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LETTERS for April 18 issue

April 18, 2013
Lahaina News

Bicycle riders must follow the rules, too

A bicycle rider complaining of drivers again? Like I've said before, "Police yourselves before complaining about drivers not giving you your freedom of the road." Running red lights and stop signs while using crosswalks is a prime example. Riding on sidewalks is another no-no. And what about going the wrong way on a street? I could continue, but I think everybody gets the idea.

Let's all do the right thing.

GORDON C. COCKETT, Lahaina

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Clean up your dog's waste

Attention Lahaina dog owners - the law does NOT say that you only need to pick up your dog's feces when there are witnesses. Lahainaluna Road sidewalk users must constantly navigate around the piles you leave behind.

These land mines can also be found at all West Side beaches and the parks. How would you like it if we relieved ourselves in your yard?

C'mon... PICK IT UP. IT'S THE LAW.

MARCUS B., Lahaina

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Deja vu for Maui recycling advocates

Maui's longtime recycling advocates are feeling like they have seen it all before. And they have. Mayor Alan Arakawa's plan to deal with Maui's solid waste issues is a dead ringer for a plan we first saw 25 years ago. As a matter of fact, it was prepared by the same Washington State Engineering/Consulting firm - Gershman, Brickner & Bratton (GB&B). This plan appears to have the support of Mayor Arakawa and some members of the County Council.

Originally retained during the tenure of Mayor Hannibal Tavares (1979-91), GB&B presented the mayor and County Council of that time with a solid recommendation for a Waste to Energy (WTE) program. Under this plan, the county would invest in a municipal solid waste incinerator, similar to HPOWER on Oahu.

Lip service was given to source reduction, reuse and recycling programs, but it was clear that, if implemented, the GB&B plan would leave Maui with no viable option to an expensive and environmentally questionable incinerator.

Fortunately, this plan was never implemented, because citizens interested in environmental progress asked some timely and provocative questions. From this came, eventually, a repudiation of the GB&B/ Tavares plan by the County Council.

Now, decades later, it is deja vu all over again, as we ask virtually the same questions

Mayor Arakawa, you said in your State of the County address that a Waste to Energy facility would pull out the recyclables first. What specific recyclables are you referring to? Metals? Paper? Plastic? Glass? Green waste? Or do you plan on burning some or all of these recyclables for energy? Are you going to incinerate all the yard trimmings and green waste for energy, and if so, what will the community do for compost?

Your proposed budget does not include expanding curbside recycling despite your saying, in your first State of the County address, that we should take curbside recycling countywide and that you would provide this service for our community. Why have you gone back on your promise?

You just announced you are planning to close the community drop box recycling sites. Will you still keep the HI5 redemption centers open for the community?

What experience do members of the Waste to Energy RFP committee have in reviewing WTE proposals, and who, specifically, is on that committee?

We respect the fact that the Arakawa administration has moved forward enough to develop a draft plan. We look forward to working to make sure the answers to the questions above will assure us and other Mauians that there is still no place for a municipal solid waste incinerator on Maui.

KAINOA HORCAJO, Maui Recycling Group President

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Futile military financing

One of the more regrettable things that Uncle Sam does with your tax dollars is sending $3.1 billion in military aid to Israel every year. He'll be doing that until 2018 - and probably after, unless Americans decide enough is enough.

When President Barack Obama traveled to Israel in March, he was keen to "reaffirm the unbreakable bond between our nations" and "to restate America's unwavering commitment to Israel's security." Over the years, Washington has displayed this resolve in several ways. One of the most consequential has been the continuous stream of taxpayer dollars that has kept Israel armed to the teeth and reduced the prospects for Middle East peace.

In the old days, a big chunk of the annual aid package for the Jewish state was economic. But since Israel became a fairly rich country by world standards - only 40 nations have more Gross Domestic Product per capita - its government worried that congressional support for this assistance would erode. So, in the mid-1990s, Benjamin Netanyahu, then also Israel's prime minister, struck a bargain with Washington whereby the economic aid would be phased out and replaced with more funds for guns.

Well over half of the $67.4 billion in military assistance to Israel since its inception in 1948 has been sent since 1997. In 2007, Netanyahu signed another pact guaranteeing (from 2009 forward) that virtually the entire yearly package is military. It's a sweet deal for both Israel and American arms manufacturers.

The cash grants are called Foreign Military Financing. By U.S. law, the recipient state must spend all of that money buying weapons made in the USA. Every beneficiary, that is, except for Israel - which by special dispensation can set aside 26 percent of this cash for its domestic weapons industry. The exemption has enabled the Jewish state to develop formidable armaments of its own - often on par with Western militaries - and to become a major arms exporter.

But there's plenty of loot left over for the American companies because of the sheer size of Israel's aid package, which, in 2012, comprised 60 percent of the Foreign Military Financing handed out worldwide. This corporate welfare makes the likes of Lockheed Martin huge supporters of the U.S.-Israeli alliance and sharpens their interest in seeing the Middle East at war, not at peace.

The goal of all this aid is to give Israel a "qualitative military edge" over any possible combination of Arab countries - a version of Reagan-era nostrums about "peace through strength." Yet since 1997, when the assistance began to skyrocket, Israel has reached no new peace agreement, either with Arab neighbors or the Palestinian people. It has built more settlements on Palestinian land rather than taking any steps to end its illegal occupation.

The constant flow of U.S. weapons and military aid encourages the more obstinate instincts in the Israeli establishment. It bolsters the ones counseling that Israel should remain a garrison state behind an "iron wall," so feared that it does not need to compromise with anyone.

Foreign Military Financing is one way in which the United States, far from an "honest broker" in the Middle East conflict, is an obstacle to peace. At the same time, the largesse is a source of tremendous leverage. Were Washington to signal that it might be cut off or reduced, Israel's strategic calculus would change dramatically. But that outcome is unlikely unless a critical mass of Americans demands that their tax dollars no longer bankroll Israeli policies of aggression and territorial conquest.

CHRIS TOENSING

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Thanks for making retreat special

Polanui, Moku'ula, Puamana, Pu'u Kukui, Wahikuli, Mauna Wahine; calcium carbonate, basalt, wai ne'e, hoku, ahupua'a, mahele, aumaukua, aki aki grass, olelo, hema, 'akau, hikina, komohana, ike, wai wai, Ho o nani, E ho mai, limu, "He ali'i ka 'aina, he kauwa ke kanaka"; Puanani Lindsey, Kalapana Kollars, Archie Kalepa, Ekolu Lindsey, Mark Hecht, Terry Weaver, Auntie Lahela Constantino, Kala Baybayan, Linda Nakagawa, Byron Washom... what do all these places, these words, these kumu have in common?

Sacred Hearts School eighth-graders had their annual Retreat on April 5-8 and were introduced to their community with energy that showed them (and the parents who were fortunate enough to attend) how fortunate we are to live in this sacred space.

The retreat was named "Sense of Place," and it became apparent the first evening during the "debriefing" that Archie led that this retreat has set the standard for all future SHS Eighth Grade Retreats.

My heart is full of thanks and humility for all who so willingly offered to help make this event special by sharing their knowledge.

As Byron Washom stated at the end on Sunday, "People like to drink passion." All of us were given many sips for the thirst we may not have known we even had for our 'aina.

MARY ANNA WALDROP, Eighth Grade Sacred, Hearts School teacher

 
 

 

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