LETTERS for the April 26 issue
Highway project will not solve traffic jams
(Tenth District Rep. Angus L.K. McKelvey sent this letter to Gov. David Ige and the state Department of Transportation spelling out why he did not attend a blessing ceremony for the Honoapiilani Highway Realignment project on April 15.)
As the House Representative for the Tenth District, I must regretfully inform you that I will not be attending the Blessing Ceremony for the Honoapiilani Highway Realignment Phase 1b-2.
On behalf of my constituents, I reached out to Gov. Ige in the hope that he would intercede in this project and compel the Hawaii Department of Transportation (DOT) to work with the community and devise a better solution than the current design. I urged the governor to take action, since DOT insisted on pushing along unwanted proposed changes, and stressed that it was imperative that his office step in and halt any construction of the proposed designs because they were never vetted by the community and its impact was never discussed. Gov. Ige did not respond to the concerns of the Lahaina community.
The public was not given any chance to comment and receive the responses they deserve for their concerns. In fact, the planning modifications were never discussed with the community or their governmental representatives until literally the last minute and presented as a “take it; this is the way it’s going to be” discussion.
The ramifications of this DOT decision are very troubling because it was never included in any planning documents or discussions until now. This rush to implement a lane elimination plan and make other changes to the traffic patterns on Keawe Street will have a detrimental impact that will create traffic congestion on the West Side of Maui.
Instead of trying to work together to resolve this and other matters of concern in our community, the DOT continues to move ahead full speed in spite of concerns that are continuously being raised by myself and others.
It is for all the above stated reasons that, despite securing the funds for this latest phase of the Lahaina Bypass, I will regrettably not be attending the Blessing Ceremony.
REP. ANGUS MCKELVEY, Tenth District West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei
DOT plan can work with common sense adjustments
The governor says he supports the DOT. I guess Maui knows who not to vote for.
Deputy Director Ed Sniffen claims the main reason for the now-called realignment is because of coastal erosion. This is a classic example of how out of touch Honolulu is with Maui. Everybody knows the erosion is at Ukumehame, Olowalu and town side of Launiupoko, not at Cut Mountain.
When the pedestrian was struck on Keawe Street, he said he wasn’t in a crosswalk. There are no crosswalks in the main section of Keawe Street.
The DOT invites the public input then does whatever it wants. Give me a crayon and I’ll draw a better plan. It can work with some common sense adjustments.
Keep the coastal highway open. Keep all four lanes open at the Keawe intersection. Use the money saved for a light at Cut Mountain.
The initial traffic problem was the light at Launiupoko. It was compounded by the “gift” of a parking lot by the developer on the mauka side. Now, the light turns red for every person going to the beach.
The county bought that stretch of land from Launiupoko to the dump. Move the coastal road onto the cane haul road, make a lot on the makai side and expand the park.
My question for Ed is: what are you “Sniffen?”
CHRIS BRECKELS, Lahaina
County should relax housing and zoning regulations
For many families looking to buy an affordable home on Maui, the last hope is to enter a county-mandated lottery. But more families could be winners if housing and zoning regulations were relaxed.
Maui County’s affordable housing law requires the use of lotteries to resolve waiting lists for affordable homes. A few lucky winners get to purchase newly built homes at bargain-bin prices.
This nail-biting ritual is a consequence of strict housing and zoning laws that limit residential or urban housing to only 5 percent of the land on Maui, thereby creating a scarce supply.
Recent housing lotteries in Lahaina saw nearly twice as many applicants as there were available homes, according to data obtained from Maui County.
Opening up more zoning where appropriate would allow for more budget-friendly options. This could help local families skip the lottery process and still win a cost-effective home in the islands.
JOE KENT, Vice President of Research, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
Changing your diet can help the Earth
With the 50th observance of Earth Day on April 22, each of us can contribute by reducing our driving, use of electric energy and consumption of animals. Yes, that.
Last fall, Oxford University’s prestigious Food Climate Research Network and Germany’s Heinrich Bolle Foundation concluded that solving the global warming catastrophe requires massive shift to a plant-based diet.
A 2010 United Nations report blamed animal agriculture for 70 percent of global freshwater use, 38 percent of land use, and 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon dioxide is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by operating farm machinery to grow animal feed.
The more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively. Moreover, meat and dairy production dumps more animal waste, crop debris, fertilizers, pesticides and other pollutants into our waterways than all other human activities combined.
It is the driving force behind wildlife habitat destruction. In an environmentally sustainable world, meat and dairy products in our diet must be replaced by vegetables, fruits and grains, just as fossil fuels are replaced by wind, solar and other pollution-free energy sources.
Let’s celebrate the 50th observance of Earth Day at our supermarket.
LEX NAKAHARA, Honokowai
Seawall needed to address dire situation
A recent letter to the Lahaina News by a community organizer cannot go unchallenged, as it ignores the economic contributions of our Hololani community and contains a glaring falsehood. It infers that Hololani was built on sand dunes – untrue. Hololani has hired soil engineers to do test borings as part of the planning and permitting process. The test results show that the soils are dirt, not sand. That is part of the public review process and covered in public hearings. It’s one of the reasons why the DLNR staff supports the project.
Also, we were here when the Sands of Kahana was under construction – false again. The activist states that buildings can be moved. I would ask how two 8-story concrete and rebar buildings and an underground parking garage can be moved?
My name is Carol Smart McKinney, and I am an owner and full-time resident at Hololani. Hawaii is my home and has been since the early 1960s, spending many years on Oahu and later Maui.
I was a real estate broker on Oahu. My deceased husband passed the Hawaii State Bar in 1959 – the year of statehood. He was an executive with the Hawaii Corporation and then practiced real estate law. Our children schooled on Oahu, and I have voted here all of my life. I go back to the days of the King Street stadium and the old Queens Surf on the beach and Waikiki. My parents lived on Oahu. I state these facts to disprove the insinuation by the anti-revetment crowd that Hololani owners are a bunch of rich Mainland hoales whose goal was financial gain.
Many of our condos are owned and occupied by Maui residents who pay not only property tax but also income tax and vote here. Those that are rented when not in use by the owners contribute via property tax, General Excise Tax, and the Transient Accommodations Tax as well as the overall economy the visitors contribute to.
Among the effects are the jobs Hololani provides: five-and-a-half, plus employees of three other rental groups and their housekeeping services. Then there are landscaping service employees, electricians, exterminators, etc.
Condos and legally permitted short-term rentals house the majority of visitors coming to Maui and are the foundation of our tourist industry and a huge part of our employment.
The hybrid seawall revetment we seek can be removed if the proposed beach replenishment plan is successful. Our project has been approved by engineers at the federal, state and county levels. Meanwhile, Hololani has lost around 40 feet of our real estate since we purchased our home in 1983.
My husband is a 91-year-old veteran of World War II with cancer in remission. Hololani is our home. We are now in a dire situation. We need this revetment in order to save our home and avoid a possible catastrophe. I see the revetment as a win-win situation for everyone.
CAROL SMART MCKINNEY, Kahana