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LETTERS for September 11 issue

By Staff | Sep 11, 2014

Hawking is illegal in Lahaina’s Historic Districts

Last month, the Maui County Planning Department held a workshop to inform Lahaina merchants about proposed changes to the Lahaina Historic District Sign Design Guidelines. About 30 merchants attended the meeting along with the county inspector. What resulted from this meeting was an overall, unanimous consensus among those present that the BIGGEST negative issue in Lahaina continues to be “hawking.”

The Maui County Historic District Ordinance states, “It is unlawful for any person to carry on or solicit business in any location on any street, highway or sidewalk…”

What this means, according to the county inspector, is that it is ILLEGAL to stand on the SIDEWALK and CALL OUT to passersby with offers to buy things, get free samples, sign-up for things, etc. Furthermore, it is ALSO ILLEGAL to stand on PRIVATE PROPERTY and CALL OUT to solicit people with such offers. The inspector explained that it is lawful to stand on private property and offer samples, etc., as long as the person is NOT CALLING OUT and soliciting the public.

“Barking,” hawking and soliciting people incessantly as they walk down Front Street is annoying and obnoxious. This behavior has led to the widespread feeling, expressed by residents, tourists and the media, that the Historic District has lost its appeal. A “pleasant stroll” down Front Street is no longer that.

If you would like to help return the charm to Lahaina, please e-mail direct@visitlahaina.com with the date, time, name and business address of the person and/or business engaging in hawking. The LahainaTown Action Committee will then submit your complaint to the county inspector anonymously.

GREG GLUZ, Lahaina


McKelvey supports train as a citizen

I have just read a letter in your publication regarding some of my ideas that I had shared with The Maui News in an effort to possibly save West Maui’s historic Sugar Cane Train. While the person who wrote in did not have any enthusiasm for the ideas that were presented in a brainstorming session, I feel that there were some criticisms put forth that contradict my intentions and were taken out of context.

First and foremost, I’d like to make it clear that my involvement in saving the train is as a private citizen. It stems from a belief that our history in Hawaii is unique, and that the Sugar Cane Train represents the “Plantation Days” from which many of our friends and neighbors have roots. I feel strongly that we should pay tribute to them.

In addition, I wholeheartedly believe that it is a privilege to represent the West Maui community. My staff and I are available to all via e-mail at RepMcKelvey@capitol.hawaii.gov or at (808) 586-6160. Also, I encourage everyone to attend the Talk Story sessions that we hold during the year.



County department should be audited

I think that we need an audit of the County of Maui Solid Waste Division of the Department of Environmental Management. They received the same amount of funding as last year, and they just received this year’s budget monies on July 1, but now they are closing landfills an hour earlier and not picking up rubbish on holidays because of a “shortfall.”

These actions would be more understandable if it were the end of the fiscal year. This reduction in service is hurting community-based economic development. Our small businesses, local landscapers, are not able to work as long, and it cuts into their profits.

In the past, reduction in trash services has led to illegal dumping around the island – not a mindset that we want to go back toward. There has been talk of wanting to avoid fines but no talk about how we will avoid the hundreds of millions of dollars in fines the county is facing for violating the Clean Water Act by continuing usage of injection wells.

Monies were set aside by the council ($25,000) for recycling in West Maui, and yet currently the administration is not allowing the monies to be used. The only place to recycle is the Olowalu landfill, which now closes an hour earlier. We are moving farther and farther away from our recycling goals and curbside recycling plans.

Wastewater and Solid Waste are doing exactly that: wasting resources at great long-term expense to taxpayers. I would like to see more recycling, especially since recycling is a goal that has clearly been embraced by Maui County residents in our Maui Island Plan as well as the state-required Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan (which was made up of community members and set a goal of 60 percent of our waste stream being easy to recycle if we set up the proper processes).

If you care about recycling, vote Paltin for Mayor on Nov. 4; and if you aren’t registered, please register by Oct. 6.



Evidence abundant on the safety of GM crops

Recently, it has been asked if questions about the safety of genetically modified (GM) crops are valid. Of course they are, as we all want our food to be safe. That is the case for GM crops, traditional crops and organic crops. GM crops are unique in that the regulations addressing their safety were designed before they were commercialized and have been continually updated.

New GM crops are scrutinized by three federal regulatory agencies, the USDA, FDA and EPA, and after 18 years of large-scale production in the U.S., there has not been one documented instance of harm attributable to consumption of GM foods. Their overwhelming popularity with U.S. farmers reflects their higher yields, reduced use of inputs and use in conservation tillage, in addition to being safe.

What is the scientific consensus on GMOs? Consensus is defined as general agreement or majority of opinion. The consensus is that GM crops currently available to us pose no greater health risks or environmental concerns than non-GM counterparts (see gmoanswers.com/studies/scientific-consensus-and-gmos). Professional scientific organizations affirming this position include the National Academy of Sciences, American Medical Association, World Health Organization and the Royal Society of London. The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences noted a moral imperative to make the benefits of GM crops available on a larger scale to poor and vulnerable populations.

This consensus was evident in recent presentations to the County Council on the bill for a moratorium on GM crops that will be on the November general election ballot:

The chairperson of the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture said the premises used to build the argument for a moratorium are fallacious.

The deputy director for the State Department of Health said they do not feel that consuming genetically modified food products is a threat to public health.

The head of the Epidemiology Program at the John A. Burns School of Medicine said putting people out of work is devastating to the health of the worker, their family and the community. He described the bill as fallacious, audacious, epidemiological folly, and when asked by a councilman if the bill could be described as unreasonable, he said that would be an upgrade from unethical.

As much as genetics and plant breeding have advanced in recent decades, pesticides have also changed for the better, and today most modern pesticides are extremely low in hazard to us or to the environment:

The USDA released a study of pesticide use from 1960-2008 on the 21 crops that account for 72 percent of pesticide use and found that pesticides have become safer, applied at lower rates, and are less persistent in soil (see www.ers.usda.gov/media/1424185/eib124.pdf).

USDA’s Pesticide Data Program (see www.ams.usda.gov/pdp) annually collects and reports data on pesticide residues in food to help assure consumers that the produce they feed their families is safe. Over 99 percent of the products sampled in the recent PDP report had residues below EPA tolerances (of those that were not below, 86 percent were imported from outside the U.S.).

Our Department of Water Supply recently reported that tests of the drinking water system found no traces of Glyphosate in the 45 samples from 28 locations over a three-month period. Glyphosate (Roundup) is used by homeowners, municipalities and agriculture, is less toxic than baking soda or salt, and is quickly degraded in soil.

There is abundant information and science-based evidence on the safety of agriculture, including GM crops and foods. Denying the evidence in pursuit of political or social agendas risks the jobs and welfare of many citizens, the continued agricultural vitality and innovation in our county, and is bad public policy.



Why we are where we are

Why we are… where we are… for such a time as this? We are the ones ushering in Hawaii’s next era. Our choices will affect history. Whether you are a local or tourist, or part-time resident or transplant, or born and raised, we all will determine what happens next.

Ask yourself what kind of Hawaii do you want to grow up and grow old in? What kind of Hawaii is considered a desirable vacation destination? We need to make the right choices now, as we are at the turning point of Hawaii’s history.

To make Hawaii sustainable by providing food, and have a beautiful environment that will attract more visitors and provide job security, it is quite simple. Start to advocate for local produce and locally raised livestock. When you go to your market for groceries, tell the check-out person, tell the managers, tell the person stocking the shelves – whenever you have the opportunity, simply tell them you want local produce and locally raised meats only. Let your restaurant server, manager and owner know that you want local products. Request comment cards and let them know your desires for a better Hawaii by way of “buying local.”

Our slogan should be, “If it can be grown here… don’t let it be flown here.” It is not always flown here; it often is shipped in by barges. Our produce has been harvested months before and has lost nutrients as well as taste. If you have not tried locally grown fruits and veggies, then you are missing out.

We are tired of taxes, and government regulations, and politicians not listening to us, so here is how we decide Hawaii’s next era. We do not advocate for government regulation to protect the farmers, ranchers and the land. We, the consumers and the buyers for the grocery stores and markets, Costco and restaurants, all join together to start the revolution. It will have growing pains and will affect the cost of goods, but if the landowners, the farmers and ranchers, the consumers (us) and the markets give on all sides, then it will prevail. In the long run, we will benefit, as it will provide more jobs and tourist growth, and those dollars will go back into our local economy.

Have you ever in your life wanted to “change the world?” Here is your chance. We will go down in history – good or bad – on what happens to Hawaii. We have control in this situation, because we all eat and buy our food somewhere.

Please advocate for locally grown food; and, for all us meat lovers, protect the ranchers, too. We will call it the “Pono Policy.” All of us – the consumers, markets and restaurants, the land owners, farmers and ranchers – just “do what is right.”



Pesticides are the key issue

In answer to Don Gerbig’s letter in the Aug. 28 issue, I urge people to vote yes on the GMO moratorium. This is not about shutting down farms, as the chemical companies would have you believe. It’s about the experimental pesticides they are spraying that are wreaking havoc on our environment and reefs, and causing illness and birth defects. THAT IS THE MAIN ISSUE. I want to know if these are safe before they move forward with any more experimentation.

How is this affecting their workers’ health as well? Our government used to say DDT was safe, and doctors used to recommend smoking to calm your nerves back in the 1950s. We now know this is just not so. I urge everyone to research for yourselves the consequences of eating GMOs, and also Roundup and its main ingredient, Glysophate.

These companies are not farmers. They are huge chemical corporations that are not here for our benefit. They have permeated our government as well with their lobbyists and big bucks. There is a reason they are banned in over 60 countries! I have a friend in Lahaina who has tested positive for Glysophate in her body. Give you any message there?



Remembering Anna Ferguson

The joys of life are often the special people who cross our path, and Anna Ferguson was certainly one of those beings who lit up the moment for so many moments for so many os us. Her smile and her essence were a delight. She was always so generous with the myriad pleasures we simply call friendship.

Longtime friend and bartender for 16 years at Longhi’s, she was the epitome of grace and aloha. Anna’s far too early departure at age 36 is a seismic shock wave. We shall never forget your charms, your beauty, your kindness. We shall never forget you.