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Letters to the Editor


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POSTED: Friday, May 29, 2009

Paddleboarders need regulation

The Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DLNR/DOBOR) has proposed an unworkable and shortsighted solution to the increasing use of Ala Moana Beach lagoon by stand-up paddlers: A line of potentially unsightly buoys will divide the length of the channel.

Swimmers find to their disbelief and dismay that they are limited to the narrow shallow zone along the shore, while the majority is given to paddleboarders to use as a racetrack. This essentially cuts off all deep-water swimmers, divers, snorkelers and fishermen from the reef area. It does nothing to protect swimmers because the boards are allowed to enter the water anywhere, any time across the swimming channel. Swimmers decidedly did not agree to this “;solution”; by DLNR and felt railroaded by special interests.

Thinly disguised commercial operators sponsor demo days, classes and “;free lessons”; as opportunities to sell or rent boards. The DLNR relies on a pre-21st-century definition of “;commercial”; activity, with staffers claiming they can do nothing if they “;don't see money changing hands.”; The numbers and interests of swimmers were severely underestimated, and now DLNR is proposing to use this unsafe and unfair “;resolution”; as a model for other ocean areas on Oahu and the other islands.

The use, weight, operation and speed of a paddleboard are more like a boat than a surfboard and should be so regulated by DLNR/DOBOR.

 

Malia Flynn

Honolulu

 

Marine Option program serves many students

As an alumna of the UH Marine Option Program (MOP), I was disappointed to hear that this visionary program may be cut due to budget shortfalls (”;UH weighs demise of 33 programs,”; Star-Bulletin, May 25).

MOP is an undergraduate certificate program for students who have an interest in the ocean, but who may not necessarily be majoring in marine biology. The internship requirement gives students a chance to work with agencies and organizations that are connected to the ocean.

MOP students may also participate in courses in identifying reef inhabitants and conducting reef health surveys. While many marine and freshwater conservation leaders are MOP alumni, many others go on to careers in law, business or the arts. We carry with us a greater understanding of our ocean environment and its relationship to our islands and people.

MOP is one of the things that makes the UH system special. Please look elsewhere for cuts.

 

Christy Martin

Honolulu

 

Ban against gay marriage shows Hawaii's intolerance

Hank McKeague wrote that gay marriages should not be allowed because they don't produce children (”;No procreation, no planet growth,”; Star-Bulletin, April 24). When my wife and I learned that we could not conceive a child, should we have chosen divorce rather than adoption?

The arguments against gay marriage tend to fall into three categories: 1) Religious—Christianity and Islam don't like homosexuality; 2) Intolerance—“;I don't want my kids thinking that their lifestyle is OK;”; 3) Nonsensical. The procreation argument is such, as is the wacky idea that allowing gay people to get married will somehow ruin marriage for the rest of us. Ironically, I think the real reason is none of these. Is it that gay people are the last group against whom it is still OK to discriminate, tease and scapegoat?

Come on, folks. If a gay wedding takes place and you are not invited, you won't even know. Let's show the world we can at least be as tolerant as Iowa.

 

Scott Rowland

Waimanalo

 

Ditch neighborhood boards, given the voters' apathy

Why have the neighborhood boards?

That's the question. They do not represent their communities at 6 percent, and with most candidates unopposed they are not democratic.

Let the boards die a natural death caused by the public's lack of interest.

 

Ward Stewart

Honolulu

 

Move forward—support is strong for rail system

While Pearl Johnson's letter complains about the City Council's Budget Committee moving rail funding forward (”;Council shuffles funds for rail,”; Star-Bulletin, May 28), I congratulate the Council members.

They are doing what elected officials are supposed to do: Follow the will of the people. As a community, our island voted for rail, in some areas by more than a 2-to-1 ratio. We sent a clear signal to our leaders that the time for debating about whether we should build rail is over.

Council members like Gary Okino and Nestor Garcia were proven right for supporting rail from the get-go. And even Council members such as Charles Djou, who vocally opposed rail before the election, have decided to heed the will of the people and work to move rail forward.

To the City Council, I say ignore the negativity of the anti-rail minority. They do not represent the will of the people. Keep pushing rail forward.

 

Jason Wong

Honolulu

 

National sales tax needed to pay off enormous debt

Most all of the common people here in the United States want government services such as education, health care in emergencies, firefighting, the criminal justice system, the systems of roads and other infrastructure. All of these government services have a cost to the taxpayers, even though many of the young idealists would think the services were part of their birthrights. Usually, taxpayers pay what they legally owe to the government under the annually revised laws.

In all my years talking to taxpayers, I have never had one who wanted to voluntarily contribute to reduce the public debt. I think Vice President Joe Biden put his foot in his mouth when he said: “;It's patriotic to pay more taxes.”;

I would like to see Congress enact a national sales tax of 5 percent to begin paying off this country's enormous debt. Most sales taxes have not been ruled unconstitutional. Everyone pays their fair share if they buy something.

 

Phil Robertson

Kailua