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Letters to the Editor

For Sunday, November 13, 2011


Trade agreements need to benefit all

The interfaith community on Oahu has this thought for the APEC conferees: We think the agreements proposed in the name of free trade benefit only a few while most of the world's people suffer from their policies; we favor fair trade.

We are certainly not against capitalism. However, we believe capitalism needs to be guided by moral principles that will direct our market system in a way that all people will benefit -- not just a few.

Trade agreements lacking morality can lead to abuse by corporations. When greed and profit are the primary motivation, individual lives are caught within the need to make money and people suffer.

It seems that the bureaucracy of decision-making allows corporate leaders a way of avoiding responsibility; moral principles are required in all decisions.

As people of faith, we are making this plea for trade agreements based on fairness, responsibility, respect and integrity.

John Heidel
President, The Interfaith Alliance Hawaii

APEC conferees overlooked Jones Act

With Hawaii hosting APEC, talk about the value of free trade among Pacific nations has hit our local media. There is, however, no mention of the restrictive trade laws, like the Jones Act, that severely limit international shipping.

Foreign-flagged vessels cannot freely engage in international commerce in Hawaii, and our ability to export and the exorbitant costs of our imports are controlled by a tightly held local company.

If Horizon fails, there will be only Matson and its parent company, Alexander & Baldwin, holding a nearly total monopoly. Pasha will still be operating on its limited basis.

The cost of living in Hawaii is much higher than anywhere else in the United States. Because of our isolation and unique dependency on shipping that is controlled by a monopoly, the cost of living will only get worse.

Hawaii's political elite can talk all they want about free trade, but as long as they take campaign contributions from those that control it now, there won't be any competition any time soon.

John S. Carroll

Haseko lived up to its promise about school

The commentary by Tim Tucker about Haseko's change of plans regarding its proposed marina was quite a contrast to the experience of my organization, Seagull Schools ("Hold Haseko accountable for promises ... ," Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, Nov. 10).

Among the unilateral agreements made by Haseko for rezoning was its commitment to develop a child care center. This resulted in the selection of Seagull Schools to design and construct its community's beautiful childcare center that opened in 2007. Haseko's generous support of money, land and design overview were the prime factors in its successful development.

In speaking with the many families that used our school's services, I have found no one who moved there because of the proposed marina. They seem to be there because of the high quality of their homes and neighborhood.

I'm curious about how the proposed lagoon will turn out because it is so unlike anything else in Hawaii. I'm also confident that however it turns out, because of Haseko's commitment to quality, it will be an asset to the area's residents.

Chuck Larson
Director, Seagull Schools

Make list of promises that developers make

The Nov. 10 commentary by Tim Tucker on the failure of developer Haseko to live up to its promises in Ewa Beach was excellent journalism.

I wish the Star-Advertiser would compile a list of promises various developers make and see if these are kept. That, too, would be excellent journalism.

Charles E. Frankel

Kakaako developers given too much leeway

It is gratifying that the governor and Hawaii Community Development Authority are finally recognizing the need for more reasonably priced apartments to be developed in Kakaako.

What is incomprehensible is that they feel the best way to achieve it is to allow the developers to go up to 650 feet with "marketpriced" apartments so that they will build the "affordable" ones.

No one is challenging developers' claims that the only way they can make money is to build these overly tall high-end towers with units that are not affordable by the working people who need access to housing in urban Honolulu. What they are really saying is that they can make a lot more money with the fancy high-end units, so forget the people who need housing near their work.

The powers-that-be need to stop catering to the developers and concentrate on coming up with a development model for Kakaako that will put the interests of the community and the environment first.

Let's do it right for a change.

Jack Arnest

Marines no longer need to use live pigs

As a former U.S. military officer and a physician, I agree with Dr. Marie Crandall that there are much better ways of teaching military personnel life-saving skills than by using and killing animals ("Marine Corps in Hawaii should find alternatives to animal testing," Star-Advertiser, Commentary, Nov. 5).

Human-based methods can effectively teach soldiers how to manage hemorrhage and other combat injuries, and, unlike animals, they accurately replicate human anatomy.

Alternative teaching methods, including high-fidelity simulators and immersive virtual environments that replicate the hectic nature of the battlefield, are widely available. The development of many of these simulators has even been funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The vast majority of civilian trauma training courses, as well as many military trauma training courses, exclusively use non-animal methods. The Marine Corps Base Hawaii even lets unit members opt out of the animal-based training, making it clear that this training is not necessary.

It's time for the base to let go of this outdated method to ensure that our troops receive the best education available.

Douglas Bell, M.D.
U.S. Army Medical Corps (Ret.), Honolulu

Training alternatives lack good evidence

Ample evidence exists to support the obvious conclusion that soldier trauma training improves the likelihood of combat wound survival.

Yet regarding Marine Corps' use of anesthetized pigs for trauma training at K-Bay, Dr. Marie Crandall's commentary argues against this practice, stating, "There is no evidence that" using pigs "saves lives on the battlefield."

Crandall misleads. Lack of evidence means only that it is unclear if a specific approach is better or worse than alternatives. Crandall tellingly failed to mention that the commercial alternative she recommends also lacks good evidence.

Training pigs feel nothing and are euthanized before waking up from general anesthesia. These pigs die in a more humane way than those killed in slaughterhouses or than feral pigs run to exhaustion by dogs before being slain by hunters.

Dr. Michael Rethma

Watershed initiative deserves support

I hope everyone is as excited as I am about Gov. Neil Abercrombie's watershed initiative.

How many politicians get it, that our lives literally depend on the land and water around us? That invasive animals and plants, even the beloved ones, are resource-hungry, and if not contained will take everything there is to take?

It can be surprisingly hard to "sell" public investment in natural resources, yet everyone expects water to flow from the tap. We expect beautiful views from the lanai and sparkling water over the reefs. We expect Hawaiian plants and birds to thrive in the Hawaiian forest.

We are relearning lessons from a century ago, when the forests were damaged and mud smothered the reefs. Let's turn it around again, put some young people to work out under the sky and save the natural wealth that everyone gets a slice of.

Mary Ikagawa

How to write us

The Star-Advertiser welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~150 words). The Star-Advertiser reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

Letter form: Online form, click here
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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