Letters for Tuesday, August 19, 2008

• JoAnn’s mountain

• Garden fever

• Good, positive letter

• Show us the data

JoAnn’s mountain

Regarding the Aug. 16 kukakuka meeting in Anahola, as reported in The Garden Island (“Mayoral candidates talk county failures, future plans,” A1, Aug. 17):

It is interesting to hear that Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura is now ready to “fast-track” materials recovery facilities and otherwise address landfill issues if elected mayor. Interesting, because she had the opportunity to do so when she was mayor in 1992. In her two years as mayor after the storm, nothing changed except that more and more rubbish was hauled to Kekaha. Rather than incinerate wood and storm debris at temporary facilities on the Eastside, it was transported to the landfill. That is why some of us call it “Mount Yukimura.”

In the years since, it has been status quo, with every bit of rubbish on the island carried to Kekaha. The trucks continue to burn fuel, raise dust and cause undue wear on the roads and highways while they pose a threat to passenger traffic along the route. Members of the County Council have had every opportunity to change this through ordinance or other measures. A reasonable proposal may have been to develop a centrally located facility, such as the old landfill near what is now Kukui Grove, or even to put a landfill near the population center of Kapa‘a. Perhaps the former mayor and head of the Council Planning Committee thought it politically damaging to do so.

When the meeting discussion turned to the issue of property taxes, it seems that councilmember Yukimura took up the paternalistic attitude of the current council to proclaim that “we all have to do our part.” As I read the report, she went on to imply that the (Ohana) charter amendment failed due to “poor mayoral leadership,” and that she would “get the job done.” It seems to me that she was one of the council members responsible for the legal attack on the amendment that effectively nullified the desires of the voting public.

I remember when I supported JoAnn in the 1970s. She had recently returned to her Kaua‘i home and was an altruistic newcomer to politics. It is sad to see those principles erode, as happens with most long-time politicians.

Steve Hansen


Garden fever

It happened without knowledge, without wanting to do it, it happened instinctively: Wal-Mart, Kmart, Home Depot and farmers markets have trapped me.

Every time I go into one of these types of stores with garden departments, or anywhere that sells plants or seeds I cannot escape without a purchase, even if that purchase is just a pack of radish seeds or a plant marked 50 percent off.

They call it gardening, like the runners high, or swimmers high, gardening produces a serotonin-like chemical in one’s brain that is better than any antidepressant on the market.

You will know when you are welcomed and wanted on this rock called the Garden Island. A simple aura overtakes you and all you wish to do is plant something every day.

I plant at my own place. I plant in many public places hoping in a few years to see my (plants) children mature.

Kaua‘i has become known as the Garden Island. I always thought it was a cute marketing jingle, but never took it serious until the Garden Island fever overtook me.

Pets are great therapy for companionship and finally I have discovered the other perfect companions: plants and gardens. Thank you Garden Island for showing me the sun, the rain and many seeds.

Kimo Rosen


Good, positive letter

I have been reading the letters to the editor in The Garden Island news for well over a year now on a daily basis. My hat goes off to Daniel de Gracia II (“God bless Hawai‘i,” Letters, Aug. 16) for hitting the nail on the head as I thoroughly enjoyed reading an upbeat positive letter and applaud you for your efforts.

Free speech is one thing but the daily amount of energy wasted by the typical letters of hate, complaint, discontent and division could be channeled into so many positive things in the community to enhance and exemplify the aloha spirit. I concur that Hawai‘i is indeed the greatest state in the union and long live its people and the aloha spirit.

God bless Hawai‘i and God bless you Mr. de Gracia, for an outstanding optimistic letter.

Robert Banach


Show us the data

I am one of the many people who avoid genetically engineered foods We’re not against science. Who doesn’t want to feed the world?

But Kaua‘i should have a choice about being an experimental station for corporations. This is “crop improvement” without the basic tenant of science … precaution.

Show us the data that the antibiotic resistance genes of GMO crops are not transferring into our soil. Do a safety study on the ingestion of pesticide producing plants and pollen.

We are for sound science. There is an understanding that all experiments abide by the precautionary principle. This principle states that when outcomes are unknown, every effort must be made to protect people. It does not state that you must know of harm, it states that if it is unknown, you must look before you leap.

The United States considers GMO food no different from non-GMO food solely based on a 1992 Executive Order. Therefore, no pre-market safety testing occurs on any GMOs before they are released into the food. At this point we cannot say whether they are safe to eat or not.

We can say that the National Institute of Health looked at DNA proteins in each type of plant breeding method. They found greater health risks in foods produced by genetic engineering. Did they feed these crops to people? No, that would be poor science to allow human consumption of something found to be unsafe in the lab.

Currently the FDA has no way to trace the post-market effects of these foods. The U.S. staunchly refuses to allow the labeling of GMOs in food products. Do you know that you are part of an experiment?

Jeri Di Pietro



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