As a lifelong sailor and two-time participant in the round-the-world Ocean Race in 2014-15 and 2017-18, I have seen firsthand how single-use and disposable plastics negatively impact our ocean’s health across the globe. Studies conclusively show that plastic waste is now evident not just in some of the most trafficked sea lanes in the world, but also some of the most remote spots on the planet.
In addition, 99% of plastics come from chemicals sourced by the fossil fuel industry. Experts estimate that in three decades under current levels, plastic production will account for 20% of the world’s oil consumption.
Throughout my decade as a professional sailor around the world, I have always been proud to represent my home state of Hawaii and emphasize our stewardship of the land and the sea. The passing of Bill 40, which would phase out the use of single-use plastic foodware and foamware, would be another positive step in doing our part as protectors of the ocean that surrounds our unique and beautiful island state.
City should subsidize elimination of plastics
The city government must subsidize businesses so they can make the switch to non-plastic packaging. Even with Bill 40 moving forward to a vote in the City Council, there is no solution to the fact that non-plastic packaging would create financial hardships for many businesses.
I am very much against plastic waste, but I draw the line at potential layoffs and my favorite small businesses going bankrupt due to an unreasonable law. Considering the people of Hawaii can see the effects of plastic waste firsthand, the government must take the extra step to prevent so much waste. The extra step is lending a helping hand to businesses in their switch to environmentally friendly packaging.
One of the largest motivators for businesses is money, so the City Council should use it as a tool to work toward a less-plastic future, instead of punishing small businesses without the financial means to make the switch on their own.
Rising housing prices sign of greed, not health
An article on housing in the Business section needs an additional perspective (“Housing market on Oahu ‘healthy’ last month with more sales,” Star-Advertiser, Nov. 7).
I have always considered the price of homes as a “healthy” economic gauge to be morally bankrupt. How is an expensive home healthy for a family struggling to survive on a minimum wage? Or, how is the sale of a multimillion-dollar luxury condo healthy?
Realtors and developers need to view the housing market through the moral lens of human need; fairness and equity rather than greed and wealth.
When our teachers and firefighters and nurses are forced to leave the islands because they can’t afford a home, we are living by a set of values that is neither sustainable nor livable.
It certainly isn’t moral.
Cruel to terminate Filipino vet program
President Donald Trump’s recent termination of an Obama administration program that allows immediate families of Filipino World War II veterans to join their aged parent in the U.S. while they are awaiting their visa approvals (which sometimes takes years) is another example of Trump’s pointed cruelty and disdain for all immigrants.
No doubt this is yet another manifestation of the influence of white supremacist Stephen Miller’s well- documented hatred for non-whites, regardless of the extent of their service to this country (something neither Miller nor Trump can claim).
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, who was instrumental in creating the program, stated that this cruel, unjustified termination “serve(s) the Trump Administration’s pathological need to treat immigrants as cruelly as possible, and to undo any program ever created by Barack Obama.”
It is particularly disturbing that some Trump enablers in Hawaii, some themselves immigrants and many others who have immigrant roots, continue to give cover to Trump by allowing dishonesty, bigotry and criminality to define and destroy the Office of the President.
Francis M. Nakamoto
Trump undermines checks and balances
I take exception to the idea that there is one reason many of us would like to oust the president, as Bert Oshiro said (“Democrats obsessed with ousting Trump,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, Nov. 22).
It isn’t just a matter of him being “above the law.” It is his total disregard for the Constitution of the United States. That incredible document has kept our nation free for more than 230 years. By creating the separation of powers among the judicial, executive and legislative branches of our government, it has ensured that no one person or group of persons can exert undue power or influence.
The president has the veto power, the judicial has the power to determine what is constitutional, and the legislative has oversight over the other two.
Somehow these distinctions have been lost as the executive branch has seized power that is not within the tenets of the Constitution. That is the crux of the issue. Without checks and balances, our nation could become a dictatorship. That is what Democrats fear most.
U.S. House wasting time, ignoring major issues
No wonder the U.S. House of Representatives has such a low approval rating. They are wasting their time and our money on nonsense instead of doing what is right for the country and what they are supposed to do. They are supposed to represent us, not their partisan agendas.
Why aren’t they approving the USMCA trade agreement that both Mexico and Canada approved nine months ago?
What about the opioid crisis and reining in exorbitant pharmaceutical drug prices?
Why aren’t they addressing our deteriorating infrastructure?
Why haven’t they resolved the very real — not manufactured — crisis at our southern border?
Their inaction, inefficiency and idiocy alone will cause another government shutdown.
They will oppose anything beneficial to the country if it is favorable to President Donald Trump.
J. Mark Webster