LETTERS for August 25 issue
TAKE BETTER CARE OF LAHAINA TOWN
I am a resident of Lahaina who walks through town every day, and I see how dirty and neglected it has become. There are hundreds of cigarette butts on the beaches, sidewalks and streets. The sidewalks are black with the buildup of spilled soft drinks, ice cream cones and chewing gum, and next to the seawall, erosion has caused hazardous “craters.” Periodically, the craters are filled with ugly patches. The seawall deteriorates; the posts painted now and then to cover the cracks.
Recently, I talked with a couple of longtime visitors to Maui. They said that Lahaina was not always this way, and they are saddened by the deterioration. We invite tourists to come to West Maui — to Lahaina — to enjoy the beaches and the history. These visitors bring a large portion of Maui County’s tax dollars.
Maybe it’s time for us to take care of what we have before our visitors decide to go somewhere else. Maybe it’s time to take pride in our beautiful town.
SOLOMON M KAPULE, Lahaina
MY LAST TRIP TO LAHAINA
I have just left Lahaina for the very last time. I am a frequent visitor to this beautiful island paradise, always enjoying that Aloha Spirit of everyone I meet.
Today, I was sadly disappointed while shopping in Lahaina. Of course, like hundreds of visitors just like me, I cruised Front Street in search of a parking space. On the second sweep through the town with no luck in finding a parallel parking place, I parked in the “free three-hour” lot. I was lucky enough to find a space that someone else was leaving. Quickly, I pulled in and locked up my car to start my shopping trip to purchase gifts for waiting family and friends at home.
When I got to my first shop and found that gift, I realized that in my haste, I left my wallet on the front seat of my car. I hurried back to the parking lot, only to find a police cruiser parked behind me. Now I was only gone no more than a few minutes — certainly not three hours.
I walked over to the police car and waited for him to finish what he was doing. I asked the officer if there was a problem, and he replied that me and about eight other cars were parked in a bus area. He pointed to faded lettering that was on the surface of the parking lot and signage that was on the other side of the parking lot. I told him that people driving into the lot would have a difficult time reading the faded lettering, and the signage was on the other end of the parking lot.
His answer to this was to walk over and put the $60 parking ticket under my windshield wiper and walk away. I was flabbergasted. Is the beautiful town of Lahaina now preying on its customers with questionable parking violations to aid the town’s coffers? Don’t they realize that this will ultimately impact Lahaina’s shop owners?
Since I had already gotten ticketed, I sat in the car for a few minutes and warned other people who pulled in about the unseen danger of the policeman, showing them my ticket.
I wonder how much money Lahaina is taking in a day on violations in just that one parking lot? Well, Lahaina will not see me again or my money!
BARBARA EIGNER, Las Vegas, Nevada
LAHAINA CANOE CLUB APPRECIATES SUPPORT
As any administrator of a nonprofit would undoubtedly agree, sometimes it’s a pain in the ass to constantly have to reach to the community in order to accomplish tasks large and small. We generally have our “go to” call list — large businesses, hotels, successful business associates, etc. And our appreciation for their generous and regular contributions truly is unyielding; we know we can call on them time and again, and if able, they will most frequently say “yes!” For that, and to them, we “administrators” shout a loud mahalo! A mahalo that is usually never really spoken in earnest and likely well overdue.
Once in a while we will get in a serious jam and require a special skill set of HELP! Not something that a cash donation or a certificate or meeting room will assuage. Recently, Lahaina Canoe Club found itself in just such a predicament, with less than two weeks before the State of Hawaii outrigger canoe regatta championships held at Hanakao’o Beach in Lahaina.
Lahaina CC, founded in 1971, desperately needed a facelift. Specifically, in the arena of its facade and the paint job — or lack thereof — its hale had been sporting.
Here is where that most generous support of special skill comes in…
Don Mayo of Don’s Custom Painting was contacted by a lifetime member of LCC who asked for help. Don agreed to see what could be done in such a short time frame. Well, we had no idea what would happen, but a magical transformation occurred — one which completed a long journey for Lahaina CC.
The details to this story are broad; suffice it to say that Don — along with his crew of Gio Martinez and Robert F.Y. Raisen, and vendors Benjamin Moore Paint, Paul Tamashiro and Rainbow State Painting in Honolulu, Floor and Tile Roof Coating, Sherwin Williams, Rich Behn and Johnathan — pulled a serious rabbit out of their hats!
So, as president of Lahaina Canoe Club and a matter of sincere appreciation and service, I would like to publicly acknowledge the most generous donation of time, labor, product and expertise. Don, we never had any doubts! You can all reach Don’s Custom Painting at (808) 662-0087 — clearly they come highly recommended!
ADAM QUINN, Lahaina Canoe Club
PROTECT TURTLES’ HABITAT
We at the Hawaii Wildlife Fund want to publicly thank the County Council and the Land Use Committee for sending the request from Iwa ‘Ike LLC for a District Boundary Amendment from Agricultural to Urban to subdivide 2.79 acres located at Makena-Keoneoio Road in Makena, and Pine State Limited’s request for a District Boundary Amendment to change the State Land Use District Classification from Agricultural to Rural for a two-lot subdivision on approximately 1.395 acres located at Makena-Keoneoio Road back to the Maui Planning Commission for review and recommendation.
What this means in layman’s terms is that a couple landowners near Oneloa “Big” Beach in the Makena State Park were asking to be able to build more houses than current land use designation permits.
We support keeping the zoning surrounding Makena State Park in low-density designation such as agriculture. One beach in the Makena State Park, Oneloa Beach, across the street from this property in question is an excellent nesting beach and critically important habitat for our native species of turtle, the hawksbill turtle. This turtle, which has special meaning to the native culture, is called honu ‘ea in Hawaiian and is endemic to our state, meaning that we’re not going to get any outside recruits from anywhere else, so we have to malama the ones we have here in Hawaii Nei!
One thing to note about these turtles is that they return to nest in the area near their natal beach (where they were born) 15-40 years before. These beaches were not so built-up back then! That is the reason Hawaii Wildlife Fund exists — to give Hawaii’s marine animals a leg up in life, since their habitat has been so dramatically changed over the years. We are in support of keeping the land surrounding the park as unchanged as possible.
Also, the Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve is nearby. It’s one of the few places in Hawaii that has a relatively healthy coral reef ecosystem, which is becoming more and more rare these days. One theory is the lack of development surrounding the reserve because of the amount of dry lava around this area — which makes it hard to build — and the low-density land designations protecting the area! This is a great place for visitors and locals alike to snorkel and see many green sea turtles proliferating.
Thanks for your help to keep these special habitats protected from overdevelopment and as pristine as possible!
ANGELIKA HOFMANN, Hawaii Wildlife Fund
LIGHT BRINGERS HELED ME
I first became aware of Light Bringers approximately 20 years ago while working at 505 Front Street. Being curious, I started talking to some of the guys in line each week. I learned that Light Bringers was a well-kept secret, an oasis in paradise, for those in need going through hard times.
I thought, “Oh, that could never happen to me.” And then the bottom fell out from under me. Before I knew it, I was one of many in line at Light Bringers. The restaurant I was working in changed owners, I lost my place, used up all my savings and couch surfed at all my friends’ houses until I couldn’t stand it. Late night partying, cigarette smoke, cat hair — all that made it hard to get up in the morning and look for work.
So, resourceful guy that I am, I took to the beach. I found a guy I knew with a catamaran, and he let me stay on it as security (so to speak). It was perfect: a five million-star hotel without a jacuzzi. And the living was easy. Breakfast at Light Bringers, followed by job searching in the mornings, which turned out to be lucrative rapidly. I was assistant manager at a nearby new surf shop in the day and bartending at night on the dinner cruise. One has to be industrious if you choose to survive.
Dinners at Light Bringers were donated by some of the most wonderful restaurants from Kaanapali to Lahaina. The crowds grew bigger and bigger as word spread that there was help in Lahaina for displaced families and homeless folk. During the day, you could come wash your clothes, watch a movie or help prep a meal for the evening. The crowd began to grow.
Soon, we had a workforce and a truck to offer skilled and unskilled jobs on a daily basis. There is nothing like giving a man the self-respect that he can get paid an honest day’s wage. For a day’s work, take a shower, wash clothes, eat a hearty meal and prepare for the next day. Light Bringers brought dignity to those living outside; a stepping stone so to speak. A took to getting back on their feet.
There was no coddling of the homeless — only direction and spiritual guidance (opportunities). The powers that be saw it different, calling it the cause of homelessness in Lahaina, and it was shit down. Where do you think all those folks went? Some disappeared into the bushes, some kept their heads up and succeeded, some succumbed to despair (again) and withered away and died.
Some of us kept the dream alive, saw the problem and prayed and prayed that someday, someone will realize that Light Bringers really helped those in need at a time of need. But there is always someone out there who is against anything positive for the people. But we’re not giving up. Long live Light Bringers!
RICKY EDISON, Lahaina
MAUI MUST GET SERIOUS ABOUT CRIME
I have lived in Lahaina over 24 years and came here to work in a small resort in Napili. And when my husband died, I decided to stay on Maui, because the people were so kind and beautiful and always helped each other. I always felt safe because the crime rate was so low. Maybe I was wrong.
On a recent Tuesday night, I was working at a shop on Front Street. My car was parked behind the store, where I thought it was safe. I had seen young people back there either smoking or drinking, but not really causing any trouble. I had told several police officers, who promised they’d check it out and keep an eye on that parking area.
I checked on my car about 9 p.m. and all was, as usual, OK. However, at 9:15 p.m., when I went out to put things in my back seat, the car was gone. Of course I called 911 and made a report.
I’ve talked to several of my friends, and most all of them have family or other friends who have had cars stolen in the last couple of years. The police tried to tell me that car theft has nothing to do with the advancing drug problems on Maui. I do not agree. These cars are being taken night and day from work, shopping malls and even from homes.
I’m very upset and sad to see our Police Department becoming so lax as to allow such an increase in crime, whether it be car theft or not. What’s next? Is our island losing its aloha and becoming like the Mainland?
I know a lot of our budget has been taken from law enforcement and put in other places — maybe the visitor industry, which is important — but does it outweigh our safety and that of our family? Like I said before, what’s next — robbery, assault, rape or even murder? I know this is being a bit far-fetched, but unless we stop it NOW, that’s what will happen. Bring the aloha back to Maui and get rid of the people out to take from others. Make Maui the safe, beautiful place it used to be.
ROBERTA TARSIA, Lahaina