Letters for Tuesday, November 4, 2008

• Elect a great mayor

• Elect a sustainability mayor

• On the Red Cross dismissing Alfred Darling

• Why pay the pensions?

Elect a great mayor

It is with a heavy heart that I cast a vote for mayor, remembering that we lost a great leader, and a great friend, in Bryan Baptiste. He was such a loving man and an inspiration to all who loved his generosity and his aloha.

Directly after he passed, we who were so close to him were surprised to hear JoAnn Yukimura talk so fondly about Bryan, and promoting to carry on his legacy if she is elected mayor. 

She said that she enjoyed working with him to “produce great results” for the people of Kaua‘i. But now, just a few months later, those words seem to be forgotten, as I hear her talk repeatedly about what he didn’t accomplish, that there is a lack of leadership and how his administration represented the “status quo.” I find this very disappointing, but my consolation is that I can cast a vote for Bernard Carvalho for mayor. Our extended ‘ohana “including Aunty Rosie Bukoski who also passed away recently” always knew that Bernard would make a great mayor. We know that Bernard is a man of honesty and a man of his word. We know that when Bernard says something, he means it. I hope you will join me in electing another great mayor for the county of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau — Bernard Carvalho.

• Uli‘i Castor, Koloa

Elect a sustainability mayor

It is the opinion of GMO Free Kaua‘i that we must support JoAnn Yukimura, our former mayor, to be our next mayor, now, in 2008.

JoAnn has shown that she cares about our desire to be food independent.

We appreciate her recognition that “GMO farming is not good for the soil or environment.” We are glad to hear her say that “the way of the future is sustainable farming” and that she “would support measures that support sustainable farming.”

We humbly ask that all voters who work for the creation of a sustaining model of living for Kaua‘i, please vote for JoAnn Yukimura for mayor of Kaua‘i.

These are crucial years of transition to sustainability. JoAnn was a very good mayor, and she will do her very best for us and for Kaua‘i. It’s a hard job, but she is hungry for it. That attitude alone shows a lot of guts and grace.

JoAnn is willing to do her homework. GMO Free Kaua‘i will continue to ask JoAnn to malama haloa and say “No” to the genetic modification of taro. We will continue to be dedicated to continually educating JoAnn and the new County Council and appointees, about the worldwide concern over GMO crops and our local concern as the No. 1 place in the world for GMO field tests.

The urgency to malama ‘aina that many people are feeling right now is because time is running out for us to reverse the effects of global warming and the slow demise of life on Earth. Each of these issues like loss of free access to seed, chemical exposure, continued burning of fossil fuels, no EIS on Superferry, overfishing, pollution, clean water, loss of sacred places and critical habitat, and development beyond our carrying capacity, contributes to our larger problem of survival. JoAnn will speak with us on these issues.

Malama i ka honua (take care of it all) and please vote as if life on Earth depends on it … it does.

• Jeri Di Pietro, GMO Free Kaua‘i, Koloa

On the Red Cross dismissing Alfred Darling

I am responding regarding the dismissal of Alfred Darling as the Kauai County director of the Red Cross office here on Kaua‘i on Oct. 24.

I have been a volunteer under three branch managers and can honestly say that Alfred Darling is the recognized advocate for disaster preparation on Kaua‘i and more specifically the Red Cross. He is the example and embodiment of the Red Cross principles that people on Kaua‘i needed to see — the words on a piece of paper living in a human body.

I can personally attest that it has been because of his tireless dedication and passion for his job that had kept me on as a volunteer these 10-plus years. I have watched him continue to uphold Red Cross even when I was well aware of the isolating and marginalizing tactics that were employed to secure his dismissal. As long as he was willing to endure it there was not much one could say and we were willing to silently support his stand. Now that their action has silenced his voice it is time for the community’s voice to be heard.

As a life-long resident here on Kaua‘i I have to say that the failure of the Red Cross to recognize this particular island community’s worldview and how it functions, being a neighbor island, is rather amazing. We have a rather strong ‘ohana mentality here on island (I believe Red Cross recognizes that as being a team, but it goes beyond that) and I wish I could express the fullness of the Hawaiian concept of hewa that well describes what this action has done to this island. 

Alfred Darling knew well both sides, the peculiarities of this island community and Red Cross, and was willing to stand as the bridge between both mindsets. That they could not see the value that Alfred Darling has been to the Red Cross on Kaua‘i is truly disturbing and what was done to him is not pono.

Alfred Darling is part of this island community whether or not a part of Red Cross. I can tell you that it was because they trusted Alfred Darling — his integrity as a person — that it also opened the doors for Red Cross here on this island. I know that because I watched it happen again and again. The agency has called into question his moral character and that is something this community will not silently accept. As a resident here on Kaua‘i what I don’t know is the continuing support the Red Cross agency will now have on this island community.

Was I mistaken to believe that the Red Cross’ new direction included a more community inclusive emphasis? Without a doubt this has unleashed such a tidal wave of feelings of betrayal that now calls us to make personal choices. So, with no hesitation, I choose to stand with this island community and am immediately withdrawing my support from the Red Cross Hawaii State Chapter both personally and professionally.

A very disappointed former volunteer.

• Donna Santos, Hanama‘ulu

Why pay the pensions?

The Wall Street Journal on Oct. 31 ran an article titled, “Banks Owe Executives Billions in Deferred Pay, Pensions.”

If these folks are the ones that ran their companies, and are the ones that made the decisions that lead to the companies financial difficulty, I would like to remind them of a fact: Many companies that were in financial difficulty reneged on pension plans and pension plan contributions with their workers even though these plans were negotiated as part of a wage/financial package in the past.

Why now should the taxpayer bail out their company and indirectly ensure they get their pensions?

• Scott Robeson, Hanalei

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