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LETTERS for August 21 issue

By Staff | Aug 21, 2014

Reasons to oppose Kahoma Village

I am writing to clarify my stand on developments. I am not anti-development. I am pro-quality of life. I am in favor of affordable housing. However, I am in opposition to the Kahoma Village subdivision in Lahaina for various reasons.

I believe that it would be a travesty to cover up this rich historical site. Formerly the capitol of the Kingdom of Hawaii, this is the last of the open space on Front Street. It was the homestead to David Malo, the famous Hawaiian historian. It was part of the fishponds built by Kamehameha the Great, who united the islands. This is the land where he gathered his troops.

There are issues relating to lack of adequate infrastructure, but one prominent reason would be to protect the coastal waters off of Baby Beach. It is so important to protect this particular beach, as it is a safe haven for families with small children. The reef protects the keiki, and we need to protect the reef.

The karsts (underground sink holes and caves) provide a super highway for drainage pollutants to enter the ocean. Karsts were also used as burial sites. For these reasons alone, Kahoma Village should be stopped.

Lahaina, in this area, is very congested. The addition of another project will greatly add to existing problems. If one were to look at the projected growth for the West Side, I believe more people would appreciate the effort being made to keep this land as a recreational area and scenic vista.

There are over 4,000 homes projected to be developed in the area from Puamana to Kaanapali above and below the Lahaina Bypass. There are other large entitled and/or proposed West Maui residential projects, including Kapalua Mauka, Kapalua Project District #1, Puukolii Village, Kaanapali 2020, Wainee, and Olowalu. Pulelehua is a large West Maui affordable housing project that was approved by the County Council. Housing is coming. We need to be patient and grow responsibly.

The community plans will be updated. I would like the revised West Maui Community Plan to include community gardens incorporated into the residential areas. It would provide food security, help to defray the cost of living, establish a healthy environment and be a scenic respite from all the concrete. Imagine growing mango and citrus trees and vegetables – a virtual grocery store – in your neighborhood. A place to walk the dogs and an area for the kids to play that encourages community and healthy lifestyles.

I do want affordable housing for people to enjoy – “enjoy” being the operative word here. Overcrowding the existing community is shortsighted and shows lack of consideration for the well-being of others. I believe providing open spaces, parks and gardens within our community will afford people a better quality of life. Life is hard, even in paradise. We must provide places of restoration to help cope with our everyday worries and cares.

Imagine when the thousands of projected residential and commercial properties for all of West Maui are developed. Are these 200 homes worth the price of polluting Baby Beach and covering up with concrete this rich historical land?

Stop the Kahoma Village subdivision before it is too late. It is our last chance to save this land for a community park. We must act together to create the community we desire and leave a legacy for future generations.



Commissioners’ minds were made up on project

Having read the letters section of the Lahaina News (Aug. 7-13), I stumbled upon Mr. Will’s impassioned missive entitled “Planning Commission ignores Lahaina locals.” While I am entirely sympathetic with Mr. Will’s consternation, I admit to being surprised that he was surprised. In some respects, my heart goes out to those poor members of the commission, having to tolerate the tiresome testimony process by pretending to listen to, or care about, what residents and experts had to say on the matter.

For commission members, it must have been like suffering through a double-overtime NFL game when they already knew the final score before the kickoff. This approval decision was a foregone conclusion; hence the breathtaking swiftness with which the matter was concluded following the public meeting. The meeting and testimony process therefore (unfortunately) was reduced to a bit of farce. But as they say, “Even amidst tragedy, there is sometimes farce. The degree of farce depends on who is running the tragedy.”

I found it illuminating that one of the members of the commission was actually devouring his mixed-plate lunch during the entire proceedings and never even looked up! This should have given Mr. Will an inkling that the procedures being undertaken were a “form over substance” exercise. Nothing more, nothing less. The process of affording citizens the right to think they have any influence in such planning decisions is a placebo. Mr. Will elucidates the fact they he felt “COMPLETELY IGNORED BY THE PLANNING COMMISSION.” The obvious response to that declaration would have to be, “Yep!” As Mr. Will points out, the 600 petition signatures objecting to the Kahoma Village proposals were completely ignored. The sheer weight of numbers of those testifying against the project were completely ignored. “Yep” to both.

There was another aspect of Mr. Will’s letter I found to be a bit perplexing. This was his urging of residents to “contact your local officials and express your concerns.” This entreaty – sadly heartfelt and sincere – is also a bit naive and somewhat bizarre.

In the previous paragraphs, Mr. Will acknowledges that he tried to contact local officials numerous times regarding this, but received little and no response. “Yep,” Michael – that’s because all these local officials have already voted in favor of this carbuncle of a project. Just which officials did you have in mind? Elle Cochran (councilor for West Maui) already voted in favor of the project months ago.

Mr. Will mentions the fact that with elections looming, they may actually listen. Unfortunately, it is my estimation that Stanford Carr Corp. and the Weinberg Foundation are in a much better position to support electoral campaigns than local voter resources could. Concerns about safety, sewage, water, reef damage, traffic, congestion, school capacity, etc., pale in comparison with the supremacy of certain entities.

It’s unfortunate your group did not elicit the support of the Surfrider Foundation – the group that successfully forced the Army Corps of Engineers and DLNR to abandon badly-needed improvements to Maalaea Harbor in 2012. If a case could be made that the Kahoma Village project would in any way affect a wave, or water conditions off Lahaina, it would no doubt be stopped in its tracks. I think if demurring residents want to get the attention of Planning Commission members in the future, next time they should bring soy sauce to the meeting. God knows, nothing else works.

LANCE THOMAS, California


GMO companies influence lawmakers

During our 2014 Legislative Session, 15 labeling bills came out of the Senate and House, including food safety bills. One by one, all labeling bills were rejected. The best our legislators could do was to introduce Senate Resolution 85, which would have requested that our Hawaii Congressional Delegation introduce legislation to clarify food labeling requirements pertinent to genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The fact that GMO foods are not labeled eliminates tractability of these products in the food chain and does not allow for the tracking of food illnesses and allergic reactions.

U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics found pesticide use increased by millions of pounds with the planting of genetically engineered crops. The corporations selling genetically engineered crops own the majority of the global pesticide market.

According to Dr. Suzanne Wuerthele, a toxicologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: “The bottom line in my view is that we are confronted with the most powerful technology the world has ever known, and it is rapidly deployed with almost no thought whatsoever to its consequences.”

GMO companies are influencing our elections by contributing to the majority of our leaders. Can we afford to elect leaders who take money from corporations, then protect them while they pollute our Maui?

CHAYNE MARTEN, State House Candidate