LETTERS for the June 27 issue
Explosion of tourism needs to stop now
On the road to Hana – the second biggest tourism destination on Maui -four times as many cars traverse the route compared to a few years ago. Parked cars clog the road and its shoulder, impeding locals who must drive the road for work and groceries.,
Closer to home, one-third of homes in Lahaina are vacation rentals, and conversions from former plantation homes are continuous. We are seeing a virtual explosion of tourism – an explosion we need to fight.
Writing in a magazine called Medium, a Haiku writer offers the most compelling argument I’ve seen for curtailing tourism. We are being overwhelmed by more than two million visitors a year, she writes.
The case the writer makes goes like this: “I’ve watched this place change rapidly in as little as three years through a detrimental wave of over-tourism that has completely overtaken us to transform this island.”
Experts at the University of Hawaii recently announced that tourism in the islands has reached a crucial “tipping point.” Another university study concluded that “although the tourism industry is critical for the Hawaiian economy, the current propensity to grow cannot be sustained.”
With nearly a million more people coming here compared to 2007, the situation is dire, with tourism doing more harm than good. Indeed, tourism helps the economy – but at what cost? Those born or raised here, unable to afford homes, have made Las Vegas “our ninth island.” This is a tragedy particularly for Hawaiians, who leave the place they love because affordable housing is so lacking..
Much of the problem has to do with poor county planning and relentless marketing by the Maui Visitors Bureau, Hawaii Tourism Authority and Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association. President Mufi Hannemann, speaking here recently, said we need to create “the aura that Hawaii is a great place to vacation.” Mufi doesn’t seem to realize that Maui does not want to be another Oahu, and we would not benefit from more tourism.
Our county budget for tourism promotion needs to be dropped to zero. Visitors will keep coming without more promotion, since the majority of tourists I meet return again and again. They will not return if we keep building.
We have to find a way out of this dilemma. How about no more building of timeshares unless developers construct an affordable home for every condo unit they build?
Finally, on the West Side, we need strong advocacy of no growth by the new planning committee putting teeth in a plan, and not making its creation an exercise (like the never implemented plan of a few years ago).
NORM BEZANE, Kaanapali
Religious extremists are becoming dangerous
A Washington State Republican legislator told an audience at a “God and Country” event to prepare for a civil war.
A recording of the event shows that Rep. Matt Shea said that America is no longer a beacon of Christianity because of compromise, and that liberty must be kept by “force.”
Another speaker said Christians should buy an AR-15 and plenty of ammunition.
This is how crazy the Republican white religious extremists have become, and there are a lot of them.
These angry white Republicans have everything – house, family, job, money – and they’re talking revolution.
I hope President Trump has contingent plans to call out the U.S. military to quell these Republican radicals if they start their revolution against America.
RON LOWE, Santa Monica, CA
Sen. Hirono promotes hate based on ignorance
Although I greatly admire all people that enter the world of politics, I cannot accept the letter from Senator Hirono without responding to her standing and blaming our president, Donald L. Trump, for attacks on the environment.
Mazie has bought into the left wing liberal propaganda that all of a sudden, our environment and environmental problems have been brought about by human behavior and that it is the fault of Donald L. Trump. Bull! Shame on Senator Hirono!
It would be my suggestion that Senator Hirono look back to the 1970s, when Lt. Gov. Jean King and Sen. Anson Chong brought forth the facts and testimony to the public and implemented effective programs with knowledge, hard work and sincerity. Mazie is simply playing ignorant politics! Amateurish bull!
In today’s Hawaii, there is no room for political shenanigans such as Mazie Hirono’s completely ignorant, biased, devisive and hateful attacks on our president.
Donald has brought about tremendous advantages to the general public, minorities, small business, the elderly and youth with great programs and deletion of costly, political, useless programs while increasing wages and positivity.
Mazie is a negative, manipulated, typical politician that has failed to study the issues.
I would never vote for a person such as Mazie Hirono, who professes hatefulness and divisiveness based on ignorance.
RICHARD BODISCO, West Side