Where else is government wasting our money?
The March 7 letter
written by Wilbert W.W. Wong about the cost ($11 billion) of the rail system will certainly lead us (Hawaii) to bankruptcy. The bureaucratic Department of Education will also drain our funds. The practice of the DOE is to promote teachers and administrators in the schools to the central office to spend their three highest salary levels so that they could have a higher retirement check.
What else is happening in our government that we are not aware of? Remember Rome did collapse.
STAR-BULLETIN / 2006
Papaya farmer Albert Kung checks the leaves on a genetically engineered papaya tree at Kamiya Farm in Laie.
Genetic engineering saved Hawaii's papaya industry
In response to Sen. Mike Gabbard's Senate Bill 3232 and SB 3233, labeling of genetically engineered whole food and notification of plantings, I would like to state that these bills are a blatant and misguided effort to suppress and attack research and advancement of technology in agriculture. In the global context where people are starving and certain diseases are rampant, it would be ludicrous to stop research and advancement in food and fiber production, which these bills intend to do.
Further, we often talk about sustainability and stopping the "brain drain" from Hawaii; we argue for environmentally friendly businesses and sophisticated technology that will employ our children. What message are putting forth when we put down research and technology advancement?
I am a papaya farmer on Oahu with more than 35 years of growing experience, more than 10 of those years devoted to growing transgenic papaya and its precursors. Simply put, without a transgenic papaya variety, we would not be in production today. This technology saved Hawaii's papaya industry and my farm from the devastating papaya ringspot virus disease.
To obtain this variety, Sunup and its hybrid Rainbow required rigorous testing by the USDA, FDA and EPA, and it was deemed unconditionally safe and virtually no different from nontransgenic papayas. Since its adoption by Hawaii growers in l998, more than 100 million pounds have been produced and sold and presumably consumed without a single negative issue raised by these consumers
It is notable that only the anti-GMO groups are making emotional, fear-mongering, negative comments. Why do we need to label our fruit if it is no different from nontransgenic papayas?
Hawaii is recognized worldwide for producing the highest quality papayas. This could only happen through research. Through countless hours of hard labor, testing, experimenting, sacrificing and collaboration between farmers and scientists, we now have the most delicious and nutritious papaya in the world.
Farmers are business people. We work long and hard, and suffer the challenges of nature, which includes pests, disease, storms and theft, in hopes of turning a profit to continue. We do not need additional unproductive challenges or requirements placed on us. Give us a break.
Kenneth Y. Kamiya
Car accident victim wasn't just a number
Too often, we disparage older people as poor drivers.
Oahu's eighth traffic fatality of 2008 was my mother ("Driver dies 19 days after solo car crash," Newswatch, Star-Bulletin, March 7). Her driving record was impeccable. She wasn't a reckless driver or just "No. 8"; she was my Mom.
Mom was no "Little Old Lady from Pasadena." She drove to buy groceries -- only during the day and at specific times when traffic would be light. She watched her speed so carefully; because she knew that if ever caught speeding just a little, she could lose her independence. When I visited, she would "remind" me of every traffic rule.
That day she was returning home from a Honolulu auto repair shop. She told me she swerved to miss debris in her path; and because of the weather and rain-slickened roads, she ended up crashing.
She was a fine citizen and artist who loved the beauty of Oahu. Her death is a great loss to Hawaii and she deserves more respect than to be pronounced a speeder, someone who "lost control" of her car, and remembered as just "No. 8."
In loving memory of Harriet B. Gilbertson.
Lynne Gilbertson Tucker
San Diego, Calif.
Schools urge youths to embrace socialism
Thank you, Bruce Wong, for your insightful letter ("Socialist views keep isles from progressing," Star-Bulletin, March 6
). In school we are taught to think of the government as a saint to our country. Just the other day we had a political debate, and my teacher and classmates all believed in socialistic ideas like a bigger government, and the government taking away money from "wealthy" people.
Every person (OK, "collectivist person") thought I was selfish not to want anyone to take money from me, which my parents work extremely hard to earn, to help the "needy." I was about to go ballistic! I couldn't believe everyone thought I was on some other planet. I mean, of course it's a "bad" thing to not give away MY money for uses I don't believe in (cough, cough).
Given the presidential frontrunners, it looks like our country will make a nasty turn toward socialism, with a side dish of monarchy (see statements, signing).
Grade 8, University Lab School
Don't remove limits on corporate donations
A March 3 Star-Bulletin editorial discussed the withdrawal of a bill before the state House of Representatives that would have lifted limits on corporate contributions to political campaigns. The editorial provides an excellent summary of the rationale for limiting corporate donations.
Due to similar coverage earlier and the activism of many voters, a majority of representatives appreciated the appearance, if not the reality, that big donors have more influence on legislation than small ones. Voters who feel their voices are drowned out by big donors become cynical about political participation -- which might threaten democratic government as much as the actual distortion produced by over- dependence on corporate money.
Don't relax yet: The Legislature can still remove the limits. Senate Bill 2204 SD1 will soon be considered by the House. This bill again contains language removing limits on corporate contributions. We all need to phone or e-mail our legislators and tell them we like to feel they represent us, their constituents, not big corporations that don't share our concerns and values.
Beppie J. Shapiro
Kahoolawe can solve two problems at once
No one wants a prison or landfill in one's back yard. It takes $28-30 million a year to send prisoners to the mainland facilities. Why not use Kahoolawe Island as a tent city prison and split the $28-30 million between the native Hawaiian group and the state government? Since we have garbage disposal problems on Oahu, why not build a state-of-the-art incinerator on Kahoolawe and use the prisoners to operate the facility?