Letters 6-27-13

Testimony definitely opposes fish collecting

In late 2011, the Hawaii County Council passed a resolution urging state lawmakers and Department of Land and Natural Resources to end the aquarium trade. Six months later, a statewide poll showed the vast majority of Big Island residents want the trade ended. All the while, state employees continued to craft rules protecting the aquarium trade with the goal of maintaining their revenue at 99 percent instead of protecting Hawaii reefs and wildlife.

When the time came for public input on the rules, testimony started pouring in. The vast majority opposed the rules for the aquarium trade because they were far too lax to adequately address the issues. The state worker responsible for receiving testimony stepped out of bounds when he sent out an email blast urging support of the entire package that included rules for aquarium collecting, scuba spearfishing and other related issues. His message manipulated the public by stating that any opposition to any aspect would kill the entire package.

The boundary between misstep and corruption was soon clarified when that state employee reacted to opposition testimony received and contacted organizations that had alerted their members to speak up for Hawaii reefs. He urged them to change their position and support the aquarium trade rule. They didn’t, so he took charge. He dismissed as “comments only” 2,390 of those same opposition testimonies. He then concluded there was overwhelming support for the rules.

For the record, the testimony totals were: 2,590 oppose (554 from Hawaii) and 875 support (500 from Hawaii).

Rene Umberger

Director of For the Fishes

Kihei, Maui

Buying course would keep money here

We don’t use the parks, have no kids in school and the county doesn’t even maintain our road so none of our tax money should go to any of those things. I don’t use many of the things that the county provides. Maybe I shouldn’t pay any taxes and then there would be no problem at all. Pretty short-sighted thinking for those who say “I don’t play golf, so none of my tax money should go to a municipal course.”

Golf is not a game just for the idle rich, though it helps to be rich to pay the green’s fees at the private clubs. People from all walks of life, sex and age play golf. It’s good exercise if you are allowed to walk the course. The course itself is a nice greenbelt to break up all that lava, keawe and fountain grass. It’s also a jobs generator that will at least be partly paid for by the players instead of a big cash drain that a park is. The county might even make money on the course if the tourists are charged a competitive rate to the private courses to play. Last but not least, it would be nice to see some of the money that the westside generates in tax revenue stay on the west side.

I don’t play golf. It’s a stupid game chasing a little white ball around the grass and, more often, lava.

Peter Olgivie