Letters to the editor: 12-02-18

Military training too harmful

Please say no to an increased military presence on Big Island coastlines!

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Read the assessment on the www.navfac.navy.mil website.

Send comments by email to NFPAC-Receive@navy.mil, or by mail to: Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific, Attention: Project Manager, EV21.JZ, 258 Makalapa Drive, Ste. 100 Pearl Harbor, HI 96860-3134.

I have lived here for 64 years. When I was little, there was asphalt and barbed wire on Hapuna Beach from recently ended military activity. I have also seen the decline of fish and coral. Now I hear the whale sightings are reduced by 80 percent this year. This is exactly the wrong time to increase any stressful activity along our coasts. This proposal also lines up almost exactly with our whale sanctuary – not OK.

I want to address the wording in the assessment: “effect but not adversely effect,” a phrase that is used repeatedly as they describe their expected impact. On the contrary, the existing effect of the military already “adversely” affects the experience of any living thing in the area. The noise and air quality in and around Kawaihae Harbor are horrible whenever the military is conducting operations.

I recommended that for now the “no change” option (see assessment) be adopted, because of the effect on both human and ocean life, and the presence of cultural sites up and down the coast. I would hope the military will reduce rather than increase its presence here, and stay with places already damaged and certainly not a whale sanctuary.

Please note that this is not an issue of patriotism or politics, which must be addressed separately. I do not question the need for training, but I do believe that we must not forget that these pristine and unique spots are not replaceable and are or should be part of what we are protecting.

Jane Taylor

Waimea

Defining vulnerable

Saturday’s edition of West Hawaii Today contained a front page article about a gross miscarriage of justice — Jody Buddemeyer was given probation after having been found guilty of only a misdemeanor for running over and killing a bicyclist, Jeffrey Surnow, leaving the scene of an accident, making a false report, and failing to render aid to the victim.

I do not believe the lenient sentence was the judge’s fault. If the victim, Mr. Surnow, had been a pedestrian instead of a cyclist, presumably the jury would have found Mr. Buddemeyer guilty of a felony instead of just a misdemeanor.

According to a previous story in WHT, the jury found Mr. Buddemeyer was not guilty of a felony because his bicycle, which he brought with him on vacation from Michigan, was not licensed and somehow, therefore, he was not considered a “vulnerable person” under the law. A much more just result would seem to be if Mr. Surnow had gotten a citation for not having a license on his bike, and that Mr. Buddemeyer had been found guilty of a felony with a much more appropriate sentence.

To our government leaders, can you please change the law regarding who is a “vulnerable person.” To bicyclists, in the meantime, perhaps you should license your bikes.

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Bob Smith

Kailua-Kona