Letters for Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Don’t promote apathy‘Thought police’ far behind?All opinions not worth sharingWhere does the farm drain?

Don’t promote apathy

The April 21 Earth Day celebration at Kauai Community College was marred when Chancellor Helen Cox ordered the removal of a banner displayed by Hawaii Seed.

The banner named the four chemical companies suing Kauai County to overturn Ordinance 960 and said, “Shame on you … suing Kauai County for the right to spray poisons next to our schools, homes, hospital.”

On March 31, my wife and our two sons were invited guests in a college classroom in Hangzhou, China. We got a firsthand look at academic freedom in the Peoples’ Republic. The otherwise lively exchange was framed around the students’ shared understanding that possessing and voicing knowledge about political corruption or environmental wrongdoing in their country can have consequences.

Afterward, in more private conversations, students shared that they live stream the American TV series House of Cards, that demeans U.S. politicians, yet they have sparse knowledge of Chinese human rights dissidents Liu Xiaobo and Cheng Guangcheng, one in jail and the other exiled. Their own university is a complicit agent in suppression of their free speech.

So, it was shocking to learn of Chancellor Cox’s overt act of censorship.

Earth Day at KCC is for sharing creative solutions and renewing commitments. The chancellor’s act suppresses empowerment and promotes apathy.

The chemical seed industry has a reported $600,000 invested in Hawaii’s universities and colleges. But freedom to express opinion on campus cannot be for sale. The chancellor must demonstrate her commitment to this very fundamental right.

Kip Goodwin


‘Thought police’ far behind?

Dan O’Flaherty’s letter in Tuesday’s TGI was spot on. The Constitutional right to free speech is not unlimited. Nobody has the right to yell “fire” in a crowded theater, for example.

But to attack opinions uttered in a private telephone conversation?

Wrong. Very wrong. Can the “thought police” be far behind?

Raley Peterson


All opinions not worth sharing

In response to Kimo Rosen’s editorial piece, I would like to say the following. Surely, we can agree that some opinions, no matter how much it is one’s right to state or believe them, are not generally acceptable. Those who believe, for example, that adults should be able to engage in non-platonic relationships with children are generally shunned and viewed as pariahs, if not utter predators. This is at one extreme. At the other, you have opinions which are generally accepted by all, and those who don’t are considered to be off their rockers. The sky appears blue. The Earth isn’t flat and revolves around the sun.

It is to be expected that there is some distribution between these two extremes. Each individual is at liberty to decide for themselves which opinions they are going to tolerate and which they are not. It is not incumbent upon anyone to tolerate opinions they find abhorrent, and most certainly if that opinion is baseless, demonstrably dangerous or extremist.

Frankly, the fact that Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan could disagree so bitterly on issues and then go have a cordial dinner with each other speaks more about the pathetic game that is American politics than it reflects on how people should behave in regards to the opinions of others. I care nothing for an opinion that is based upon fear rather than observable facts, innuendo rather than intelligence, or pseudo-science or mysticism rather than science. Those holding such opinions will not have my respect, either.

Michael Mann


Where does the farm drain?

Hawaii Dariy Farms must have a need for drainage ditches. They have been openly cleaning and improving the old sugar cane drainage system on their dairy property. They know that 2,000 cows will spread 100 tons of manure and 16,000 gallons of urine on the ground per day, every day.

One inch of rain drops 16 million gallons of water on 582 acres. They know that the ground is composed mainly of vertisol, a slow draining but mainly slippery, mushy, clay that will run off. To where?

Simple  — the drain ditches.

In the present HDF plan these ditches, once intended for water only, will become outlets draining a mixture of manure, urine and water (they call it effluent) which in less than four minutes (downhill slope) will be at the beach area (the caves) and into the ocean. The 3.47-rain event of February, and at least 61 times in the last 25 years, created flood conditions. (Through the years HDF property would flood and send millions of gallon of water to the ocean).

HDF doesn’t have ground water irrigation in their plan. They have overhead irrigation designed to spray effluent back over the top of the pasture. Ask HDF what the drainage ditches are used for? If you don’t get a factual answer; think about it. Ask yourself.

Ronald John

San Luis Obispo, Calif.


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