AIKANE X5 SHOULD HAVE LEFT WITH STORM COMING
As I read in disbelief how Norm Bezane turned absolute boat owner's negligence into a hero's tale, I was left dumbfounded. The Aikane X5, like all other charter boats in Kaanapali, should have been comfortably tucked away on Lanai well ahead of this storm.
The Kona was predicted for days, and Aikane X5 was the only boat left in Kaanapali the morning it was wrecked. Why was this boat, and its owners, smarter than all the rest? The answer is, they weren't. Mr. Bezane mentions the captain boarded the vessel on Feb. 7 to get her out of harm's way. Again, all the other responsible boat owners did that, but they did it the day before.
The next time you decide to turn a nuisance into a hero's tale, do it objectively and get the facts straight. Also, you could have asked Capt. Killer how many other boats have been lost under his stewardship, as this was certainly not the first.
BILLY JACOBS, Lahaina
PROPOSED BILL WOULD CAUSE FINANCIAL HARDSHIP
Proposed Bill 1707 "Requires any nonresident owner who operates a transient accommodation located in the nonresident owner's private residence, including an apartment, unit, or townhouse, to employ a property manager approved by the real estate commission."
We purchased a small condo in Kihei almost two years ago, a lifelong dream of ours. We love our family time on Maui, and when we're not using it, we rent it out. We employ a management company to handle any emergency situations, but we look after everything else ourselves. Because we do most of the work ourselves, we're able to keep our rental rates low, which in turn allows many people who would otherwise not be able to afford a trip to Hawaii to come here and contribute to the economy.
We put our blood, sweat and tears into renovating a derelict unit into a beautiful vacation home for all to enjoy. We pay our taxes in full and on time.
If this bill is passed, we will be forced to sell our dream and take our tax dollars elsewhere. Many new buyers considering a second home or income property will not purchase one, since they will not be permitted to self-manage.
They will invest in other markets. Increased fees will cause us to have to raise our rental rates and will have a negative impact on tourism - and an adverse effect on owners, resulting in more properties on the market, driving down real estate prices even further.
The existing tax laws need to be enforced. This bill unfairly targets law-abiding, taxpaying owners and discourages investment in the Hawaiian economy.
I love Maui... I hope we can stay!
KAREN RAYMOND, Calgary, Canada
CHARTER COMMISSION ERRED ON ELECTION REFORM
The Maui County Charter Commission convenes only every ten years. Their mandate is immensely important for the functioning of our county government. The current commission has been a huge disappointment, bordering on malfeasance. Thousands of county residents have voiced their displeasure at the method for selecting our council members. However, these 11 non-elected people chose to block voters from being able to decide for themselves whether or not to change our current system from an at-large to a much more democratic and fairer district system. Nevertheless, they have the audacity to place on the ballot a proposal to lengthen the terms council members serve from the current two to four years, claiming the voters should choose whether to make this change!
No initiative has ever successfully made it to the ballot. Yet this same incompetent commission has blocked lowering the threshold to allow citizens the ability to propose and vote on amendments, ordinances or to change the County Charter. Our elected County Council, self-serving equal to anything Tammany Hall, Huey Long or Chicago machines had ever done, has blocked every attempt by members of the community to place amendments on the ballot or for them to propose lowering the threshold needed to get a measure on the ballot. Now, in lockstep with the council, appointed by our current mayoral administration, this commission is supporting the control a few connected residents have on the operation of our government. Since most incumbents get reelected year after year, because of the political machines they build up, the vast amounts of money they collect, plus name recognition, if this proposal gets passed, we will have limited even more so citizens who will serve in our county government. Their argument is that the people elected cannot learn their job in the two years they currently serve. However, state legislators, plus members of the United States Congress, serve two-year terms and seem not to have this problem. Maybe we need to elect a higher quality of individual to serve on our County Council.
Additionally, the Charter Commission proposes other, insignificant changes, then has the gall to claim that they will limit the number of proposals on the ballot in November, because the voters are too stupid to read about and study the various amendments, and they do not want to clutter the ballot! What are they talking about?! The insult to the voters and residents by the Charter Commission is unacceptable, and they owe an immediate apology to our community.
POLICE SHOULD ENFORCE TRAFFIC LAWS HERE, TOO
In The Maui News on Feb. 18, I read - pleasantly surprised - that recently in the South Maui/Kihei area, the following happened: police issued 263 tickets for LOUD MUFFLERS, and 284 citations were issued for safety concerns like RUNNING RED LIGHTS and SPEEDING.
Similar action was taken a few weeks ago in Central Maui. So, I called the Lahaina Police Station and asked, "Is something similar planned for West Maui?" The officer on duty was hemming and hawing and said, "I really don't know at this time; I would have to check." That was on Feb. 18.
So I ask again, WHAT ABOUT WEST MAUI? Are the Lahaina Police sleeping, or are we just last in the pecking order?
JOHN BLAHUTA, Lahaina
MOVE THE LUAKINI BUS TERMINAL
(The following letter was sent to Mayor Alan Arakawa, county Transportation Director Jo Anne Johnson-Winer and West Maui County Councilwoman Elle Cochran.)
Last year, a group of citizens living on Luakini Street in Lahaina asked the county to move the bus terminal located in front of their homes.
After many meetings and hearings, we are still stuck with the terminal. In fact, reversing the direction of the one-way street has resulted in more negative impacts on surrounding neighborhoods, spreading to Prison, Wainee and Dickinson streets.
Three (or more) large buses do not belong on these narrow streets, sometimes driving over sidewalks to make the turns and endangering school children and pedestrians.
At the latest "informal" hearing to discuss "potential transit hub relocation options," there was abundant testimony that urgent action is needed.
A proposal was brought forward to relocate the terminal to Lahaina Cannery Mall. This could be done immediately, with a minimum of expense. This location is ideal for the future as well, connecting with the bypass.
It is not necessary to spend money for studies about locations that would not work in Lahaina.
Take action now. Move the bus terminal from Luakini Street.
ARSENE "BLACKIE" GADARIAN, Lahaina
LEAVE HONOLUA ALONE
Blaine Casil and Michael Doan, eighth-graders at Sacred Hearts School, two kids 13-14 years of age, have to tell us grown ups what's right. And, as said: "The superior man seeks what is right; the inferior one, what is profitable." - Confucius
We, the grown ups, ought to be ashamed.
Do not touch Honolua, the one little sacred ground left.
Where does all the greed stop?
Can money really buy everything?
Is that not a social ostentatiousness, dilapidated value of virtues? The fetid of money? It's the harbinger of Maui's total natural destruction.
Never let that happen! Have a ukase over Honolua Bay, citizens of Maui!
DR. GEORG WOODMAN, Taiwan/Kihei
DON'T LET MONEY CLOUD YOUR JUDGMENT
I want to thank Maui Land and Pine and Save Honolua Coalition for saving magnificent Honolua Bay. Thank you, Maui Land and Pine, for not developing the beautiful landscape of Lipoa Point. I understand that the choice made in 2007 was difficult - to choose between money or what was better for the local community.
We, all of us in Hawaii, visitors and locals, must malama our land. It is our duty to teach others how to cherish the 'aina. We cannot let dollar bills block our judgment from what is right. I will do whatever I can do to help keep Honolua alive.
I know I'm thankful for something, especially when I lose it.
ELIZABETH JAMES, Seventh-grader, Sacred Hearts School
PRESERVE SACRED HONOLUA BAY
Honolua Bay is one of the few spots on Maui where people can go to enjoy the beautiful beach, the tranquil sunsets and the wilderness of Maui without a hotel flung in their faces.
Honolua produces some of the best waves in the world; it is also one of the most wonderful snorkeling spots on Maui. Because of these reasons, it attracts surfers, visitors and locals to watch, surf or swim.
We must preserve this sacred place, so that people won't just take advantage of it by not cleaning up their mess or by having it developed. We, the local community, can keep the bay clean, safe and for the use of all if it not privately owned.
KIERAN CLARK, Eighth-grader, Sacred Hearts School