Letters 10-4-13


What’s missing from shutdown equation?

Correct me if I am wrong. The government is in partial shutdown. No one is happy about it (maybe some are). The House, the Senate and the president agree on 95 percent of the spending issues. The House sent an appropriation bill covering the 95 percent to the Senate for approval with the final 5 percent (Obamacare) to be worked out later. The Senate, rather than keeping all these Americans at work and stopping the shutdown,has refused to consider it.

To Harry Reid, it is all or nothing. Let America suffer until he gets his way. In the meantime the president blames the GOP. What am I not seeing?

Bob Green

Waikoloa

Shutdown impacts students’ education

Everyone is aware of the national park closure; however, I want everyone to be aware of the impact of this closure, not only to the tourist industry but also to educational plans made by teachers months ago. I am a teacher at Kua O Ka La Public Charter School, Hipuu Program and we were planning to take two groups of students to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Thursday and today.

Students have been preparing for this trip and we are continuing with this field trip. Students will be interviewing park officials at the gate both mornings about the closure and its impact.

Monica Pilimai Traub

Puna

Let’s get rid of obstructionists

I’m furious with “The Party of No” — the Republicans — for shutting down the government over Obamacare.

First of all, I like government services: national parks, highways, food inspectors, scientific research, etc.

I am also a small business owner whose family is going to greatly benefit from the Affordable Care Act with lower health care costs. I’m making a donation to those who are working to get rid of the obstructionists in Congress.

Lynn Beittel

Waimea

Why not open park to all free of charge?

Reading the West Hawaii Today Oct. 1 edition, I expected to see articles about the government shutdown. However, the bold heading “Gridlock could cost Hawaii” under the headline caught my eye. After reading the article and recalling another article in the Sept. 29 issue under the heading of “Volunteers help Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to eradicate invasive fountain grass” I became concerned. Then, my experience this evening in trying to deal with a federal agency got me alarmed and irate.

Let me explain. According to West Hawaii Today, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park closed its doors to visitors because of the government shutdown. Yet, the park superintendent saw the need to have the rangers report for duty to “begin turning people away at 7 a.m.” Keep in mind that a few days before, the same park representatives asked and received volunteer help from community members to eradicate invasive grasses. Today, a few days later, the park employees fail to reciprocate or are prohibited from volunteering.

Unless one has been asleep for the past 20 years, every resident of Hawaii Island, if not the state, should be aware of how important Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is to the tourist industry and local culture. If the park employees don’t want to work without being assured of getting paid, then why not just let everyone drive in and out of the park without paying the entry fee?

There was a time when the park was open to all free of charge and things worked fine. This situation stinks of an effort to “make sure the people feel the pain of the shutdown.” So much for the Aloha State and aloha spirit but then maybe there is a message here. The Hawaiian term “aloha” is comprised of two Hawaiian words — alo and ha. The term alo draws a picture of one person facing the other and the term ha explains that the confrontation is in the spirit of life and breath, a positive position. Upon hearing the expression aloha, the other person involved in this interaction has the option of responding with a like expression of aloha or if the feeling is not the same, the second person may raise his fist with the middle finger extended, turn and walk away. The second expression is what we seem to be getting from the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park superintendent when considering the effect this closure of the park will have on our economy, visitors and residents.

This evening, I got on my computer and contacted a federal agency that I volunteer with in regard to an upcoming meeting. Upon sending my message, I received an automated response that stated: Due to the lapse in appropriations, I am prohibited from conducting work as a federal employee, including returning phone calls and emails, until further notice.

This message was followed by: in case of emergency, etc., followed by the person’s name. In defense of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, they may have been ordered to “stand down.”

Is it possible that just as in the case of Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans were killed and the investigation it still not complete, orders come down from above forcing the underlings to behave in a structured manner void of aloha?

Leningrad Elarionoff

Waimea