GET BUSY, DON!
In perusing the list of agenda items for the first County Council meeting of the year, there are quite a few interesting items being addressed by the new council.
Danny Mateo will be looking at the regulation of fireworks, Riki Hokama wants an audit of the Department of Water Supply and Public Works, Mike White wants more money for the Maui Visitors Bureau and Elle Cochran is establishing a crosswalk in South Maui.
Right on, Elle! Wait... Don Couch is supposed to be the South Maui representative, and yet he has nothing on the agenda. I guess it’s all show, no go with him. Get off the Couch, Don.
SYLVIA VIERRA, Via E-mail
MIKE WHITE AN MVB LOBBYIST?
I watched the first County Council meeting of the year last week to see what issues the new council would be working on right away. New Councilman Mike White, who is supposed to represent the Paia-Makawao-Haiku District, introduced a resolution to try and get more money for the Maui Visitors Bureau. He is asking to amend the current budget, not even waiting for the next budget!
What about all the work that goes into preparing and approving our county budget? There are a lot of organizations who receive money from the county. If there is more money available, every one of them should have the opportunity to submit a proposal.
A testifier said that he works as a general manager of a hotel — earning a six-figure salary plus a salary from the county — and is a director with the MVB. How many ways can you say conflict of interest? We need real representation, not a lobbyist for the Maui Visitors Bureau.
PATTI NISHIYAMA, Haiku
(The Lahaina resident with a similar name is Patty Nishiyama of Na Kupuna O Maui.)
FOIE GRAS MADE THROUGH CRUELTY
Hawaiians, get ready to show your compassion and please support the bill working its way through the state legislature right now to ban products made by painfully force-feeding ducks and geese. Please send a statement to your legislator in support of a ban on cruel foie gras.
The ASPCA says “… whether or not to consume animals, and animal products such as milk and eggs, is a personal and private determination that must be left to each individual. However, the ASPCA firmly believes that animals who are bred, raised and killed or harvested for human consumption, like all animals, are entitled to protection from distress and suffering during their lives and at the time of their deaths.”
In traditional force-feeding of water fowl, the birds are deprived of all of their simple needs such as water to stay clean, and they are fed through thick metal pipes jammed down their throats to force their livers to enlarge 12 times their natural size. This process can cause pain, ruptures and bleeding in the esophagus, liver disease and sometimes even death before they are slaughtered. Doctors and veterinarians recognize this as one of the cruelest forms of animal agriculture.
“Faux Gras” proves you need not force-feed to achieve similar results. Faux Foie Gras is produced in a few farms whereby the water fowl eat more or “gorge” on their own, one time in the fall, to partially enlarge their livers. On these farms, their livers are not diseased livers like in foie gras farms. These products are still considered by industry a comparable substitute, yet the product is made without the suffering and torture of force-feeding. You, as the consumer, can ask for faux (fake) foie gras instead. It’s much healthier for you as well as kinder to the birds. Another type of “Faux Gras” is handmade at four-star restaurants Spaggia and Tru. They have come up with substitute dishes that, in distinctly different ways, echo the rich, indulgent characteristics of foie gras.
Another example of brutal animal cruelty is shark finning. This appalling practice was banned in Hawaii last year. Let’s keep this positive momentum going and protect ducks and geese who suffer in the terrible foie gras industry.
There are many famous chefs and food retailers that have already taken foie gras off the menu, such as Wolfgang Puck, Spaggia, Tru Restaurant, Safeway, Costco, Whole Foods, Williams Sonoma Catalog and hundreds more. Let’s have Hawaii join numerous European Union countries and California in banning this cruel and unnecessary product.
HOPE BOHANEC, Grassroots Campaigns Director, In Defense of Animals
THE CALL OF THE ISLAND
During a South America cruise last year, the ship called at Ilhebela, Brazil. While munching on calamari and sipping Caipirinha in a seaside cafe there, memories of Maui flooded my mind. The small island port reminded me of Lahaina: swaying palms, sandy beaches and misty mountains.
At home in Colorado, I talked about moving to Hawaii and friends snorted something about avoiding winter. Not true; skiing was my passion since my days at the University of Colorado, Boulder. But Maui haunted me, and I decided there was no better time to move back to the islands.
My interest in Hawaii began on Dec. 7, 1941. The day after the attack, my father, an engineer at the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., was sent to Pearl Harbor to see why radar sets he shipped months earlier were not operational. He found them sitting, unopened, in crates on the dock.
Throughout my college days, my only images of Hawaii were “Hawaii Calls” and “Hawaii Five-O” shows. But at Christmas 1958, I took a Matson freighter to Honolulu, where my mother, widowed in 1943, had moved. I liked everything I saw and moved there a year later.
I worked in a print shop, where new friends introduced me to plate lunches, manapuas, malasadas and kim chee; then I took a job with the U.S. Customs Service.
I flew frequently for R&R to Lahaina, which was still a plantation town in the 1960s. The commuter planes landed in West Maui on a dirt runway, bordered by sugar cane fields. I stayed at the Pioneer Inn, where early century rooms had community bathrooms with buckets for bathing. In the 1960s, the rooms had private baths but no locks on the doors.
My favorite waterfront cafe was decorated with fish nets and glass floats, and mobiles of empty Spam and tuna fish cans dangled from the ceiling. Fishermen tossed lines out the windows and through holes in the floor, I watched waves washing shells and black coral onto the sand.
I hung out with some Vietnam veterans, who existed on monthly Army stipends. They camped in abandoned houses, slept on bare mattresses and cooked brownies in roach-filled ovens. Steps from the reminders of Lahaina’s whaling days and royal Hawaiian heritage, these men would gather beneath the banyan tree to talk story about their combat experiences.
For the next 40 years, I worked in Micronesia and in the States, but I visited Hawaii frequently. While cruising the world’s oceans, I saw islands as beautiful as Maui, but none that called my name.
On Sept. 22, 2010, I arrived at Lahaina by ship. When I stepped ashore, my heart skipped happily as the balmy air and scent of plumerias hit me.
Sure, Maui is famous for whales, surfing, sunsets, green valleys, Upcountry towns and all the essentials of urbane life. But in this Pacific crossroads exists a delightful mix of people, food, music, dance, culture and aloha.
I am fortunate to be able to live here. I get younger each day as I walk three minutes to the surf, taste the salty air and feel the sand between my toes.
The ancients said it: Maui no ka ‘oi.
JANET GO, Kihei