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LETTERS for September 19 issue

By Staff | Sep 19, 2013

Negotiation better than escalation

Too often, our excellent vision for the faults of others is blinded when facing our own shadows.

That kindest of critics once said: only one without sin should cast the first stone. Perceptive listeners (none stepped forward) were unlike politicos today, hot to punish Syria for bombing its citizens with poison gas.

U.S. intelligence under Reagan helped Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein gas thousands of Iranian soldiers, while ignoring his use of gas against his own people.

Ah, unloved Iran. Our relationship started badly when we conspired with Britain to overthrow its democratically elected president in 1953. The president’s crime was insisting on a fair price for the oil Britain was helping itself to.

Today, Iran has a mutual defense pact with Syria and bad memories of our backing the shah’s repressive 26-year rule, when we shared in Iran’s oil wealth.

Russia and China also have interests in the region. They are opposed to attacks on Assad and may feel obliged to increase their support to balance attacks on him.

Then recall that some Syrian rebels are actually Al Qaida and allies.

The admirable urge to right a wrong should be respected, as long as it does not propose another wrong. Negotiation offers better prospects than escalation.

Obama could instead rightly help innocent Syrian, Iraqi, Palestinian and Afghani families who have already suffered massive destruction from U.S. and Soviet weapons. Few would fault clean water, food, sewage treatment, health care, fuel, roads and power plants.

Such efforts can grow peace .



Hawaii ready for marriage equity

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act, the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states, was unconstitutional. In essence, the court’s ruling also enables states across the country to address the right to marry.

I am calling for a special legislative session because we must ensure the civil rights of every citizen are protected. There is no reason to deny the benefits of marriage to any individual. Marriage is a choice that is made by people who want to make a lifelong commitment. This is a right that is as sacred as our right to vote.

I am asking legislators to vote during the special session to allow same-sex couples to be legally married in the State of Hawaii.

This is a civil right, and it can no longer be denied. I’ve held firmly to this belief in my life and political career. One of the lessons learned from the civil rights movement is that to achieve success in the fight for justice, we should not and cannot wait to correct a wrong.

Now is the time to make this right.



Governor, State of Hawaii Don’t intervene in Syria

As a candidate for the United States Congress, I believe it is important that you know where I stand on the current situation in Syria.

I think that we can all agree that the use of chemical weapons is a heinous and criminal act. Because of this, the United States must move with caution and must not act alone.

Unfortunately, the reality is that the credibility of the United States on the international stage remains tarnished. For the U.S. to act alone, or with limited allied support, any action that we take in Syria will likely cause further strain on our relationships in the international community. While evidence may point to the al-Assad regime for these atrocities, we must be guarded as to how far we are willing to intervene. History has shown us that it is far easier to remove a dictator than it is to rebuild a nation.

We as a country are already incredibly strained. We have been at war for almost 13 years now. The cost of this war has come in the form of sacrifice – countless American lives, resources and at the expense of great national treasure.

Based on the current discussions and all reports to date, I cannot confidently support intervening with Syria at this time – I just cannot see what we would accomplish. It is unfortunate that commitments made in the past were based on the state of affairs at the time and have complicated the situation we are facing today. We must let facts, common sense and open discourse guide America’s actions. Personally, I am thankful that Congress will have the opportunity to weigh in on this issue – only through them will the American people have a voice.

While we continue our attempts to nation-build outside of America, what is happening to education, healthcare, transportation and renewable energy within our own country? Like many other Americans, I worry that too many of our resources are being spent on other countries and not being put towards our own people here at home. We need to focus inwards.



Celebrate Peace Day Maui 2013

Two years ago, Imua Family Services was proud to bring guest speaker and musician Patrick Henry Hughes to Maui. Patrick shared his personal story of victory overcoming incredible physical disabilities, finding stardom along the way. Imua Family Services took Patrick and his father to multiple school assemblies to share his powerful message with hundreds within our local student community. The outcome was beyond what anyone had planned for. The tour campaign ended with a touching and compelling performance at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

In a time when news headlines read “Incendiary Bomb Dropped on Syrian School Children,” Imua Family Services is all the more motivated to further the World Peace Day movement. Imua Family Services, along with the Will Smith Foundation, reached out to independent community media outlets and the County of Maui. “We need to gather as a community and make a stand for PEACE in our world,” said Dean Wong, Imua’s executive director. “Too many times now, we are hearing about another fatal incident taking children’s lives while in schools, at home and abroad.” Peace Day Maui is excited to join organizations worldwide on Sept. 21, 2013 commemorating World Peace Day. Over 600 million people in communities around the world will make a stand for peace during locally organized peace events. Visit www.peaceoneday.org for details.

On World Peace Day, the community is invited to join the global cause on a local level. Peace Day Maui will take place at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center on Saturday, Sept. 21. Opening the event will be a “Teens Sing for Peace” vocal competition led by Joy Fields in the Yokouchi Family Courtyard (6:30 p.m.). Following the pre-show, guests will be invited into the Castle Theater for a free screening of the acclaimed movie “The Journey” (7:30 p.m.).

Filmmaker and inspirational speaker Eric Saperston created the entrepreneurial documentary turned feature film “The Journey.” After college, Eric bought a 1971 Volkswagen Van, loaded his Golden Retriever, Jack, and hit the road. While on the road, he called up some of the most powerful people in the world and asked them out for a cup of coffee. What started out as a personal journey to find an answer to life’s biggest questions (Why am I here? How can I find happiness? What is success?) quickly turned into something bigger than he ever imagined. As the journey unfolded, it attracted the attention of public figures and business moguls, including Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Billy Crystal, Henry Winkler, Sen. Max Cleland, Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead, Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus, UPS Chairman Oz Nelson, Coca Cola President Donald Keough and Dan Millman, author of “The Peaceful Warrior,” just to name a few.

Leading up to Peace Day Maui, Imua plans on setting up speaking engagements at several high schools on-island with filmmaker Saperston, in the hopes of inspiring our youth to follow through with their personal journeys and what one can accomplish with determination. Eric will preview a 13-minute clip of the film, followed by a question and answer period regarding his journey and the obstacles and victories he faced along the way.

The theme behind this year’s World Peace Day asks the question, “Who Will You Make Peace With?” Follow us on Instagram and Twitter @imuafamily to track this event. Share a picture of yourself holding a piece of paper with a word or phrase (be creative) answering this question. Be sure to use the following hash tags: #PeaceDayMaui #imuafamily #peacebethejourney.

For more information, please visit our website at www.imuafamilyservices.org or call 244-7467.

MARINA SATOAFAIGA, Imua Family Services


End the PWC ban during whale season

It’s time to lift the whale seasonal ban on PWCs (personal watercraft).

Personal watercraft are jet propulsion vessels under 13 feet. They go by many different manufacturers’ names: Kawasaki Jet Ski, Yamaha WaveRunner, Bombardier Seadoo, and Honda AquaTrax. In Hawaii, the government just calls them thrillcraft.

Why is this vessel banned on Maui’s west and south sides from Dec. 15 to May 15? Is it the emissions from the PWCs’ engines? Or is it the noise pollution from PWCs? Or is it the chance of a collision with a whale? Are all PWC operators ignorant and would harass whales? Or do whales just not like PWCs?

Four-stroke engines power PWCs. These motors have some of the highest Environmental Protection Agency ratings on any boat. The same motor in these vessels can be found in your Japanese compact cars or motorcycles.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have oceangoing ships sharing the same waters; cargo ships, cruise ships, naval ships and barge tugs that are all powered by big diesel engines. The same engines you find in power plants and in factories.

Commercial boats – in the pursuit of fish, or on snorkeling charters, sunset dinner cruises and even WHALE WATCHING – use diesel engines. The same motors you find in heavy equipment such as bulldozers, or the same as 18-wheeler trucks or big Roberts buses.

Smaller personal boats are powered by a wide array of motors, from inboard engines – much like that you find in a midsize car – to outboard engines.

Not only do the PWCs separate themselves from other vessels with low-emission engines, unlike every vessel mentioned above, PWCs do not have a prop. Again, they don’t have a PROP. Noise travels underwater twice as fast as in the air.

Without a prop in the water, the decibel readings of the jet motor make it the quietest motorized vessel on the ocean.

The populations of whales have been dramatically increased over the last 20 years. The numbers of vessel and whale collisions have also increased. When a prop-driven vessel and a whale collide, you’re going to have a tragic injury.

In the case of a collision with a jet propulsion watercraft, this would not be the case. In the natural habitat of the Manatees in Florida, only vessels that are jet drive or have a prop guard are allowed to operate.

What is more dangerous? Propellers’ blades spinning underwater going five miles an hour, or a jet ski skimming on the surface at 30 mph?

Here in Hawaii, you must have an operator’s license to drive a PWC, unless you rent one from a licensed operator in a designated area under close supervision. The PWC class is a day-long course offered a couple times a year. Today in Hawaii, you can skipper a speedboat, or go fishing 100 miles from shore, or go on a full moon cruise without any kind of boating license, going anywhere you want.

PWC are highly regulated with how close you can come to shore. Your PWC operator has been taught in this class the rules and regulations of the State of Hawaii. They know the rules.

I guess that leaves us with “whales just don’t like Jet Skis, WaveRunners, Sea Doos, AquaTraxs, or as the state likes to use, the negative-sounding name “thrillcraft.” Just like the lawmakers back in the late ’80s did when they wrote this outdated law. Science at its finest.

CAPT. TED KING, Pacific Jet Sports, Inc.