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LETTERS for March 9 issue

By Staff | Mar 9, 2017

Use the cane haul road as a bypass

In the Feb. 23 Lahaina News, state government Representative Angus McKelvey wrote a Lahaina traffic jams explanation called “McKelvey seeks solution for traffic congestion” – WITH NO SOLUTIONS!

A couple of years ago, I explained the easiest and least expensive solution in Lahaina News and got no response from Angus or anyone else in Maui County government (not even our local councilwoman, Elle Cochran, who I personally handed it to).

There is ALREADY a bypass between Lahaina city limits and Olowalu that was paved decades ago; it is a cane hauling road shut down in 1999 when the plantation closed. It is useless, paralleling the coast highway with no vehicles on it. It would be far cheaper for the county, with state funding aid, to buy that road from the cane corporation that lost millions and always needs money, rather than to build an entire new highway. A new highway includes bulldozing through thick kiawe forests, boulders, cliffs, hillsides, ravines and streams, and building new bridges. The old road has the bridges and clearances.

As I said years ago in newspapers, the biggest traffic congestion began when the signals were installed at Puamana and Launiupoko parks, backing up traffic stopped at long red lights from those parks all the way to downtown Lahaina! Before the signals, traffic flowed through that zone.

The few miles of bypass – proposed over 40 years ago, that only a small part of was completed – empties into the traffic jam! So, the people driving the bypass not only zig-zag on a narrow road far inland to bypass a straightaway highway, losing time doing that, but find themselves waiting for a green light as they enter the huge jam.

At the hugely popular Doheney State Park in California, adjacent to a big yacht harbor and including a crowded surf spot, Orange County was wise enough to provide a pedestrian overpass over the highway, so people heading north could access lots of parking on the inland side. Maui could do that at Launiupoko Park, where there is a large vacant dirt area and acres of bushes to clear for a huge parking lot. Like at Doheney, southbound traffic could continue to just turn into the park. Because there are not a lot of spaces, additional parking would be on the other side of the highway.

The tiny distance of open land behind the end of the paved road going past the municipal swimming pool, and the end of the furthest to the left paved road in Launiupoko residential district, is a short distance for a new road connection. This way, residents would NOT have to cross the highway there to turn south! Such a tiny road extension is far less costly than building an entire new bypass for many miles, and it could be built in a month instead of several years for a bypass! THE PROBLEM IS NOW!

County officials keep boasting dates for the completed bypass to Olowalu that have always been wrong. The problem of thousands of frustrated drivers, residents late to work and appointments (and missing them) is NOW!

County and state highway officials seem to enjoy fantasy “living in the future” at taxpayers’ expense, while their public suffers! I ask Angus and Elle to get in their vehicles five days per week, sit for hours paying for all that gas both ways from downtown Lahaina to Olowalu, feel what the public does, and get off their butts! I moved to San Luis Obispo, where they have two good bypasses on BOTH SIDES of the main highway, partially because I was sick of the jams.



Salvation Army store has a great staff

Aloha. I live in West Maui and visit the Salvation Army on Shaw Street. This past year, there have been many complaints about how the store had lost its aloha spirit.

Good news: there is new management and the staff is great. I hope you do a news article about this and welcome back the many locals who lost their interest in their frequent visits to the store.

Hopefully, Keith will be well soon to complete the pleasant transition.



Time to call your legislators

With legislative sessions in full swing, it is vital for rural constituents to contact legislators regarding issues that affect our communities. Here are some simple tips for calling your legislators.

Before contacting your legislator, take five minutes to visit their website and learn about their party affiliation, their background and their stances on your priority issues. This research will help you craft a message that appeals to shared values.

Next, prepare two or three talking points that outline why your legislator should support your stance. If you want to talk about renewable energy, for example, legislators might be interested in economic benefits, environmental benefits or public health benefits. It is helpful to write out your talking points ahead of time.

When you call your legislator’s office, you will likely get a staff person. It is still worthwhile to speak with staffers. Introduce yourself and tell the legislator or staffer why you are calling. Start with a personal story or value statement, then use the talking points you prepared. End with a request for your legislator to support a bill or take a stance on an issue.

Finally, remember to be confident, courteous, brief and passionate. Even if you disagree with a legislator’s position, do not resort to name-calling, swearing or threats. End by thanking your legislator so you can continue to build your relationship.

Contact info@cfra.org to tell us about your policy priorities or advocacy actions you are taking.

STEPHANIE ENLOE, Center for Rural Affairs


President Trump’s Muslim ban is immoral and ignorant

Millions of Americans have fought back. But Trump’s right-wing supporters at Breitbart News (which Trump’s senior White House advisor, Steve Bannon, founded) have tried to silence our opposition. They singled me out, calling my advocacy efforts “unhinged in the extreme.” I will not stop because of Breitbart’s attacks – not now, not ever.

I can’t do this alone. Going up against Donald Trump’s propaganda machine is going to take resources.

Trump’s Muslim ban is inexcusable. It feeds the fear, hate and bigotry that continues to divide our nation. It exploits refugees and immigrants, and ultimately puts the future of all Americans at risk.

When my mother brought me to America for a better future, she taught me not only the importance of working hard to raise your family, but the importance of raising up your whole community.

I have seen how strong our nation can be when we stand united. Which is why now, more than ever, I know we must do everything to resist divisions based on hatred and fear.

Now is not the time to become discouraged or dissuaded. It’s time for action. The fight for the future we want to see has only begun.