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Your Views for December 15


HPP speed trap

Mahalo, state Sen. Russell Ruderman. I wish to thank you for seeking the lower speed limit in Hawaiian Paradise Park on Highway 130. I don’t know if you were involved in the speed limit reduction to 35 mph in the construction zone along Highway 130, but I am sure you must be in favor of it.

What we now have is a very dangerous highway. I have witnessed more accidents since the reduction of the limits and have experienced far more irritated drivers who get stuck behind a compliant driver. I also have seen many drivers take dangerous chances to pass the slower cars.

For your information, almost all drivers are in non-compliance, driving 55 mph to 60 mph in the 45 mph zone and 45 mph to 50 mph in the 35 mph construction zone. There appears to be total ignorance to the new posted speed limits.

What you have done, at least in the 45 mph zone and in the 35 mph zone, is to set up a speed trap area that has become very profitable for the court system and very frustrating for the people who drive this section of Highway 130. This is a form of fraud in that the speed limits have been set unrealistically below the speed that the majority drives, only to allow an unwarranted ticket that is a money maker for the government. Safety has not been improved; in fact the highway has become more dangerous.

With respect to the construction zone limit of 35 mph, why is it 35 mph 24 hours a day when the construction takes place only for eight hours midday, five days a week?

This backs up traffic during non-construction times and most all drivers will travel at 50 mph to 55 mph, causing unnecessary potential tickets that cost the taxpayers large sums of money, costly insurance increases, and lost time to handle the ticket. I guess just another example of a speed trap.

Kenji James

Pahoa

Hike minimum wage

Recent discussion of increasing the minimum wage to $10 per hour is very reasonable considering the minimum wage in other industrialized nations. Google “minimum wage worldwide” and you will be surprised at how far behind the U.S. minimum wage of $7.25 is.

In Australia, the minimum wage is greater than $15 per hour. When discussing this discrepancy with a friend, she remarked that the cost of living in Australia is much higher. Again, I used the Internet and determined that she was correct and the cost of living in Australia was in fact 150 percent higher than in the U.S. This reinforces that a $10 per hour minimum wage in the U.S would be totally appropriate.

Lynne Penek-Holden

Hilo

Beware new plants

The opinion expressed in the recent article, “Try these bulletproof plants,” might not be the right one for Hawaii. The butterfly bush pictured is likely to become an invasive plant in Hawaii and is already a serious pest in New Zealand and the West Coast of the U.S.

While on the mainland it may be helpful to select plants for cold and drought tolerance, here in Hawaii, especially East Hawaii, the more common problem seems to be garden plants doing TOO well and taking over far more of your yard than you were hoping.

A good example of this is plants in the family Melastomataceae. There are no native melastomes in Hawaii, so when these new plants arrived here, they flourished with no natural enemies. Miconia and medinilla were brought to Hawaii as ornamental plants and were probably a gardener’s delight until a few years had gone by and the original planter started to notice that their plants were now “beautifying” their neighbors’ lots and the gulch nearby.

The best thing a gardener can do in Hawaii is to make sure they are not unknowingly introducing a new pest to the islands. Check out the new website www.PlantPono.org for tips on what plants to grow and what plants to avoid. They choose plants based on their weed risk assessment score, which tells you how likely it is that a plant will become a problem.

Jimmy Parker

Hilo

 

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