Saturday, January 26, 2002

Volunteers hope to eradicate miconia

Regarding "Satisfying work: State jobs battling miconia help some unemployed get back on their feet" (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 21):

Emergency environmental workers Steve Seiler, Zena Lyons and Ryan Smith are a wonderful addition to the ongoing conservation work on Oahu. Their accomplishments give us a chance to gain momentum for solving some of Hawaii's daunting conservation problems.

The field crews of all of the agencies that manage natural areas constantly must decide between important jobs because they don't have enough staff to do everything they would like to do. One of the efforts that needs many people working together to succeed is the eradication of miconia from Oahu. While the emergency environmental workers are a valuable addition, the work would be impossible without volunteers who participate in monthly "search and destroy" miconia trips. These Sierra Club service trips welcome volunteers from local schools, conservation agencies and conservation groups who are part of the statewide effort to keep our forests miconia-free. Anyone can join in.

On Saturday (today) we will be hiking in Nuuanu to look for seedlings near where the large plants were recently cut down. Please call 656-7641 for information.

M. Wilkinson
Oahu Invasive Species Committee volunteer


"I would like to formally ask you to pull your traffic vans off the Pali and Likelike highways."

Bob Hogue

Senator (R, Kaneohe-Enchanted Lake), speaking at an informational hearing before the State Transportation Committee concerning the Department of Transportation's traffic camera vans.

"It's a nontoxic drug of no known dangerousness."

William Wenner

Kona doctor, testifying at the trial of Big Island marijuana advocate Jonathan Adler. Police seized 89 marijuana plants from Adler in 1998. Adler's defense is that use of marijuana is required by his religion, the Religion of Jesus Church, East Hawaii Branch.

Wheeler-dealers get rich off airline merger

I am opposed to the merger of Hawaiian and Aloha Airlines. Hawaiian is the oldest airline in Hawaii, and for many years it was king. In 1946, Aloha started up (as Transpacific Airlines); it struggled in the beginning but eventually it became king. Hawaiian struggled to survive -- their employees gave up many perks and concessions in salary, while the top executives got enormous salaries, stock options and "platinum" (not gold) parachutes.

Finally, when things began to turn around for Hawaiian and the profit picture became rosy, Sept. 11 hit the world. Aloha's financial situation, which was shaky before, worsened; it was facing bankruptcy.

Aloha and Greg Brenneman began to talk. Brenneman not only wanted Aloha, but Hawaiian, too. I don't blame him -- what a coup.

Brenneman had his eye on Hawaiian all along, and the executives for Hawaiian and Aloha were more than happy to accommodate him -- they are getting rich off this deal. If Aloha made some of the sacrifices that the Hawaiian employees made and the executives cut their salaries, perks and expenses, Aloha might not be in the situation it is in today.

Edith U. Ellis

Smokers have no right to harm others

I would like to respond to Fred Remington's letter to the editor ("Smoking or not, the choice is yours," Dec. 21, 2001). Freedom should not kill others. When tobacco products kill more than 400,000 people each year, it's not a right to smoke issue -- it's a health issue. If our leaders refuse to do anything about this threat, then it is time to change the leadership of our City Council or state government. They are not looking out for your best interest by refusing to implement a smoking ban.

This is what America is all about. We have the right to change the laws that do not protect the innocent. The right to smoke should not give smokers the right to kill others in the process. It has to be done responsibly. You can't hurt or kill others around you that don't agree with your lifestyle.

Alvin Wong
Pearl City

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