Imperiled In Puna

The state and county are inconsistent in what they allow (May 22, 2018)

Life in the Punaverse had been pretty good until this rift eruption (“Letters: Life In The ‘Punaverse’”). Relatively low land cost and close access to all needs in Keaau and Hilo.

It’s questionable whether settlement should have been allowed, given the history at Royal Gardens and Kalapana. And does anyone remember when the state denied zoning for a high-end settlement over on the Milolii side of Mauna Loa, claiming it would be in the path of any Kona-side eruption of that volcano?

So why OK Leilani and others on the Kilauea side? And Puna Geothermal Venture? They are in the high-risk rift zone. The Milolii proposal was not.

Fissure 16 shooting lava into the air in lower Puna. Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Was that all about campaign money? Only Harold Matsumoto, former state planning director under Gov. John Waihee (and John, too), knows. Ask them. Please!

Our media keeps reporting on the immediate problems of shelter, insurance and health. That’s understandable.

But when this “immediate” subsides, I hope Civil Beat and others look into the history of these subdivisions.

If private insurance companies felt that area was too risky to insure, why did the state and the county feel otherwise?

— Bob Jones, Honolulu

More On Harry Kim’s Remark

Don’t be so edgy about skin color (May 21, 2018)

Give Harry Kim a break. So he said “colored man,” big deal. Kindly close your politically correct handbook and relax.  (“Chad Blair: Harry Kim Shouldn’t Get A Pass On Racist Comment”).

True, some words are derogatory, but it depends on who says them, and to whom. There’s a world of difference between a redneck cop in L.A. saying, “That colored man!” and a jovial mayor in Hawaii saying, “That colored man.” One is prejudice, the other is friendship. It’s in the spirit of saying the word, not the word itself.

If some white people weren’t so jumpy and insecure about black people, a simple phrase about color wouldn’t faze them. The fact some Caucasians get uptight at a harmless remark shows they are edgy about race, uncomfortable around black people — that is racism. They jump at the word “colored” or “black” because they emphasize the importance of a person’s skin color. They have a thing about it.

When you have a thing about someone’s skin color, whether standing up for them or putting them down, you are a racist.

Skin color is nothing. If you make any kind of a deal about race, you are racist. Look at a person as a human being and you won’t notice his skin, only his smile. If you’re free of prejudice you don’t worry about words of color, they won’t come out because color ain’t there, brudda. But if they do come out, it’s harmless fun.

Harry Kim is free of prejudice, he saw only a friend. He joked about color, it was natural and meant nothing, he might have just as well said “That man with a funny shirt.” Harry is not prejudiced. For him, color words have nothing behind them but aloha.

Only the knee-jerk liberals are snapping away at his harmless greeting. They’re racist, that’s why. Black people don’t need white people standing up for them, they know how to take things. They can speak for themselves.

I have a friend, David, in town. He’s a colored person, I think, but when we get together we’re joking so much I don’t notice his skin color. Maybe he is black, I’ll have to ask him sometime.

— Dennis Gregory, Kailua-Kona

Feral Cats

Killing stray felines is not the answer (May 23, 2018)

The Hawaii Legislature’s failure to pass a bill authorizing Trap-Neuter-Return for community cats was a missed opportunity, not a step to be congratulated, as PETA did in its April 6 letter to Civil Beat (“Cats Are The World’s Deadliest Invasive Species). TNR is the only humane and effective approach for community cats and sound public policy. It ends the breeding cycle and stabilizes the population, while reducing shelter intake, “euthanasia” and calls to animal control.

This saves taxpayer dollars. Thousands of communities use this mainstream approach, and the number is growing because of its success.

Any serious discussion about protecting native wildlife should start with the true threats. Leading biologists, climate scientists and environmental experts say climate change and habitat destruction are the most serious causes of species loss.

The author of the April 6 letter is on record as saying it’s kinder to kill feral cats than release them. “Helping” cats by killing them is absurd.

Cats lived outside for thousands of years before we welcomed them into our homes. We must accept that they’re part of our environment. The best approach to community cats is TNR, and we encourage Hawaii’s Legislature to revisit this bill in its next session.

— Becky Robinson, president and founder, Alley Cat Allies, Bethesda, Maryland

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