CONFESSIONS OF A THIRD WORLD RESIDENT
Dear Editor, May 7, 2018
I live on Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands; a place blessed with some great weather and people who live together peacefully and with purpose. I am not a grouch by nature having been a Peace Corp Volunteer in my earlier days in a real Third World country. In fact I continue to pride myself as being a positive person but recently I feel like I am a Third World resident.
Before I expose my frustrations about my government and community leaders let me praise my government (city/county or state). Yesterday I went to take a hike up Makapu’u Lighthouse with visitors. As I began my walk I immediately noticed that someone had recently paved the entire walkway; making this popular family walking trail smooth, safe and very tourist friendly. Gone were the endless broken pavement patches with multiple deep holes perfect for tripping up unsuspecting mothers, fathers, family members or visitors. In place of that mess I found a widened walking path with clear cement borders, numerous repaired stone markers and plenty of benches for sitting while viewing a truly magnificent Hawaiian Islands vista.
That is the good part. The disheartening part of my visit was the recognition that while making real improvements to the trail the project planners failed to provide at least one portable toilet at the start of the trail and at least one portable toilet at the top end of the trail. Since this popular trail is visited by literally thousands of persons each week the failure to plan for sanitation facilities at both ends of the trail is inexcusable; demonstrating more than a Third World mentality in a state that prides itself as “paradise.” If my community was paradise my faith tells me there would be a toilet somewhere nearby. And even if my community was only “Third Worldish” such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia or along Cuba’s many roadway rest stops I have visited there was (would be) some type of toilet complete with a guardian providing a few squares of toilet paper for a nickel or a dime; a price I always found infinitely fair when truly necessary. And please don’t argue about the cleanliness of these facilities because these sites were a proverbial port in a storm at those times and that was sufficient for me.
Simply stated our government and tourist officials have yet to realize that thousands of pathway users in an isolated part of Oahu do indeed deserve sanitation facilities to enhance their “visitor experience” before and after a several hour walk up this tourist destination.
And in case my government attempts to suggest that the rental of a simple portable toilet is too expensive or that my government has no skill in designing and building a more permanent composting toilets, let me remind them that Oahu is currently filled with hundreds of former Peace Corps Volunteers who personally organized and constructed composting toilets throughout communities much more remote than the bottom and top of Macapu’u Lighthouse Trail. (For example in jungles and on real mountaintops hauling in materials on the backs of mules and donkeys and using truly unskilled labor) .
So any suggestion of my government’s inability to perform in this instance need not be considered more than a few moments before being completely rejected.
To my mind the above example of Oahu’s “sanitation deficit disorder” can be placed alongside a similar example centered in Downtown Oahu which subjects thousands of residents and tourists to search endlessly for a public toilet along the Fort Street mall before realizing they need to pretend to buy something in the nearby Wal-Mart (probably the home of Oahu’s most overused toilet facilities).
So here is my question to the my governor, mayor and tourist authority officials on Oahu. What kind of person in authority would subject thousands of persons to live in a less than third world environment day after day without even trying to find simple solutions to our community sanitation difficulties? How about a governor, mayor or tourist authority official who is simply “full of beans.”
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Dermatologists: Ige Should Veto Sunscreen Ban
To the editor: May 4, 2018
In Hawaii, the death rate from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is already 30 percent higher than the national average.
The American Academy of Dermatology Association is concerned that Hawaiians’ risk of developing skin cancer will increase due to potential new state legislation that would restrict access to sunscreens with ingredients necessary for essential broad-spectrum coverage.
Sunscreen remains a safe, effective form of sun protection. While we are asking Gov. Ige not to sign this legislation, if it passes, we encourage Hawaiians to choose sunscreens with ingredients that are still available, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Contact a board-certified dermatologist with any questions.
Although there are many safe and effective sunscreen products on the market, the AADA continues to support the introduction of new sunscreen ingredients in the United States to provide consumers with the best possible protection.
Suzanne M. Olbricht, MD, FAAD
President, American Academy of Dermatology Association
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Iwasa: Rail Costs behind Caldwell Budget Cuts
Open Letter to Residents and Taxpayers of Oahu
Aloha! May 2, 2018
You may be aware I am running for Honolulu City Council District 4. I’ve been active in the community for about 15 years and have testified at city council for about as long. I decided to run, because I believe we must improve the way government is run and our tax dollars are spent.
Several key issues facing Honolulu residents and taxpayers are interrelated – homelessness, affordable housing, infrastructure and rail. As we’ve seen over the past month or so, rail has started impacting city services and these key issues. Recent budget amendments include:
- Slashing the Department of Land Management to only two people. The department manages the city’s affordable rentals program as well as all city-owned land. At the current level of funding, the department cannot meet its mandated responsibilities under the city charter;
- Cutting millions from the Department of Environmental Services, including wastewater treatment and disposal costs for maintenance programs;
- Cutting the Department of Information Technology’s equipment budget in half. The director testified that the equipment is needed in order to avoid shut down of the city’s entire communications system.
We have been told these cuts were necessary in order to be able to meet FTA requirements to include $44 million (two years) of operating costs for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART) in the city budget. Out of HART’s ~$22 million operating budget, a mere $446,000 was cut, and those funds are likely to be restored during the next budget committee meeting.
In addition, if the full $44 million is included in the operating budget, it would needlessly tie up the $22 million that is for next fiscal year.
The city has options other than cutting these important areas. For example, amounts for FICA, a payroll tax, are routinely over-budgeted. In addition, our entire real property tax system should be reviewed and updated to be fairer and more efficient and to make sure all taxpayers are paying what they should. As a CPA and certified fraud examiner, I have the skill and experience to analyze the numbers and make smart decisions about them.
These are some of the concerns I have, but I’d like to hear what’s on your mind. Please share your thoughts below or visit www.NatalieIwasa.com.
Hawaii Kai, Oahu
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Clean Nuclear Power for Hawaii
Dear Editor, May 1, 2018
In the Sunday (4/29) morning paper there was a very interesting item that reports Russia has built a small modular reactor (SMR) on a barge and is taking it to the far East to energize a base. I advocated SMRs for Hawaii and our nation over 10 years ago in a speech to a energy summit in Washington, DC. I also have met with Military leaders to advocate SMRs for base and energy security here in Hawaii.
With a SMR excess capacity-during non-peak demand hours (night) the reactor at no additional cost can produce energy to desalinate water and eliminate fossil fuel cars by replacing them with clean affordable nuclear generated electric cars. SMRs in Hawaii and in our country can overcome the degradation of our environment by the collection and use of fossil fuels. Remember more people have died in one coal mine mine accident that in the history of nuclear energy in America. For over fifty years Honolulu has had probably the largest number of Reactors in the nation. This is because of nuclear submarines in Harbor. Several SMR barges could revolutionize energy generation in Hawaii. Let’s put clean safe nuclear energy to work for Hawaii.
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Mother’s Day Umbilical Cord
Dear Editor, May 1, 2018
Today, curious children will ask their mothers about the day they were born. Some will be amazed to learn that they possibly helped to save a life from their first day on Earth—because their mother donated umbilical cord blood. On Mother’s Day, we honor the mothers who donated their baby’s cord blood, bringing hope to thousands of patients.
Blood cells from the umbilical cord hold special, potentially lifesaving properties that can be a cure for patients suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, or other life-threatening blood cancers. Unfortunately, the umbilical cord and its contents are routinely thrown out as medical waste.
Meanwhile, thousands of people who are battling blood cancers go without a cure. Many die. A cord blood transplant may be their best—or only—hope.
There is a great need for more people to donate cord blood, especially in minority communities where there are fewer donors.Hawai‘i is unique from the rest of the country with a high proportion of our population being of Asian, Pacific Islander, and mixed ethnicity. As a result, finding matching donors is an increasingly difficult challenge and cord blood donations become all the more vital as an additional resource for patients of multiracial ethnicity in Hawai‘i and elsewhere in the country.
Too few mothers know about this safe, simple option. As an OB/GYN, I encourage all my patients to donate their cord blood. Cord blood donation has no effect on labor, delivery, the baby or mom, and donors pay nothing. The chance that your cord blood could potentially save a life is well worth the effort.
Donated cord blood that meets the requirements can be listed on the Be The Match Registry® and made available to anyone who needs a cord blood transplant.
Expectant mothers can learn more by visiting BeTheMatch.org/cord or contacting the Hawai‘i Cord Blood Bank at 808-983-2265 or www.hcbb.org for more information. Please donate your cord blood and give the gift of life a second time!
Happy Mother’s Day to all!
Simon Chang, MD