LETTERS for February 17 issue
CEMENT PENINSULAS ON THE HIGHWAY ARE DANGEROUS
The new section of highway through Lahaina is quite an improvement. The lanes are wide, there are trees and grass, and a sidewalk for pedestrians. With all these improvements, I have to ask, what was the thinking behind completely blocking the bike lanes at Shaw, Dickinson and Lahainaluna with cement peninsulas?
These peninsulas are death traps that force bicyclists and moped riders into the right-hand traffic lane to get around them. The motor vehicle traffic moves at a minimum of 40 miles an hour and is usually much faster. Combine that with the right lane being the lane of choice for large trucks and you have mere inches for a margin of error.
These death trap peninsulas must be removed as soon as possible or someone will be horribly maimed or killed.
LILLIAN NEQUAM, Lahaina
RESTORE HOME VALUES TO SUPPORT THE ECONOMY
I agree with President Obama that it’s time for the issues to take action priority over political party rhetoric. America’s economy is in crisis, and its cancer is spreading. I propose the single most effective inoculation to prevent the spreading of this economic cancer destroying our nation is restoration of equity in the American Dream and stability of home ownership.
I don’t know of any single action that would do more to restore our national economy than restoring equity in owner occupied homes. The American Dream is fundamentally based on the ideal of home ownership and what that represented. It’s been hit with the cancer of sudden loss of value, and instability and chaos resulted.
Restore equity immediately by a federal program patterned after the VA Loan Guarantees, whereby federal appraisers assist owner occupants by setting value based on insurance industry “replacement cost values” instead of unstable market values.
Veterans have been using VA guaranteed loans for years successfully, but home values went upside down due to instability of market prices, which destroyed equity. Had the owner occupied home appraisal and loan guarantee been based on “replacement cost values,” as used by the insurance industry, that would not be the case.
Start with veterans and military first; then the program could be expanded beyond the veterans who qualify for VA guaranteed loans to the public sector as well. Make federally guaranteed appraised valuations and applications for qualifications processed to a department of the federal government, who will scrutinize the application and work with that owner’s lender. Importantly, the assistance is between the homeowner, and the lenders must comply with the terms.
Certainly, there will be risk and some costs associated with implementing this federal program with Americans who own and occupy their homes. The immediate funding mechanism is a reduction in foreign aid equal to the estimated costs of the program.
Americans are in crisis, and this may be the single most efficient and prudent way to restore confidence across the nation and spur renewed vigor, curing the cancer with no other meaningful remedy that can do as much good as fast as this can. The help goes directly to the American people and not the banks that already got their bailout. The foreign aid recipients must agree with our position to save our country’s economy now so we can help them again later. As the warning light goes on and the oxygen masks fall, are we not to put ours on first, so we can then help those who need assistance?
JOSEPH D. PLUTA, Lahaina
CHAPEL APPRECIATES CHINA BOAT’S SUPPORT
The young people of Kumulani Chapel are so grateful to Kahana’s “new” China Boat restaurant for graciously supporting our fundraising program to send young people to summer camp who could not otherwise afford it.
Until Feb. 28, anyone eating there and giving a discount flyer to the waiter will have 20 percent of their bill donated to this cause. Flyers are available through the website: kumulanichapel.com
In June, a group of 28 middle and high school students and their chaperones will go to Hume Lake campgrounds in California — one of the foremost and well-equipped summer camps in the world. There, they’ll have one of the greatest spiritual and vacation experiences of their lives.
The Hawaiian spirit and ‘ohana has certainly been shown by the “new” China Boat management. Our heartfelt thanks.
RICK AVILA, Director of Youth Ministries, Kumulani Chapel, Lahaina
PRESERVE LAHAINA’S HISTORY
As a returning visitor after a 12-year hiatus, I was glad to read the Lahaina News article about the endangered historical town of Lahaina. I felt compelled to write and tell you how shabby the town is becoming and also very trashy, much like what has happened to new orleans in the past few years. Please don’t let that happen here!!! Glad to see someone is watching and noticing, too!
VICTORIA CASPERSON, Wisconsin
TAYLOR WILL BE A CAPABLE WATER DIRECTOR
I saw on Akaku: Maui Community Television the County Council Policy Committee meeting that interviewed David Taylor for confirmation as water director. For the first time, I heard someone explain in easily understood language the reasons for the water problems Upcountry. Anyone on the water meter list should try to watch that interview. In my opinion, the man is brilliant, very blunt and honest, and I think he can make a great water director if the council does its part of their shared job.
The problems with the water system are matters of fiscal policy, not engineering problems. Who pays? How much? Is making the cost short-term or long-term the right way? When those on the list get water meters, someone has to pay for new infrastructure. Sources could be available, if the county can use the Hamakuapoko wells, or if the county can “force” conservation by water rates, or if the county issues bonds to drill wells that all users or all taxpayers have to pay for. New distribution lines can cost $100,000 or more per person. Does the new user pay or the county? How does the county pay — higher rates, bonds, higher taxes?
Alan Arakawa made the dumb promise that people on the list would get their meters in a few months. It was a political ploy and totally unrealistic. Please do not hold Taylor responsible for that stupidity. Just be grateful that Alan and hopefully the County Council are smart enough to want Taylor as water director.
SALLY RAISBECK, Wailuku
TAKE KULA HOMES OFF THE MARKET
I have been analyzing Kula’s real estate market for the past four years. I can say for sure that December 2010 and January 2011 have been the worst times ever in this part of Maui.
Home prices have fallen down so dramatically that you can practically buy a house for as much as 50 percent less than what it will cost you to build one.
It all started as soon as the vacation rentals were eliminated in North Shore Maui, driving real estate prices down in Upcountry. This continued with the sluggish economy.
There are two types of people who are selling their homes in Kula in today’s terrible market: the financially desperate person, and the unwise/impatient person who simply wants to cash out in the lowest real estate market ever and does not mind a huge loss.
The truth of the matter is that in the last couple of years, just a very few new houses were built in Kula, The market will adjust itself, and the inventory of “good deals” will run out.
The prediction is that in a couple of years, it will all be a different picture. If you have a house for sale in Kula, my advice to you is take it off the market, take it off the MLS — don’t fall into the trap. By having less inventory, the prices will start going up.
DAN ZOFI, Kula