Congressional Race

The issue of climate change

As a young voter and environmentalist, I really appreciate Civil Beat bringing up the important issue of climate change. U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was very thorough in her response (“Candidate Q&A,” July 9) and is taking the lead on an aggressive new energy policy to get our country completely off of fossil fuels in the next 15-20 years.

I was disappointed that Tulsi’s opponent only wrote two sentences on climate change and didn’t demonstrate that she has any ideas on how the U.S. can “control carbon emissions and slow climate change.” Isn’t her background and specialty supposed to be in green energy? Her response is weak and lacks the understanding of how urgent and important the climate crisis is and what she would do about it.

— Amanda Valenzona, Pahoa
Ending war

A vote for Sherry Campagna is a vote for endless regime change wars as America tries to recreate the world in our own image. Campagna states:

Inaction should not be an option for the United States as the country with the strongest military in the world. It is my opinion that without heeding this moral charge, we are doomed to repeat mistakes made during the times of Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot when faced with dictators such as Assad, Modi, and El Sisi.”

So Campagna would engage in regime change wars in India, Egypt, and Syria. And she’d have to target Iran and Saudi Arabia (she must know these countries jail and execute people for being gay). And of course North Korea and Russia (since she considers Russia a dictatorship).

Campagna’s penchant for regime change wars would mean endless death, destruction and chaos — as evidenced by our wars to overthrow Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi and Assad. But Campagna fails to mention the monetary cost — trillions of dollars spent destroying the world instead of rebuilding America–our infrastructure, healthcare system, education, etc.

Too bad Civil Beat, Star-Advertiser and Tulsi haters are trying to help Campagna get into Congress. It would be a disaster.

— Danielle Martinez, Hilo

Honolulu Rail Project

Puerto Rico a bad comparison

It is unfortunate that Marcel Honore got to Puerto Rico, talked to some rail passengers and then penned a story “What Honolulu Rail Planners Can Learn From Puerto Rico” (July 9). What lessons exactly?

The whole story is based on an anti-rail example. And the resulting “lessons” which are a longer line, more stops, bigger areas served, tourism hot spots, the airport, are part of the HART building project. A simple declarative sentence, “These are already part of the rail plan,” would suffice.

There is also the question of integrating bus and rail. Was this done in Puerto Rico? Wouldn’t this be easy to find out? Honolulu will reconfigure bus routes to feed into rail, hence the 40 percent ridership coming from the bus. The customer base for rail is current bus ridership.

Rail used something called the “Standard Public Transportation Model,” whose central premise is that population served by rail is 600,000 or above. Did Puerto Rico, or any of these other rail lines use it?

Which raises another question, how many people commute by car? Statistics from Puerto Rico indicate 40 percent of the workforce earn just the federal minimum wage.

Finally shouldn’t a reporter provide some context? “Ridership has been dismal since the train started in 2005.” Puerto Rico has been in an economic and budget crisis through most of that period, with massive cuts to pretty much every public service. Followed by a devastating hurricane, that collapsed the electric grid. It is actually newsworthy that rail is running at all. Might not a little query about the hurricane have been in order?

Indeed, given the parallels between Puerto Rico and Hawaii, wouldn’t some further on the scene coverage have been appropriate. Like did he stay in a hotel, with full services, and employment? How about the riders, any hurricane stories there?

— Lawrence W. Boyd, Honolulu

RIMPAC

War games are not aloha

RIMPAC 2018 carries the theme, “capable, adaptive, partners.” As explained, the navies from 25 countries will practice sharing chain of command while carrying out navy maneuvers. A Brazilian ship’s captain gives orders to a Japanese captain who will instruct a German captain and so on. The image is harmonious cooperation but would a ship’s captain, in a this-is-not-a-drill moment when safety of ship and crew are at stake, take orders from a foreign entity? What other motive is behind the U.S. Navy’s complicated, environmentally destructive, and costly exercise?

As with prior RIMPACs, this is again a weapons bazaar where weapons manufacturers demonstrate the lethality of their products to boost international sales. Out of the $700 billion plus Pentagon budget, $300 billion goes to war for profit corporations.

This and all prior RIMPACs are public relations extravaganzas purposed to normalize militarism and soften the image of war. Sixty percent of the federal government public relations budget goes to the military to sell fake patriotism to the American public. Militarism doesn’t defend the country. It conceals the military’s purpose to defend corporate interests globally.

This year’s RIMPAC command-sharing experiment characterizes the Pentagon’s “anti-access, anti-denial” policy aimed at isolating and encircling China. Hawaii, of all places, should not be host to a Might Makes Right diplomatic offensive. Rather, as the cultural and geographic piku of the Pacific ocean, Hawaii should be the place where all Pacific neighbor countries gather to aloha one another and mend their differences.

— Kip Goodwin, Wailua, Kauai

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