bill for the following reasons:
1) Respect to the Hawaiian culture. I am sure you know the shark is highly regarded (i.e., amakua).
2) Safety of our waters and support of the many open water recreation users.
3) Proper care for our marine life — taunting and teasing with bait for personal amusement and profit is a huge step backwards. It would say very little of us as caretakers of this planet if we allowed for this.
I stand with the many people of Hawaii who have voiced their concerns. I also would like to state that I have read the “questionable report” put out by the North Shore Shark Encounter group under the disguise of the University of Hawaii and plan to further question the methodology, as I do not believe that report reflects “good science,” considering the data collection was complied by the shark activity operators — the very people who profit from this business.
Thank you for your time and consideration to do the right thing… set a standard for everyone in Hawaii and support this bill.
Be the change you wish to see in the world!
EVANGELINE B. YACUK, Kahana
TIME TO REFOCUS, TIME TO MOVE ON
Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman cautiously affirmed what Newsweek recently announced on its front cover: “The Recession is Over.” For all those people still struggling to make ends meet in the aftermath of foreclosures, bankruptcies and job losses, this may be hard to swallow. The lack of clarity as to what lies on the horizon makes navigating the troubled waters of recovery all the more difficult. As the same Newsweek story pointed out, it will be a “pokey, painful recovery.”
It is time to lift our heads, put our shoulders and our brains to the task and move past the siege mentality that currently hobbles both our state government and the private sector. It is time to refocus and confront the new reality.
Gov. Linda Lingle and our leaders in labor need to strike a quick and fair bargain. And we all need to turn our attention to the task of revitalizing our economy, reenergizing our education system and building a sustainable future — all the while replanting the seeds of hope and optimism in our community.
We live in one of the greatest places on this planet, and we have within ourselves the power and the ability to reinvigorate our economy and our people.
The formula is as simple as it is demanding: a focus on energy independence, educational excellence and food security will translate into economic vitality and long-term sustainability.
The dangerous convergence of economic, environmental and security interests surrounding our near total dependence on imported oil make the goal of energy independence the most critical issue facing our state.
But, as a place with an abundance of natural energy resources, including solar, wind, geothermal, wave and ocean thermal, the opportunity and benefits of tackling this issue are huge.
Retaining within our own economy any significant percentage of the $7 billion or more presently exported annually for the importation of foreign oil would have a massive and immediate economic-multiplier effect. The creation of new “Green Collar” jobs in both the development and implementation of renewable energy strategies is a tangible, here and now opportunity.
Hawaii can be the world leader in the development of renewable energy. This is not an idle dream. It is a realizable goal.
As is achieving excellence in our public education system. Pre-K through university, we have to do better by our children and grandchildren. While streamlining and improving the efficiencies of the central Department of Education administration is essential, our primary focus must be on improving the classroom experience of students. In the long-term, we must increase the pay and training of teachers while shrinking class sizes, especially in the lower grades. Funding to support education will continue to be a challenge, but must not be used as an excuse for failure or non-action. Parents, students, businesses and communities across our state must step up to the plate even more and provide the resolve and leadership needed to achieve our goal of excellence in public education. Test scores have improved steadily over the past few years, and we must maintain the positive momentum.
To achieve true long-term sustainability as an island state, we must be serious about supporting our local farmers and protecting our shrinking supply of agricultural lands. Hawaii is dangerously dependent on imported food, and with united government and public support, we could dramatically reduce our reliance on imported meat, fish, milk and produce. Our state government spends millions each year to feed public school students in our schools, inmates in our prisons and patients in our public hospitals — state government should set the example and buy locally grown food first.
We are entering a new reality and a new economy. It is critical, now more than ever, that we work together as a community, that we set aside our differences and that we approach the challenges of the present as the opportunities for the future that they really are.
SEN. GARY HOOSER, Majority Leader, Hawaii Senate