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LETTERS for the October 11 issue

By Staff | Oct 11, 2018

Residents seek update on Lower Road project

(The following letter was sent to West Maui County Councilwoman Elle Cochran.)

I am writing on behalf of several constituents who were impacted by the damage of Tropical Storm Olivia to Lower Honoapiilani Road.

While visiting the damaged area, they specifically wanted to know about the status of the Lower Honoapiilani Highway Phase IV Improvement Project that has been listed on the State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) for several years.

They raised the issue because they are concerned that the recent destruction and flooding was caused by substandard and deteriorating roadway infrastructure and drainage outlets along that section of the Lower Road.

The residents maintain the damages could have been prevented or mitigated had the necessary improvements been performed as a part of the funded Phase IV Honoapiilani Road project. My initial research finds this project was initially approved to receive $10,000,000 in funding assistance through State Transportation funds.

The most recent STIP list shows an increased funding amount of $16,000,000.

However, in talking to Lower Road residents, it is their understanding that the county has recently removed its share of funding for the Lower Honoapiilani Highway Phase IV improvements. They asked if this would jeopardize the validity of the project being on the STIP.

These residents are anxious to know how the damages to their homes will be prevented in the future if the Phase IV drainage improvements have been abandoned by the county. In order to try and help in addressing their concerns from the state side, I am seeking answers to these questions:

1) When was the county funding removed? What was the reason given to residents for the county’s decision to abandon the project?

2) The residents told me they have been noticed on numerous occasions by county officials that the project was scheduled to break ground and wanted to know why the Phase IV roadway project didn’t go ahead then as planned, funded and noticed?

3) How will the county preclude this type of damage from happening again in the future? Will the county be restoring their share of funding to the Phase IV project to validate the state and county match to it on the STIP?

I look forward to your answers to help me respond to these residents’ concerns, and I appreciate your help in trying to get some clarification from the county side for our constituents.



Break up two council dynasties

There are two positions on the Maui County Council for voters to check out closely.

Both have to do with whether our local government is a place for dynasties to keep families in government for decades.

Riki Hokama and his father have held the Lanai seat for 59 of 61 years. Riki doesn’t live on Lanai and is out of touch with the reality of his community.

Running for the same seat is Gabe Johnson, a young father who is committed to the island of Lanai and is looking for the chance to serve. His commitment can serve us all well.

In the Hana seat, another dynasty is growing, with Bob Carroll’s daughter running for his seat.

As a representative of the corporate structure, she has the backing of many of her father’s corporate sponsors.

Running for the same seat is a local educator, Shane Sinenci. Shane is the real deal. He is another local who is focused on the needs of the people first.

The ability to see through the screen of dynasty to the heart of our citizens who want to serve themselves and their children is vital to our future.

The ability to see as a parent and as well as an educator is the important vision to take to the council every time it meets in committee or makes an important decision for our future.

It’s time for the dynasty model to be retired. Join me and many others in voting for Gabe and Shane. Mahalo.



Assisted Medical Suicide impacting healthcare

If you have not heard, the University of Hawaii recently published a study that included Maui County’s three-island area and one municipality as being short 122 doctors.

From my own experience at the Maui Memorial Emergency Room, where the attending healthcare provider was a physician’s assistant, I believe the study to be true.

However not life-threatening for myself, it may be for others at a ER visit.

We believe the impact from Hawaii HB 2739-Hawaii Assisted Medical Suicide, which goes into law Jan. 1, 2019, has had an impact on our community of healthcare workers.

We ask that you follow your own path of communication to send Hawaii Medical Assisted Suicide to the Hawaii Court of Appeals