homepage logo

LETTERS for August 26 issue

By Staff | Aug 26, 2010


The newly erected Honoapiilani Highway traffic walls are a disgrace to the community, creating a “Mainland” feel of claustrophobia and ugliness.

They are definitely NOT welcoming to the charms of Lahaina Town nor the West Side.

Esthetics were blasted! I feel so sorry for the residents who have to endure the smack-in-your-face-high slabs of concrete adjacent to their property, thereby wiping out views, breezes and openness. The same walls also obliterate both mauka and makai views for motorists.

The walls’ purpose might have been for protection and/or noise factor. But simply doubling up steel border guardrails would have been sufficient. Who is profiting monetarily from these monstrosities? What a crock!



My stepson, Michael, was born with a laundry list of problems. The two major ones are spina bifida and hydrocephalus. The two of them have rendered him physically challenged and learning disabled. He’s a good kid who tries hard, but he’s been dealt a bad hand that will never let him win the pot.

Over his short lifetime, Michael has had to endure 26 surgeries. He’s had excellent doctors, both here on Maui and at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, but the best can only do so much.

 When he attended Lahainaluna High School, my wife was told by a representative of the Hawaii State Health Department, Department of Developmental Disabilities that he was qualified for assistance from the state. At graduation, the story changed. The agency denied any help or benefits. My wife and I have tried to do everything we can to assist him, but the emotional toll has been unbelievable, especially for my wife.

 A few months ago, she decided, on a lark, to look at the Department of Developmental Disabilities website. Low and behold, Michael is not only qualified, he’s super qualified for assistance. 

Rather than go back to the Department of Developmental Disabilities, she decided to write to the two West Maui state legislators: Sen. Roz Baker and Rep. Angus McKelvey. That was on June 24 of this year. To date, she has received no reply from either one. No letter, postcard, phone call — nothing. Basically, it seems like they have better things to do than help a kid who sorely needs it.

If I can be blunt for a minute, I’d like to ask, what the hell are we taxpayers paying you two to do? Do you have any empathy for the downtrodden? For a kid who, because of his limitations that are no fault of his own, doesn’t even know he’s being screwed? Is he the only one?  I’d really like to know.

You’ve got our mailing address and phone number. Drop us a line, or better yet, come on by to talk some story. I’d love to hear what you two have to say.

MIKE SOWERS, Kaanapali


As a candidate for public office, we receive numerous questionnaires from almost every organization there is. We have to answer them within their time limits. Often, we have word limits. That is fine with me, but some questions are loaded.

For example, recently I received these two questions from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

One question is this: “Do you support a moratorium on the sale of state ceded lands?” Please answer yes or no to this question.

If I answer yes, it implies I support a moratorium. If I answer no, it implies I think we should go ahead with the sale. If I leave it blank, it implies I don’t care. My answer is more than one word: “There should be NO sale of ceded lands now or in the future. These lands were set aside for the Hawaiian beneficiaries, and as such, that obligation MUST be honored.”

Second question (50-word limit): What single issue facing Native Hawaiians concerns you the most, and how would you address that issue as a state legislator? Answer: All Native Hawaiian programs are at risk due to the lawsuit. Programs such as Kamehameha Schools, Hawaiian Language, immersion schools, land rights, Native Hawaiian water rights, Hawaiian homes, etc., all may be at risk when this is viewed as a civil rights issue. The future of the Department of Hawaiian Homelands and their long waiting lists of recipients is of great concern to me, especially given that the lawsuits that challenge Native Hawaiian Rights may have a devastating impact on this program. Many Hawaiians who have been on the waiting list have passed away, while many others may not be able to take advantage of the program due to financial hardships and inability to move forward with a home purchase or construction. I will always fight for Native Hawaiian rights, no matter how difficult the fight is.

CHAYNE MARTEN, West Maui, District 10 State Legislature Candidate


I would like candidate for governor Mufi Hannemann to answer a question or two, so people can decide whether or not to vote for the candidate.

I would like to ask why he should be governor when he didn’t finish the job as mayor? He said he was the best candidate for the job.

The other question I have is: why did Mufi leave Honolulu with over 20,000 tons of garbage stockpiled for a year when it should be gone? As mayor, he is responsible for that mess.

I would like these questions answered with short answers, and not the typical nonsense that most political people use to avoid the true answers.



A big MAHALO from Theatre Theatre Maui (TTM) to all involved with our 18th summer performing arts program. In six weeks, 42 students ages eight to 17 attended theater camp in Lahaina, rehearsed and presented five performances of “Follow that Rabbit,” a musical version of Lewis Carroll’s classic “Alice in Wonderland,” and we could not have done it without the awesome support of our community.

We thank the County of Maui for supporting our West Maui program through their Community Partnership Grant funding, which helps provide for quality performing arts instruction. To our creative team of Kristi Scott, Ashlie Welte, Lehua Simon, Vania and Jason Jerome, Heather Goss, Caro Walker, Andrea Finkelstein and Jessica Vernoy, we thank you for your dedicated artistic energies providing this positive experience.

Huge thanks to Lahainaluna High School for classroom use; The Westin Maui Resort & Spa for generously providing week-long use of their Haleakala Ballroom; and to Whalers Village for their parking lot kokua.

Hats off to Trinity Property Consultants for our office space at 505 Front Street Shops; Star Noodle, our T-shirt sponsor; and to many businesses for heavily discounted, loaned or donated supplies: Lahaina Ace, Ben Franklin Crafts, Epic Lighting, Lahaina Music, MAPA, PSAV, Village Audio, The Water Store and to the many members of our community for financial or in-kind support of live theater.

We applaud such fabulous community support and sharing our mission of bringing the theatrical arts experience to the youth and adults of West Maui.

To each student and their family, thank you for joining us; and to our supportive audiences, mahalo and a hui hou!

LOUISA SHELTON, Executive Director, Theatre Theatre Maui


The West Maui Taxpayers Association, in cosponsorship with the Lahaina News, held a West Maui County Council Candidates’ Night on Sunday, Aug. 15. We are very grateful to the Lahaina News for their continued dedicated support to our West Maui community!

Special thanks to the Lahaina Theatre for their generous support in providing the outstanding venue for this event and Hit Mixx Productions for the show that followed. The performances by An Den, Tiva and Pac Five, Napili Kai Foundation, Lexi and Mele Pono were absolutely outstanding. These entertainers really are examples of Maui’s best talent, who give back to the community and so wonderfully make Maui no ka ‘oi!

Also, mahalo to Maui’s own Alaka‘i Paleka, the event’s emcee, who did a fantastic job of conducting the questions and introductions of the candidates.

Outback Steakhouse of Lahaina Gateway and their staff were wonderful in their support, providing delicious seared ahi salad plates with ono white bean sausage soup.

Finally, mahalo to the Maui voters who showed up to learn more about the candidates to make an informed choice, and the candidates themselves for putting themselves in consideration to serve our community.  

The West Maui Taxpayers Association has photos of the event on their website at www.westmaui.org.

The West Maui Taxpayers Association has been dedicated to the West Maui Community for over 30 years and invites your support and membership.

JOE PLUTA, West Maui Taxpayers Association