LETTERS for the January 24 issue
Nice to see good news
Thank you for the wonderful article on the Napilihau Recreation Center renovation. Louise Rockett did a great job writing it. She quoted from all the major players and gave credit where it was due. Gosh, how refreshing to see some GOOD NEWS on the front page of a newspaper for a change.
By the way, the article makes me want to get involved, and isn’t that the best way to bring about change? Not just news that makes me angry but news that makes me feel good about my neighbors and community. Thank you very much.
Six of my grandkids attended the Vacation Bible School put on by Kumulani last summer. They were able to walk there and loved the experience. They still can sing the songs they learned.
Thank you, too, to all those who made the renovation possible!!
Keep pumping out those positive, uplifting stories for us, Lahaina News. Great job!
TOM HOVSEPIAN, West Maui
More common sense ways to improve education
Generally speaking, it is my experience that in today’s Western First World elementary and secondary schools, whether private tuition-based or public tax-based, with all the similar and differing factors that make up community “schooling,” most people don’t know that it is in the schools where kids are being raised – not by their parents.
“Parent involvement” means much more than just attending their soccer games or the Spring Concert. The public in general doesn’t know that when asking for teacher raises, or increases in funding for public and private tuition-based schools, it is not just greed.
We say “kids are number one,” while under our breath, we also say, “as long as someone else pays for it.. does my job for me… doesn’t take my time. Extra emotional, instructive, medical and resourceful services for schools to raise kids are needed way beyond simply academics (and athletics).
Schools’ staffs are stretched to the limit personally, financially, professionally and academically in being to the kids what “their kids” are not getting at home: consistency, emotional support, academic reenforcement and direction.
People don’t know that when it comes to raising kids today, things like self-esteem, manners, safety, health, support services, positive reenforcement, discipline, studies, diet, law, and basic “do’s and don’ts” are basically NOT coming from home.
In understanding the economic, cultural and sociological distractions taking time and attention from parents raising children, school teachers, coaches, counselors and shrinks are expected to do more than provide the skills of reading, writing and arithmetic.
When the parents are actually asked by a teacher for some focused support for a particular problem that has arisen, the parent accuses, disrespects and accuses the teacher with, “you know what YOU need to do”… “YOU’RE not being fair”… “YOU must be mistaking my child for somebody else’s”… “YOU just hate my child,” etc.
Since we act entitled to receive quality services from all systems today that we’ve empowered to run our lives (health, government, education, religious, political, legal, economic, social security, welfare), we have lost our individual and collaborative power in influencing the individual and community lives that we should feel responsible for and/or contribute time, talent and resources as a result of that care.
Today, you can’t demand a parent to do anything anymore – like come to relevant conferences supporting the parent on how better raise kids – BUT you can still offer them!
Over and above the much-needed pay increase for our teachers, a whole lot more financial resources and support staff are imperative for the essential character-formation of our children that is just not happening at home.
This is the sad reality, and for the kid’s sake, we have to accept it and respond to it. This is why extra monies are needed. Different avenues of resources and support of motivating a seemingly empathetic youth population is needed in order to aspire to thrive and not simply to survive.
It is appalling today what adults hold as “basic things to know”… don’t steal; respect your elders; love everybody; work together; be slow to judge; do your best; do onto others; be nice; there is always better; don’t be all about yourself; don’t hit girls; yes, please; no, thank you… and it isn’t happening.
Remember, schools are exhausted doing the work of parents. To suggest better is not to criticize them, but to invite some thought as to how to get more help for them. It seems that when teachers/schools need support from administration, everyone’s hands are tied when everything is based on lack of money. But these are neighborhood schools!
Is there ever any neighborhood input solicited to inquire as to the specific cultural contexts of this particular public neighborhood and what support resources may be needed/available for their kids? Here, a “neighborhood organizer” for each school would be a gold mine of treasure, time and talent.
Even if the community does not have kids in the schools, they’re paying for it and should be allowed to have professionally mediated meetings soliciting ownership, membership and constructive input to help organize the community to host a neighborhood school and not an entity of the state school system? That would be a start.
KEN DEASY, Lahaina
Shutdown is hurting millions of Americans
I spoke on the Senate floor twice this week to fight for those the president is hurting, and called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring legislation to a vote so we can reopen the government. President Trump has made the shutdown a hostage situation, not a negotiation.
More than 800,000 federal workers and tens of thousands of contractors are still furloughed or working without pay. Today, many of them will miss their first paycheck.
And the pain doesn’t stop there: small businesses, farmers and millions of Americans who rely on the day-to-day operations of the federal government and the services they provide are hurting, too.
This is who Trump is hurting. And despite what the president thinks, his hostages cannot simply make do or hope that their landlords or bill collectors give them a break.
As I said on the Senate floor, unlike Trump, these employees can’t run to daddy to bail them out of this financial disaster. Government needs to reopen, and there are two people who can make that happen right now: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump.
The hostage-taker president is incapable of negotiating, as shown by his outrageous temper tantrum in meetings with Democratic leaders yesterday. But Sen. McConnell can and should use his power to end this suffering by bringing forth bills the Senate has already passed so we can end this shutdown. The question is, why won’t he? Why is he missing in action?
I call on Sen. McConnell to stand up to Trump and do his job by bringing legislation to reopen the government to a vote. If you’re with me, and the millions of Americans hurt by the president’s hostage maneuver, add your name to demand McConnell act now.
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO
The moral decline of America
Only intervention from God can stop the moral decline of America. The hoopla about the historical significance of the election of Pelosi as Speaker of the House will pass, but there will be consequences unless there is a change of heart.
Nancy Pelosi, “America’s most powerful woman,” is accountable to God, like everybody else. She has served in Congress for 32 years. Some have probably been there longer!
A new heart from God would make her realize that America murdering over 2,000 unborn babies daily is a horrible thing to be doing! And since she believes “she is a super legislator,” she should introduce a law to ban abortion. After all, obeying God is what we are to be doing.
American laws are to be made by the Legislative Branch, not the Supreme Court.
Therefore, when the Supreme Court exceeds their authority, it is the Legislative Branch that should reverse the intrusion.
But in several other cases, too, the Supreme Court has exceeded a much higher authority, God. In those cases, they need to be reversed, too.
God would have to change many stony hearts to bring that about.
MANUEL YBARRA JR., Coalgate, OK
Advice for the West Maui Community Plan
HOUSING: Allocate water for stream restoration, agriculture and truly affordable workforce housing. Besides legitimate agriculture construction, only allow permanent affordable housing developments for rentals or owner-occupied dwellings.
Conventional workforce housing is not affordable under Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines. Even if homes are sold as affordable, soon they escalate to market rates. However, Hawaiian Home Lands provide a model that can be applied to all residents.
Questionable titled agriculture land, private and corporate landholders, and government property provides opportunities for land-trust affordable housing for vetted non-Hawaiian residents. Housing covenants require full-time occupancy by the local workforce, retired or disabled community members.
Build clustered homes for the agricultural workforce where they are farming. Construct apartments and single-family dwellings near the schools for teachers and for medical personnel near the West Side hospital and clinics. Apply the same standards for resorts and other places of employment.
Until the housing shortage is resolved, disallow residential short-term vacation rentals. Housing will become more available for newcomers to the island as the local workforce relocates to permanent affordable housing.
TRAFFIC: Extend the bypass north to alleviate traffic congestion in Lahaina. Move the southern section of highway away from the eroding shoreline. Protect historical sites and scenic views. Determine a safe distance from the shoreline to allow for sea level rise and storm water flooding events. If necessary, consider erecting a land bridge in low-lying areas.
Limit the number of rental cars allowed on the island. Extend the hours of operation and frequency of the bus system to provide community, workforce and tourist transportation.
Hotel associations can provide airport shuttle services and commuter routes to accommodate their guests and employees. Reducing the amount of hotel parking garages allows space for resorts to relocate their oceanfront units. Due to encroaching sea level rise, managed retreat will be necessary.
INFRASTRUCTURE: Strategically plan for infrastructure – evaluate the long-term effect and cost to mitigate concerns related to sea level rise and severe weather events.
Due to high winds, electrical poles may need to be replaced in selected areas with underground conduits to prevent fires, traffic jams and lost services.
Aging freshwater infrastructure may need to be replaced near coastal areas due to saltwater intrusion.
Government funding would be appropriate to provide for the safety and well-being of the public.
Proving to be the most fire-prone region in West Maui, Hurricane Lane’s wildfire forewarns the need of irrigating from Kaanapali to Olowalu.
Restoring the Wahikuli Reservoir along with the Honokohau Ditch System could provide agriculture irrigation and firefighting resources. Replace the open ditch system with underground pipes for reliability and less maintenance.
The Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility can update the existing infrastructure to pump R1 treated water to the Honokohau Ditch System to use along with freshwater sources for irrigation.
New technology can mitigate substandard infrastructure that transports reclaimed water to the ditch system.
Bio-fuel along with solar energy can offset the expense related to pumping the water from the reclamation facility to the ditch.
Prevent fires; irrigating the densely populated region prone to wildfires should be of paramount importance.
We have the resources to accomplish such an object. The wildfire devastation of Paradise California demonstrates what could happen to our town in “paradise” if we fail to act prudently.
MICHELE LINCOLN, Lahaina