Strawberry guava plague, not pesky
I appreciate alliteration now and then, but your headline "State aims at pesky but popular plant" (Star-Advertiser, July 21) sacrificed the truth in favor of a cute turn of a phrase. Strawberry guava is not just pesky, it is a plague.
I manage a program on Oahu that removes invasive plants from the forest, and I know from experience that there is too much strawberry guava and it consumes the forest too quickly to remove by hand.
I have seen the vast swaths of strawberry guava moving up the mountainsides and devouring the native forest. Without something to stop the spread, the forests of Oahu will be destroyed.
Our ohia and koa-dominated forests are unique upon the earth, and the natural control for strawberry guava is absolutely necessary to protect them.
Those who fight the release of the natural control are choosing a tree from Brazil over the Hawaiian forest species that grow nowhere else on earth but on our islands. They are throwing away a treasure.
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Military noise is a small price
I would like to respond to the letter writer from Kaneohe who was upset about the noise from the military aircraft that are participating in the RIMPAC exercises ("RIMPAC noise is aggravating," Star-Advertiser. July 22).
As most of us are aware, RIMPAC is the joint U.S. and foreign military exercise that is intended to help strengthen our Pacific and Asian alliances and develop cooperation between the military forces of the participating countries.
I, too, am a Kaneohe resident, but rather than feel disturbed by the sounds of military aircraft flying in and around my community, I am comforted and reassured by them. The minor inconvenience that I endure on those infrequent occasions when our military must practice for war is an insignificant price I can live with for the freedom and liberties I enjoy.
If we’re liberal, what of gaming?
Considering that the downturn in the economy has created budget shortfalls, legalized gambling here, even if it’s only a state lottery or scratch tickets, would help us financially.
Why? Because it will be a new source of income, a new way of creating jobs and a new tourism draw. The key word, of course, being "new."
Would the very conservative state of Utah ever approve of gay marriage or gambling? Never! We say we want to be liberal when it comes to gay marriage, but when it comes to legalized gambling, are we going to remain in the Dark Ages?
I say it’s time to leave Utah as the only state in the union with no legalized gambling.
Raid on homeless not a solution
I was shocked to read your account of the state evicting dozens of homeless people from beneath the H-1 viaduct near Nimitz High-way, with no mention of offering them assistance or alternative shelter ("H-1 homeless camp being cleared again," Star-Advertiser, July 13).
Just recently, Gov. Linda Lingle’s chief of staff, Barry Fukunaga, harshly criticized the city for ending illegal camping at beach parks.
Fukunaga also ridiculed the city for holding a public forum on homelessness to collaborate with service providers and seek workable solutions. Maybe he would have learned something if he had attended and listened about how the city handles these issues.
It seems like the state just wants to force the homeless back into the parks.
Aid to homeless is aloha answer
"Pono" is a Hawaiian word with many meanings, such as "right," "hope," and "beneficial."
When I saw the story about a city bus and donated tour bus van to take homeless people to their shelters and the Kapolei transit station, pono immediately came to my mind ("Shuttle bus will help homeless connect," Star-Advertiser, July 22).
It seems like the aloha answer to homelessness rather than for authorities to raid and break down homeless camps.
No examples of socialism offered
The headline for Cal Thomas’ column is "Liberal Democrats creating a socialist state" (Star-Advertiser, July 21) .
Good, I thought: I want to understand how the Democrats are creating this socialist state of government ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution, which is the definition of socialism.
Well, Thomas didn’t have any examples of that, although he did fear for the future: "The taxing and regulation has only just begun!"
I guess for him, taxing and regulation is socialism and, furthermore, he knows what Obama has in mind for the future.
Article unfair to auto dealers
I couldn’t disagree more with New York Times writer Ron Lieber’s article ("Oversight ignores auto dealer loans," Star-Advertiser, July 19), which does little more than recycle undocumented allegations and misleading arguments. More time should have been spent helping readers better understand the auto financing process.
Lieber clearly fails to recognize what Congress—on a bipartisan vote—concluded and what millions of American car buyers already know: that dealer-assisted financing provides affordable, convenient and competitive credit—and is already effectively regulated. The predatory lending practices mentioned in the article are already illegal.
Dealers are not banks. Dealers do not fund, underwrite or service loans. Banks, credit unions and finance companies—the real auto lenders—will be covered by the new consumer financial agency. And dealers will continue to be regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Reserve and state attorneys general.
However, regardless of the future regulatory structure, there is an ongoing need for greater financial literacy education, something NADA and many auto lenders have been providing for years through the nonprofit organization AWARE (Americans Well-Informed on Auto Retail Economics). Your readers would learn more from taking the 15-question quiz on the AWARE website, www.autofinancing101.org, than from Lieber’s column. Come to think of it, so would Lieber.
Chairman, National Automobile Dealers Association