Letters for Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014

Lawsuit is full of holesHawaiian fares are just too high

Lawsuit is full of holes

Biotech corporations suing Kauai claim Ordinance 960 “prohibits plaintiff from growing any crop.”

How then do they explain the fact that for 10,000 years farmers could save seeds from this year’s crop to plant next year’s crop? Farmers are being prohibited “from growing any crop” but the prohibiting agencies here on Kauai are Syngenta, DuPont Pioneer, and Agrigenetics — the plaintiffs themselves, who force farmers to buy new seeds every year in what amounts to a seed monopoly.

Plaintiffs claim the buffer zones are “arbitrarily drawn” but what could be less arbitrary than protecting the most vulnerable by drawing the buffer zones around medical facilities, schools and homes?

Plaintiffs claim Ordinance 960 “imposes unwarranted and burdensome disclosure requirements inapplicable to other growers,” the “other growers” presumably referring to organic farmers. Can plaintiffs produce evidence that organic farmers or their seed suppliers oppose transparency?

Plaintiffs claim that the disclosure requirements “compromise their confidential information and expose them to risks of corporate espionage, vandalism and environmental terrorism.” What evidence do they have of any such risks?

Plaintiffs say that their seed production activities “could not have proceeded without exhaustive review of the potential health, safety and environmental risks.” Why then can’t plaintiffs identify any independent, peer-reviewed study of those risks? Regulatory capture of agencies by corporations is a well-established fact, and it affects USDA decisions on GMOs.


Lionel Gambill


Hawaiian fares are just too high

There have been several articles in TGI recently defending Hawaiian Airlines interisland fares, including one quoting their CEO. Hawaiian Airlines is my favorite domestic airline but I have been wondering lately if their interisland fares aren’t a bit high due to lack of any real competition.

So, I went online and checked some fares for roundtrips between Lihue and Honolulu and compared them with fares for roundtrips between Los Angeles and San Francisco. I picked outbound on Jan. 21 and return on Jan 23 and looked for fares mid-morning and mid-afternoon. The flight time for the Hawaiian flight is about 30 minutes and the flight time for the California flight is about 90 minutes, three times longer.

There are at least three airlines with frequent flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco (could be more but I didn’t search after finding the three) so the competition is pretty good. Here is what I found when comparing the fares: Hawaiian round-trip fare was about $158 and the California round-trip fares ranged between $108 and $118. So, the Hawaiian fare for a flight that is only one-third as long as than the California flight is about 40 percent higher.  

If my math is right, this means that on a price per mile the Hawaiian fare is about 120 percent higher than the California fare price per mile.

Increased fuel costs in Hawaii probably accounts for part of the higher Hawaiian fare. Lack of real competition and the acquisition of $9 billion of new planes for new Asian routes might also be part of the higher Hawaiian interisland fare.  

Peter Nilsen



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