LETTERS for July 16 issue
Saltwater reaching Honoapiilani Highway
Twice this past week I drove to the other side in the afternoon before high tide and had my car covered in saltwater. Granted, it is a small car, but this sort of adventure is not good for the undercarriage of any steel vehicle. Okay, what happened to me and my car isn’t newsworthy or probably of interest to anyone.
I have enjoyed reading Louise Rockett’s articles on the road from Lahaina to the Pali. Louise told me about a MOOC (massive open online course) on climate change that we both took. We learned a lot. We learned that stopgap mediations can end up costing a whole lot more than adapting to what is coming.
Leaving the highway where it is and putting up three-foot-high abatements is very obviously not working. The wave action is tearing away at the bottoms and tops of the bunkers, and the water is going over them. In other places where there are no bunkers, the water is washing across the road. The little Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke needs to scurry inland and build a road well above the expected ten-inch rise by 2050, which will take out the road even with hardening.
Give Maui County a fantastic beach park from Olowalu to the Pali; license lunch trucks, surfing, paddling, and snorkeling schools, kiosks on wheels, camping and picnicking. Be generous with the space and build the road mauka.
Developing this space for the enjoyment of both locals and visitors will pay for the road.
NANCY YOUNG, Lahaina
Put old cane haul road into use
The Lahaina Bypass is a stupid, incompetent waste of taxpayers’ money, and it increased the traffic jam.
The bypass took 30 years to build three miles, which in California is often built in a few weeks!
During work rush hours, traffic is still stop-and-go, backed up from downtown Lahaina to Launiupoko Park. Gas is real expensive – people burn it up for a half-hour stuck in line and frustrated. The bypass was SUPPOSED to go to just past the crowded Launiupoko Park, yet it empties into the traffic jam already at Puamana.
Next to the coast highway are abandoned sugarcane fields and an abandoned plantation that left a paved road running right next to the main highway traffic jam. The road just sits there gated up and rarely used. It is as wide as many popular Upcountry and Haiku roads, and the pavement is as good as many of those roads, too.
Maui has been rated the worst roads of any county in the USA by a national survey. Instead of wasting many millions of dollars extending the bypass, why not just buy this cane road, repave it and slightly widen it? It is already wider than the bypass in Paia, which is as wide as a carport house driveway.
The Paia Bypass, by the way, has not ended the stop-and-go, backed up traffic jam to Baldwin Beach Park. Instead, it empties more cars into the traffic jam on Baldwin Avenue. The bypass should go to Kuau; buy the old paved road to Kuau by old Paia School!
STEVE OMAR, Lahaina
Bring U.S. troops home to patrol the borders
Iraq was a check on Iran until we turned it into a sand-dune sinkhole for American troops. ISIS, ISIL or ISISFB (Islamic State Sand For Brains) is just a morphed nomadic Arab tribe that preyed on other nomadic Arab tribes for a thousand years before Jesus Christ was born.
Instead of sending more precious American troops to challenge this depraved culture – which wouldn’t even have an oil industry if they couldn’t nationalize it, which is basically what the Islamic State is doing now with their oil company seizures – send our troops down to patrol the U.S. border with Mexico, and use the troop transport planes to deport illegal immigrants.
Our troops could also help out the FBI, which is admittedly overwhelmed in tracking would-be ISIS recruits and Islamic terrorists.
MICHAEL W. JARVIS, Salt Lake City, Utah
White House should adhere to its openness policies
The President has a new opportunity to ensure that the openness policies laid out on his first day of office do not end on his last day. On Jan. 21, 2009, President Obama signed an executive order and two presidential memoranda to usher in what he called a “new era of openness.”
The presidential memo on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) ordered federal agencies to operate under a clear presumption of disclosure for information requested under FOIA.
Following on the president’s day one FOIA memo, Attorney General Eric Holder issued new guidelines for implementing the presumption of disclosure. Holder’s March 19, 2009 memo states that agencies “should not withhold information simply because it may do so legally,” and strongly encourages agencies “to make discretionary disclosures of information.” The memo also emphasizes that “FOIA professionals should be mindful of their obligation to work ‘in a spirit of cooperation’ with FOIA requesters,” and notes that “[o]pen government requires agencies to work proactively and respond to requests promptly.”
The language in the Presidential memo and subsequent FOIA guidance was praised by transparency proponents, who had called on President Obama to reverse the secrecy trend of the Bush era and issue new directives on openness. The directives marked a transformative shift from the prior administration, when the DOJ instructed agencies to essentially withhold whatever they could under FOIA.
Now, the President should support legislation that ensures that the next administration cannot undo his guidance and resort to the presumption of secrecy that guided agencies in the past. However, much to the chagrin of openness advocates, instead of the hoped-for support of the president for his own language and directions, persistent behind-the-scenes resistance appears to have come from the administration and executive agencies.
It is the time for the president to publicly support the language in the FOIA reform bills moving in Congress.
Two bipartisan Freedom of Information Act bills in the Senate (S. 337) and the House (H.R. 653) will codify the administration’s FOIA policy and guidance while strengthening citizens’ access to public information.
Each contains language that closely mirrors the administration’s instructions on FOIA, which otherwise cannot be guaranteed to last into the next administration. While there are differences in the language, the bills would solidify the presumption of openness, requiring records to be released unless there is a specific foreseeable harm or legal requirement to withhold them.
These FOIA reforms are critical for achieving the unprecedented levels of openness promised by the president, on day one, when he announced that “every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known.”
PATRICE McDERMOTT, OpenTheGovernment.org