Mayor's office needs Memminger's humor
I loved Charles Memminger's Jan. 26 "Honolulu Lite" column
, "Horsing around costs us taxpayers." This referred to our government putting the cart before the horse in areas like taxes for mass transit, a bounty on beverage containers and distribution of the ugly blue trash containers -- all before figuring out who would carry out the plans. He hit the nail on the head in each instance and with humor. How about running for mayor next term, Charles?
We must not give in to neocon threat
President Bush continues to defend his illegal spying on U.S. citizens. Right or wrong, there is a very real threat from the scores of Muslims around the world who are deeply embittered by the actions of our government. But we do not live in a monarchy, and Bush is not a king. Our federal government was specifically established to end European-style rule by an all-powerful elite.
Our government has the constitutional authority to spy on us, to bring us in for questioning, to ensure that freedom of speech and public demonstrations do not lead to violence and to include the private sector in discussions on the economic future of our country. But it must do these in consultation with the people who put them in power and they must adhere to the vital system of checks and balances between the president, Congress and the Judiciary that our democracy is founded on.
Absolute authority corrupts absolutely. Progressive-minded Democrats and Republicans alike must put their differences aside and rid our country of the neoconservative threat before we join the ranks of those who have succumbed to authoritarian rulers who promise to act "in our best interest."
UH has the right to relinquish taro patents
"Activists oppose UH's patenting of taro plants" (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 13
) describes how Walter Ritte and I recently demanded that the University of Hawaii give up its patents on three varieties of taro, granted in 2002. We would like to clear up a possible misunderstanding in that article.
Ania Wieczorek, a biotechnology specialist at the university's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, said that CTAHR does not have the power to relinquish the patents because they belong to the "inventors" and the university's Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development. Our demand was in fact clearly directed to the university, not CTAHR, and the university was assigned the rights to the patents by the "inventors." Thus, the university does have the right to relinquish the patents.
If it does not do so, we will be forced to file a challenge with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to reclaim these taro varieties for all Hawaiians, taro farmers and the public.
In the meantime, the UH continues to do genetic engineering on Chinese Bun Long taro.
Curbside recycling better than dumping
With the recent problems at Waimanalo Gulch landfill (the city was fined $2.8 million by the Department of Health), it is time for curbside recycling. Not only would this divert 40,000 tons of recyclable materials annually from the landfill, it would create more jobs for local folks.
What is the mayor waiting for? More than 25 million pounds of recyclables have been landfilled since the mayor failed to implement this worthwhile program. Curbside recycling is an idea whose time has come.
Gabbard's group cleans others' messes
I have been a resident of Makakilo since 1995. For 10 years the brick walls on the corner of Makakilo Drive and Palailai Street were unscathed by "taggers." But in October I was horrified to see graffiti covering the walls on both sides of the street. Two months passed and nothing was done. Then Mike Gabbard's Healthy Hawaii Coalition stepped up to the plate and painted over the graffiti.
Our wall was attacked again in January. And again, HHC painted over it, one day after I contacted them.
Leaving graffiti perpetuates the problem. On Jan. 29, I e-mailed seven Makakilo representatives. Two said they would bring it up at the next Neighborhood Board meeting. One gave me a sad excuse about a sandblaster. Four didn't respond at all. Immediate eradication is the issue, not board meetings weeks away.
I commend HHC and Mike Gabbard. I might not agree with everything Gabbard has to say, but he's shown me that he's a man of integrity, and his organization and volunteers deserve much praise and recognition for the work they do.