The protesters against the Thirty Meter Telescope took their case to the state Supreme Court (“Lawsuit over multi-county deployment of police on Mauna Kea goes before high court,” Star-Advertiser, Top News, July 23). They believe police officers from other islands have no right to intervene in the protest.
Hawaii could have a telescope on Mauna Kea (no light pollution) that might provide a view to the edge of the universe. However, these activists blocked the road despite the project having met the legal requirements. And, our elected officials didn’t enforce the law.
I liken this group to the current anti-vaxxers in that they believe they are absolutely correct and they will never negotiate.
It should be pointed out that both important scientific discoveries and vaccinated people pay a steep price for their intransigence.
Delisting Hawaiian stilt would be premature
The proposed downlisting of the Hawaiian stilt, or ae‘o, did not surprise me (“U.S. government opens comment period for proposed recategorizing of endangered Hawaiian bird,” Star- Advertiser, June 28).
More than 10 years ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff met with the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge manager and myself, then a refuge biologist, on the intention to downlist the stilts. I asked, Why not Hawaiian coots (there are more coots than stilts)? Their response: There was no PVA (population viability analysis) for the coots.
There hasn’t been a significant increasing stilt population trend. The proposal relies on a PVA that has key errors regarding Kealia Pond. Sea-level rise was not part of the PVA. A recent peer-reviewed University of Hawaii study said that roughly 29% of current potential Hawaiian waterbird nesting habitat is projected to be inundated by the year 2100. Why downlist now when the stilt recovery criteria cannot be met?
Limit size, frequency of indoor gatherings
The recent increases in COVID-19 cases to more than 200 per day is worse than a year ago. If we don’t act quickly, all the progress made on COVID-19 over the past six months will go down the drain.
The state Department of Health says the increase is due to the stronger delta variant, low vaccination rates and large indoor gatherings. Guidelines for indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and up to 100 people outdoors is much too high at this time.
We can’t control the strength of the variant, but we can get more people vaccinated and limit the size and frequency of indoor gatherings. Yet Mayor Rick Blangiardi said he’s not going back to a more-restrictive tier, even with higher COVID-19 numbers.
Shouldn’t our health and safety be the top priority, and the economy and making money second? Let’s all do this for each other.
Kupuna irritated that people won’t get vaccine
I’m a kupuna who eagerly waited for my turn to get vaccinated. Learning of recent triple-digit infections due to social gatherings of unvaccinated individuals irks me. Looking on the bright side of this madness, culling of stupidity will help with the gene pool.
Deficit-spending myths hold back progress
The United States government prints its own money. We are no longer on the gold standard. Therefore, the government’s budget is not constricted by the same fiscal policies as are our individual household budgets (e.g., we cannot spend more than we make or we will go bankrupt).
Our government can spend money on whatever it decides. For example, we continue to finance endless wars, we sent a man to the moon and we bailed out Wall Street.
The danger to governments that print their own money is runaway inflation. We do not have runaway inflation yet.
Let us stop spinning our wheels on issues like Medicare For All and the huge gap between the rich and poor. Imagine the benefits of a federal guaranteed jobs program that also guaranteed a living wage.
Deficit spending myths hold us back and mislead us into electing politicians who either cannot or will not act in our best interests.
DPP’s enforcement efforts slow, ineffective
City Councilman Tommy Waters’ stated purpose in introducing a bill strengthening enforcement of the housing code is to establish a “bright line rule” telling the city Department of Planning and Permitting what it “must” do to take enforcement action against owners of monster homes and vacation rentals that are in violation of the city housing code (“Bill to strengthen DPP enforcement advances at City Council,” Star-Advertiser, July 23). But the DPP already knows what it must do, but doesn’t do it. Is Waters merely writing a procedural manual for them?
The excuse they have is that in order to put a lien on a property and foreclose, they must first go to the office of Corporation Counsel. However, according to DPP Director Dean Uchida, the office is understaffed so “everything gets bogged down there.”
In what is a delaying action and an excuse for inaction, Uchida now proposes to go to the Legislature to allow the DPP to take nonjudicial enforcement action on its own.
Any bets on how that will work out? In the meantime, how many cases has he brought before the Corporation Counsel under the current system? I would bet not a single one.
Edward D. Lasky
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