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LETTERS for September 16 issue

By Staff | Sep 16, 2010


This is the time of year when the eggs from our annual visitor, the ua‘u kani, have hatched. Clumsy on land, these web-footed birds are easy prey. I have been observing and caring for the nesting area at Hawea Point for a number of years, trying to provide for a safe and comfortable environment. Being forced out from other Maui shores, they have found refuge in this quiet corner of West Maui. These birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Recently on one of my regular visits, I was shocked to see a tour guide from a nearby hotel with a family of three enter a densely populated area, ignoring posted signs. She was peeking into most every hole, and the family was left to go on their own egg hunt. I took some pictures, because “dis nobody goin’ believe.” This is the second time this guide was seen in this same location. I spoke to her, her superiors and the wildlife biologist to express my concerns.

The past two years, this area has undergone some major transformations. The Kapalua Coastal Trail now enters the area, the ironwood trees are gone, and now any kine people utilize the trail. There is a unusual amount of abandoned eggs and nests, and crushed burrows. These birds don’t deserve this — some have probably been nesting here before my time. When in this area, please help by respecting posted signs, remaining on the trail and keeping the noise down. Also, don’t litter, and no dogs, please.



The Ahia ‘Ohana would like to thank all our friends of Lahaina, and of Maui, for the love and support that they have shown to us during this season of great loss. Sina and Conrad are sorely missed.

We also thank Kimo’s Restaurant Manager Chris Almeroth and the entire staff there for their love and care.

Lastly, we thank our church family at King’s Chapel for seeing us through.

SAM AHIA, Lahaina


In front of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii on Sept. 7, Neil Abercrombie declared his opposition to tax hikes “without equivocation.” This totally conflicts with his 20-year Congressional record of supporting tax increases! Can a leopard truly change his spots? Or is this the case of a career politician promising whatever it takes to persuade a gullible public to vote for him?

I watched the debate between the two Democratic gubernatorial candidates on Aug. 30. Neil’s emphasis was on new government programs, but when pressed to explain how he would pay for them, he gave no definite answer. Mufi’s emphasis was on job creation.

The race is close because the two candidates are similar in many ways. Both have charisma. Both are tireless campaigners with legions of dedicated supporters. Both are strong champions of working men and women.

But there are differences. In the area of social issues, Neil is an unabashed supporter of gay marriage. Mufi supports traditional marriage and traditional values, and he will maintain the fabric of our society. 

Regarding economic issues, Neil’s emphasis on new government spending programs will ultimately result in higher taxes, since the state budget must be balanced. Higher taxes means less money for consumer spending, and hence, a worsening of our moribund economy! In contrast, Mufi seeks to actively find ways to create new jobs so that Hawaii can emerge from this recession.

DR. BEN K. AZMAN, Lahaina


I support political forums only if I am able to attend them. As a full-time working person and a wife of a disabled husband, it is hard to find the time to attend these forums.

I was not able to attend the West Maui Taxpayers Association forum due to illness. It is truly too bad that the WMTA did not have the forum in a more suitable and accessible place for the residents of West Maui… like the Civic Center. Maybe more than 50 people would have shown up.

People should know what I stand for if they have been reading The Maui News and the Lahaina News for the past 30-plus years. Also, prior to the primaries, both papers will be coming out with questionnaires that were sent out to each candidate with their responses and their background. People can read about each candidate and see what they stand for.

I will not be intimidated by any special interest group in Maui County.



Fukuyama wants to serve residents on the council

On Wednesday, Sept. 1, the Maui County clerk made a decision that confirmed what many of my family members, friends, neighbors and supporters have known all along — that I am indeed a resident of Lahaina. I take all of this in stride, because it truly is a part of our democratic process. Over the next week-and-a-half, I look forward to continuing my discussion on critical issues that face our community and how we will solve them if elected to the County Council.

 I would also like to take a moment to clear up any questions that were posed in a recent letter questioning my residency and my absence at community forums on the West Side. I make every effort to attend all community meetings or forums, especially those held in West Maui. Unfortunately, when the West Maui Taxpayers Association held their event, I was on Oahu assisting my 90-year-old mother at a medical appointment. Joe Pluta, who helped plan the event, knew this well in advance.    

No matter what challenges or questions are posed, I want to make it clear that my desire to serve the residents of the West Side and Maui County is stronger than ever, and I humbly ask for your vote on Sept. 18.  

ALAN FUKUYAMA, Maui County Council Candidate, Lahaina


An excerpt of a letter written on my behalf by Jo Anne Johnson is below. A copy is on file at the Lahaina News for review only.

“I have known Eve Clute for the past 15 years as a friend and good neighbor in West Maui. Eve has worked with me on… project assignments for the County of Maui…. On a personal level, when my husband Jim became physically disabled and wheelchair bound, Eve made herself available at a moment’s notice to take care of his needs when I was not able to do so. Eve provided me with peace of mind, because I could rely on her to do whatever it took to make Jim comfortable. Eve’s background as an educator, caregiver, fund-raiser and community advocate makes her an ideal choice…”

I can only hope that Jo Anne Johnson is doing the best that she can at this time in her life. As a doctor of public health, I recognize the anger that comes with grief. And losing a husband is a tremendous loss.

With compassion,

EVE CLUTE, Candidate for County Council, West Maui


This letter is not about a family trip, nor is it “How my wife was able to have family time on their vacation.” It is about meeting a person who understands the culture and deeply loves the people of Maui. I am forever grateful for the help she provided my wife. I believe you will be grateful for the dedication and service that Eve Clute will provide when she is elected to serve on the Maui County Council.  

My wife says she has the credentials, the desire and the passion to do a great job as the next councilwoman for West Maui.

My wife and family were able to take our first vacation in over five years in June of this year. We had never been to your beautiful island before and chose it over all the other options.     

My wife suffers from a rare ailment and cannot stay in one position without extreme pain.

Fortunately for us, a dear and trusted friend of the family knew Eve Clute and recommended her therapeutic sessions while we were there. My wife was able to participate in most of the family activities.

Eve Clute is a truly remarkable woman and deserves your vote.

BARB AND ROGER W. REID, Oxnard, California


A recent letter from someone I consider to be a friend listed candidates who received campaign donations from developers. It was informative but not entirely accurate. It lumped Elle Cochran in with others who had major landowners and construction companies writing them big checks and expecting big returns. Elle received a number of contributions from a small Lahaina contractor who loves to surf and really cares about the ‘aina. Elle has known this family for many, many years. This family owned company is committed to our environment and our economy working together and were big supporters of the Save Honolua Coalition.

Like many of us, these donors see Elle as a great fit for the council and a logical successor to build on the hard work done by retiring West Maui Councilmember Jo Anne Johnson. Elle’s a local girl, born and raised in Lahaina. She and her husband own a small business and are dealing with the same challenges that many businesses face. She knows what’s important to our families. Elle worked for years in the visitor industry. She and her family enjoy the ocean to dive, surf and fish. Most importantly, Elle Cochran is not beholden to any big money interests on voting blocks.

There will be two candidates named Cochran on the ballot Sept. 18. Be sure to vote for Elle Cochran on the West Maui ballot.



As a Kanaka Maoli and childhood friend of Sol Kaho‘ohalahala, I can no longer stand by in silence and watch the personal attacks by a group of 19 Lanai residents and transplants continue. Yes, I say transplants, because some of the plaintiffs moved to Lanai from the Mainland in the 1990s and yet claim themselves as “residents” of Lanai. Many Hawaiians accept a man’s “roots” as having deeper meaning of “residency” than those who simply live in a man-built structure called a “residence.” Sol is a man of God and he is a Keiki O Ka Aina O Lanai — a child of the land, born and raised in Lanai. Growing up, he worked for the pineapple plantation on Lanai. His Ohana’s Na Iwi (Family Bones) are on Lanai, and his family lineage can be traced back 700 years. Having said this, tell me who now is the “resident” according to Hawaiian culture standards, and not by non-Hawaiian written guidelines?

One of the Lanai transplants, Michael Dupree, who filed the challenge in 2008 to Kaho‘ohalahala’s residency, admitted that his case was about Kaho‘ohalahala’s residency and NOT his qualifications for office. Dupree stated that he “was upset that he (Kaho‘ohalahala) took the right away” from the other three candidates (also running for the council seat). Mr. Dupree  fails to understand that no one’s rights were taken away, especially by Kaho‘ohalahala. It was an open election where anyone has the right to enter. Kaho‘ohalahala won the race because the people voted for him. Based on his experience, and his aloha for the island from which he was born, they voted for the best qualified person for the job.  

Mr. Dupree also stated that “he knew three of the other people who ran for the council seat, and thought any one of them could have done a good job representing the island.” While this may be true, the fact remains that the voters felt otherwise and elected Kaho‘ohalahala to the council seat.      

Here’s an interesting fact to consider: two of the other plaintiffs named in the suit are Reynold “Butch” Gima and John Ornellas. Gima was the campaign manager of Ornellas — one of the other candidates who ran against Kaho‘ohalahala and lost. Sounds like sour grapes from a campaign manager and candidate who lost a race.   

Kaho‘ohalahala ran his campaign fairly and allowed his qualifications and achievements to speak for him. We should all do the same and allow ke Akua to take care of the rest. Pau, lawa kela (finished, that’s enough)!



Aloha. My name is Kai Nishiki. I was born and raised on Maui and deeply love these islands. As the mother of three children, I am committed to shaping a future for Maui that helps our families have an opportunity to both earn a living and enjoy life.

I am the youngest candidate running for the Haiku-Makawao-Paia seat but have the longest experience with the Maui County Council. I grew up around the council. I have spent many hours there advocating for our community and our people. Water, land, oceans, parks, agricultural self-sufficiency, small-town businesses — these are areas where I currently endeavor to help shape sound policy.

I believe that to sit on the County Council, a candidate must be strong in many areas. Three of my strengths are a commitment for research, getting the facts about issues and bringing diverse groups together to find solutions.

As a longtime Maui small businessperson, I will bring an energetic, independent, business and tech-savvy voice to our County Council. My knowledge of county procedures will allow me to go to work for you, from the first day on the job.

We face important decisions ahead — shaping a new economy, protecting our irreplaceable natural and cultural resources and improving our quality of life. If you believe we can do better than the business-as-usual approach to county government, I would be honored to serve as your representative. Like you, I believe a better future is possible if we make wise choices.

KAI NISHIKI, Candidate for Maui County Council