CIVIL UNIONS A MATTER OF RIGHTS
Last Monday’s papers featured front page articles about a large rally at the State Capitol Building in Honolulu and in Wailuku on last Sunday afternoon to oppose passage of HB 444, a bill which would provide a means for legal recognition and equal rights for Hawaii’s gay and lesbian citizens in committed relationships. The rallies were sponsored by an entity called Hawaii Family Forum, an organization largely funded by several religious denominations.
While we respect the theological views of others, we note that many people of various faiths hold differing views and support HB 444. At its 2009 Annual Convention held in October, the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii voted to support and work for passage of a civil unions bill as a matter of civil rights and equal justice. The Episcopal Church values diversity and allows people to form their own opinions on such matters. When opponents of civil unions at that convention demanded a vote by orders (clergy and lay), more than 80 percent of the clergy and almost 75 percent of the laity voted in favor of supporting civil unions.
We believe that this vote taken by representatives elected by all the parishes to represent them at the convention following reasoned debate may more accurately reflect the views of Hawaii’s people than a mass rally where many attendees were reportedly bused directly from church services.
At the hearings held in 2009 on civil unions in the Senate and House, the major opposition to providing for civil unions was based almost entirely on either irrational fears or sectarian religious beliefs. We believe it is the State Legislature’s duty to consider laws protecting equal civil rights on the basis of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii and reason, and not mob pressure or the particular religious beliefs of any denomination or church.
THE VESTRY OF HOLY INNOCENTS EPISCOPAL CHURCH, LAHAINA,
REV. WILLIAM ALBINGER, DIANE DELOS REYES, NANCY SHERMAN, JACKIE KELLY, MARC ORGISH, SCOTT McCOY, PENNY WAKIDA, DONNA TARSITANO, CHRIS GALE
WORKING TOGETHER FOR THE BENEFIT OF MAUI
Maui County faces major budget cuts this year and in the coming years.
In 2009, most of the county department budgets were cut by 10 percent. We need to know how these departments were managed. What efficiency habits were developed? How were the “Three Rs” (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) utilized? What was done successfully that we can apply?
Recently, the county saved money by closing down its Recycling and Redemption Center in Lahaina. Two local businesses have successfully filled that service — one in Lahaina and one in Napili. Likewise, family run businesses can replace services that the county cannot afford to operate.
And we can be inspired by those who have learned to do more with less. For example, the Lavender Farm grows one farm plant and uses it to make 50 different products, from food to fragrances to lotions to health products. It is possible for an enterprising business to make many similar products with aloe vera, a succulent plant used to heal burns and skin irritations.
Maui’s coffee farms are producing excellent beans that are being made into different blends. More markets can be explored for exportation of their specialty coffees.
Papaya, lilikoi, star fruit, mango, lemon and banana trees grow in back yards and along the highway. The fruit that is not eaten can be collected and taken to the Maui Food Bank and soup kitchens locally run by church groups and the Salvation Army.
I would like to see community gardens countywide, so that healthy food can be produced and no one goes hungry.
EVE CLUTE, Lahaina
HELP STOP POLLUTION
What is pollution? Stinky stuff? Muck? Poison? Yes, pollution is all these things and more. Pollution is all around us. It can be in the air we breathe, the food we eat and in the water we drink. It is a cause that must be stopped. Pollution makes people, animals and even plants sick — it may even kill them. There’s no place left on this planet with no pollution — not in the bottom of the sea or high in the air.
Pollution in Hawaii is caused by the burning of fossil fuels (coal, gasoline, etc.). It is the single largest source of air pollutants in Hawaii. These fuels cause smog, acid rain, soot and some heavy metal contaminates. Fossil fuels are widely used for heating, transportation, electrical generating, manufacturing and other industries.
Various measures can be taken to make fossil fuel both clean and efficient, but this comes at a cost. Until then, the present fossil fuel burning methods will continue to be a problem in the future.
Another source of pollution in Hawaii is Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island, which emits about 2,000 tons of sulfur dioxide gas each day during periods of sustained eruption. Sulfur dioxide is a poisonous gas that irritates the skin and the tissues and mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, mouth and throat. But pollution is not only a problem in Hawaii — it is happening everywhere globally.
First, pollution destroys our natural resources. Did you know that 40 percent of America’s rivers and 46 percent of America’s lakes are too polluted for swimming, fishing or aquatic life? Some 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage water, storm water and industrial waste are discharged into U.S. waters annually. This means that the ocean could be polluted with this dirty water, and you could be swimming in it or eating the seafood from it.
Polluted drinking water is a problem for half the world’s population. Each year there are about 250 million cases of water-based diseases resulting in 5,000,000 to 10,000,000 deaths. Now that’s a lot of people!
Second, pollution causes health risks that sometimes may make you ill, but it also can be too much and kill you. Large hog farms are a problem. They emit hydrogen sulfide — a gas that most often causes flu-like symptoms in humans. But at high concentrations, it can lead to brain damage. U.S. factories spew 2 million tons of toxic chemicals in the air, land and water each year. Vehicle exhaust contributes roughly 60 percent of all carbon monoxide emissions nationwide and up to 95 percent in cities.
Third, all of the garbage and rubbish will build up in time, and there will be no place left for all of it. This will happen, because every year one American produces 3,285 pounds of hazardous waste. Over 80 percent of items in landfills can be recycled... but aren’t. Americans generate 30 billion foam cups, 22 million tires and 1.8 billion disposable diapers.
Americans, I have three things to say to this: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
The opposition says that pollution is caused by people who don’t recycle. Yes, that’s one answer to the problem, but it’s not that hard to recycle. Many people do, and it’s not the biggest cause of pollution. Some say that plastic bags are the problem — they pollute our lands. It is another problem, but it is a already a work in progress.
As you can see, pollution can be stopped. But in order to stop it, we need to work together and act now before it becomes worse.
In conclusion, readers, I want you to start recycling bottles, cans, paper, cardboard — whatever you can. Also, walk, ride the bus, a bike or even carpool as a way of transportation. Throw away your trash in trash cans, since that is what they are for!
Another thing, and this goes for those who dump their waste in their waters: STOP! Find a place to dump your waste that is safe for humans, animals and the environment. Remember the “Three Rs” — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle — because these are just the little things we can do to save our planet.
MEILANI GALACE, Lahaina
GOVERNMENT MUST STOP 'BANKSTERS'
The only people who recovered from the financial meltdown are the people who caused the financial crisis: banksters. Not gangsters, nor bankers, but “banksters!”
Naomi Klein’s book, “The Shock Doctrine,” has a premise that you shock a body of citizens, pretend to help, but rob them! The financial free-fall was manmade! This created the fear needed to present the Tarp Bill, which was supposed to fix the problem, but in actuality, was robbing us blind.
The banksters lobbied (legalized bribery) to prevent the government from criminalizing this highway robbery! The Glass Steagall Act that deregulated banks was repealed in 1999, and the Commodities Future Modernization Act of 2000 allowed the banks to trade their crooked insurance in secret and except them from all supervisory authority. Slot machines in Reno had more oversight!
On Sept. 23, 2008, Goldman Sachs’ CEO Greg Paulson, appointed by George W. Bush, said, “If you impose any kind of punitive damages, this program will not work.” Goldman Sachs profited $12 billion last year. This is precisely the amount of money given to them from our tax dollars.
This problem is shared by all Americans. We should demand restitution. Let us get rid of corporate lobbying!
I agree with Florida’s Alan Grayson, who is demanding an audit of the FED, and with Peter Welch from Vermont, who proposed a 50 percent tax on bonuses of $50,000 and over, and with Peter DeFazio, who is trying to bring back Glass Steagall. Too big to fail is too big to succeed!
JUSTIN HUGHEY, Lahaina
A REPUBLIC OF FOOLS
“The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the presidency. It will be easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails us. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.”
RON BOUDREAUX, Lahaina