Community must help people in need
For some reason, I feel that Lahaina has a huge "white elephant" in town, and no one wants to acknowledge it. Homelessness. It is ever-increasing in Lahaina. Since the demolition of wooded area across from Puamana Park up to Lahaina Aquatic Center and then the recent bulldozing of the lot by the Kahoma Canal, it appears that many of the homeless are very displaced. There were an estimated 300-500 people by Puamana, and I am not sure how many at Kahoma. Where did they all go?
Within the last two weeks, I have seen individuals begging for money outside a Lahaina supermarket regularly, open bottles of alcohol and drunkenness by a deli popular with locals and open marijuana smoking on the beaches where children play daily. Down the beach by Wayside Beach Park, there are homeless people sleeping in drainage ditches, on the beach in tents and in the parks, etc. There are groups (three-plus) sleeping on the beach at Breakwall and under the Banyan Tree.
This problem is definitely growing - and quickly.
So what do we do to help other human beings that might desire assistance but are often outcast or ignored? Some churches and organizations provide different resources such as food, meals, tents, etc. That is not enough. That is a temporary Band-Aid meeting some basic needs, not empowering to rehabilitate a person to improve the quality of his or her life.
I challenge the Lahaina community, Maui County, churches, businesses and other individuals to organize and outreach to those in need.
Do not "numb" away your conscience when you walk by. Some things we can do different: ask if they would like help to get off the streets; pray with them; ask if they want to call their family and use your phone; buy them a meal and talk to them about their situation to find out how you can help; if they want to go home, help them get there; link them to shelters.
Human services workers could organize and volunteer a couple hours a week to provide outreach doing all of the above and more. We have to do something. The police and emergency services are doing their best, but the community should help also. I pray that we can unite and show genuine aloha to others.
A'ohehananuikaalu'ia - no task is too big when done together.
JAHANNA NAGANUMA, Lahaina
Speak up for Olowalu!
Olowalu is an ecological gem that is home to an extensive aggregate coral reef that spans over 450 acres and supports a diversity of rare and precious sea life. This reef area is home to 24 species of coral, a thriving black-tip reef shark nursery and a manta ray cleaning station.
Nevertheless, Frampton & Ward LLC has proposed to replace Olowalu's natural charm with a 600-acre makai to mauka development of 1,500-plus housing units.
This development spells the beginning of the end for this unique and valuable reef. Erosion and sedimentation during the construction process will smother and kill corals. Once development is complete, runoff and pollution from oil and gasoline drippings on streets and driveways, as well as fertilizers and herbicides from yards and grassy areas, will further threaten reef health.
Developers claim they have "community support," but I'm convinced it's because many Olowalu lovers don't understand the size and scope of this massive project. I urge the Maui County Council to consider Maui's marine life in their decision about this development.
Development of the Olowalu ahupua'a is unwarranted and unnecessary, and instead of alleviating expansion needs, it will serve to augment overcrowding issues and undermine the very simplicity that makes Maui the island we all love. Beach access and traffic concerns aside, what is really at stake is the destruction of a precious coral reef, and the community, both on land and in the sea, that it supports.
Please make your voice heard; it's the only chance Olowalu's got.
LAUREN CAMPBELL, Conservation Manager, Pacific Whale Foundation
Don't lose friends over politics
It's a sad commentary on people's behavior at this time.
Families are fighting over this election. Lifelong friends have broken up for good. It's too bad there is enmity, sometimes for life.
But just think - after the election is over, politicians will be back to socializing with each other while you and your family have lost your friends.
ARSENE "BLACKIE" GADARIAN, Lahaina
New harbor could enhance Lahaina
It was with great interest that I read that Harbor Quest LLC has proposed plans for a new harbor near Mala Wharf. Although there are many hurdles to overcome, I believe in the end it would have a very positive impact on our community and would improve Lahaina's economy.
Plans for the new harbor are forward-thinking, creative and imaginative. Although several residents have expressed their concern about the construction of the harbor, I would like to see the various obstacles examined by professionals before making a definitive decision on the proposed project.
Lance Thomas from Harbor Quest wrote quite an informative letter to the editor, which appeared in the Sept. 13 Lahaina News. In my view, this is a visionary use of land that could enhance the entire community.
CAROL CAROLAN, Lahaina
Lingle is nonpartisan?
This letter is in regard to the recent political ad that is on television for Linda Lingle - the one that says at the end that she approves this message. First, she says that she is NONPARTISAN. Second, she says she DOES NOT TALK "STINK" about anyone. Now I don't know if it is because I am an old man, or if it's because I am not an educated person. In the latest ad, she says that she is voting for Mitt Romney and his policies. I don't think that makes her a NONPARTISAN candidate. The other thing is that she has made quite a few negative accusations about Mazie Hirono; isn't that "TALKING STINK" about her opponent? Please try and educate me on her ads, because to me, it seems like she is telling lies.
ROBERT P. POTTER, Lahaina
Restaurant will be missed
The West Maui Book Club will surely miss David Paul's Island Grill on Front Street. Its closing has brought to mind the many wonderful discussions our members have held in its private dining room and the fine service the restaurant staff provided us.
We were always treated with great care, often visited by the chef himself, lending our book night excursions a more comforting environment. We knew we were welcomed, and we knew David Paul cared.
Mahalo, David, for all you've done - not only for us but the community as well. Our fondest wish is that you will soon have your bistro up and running, and we can dine with you again.
ELAINE GALLANT. Lahaina, West Maui Book Club