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LETTERS for December 19 issue

By Staff | Dec 19, 2013

Community must address homelessness and addiction

Kamehameha Iki is my favorite park in Maui. Under its tree sits many, many syringes, drug items, alcoholics and bad thoughts.

This tree lives in my favorite park. It is a beautiful tree that good people should be able to rest under and feel safe. I have helped clean under this tree for ten years with hundreds of people. Today, a group of amazing people were cleaning it again.

What can we do to fix this problem? Wake up, LAHAINA. We cannot turn our backs on this SERIOUS problem of homelessness and addiction. What can we do? It’s the ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM.

It’s a tough subject, but I want to help motivate some action. I can’t do this alone. I know I’m not ALONE, but it has to make all the local people sad when they see hundreds of homeless in our small town in their backyard.

How do we help them, or what is a solution?

MATT LANE, Lahaina


Limited turtle season should be implemented

There has been an unusual amount of shark attacks on Maui lately.

Much like the increase of great white sharks along the West Coast of the Mainland, this is caused by an increase in the food supply. On the Mainland, it is the protection (and explosion in the population) of seals.

Over here, it is the increasing population of turtles. After the release of the movie “Jaws” in the 1970s, nobody could get enough of seeing a “man-eater” hanging up at Lahaina Harbor.

Much like a tom cat protecting his territory, the stomachs of these sharks were filled with smaller sharks that the big males did not want to grow up. After a couple years of this killing spree, there were so many smaller sharks growing up

that the Coast Guard literally had to sit outside Lahaina Harbor and shoot sharks!

The turtle lovers will hate the idea, but we need to consider a limited season of taking turtles. We used to serve turtle in a half shell of pineapple at the old Pineapple Hill restaurant. I still have a head of hair, so I never did find out if the rumor that eating the meat would make you go bald.

Sharks have an important job of keeping the ocean clean. We have to remember we are in “their world” in the sea and respect this aumakua.



Surf Patrol helps keep visitors safe

A Maui Surfing Association division called the Surf Patrol was founded in 2001 to help rescue and protect people at dangerous surf spots where there are no county lifeguards stationed.

The Surf Patrol also uses its volunteers to clean the trash off of all the beaches where it is observed. Members are involved in ocean and beach environmental work and issues. Members warn tourists of unexpected and hidden dangers on top of the water and below the surface.

To find out if you qualify for membership in the Surf Patrol, contact Steve Omar at (805) 904-8099 or sweglessteve@yahoo.com. Membership is $20, which includes a T-shirt, printing registrations and Surf Patrol documents.

STEVE OMAR, Maui Surfing Association President, Surf Patrol Executive Director


Use stones instead of signs

What’s up with the giant green logos at Wahikuli Park and along Front Street?

Don’t you think – minus the green paint – they should be used out of sight for beach erosion?

Stones (pohaku) should replace these signs for a more natural look.

Roundness is more pleasing to the eye. Subliminally, it breaks up the hard edge of black asphalt and white lines and blends in with the vegetation and the softness of the ocean.



A busy year for Maui Tomorrow

Mele Kalikimaka and Hauoli Makahiki Hou!

As another year comes to a close, among our many toasts, resolutions and celebrations, Maui Tomorrow pledges to continue as Maui’s premier watchdog organization for the enforcement of Hawaii’s environmental and land use laws.

It’s the time of year to count our blessings and make plans for a new year. We consider you one of our greatest blessings, as your continued support makes our efforts possible!

Below is a snapshot of Maui Tomorrow’s priorities in 2013. We hope you agree that Maui Tomorrow continues to be your voice in planning a sustainable future for the island we love.

We’ve made great strides in our Clean Air for Keiki campaign (www.cleanairforkeiki.org) in the last year, meeting with the state Department of Health/Clean Air Branch and EPA Region 9, which resulted in those agencies placing tighter restrictions of HC&S’s 2013 burn permit; and obtaining a second air quality monitor placed in Paia (for many years, we’ve only had one in North Kihei). We’ve asked EPA for a third monitor somewhere in Wailuku in order to monitor air quality in the entire central valley of Maui.

Through the efforts of our Clean Air for Keiki campaign, the state’s Clean Air Branch issued smoke violations to HC&S and, for the first time ever, a fugitive dust violation.

Most exciting is our CleanAirMaui smartphone app, which empowers the community to report excessive smoke, ash and dust violations from their phones with accurate GPS location, time and date stamp, and photo. This information goes directly to EPA Region 9, the state Department of Health’s Clean Air Branch and the County of Maui’s Mayor’s Office.

Changing weather patterns and a growing population, with homes and schools now located in areas once unaffected by HC&S field practices, have increased adverse health impacts to our community, so adapting to 21st century sustainable practices makes sense. Australia’s sugar industry can serve as an example. Environmental awareness came when the industry developed a Code of Practice for Sustainable Cane Growing, addressing key environmental issues and adopting green harvesting and trash blanketing for over 80 percent of their crop. Australia has dramatically reduced the need for cane burning, while trash blanketing has increased organic matter in the soil and protected it from erosion. They see sustainability as a basis for ensuring long-term viability and a guarantee that future generations will continue to produce sugar – for a profit.

A major victory in 2013 was the recent announcement that the proposed Wailea 670 development has boosted the size of its native plant and cultural preserve from 40 to 130-plus acres. Six years of work by Maui Tomorrow staff and volunteers advocating for this important resource has made a huge difference.

We’re also moving ahead with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources on Makena State Park issues and an updated master plan for the park. As part of the Oneloa Coalition, we’re working to restore Paniaka Fishpond at Makena and are in meetings with the new partners in Makena Resort to keep pushing for preservation of cultural and environmental resources if and when the resort moves forward.

We’ve also joined forces with other local organizations to form the Friends of Kanaha, a coalition working to protect wetlands and endangered flora and fauna in Central Maui.

Water issues continue to be a major push. We supported several community groups in their recent 2nd Circuit Court victory asking the County of Maui Department of Water Supply to keep its promises of thorough research before proposing expensive wells in Haiku to service future South Maui growth.

We’re working with county staff to promote increased use of recycled water, reuse of gray water and the protection of areas up-slope of all public wells. We continue work to restore stream flow in Na Wai Eha in the West Maui Mountains, educating the public about the importance of this natural aquifer recharge in the face of ongoing drought and changing weather patterns. We participated in a recent study that found in algae blooms at Maalaea Bay significant levels of Diuron, a carcinogenic weed killer that can decimate coral reefs, in runoff from local cane fields into Maalaea Bay. With these findings, we begin a dialogue with Maui County and large agricultural interests to develop sustainable practices to keep polluted runoff from entering near shore waters.

Earlier this year, we prevailed at the state Land Use Commission in requiring greater scrutiny over a proposed mega mall in North Kihei. We’re currently appealing a Special Management Area (minor) Permit for a proposed project in Paia that circumvented the legal process that protects public participation and allows for citizen testimony before the Maui Planning Commission.

We continue to be Maui’s foremost organization to take legal actions when necessary, and we are proud to serve as the local watchdog for enforcement of Hawaii’s environmental and land use laws.

Maui Tomorrow is proud to be a member of the newly formed Hawaii chapter of the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association. This association is dedicated to preserving, protecting and enhancing the beaches, shores and other coastal resources of America.

On Maui, 78 percent of our beaches have eroded over the past century, with an island-wide average shoreline change rate of 13 centimeters per year. As state and county agencies consider more shoreline hardening projects, Maui Tomorrow works to encourage our elected officials to implement sea level rise adaptation programs, invest more funds to purchase key vulnerable lands and promote a statewide retreat from our moving shoreline.

Maui Tomorrow thanks our incredibly generous patrons over the years. Your support makes our work possible and is much appreciated. As 2013 comes to a close, we humbly ask for your continued financial support into the new year, as we advocate and educate in order to protect Maui’s future.

IRENE BOWIE, Executive Director, Maui Tomorrow