Letters for Thursday, October 18, 2007

• Remember the constitution

• On human nature

• The most invasive species: fear and arrogance

• Insulted by soot rain theories

Remember the constitution

On Oct. 9, the Supreme Court ruled that the Hawaii Superferry needs an environmental review. Judge Cardoza stated that the Hawaii Superferry must not operate until that Environmental Review is completed. Holding a “special legislative session” to overturn the court’s decision would violate the essence of the constitution and core intent for which it was designed to protect.

The Legislature, by definition, “makes laws.” the judiciary, or courts, “explains and applies the laws.” If our Legislature can hold a special session to overrule a judge’s application of the law, then the Legislature is operating above or outside its intended purpose, as defined in the constitution. Of course, our Constitution and system of government has built-in systems to prevent this kind of abuse and misappropriation of responsibility. “Separation of power” and “checks and balances’”are these systems.

If any individual, corporation, or the Legislature itself is permitted to hold a “special legislative session” then it is operating above or outside the law. Why even have laws or a constitution?

Honorable elected officials, you have sworn an oath to uphold the constitution, the laws of this state and decisions by the courts, not just the ones that help businesses. Is it really necessary that we, the concerned citizens and constituents, remind you of your oath?

Judge Cardoza determined that Hawaii Superferry is not above or outside the law. Honorable state legislators, you must abide by and respect Judge Cardoza’s ruling as you were sworn to do. No special legislative session. No special legislative deals.

What’s next, no constitution?

Jay H. Taylor


On human nature

It’s human nature when we cannot agree on an issue (EIS) or course of action (rewriting the law allowing the ferry to operate without an environmental impact statement). Ignoring and pretending that a capitalistic elitism icon such as the Superferry “is not adversely affecting” us or our environment is making an untrue appearance on the courts.

Laws are necessary so that people don’t take greater advantage over other people, including the ignorant and desolate. If we lose sight of where the conflict is coming from we’re just as guilty as the person who “changes the rules” to cover up mistakes under pecuniary pressure.

The unfortunate events surrounding this business adventure epitomizes a “modern day terror.” The nature of the tranfer of guilt, or to convene a special session to rewrite the law is a mistake in the character of the parties if they do it under the false pretense that the people had agreed not to have an EIS done. The guilty parties cannot be relieved of their deliberate intention to take advantage of the ignorant. This is a symptomatic disease toward injustice.

In our already depleted environment, increased hunger, disease, and homelessness, and the rich getting richer—ignorance, arrogance, sagaciousness, insecurity, and nullification are the instabilities that detract from key economic and social goals. The rule of law is essential to economic efficiency and distributive justice. Ignorance of the law is not grounds for reforming a deed. The only expection to this rules is because there is something peculiar in the character.

Environmental law regulates action that affects the quality of the environment in which we live. There are pollutants entering into our waters, air, land and environment -— not to mention our minds. Contamination has harmful substances as a consequence of human activities. Of 171 known contaminated sites between five islands, Kaua‘i has 19. Kekaha has groundwater arsenic under the 40 year old landfill — the only one on the island. The town has the fourth largest poor community. What will happen to our keiki?

Nawiliwili Harbor is contaminated with petroleum and metals in the soil. The status of site activities is ongoing and the site is under evaluation for land use control, (HEER 2007). Niumalu Park, Nawiliwili Harbor, and Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor were once a part of a large Hawaiian settlement, and so the large number of heiau-burial sites are in the area. Where’s the aloha in this?

We cannot predict the future but we are obligated to be aware, tell the difference, recognize and understand when there is dissonance. Actions must be taken to correct, identify and work at restoring imbalance. Admit and correct past mistakes so that same mistakes can be prevented from happening again. We have been given “stewardshp” to make things right. Let’s bring power and ability to justice for everyone — not just for a “few”.

Genera Buza Campus


The most invasive species: fear and arrogance

Time continues to bring many newcomers to this magical island. Unfortunately, along with the suitcases, boxes and containers, it also brings fears, prejudices and arrogance.

As our island continues to grow and change, not only are we affected by what is happening to our physical environment our ‘aina, but also to our spiritual well-being.

The kama‘aina, for the most part, practice aloha. Aloha is selfless generosity and trust n it is something you give, not something you expect to receive.

What happens when generosity and trust is met with selfish fear and arrogance? It creates seeds which eventually sow a field of resentment and hostility.

This particular invasive species we truly wish had been left behind and not packed up and brought to our island. This is the invasive species of the mind and the heart.

When you come from a place of fear, self focus and sense of scarcity — how can you embrace the abundance of aloha? You have to trust and open your heart to experience aloha. It is what living is. True aloha adds a rare dimension to one’s life and it takes courage and requires intimacy.

The next time you are feeling afraid someone is going to take something from you, why don’t you look them in the eye, smile and ask yourself, “What can I give this person?” Practice the art of aloha. Move from being the malihini to a kahu for the ‘aina. Grow from being the newcomer to a steward for our island and our culture.

You know the expression: “Live Aloha.”

Marjorie Bennett


Insulted by soot rain theories

About the ship smoke, please listen carefully. It’s interesting and insulting for me to read about all the bouncing back and forth about a possible cause for odors and soot rain in Niumalu.

When I first moved to the Niumalu area over seven years ago, the interisland ships were limited to just the two, what were their names, Patriot and something else that I can’t recall now. Some nights, it smelled like someone burning their garbage, like plastic and rubber burning. I couldn’t figure out why somebody was burning their garbage at night again.

I finally realized that the garbage burning coincided with the nights the ships were in port. The mornings after, I could run the windshield wipers on my truck and it would produce a black line at the bottom of the glass, which when felt, was gritty and smelled like ash. It was large particles of burned sulfur. Likewise, a run of your finger along any windowsill in the house produced the same black sludge. Those older ships disappeared to be replaced by the larger, more “modern” Norwegian Cruise Line ships and the problem with the black rain was not only compounded, but also magnified by the busier schedule of the ships. Now, all the time-consuming agruments about where all the odors and soot might be coming from, are just wasting money and appearing ridiculous to the common people like me, since I’m no scientist. Let me tell you the truth about what the people of Niumalu are dealing with.

As far as the pollution coming from any trucks that are in the area, that is baloney. When a big truck passes by, you smell the smoke for a brief period and then it dissapates. When you drive behind a big truck or bus and watch the exhaust fumes pouring out the back, it sometimes gets to the point that you feel forced to pull over and let them get ahead of you to avoid it.

That is the case with the ships and it is non-stop smoke that you can’t get away from, so saying it is the trucks is silly. Besides, the trucks don’t run all night but the smoke does continue non-stop. The smoke odor isn’t present when the Matson ships or Young Bros. are in port. It just doesn’t happen. The source of the smokey stink is the NCL ships. And, it all depends on air speed and direction. If the winds are light, the smoke goes up, if the tradewinds kick in, the smoke goes into the valley. It’s as simple as that. If the direction shifts a little in one direction or the other, the smoke likewise goes in another area of the valley. So, if the ship is in port, but my house isn’t getting any smoke, someone else in the valley IS getting it.

In the daytime, when the ship arrives in port and the smokey smell starts, I’ve run to the back corner of the back bedroom in the house to temporarily escape it, but it slowly infiltrates and the entire house is quickly overcome with it. The only way to escape the smoke is leave the house. But what can you do to get away from it at night? Many times at night when the wind has shifted slightly, I might all of a sudden be overwhelmed by the smoke. We can’t leave the house and go sleep somewhere else. I’ve awakened with a dry throat, burning eyes and lungs, and gulla-gullas that won’t stop. It caused me to recall the days when I was a cigarette smoker and had congested lungs, it’s just the same.

As far as investigations into the source of the smoke, if you stationed an individual on Kaua‘i that was on call at any moment to respond to residents’ complaints and have that investigator drive down the hill to Niumalu when called, I guarantee they will be rewarded for their efforts with a big dose of stinky, smokey, unbreathable atmostphere.

Please don’t treat those that complain as if they are idiots that are imagining things. And please stop the stupid finger-pointing or trying to mislead anybody into thinking that the source of the pollution is anything other than those big passenger liners. Don’t kid yourselves into thinking you are fooling anyone. The pollution is coming from NCL and no amount of people denying it will change that fact. Like I said, I’m no scientist and all the numbers and percentages that are being shown are just a bunch of crap. Believe your noise, it doesn’t lie!

Jack Custer



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