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LETTERS for March 31 issue

By Staff | Mar 31, 2016

Affordable projects must also be reviewed carefully

The article “Affordable housing trade-off: Credit program to aid Hawaiian homes gives developers a free pass” that appeared in the Star-Advertiser (3/13/16) reviewed the pitfalls of the current process.

In a nutshell, developers work the system in order to negate the need for affordable units in other high-end projects. This encourages stockpiling credits and rushing questionable “workforce” housing through the system under the guise of the affordable housing umbrella. Developers make “donations” to entities such as the First-Time Homeowners Revolving Fund to gain favorable status.

One flagrant example is a new proposed 33-unit project in Kaanapali being squeezed in on a hideous tract of land previously zoned as light industrial. This borders a water treatment plant, a maintenance yard and a very noisy highway, and it’s surrounded by innumerable power lines.

The terrain is narrow and convoluted, and access will be limited to a single road (not the usual mandated dual access). This required a variance from the Maui Fire Department (also conveniently sped through the approval process despite objections).

“Affordable” is one thing; livable and safe is another. Maui and the Land Use Committee should take a closer look at the project and more carefully scrutinize similar projects.

GARY WEISS, Kaanapali


Earth Day cleanup slated at Honolua

This year, our annual Earth Day cleanup is on April 16, to coordinate with the Third Saturday Recycling Event at Lahaina Cannery Mall.

Meet at Honolua Stream Bridge (by the porta-potties) at 9 a.m. We cleaned out the base-yard on our last cleanup, so this time we will be splitting into smaller groups to go after individual hot spots, like the hunters’ lookout just before Honokohau, Windmill and the surfers’ access road.



Fix the traffic light at busy intersection

Perhaps the old Sugar Cane Train tracks could be cleared and a bike/pedestrian/moped path could be built. The implications are obvious (I’ve seen this done in other places with great results).

I’ve called the state Department of Transportation and complained about the light sequencing at the Honoapiilani Highway and Kapunakea Street intersection. Making a left turn onto the highway is treacherous at best, because both sides attempt it at the same time.

Some of the traffic crosses the intersection; the problem is you don’t know who is doing what. All that is needed is that one side is allowed a green light, then the other.

This eliminates the guesswork of “are they turning without using their signal? Are they going straight? Will they stop for the pedestrian using the crosswalk?”

It is pretty amazing there isn’t an accident – and a harmed pedestrian – a day there. I have people turn in front of me (while I’ve had the right of way) and received friendly aloha hand gestures for it.

The lights are the state’s issue. I’m not sure about the torn-up railroad tracks. I agree that is becoming more of a mess all the time



Women’s caucus supports Clinton

The Hawaii State Democratic Women’s Caucus issued a statement of strong support for the candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton for president of the United States.

This is the first time in our nation’s 240-year history that a woman has a real chance to shatter the hardest, but not unbreakable, glass ceiling.

As Democratic women, we applaud Hillary Clinton’s long-standing support for choice, for equal pay, and Title IX – equal access to education – among many other issues that affect the women of our nation and the world.

Let us remember that in 1995, at the fourth International Women’s Conference, her historic speech redefined the issue of women’s rights as human rights. Her attendance at that convention was controversial, unprecedented and courageous for a First Lady.

In Women’s History Month, it is worth remembering her words in Beijing: “It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls.

“It is a violation of human rights when women and girls are sold into the slavery of prostitution for human greed – and the kinds of reasons that are used to justify this practice should no longer be tolerated.

“It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire, and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small.

“It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities, and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war.

“It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide among women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes by their own relatives.

“It is a violation of human rights when young girls are brutalized by the painful and degrading practice of genital mutilation.

“It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will.”

We believe that women’s rights are the foundation of a civilized society. We are grateful for Ms. Clinton’s long career fighting for peace, security and equal rights for women and girls, breaking barriers and making it easier for others who follow to flourish and thrive. But the struggle continues.

We therefore applaud and support the candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton to be the first woman president of these United States.



How Medicare’s hospice benefit works

Choosing to enter hospice care can be a wrenching decision for yourself or a loved one.

Hospice is intended to help terminally-ill people live out their lives as comfortably as possible. Hospice doesn’t focus on curing disease, and it’s not only for people with cancer.

Medicare’s hospice benefit covers your care, and you shouldn’t have to go outside of hospice to get care except in rare situations. Once you choose hospice, your hospice benefit should cover everything you need.

If you qualify for hospice care, you and your family will work with your hospice provider to set up a plan of care that meets your needs.

You and your family members are the most important part of your medical team. Your team can also include doctors, nurses or nurse practitioners, social workers, physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, hospice aides, homemakers and volunteers.

A hospice nurse and doctor are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to give you and your family support and care when you need it. You can also include your regular doctor or a nurse practitioner on your medical team, as the attending professional supervising your care.

The hospice benefit allows you and your family to stay together in the comfort of your home, unless you need care in an inpatient facility. If your hospice provider determines that you need inpatient care, your hospice provider will make the arrangements for your stay.

To find a hospice provider, talk to your doctor or call your state hospice organization. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has a website that allows you to look up local providers based on your zip code at www.nhpco.org/find-hospice.

You can get hospice care if you have Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and you meet certain conditions.

You have the right to stop hospice care at any time. If you choose to do so, you’ll go back to the type of Medicare coverage you had before you chose a hospice provider, like Original Medicare, a Medicare Advantage plan, or another type of Medicare health plan.

Your Medicare benefits include a one-time-only consultation with a hospice medical director or hospice doctor to discuss your care options and management of your pain and symptoms. You can get this consultation even if you decide not to get hospice care.

Depending on your terminal illness and related conditions, the plan of care your hospice team creates can include doctor and nursing services; medical equipment (like wheelchairs and walkers); medical supplies (like bandages and catheters); prescription drugs; hospice aide and homemaker services; physical and occupational therapy; speech-language pathology services; social worker services; dietary counseling; grief and loss counseling for you and your family; short-term inpatient care (for pain and symptom management); and any other Medicare-covered services needed to manage your terminal illness and related conditions, as recommended by your hospice team.

If your usual caregiver, such as a family member, needs a rest, you also can get inpatient respite care in a Medicare-approved facility, like a hospice inpatient facility, hospital, or nursing home. Your hospice provider will arrange this for you. You can stay up to five days each time you get respite care.

For more information on Medicare’s hospice benefit, including costs, go to: www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/02154.pdf.

DAVID SAYEN, Medicare’s Regional Administrator for Hawaii