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POSTED: Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Goats aren't villains of the environment

Statistics show that killing goats on Mauna Kea also wipes out endangered palila birds (Star-Bulletin, March 24). What's not obvious is that goats used to keep the grass short, letting the Hawaiian i'o hawks eat the rats that would otherwise climb the trees and eat the birds. Killing the goats leaves the grass tall and the rats well fed.

What if fire breaks out in the palila bird sanctuary? Around 1993 a fire broke out east of Laguna Beach, Calif. Mowing the grass, grazing and backfires had long been banned to protect a gnatcatcher bird, so the resulting firestorm wiped out the tall grass, bird habitat and million-dollar subdivisions. Will we also destroy the birds in order to save them?

Hunter friends recommend building small enclosures to protect mamane seedlings, stopping helicopter hunting and hunting year-round to keep goats on the move.

Gordon Kitsuwa

Honolulu

               

     

 

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Don't put burden on state employees

Hawaii has often been criticized for having a bloated state government, grown all out of proportion to the size of our state. But consider for a moment that the state and the four counties are basically the last stable employers left in town right now. Shouldn't we be trying to maintain this functioning workforce, with its operating economy, instead of eroding it by putting hundreds, perhaps thousands of these people out of work? I'd hate to add to the list of companies that have closed down: Aloha Airlines, Molokai Ranch, Circuit City ... the state of Hawaii! How sad would that be? Let's see where we can cut government spending in other ways that don't affect the middle-class workers and their not-exactly-get-rich jobs as they are. There's a lot to be said for stable employment—any stable employment—in these times.

As a state employee and taxpayer, I can't understand why the governor would target a few thousand people—to cut their pay, to raise medical premiums—to try to balance the budget. She says she's helping the taxpayers, but she's only focusing on one group of people—the state workers (who are also taxpayers). If the general excise tax was raised, this would be a fair distribution with everyone (statewide, millions of people) taking their part to help with balancing the budget instead of making a few thousand of people carry that burden.

Darleen Hoshida

Honolulu

Card-check bill pits worker against worker

I call on all Hawaii state legislators not to put Hawaii employees in the position of refusing a fellow employee's request for a “;card signature,”; especially when everyone knows that the signature on the card is the final straw—no discussion, no vote, no nothing.

Imagine the difficult position employees will be in when a fellow employee asks them to sign a union card once this bill is enacted.

Signing means that you never have another chance to rethink the question of a union. Not signing means you identify yourself as an “;uncooperative”; employee or maybe “;anti-union”; or just a “;lackey of management.”; Do we really want our working people to be put in this kind of difficult working environment? Do we really want to turn fellow workers against one another through intimidation?

Please think about the workplace and the rights of workers to work in a nonthreatening environment. As legislators, you study issues and then vote. The card-check bill will not let employees study anything, do research, go online or ask their neighbors. Once a card is signed by 50 percent plus one of the workers, workers no longer count in the discussion. What an environment in which to earn a living!

Vote no on card check.

Paul E. Smith

Honolulu

Neighbor islanders keep everyone else out

Now that the Hawaii Superferry is gone, there must be some big celebrations on Kauai and Maui. Kauai's state Sen. Gary Hooser, candidate for lieutenant governor, must be very happy, too. So, several hundred people lost their jobs, no big thing! So, our state's economy will suffer, that's life in the big city! They won their case and nobody pushes them around anymore. They are independent and not part of Hawaii and will have their own way or else. No outsiders wanted on their private islands—everybody keep out unless invited. This means you!

David Bohn

Wahiawa

We can be different and still be civil

Regarding civil unions, we all deserve to be treated equally, with humanity, dignity and respect. I cannot understand folks who prejudge, stereotype and demonize people because they don't think, act or have their particular lifestyle. Whose business is it who I love and/or have a civil union with? That goes for anyone who is “;different.”; In fact, that's what makes us Americans! In this country, we can debate and discuss issues, but still be “;civil”; with each other. What a wonderful concept!

David B. Cannell

Waipahu

Tyranny of the majority now rules in Hawaii

The loss of the Superferry and civil unions are very sad examples of the power of mob rule.

Nancy Bey Little

Makiki