Don’t marginalize Monsanto’s foes
Regarding Lee Cataluna’s column, “Those wary of Monsanto’s aim should tour its property” (Star-Advertiser, Dec. 20): Cataluna ascertains distrust of Monsanto as “hysterical,” “untruthful,” “unproductive” and unfounded based on one public-relations-fabricated tour of a Monsanto facility.
How can we be “watchful and open-minded” when requests for disclosure and transparency are blocked by corporate agriculture? This simplistic evaluation insinuates because a Monsanto- employed scientist eats corn and seems nice, they are feeding the world and that we should not be concerned about poisonous pesticides because of constructed information on their website.
Certainly Cataluna has researched Monsanto’s history, including the Monsanto Superfund site in Anniston, Ala., which the Environmental Protection Agency deemed one of the most polluted in the country.
For whatever reason, Cataluna attempts to marginalize politically active, clean-food advocates by claiming they are anti-science and anti-farming, simply because they request transparency, labeling and caution in experimenting with unknown pesticide combinations.
Messing with Uber will hurt the public
If Uber is forced to raise rates because of unnecessary government meddling, it will no longer be a viable option (“Uber, others see bill as unusually strict,” Star-Advertiser, Dec. 20).
This service has been a blessing and a gift for people who cannot always drive and cannot afford the high rates of a taxi. I used Uber just the other night when it was dark and raining and I was afraid to drive home.
It was like getting a ride from a friend — the drivers are always so polite and pleasant.
Uber also does good things for the community, above and beyond driving people where they need to go. Uber is a good thing.
Messing this up would only hurt the public, including seniors like myself who don’t always feel safe driving, and sometimes need to go where the bus is not an option. And at Christmas time, too!
The Grinch is on the prowl. Don’t let him win this one.
Kudos to president for his achievements
As we come to the final year of Barack Obama’s two terms as president, I wish to commend him on the following extraordinary accomplishments:
>> Obamacare: Finally, our nation stepped up to the plate in offering a national health insurance plan for its citizens, regardless of age or preexisting illness;
>> Restoring our economy: The recovery has been slow but steady, and now our nation’s unemployment rate has dropped to 5 percent;
>> Paris climate accord: This put our nation at the forefront of 196 nations in addressing the pressing reality of climate change;
>> Iran nuclear deal: Negotiation, rather than confrontation, a hallmark of Obama’s leadership, helped make this deal a reality;
>> Normalizing relationship with Cuba: Partnership with a close neighbor makes common sense.
And while Obama wasn’t a catalyst for same-sex marriage and lifting the ban on gays in the military, he encouraged openness and justice that made them possible.
Obama visit upside is prettier roadways
Like Gary Nitchman, I have often wondered why the president does not stay on the Marine base during his annual visit, as it would seem to make more sense for all the reasons stated (“Marine base ideal for Obama,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, Dec. 18).
However, I live near Aikahi Park on Kaneohe Bay Drive and can see the benefits of his stay off base. Grass along the roadway has been trimmed for the first time in months and one spot next to the canal has been cleaned up for the first time in years. Several other areas have been spruced up.
If we could just get him to drive down Kaneohe Bay Drive, maybe we could finally get that road overhauled. It’s a disgrace.
Knowing Arabic might help someday
It’s sad that parents reacted negatively to teaching Arabic calligraphy strokes at school (“Anger over calligraphy lesson freezes district,” Star-Advertiser, Dec. 19).
Some knowledge of written Arabic may save those children’s lives when they join our military forces. Oral and written Arabic are encountered by our military forces in the Middle East.
I entered the Korean and Vietnam theaters of war understanding only English. How nice it would have been to know some words and be able to read words that warn of danger without having to wait for an interpreter.
If it hasn’t already done so, the military could have veterans of the Mideast wars compile words and sentences they wanted to know when they were in that war. From there, prepare a foot-soldier-level class in oral and written Arabic that every military person must master, so they aren’t bewildered when entering that area. Non-coms and officers should self-learn at a higher level so they are not completely dependent on interpreters.
Some sidewalks could be bike lanes
As we head into 2016, I suggest Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the City Council convert the sidewalks along Ala Moana Boulevard into protected bike lanes.
This would make it easier to travel along this heavily used area without a car.
In the nine months I’ve been biking around town, I hardly ever see people walking on these sidewalks. They are almost deserted during morning and afternoon rush hours.
This would be a much better use of valuable real estate. And it would help make Honolulu healthier as more people would bike to and from work and school.