Agricultural land bill is good enough
In the last three years as a small-business owner and consultant, I believe that I've loyally and ethically served the best interests of my clients. Whether it was lobbying for a trade association or advocating for seniors, the political strategy was always the same: "Don't let great be the evil of good."
Senate Bill 2646 -- the Important Agricultural Land bill -- deserves the governor's signature. It may not be great, but it is good for the entire state because it will ensure that the agricultural industry flourishes in Hawaii.
As the world struggles with food crises and Hawaii looks deeply at our own sustainability, this bill provides peace of mind that agricultural lands will be preserved. Concerns about a giveaway to landowners is an excessively simple diagnosis about one weakness in the legislation, but it does not justify killing the bill and postponing a solution for another one, two or even five years. I don't think we have the time or political will to wait for "great." SB 2646 is good enough. The governor should sign the bill and let our farmers focus on feeding the state.
Governor should veto ag land measure
Here's hoping Gov. Linda Lingle will veto Senate Bill 2646, relating to Important Agricultural Lands. The text of SB 2646 as posted at the Legislature's Web site is 43 pages long. This thing is a study in obfuscation that makes significant changes to multiple statutes.
It is too bad Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation president Dean Okimoto (View Point, May 18) couldn't support the original intent of the bill without buying its final, perilous incarnation, and without referring to environmental concerns as rhetoric. The environment is not an abstraction invented to impair progress. It is where we live, and it unfailingly reflects the way we treat it.
The problems surrounding sustainable agriculture, development and affordable housing in the islands are inextricably linked. Real solutions will require the strategic involvement of large landowners and demand a carefully crafted response from government. This bill, with its 6,965 words all stuck together with paste and string, is the antithesis of a carefully crafted response. Some of its potential harmful effects are far-reaching and irreversible.
Let's start over, with the full attention of both lawmakers and landowners on the advancement of scientifically sound sustainable agriculture and affordable housing for Hawaii's people.
Rabbi's essay revealed a man in turmoil
Upon reading Rabbi David J. Forman's op-ed in last Sunday's edition (Insight section)
, my first response was anger at his claim that views expressed by Friends of Sabeel and several other organizations he names are "veritable well-springs of anti-Semitic drivel."
This did not sound like the shades of gray that Forman was talking about a few lines up in the same op-ed. Neither did it sound like the good advice I heard from him in one of the lectures he gave recently -- that we must learn to speak to each other about these admittedly very divisive issues in ways that each side will be able to hear.
My second reading of his op-ed gave me a sense of a person at war with himself, and it saddens me to see that degree of turmoil in someone who has been a founder of Rabbis for Human Rights, one of many Israeli peace organizations opposing the worst excesses of the state of Israel and some of its more extreme elements.
Those of us who feel it is important to talk about Israel-Palestine have to find ways to express our views without calling each other racists or anti-Semites because that closes the door to dialogue. We have to learn to listen while withholding judgment.
I hope that Rabbi Forman and all the rest of us who care deeply about peace and justice in Israel-Palestine and in the rest of the world will regain and maintain our equilibrium, so we can continue the dialogue, for the sake of the people of Israel-Palestine and for our own interfaith community in Hawaii.
In peace and aloha,
Friends of Sabeel Hawaii
Israel created radicals that rabbi condemns
As someone who has lived in the Middle East for 25 years, reading Rabbi David J. Forman's commentary was shocking.
He has the audacity to call himself a liberal! I wonder how many times he has ventured outside his protective "wall" recently.
How many times has he tried to get through a checkpoint?
How many times has he seen Palestinian women giving birth at said checkpoints? (68 women, four of whom died, and 34 dead infants.)
How many times has he travelled in and out of Israel with no problem, while displaced Palestinians are not allowed into the country of their birth?
Israel is a state for Jews only and controls every single aspect of the Palestinian's life, in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
Is this either liberal or democratic?
When I first arrived in the Middle East in 1958, there were no radicals but Israel did a good job creating them.
It's about time that the United States stopped giving Israel $6.8 million per day and spent this money on education, Medicare and the homeless here at home.
Letter was a j-o-k-e; do you get it now?
It is better to have a half-open window than no window at all. My last letter to the editor on the governor's trip to Israel (Star-Bulletin, May 6)
sparked a lot of malicious comments from anonymous readers posting comments online.
The world would be a better place if people would open their windows all the way. Unfortunately, their windows are stuck half-shut, but at least they enjoy the privilege of shouting their anonymous comments through the narrow openings of their minds. It was a joke! Get it? Probably not.
Publicizing memorial to driver was wrong
Regarding the May 17 story on the fatal car accident in Nanakuli, "Killer crash shatters night / Police suspect the driver at fault was drunk and speeding" :
It has since been reported that the blood-alcohol content for driver Sanford Valdez was more than twice the legal limit.
What were you thinking when you posted a picture of a so-called roadside memorial at the scene of a crash that killed a 3-year-old child and a drunken driver in Nanakuli when the picture featured not only balloons and flowers but a bottle of beer?
It's hard to imagine less class.