Entitlement programs out of control
It's a refreshing change to see someone that can speak common sense ("The grown-up approach to the Fiscal Cliff," Dec. 27 Letters). Spending needs to be balanced with taxes that are taken in by our government. Ron Paul stated in 2006 that we were headed for trouble, and all he received back was damnation from our folks in Washington, D.C. Our entitlement programs are out of control, and no one is held responsible. If we do not change the status quo, our government and country are headed for very serious economic consequences.
BOB PARIS, Lahaina
Thanks for returning my wallet on Christmas!
I would like to personally thank the nice person who found my wallet on Christmas Day and mailed it to me at the address on my driver's license. My next stop after the post office was the bank to cancel my credit cards. Such a frustrating feeling not knowing where your wallet is, and then to have it returned with all the cash, credit cards and personal identification is such a relief. Thank you very much, and I wish you the absolute best in this New Year.
Free concert a magical evening
I would like to thank the Lahaina Restoration Foundation for a really special event last Thursday evening. Kulewa, a very talented trio, entertained from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the porch of the historic Baldwin Home Museum in downtown Lahaina. It was a truly magical evening, with relaxed seating out on the front lawn under the trees. There were lots of people who heard the music, sat down and stayed to enjoy the soaring harmonies of Kulewa. Even the cars and trucks on Front Street were slowing down to listen and enjoy.
The music was made even better by Wainani, who danced beautiful hula. It was a low-key, free-of-charge event that reminded me of simpler, less-hurried times. Kulewa and Wainani shared true aloha with everyone and made us all feel lucky to be there.
This is a once-per-month event with different entertainers each month. I'm already looking forward to January.
CHRIS BRAYTON, Lahaina
Americans have a bad attitude
A book titled "The Ugly American" by Burdick & Lederer, printed in l958, will tell you why Americans generally are not well-liked in foreign countries.
I read it when it first came out and can't ever forget what it says. Basically, it's for the same reasons that some people "from someplace else" can't be accepted here in Hawaii or even more so on Maui.
They came here with an attitude that they are better than anyone here and won't pull their noses down out of the atmosphere. Those that have been able to get along pretty nicely.
GORDON C. COCKETT, Lahaina
Which bad habits should I give up?
Every New Year, I make resolutions to give up certain bad habits.
I have ignored every resolution I've made in my 91 years. I give up!
This year, my resolution is that I'm not giving up any bad habits. At my age, it won't make any difference in my life.
However, my wife Sara still has not-so-gentle suggestions about some bad habits I should change.
To keep peace in the family, I will make some resolutions and hope Sara forgets about them soon. I'll give up eating caviar and kim chee. I don't like caviar anyway, and Sara hates kim chee.
Do you have any suggestions?
ARSENE "BLACKIE" GADARIAN, Lahaina
Myths about the Pi'ilani Promenade
A recent letter to the editor in the Lahaina News (Dec. 27 issue) described a number of "myths" concerning the Pi'ilani Promenade Outlet and Retail Centers.
Let's take a look at them one by one:
Myth No. 1: The project is bad for local businesses. The truth is that Eclipse Development has met with local business owners, with the Maui Chamber of Commerce leadership and with the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce. In no case has any business organization made such an argument in any of the meetings held. In fact, the Maui Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the project, and it is anticipated that retailers now on Maui who are looking for a second location will find the Pi'ilani Promenade an excellent option.
Myth No. 2: The developer will open an alternative route for traffic in and out of South Maui. The truth is that no one has ever made that claim. Eclipse Development will build the first leg of the long-awaited Upcountry highway at no cost to the taxpayers and will follow all Department of Transportation requirements, including upgrading existing intersections on Pi'ilani Highway. It can be said that as a result of the developer's commitments, the state Department of Transportation is now speeding up the work needed to design and build the entire Upcountry highway.
Myth No. 3. The Pi'ilani Promenade is a mall and the wrong kind of job generation. The truth is that the Pi'ilani Promenade is not an enclosed mall. It is an open-air retail shopping center designed to be pedestrian-friendly with shops, restaurants, community event space and places where South Maui residents can meet - maybe have a coffee or tea and catch up on the day's events.
It is estimated that the Pi'ilani Promenade will generate approximately 200 construction jobs and ultimately 1,800 retail positions, from clerks to district managers - not to mention the increased property taxes that will help keep homeowner taxes low and pay for vital county and nonprofit services.
Myth No. 4. There has been a lack of transparency about the project. The truth is that the state Land Use Commission's decision and order, the proposed zoning by the Maui Planning Commission and the zoning decision by the Maui County Council were all public meetings, and comment was offered at all of them before any decisions were made. There was also a public meeting held in Kihei prior to the council's final zoning vote.
In every meeting, the potential for retail was discussed, and every official body considered and decided against any conditions limiting retail use of the land, in part because retail is an approved light industrial use under the Maui County Codes, and because the agencies wanted to let the marketplace decide the ultimate uses of the land.
The fact is that the Pi'ilani Promenade has met all county and state guidelines. It is supported by the Maui planning director and the mayor, and it's in conformity with the South Maui Community Plan and county zoning laws.
We are now into 2013. The original LUC decision was in 1995. It's time to move forward and get busy creating jobs and rebuilding our economy - an economy that is still struggling to recover from one of our worst economic crisis.
CHARLIE JENCKS, Eclipse Development Representative
Decorate Front Street during the holiday season
We all know Lahaina thrives on tourism, and the holidays make a huge impact on our community. I am concerned about the lack of organization and decorating on Front Street.
I know this may sound minor, but I truly believe it will make a HUGE difference. Right now, when people are walking Front Street, some businesses have chosen to decorate, and some have not. It looks mismatched and less than festive or welcoming. Not only is it not beautiful or fun, but it actually makes things look worse.
I firmly believe that if we had the entire Front Street "strip" decorated by a community organization as a whole, it would change all of the business sales and help us all out during this time. It is a proven fact that when people are in that "holly jolly generous and giving" time of year, they spend more. Walking down Front Street should feel like a magical world of joy and festivities. It should be a well-organized and beautifully coordinated place of lights and decorations.
In Chicago, every year the "Miracle Mile," North Michigan Avenue, is decorated to make that one strip of shops feel like a magical wonderland. Yes, it costs money to create it, but the benefits in return are worth it.
People spend more, they buy more, they tip more, they give more! We are missing out!
I work right here on Front Street and feel the lack of joy and excitement, because our little Front Street is not shining as it should.
NAME WITHHELD BY REQUEST
Support the Boo Boo Zoo
As a relatively new board member for East Maui Animal Refuge (EMAR), lovingly known as the Boo Boo Zoo, this letter is an appeal to the "animal lover" in all of us to help our furry and feathered friends that are unable to help themselves.
From EMAR's inception, Sylvan and Suzie Schwab, as well as countless volunteers and donors, have helped to provide a lifetime home for any animal taken into their care that cannot be adopted or returned to the wild.
After 30 years, EMAR's Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was revoked due to alleged deficiencies resulting in noncompliance with specific USFAW regulations.
In order to reapply for the permit, a yearlong renovation of the wildlife rehabilitation facility began, so that it would conform to the necessary requirements.
During this period, no visitors were permitted, so not only was a huge sum of money expended on renovations, but also donation income plummeted.
The good news is that EMAR has since been able to obtain an Exotic Animal Permit, which does allow the public to visit, thereby allowing ongoing educational programs.
While the details of the board's trials and tribulations in dealing with government agencies and general construction are too lengthy and involved to elaborate on here, please be aware that this has left the nonprofit financially devastated.
This is why our board was forced to restrict resources to only those animals that are presently under EMAR's care.
While this has been a painful decision, and we continue to struggle financially, our board is firmly behind EMAR's mission, which is to develop an "Educational Exhibition Facility" that will allow wildlife that cannot be returned into the wild to be utilized for educational purposes.
With public support, which is our primary source of funds, EMAR will be able to continue both Domestic and Wildlife Rescue Programs in perpetuity and continue our mission to provide homes for those animals that cannot be adopted or returned to the wild.
Only through your generosity will the Boo Boo Zoo be able to continue to love and care for our furry and feathered friends who have nowhere to turn.
To help insure EMAR's survival, please consider the following ways that you can help:
1) Make a donation in any amount to EMAR online at thebooboozoo@ gmail.com; through the mail to EMAR at 25 Maluaina Place, Haiku, HI 96708; or call 572-8308 and make a credit card donation over the phone.
2) Adopt an animal directly or by giving an automatic monthly donation, which is available through EMAR at www.booboozoo.org/Donate.html.
3) Do your shopping through the Amazon.com app on EMAR's website at www.booboozoo.com/.
4) Vote for the East Maui Animal Refuge at www.theanimalrescuesite.com/ as prompted on our web page.
5) If we have helped you in the past, or if you would like to share the story of your visit to the Boo Boo Zoo, please e-mail it to us for use on our website and on Facebook.
6) If you own or have inherited stock, property or other valued assets, you can donate it to us and receive a tax deduction by calling us at (808) 572-8308.
7) If you are looking for a class project or want to do a car wash, take up a collection or hold a bake sale that will benefit the Boo Boo Zoo, please let us know and we will post it on our website and on Facebook.
My wish for the New Year is that our community continues to be richly blessed by those who care for animals who cannot care for themselves, as well those who care for one another through their loving acts of kindness.
JO ANNE JOHNSON WINER