Honolulu Star-Advertiser

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Letters to the Editor

Be careful when buying ‘organic’

Thanks for running the article on California’s lack of enforcement of organic labeling ("Organic? Says who?" Star-Advertiser, July 12). But you didn’t have to go to the mainland because chronic abuse of the organic label is alive and well right here in Hawaii. Visit any farmers’ market in the state and you will see vendors either with the word "organic" imbedded in their business name or other words alluding to being "organic" but which are not. Consumers should look for a "certified organic" label as the only true affirmation of a fresh organic product.

In the 2009 legislative session, Senate Resolution 21 proposed a Hawaii State Organic Program to provide local enforcement of the organic standards. The institutions opposing this initiative were the state Department of Agriculture, the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation and the Hawaii Organic Farmers’ Association. No wonder our agriculture industry has been in decline for the past 40 years.

Al Santoro
Certified organic farmer


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The Star-Advertiser welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~175 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 Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published.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.

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Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813


Leaf blowers are everywhere

The writer of the pro-leaf blower item ("Off the News," Star-Advertiser, July 13), claiming the "real issue" is the time of day to use noisy equipment, must be hard of hearing or perhaps not at home when leaf blowers are running in the writer’s neighborhood.

The claim that gunshots and chainsaws are worse than leaf blowers is a ridiculous analogy. We don’t live within earshot of a practice range. Chainsaws, at least in my neighborhood, are not used very often.

Gas-powered leaf blowers are widely and frequently used. In my neighborhood, on alternate Saturdays, a yard crew works on an adjacent lot with two workers simultaneously running power mowers for an hour and then simultaneously running gas-powered leaf blowers for another hour. That’s double the usual decibel level.

Besides providing partial peace and quiet, banning these noisy machines would open up opportunities for teenagers or others to rake and clean yards when the regular crews have finished.

Karen Essene


Health reform an abomination

Peter Barmus insinuates that conservatives are hypocrites by refusing the poor among us as Jesus instructed, and while proclaiming "right to life" being undisturbed by those who die for lack of a doctor ("Conservatives’ health hypocrisy," Letters, July 13). What an absolutely absurd claim. The recently passed health care bill does not guarantee anyone in this nation treatment or attention by a medical doctor no matter who you are. This bill guarantees only coverage! Just because one has coverage does not mean anyone will get treatment or that treatment will be any good.

We have the best health care system in the world because our system is based on capitalism and the free market (as much as it can be under government regulation). A free-market system guarantees that the best people compete for your medical business and new and innovative treatments are developed as people have the incentive to do so. Jay Ambrose calls health care reform an abomination because that is exactly what it is.

Jay Miller


Public Safety needs fixing

Hawaii is one of the few states that attempts to combine a correctional function (prisons and jails) with a law enforcement function under one organization, the Department of Public Safety. It is an extremely small pool of individuals who might have extensive experience in both corrections (running a prison system) and law enforcement (running a police-type system) and could be tapped to effectively administer the Department of Public Safety as it is. Since 1989, there has never been an individual serving as director of this department with this background.

The search should end. The Legislature should break up and reorganize the present Department of Public Safety.

Edmund M.Y. Leong


Let UH leaders pay

University of Hawaii-Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw advocates that UH students (including those who wouldn’t see a UH game if their lives depended on it) pay a fee to support a dysfunctional, deficit-ridden athletic department. Meanwhile, as a longtime UH professor, I see these same Manoa students paying higher tuitions each year only to find they can’t even access the courses they need to graduate.

I suggest that if Chancellor Hinshaw is such a true believer in the value of athletics to the college experience, she volunteer to donate half of her very ample salary (currently more than $300,000 per year) to the department. President M.R.C. Greenwood can also donate one half of her nearly $500,000 salary and so can the 15 or so UH executives who make more than a quarter million dollars a year. And let’s not forget our $1.1 million a year (losing) football coach. Presto. No more deficit.

Noel Kent


It’s all about big money

Much has been said, pro and con, on charging UH students a $50 student athletic fee to support the UH sports program. As unjust and biased as the fee appears, the fact of the matter is this: Money is so big in college sports that Congress was called on at one point to pass a law regulating the money grab by a select few conferences (does BCS ring a bell?). Only an appeasing scrap thrown at the left-out conferences put any legislation on hold. Unfortunately, it’s keep up or lose out.

Well, students, if three-fourths of you oppose the fee, then it’s time to get your congressperson to do something to rein in this money-controlling sports monster and level the playing field for everyone. And if they won’t do it, find a candidate who will and vote for that person. What’s that? Your age group hardly votes and the demographics prove it? Well, you may not have found a solution but you sure have found the problem.

Orson Moon
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