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LETTERS for December 31 issue

December 31, 2015
Lahaina News

Council bill would undermine community plans

During the Maui Island Plan process, we were told that detailed land use decisions should be made during the community plan process. Now the County Council is entertaining a bill to undermine our community plans?

Amending the county code as proposed allows zoning laws, some of which are more outdated than community plans, to supersede community wishes.

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Councilmembers aren't above the law, and state law trumps county code.

HRS 46-4 states that zoning must conform to the community plans and shall be used to put them into effect. If there are mismatches, zoning should be updated to reflect community wishes.

Maui County Charter Chapter 19.04 regarding comprehensive zoning is also relevant. The purpose of this article is to promote and protect the health, safety and welfare of the people by: guiding, controlling and regulating future growth and development in accordance with General and Community Plans, and to provide reasonable development standards which implement Community Plans.

The planning director's proposal makes it harder to implement community wishes. It also does not recognize that some classes of zoning are overly broad and create unintended consequences. There are community plan designations that could be used when the people want to see a range of uses in the same land area.

Thousands of volunteer hours by community members and millions of taxpayer dollars have been invested in creating our community plans.

Approving the proposed amendments would undo the work and the will of the people. It will violate state law and result in lawsuits.

TAMARA PALTIN, West Maui

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Sad to see telescope research halted

It is very sad that the equipment to construct the 30-meter telescope on Mauna Kea is being removed, and that the telescope on Haleakala is in jeopardy. The high and clear summit on Mauna Kea would allow the telescope to see back 13 billion light years, nearly to the beginning of the universe, and the telescope on Haleakala will primarily study the sun, benefiting all of us on Earth, especially those living on islands in the Pacific because of the concern over global warming.

These telescopes can provide future knowledge, opportunity for our youth interested in astronomy, help the economy and jobs, and be something that we in Hawaii should be proud of, not stifle.

Just today I read in the paper that a telescope in Australia found a planet that could support life as close as only four light years away. With science and exploration, you just never know what we will find or what benefit will occur.

The invalidation of the $1.4 billion project on Mauna Kea and the partnership with China, India and Japan is because of a relatively small group's complaints because the mountains are considered sacred, a small group in the legal world who found reasons to say no, and acquiescence by government leadership. But early islanders accepted new things, were explorers, and might well have encouraged this exploration. If based on a deity, the whole world, the universe itself, and what man can and has accomplished could be considered sacred.

This reminds me of how the Super Ferry, which could have brought our island state together and made it more affordable for our people to visit other islands and their relatives, was stopped by a small group of protestors (the main one who now lives in California) and a small element of the legal system - neither of which should decide everything for everybody.

Regarding the telescopes, we need to join together and honor the beliefs of those in the past without letting that impede our efforts to go forward and make the world better for present and future generations, as we have in medicine, engineering, transportation, literature, etc. Those who can should reverse course and allow the telescopes.

DR. GEORGE S. LAVENSON , Lahaina

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The homeless are misunderstood

Overheard on the streets and coffee shops and malls, and in letters in newspapers, is a serious lack of understanding and a lot of disinformation about the huge homeless problem on Maui. Many proposed solutions are poor ideas. Meanwhile, our mayor and County Council have continued to do a disastrous job dealing with this problem that affects thousands; causes nice, innocent people to be robbed and beaten; and victims experiencing their valuables frequently ripped-off. Large county buildings sit empty, while their walls and floors could be filled with beds to house the positive-lifestyle homeless, hire security guards to protect them and possessions, and allow safety from attackers.

In the 1970s, the homeless hippies were given free air tickets to the Mainland by promising to never return to Maui in signed contracts. The taxpayers paid for that huge bill when the money could have been used to house and protect these people. For the last decades since the 1960s, when "Help Wanted" ads for too many of the very few hotels and restaurants and shops stated "Haoles do not apply," there has been both a lack of affordable rooms and adequate-paying jobs.

The people who with their free will voluntarily decide to be homeless on purpose, because they are too lazy to work or they want a free life off welfare and food stamps, should be denied these government taxpayer benefits! Why pay for people who came to Maui for a FREE extended vacation living in the lots or on beaches, while most of us work our butts off to live here?

The people who with their free will voluntarily chose a lifestyle of alcoholism and hard drug abuse, after nobody ever forced them to, which made them incapable of getting a job or a room from a landlord, should be denied government benefits. They belong in rehab that they have to pay for themselves! Those who voluntarily leave trash all over the island along our roads, bus stops and shopping centers (where there are trash cans); rip off shopping carts and leave them along roads; urinate in public places and choose to wear filthy clothing should NOT deserve government taxpayer benefits or housing! They need to deal with the bad karma lifestyle they chose and learn from it. People who fail blood tests for alcohol and have repeat criminal records should NOT be given free housing, food, medical and supplies by taxpayers and charities. Some of these people are even terrorists that have assaulted, raped, beat, killed, robbed and abused innocent people. Paying for their lifestyle is insane, yet it happens!

On the other hand, the homeless who unexpectedly lost their jobs due to downsizing and being laid off during the Great Recession on Maui, which doubled unemployment in some of our cities and towns, were victims of the scams proven by the FBI and court convictions of corporate corruption. They are mostly clean, well-dressed, hard-working, honest folks who got scammed on.

Other victims of corporate corruption were cut-back to only part-time work at minimum or almost minimum wages, unable to pay rents. Numerous studies have shown that the average minimum wage worker on Maui was only one week away from becoming homeless BEFORE the 2008-12 Great Recession, and it is the same today. Once these good-working, laid-off workers are homeless, when the economy recovered, most managers will NOT hire anyone without a verified home address! So these victims cannot even get a job in a rebounding economy.

I will have more to say in a letter next week.

STEVE OMAR

 
 

 

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