Letters to the Editor
POSTED: Monday, March 30, 2009
Superferry sails away, taking jobs with it
The Superferry is gone and the environmentalists are claiming victory ("Aloha, Superferry," Star-Bulletin, March 29). Hundreds of people lost their jobs and Hawaii's economy is suffering. Yet, the Sierra Club is "happy" about the outcome, and Irene Bowie of Maui Tomorrow believes that "the ruling today benefits all of Hawaii." Explain that to the unemployed workers facing bleak job prospects.
How is being one step away from homelessness "good for the environment"? Had these environmentalists ridden on the Superferry, they would have seen firsthand that it posed no more of a threat to the environment than other ocean vessels. We live in an island state, ocean travel should be a regular mode of transportation. This whole fiasco was just a lightning rod for people still bitter over the last governor's race.
The loss of the Superferry and its workers does not "benefit all of Hawaii." It is a sad loss for Hawaii.
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Backward mentality sinks ferry system
Travel the world as I have done as a chef on board ocean liners, and whether it be Hong Kong, Amsterdam, London, Sydney, the Channel Islands, Key Biscayne, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, the Bahamas, you name it, wherever there is water there's an abundance of ocean transportation for general cargo or imported goods, and endless ferry transportation for visitors and local residents going too and from work, or for the simple pleasure of it.
Here we are in the middle of the world's biggest ocean and the most isolated group of islands on this planet, saying goodbye to yet another ferry that I'm sure most of us would enjoy, not only for the convenience but simple common sense. Because of some insidious reasoning, and judicial hogwash requiring an endless environmental impact study, plus the impudent intrusion of th Sierra watchdogs, we cannot get on a ferry and sail between the islands.
We certainly are quite special.
It's a loss, but we need environmental laws
I have mixed emotions regarding the demise of the Superferry. I am saddened at the loss of jobs and interisland transport opportunities for our farmers and small businesses. However, many people shortsightedly see our environmental laws as nuisances or impediments. And maybe we all take the laws a little for granted and don't realize how fortunate we are to have them.
I recently spent some time in Bali, an island paradise with the same natural beauty as Hawaii, and witnessed what can happen (garbage everywhere, horrible air pollution, contaminated waterways and beaches) when environmental laws are absent. I came home with a renewed appreciation for what we have here and why it is so important to stand up for that. I am thankful for groups such as the Sierra Club and other environmental advocates who spend countless volunteer hours working to preserve Hawaii's precious environment and the laws that protect it. The Superferry situation is very unfortunate, but it is not a reason to weaken the environmental laws that help keep Hawaii the place we love.
Stimulus money should go to schools
How dare Gov. Linda Lingle spend federal funds designed for education to balance the state's budget after the Department of Education has already made concessions on spending and cutting jobs (Star-Bulletin, May 26).
The money from the federal stimulus package was to be spent on our keiki to improve their educational footing; not pay for the bad decisions that our state lawmakers have made, including giving themselves raises.
President Barack Obama just said that we won't have any future if we don't focus on our children's education so that they can compete globally.
By misappropriating these funds intended for our children, the governor is failing to make an investment in their future.
Unicameral legislature would be accountable
It's time again to reconsider that big cost-cutting move at the state Capitol. Do we need a House of Representatives and a Senate for a state of less than 2 million people? How much money could be saved if we only had one house?
Other states our size have decided that they could do more with less than the bicameral system that has served so famously at the national level as the model where no one is directly responsible for anything (votes to go to war, financial sector regulation, various policies from immigration to taxation).
The Legislature prefers things this way for reasons of obfuscation; it's far easier to dodge responsibility with that other layer to blame.
Let's do the people of the state a favor and let this fiscal crisis give us the resolve to make our government better, smaller and more accountable.