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LETTERS for August 2 issue

By Staff | Aug 2, 2012

Watch out for pedestrians!

I am writing to you to blow off steam regarding how ignorant people can be with pedestrians in crosswalks, specifically at Lahainaluna Road and Kuialua Street. I use this crosswalk on my walks to Lahainaluna with my stroller and kids in tow daily.

On numerous occasions, I would be standing at the crosswalk waiting to cross, and drivers ignore the fact that there is a crosswalk there, or that I am in the crosswalk halfway through the street, and they drive towards me as if I am a target.

This area is close to the elementary school. Is this how drivers of this area treat pedestrians, especially children? As drivers, we need to respect pedestrians, since it means one less car polluting our area. What will it take for drivers to take pedestrians seriously? An accident? An injury? A ticket?

I know it is ridiculous to ask the police for constant monitoring, but it will make this area safer for every pedestrian, young and old.



Everyone has a story to tell

I want to personally say mahalo to Walter Chihara of the Lahaina News for his front page article in the June 21 issue in reference to my self-published book entitled “Ka ‘Aina, Ke Kai, a me Ke Kanaka, He Mau Kako’o Nohona Mau a Mau, The land, ocean, and man, partners for eternity. Maui & Beyond,” a self-published volume of a pilgrimage of life experiences, observations, thoughts and wisdom.

Unknowingly, I began my self-published volume 30 years ago on an electric typewriter. As time passed, I would update articles (environmental along with personal life pilgrimages). Articles soon became chapters, and as of March 2012, a 340-page volume with more than 250 images, including a 50-minute DVD slide presentation, and a personal book-marker became a reality. I often remind myself in my endeavors, “It’s all about the journey.”

As mentioned in Walter’s article, I sold out of my first printing of 200 books in four weeks, having personally signed each book. At present, I have nearly sold out of my second printing, also personally signing each book, and for the most part delivering each book to family homes here on Maui. Other copies have been forwarded to the U.S. Mainland, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

What has been a heartfelt experience is that in delivering each book here on Maui, I have been invited into many homes for refreshments, sometimes lunch and even dinner, sharing stories from both sides. I leave realizing that “EVERYONE HAS A STORY TO TELL.” It has become a heartfelt privilege as to the aloha I have received, which is a unique characteristic of life here in Hawaii.

I will always have books available to personally sign, but will now be looking into the larger market, such as REI, outdoor magazines, etc.

Information and availability of my self-published volume can be found on my website at www.hawaiiwhalesrus.com under “Richard’s New Book.” I ask that you please contact me through my e-mail address listed on my website.

Once again, mahalo to Walter Chihara and to the many old and new friends I have made.



The need for fiscal responsibility at OHA

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser recently reported that the state Council on Revenues lowered the revenue projection for the next fiscal year, which prompted Gov. Abercrombie’s administration to cut back the state’s spending.

This is not surprising. When revenues are down, everyone cuts back on spending. Everyone except OHA.

Trustees Keep on Spending – Our new CEO, Ka Pouhana Kamana’opono Crabbe, has been working diligently to cut our budget wherever possible and to streamline operations to save money, but there are still trustees who insist on spending more.

This extra spending puts enormous pressure on our dwindling resources at a time when OHA has already accepted major financial commitments such as Waimea Valley, ownership of the Kaka’ako Makai Settlement Properties and other commitments, such as the $3 million per year for 30 years debt service for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and funding for organizations such as Alu Like Inc. and the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, that have made their way into our annual budget. These are huge amounts of revenues being contracted to these entities. Add to this the grants and annual operational expenses, and we are maxed out.

A Constant Issue – Overspending has been a long-standing problem at OHA. In April of 2004, our money committee chair asked for a legal opinion that would allow OHA to spend more of the Native Hawaiian Trust Fund. He even questioned whether it’s even appropriate to build the trust at all.

I have consistently argued against OHA’s 5 percent spending policy and strongly recommended that it be reduced instead to 4 percent, at least until the economy fully recovers again. Even Kamehameha Schools operates at a lower spending rate than 5 percent.

Fiscal Restraint – In these tough economic times, there are nearly 100 nonprofit organizations asking for OHA grants each year. While giving the money away will make OHA very popular in the short-term, we should be focusing on the long-term health of the Native Hawaiian Trust Fund.

We have worked carefully for two decades to build the trust to over $300 million. I would hate to see this relatively modest amount shrink down to nothing in shortsighted spending sprees that force us to realign our budget several times a year and draw more money from our corpus (trust). What other organization does this?

Greater Transparency – I have recommended time and time again that OHA needs to take its proposed budget out to the community, so that our beneficiaries can give us their input and tell us what their needs are.

This was the common practice of OHA in the past, and I believe it helped OHA to develop a budget that was more in-sync with our beneficiaries’ concerns.

I will continue to press OHA’s money committee chair to take our next proposed budget out to the community, as required by law, including the Neighbor Islands.

So which path will OHA’s leadership take? It has long been understood that OHA is a “temporary” organization that will someday be dissolved and its assets transferred over to the new Hawaiian Nation.

So the critical policy question is: “Will OHA continue to be a ‘temporary’ organization that will give the Hawaiian Nation the assets it needs to survive, or will OHA continue to spend freely and shrink the Trust Fund?”

OHA desperately needs trustees who will make the tough decision to focus on building toward a more permanent, long-term goal instead of taking the easy and popular path of shortsighted spending.

In this election year, OHA beneficiaries should look carefully at the candidates running for OHA trustee and choose individuals who will take OHA in a more fiscally responsible direction.

What has been sorely lacking is for trustees to prioritize our spending and focus on the things that our beneficiaries need and NOT use OHA’s “Strategic Plan,” which is at best a wish list of too many things and does not focus on the top priorities of our people.

NOT listing priorities leaves the door wide open for certain trustees to continue to fund anything and everything while neglecting meaningful programs in healthcare and housing.

As long as trustees keep drawing money out of our corpus, or trust fund, we are taking money away from future generations of Hawaiians. After all, what is a nation without assets?

ROWENA M. AKANA, Trustee-at-Large, Office of Hawaiian Affairs


Kaahui a ‘no-show’ for Akaku forum

It was interesting to watch the Akaku televised Candidate Forum last evening, July 24. Our West Maui representative for the Tenth District of the Hawaii House, Angus McKelvey, was present, and he explained his positions and accomplishments for those of us residing in his district.

Keeping the Lahaina Bypass moving along, repairs to Lahaina Harbor, improvements to Lahainaluna High School, repairs to Highway 30, etc. Mr. McKelvey is working hard and seeing to it that us West Side folks’ concerns are being heard and addressed. The proof of that is quite evident, as far as I am concerned.

However, I found it quite disturbing that Mr. McKelvey’s opponent in the primary, Mr. Edward H. Kaahui, was not at this televised forum. He was a “no-show.” That does not speak too well for this candidate. Will he also be a “no-show” in the House?