Letters 5-7-13


Staff change

Loss of editor affects everyone

A newspaper without an editor is no better than the pennysaver.

I want to add my opinions to the other letters written recently. I am equally as upset and disheartened by the news that Reed Flickinger, editor of West Hawaii Today for more than 30 years, was “laid off.” Reed was the heart and the “conscience” of this newspaper and to me, more important than the publisher.

Even if you didn’t always agree with his opinions or methods, he was willing to listen to both sides and take other people’s opinions into consideration. He always wrote very intelligent and well thought-out editorials and worked hard to have his reporters write about issues of concern to the community. He was always available to whoever walked in and wanted to talk about issues with him. I respected the man very much.

This is just the icing on the cake as to the way this newspaper has changed in the last 10 years and how it is becoming obvious that printed newspapers will become a thing of the past. I too have decided that I am canceling my subscription of over 15 years.

I feel sorry for the loyal employees left to try and do the work of so many others who have been “let go,” and who work hard to try and still put out a quality paper, even when it feels like management doesn’t care about them.

B. Cushman

Kailua-Kona

HOTI extension

What has changed since last year?

April 26, Tom Kapp and I flew to Honolulu to present oral testimony before the Board of Land and Natural Resources. We were there to oppose another time extension request by Hawaii Oceanic Technology Inc. for its proposed tuna farm. The farm is a huge project that would be located a few miles north of Kawaihae harbor in Class AA waters. We presented several arguments against the extension, two of which are described here.

First, in January, 2012, HOTI requested that it be granted time extensions for commencement and completion of its project. Even though the application was filed late, it was accepted by BLNR. While the BLNR staff supported the request, it took the unusual step of recommending that HOTI not be granted any further extensions. Staff and/or the board must have had some serious concerns about the project. Perhaps they were mindful of the volume of written testimony overwhelmingly opposed to open ocean aquaculture on the Big Island. The board voted unanimously to grant an extension subject to the unprecedented condition.

Fast forward to April 2013. Despite BLNR’s decision, HOTI submits a request for another extension, and, amazingly, staff supports it. We pointed out that the BLNR had already unanimously ruled no more extensions. What has changed since last year, we ask? The question goes unanswered. Even more surprising, during the board’s public discussion and its open consultation with staff, not one person could remember anything about last year’s very unusual decision. Six intelligent board members and competent support personnel suffered total amnesia. BLNR unanimously approved another extension. What happened to account for this collective loss of memory?

Second, in addition to our testimony stating that Big Island residents were overwhelmingly opposed to open ocean aquaculture, BLNR had received numerous emails regarding the extension request: 98 percent of those emails were in opposition. Over the past two years, more than 1,700 Big Island residents have signed petitions against open ocean aquaculture. They have come to appreciate the very great risk large-scale, open-ocean aquaculture poses to wild fish populations, coral reefs, overall water quality and, by extension, our local fishing and tourism industries. Where is the logic in locating an industrial project in pristine waters alongside a whale sanctuary, a project that will dump thousands of pounds of untreated fecal matter into the ocean every day. Please invest a little time and discover what this industry has done to the coastal waters of British Columbia, Norway, Chile and elsewhere. The sad truth is open ocean aquaculture has yet to solve the problems of escapement, overfeeding, parasitic and disease transference to wild fish, nitrogenous waste (fatal to coral) and predator attraction. If you don’t like what you learn, and don’t want to see it happen here, protest to your elected representatives. The BLNR has turned a deaf ear to the people of Hawaii Island.

Carl Bernhardt

North Kohala