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LETTERS for the March 15 issue

By Staff | Mar 15, 2018

Steps to protect Hawaii in the future

Hawaii is experiencing coastal hazards. Cumulative impact of development is affecting quality of life. Decide what really matters and act accordingly.

Sea-level rise and waves demand life-changing realities. Seawalls displace problems to surrounding areas. Consider removing some structures, including high-rises that are too close to the shoreline. Resort reductions will also help mitigate traffic issues.

Rebuilding reefs is one protective measure. Land-based pollutants are contaminating the ocean. Even common household goods are factors affecting the environment. Regulating products imported to the islands would make an immediate impact.

Control Hawaii’s population with moratoriums on development and downsizing the military. Transitioning from complete reliance on the visitor industry to include agriculture is essential.

Food growth rather than population increase resolves multiple problems. Sustainable agriculture and vegetation remediation enriches the overall environment. Irrigation helps prevent saltwater intrusion that undermines the shoreline.

Healthy and prosperous living from mauka/mountain to makai/ocean is possible.



Keep the highway open until the entire bypass is complete

To those officials who are planning the new Lahaina Bypass and road use changes, when the new extension of the bypass opens and you follow that by closing Highway 30 northbound at that location, seems to me that you open one lane and close one lane. How in the world that relieves our traffic problems is a mystery to most people who have the ability to think through an issue.

Yes, I heard about the beach park plans to deal with beach erosion. Okay, pave the cane road, which is inland enough to allow work on the beaches.

Keep Highway 30 open until all three lengths of the bypass are completed, and please find an engineer who can design a traffic circle go-around.

Money can be found if the government officials want to find it. West Maui and our tourism is the life blood of Maui, and you are messing with this, gentlemen. Be careful – there are unintended consequences that nobody has considered.



Control immigration through visas

Donald Trump may or may not know that somewhere between a quarter and a third of illegal immigrants in the U.S. come by airplane. They arrive on a visa and overstay their visas.

You could build a properly functioning entry/exit visa for a lot less than the cost of a wall. You could have enforcement at the workplace.

Donald Trump can’t be bothered because the wall has now become a part of his ego. He doesn’t care whether it works. He just wants to do it because he said he would do it.

RON LOWE. Santa Monica, CA


Tort reform needed to improve healthcare

A new West Maui hospital has been the hope of many of us for a long time. After years of frustration, we will have our hospital.

But there is a problem. Just as a church is more than a building, so too is a hospital. Unlike the outcome in the movie “Field of Dreams,” with its premise that “if you build it, they will come,” we will need more than a building to birth a hospital.

For our hospital to function as intended, we will need a myriad of competent medical staff, not limited to but inclusive of medical doctors. Unfortunately, our state is not creating a welcoming environment for physicians.

Malpractice insurance costs have skyrocketed in great part because of the astronomical financial awards that courts have assessed against those in the healthcare profession.

Doctors have been pleading for tort reform for years. It is time to listen and act upon this need. Many in our legislature hail from the legal profession and have professional leanings that reflect a disservice to physicians, and therefore to the healthcare needs of the general populace.

Without the protections offered through tort reform, physicians are likely to minimize their risk by eliminating certain procedures. Some choose to give up their practice altogether. Currently, Hawaii has a large physician shortage, estimated to be between 800 to 1,000 doctors. This creates overwork for our current doctors, which can generate burnout and early retirement, exacerbating the physician shortage.

While physician assistants and nurse practitioners function admirably in their expanded scope of practice, it is imperative that we retain existing MDs and work to attract new ones. We face a financial challenge competing with Mainland job offers for our doctors. We need to offset that with a favorable working environment that includes new tort reform.

If elected as your new senator, I will fight for tort reform to help support doctors whenever possible. It is time doctors are permitted to serve their patients without fear of huge lawsuits above the limits of their insurance. If we continue to allow healthcare providers to leave our shores, soon we as patients will have no recourse but to travel off-island for treatment.

I look forward to helping improve the healthcare network of our islands as your elected servant.



Tighter scrutiny needed for service/therapy dogs

Better nip it in the bud, Maui County. Don’t ignore it like you’ve done with the abusive make-up vendors all over Front Street, or illegal B&Bs, or the way-too-late now bypass. I’m seeing people trot into shops, stores and restaurants (and my own dermatologist’s office in Kihei last week), dogs in tow.

We were in Prescott last December; they have obviously had a problem. There were signs all over stating: “Do NOT try to pass your dog off as a service or therapy dog.” Many added, “Unless you have a valid certificate, we will ask you to leave.”

I love dogs (cats not so much), but I also know that not everyone loves my dog like I do. I don’t want to pet your pet; I don’t want it licking my feet or slobbering on me. I don’t know if your dog has fleas or is going to pee on the floor in front of me.

“Trained service dogs” are necessary and invaluable for those who need them, but too many are abusing the privilege. I question the management skills of any place I go into and see dogs all over, let alone the usefulness of our county government. Hello Elle and Angus!



Front Street in ten years

Well folks, here’s a glimpse into the future of what Front Street will look like in ten years: The Banyan Tree, courthouse, harbor, Pioneer Inn, Baldwin House and Wo Hing Temple will still be standing, surrounded by every single retail store on both sides of the street selling overpriced cosmetics.

There will be no restaurants, galleries or boutiques – only cosmetics stores. It will be impossible to walk down the sidewalks of Front Street, because all of the employees of these cosmetics stores will be permanently standing outside their stores hawking and accosting any visitor brave enough to walk the gauntlet. As the town becomes a ghost town, old-timers will look back and recall the good old days when there were only six of these stores.