homepage logo

LETTERS for November 5 issue

By Staff | Nov 5, 2015

Bus shelters needed in rainy areas

The newest fiasco is JoAnne Johnson-Winer gleefully announcing new rain bus shelters for Lahaina, which with Maalaea is one of the two driest towns on Maui.

Meanwhile, the wettest bus stops on Maui not only have no benches or rain shelters, it is such a long walk (or run) from the stores to the bus that the rider is soaking wet with wet paper grocery bags falling apart, sopping. The wind is also often so blasting at Haiku Town Center, Haiku school stop, and Paia’s two stops that it has turned six of my umbrellas inside out with broken metal, making them useless.

Another very rainy stop is Pukalani, where the riders have to walk across a wide parking lot, wait at a long red light, cross the highway and then stand in the rain. Meanwhile, illogical county bureaucrats had placed a rain shelter stop at one of the least used stops on Maui at Eddie Tam. I use this stop the most, as I live up the street, and often am the only person there! Why not move it, along with the dry bus shelter at the border of Kihei and Maalaea, to Haiku and Pukalani, where bus stops are crowded?

These bureaucrats prefer to sit in their air conditioned offices, making excuses and delays instead of riding the bus and seeing first-hand the suffering and complaints! They also blame shopping center management for not letting buses park next to the stores the riders shop at, where there are shelters.

Solution: get some rain shelter bus benches. There is not even one at one of the three most popular bus stops on Maui: the state and county offices in Wailuku, plus the library and key businesses.

Most of the bus drivers are nice and full of aloha, get trapped in this Third World-style bureaucracy, and have to deal with the reputation of rude bus drivers.



Corporate farming: Who owns the world’s seeds?

This summer, agrochemical, biotechnology and seed giant Monsanto dropped its bid to acquire its Switzerland-based competitor Syngenta. Initial merger serenades were sternly rebuffed by Syngenta, and Monsanto’s interest turned into a $46.5 billion hostile takeover.

Monsanto had no fear of backlash from U.S. antitrust officials. And there’s the rub – the reason a failed merger is still worthy of note and cause for concern. What level of seed industry consolidation would have to be achieved to trigger interest, let alone action, at the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division?

According to Dr. Philip Howard of Michigan State University, there have been more than 70 seed company acquisitions by the top eight firms since 2008. Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta maintained their dominant position, collectively controlling over 50 percent of the market, up from 22 percent in 1996.

Monsanto acquiring Syngenta would have put over half the American seed market in the hands of just two transnational corporations. It’s difficult to imagine a more crucial concern for farmers than who owns and controls the world’s seeds.

Farmers have lost access to varieties while seeing the prices they pay for biotechnology traits through technology agreements skyrocket. Further consolidation in the seed sector will make matters worse.

The failed Monsanto-Syngenta merger should be a clarion call for the Department of Justice Antitrust Division to breathe life into the 2009 announcement of their intention to investigate anticompetitive behavior in the seed industry. We are well past the time for action over empty promises.

JOHN CRABTREE, Center for Rural Affairs


Meat industry is scary

I was never scared of all the witches, zombies and assorted goblins wandering around on Halloween.

What really used to scare me was the meat industry.

This is the industry that mutilates, cages and butchers billions of cows, pigs and other feeling animals; that exposes thousands of undocumented workers to crippling workplace injuries at slave wages; and that exploits farmers and ranchers by dictating wholesale prices, then jails those who document its abuses through unconstitutional “ag-gag” laws.

It’s the industry that generates more water pollution than any other human activity and more greenhouse gases than transportation, then promotes world hunger by feeding nutritious corn and soybeans to animals.

It’s the industry that threatens our public health with increased risk of killer diseases; that creates antibiotic-resistant pathogens by feeding antibiotics to animals, then bullies health authorities to remove anti-meat warnings from their public messages.

Now, that’s really scary stuff.

But instead of being scared, I decided to fight back by dropping animal products from my menu. I am no longer scared of the meat industry, and I invite everyone to join me.



Reduce gun violence by regulating bullets

The government does not want to change the gun laws we have had in place since George Washington’s term. My idea is, okay, keep your guns. But does that include the bullets that are sold for those guns? If not, stop selling those killing bullets and let them buy rubber ones.

Police and military should be the only ones to need the real thing. I believe the rubber ones will stop most encounters for private citizens. Hunters that are licensed could buy bullets if they are not felons or violent offenders. Seems fair to me, before America has a revolution from gangs increasing in our society.

The government better wake up and smell the gunpowder. It’s not if, it’s when. There are more than 300 million recorded guns, and every day it increases. Black market real bullets will flourish, but we can keep track of the ones using the real thing, which will be illegal to use.

We in Lahaina don’t have the big city problems, and I hope we never do. But we must care about those we love on the Mainland and keep up on the laws proposed. Does anyone know for sure that gunpowder bullets are included in our gun laws? Curious minds want to know. Be watching for your input on this important subject. A technicality could be in the selling of guns – bullets not mentioned.