Your Views for Sept. 29


Parking lot angels

There are indeed some good Samaritans in Hilo.

I had an emergency at the Prince Kuhio Plaza parking lot a few weeks ago, and out of nowhere, two gentlemen appeared and offered to help. One called 911 and the other took off his T-shirt to wipe my bleeding.

A check-up at the emergency room showed everything in good order

I would have panicked without your help.

Mahalo and God bless both of you.

F. Higa

Mountain View

Wasting money

Fairly recently the county finished road repaving/resurfacing of near-perfect-condition pavement on Highway 11 at Panaewa and Kilauea Avenue near downtown, while numerous sections of roads around Hilo in horrendous condition, like Waianuenue Avenue near downtown, were left deteriorating.

I wondered if the county was simply burning money on “easy” repaving/resurfacing projects in order to preserve the current budget for next year, by selecting projects that would inflict the least amount of disruption and inconvenience to motorists, but I figured I was just being a bit cynical.

However, once again, the county has begun repaving/resurfacing an absolutely perfect stretch of Highway 11 on the Hilo side of its intersection with North/South Kulani Road.

Can you please explain why taxpayers are funding repaving/resurfacing of perfectly good roads?

Paul Rizzo

Olaa

Protecting industry

Regarding the GMO discussion, I sympathize with both sides. We need to protect the future health of agriculture on Hawaii Island by acknowledging our unique circumstances.

We are in the tropics.

Since the 1950s, we have gradually given up commodity agriculture. As people like Harold Tanouye realized, and College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources came around to supporting, export agriculture in Hawaii is profitable when it is specialized, at the head of the pack in innovation, and works to maintain its premium niche — coffee, orchids and macnuts.

We cannot compete in commodities because other tropical areas have lower labor costs.

Local produce sales have gradually migrated to farmer’s markets with direct relationships between producers and consumers based on mutual trust. As a small hobby farmer, I appreciate that CTAHR provides support for people like me because they know that the next products may start with us experimenters.

My cousins in Iowa who farm thousands of acres of corn report that, as RoundUp Ready genes have spread to weeds, their annual Roundup bill has gone from $5,000 to $35,000. I use Roundup to spot-spray the noxious weeds, to protect native forest as well as what I plant. I like that Roundup is effective in the small quantities I need.

I agree with the farmers who say we need to differentiate between what supports our local situation, while avoiding the downsides of global commodity agriculture, because for us there is no upside to be had there.

Bonnie Goodell

Volcano

Not an ‘expert’

Jeffrey Smith, whom your Sept. 24 article “Experts tackle GMO” called “the most authoritative GMO critic” to speak at the Sept. 23 Hawaii County Council meeting, is fairly universally discredited by scientists.

The independent, nonprofit organization Academics Review says: “The ‘scientific studies’ that Smith says support his theories are thoroughly contradicted by a vast body of data and scientific experience; they are wholly irresponsible. … Smith has shown an amazing capacity to ignore the scientific literature on almost every topic he discusses.”

Forbes, the New Yorker and others quote experts say the same. Discover magazine writes: “When the definitive history of the GMO debate is written, Jeffrey Smith is going to figure prominently in the section on pseudoscience.”

It is distressing to realize that we have a County Council member with such an agenda to ban biotech here on the Big Island as to invite this particular person as “expert,” thus ignoring science and completely disrespecting the intelligence of our people.

This is high-stakes stuff and we need to get serious.

If we ban GMOs on the Big Island, farmers on the other islands will have tools available to them that we don’t. Food prices on this island will go up, and eventually our farmers will be forced out of business altogether.

It would also mean an enormous step away from food security for this island. It would take us in the exact opposite direction of what we are trying to accomplish.

“‘So what’ if food costs rise for the rubbah slippah folks?” Is that the message from the County Council?

We’ve got to do better than this.

Richard Ha

Pepeekeo

 

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