Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Friday, February 13, 2009

Animal groups use pigs to further their agenda

Regarding the KITV news story about animal-rights groups protesting the “;island-produced”; label on mainland pigs that are shipped here for slaughter: These groups are using that argument to strengthen their other calls for animal rights.

These protests are ridiculous. We do not have enough quality pork producers in Hawaii. To produce quality pork in Hawaii, it is very expensive from several angles. When the animals are transplanted, the containers they are transplanted in are intended to make it all efficient. Really, the bottom line is, they will be slaughtered and eaten. The transportation of pigs does keep fresh pork prices down - it's cheaper to grow them on the mainland - and fills the local market with the volume needed.

So why not increase the market of locally produced pork? It simply comes down to this: As a consumer, I am stretching my dollar, which is the unfortunate truth. And yes, I do like to eat a balanced meal that includes meat.

Russell Pang


Tiny, invasive bugs really are a big deal

In a recent letter (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 4), Pearl Hahn of the Grassroot Institute touted a “;Pork Report,”; listing state-funded projects that are, in the institute's view, a waste of taxpayers' money. On that list is the state's project dealing with the varroa mite, an enemy of the honey bee that could harm the state's honey industry. According to the report, the state has spent $702,000 and has detected only 44 mites at a cost of $15,000 per mite.

This is inaccurate. The mite is actually very common on Oahu, where individual hives might have as many as 1,500 mites attacking them. The mite is a recent arrival to the Big Island, but even there more than 400 mites have been detected at more than 40 different locations. Because hives serve as mite breeding grounds and mites can hitchhike on foraging workers, these 40-plus sites represent launching pads from which the mites can spread to previously uninfected hives. Add the fact that mites are rapid and prolific breeders, and the problem becomes all the more serious.

Identifying pork is a valuable activity but one that demands rigorous documentation. Regarding the varroa mite, at least, the Pork Report gives an inaccurate portrayal and thus underestimates the magnitude of the problem.

Todd Shelly


Gaming in Hawaii has bipartisan support

Sen. Fred Hemmings, Sen. Donna Mercado Kim and Rep. Joe Souki have indicated they would be for gambling (”;Gambling appears dead for session,”; Feb. 11). Other legislators concur, saying, “;Let the people vote on it.”;

Legislators on both sides of the aisle agreeing? It certainly is not common to see such nonpartisan support of anything in Hawaii. With our state's industries in the doldrums, support on the potential of revenues from gambling by lawmakers is now pretty strong. If the issue is dead for this session, who killed it?

Public opinion is, “;Please bring us our cookie jar so we can eat the darn cookies.”; Just put a big 'ol tax on any and all gambling house winnings. Make it a 25 percent tax and direct the newfound revenues to social services (please include severe training of field workers) - we already know of their growing contingency. As the politicians say, people are going to gamble anyway, so if we can utilize gaming in a focused way, let's try it out. In other words, if the majority of Hawaii's gaming population is going to lose their shirts, those shirts might as well go to those in Hawaii who need them.

Jim Cone


Don't use Aloha's name without the service

There is talk that go! is trying to use the Aloha Airlines brand. Aloha Airlines never would have pulled off what go! did Wednesday in Hilo. The 2 p.m. flight was not very full, so to save money the geniuses who run the local operation cancelled the flight, leaving me stranded and missing half of a work day in Hilo.

Finally, after 5 p.m. we left. “;Sorry,”; the captain said. Sorry doesn't cut it. Their cut-rate fares don't count when they don't deliver what they promised ... an on-time departure without cancellation. You put a palomino horse's skin on a zebra but it's still a zebra in my book. I yearn for the good old days of Aloha. They delivered what they promised.

Jim Delmonte


Vote-by-mail system is worth a trial

No hurt try!

The Hawaii County Council has asked the Legislature to allow a county-wide vote-by-mail pilot program for three election cycles. Senate Bill 1608/House Bill 1646 asks for no new funding and uses the existing absentee ballot rules.

This important experiment will help Hawaii decide if vote-by-mail helps registered voters participate and saves money, too. We need to do something; our turnout is among the lowest in the nation. Thank you, Hawaii County Council!

All the Legislature has to do is say “;oe!”; (yes!) - no additional money is required.

Please tell House Speaker Calvin Say and Senate President Colleen Hanabusa. Big Island wants to try it ... we think everyone is gonna like it!

Al Beeman





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