Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Monk seal death justifies net ban

The drowning of the Hawaiian monk seal Mikala by gill net last week is the third such death of a yearling monk seal in the Waimanalo waters in the past four years. Her death is a devastating blow to the species as well as to all the government programs focused on saving this highly endangered animal and all the scientists and volunteers whose hearts and souls go into protecting this beautiful treasure of Hawaii.

In the past decade, Manana (Rabbit) Island has become a critical habitat for monk seal pupping. Thus the waters of Waimanalo are where these pups are first learning to forage for food and survive.

While the complete abolishment of all gill nets would be ideal, a good start would be a ban on nets off Waimanalo, as well as a stronger effort by the state Department of Land and Natural Resource's Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement to enforce restrictions already in place.

Jennifer Maldonado

President, Hawaiian Monk Seal Response Team Oahu






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Tea Party folk like some 'socialism'

I had to laugh when I saw the front page photo of a Tea Party protester holding a sign that said, “;Stop Obama's Socialism.”; That same group included people I know, who are on Medicare and collect Social Security—two programs that have been denounced by Republicans and conservatives as being “;socialism.”; In fact, it was President Ronald Reagan who predicted dire consequences for America if Medicare passed.

Is there government “;waste”; that could be cut? Sure, just as every household “;wastes”; money in the form of some unnecessary expense. But ask these Tea Party protesters what programs they specifically want to cut, and all you get are vague talking points that parrot whatever they hear on Fox News. They want to have their tea cake, and eat it, too—cut taxes, but don't cut the services they want or need.

They blame liberals and progressives for making our country more socialist, while ignoring historical truths: It was progressives who are responsible for things like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits and equal rights for women and minorities. Facts don't seem to matter though, when your mantra is “;just say no”; to progress of any kind.

Rich Figel



Spread the word about diabetes

I'd like to commend the recent article “;Navigating diabetes”; by Dr. Ron Fujimoto (Star-Bulletin, April 13). Diabetes has quickly become a global epidemic and is one of the biggest public health issues of our time.

In Hawaii, our people suffer disproportionately in terms of prevalence of diabetes and its costly complications. We must remain dedicated to educating those living with the disease in order to improve their health and decrease the impact the disease has on our health care system. An even greater accomplishment would be to prevent diabetes, which studies show can be done. If we continue at our current trends, one in every two people born in Hawaii in the year 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime.

On April 24, we will be having our 11th annual Taking Control of Your Diabetes conference in Honolulu at the Hawaii Convention Center. TCOYD is a San Diego-based organization founded by Dr. Steven V. Edelman, an international leader in diabetes education. Many health professionals volunteer to help make this conference and health fair the success it has become. On April 25, there will be an afternoon conference on Kauai.

Together, we strongly believe that the key to living well with diabetes and preventing its costly complications is education. This is precisely what this conference aims to provide. For more information, visit or call toll free at (800) 998-2693.

Laurie Tom, M.D.

Endocrinologist, Honolulu


Jones Act good for all in Hawaii

I enjoyed the PBS debate with the 1st Congressional District candidates. One of the areas where Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case disagree is on the subject of the Jones Act. Hanabusa realizes what it's done to provide us with quality reliable transportation for generations. So reliable in fact, that Hawaii has virtually no warehouses. Committed to Hawaii by investing hundreds of millions of dollars, Matson and Horizon provide retailers the “;just in time”; service needed to eliminate this expense. How much more would your goods cost if retailers had to buy warehouses and pay for inventory?

Please ask Case: “;Why don't the ships stop now?”; There is nothing in the Jones Act that prohibits ships from Asia dropping off in Honolulu and continuing on to the mainland. Those big ships coming from China are five times the size of the ships that service Hawaii and don't even fit in the harbor.

Just what we need: some cheap fly-by-night operation driving up on our reefs like they just did on the Great Barrier Reef.

Paul Dery