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LETTERS for October 22 issue

By Staff | Oct 22, 2015

No need to build a new bypass

How can the Department of Public Works be so naive to propose spending $36 million on a newer Lahaina Bypass when we already have a great and expensive one that was recently completed? The reason for the downtown rush hour traffic jam is that the drivers causing it refuse to use the bypass! Ever notice how few cars come out of the bypass where it ends at Puamana, at a new red light that only increased the traffic delay?

The traffic jam continues to Launiupoko Park, because the county never finished it like proposed 35 years ago. That park is tremendously crowded and popular, and it is over-filled on weekends and holidays, causing more traffic jams.

I proposed that the alternative is to buy the old paved cane road from Puamana to Olowalu instead of the new proposal to buy the one from Puamana to the other end of Lahaina, because we already have that bypass. Both routes are owned by Pioneer Mill, which went out of business over a decade ago, and are just sitting there empty of traffic.

However, the county proposed to buy the wrong, useless part of that road. It is also far less expensive to repave and widen an existing road than the county idea of using bulldozers to carve out a new road out of rugged terrain!

Another blunder the county has supported unopposed is the absolutely useless, multi-million dollar new highway from Costco to the international airport. I used the existing airport highway two to four times per day most weekdays during the last four years and have NEVER ever seen traffic! No stop and go, backed up vehicles, and at all times of the day, vehicles are at the speed limit, both directions, with one lane even nearly empty. There is no rush hour traffic. It was good the state built the bypass from Walmart to Costco to end the traffic jam on Dairy Road toward the airport, but it should have stopped there. Money could be better spent widening the narrow, 1930s style, dilapidated road around the north end of Maui and improving the bridges!

In 1980, the “Storm of the Century” wiped out Lahaina with wind gusts over 100 miles per hour. The town was badly flooded, and fallen trees blocked roads. Thirty-foot storm waves crashed over the highway south of Olowalu, and the northern alternative road was destroyed by flooding at canyon bottoms. Tourists, locals and business shipments were trapped in Lahaina for days, and nobody could drive in or out from Kahului, Kihei, Wailuku, etc. The West Maui Airport was flooded, and 60-100 MPH winds closed it. Over 20 boats were sunk off and in Lahaina, as 30-foot waves broke over the top of Lahaina Harbor and crashed on boats inside, threw other boats on top of the breakwater and seawalls, and wrecked boats on beaches. Supplies could not get in and out of Lahaina by land, sea or air. All the grocery stores, restaurants, cafes and hotels ran out of food. There was no electricity for five days in much of Lahaina.

The county and state have had 35 years to widen and improve an escape route in and out of town around the north side of Maui to prepare for a future hurricane or flood, and they have learned nothing from that disaster. They have had 35 years to move the existing southbound coastal highway far inland from the big waves that nearly every year wash over that road for a day or two (this summer, they did).

Instead, the state (with county approval) wastes money on a useless airport highway bypass. There is also an urgent need for a REAL Paia Bypass, because the existing one, as narrow as a home driveway and one-way only, does nothing to prevent the daily traffic jam to Baldwin Park of frustrating stop and go traffic. It only creates another traffic jam into Baldwin Avenue.

The county or state should buy the paved cane road from the old high school in Paia area to past Kuau – far cheaper than spending five to ten years building a new bypass. The existing bypass does nothing to stop the daily terrible jam coming from Kuau, from the community center to the opposite end of Paia. The county has a sorry history of expensive, useless roads and ignoring solutions.



Follow the money in West Maui

I have just read the letter from Elaine Gallant and compliment her on an extremely eloquent and insightful thought on the existence of the pueo and other creatures that are gradually being shoved out of their ancestral homes. Barring a couple of grammar glitches, such as lays instead of lies and affect instead of effect (English majors are incredibly irritating in their corrections of others’ grammatical errors), the letter was a gem.

Here’s a thought from somebody who has been here pushing 40 years. Have you ever heard the song “Stranglehold” by Ted Nugent? It goes on and on and on for about 15 minutes, but it describes exactly what the timeshare industry on Maui has done.

I was in the timeshare business for awhile against my better judgment, because I love Maui and know that timeshare will eventually destroy what it once was. I have friends in the business, and this is not a condemnation of them. You have to do what you have to do when you live here, and destroying the environment is just part of the collateral damage.

But timeshare is going to strangle this island until we can’t breathe. It’s just a matter of time. Time after time, they get the okay to build here, and to build there, and the council couldn’t care less because they are all getting paid, and they can just move to Rarotonga. We stay and we pay the price. Our beaches are disappearing, our coral reefs are dying, our indigenous creatures are being pushed and pushed to ultimate extinction. By the time we have succeeded in paving over the entire island, there will be nothing left of it.

So enjoy your pueo while you can. Help them, protect them, sustain them. You will be rewarded. North Beach was almost bought by the county for parkland by Lingle’s administration. Then, at the eleventh hour, it was awarded to Starwood, and now there’s virtually nothing left. This is not going to stop. Follow the money. It will answer the questions.



Maui needs affordable housing

I apologize for my zeal regarding the Lahaina agricultural camp. I’m not social media savvy and grateful to the Lahaina News to print my many letters. I felt a sense of urgency to write about the homeless camp because I thought the decision was imminent. Though I believe the camp concept is absolutely wonderful, I will try to be sensitive and dial down my enthusiasm.

I feel passionately about the issue. My brother, after a traumatic family event, “snapped” and by choice became a homeless person. It is heartbreaking to have someone you love live like that, and there is nothing you can do about it. In recent years, having faced the possibility of homelessness myself, I guess I’ve become hyper-sensitive to the issue.

When I thought about homelessness, I could wrap my brain around no shelter, but it got me thinking about food. Recently, I learned 90 percent of our food is imported. The markets have less than a week’s supply on hand with our current population. Historically, famines have occurred; to think it won’t happen again is naive and dangerous. Our geographical isolation makes us vulnerable.

We have the resources to be an agrarian economical society. Instead of fee increases and tax hikes, we could realize revenues with agriculture. With that, we need affordable housing in perpetuity.

The current housing regulations are flawed. People are slaves to a mortgage. Wages reflected in our workforce are prohibitive to owning a home. The few homes that are affordable in due time escalate to market rates, creating the need for more affordable housing. We are on an island and will eventually run out of resources.

Everything is interconnected; high-priced housing and the cost of living are contributing to homelessness. Being aware of the issues is the first step in changing our ways and becoming mindful of our God-given resources.

My letters are meant to be thought-provoking, offer hope and perhaps inspire possibilities. I apologize if I sound “self-righteous and heavy-handed;” that is not my intention. I recognize that I mess up. I love that when I confess my wrongs to Jesus, that He is faithful to forgive me.

I hope you can forgive me, too.



Mahalo for supporting Ho’oulu 2015 benefit

Welina mai me ke aloha nui! Na Leo Kalele would like to take this opportunity to “MAHALO” everyone who came out to support our first annual Ho’oulu 2015. We appreciate your time, effort, generosity and dedication, which made it possible to enhance our opportunities in making our very first event a great success.

Mahalo to Na Keiki, Na Kumu a me Na ‘Ohana o ke Kula Kaiapuni o Nahi’ena’ena a me ke Kula Kaiapuni o Lahaina; Na Kupuna O Maui; Anake Lynn Kaho’ohalahala; Stacy Bookland; Brian Stoneburner; Froilan, Michael, John & Federico; ‘Anakala Pila Rathfon; Mark Ellman; VIP Cash-n-Carry; Makalapua Kanuha; Kaholo Rickard; Pamela Kaniho; Liciora Dagupion; West Side Bounce; Todd Hayase, Lahaina Intermediate School Reinassance Program; Crystal Smythe; Lahaina Civic Club; Buddhist Women’s Association of Lahaina Hongwanji Mission; Lahaina News, Mark Vieth and Louise Rockett; Maui Time; KPOA 93.5; NATIVE 92.5; ‘Anakala Keeaumoku Kapu; Kapali Keahi & Musicians; Lahainaluna High School; Shaun Saribay; Lahaina Canoe Club; Kahana Canoe Club; Gretchen; Maui Music Mission; Mapuana Samonte & Halau Malani o Kapehe with Ahumanu; Leohone; The Old Lahaina Luau; Homestead; Matagi; Malino; all vendors who donated to our silent auction; Lilikoi Bliss; Lula Roe; I Am Local; Wai Life; Modere; Capture Maui Hawaii; Kili Noe Designs; Car’s Bars; Kanani Aloha Maui; L’Islandoux; La Sirena Bella; Huakani Guitars & Ukuleles; Infinitely Kerri; ‘Aumakua Designs Maui Clothing Co. Inc.; Tara B Designs; Hawaiian Hunter & Lala Sweets; Teppanyaki 2 Go by 808 Afternoons; Princess Nahi’ena’ena Elementary School PTA; King Kamehameha III Elementary School PTA; Wai Lemi; Na Koa Soccer Club ‘Ohana; Cool Cat Caf & Arturo Flores; and Nikki’s Pizza.

We would also like to acknowledge Sheri Daniels and Kili Namau’u. They have supported us and helped to pave our way in creating a strong and firm foundation.

If we have forgotten to mention anyone, “e kala mai” – it was not our intention. Mahalo for your understanding.