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LETTERS for September 3 issue

By Staff | Sep 3, 2015

Camp an innovative idea to help the homeless

I applaud the idea to try something to provide for the homeless. What a wonderful concept. The proposed “transitional homeless” camp, in Lahaina, should be welcomed. It offers hope and a chance for a brighter future for those that need help.

The project is on a trial basis and proposes security measures. How will we know if something will work unless we try it?

It could provide the model for future agricultural homeless communities. How often are you going to find someone, like Peter Martin, to provide an opportunity for an innovative way to address homelessness?

We’re going to need more options, as homelessness will continue to grow when $700,000 is considered affordable. HUD housing guidelines contribute to the problem. The skewed numbers are not affordable for the wages earned in the workforce that is vital to a thriving community. It is reflected in the rental market, making it unaffordable.

As long as the county continues to approve conventional affordable housing projects that operate under HUD guidelines, we will never achieve the necessary housing for our workforce. Hardworking, tax-paying Maui families may never be able to realize the dream of owning a home.

HUD guidelines are effective in many areas, but not for a geographically isolated and desirable place to live, like Maui. Hawaii’s isolated environment justifies other alternatives rather than defunct government guidelines to regulate our affordable housing developments.

If we tolerate the existing affordable housing criterion, then we are responsible for the outcome, which includes homelessness and no chance of homeownership for many. Let’s work together to find a solution to benefit the people that are essential to sustain our tourism industry and support community: the blue collar worker.

We are responsible for the future growth of our islands. Perhaps we could consider Community Land Trust affordable housing. It is truly affordable and in perpetuity. The requirements of the homes being owner-occupied would put an end to outside investors that drive prices up and vacation rentals that make housing availability go down.

Let’s help end homelessness by providing truly affordable Community Land Trust housing. In the meantime, encourage and support the Lahaina homeless camp! It would immediately remediate our dire need to house the “transitional homeless” while providing a model for the “chronically homeless” that is currently living in your “backyard.”

Please advocate for the Lahaina homeless camp and truly affordable housing.



A better location for the proposed homeless camp

Here’s some input for the Planning Commission on the proposed West Maui Homeless Campground. The parcel of land by the south entrance to the Lahaina Bypass off Hokiokio Place is the wrong location for a homeless community. It is unsafe for pedestrians, and has no access to recreational or essential infrastructure services. This inaccessible parcel between two highways would never have been proposed for a campsite by anyone who lives in the West Maui community! It appears that it is only being considered now because a wealthy landowner has an unattractive piece of land he can’t develop. If we are going to offer sustained help for the homeless, the West Maui community needs to be on board with a better plan for it to succeed.

A transitional campground needs to be near our existing infrastructure and community support services. A homeless campground without access to these resources is asking for trouble. Let’s get the right location before we proceed.

A superior location would be the empty fields behind the Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Center, above Shaw Street near Ipu Aumakua Place. This location is safe for pedestrians, has immediate access to existing social services and community medical care, and is walking distance to recreation, grocery shopping and Salvation Army meals. It already has 42 homeless dorm beds and 48 low-income apartments. Some of the other 8-400 West Maui homeless could stay in an adjacent campground on these former cane fields, with extensive community resources already integrated into the location. If our community wants to become a prototype for how to manage the homeless population in a humane way, this would be the place to do it.

Will the landowner still contribute to the homeless solution if the community and homeless are better served with a different location? Could this better location by the Homeless Resource Center be rented for a minimal fee from the landowner for this campground? Will he still donate the bathrooms, showers and laundry facilities that form the sanitary basis for this experiment?

Many of us in West Maui hope the Planning Commission and the landowner will accept our West Maui community input regarding how to best meet the needs of the homeless that are here. Together we may be able to come up with a better plan that really works.



Telescope protests are unnecessary

The controversy over, and disruption of, the construction of the observatories on Haleakala and Mauna Kea are regrettable and I believe unnecessary. No one can really know for certain how those in the past would have thought about any issue, but it is entirely feasible that the early Hawaiians, who were leading explorers in the world and that found Hawaii in the first place, would have approved this effort to further explore our sun and the universe.

Previous generations wanted explanations for their world, but did not have the tools and growing knowledge of science to gain facts as we now can, and attributed much to belief. We can honor and respect that of previous cultures without letting that impede our efforts to gain further knowledge. Just think of the tremendous advances in medicine, transportation, communication, shelter, etc. that have greatly lengthened and enriched our lives – and how it would be if we still had to live in ancient times, because the gaining of knowledge through science that provided these advances was not allowed because of prior beliefs.

The telescopes can provide important information on our sun, in particular, that can affect communication, television and global temperature, which with warming and a rising ocean can adversely affect our Hawaiian Islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean more that most places on Earth. The projects are of key importance to Hawaii and something that we should be proud to provide for the world and all mankind, not impede.

I do not believe that this was handled well at many levels. The granting of a “moratorium” initially only emboldened (as it always does), not placated. As the tale goes, “if you let the camel get its nose under the tent, the next thing you know, the camel will be in the tent.” To those trying to please everyone, you can’t. The responsible way to lead is to decide what is right and explain why. And some newspapers – by announcing the supply convoys’ schedules days ahead and placing big pictures of the protests that resulted on the front pages – only inflame the situation further.

I suspect that to some degree, these protests are brought on by grievances over other issues. What we should do together is to champion the most important contribution from the Hawaiian past – in my book, the true aloha spirit, not just the words, where we ease back a bit, cut each other some slack and treat each other with consideration and friendship. We who respect this in the Hawaiian culture, no matter what our heritage, should join together and prevent the destruction of the aloha way of life by those who import and impose their intensity. That is where our energy should go.



Cleanups slated at Honolua and Windmills

Sept. 18 is the official date of “Get the Drift and Bag It,” so on Saturday the 19th, there will be island-wide cleanups of marine debris. Out at Honolua, we would like to tackle the tsunami debris down at Windmills. DLNR called it a classic Japanese boat, about 20 feet long and five feet wide with an inboard engine. By the end of the day, the boat was all in pieces. Some of the pieces are still quite large, and we will have to cut them up to haul them out.

If you would like to help out, meet by the porta-potties at Honolua Stream Bridge about 8:30 a.m. for coffee; we will begin work at about 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, Sept. 19.

The event is sponsored by the Save Honolua Coalition. Hope to see you there!



Trump is dangerous

In my opinion, one of the reasons Donald Trump is surging in the polls as the top contender in the Republican primary is because he does not wear a political mask like the other contenders. Trump can go without a mask because he is funding solely his own campaign.

In a way, this makes him dangerous. His stance on the immigration issue and his words against “Black Lives Matter” can further divide the country and escalate the type of fears Hitler used against Jews in Nazi Germany.

I agree with Bernie Sanders that Trump is a national disgrace. It is sad that so many Republicans are silent on Trump’s behavior.

It is a scary thought and a bad dream to imagine waking up the next day in November after Election Day and finding that Trump won the election. It could happen; George Bush was given the election in 2000.