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LETTERS for August 27 issue

By Staff | Aug 27, 2009


I really enjoyed the Open House up at Lahainaluna High School. It was quite an experience hiking around the campus and meeting all of my son’s teachers. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that his guitar teacher is George Kahumoku Jr.  Not everyone can say their teacher is a Grammy Award winner.

We discovered this class is combined with 20 guitar students and 20 ukulele students. What was really surprising was when one parent asked how many instruments they have in class for the students to use. The answer? Two guitars and two ukuleles.

Yes, some students have their own instruments, although many families do not have or cannot afford one. Plus, with all the budget cuts the schools are having, I don’t really expect them to be able to purchase these instruments.

What I would like to ask is, how many guitars and ukuleles are sitting in a West Maui home, closet or garage, collecting dust and never being used? Is there anyone willing to donate some instruments for these students to use? We all know that West Maui residents support all the West Maui schools — just look at the recent outpouring of basic school supplies donated. Well, here is another call to you. If you have an extra ukulele or guitar that you would like to donate, please e-mail kay@mauikay.com or Jill@mauioceanhomes.com and we will make sure to get it to this music class. 

KAY RYAN, Kahana



Having witnessed the aftermath of a motorcycle and auto accident that took place at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 16, that sense of helplessness kicked in along with frustration at not being able to “do something” to help.

Thankfully, what we saw was Maui’s emergency medical technicians and one notable OFF-DUTY first responder take full charge of a critical situation and get the necessary job done.

We inquired and found out his name. We say thank you and hope that Chris Arnold is on or OFF-DUTY should we ever need his assistance!

JAY WHITE & DIANE BELLISLE, Nai‘a Properties Inc.


Obama has not been forthright with the American people, AGAIN. His “Obamacare” mess is another vision of this radical to centralize more power with the Washington Elite. 

In 2003 and 2007, Obama made speeches stating he was in favor of a single pay health care system. That equates to government run health care. Now he says he has never endorsed a single payer system. (And the lies go on!) 

He tried ramming this 1,000-page monstrosity down Americans’ throats before Congress’s August break, so it would be passed before anyone could read it. A typical ploy by Obama. One Democrat Congressman said, “Why read the bill?  After all, it is 1,000 pages — would take three days and two lawyers to understand.” However, not this time. The American people said “wait a minute” and began voicing their opposition to the bill after they read it. 

Politicians (mostly Democrats) were caught flat-footed at town hall meetings by Americans who had read the bill and wanted no part of it. Obama, Pelosi, Reed and other left-wingers called these constituents Nazis, racists and “un-American” for doing what makes America great: voicing an opinion. Then Obama sent his SEIU thugs to these meetings to “rough up” dissenters. 

This is your President… of ALL the people. Yeah right.  Now he is on the “campaign trail” carefully scripting his own town hall meetings with his “plants” strictly for photo ops.  Lies, deceit, brute force — thanks Obama. You are everything you said you would be… NOT!

And the Obama goes on…



While I applaud the LahainaTown Action Committee for a valiant attempt at reviving “Friday Night is Art Night” in Lahaina, there is one very important missing ingredient to success: the well-heeled clients that came to the galleries year after year and purchased.

Now, thanks to massive overdevelopment on the West Side, we are now inundated with time share families with two to four kids. No offense to them, but they are not in the market to buy art. They keep Costco, Safeway, ABC stores and Hilo Hattie busy, but do not patronize art galleries. Until we can again attract clients with disposable income, instead of those paying for braces and college tuition, Lahaina galleries are in for a long haul.

FREDERICK LACOUNT, Bella Vetri Gallery-Lahaina


The stench from the various sewer plants and pumping stations is overpowering, especially around Kaanapali.

The county has said they don’t have the money to repair the sewage treatment plants to reduce the odor.

I suggest that jasmine bushes be planted around the sewer plants. Plant a whole forest if necessary. If the government can’t fix the smell, they can at least cover it up.



Denying a critically ill woman a transplant when it was the only thing that would have saved her life is at the very least inhuman and at the most criminal (Hawaii Tribune-Herald, Aug. 8, “Woman denied transplant due to pot use”). HMSA declined approving a liver transplant based solely on toxicology tests showing small amounts of cannabis in her system, the newspaper reported. Their cruel decision resulted in the death of Kimberly Reyes, a 51-year-old mother of five who died on July 27 at Hilo Medical Center. This cannot be undone and is a needless loss of human life. The family, children and friends will feel the pain and her loss forever. Kimberly had much for which to live — for the love she gave her family and friends.

We in the medical cannabis community mourn her passing and vow that this malfeasance and cruelty shall never happen again. As tragic as this is, it is not the first time that urgent medical treatment has been denied a patient because of cannabis use. Cannabis patients have long been denied the treatment and respect they deserve from medical professionals and insurance companies. For example, just try to obtain a medical cannabis recommendation from a Kaiser doctor, or any doctor for that matter, other than from the small handful of brave, dedicated state doctors that put the patient’s health and well-being before their license.

Medical cannabis patients represent a small minority. We are treated as second class citizens and are systematically denied equal protection under the law. We can be arrested for trying to buy medicine, because even though the state allows medical cannabis, it does not provide a patient a way to obtain it. Further, patients must register with the state Department of Narcotics Enforcement, whose director sees no medical efficacy in cannabis. This is disgraceful and shows the lack of caring and compassion for seriously ill patients.

This must change, but without the support and resolve of all the people and our legislators, it will not happen. Remember, an injury to one is an injury to all. We need to be outraged for this most egregious death and demand changes in the way our health care system operates, how insurance companies approve and deny treatment, and by adopting state laws that reflect our humanity, rather than prejudice and profit.

ANDREA TISCHLER, Big Island Americans for Safe Access, Hilo


Real estate woes are not fueled by industry greed. Mr. Rumson (“Real estate woes fueled by greed,” July 30 issue) incorrectly blames the rapid increase in real estate prices on real estate brokers. This is a lack of understanding of how capitalism and a free market operate. Consumer demand sets the market price, and it should not be any other way. The cause of the hyper-inflated market is due to historical wealth among Baby Boomers coupled with unregulated predatory lending practices, where otherwise unqualified buyers were issued loans without any serious proof of ability to pay. Consequently, unqualified buyers flooded the market, thereby increasing demand. Increased demand and limited inventory inflates prices. The system works, but the federal regulatory bodies failed all of us when they chose to overlook unscrupulous lending practices, To blame brokers for manipulating the market is misdirected.

SCOTT BERRY, Berry Realty Group LLC


Those of you living on Maui may forget that whilst you are checking the surf and grumbling about the minor imperfections, the rest of the world is out there shoveling snow, dealing with dark winter nights, urban problems, you name it. I live on a beautiful beach, but in the winter months it literally freezes over. Whilst I am happy with my choice to be a part-timer on Maui, your little sun-baked rock can look mighty appealing to the majority of the population of the U.S. — ALL of whom are eligible to move there tomorrow. All 300 million of them. Given the opportunity, jobs, houses, etc., some significant proportion could be on your doorstep.

This brings you choices. Do you cater for everyone who wants to come? Build houses and roads on demand? Fill up the valleys until they can take no more and there is nowhere left to build?

Once the construction boom is over and the guys have gone back to wherever they came from, the end result will be an even bigger population housed and prepared to serve the tourists, who, it is assumed, will still be flocking to Maui to empty their wallets.

I question this assumption. As travel becomes more costly in real terms and also in recognition of the impact it has on the planet, the generation currently growing up with the pervasive threat of global warning will be more selective about where they go and why. WIll they choose a week on a crowded, polluted beach (if they can even get to the beach) on an overbuilt, over exploited island with impoverished natural resources? Or would they prefer a destination that has taken the responsibility of mapping their sustainability and has successfully protected the beauty and diversity of their unique natural environment? I know what my young children would chose even now, and they are the tourists of 2030.

Or, do you decide to limit the growth by planning and intelligent control? To put in place legislation to balance the needs of the community with the need to protect the appeal of the islands? To prioritize developments that will increase Maui’s sustainability in the future. To diversify the economy. To invest in sewage systems that will limit damage to reef ecosystems. To protect the natural resources, the view corridors, the presently undeveloped coastlines, to consider the quality of life. To prioritize home food production in order to reduce the dependence on expensive shipped food. To become energy self-sufficient.

Maui has an abundant supply of wind and sun, and a head start on geothermal, and could be a world leader in sustainable energy. Other places in the world without such a wealth of natural advantages are managing to do this — why not Maui? West Maui is already struggling massively with respect to hospitals, schools, traffic management, pollution, management of resources, care of parks, beach access, etc., etc. How can it be good to simply overload the system further without addressing these fundamental issues?

You are custodians of a very small piece of paradise, cherished by both residents and also a vast population of visitors, past and present. Currently, visitors sustain the economy and allow the resident population to be what it is on Maui. Maui is geographically isolated and currently completely dependent on oil for even everyday survival, as well as to fuel the planes that deliver the economic lifeblood of the islands, delivering tourist dollars on an hourly basis.

If I were planning Maui’s future, I would not be using obsolete models of projected growth, indeed ASSUMED growth, based entirely on the theory of ever-increasing visitor numbers. It has been apparent during the global economic downturn how extremely vulnerable Maui is to external economic factors. We have not begun to see the changes that will occur as the global oil supply diminishes. Even those with unshakable confidence in Maui as a visitor destination must now realize that the situation can change pretty quickly and with devastating results for an island whose dependence is so complete.

Cramming West Maui with more houses and roads and cars is a very short-term fix, whose longer term result will be to destroy Maui’s opportunity to plan and build a truly forward thinking, innovative and healthy future. It is intensely disappointing, especially to those of us living with less bountiful and luxurious environments, to see the waste and irresponsible decision-making evident in the latest plans for 20th century-style growth on West Maui. Maui’s future in the short to mid-term is not sustainable in its current form, and this plan does not appear to acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead.

The potential exists to be well rewarded in the future for making bold commitments to sustainability now. People will come in the future… but it will require a radical change in thinking in regard to planning — not just more of the same. Mauians are better placed than most to implement change and to make the most of the island’s abundant assets, including the beauty that surrounds you daily. The time is past for the vicious circle of reactive planning, merely plugging the holes in the dike, solving gridlock by building another road. I urge those in government to fully engage with the facts of global change. Start thinking from first principals and search for more intelligent, proactive and longer term solutions that will work for both Maui residents and visitors alike to provide a fitting legacy of good custodianship.