Beware of bubble drivers
I bicycle for exercise and ride a small scooter for transportation all over West Maui. After riding both forms of transportation for thousands of miles, I've determined that some West Maui drivers are either criminally stupid, or that they truly believe a 50-foot bubble surrounds them where none of the Laws of Physics applies. It may be both.
I base this theory on the number of times motor vehicle drivers have pulled alongside of me when I'm riding either my bike or scooter and made a right turn into me. If I didn't have good situational awareness and slam on the brakes, I'd probably be stains on the roadway.
I've gone after a few of these bubble drivers and, when confronted, they either claim they didn't see me or are so, so sorry. I don't buy their excuse of not seeing me, as I try to be a fashion risk by wearing bright colors whenever I ride.
I've asked myself if it's just me that's a target, but then I remember the scooter rider that was cut off by a truck at Wahikuli Road. The scooter rider collided with a telephone pole and was dead on arrival.
The bubble drivers are probably lucky it's me going after them. All they'll get is either some flame-tinged obscenities or some wait time until the police arrive. Other riders may not be so kind.
I knew a motorcycle rider on the Mainland who always rode with his pet brick bungeed to the seat behind him. I saw him one day and noticed his pet brick was not along for the ride. I asked him where his pet was; he replied, "I lost him through the windshield of a Buick."
PETE FANARKISS, Lahaina
Veteran wants to talk to family
I am searching for an individual for my brother, who was in the Vietnam War. He was friends with Gary A. Nakaima from Lahaina. Gary died during this time, and he has wanted to talk to his family.
Gary's name has showed up in your "Honor our Soldiers on Memorial Day" editorials. Gary's father was Harry and in died in 1972 in Lahaina. We are hoping you may know the family. If so, can you please provide a name to firstname.lastname@example.org?
Malama Honolua on Earth Day
Earth Day is approaching, and there will be events around the island. We want to get the word out early that we will be working out at Honolua Bay in honor of the day. Meet at Honolua Stream Bridge at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 20, by the porta-potties. Coffee will be provided by Napili Coffee Store at 8:30 a.m.
There is plenty to do, from painting graffiti to filling a roll-off dumpster or just picking up trash. The event is sponsored by Save Honolua Coalition with assistance from Community Work Day Program, Aloha Waste and Maui Land & Pine.
Meanwhile, I have been holding my breath to see what happens with HB 1424, the House Bill that Angus McKelvey introduced encouraging the state to purchase the Honolua area in consultation with the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust.
Most federal funding has dried up, but there is still a chance we can get state funding. An appraisal has been ordered, and that is farther than we have gotten in the past negotiations.
If only Mayor Arakawa could see the light! The $13 million or so that he wants to spend on the Pali to Puamana Parkway came mostly from Maui Land & Pine projects and would be best spent on Lipoa, rather than his "pet project'" far removed from the area that generated the funds. I still have never heard any public outcry to "save the p2p." Anyway, hope to see you on April 20th.
LES POTTS, Napili
Partnership appreciates Skyline's donation
The West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership (WMMWP) would like to recognize and thank Skyline Eco-Adventures for their generous donation of $5,000. This gift will be of great help in supporting field activities like fence maintenance and invasive plant control, as well as in broadening our public outreach efforts.
This is the third year in a row that Skyline has donated to WMMWP, and we graciously thank them for their continued support of our mission to enhance and protect the watersheds of West Maui. Skyline's mission statement speaks to preserving the island's unique landscape, and true to form, beyond their monetary gifts, the staff have also assisted our crew with fence maintenance in the uplands of Kahoma in West Maui. This work has helped to ensure that the upland native forests remain free of destructive ungulates.
Towards our goal of engaging the local community in forest protection and care of our watersheds, we invite interested parties to visit our website, www.westmauiwatershed.org, or e-mail us at email@example.com. We look forward to many more years of service with Skyline Eco-Adventures and the greater Maui community. Many thanks again!
CHRIS BROSIUS, Program Manager, West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership
Congressional budget plans merely political theater
The Democratic and Republican Congressional budget plans proffered by House and Senate budget committee chairs must be viewed more as acts of political theater than serious fiscal roadmaps.
Even though symbolic votes have taken place, neither plan has a chance of passing the other chamber or becoming law.
Making moderate spending cuts while preserving key pro-growth investments in job creation, infrastructure, health care and education is critical.
However, getting the calculus right requires necessary balance and making a point to replicate what's already working. In many ways, this is the key to moving beyond symbolism and ideology in our governing process and enacting legislative proposals that the American people can rally behind.
Consider the example of Medicare, which will be a focal point in every budget debate for the next several years. There are ways to drive cost savings in Medicare while delivering high-quality health care for seniors and those with disabilities.
This has already been tested and proven under the newest major part of Medicare, the Part D drug benefit, which provides prescription drug coverage to millions of seniors and disabled Americans. It relies on private sector competition, has a 90 percent approval rating among seniors and is on track to cost more than $340 billion less during its first ten years than originally forecast.
Some proposals are focused on gutting Part D. While this often constitutes a talking point both in Washington and on the campaign trail, Republicans and Democrats would be wise to recognize the political value of sticking with what works in Medicare.
Turning it into a voucher system, despite significant savings over time, isn't the solution, as millions (especially those under 56) will be negatively impacted.
Baby Boomers already in retirement and those about to turn 65 are by most accounts paying closer attention as Medicare dominates political news cycles.
The same governing principle also applies to the need for comprehensive fiscal and budgetary reform, as well as an overhaul of the tax code to reduce rates and minimize or eliminate deductions.
All should happen in a balanced fashion, but Americans will reward those policymakers who address our nation's fiscal challenges head-on without going overboard and pursuing policies that will result in greater economic uncertainty.
This will be increasingly important as the job market continues to improve and the economy finds its footing.
In aggregate, the Democrats' vision presents a more practical approach to the country's future. But members should take into account the importance of striving for balance without disrupting what's already working.
For both parties, offering a sincere, realistic and innovative vision for how we drive cost savings will send a signal that Washington is serious about enacting common sense reforms. Five months into the new campaign cycle and with the economy beginning to turn around, this can't be discounted.