Letters for Monday, February 18, 2008

• Excellent choices for caucus

• Can’t have too many letters

• Acting in interest of population

• Big Island says ‘No’

Excellent choices for caucus

It’s amazing to have the choice of such excellent candidates for the Democratic nomination this time. It’s a tough decision. However, according to the Associated Press poll article that The Garden Island printed on Feb. 12, Obama would defeat McCain and Clinton would only tie if the election were held now.

In other words, voting for Obama would not make you a Republican pawn as was suggested in the letter of Feb. 14.

Get out and vote, Kaua‘i!

Linda Silva


Can’t have too many letters

John Humphrey’s letter contained several faulty assumptions ( “Much ado about nothing,” Letters, Feb. 11).

First, The Garden Island is not turning away oodles of great letters on local issues. On the contrary, I think The Garden Island has room for plenty of good letters on a variety of topics.

Second, Mr. Humphrey does not think we care about what our neighbors think about bigger issues. I like reading what the pundits in Washington, D.C., or New York think. But, I also care what my neighbors think, even if I disagree. I am sure I am not the only one who cares what his neighbors think.

Third, big issues like politics and religion have no bearing on the life of the community. If you believe that, go live in a town in North Korea for awhile and see if their politics has any effect on community life. Go live under Islamic law in Saudi Arabia or live in India under the Hindu caste system for a while and see if religion has any effect on community life. I think you will quickly find that politics and religion have huge effects on everyday community life.

I will give Mr. Humphrey credit, though, for emphasizing local issues. In that spirit, I would like to comment on couple of local issues. Regarding recycling, I believe that the people of Kaua‘i recycle less than the Mainland — not because we are ignorant, but because we are sharp enough to grasp the economics of living on a rural island in the middle of the Pacific.

For near-total recycling to be anything other than a big waste of resources, you need a good size city with businesses that can use the materials. Thankfully, we do not have a big city here.

Let’s recycle in a prudent manner, using the opportunities we have. But let’s not be foolish and try to match the economics that only exist near a big city.

One more local comment: We have thousands of grass-fed beef cattle on this island. Almost all of the production is shipped to the Mainland to be fattened and slaughtered. We then buy beef that is shipped here from the Mainland.

Grass-fed beef has more vitamins, minerals and good cholesterol, and less of the bad cholesterol. If enough Kauaians could learn to enjoy local, grass-fed beef, we would be healthier for sure, possibly save some money and provide more opportunities for our local ranchers.

I think that the key to make this happen is to educate ourselves on just how much more healthy it is to eat grass-fed meat.

Mark Beeksma


Acting in interest of population

Congratulations to the residents of Kaua‘i for the County Council’s vote to “halt new vacation rentals outside designated areas.”

And kudos for the councilmembers who after eight years have found the courage to stand against the moneyed interests.

It is clear that Hawai‘i and the world are entering a new era of necessary sustainability. It is clear that there is not enough resources to go around, particularly when the “haves” are taking more than their share.

A prime example is the free hand land developers have enjoyed with the assistance of their “pro-growth” politicians. In recent news, O‘ahu has lost its last egg producer and the only remaining dairy farms are on the Big Island.

This is a direct result of inadequate and unenforced zoning of agriculture lands that are subsequently developed as hotels, condos, and bed and breakfasts. It is a great irony that the governor boasts of achieving energy independence while Hawai‘i cannot even feed itself.

Now we have arrived at the ridiculous point of having nearly half the homes in Ha‘ena designated as commercial properties while all over Kaua‘i construction turns our water as red as blood. Even the County Council can no longer ignore the reality that we have sold the heart of Kaua‘i, and all of Hawai‘i, to the developer class, damning the children who will grow up here.

The pro-growther mantra of creating jobs is losing its appeal as fewer and fewer people in these “good jobs” can afford to buy a home in the community they grew up in.

The council’s recent vote was a refreshing bit of news. Developers, Realtors, construction companies and land owners will undoubtedly turn up the heat as they sense the inevitability of a grassroots movement to limit property exploitation and establish a sustainable economy that acts in the interests of the greater population rather than that of the business elite.

Our elected officials could use a word of encouragement, so make a call or attend a meeting. You can bet the big business community will have their voices heard. And I can already hear the fear-mongering over all those lost house-keeping jobs.

Trey Burns


Big Island says ‘No’

Hawai‘i has a rich agricultural history, now we are the capitol of “Frankenfood.”

Biotech crops are an aggressive strain. GMO crops grown near related conventional, organic or heirloom crops, take over.

Biotech limits the choices for farmers. You cannot tell GMO kalo from traditional kalo by looking at it. UH isn’t even offering to test papaya for contamination to support traditional farmers, and now they want to release another mutated life form?

If I raise cattle and you grow corn, it is my responsibility to contain my cattle. It’s not your job to keep them out.

Hawai‘i island held a food summit last October. Hundreds of farmers and policy makers gathered to talk about food for the community’s future. They don’t want GMOs to interfere with their vision. They don’t have GMO-corn test fields on the Big Island. They are still GMO free, except for the Rainbow and SunUp papaya varieties.

Farmers and organic seed companies there can benefit from being clean of biotech crop pollution. They are gearing up to be the breadbasket of the state.

The County Council of Hawai‘i island just passed resolutions to support legislative bills for no GMO taro and coffee.

The County Council gave the biotech scientists the final rebuttal at their meeting of over five hours. They voted, and the council said a‘ole, no to biotech in Hawai‘i County. Maui County is hearing this resolution too.

I hope Kaua‘i County will follow. Don’t let corporate research ruin the future of the Garden Island.

Jeri DiPietro



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