Letters for Friday, April 4, 2014

• Leaders should protect Kauai from dairy farm • Words on sign go against aloha spirit • Bahais stand strong against oppression • Kauai doesn’t need more invasive species

Leaders should protect Kauai from dairy farm

I am really anxious about the impending Hawaii Dairy Farm plans.  The problems just seem to be mounting, creating an environmental disaster that our little island will have to remediate. Who is going to pay for that? This is going to be the most expensive milk ever!

I have been doing some research on the kikuyu grass and discovered some issues that seem to have been overlooked by HDF. This particular type of grass has been successfully used for pasture land in Hawaii for over 25 years. According to a published report by the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, pasture rotations should be between 30-45 days, even longer during cooler seasons. The HDF plan wants rotations of less than 15 days. Other sources report that kikuyu grass is considered an aggressive weed in California.

The HDF’s proposal suggests a method that would be considered over grazing by anyone familiar with dairy farming. In fact, New Zealand is experiencing severe problems with a method similar to the one which may soon be introduced to Kauai.

 Perhaps HDF may be assuming that Kikuyu grass’s reputation for vigorous growth can solve this. It grows up to one inch an hour, spreading horizontally. Kauai’s climate is optimal for its success. It is completely reasonable to predict that the grass will extend beyond the confines of the HDF property line.

I am so disappointed that this HDF plan slipped past the scrutiny of officials that have been either appointed or elected to protect us. I can imagine that their jobs are time consuming and they might feel overwhelmed from time to time. But it seems remiss of them to let someone from outside the Kauai community move in without providing evidence that they will bring positive change. That our local officials would allow someone to come in and destroy our native plants, streams, reefs and coastlines is just another symptom of government malaise.

Wake up Kauai! It is not too late.

Jackie Hoban, Lihue

Words on sign go against aloha spirit

On Saturday, March 22, while showing a dear friend the beautiful sights of Kauai, we came upon a trailer parked on the edge of Kuhio Highway facing the northern entrance to Lydgate State Park. With a Hawaiian flag prominently displayed, a large sign alongside reads, “Why Do Haoles Lie? Steal and Kill.”

My first thought upon seeing this sign so publicly displayed was “What state or county agency permitted this action?”

My second thought was, “Who were these ‘haoles’ and what had they done to deserve such public abuse?”

Is this a personal vendetta being aired against unmentioned individuals or a small-minded act of racism? Either way, I find this very public display offensive to the aloha spirit and unworthy of the people Kauai.

Sean K. Sweeney, A haole kamaaina Waimea High, Class of 1966, Brisbane, Calif.

Bahais stand strong against oppression

The UN Human Rights Council’s overwhelming vote to extend the mandate of its special investigator on Iran was greeted with prompt affirmation from the Bahai community. From local to international levels, Bahais have been concerned with the ongoing persecution in Iran beginning with the faith’s inception in the 19th century.

New reports by Dr. Shaheed, the council’s special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that Iran continues to make numerous and serious human rights violations, including high rates of improperly adjudicated executions, the ongoing oppression of women, the use of torture, and the wrongful imprisonment of journalists, human rights defenders and minorities.

Diane Alai, the representative of the Bahai International Community to the United Nations in Geneva, emphasized that “The vote to extend the mandate of Ahmed Shaheed is a powerful signal that the world expects action – not just words – from President Rouhani and his government on human rights.”

The list of the oppressed includes seven members of a former leadership group serving the Bahai community of Iran, imprisoned since 2010. While denied legal representation, the group was wrongly sentenced to 20 years in prison.

This situation is a grim reminder to the Bahais on Kauai and around the world of ominously similar episodes in the 1980s when scores of Iranian Bahai leaders were summarily rounded up and killed.

Lucky Wells, Kapaa

Kauai doesn’t need more invasive species

I have a Ph.D. in zoology, so I know a little about biodiversity. Hawaii is a frequent topic in graduate courses on invasive species, for we have a long and rich history of making very stupid mistakes when it comes to introducing foreign plants and animals into our highly-unique ecosystem.

The list of boondoggles is long: it includes the cane toad brought in to control beetles, parasitic wasps that decimated the native butterfly population, the mongoose introduced to control rats, the taape and roi that crowded out native reef fish. Our state spends expends a lot of effort and money to catch people trying to carry fruit in or out of Hawaii — ag inspectors, invasive species councils, etc. — these use up millions of dollars of our taxes each year.

So one would think that the idea of the Hawaii Dairy Farm to introduce invasive kikuyu grass and non-native parasitic wasps to control fly populations would be a no-brainer — who would do something so likely to backfire?

In each of the cases mentioned above, “smart” people told us there would be no negative effects from the introduction of these species. But they were wrong. I’m sure more “smart” people will tell us that these wasps will only target the dairy flies and cause zero negative effects. In their arrogance, they believe the long history of biological blunders can’t possibly apply to them. So will we wait to see? Or will we act now before irreversible damage is done?

John Patterson, Kapaa

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