Your Views for September 13
Rates aren’t fair
HELCO submitted its power purchase agreement to the Public Utilities Commission for approval as docket 2012-0212.
HELCO is prepared to pay Hu Honua from 18 cents to 24 cents per kilowatt-hour. But wait, HELCO already has an agreement to pay Puna Geothermal Venture 9 cents per kilowatt hour.
How does this make sense? How do we benefit from paying Hu Honua’s biomass plant 2-3 times what is paid for geothermal power? Biomass will produce tons of pollutants that are known to produce serious health risks. We don’t have those pollutants now because Hu Honua is not in operation. Please, someone explain that to me.
I read with interest the article in Friday’s paper about the new sculpture at the University of Hawaii at Hilo (Tribune-Herald, Sept. 7).
I confess to being a non-artist, so the true value of this sculpture is elusive to me. But I do understand local economics and the commitment or lack thereof to supporting our local community.
The Big Island has many very talented artists. I know of several sculptors whose work is of the highest quality. I do not understand why a local artist wasn’t chosen. A New York artist was flown in to get a feel for Hawaii? Really?
How about artists who live and work here, let alone those who were born and raised here? Surely, their feel for Hawaii is deeper and truer than a New Yorker who was flown here and told to create something Hawaiian; $700,000 was shipped out of state by our local university, instead of investing it in our local economy and supporting local artists.
And there’s the community pride that a local artist’s sculpture would bring. Instead, we are once again told, “local isn’t good enough, we need to spend our money with mainland people.” This is an insult to our artist community and displays a tragic lack of understanding by the UH-Hilo Art Committee of the value of “Buy Local.”
‘Monstrosity’ at UHH
Each time I pass by the University of Hawaii at Hilo campus and view the eyesore of a monstrosity (work of art?) for which $700,000 of taxpayers’ money was spent, I reflect upon the various ways in which the funds could have been more effectively utilized: increases in faculty pay, scholarships for deserving art students, etc.
Was the previous chancellor (who accepted a $300,000 “golden parachute” when she left) responsible for the decision to make the purchase of this white elephant?
I certainly would like to meet with the project manager, Jonathan Johnson. In my back yard, I have created a “mobile” from automobile spare parts, rusted bed springs and driftwood, and would willingly accept far less than the $700,000 to have it taken off my hands.
Vernon G. Freitas
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