Letters To The Editor
March 19, 2008 - MidWeek
This is in response to Susan Page’s column “The Problem with Banning Plastic.”
We should demand that we have a statewide recycling program, citywide curbside recycling pickup and more public education. If people know the ramifications of their actions, they will want to do the right thing.
Sometimes it takes legislation to get corporations or people to do the right thing. Many resisted using seat belts until a $92 fine encouraged them to do something that might save their life.
Free enterprise and the entrepreneurial spirit will make the market correction - if given a little push. In the 1970s and ‘80s, leaded paint and gasoline were phased out, but we can still paint our houses and drive our cars.
Scientists, inventors and businesses stepped in to solve a problem and find a better way ... and still make a profit. If you were a bag manufacturer or a grocery store owner, wouldn’t you switch to the more-responsible packaging material now that you know the difference? Some would, even though their costs would be higher.
Researchers first saw the correlation of leaded paint and gasoline and developmentally delayed children in the 1940s, two generations before it was banned! Cigarette ads were banned from TV in 1971, 20 years after TIME magazine reported a study linking cigarette smoking with lung cancer.
Why the delay? Corporations with “vested interest.”
The bill in question did not propose banning all plastics. Many important products just can’t be made out of paper or even recycled plastic at this time. We have alternatives to plastic grocery bags. Why not save our petroleum for those products we do not have alternative raw materials for? Why don’t we encourage new industries that will mine our garbage heaps or recycling bins for the raw material for new long-cycle products (construction lumber, drainage pipes and culverts, roadway gutters, bicycle racks)?
Let’s use our plastic (and petroleum products) wisely.
While this probably will have little impact on adjusting Bob Jones’ personal perspective of the job Gov. Linda Lingle has done, and will continue to do over the next three years, I would like to briefly describe the key reasons Hawaii residents value, respect and appreciate the work she is doing as their governor.
Mr. Jones has ignored the long list of accomplishments by the Lingle Administration. And his comment about “photo ops” could not be farther from reality. This governor will NOT have a news conference or send out a news release that is not important to the people of Hawaii. She is not one to cut a ribbon, shake hands just to be seen or call the media to get her name and face on TV or in the paper.
Here’s a little refresher of what Gov. Lingle has accomplished since the gloomy days of 2002.
Reforming the state’s procurement code and revising the “nonbid” selection process to break the bond between non-bid contracts and campaign donations; developing solutions to the state’s homeless crisis which have provided safe shelter and services to more than 2,100 people and helped close to 1,000 people successfully transition into housing; implementing fiscal discipline that resulted in turning a $250 million deficit in 2002 into a $574 million surplus by the end of 2005.
Reducing fees to save Hawaii businesses more than $20 million; convincing lawmakers to lower the taxable wage base for unemployment insurance payments, which will save $151 million over the next three years; fostering a strong economy and business environment that has created 71,800 new jobs since December 2002; fulfilling the state’s commitment to Native Hawaiians by awarding 2,200 leases in the last five years compared to 5,800 in the department’s 80-year history; upgrading the state’s long-neglected infrastructure, including a 12-year, $2.3 billion Airports Modernization Plan and a six-year, $842 million Harbors Modernization Plan; implementing the first major reconstruction and improvements to the 69 state parks since the State Parks system was created more than 40 years ago; revising and adopting administrative rules for animal quarantine that reduce the burden on pets and their owners, while still protecting the state from the introduction of rabies. Under the new rules passed in June 2003, nearly 85 percent of all animals arriving from the mainland are released directly at the airport.
This is certainly not a comprehensive list of all the far-reaching accomplishments under Gov. Lingle’s leadership that are help- ing to improve the quality of life for Hawai’i residents.
Lenny Klompus, Senior Adviser-Communications,
Office of the Governor
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