Media Access In Emergencies

The HTA’s very misleading advisory (May 11, 2018)

In the recent editorial “Officials Need To Back Off When It Comes To Media Access To Hazardous Scenes,” I read the official statement from the Hawaii Tourism Authority: “Out of the island’s 4,028 square miles, only less than a 10-square-mile area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivisions in Puna is affected.”

This statement is blatantly false.

You can see the projected dispersion patterns for sulphur dioxide and other air pollutants on the VOG Measurement and Prediction maps at  The vog pattern is covering near half the island and at times sweeps up to involve much of the rest of the island.   

Halemaumau Crater was shooting clouds of ash into the sky Friday evening.

Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

As I write, my sinuses are congested and my throat is burning from the corrosive mixture of sulphur dioxide, sulphates and particulates I’m inhaling. Others have irritated eyes.

I’m discouraged from pursuing normal aerobic outdoor exercise for fear my lungs will burn for a few days. People with asthma are facing a serious challenge.

It disturbs me that the state officials are misleading tourists and others into believing things are better than they are here on the Big Island.  

— Dee Fulton, Holualoa

Lava In Puna

Ige acted on geothermal plant! Yay! (May 10, 2018)

Aloha my Big Island friends!

I am on Oahu but I want you to know that I am doing what I do best — advocating for you!

I have posted on Facebook, made calls to the state, county and civil defense encouraging them to override the PGV (Puna Geothermal Venture) negligence in not acting the moment the vents started spewing lava hundreds of feet in the air and  headed in their direction. 

I personally called the governor’s office several times to apprise him of the situation of the 60,000 gallons of explosive pentane that was still on their property!

Gov. Ige acted! He did it! He acted on behalf of the community! (“Ige Calls For Federal Disaster Declaration On Big Island.”)

After giving the PGV another opportunity to act (which they did not) our governor took charge and quickly and within hours moved the 60,000 gallons of highly explosive pentane that were still on the geothermal site off to a safer location at Shipman Industrial and away from the impending danger of a mega explosion.

I am in awe that he took charge and acted so quickly!

I am an environmental activist myself and want to thank him personally for his quick action.

Now, he did say there may be the need for a mass evacuation soon. I believe the time is now. And I already called his office today to suggest that it may time for another one of his actions!

— Beth Leeds, North Shore, Oahu

Aid In Dying

Montana’s compassion and choices (May 11, 2018)

Regarding “Letters: Aid In Dying In Big Sky Country” from Bradley Williams, medical aid in dying is indeed authorized in Montana as an option for terminally ill adults to peacefully end their suffering if it becomes unbearable.

Montana’s authorization provides protections to doctors, terminally ill adults and their families. The primary difference between the two states is that Hawaii’s recently enacted medical aid-in-dying law, the “Our Care, Our Choice Act,” specifies certain requirements that the Montana ruling left to the medical standard of care.

The Montana Supreme Court ruled in a lawsuit filed by Compassion & Choices, Baxter v Montana, that: There is thus no indication in the homicide statutes that physician aid in dying — in which a terminally ill patient elects and consents to taking possession of a quantity of medicine from a physician that, if he chooses to take it, will cause his own death — is against public policy.”

In fact, no prosecutor has ever charged a physician for providing this end-of-life care option since the ruling was issued eight-plus years ago. Opponents repeatedly try to overturn the court’s decision by introducing bills in every legislation session since the court issued the ruling to overturn it, but they have failed every time.

Kevin Díaz, National Director of Legal Advocacy, Compassion & Choices, Portland, Oregon

Talking About Homelessness

Asking tough but necessary questions (May 12, 2018)

I just read Neal Miller’s article about homelessness (“Neal Milner: Stop Talking About The Homeless As If They’re Not Like Us”). It addressed soul-searching questions we must ask ourselves and is a problem not easily solved.

I was raised in Honolulu, still have family there, “go home” once or twice a year but now live on the West Coast. I have experience with someone who lived in shelters, and we were unable to help despite trying.

I bought the book “The Gift of Underpants” and I know I’ll thoroughly enjoy it! We also had to care for parents from afar and it was not easy, logistically and emotionally.

Thank you for a great article!

— Chris Tanaka, Pleasant Hill, California

Write a letter to Civil Beat. Send to and put Letter in the subject line. 200 words max. You need to use your name and city and include a contact phone for verification purposes.