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LETTERS for June 11 issue

By Staff | Jun 11, 2009


Depending on where a teacher is on the pay scale, Gov. Linda Lingle’s cuts could translate into a pay cut of up to $800 per month. I guess we can start talking about class sizes of one to 100. In addition, these very same teachers would also be facing an 18 percent increase in health care premiums. The Department of Education spent over $20 million a year to train and recruit teachers to come to Hawaii, with over 60 percent leaving in the first three years because the cost of living is so high. This will force teachers who are within three years of their retirement to retire early, because their retirement is contingent on their highest three years employed. 

The state is $400 million behind in refurbishing costs. Lingle chose not to release $200 million in education funds three years ago when we had a $600 million surplus. My school was supposed to receive a new roof. The result was cane board falling from the ceiling in a third grade classroom at my school. Lingle is trying to take $192 million out of the University of Hawaii and Department of Education to balance the budget, then take the $192 million from Obama’s education stimulus (AARA) money back into the U.H. and DOE fund. The stimulus money was meant to supplement, not supplant, state funds from reducing salaries and cutting jobs.

Even though I have a Master’s Degree in Special Education, I already work two to five nights a week at Sansei to make rent. I know a teacher who is a single mother and almost moved into a homeless shelter, because her current paycheck does not pay rent. Cutting education when it is already underfunded is akin to pulling out the shoots of the youngest plants before they have time to develop and grow strong.

We could raise the general excise tax by one percent. What about the barrel tax? Who wouldn’t rather pay four more cents a gallon than put all the cuts on state workers — pitting the unions against each other. The legislature should go back for a special session to adjust this crisis! 

JUSTIN HUGHEY, Teacher, Lahaina


A letter in the Lahaina News calling global warming a scam uses some misleading numbers in the argument against global warming.

I, too, used to be skeptical about the influence of such small quantities of CO2 having an impact on global warming. However, further reading of scientific publications led me to understand that it is not the quantity of CO2 that is important. What is important is the contribution of this gas to the greenhouse gas effect and the relatively recent increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.    

To understand why such a small quantity can have an influence, it helps to know the influence of all greenhouse gases. They are, in order of impact: Water Vapor, 60 percent; CO2, 26 percent; Methane, 6 percent; Ozone, 8 percent; CFCs, etc. <1 percent.

Even though CO2 is only 0.038 percent of the atmosphere by volume, it has a significant impact on the greenhouse gas effect. Since water vapor in the atmosphere has been relatively constant and self-regulating — it rains when it becomes saturated — over the centuries, and is not easily controlled by human action, it makes sense to control the next most impacting component if you want to reduce the greenhouse gas effect and its impact on global warming.

The increase in CO2 from a steady 280 parts per million by volume (ppmbv) before the industrial era to 380 now and rising (38 percent increase) is largely produced by human sources, and has resulted in an increase of the Earth’s temperature of 1.6oF.

Since the greenhouse gas effect of water vapor in the atmosphere causes the Earth’s temperature to increase 60oF, and has been relatively constant for centuries, this is presumably where the writer gets the 2.7 percent human source impact (1.6/60=2.7 percent), but the increase in temperature is almost all produced by human sources.

The reduction of CO2 produced by human action by 50 percent should slow this increase. These numbers are also from real scientists — not Al Gore.



Inspired by the turnout and what was accomplished at the Earth Day cleanup at Honolua, the T&S restaurant chain (Kimo’s, Leilani’s, Duke’s, etc.) spearheaded an impromptu “heavy metal” cleanup last week out on Lipoa Point. Dickie Moon brought his office staff in the middle of the week,

Community Work Day brought a roll-off dumpster, and Maui Land & Pine kicked in a huge excavator (and Louie). Nothing like having the right tools for the job! We were able to pick up all the dead cars and trucks, water heaters, refrigerators, stoves, engine blocks, etc., compact them on the spot and drop them in the dumpster!

June 21st is Ron Cassidy’s birthday, and Ron’s friends are organizing the annual cleanup in his name. Ron, who died surfing a couple years ago, was always a proponent of reforesting Lipoa Point and one of the first surfers to plant things out on the surfers’ access. Now that the machine work is done, there is plenty leftover to do in the different spots where we removed all the metal.

If you would like to participate, we will be meeting by Honolua Stream Bridge on June 21 at 8 a.m. (party after at D.T. Fleming Park). Hope to see you there!

LES POTTS, Honolua Advisory Council


My son was born with a number of physical limitations that require him to wear braces and use crutches for long walks. He now lives on his own in Lahaina and uses the Maui Bus system to get to work. The street he lives on has a dip that floods every time it rains, which makes it almost impassable. He has slipped and fallen a few times when trying to walk through the water.

I contacted the Mayor’s Office. They put me in touch with Shayne Agawa of the Public Works Department. Shayne and I met and discussed options to resolve the problem. Shayne had some great ideas, but cautioned me it might take awhile because of budget and contractor availability.

Today, I went by my son’s place and discovered that the dip had not only been filled in, but the whole street had been leveled out and repaved end to end. It looks beautiful!

Mahalo to the Mayor’s Office and a huge mahalo to Shayne Agawa for his ideas and perseverance in getting this problem taken care of.

MIKE SOWERS, Kaanapali


Last Saturday, May 30, Honokowai Park was busy with all sorts of people. There were small groups, larger groups, individuals, fishermen and lots of children. One could easily assume from the laughter that all were having a great, peaceful time, and enjoying nature’s gift of absence of electric music, blasting radios and such.

Mahalo to all that were just willing to listen to the ocean, the birds, the laughter. What a nice day at Honokowai Park!



In these tough economic times, the safety of our visitors should be very high on our list of priorities. As of May 15, whale season has ended and the ban on thrillcraft/jet skis has been lifted for south and west facing shores on Maui. 

I am very concerned for the safety of all swimmers in the Kaanapali coastal area due to the lack of swim buoys. Although the resorts continue to pay the state’s transient accommodations tax, they do not enjoy continued safety precautions for their guests. 

This is due to the Department of Land & Natural Resources/Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation’s failure to arrange for the timely replacement of swim buoys after they are washed in by Kona storms or whatever reason. Presently, there is only one swim buoy left on the whole coastline. Where are the clearly marked ingress/egress areas we once had? 

How does DLNR expect to enforce no wake speed restrictions with no clearly defined areas like we used to have? I hope something can be worked out within DOBOR to remedy this situation before somebody gets hurt.



As always, members of the West Maui community have proven themselves to be very generous with time, money and donations when it comes to our students. Lahainaluna High School Project Graduation was the beneficiary of a VERY successful charity golf tournament sponsored by Title Guaranty in Lahaina.

A huge thank you goes to Joel Navarro of Title Guaranty, Rob Shelton of Kapalua Realty, and Sutee Nitakorn, director of golf at the Kaanapali Golf Course. Also, a very special thank you to Mathew Dauenhauer of ReMax Maui for his energy and hard work to make the event such a success.

As with any fund-raiser, it would not work without two critical components — the participants and the donors. Our gratitude to the golfers and those who sponsored holes and donated prizes. See you next year.

BARB NEWTON, Chairperson, LHS Project Graduation


The county’s recent unpermitted removal of sand dunes along a strip of beach in South Maui was disappointing. 

In early May, county work crews were seen using heavy equipment to remove the tops of dunes along a quarter-mile stretch of beach on South Kihei Road. The Department of Public Works explained that the grading was “routine road maintenance” and in response to complaints by drivers of sand being on the road.

While keeping sand off our roads is important, Chapter 20.08.035 of the Maui County Code states that “any grading of a coastal dune within the shoreline area or a frontal dune is prohibited.” The removal of entire tops of sand dunes clearly goes beyond simple “maintenance,” and necessary grading permits should have been obtained. 

Sand dunes play a vital role in beach systems, serving as natural erosion buffers that protect roads and property from high waves and storms.  They also catch windblown sand and provide storage for excess sand reserves.

Despite the mistake, the South Maui community’s concern for the sand dunes — as well as the county’s prompt response to residents’ complaints — is refreshing and should be applauded. Within days of the incident, my staff attended a meeting that included officials from the Public Works Department, Planning Department, Mayor’s Office, University of Hawaii Seagrant Extension agent Zoe Norcross-Nuu and South Maui residents Bob and Lis Richardson.

Milton Arakawa, the director of Public Works, agreed to work with the Planning Department to obtain necessary permits. His department also intends to purchase all materials and plants needed to restore the dunes and will continue watering the remaining vegetation.

The Public Works Department will also work with Bob and Lis Richardson, who are involved with several community organizations and very experienced and knowledgeable of South Maui beaches. Bob and Lis are rallying community organizations, such as the Maui Canoe Club and Kihei Canoe Club, to erect sea fences and plant native vegetation once the permits are obtained. 

Our shorelines and sand dunes are vital to Hawaii’s island way of life. If we all continue to work together to protect and preserve these precious resources, future generations will be able to enjoy the natural beauty and benefits that they provide us.

WAYNE NISHIKI, County Councilmember