Letters for Sunday, July 13, 2008

• Blowing smoke

• The cost of protest

• Drilling now only a quick fix

Blowing smoke

It was with alarm that I read that JoAnn Yukimura is going to run for mayor.

She will not have my vote and this is why. I have contacted the County Council and health department to express my concern about the law which allows rubbish burning in residential neighborhoods, due to the danger, especially to those with respiratory and cardiac diseases. I suggested that the National Institue of Health be contacted for documentation regarding the health hazards of this practice on Kaua‘i. JoAnne’s response to me was the suggestion to bake cookies for the offending neighbors, as this is the aloha way to establish good will, and then perhaps they would be willing to cease burning rubbish.

In the meantime, I continue to frequently be driven from my home due to thick smoke in the neighborhood. Also, with the high incidence of diabetes on Kaua‘i, is sending cookies to neighbors such a good solution for another serious health concern?

Think carefully before you vote.

Susie Wood


The cost of protest

Protesters on surfboards with big middle fingers and ultimate disrespect for our governor overlooked several benefit losses when they favored whales over people:

• Loss of family interaction. Visits to grandparents on O‘ahu by large families on Kaua‘i? Denied.

• Local tourism. For us on Kaua‘i, no cultural visits to museums and other attractions on O‘ahu.

• No advanced medical aid for seniors. If you need the latest and best medical analysis, pay $500 extra for flight and car rental.

• Now with crops failing from “vog” on the big island, local Kaua‘i produce is needed on O‘ahu. Sorry, surfers said, “No.”

• Could a Kaua‘i person do a job on the Alakai? No chance.

• Few people know this, but the Alakai would open Kaua‘i to visits from Mainlanders who could travel to all islands in motor homes costing as much as half a million dollars. Big spenders, those guys, but the surfer-protest turned down that tourist income.

Don Paul


Drilling now only a quick fix

President Bush posed the question as to why we should not be immediately and aggressively drilling for more oil off the coast of California and in Alaska.

He’s an oil guy, so it’s understandable how this is his solution to the current oil shortage. Drill more, drill deeper, suck it dry. Feed the existing petro-industrial-military behemoth which he is a part of. These areas are not being drilled currently due to serious environmental concerns, with past oil-spill disasters having spurred strong legal protections for these sensitive natural areas. Remember the Exxon Valdez?

Clearly, his approach would only provide a partial and quick-fix several years from now. It would continue contributing to global warming and environmental plundering and degradation. It certainly won’t bring down gas prices anytime soon — how long before any of that oil actually makes it to the pumps? It seems to me that the many billions of dollars that would be spent drilling for oil in the Pacific Ocean and Alaskan wilderness instead needs to be diverted into development of clean alternative energies. The investment capital that would have gone to the oil companies should instead be going to companies at the forefront of this green revolution. You know them: solar, wind, batteries, wave, hydroelectric, hydrogen, and many others that desperately need further research and development. But this takes lots of money, and we need to make a serious commitment to this technology (and paradigm) shift. I’m still unsure about ethanol, but that’s a whole different story.

Using the phrase “think globally, act locally,” if Kaua‘i could get its fair share of this massive energy development capital, I’m sure we could become energy independent in no time. I’m certainly no expert on all this, but I don’t think it’s rocket science either. We need to develop renewable energy sources that do not hold us hostage to oil politically, economically and environmentally. As soon as possible. That’s why drilling for oil in the Pacific and Alaska is not a good idea.

Erik Coopersmith



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