Decline in tourism
Here we are, folks. The politicians have been tooting their horns about tourism, our No. 1 industry. Well, the most recent figures indicate that the tourist visits have decreased by over 10 percent. The airlines have announced that they will be reducing seat capacity, and the county government has raised taxes on a myriad of things that will impact vacation costs.
I wonder why tourism is down.
Support Bill 79
Bill 79 is historic. It’s an opportunity to make a pro-active choice for the future direction of agriculture on Hawaii Island. To support Bill 79 is to prohibit future GMO food crops and big agro-chemical corporate interests like Monsanto from controlling and dominating agriculture in our county. Bill 79 supports a policy of aloha ‘aina. It opens up possibilities for Hawaii County to prosper as a GMO-free food crop area.
To support Bill 79 is to make a choice for the precautionary principle when dealing with our food supply and people’s health and safety. The unintended consequences of GMO may be irreparable and far reaching. Once the GMO genie is out of the bottle, it can’t be put back. Supporting Bill 79 is the pono thing to do for people, plants and animals, for the land, for the water, for the air, for future generations and the Earth itself.
The future of farming is not oil/chemical, monocrop, industrial-based, profit-driven, GMO agribusiness. It is small-scale organic, a return to nature with complete respect for the natural processes and the environment. It’s about reverence for, and interdependence with, all other species. This is the big picture toward Hawaii’s self-sufficiency. Bill 79 is an important step in the right direction.
The case for pot
John Burnett’s article, “Inside the marijuana bunker” (Tribune-Herald, July 20,) gave us a picture of what large-scale cannabis growing is like. Some may be shocked.
Nevertheless, today an operation like the bunker is completely legal, taxed and regulated in many medical marijuana states such as California and in Colorado, where it is legal. And, if it were legal to do so here, it is certain that Linda Stallings would have applied for the permits to grow cannabis in her bunker.
But in Hawaii it carries a possible 20-year prison sentence. Is this Texas or Florida? Is this not Hawaii, a state that relatively tolerates pakalolo? Has pot prohibition worked here or anywhere on the mainland?
And for medical cannabis patients, the situation becomes more desperate by the year. With over 11,000 statewide patients, nearly half live on the Big Island. Where do we obtain our medicine? Undoubtedly, some of the “medicinal grade” product being grown in the “bunker” was being purchased by patients. Where will they go now?
Pot prohibition, draconian laws and strict enforcement have created exactly the mess we are currently in. The bunker is an excellent example. How many billions are spent each year with eradication (i.e. Green Harvest) and incarceration, with no success?
Let’s be honest, the demand for cannabis either medicinally or recreationally will never go away. We have spent a taxpayer’s fortune trying to control it with police, courts and prisons, for nothing.
Legal cannabis will mellow the island of its alcohol, meth and opioid addictions. Grown under strict state and county supervision, and sold in licensed stores and dispensaries, the product will not get into the hands of our youth. It would represent an increase in desperately needed tax dollars. Police will be able to use its resources to fight serious and violent crime.
Let’s stop this charade, save a lot of money and increase tax revenue at the same time. Legislators wake up! It’s a win-win situation.
Excuses, not solutions
I’m deeply troubled by responses of the councilors who averted furloughs.
Every one gave excuses, and not one offered a solution to the $7,755 budget overrun, like offering to sign up. Karen Eoff, Gregor Ilagan, Dru Kanuha, Zendo Kern, Valerie Poindexter and Margaret Wille showed how they deal with problems, and I hope they are not re-elected.