Letters for Sunday, May 6, 2007

• Crime blight

• H.B. 910 veto should stand

• Where were the activists?

• What about the Varroa mite?


Crime blight

I am writing in response to (“On senseless theft,” Letters, May 3).

Sadie, I am sorry that your mom was a victim of crime. I and countless others have also been victimized by crime recently. What is our police department doing about it?

It seems like nothing. I know one issue is that they are understaffed. However, friends who were recently burglarized told me that the police department declined to take fingerprints or photographs of the scene. These friends even had the crooks on video, but so far, KPD has done nothing to catch them. Isn’t it their duty to do this? Isn’t that what we pay them for? I sure hope our budget includes more police officers and a police chief. What we have now is a joke and the criminals know it. They practically have a “free pass” to commit crimes because they know the police are so slow to respond or are unable or unwilling to solve the crime. I sure hope the word spreads to our visitors. I bet if people stopped coming because of the crime, something would get done real fast …

Betsy Rivers

Lihu‘e


H.B. 910 veto should stand

Gov. Linda Lingle is right to veto H.B. 910, which would require members of the Board of Agriculture and nine other boards and commissions to file public financial disclosure statements.

All the members of the affected boards and commissions already file financial disclosure statements with the state Ethics Commission, which reviews the statements for possible conflict of interest issues. Members also must be confirmed by the state Senate. Public disclosure of personal financial records for these voluntary, unpaid positions is unnecessary and will only serve as a deterrent to public service.

My fellow members of the Board of Agriculture are people of great integrity, who undertake their responsibilities to Hawai‘i agriculture and the people of Hawai‘i with utmost care and concern. If you attended any board meeting, you would see the seriousness with which they take their duties. Many members devote considerable time and effort from their work and businesses to attend board meetings, especially those who live on the neighbor islands.

To subject volunteer board and commission members to public examination of their personal financial information is not only unwarranted, it’s unconscionable. Had this law been in place when I was asked to serve on the state Board of Agriculture, I would have chosen not to do so, and if this veto is overturned by the Legislature, I suspect many members now serving on the affected boards and commissions may choose to resign. I have nothing to hide, but my private finances and business should not be subject to public postings, especially when the Hawai‘i State Ethics Commission reviews that I have no financial conflicts for the public service in which I VOLUNTEER my time.

Alan Gottlieb

Member, Board of Agriculture


Where were the activists?

After all their complaints that genetic engineering research would harm taro, it is interesting that anti-biotech activists failed to support legislation that is a positive step forward.

With leadership from sens. Russell Kokubun and Kalani English, the 2007 Legislature passed SCR 206, which requested the Department of Agriculture to develop a taro security and purity research program. The program includes exploration of alternative forms of taro research other than genetic engineering.

Therefore, one would have expected a rallying cry of support from the activists. But this didn’t happen. It seems that a program to stem the decline of taro production in Hawai‘i was of little interest. After all their complaining and so-called defense of taro, what they really wanted was to stop genetic engineering research altogether.

Hawai‘i Crop Improvement Association member companies are not engaged in taro research because the market is too small. However, we care about the taro issue because we believe farmers should have the best tools available to help defeat invasive species and disease, which includes conventional, organic, and biotechnology practices. Toward this end, we are working with Dr. John Cho, one of the leading taro researchers in the Pacific islands, on revitalizing his proposal to gather taro cultivars across the state, and review and update efficient taro-growing practices in order to preserve taro.

We commend legislators like sens. Kokubun and English, and House Speaker Say and Rep. Clift Tsuji for taking decisive action that cuts to the real issues and possible solutions to save Hawaiian taro.

Adolph Helm

President-elect, Hawai‘i Crop

Improvement Association


What about the Varroa mite?

There has been an increasing number of articles lately regarding the invasion of the Varroa mite from Asia into the United States. It has been decimating the honey bee hives on the mainland, and there has been a quarantine on shipments of bee and bee equipment to Hawai‘i to prevent its spread here. Well, it has recently made its way to O‘ahu, which so far seems to be the only Hawaiian island infested.

The consequences of this infestation have the potential to be catatastrophic worldwide. Because farmers depend on bees to pollinate their crops, there are beehive owners who move their hives around the Mainland seasonally to different farms and orchards, where they are paid by the farmers on a per hive basis to keep the hives in specific areas during the crucial pollination season to ensure the best possible crop. Many of these hives are being decimated by mite infestation resulting in dramatic losses of large amounts of hives. This has the potential over the next decade to greatly affect food production, with the main unaffected crops being those pollinated by the wind such as corn and wheat, but what about the fruits, vegetables and nuts? Now that the mite has made it to O‘ahu, it could affect farming as well as honey production on that island.

So far we have been able to keep the mongoose off Kaua‘i.

How will we ever get rid of the Blackberry, Cats Claw, and the many other invasive species out of control on the island?

What about the Varroa mite?

All it takes is one infested bee to bring them here.

One bee in someone’s car, truck, or toolbox on Hawai‘i Superferry.

Should we let this happen, or should we take a deep breath and re-evaluate our priorities before rushing into this?

Please think this over carefully.

Nicholas Moore

Kilauea

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