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Letters to the Editor: 9-5-17

Updated: 
September 5, 2017 - 12:05am

They did it again

Well, the state Legislature has done it again. They’ve passed a law that very few of their constituents wanted. After all, with a permanently fixed rate of only $104 million per year for the “neighbor islands,” even if the annual TAT revenue on all those islands doubles, that extra money will always go to Oahu. Sounds more than just a bit fishy to me and to most voters. Is this constitutionally a legal idea? I didn’t think discrimination was allowed in any form. And did our legislators from this island listen to the voters? Most of them did, but a few just voted against their constituents and maybe for someone else who they might wish to impress for future political favors. Who knows? Maybe all of us should go to the PAR lectures coming up soon at several local libraries and find out how we can fight back against something that seems patently illegal.

Carol Buck

Waimea

Indifference, lack of serious thinking about water issues exposed

I was delighted to read Max Dible’s Aug. 29 coverage of the Water Board’s idea to think about maybe getting around to doing something about our water crisis someday.

How many of us knew about the American Water Works Association, a national nonprofit association of water providers, which offers technical expertise and puts out recommended minimum operational standards? The Hawaii County Water Board sees no need to adhere and doesn’t even know if it meets or fails those standards. Our board thinks operational audits on an “as needed basis” is fine, as opposed to the AWWA recommendation of annual audits, presumably independent of the utility itself. Leaving it to a company to decide when it needs to be audited means never expecting a meaningful audit. Ever.

Dible’s article exposes a breathtaking indifference and lack of serious thinking about the water issues confronting us. It seems to be the poster child for the Peter Principle run amok, a tendency in organizations for employees to rise in the hierarchy through promotion until they reach the levels of their respective incompetence.

The apparent public indifference to this chaos is distressing, so I was delighted to see the Aug. 30 letters from Yvonne Martin and James McGowan, to which I am pleased to add my meager two cents. Maybe as time drags on with no useful action, more of us will become more engaged in the issue. But with no leadership or direction, it is hard to know what we can do. Would that there were a public official willing to come forward and lead a reasoned charge. Maybe then a 25 percent cutback in water use would be met with a set of deadlines for Water Department executives to fix the problem or be terminated. Maybe the Mayor’s Office, which appoints the Water Board, could be pressed to demand timely solutions or terminate the appointments and get new members of the board.

And in this writer’s humble opinion, no one who is ignorant of industry standards and believes in self-audit, not on a regular basis but only when they think it might be a good idea, should serve in a position of authority in a business, particularly one crucial to public health and safety.

Arne Werchick

Kailua-Kona

Consider new food options this school year

With the new school year upon us, parents turn their attention to clothes, supplies and food. Yes, school food. More than 31 million children rely on school meals for their daily nutrition, which too often consists of highly processed food laden with saturated fat. Not surprisingly, one-third of our children have become overweight or obese. Their early dietary flaws become lifelong addictions, raising their risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

To compound the problem, the Trump administration has loosened Obama’s 2010 school lunch rules calling for whole grains, fat-free milk and reduced salt content. The rules had an 86 percent approval rating. Fortunately, many U.S. school districts now offer vegetarian options. More than 120 schools, including the entire school districts of Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Oakland, Philadelphia, and San Diego have implemented Meatless Monday.

As parents, we need to involve our own children and school cafeteria managers in promoting healthy, plant-based foods in our local schools. Entering “vegan options in schools” in a search engine provides lots of useful resources.

Washi Hamada

Kailua Kona

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