Letters for Thursday, July 10, 2008

• The time is now

• Protecting Hawaiians from cigarette fires

• Eternally underfoot

• Kaumakani reunion

The time is now

Concerning the energy crisis we are all facing, a few thoughts have come to mind.

First of all, around the time of the Gulf War (1992) gas prices started to steadily rise as our government and military prepared to, and did, go to war with Iraq for invading Kuwait and encroaching on our allies Saudi Arabia at that time. I realized that once gas prices started to climb upwards there may not be any end, ever. Sadly, I was right.

Second, even with this knowledge in my mind, in 2002 I purchased a brand new mid-size truck with a V-6 engine to replace my mini-truck with only 4 cylinders.

Third, it is now 2008, gas is at (as of July 8) $4.55 a gallon and still climbing. I got rid of said truck for a new car that has 4 cylinders and gets around 29 miles to the gallon. The truck only got 18. The point I am trying to make is that I knew what was coming but ignored the knowledge that I had acquired 18 years ago and I am now paying the price, literally.

I don’t believe that resuming drilling for oil off the coast of the continental U.S. would make a difference. Yeah, the problem may very well be that there is not enough oil to go around to all the nations of the world that want or need oil, but it is the mind set.

Back in 2002 I should have brought a car that only ran on 4 cylinders and did not “gulp” the gas as fast as it could. The gas crisis of the 1970s (during which I was only a child at the time) should have been a wake up call to improve gas mileage for all vehicles and set a limit to how big and heavy they could/should be. It would seem that way of thinking lasted as long as the crisis did.

For when it was over, and gas was plentiful, back to big blocks and ever larger cars, trucks, vans and of course, the SUV struck back with a vengeance. And now we all pay the price for those decisions, at the pump, the grocery store, the electric bill and sadly even jobs.

Just like in evolution, we must change to survive. No one said change was easy or even enjoyable, you do what needs to be done or face the reality of becoming endangered and lost to time.

Hard choices must be made by the government, private business and corporations … and yes, you and me.

My decision to purchase a new car in a weak and unstable economy is a risk I was willing to take even with the knowledge that it will not be easy.

It is time to act on alternative energy, time to stop praying, hoping, or wishing the price of oil will drop. We brought this crisis upon ourselves, ignoring the facts that were in front of us for a decade or two.

The time is now, not later, and not for another generation.

Matthew Morita


Protecting Hawaiians from cigarette fires

Congratulations to the people of Hawai‘i for making sure that cigarettes are less likely to start fatal residential fires. I’m a visitor to Kaua‘i from San Francisco. My husband and I picked up your paper to read about local happenings, and lo and behold, there was your coverage of the governor’s signature of your bill.

I have been involved in the grassroots campaign for a “fire safe” cigarette for the past 30 years starting when I worked at a pediatric burn unit in Boston. Although you do not have many cigarette-ignited fire deaths in Hawai‘i, about 700 to 900 Americans die every year, so it delights me to be here on Kaua‘i when Hawai‘i became the 37th state to protect its citizens from such fires.

You have a totally beautiful island, and we are having a marvelous time.

Elizabeth McLoughlin

San Francisco, Calif.

Eternally underfoot

In June while visiting family in the Midwest I went to the gravesites of my parents and grandparents. They rest in peace for eternity in the east Indiana town where they lived out their lives.

On the North Shore of Kaua‘i, at Naue, “eternity” is a more relative term. Besieged Hawaiians are being denied that solace the rest of us take for granted. Instead they are desperately shielding their ancestors’ cemetery, their “final resting place,” from being overlain by a house whose occupants would defile the memories of every human person interred beneath their feet every day of the house’s existence.

The property owner, Joe Brescia, the contractor, Joe Galante, his employees, subcontractors, suppliers and involved real estate agents and prospective buyers should imagine such a fate for their own loved ones’ place of interment. And they should reflect on how they will be perceived by their community for their role in a desecration.

Is it really worth the money?

Kip Goodwin


Kaumakani reunion

People came from all walks of life, ages and from different places far and near to renew, rejuvenate and reflect on the memories of our days living in our beloved Kaumakani. There were so many hugs and kisses and “remember whens” that evening. They even had oranges stuck with toothpicks on the tables like the old plantation days parties. Wow, it took me back.

I’d like to thank the hard working committee members Patrick Baniaga, Basilio Fuertes Jr., Priscilla Gubaton Badua, Domingo Lutao Jr., Becky Padilla Komaki and Frances Cardinez Buano. To the countless unseen heroes for the electrical set up, the tents, the flowers, the entertainment by Bambi Emayo, T-shirts by Royden Pablo, to the impromptu American Idols who went up to sing and the fabulous cooks.

Being a teacher at ‘Ele‘ele School for the last 23 years, I truly believe in the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” And yes, Kaumakani has raised many children who have been contributing individuals on our island and abroad.

As we all cleaned up, we all started singing oldies but goodies songs. Then I heard Greg Planas shout out “Kaumakani Forever.” We all cheered and talked about the next reunion.

Linda Banquel



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