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LETTERS for the October 31 issue

By Staff | Oct 31, 2019

Protect Maui’s beaches

(The following letter was sent to state and county officials.)

I am Kanani Higbee. I represent myself. I live in Lahaina, Maui. I work in the community at Lahainaluna High School. I volunteer with the County of Maui with our Community Emergency Response Team. I support protecting our beaches with new shoreline setbacks.

First of all, our beaches, especially in West Maui, need protecting. We shouldn’t build so close to the shore. All that investment in building multi-million dollar buildings is a waste of money and resources when they are built too close to the shore. It’s natural for the coastline to erode.

Therefore, if a building is expected to remain at a location for 100 years or more, it makes sense to make use of the person within the Maui County Planning Department, who has geography degrees and can forecast what erosion will be like in years to come.

Please plan for the future of Maui. Please consider taking care of our precious environment. The wildlife and environment cannot speak up for themselves, so we must advocate to protect them.

With that said, I would greatly appreciate it if the Planning Department really took the time and effort to look out for Maui’s beaches. Please consider our children and your children. The impact of the decisions we make today will affect them.

County planners removed all the wetlands and replaced them with hotels in the 1960s. That has devastated our coral reef today. Kaanapali Beach looks like an eerie ghost town void of reef when you snorkel in the area fronting the Sheraton and Kaanapali Beach Hotel.

Obviously, it would have helped if the fertilizer from the lawns did not automatically seep into the ocean. If there was a rain garden, it could cleanse the soot before it made its way to the reef and smother and bleach it.

Since I volunteer extensively with Maui County’s Community Emergency Response Team, I know how dangerous and costly it is to not protect the beaches and allow development too close to the shore.

With global warming, Maui shores are so much warmer than years past. This affects Maui in a huge way. The warm waters will attract hurricanes to devastate our island.

It’s not “if” our highway will be taken out, but “when.” It’s much too near the shoreline as it is on normal days. And that will be devastating to the community that resides on West Maui and the tourists that are here. We won’t have access to hospitals nor food and water.

The devastation of having buildings too close to the shoreline will be costly. The federal government won’t necessarily cover much expenses. For instance, when we have had hurricanes hit our island, there was not enough damage for residents to be allowed relief through FEMA. That’s why we must build smart.

Besides, more people will appreciate protecting the shores for everyone to have access to them. No one wants a gigantic building blocking the ocean. We want to be able to take scenic views of the beach without having a bunch of high-rises littering our photos. People come to Maui for the wide open space and natural beauty.

All in all, thank you for taking the time to look this over. We are watching closely what the Planning Department does. Native Hawaiians like myself are getting our kupuna to vote absentee. The new generation are learning to advocate earlier than ever before. I have gotten my children and their cousins involved in endless non-profits and events that work to protect the environment. They learn to advocate by going to see their legislatures on Oahu and Washington, D.C. during their high school years. No longer will the oligarchy control politics on Maui. These kids are getting mentored on leadership, so they are ready to lead Maui in pono Earth stewardship.

As I mentioned earlier, I work at Lahainaluna and see how teachers educate the students on taking care of their island home. I see students do their senior project on taking care of the environment on Maui. They are more passionate than ever before. To see what has been done to Maui in the past fuels them to want to make sure our leaders are making better decisions to protect our beaches and not exploit them.

None of us want big money to take over at the expense of our beloved ‘aina. Thank you for considering us when making decisions on the planning of Maui.



Action needed at Front Street Seawall

(The following letter was sent to Rep. Angus McKelvey.)

I wanted to bring to your attention the situation with the homeless at the seawall on Front Street.

I had spoken with you and several others last year about this, and it really got cleaned up. Now they are back again in larger numbers. They are moving the rocks against the wall to provide bedding. They have built a hut as well. There are obviously drugs being done down there.

We have caught several of them on our property using our outdoor shower. We have chased them off and threatened to call the police.

This really is not the impression that we want to give to the tourists visiting our city. Our economy relies on their spending.

There has got to be a solution to this problem.

I know that the parishioners at the Methodist Church feel strongly about this as well.

I sincerely appreciate your help in doing whatever possible regarding this situation.



Remembering Guy Junker

Four years ago today, renowned Lahaina artist Guy Junker lost his life in a vehicular accident. Our family admired his art and aloha personality.

We extend loving and prayerful thoughts to his family and friends.

MIKE MAS & DAN MORRIS, Las Vegas, Nevada