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LETTERS for the July 16 issue

By Staff | Jul 16, 2020

Start a tourism tax to benefit locals

Reflections of being “free” in paradise’s lock down.

Da beach was incredible.

Kids and the people that are not usually at the beach were everywhere laughing and having fun, as we finally were able to enjoy the beach after weeks staying at home wondering what was out there in the world: pandemic, protests, worries of the unknown and lifetime opportunities.

The people I see around are not the tourists I usually see wearing designer everything. They are not the visitors – they are the people we don’t see enjoying the “paradise” they live in. They are the invisible ones; the ones that make the “magic” happen.

More often than not, they are the ones that work in two jobs to feed their children and their families, because the salaries in the beautiful islands of paradise are so low and the cost of living is so high.

The visitors that are gone now probably had it all wrong. They came here to rent their luxury condos of today’s life, their SUVs, and bring the cash to splash around. In their mind, for the amount of money they spend here it’s “logic” to think that everyone will be taking care of and has a good life, having time for their families to enjoy what they, the visitors, enjoy without struggles.

But reality is the native, the resident, the average Hawaiian, struggles to survive and quite often lives in or near poverty.

Without wanting to go on, I have a suggestion. We as a state need to have some sort of tourism tax, $80/$100 or more per visitor, to go exclusively to the people of Hawaii (really!) to make their lives happen through affordable housing, increased wages, insurance and survival. Here we are in the” most powerful country in the world,” and this is the topic.

I have a three-month-old daughter, and I’m now more concerned about her future today as I have ever been about mine. Just to throw this out there: I’m not from the left, from the right, the center, or have any affiliation with any nonsense political, religious or ideological party. I’m a certified sommelier that worked extremely hard all my life trying to make ends meet for my family. I’m an “of the people, by the people, for the people, with justice and liberty for all” kind of person!

Today, for the first time, I accepted the Salvation Army’s donation of a box with fresh produce. It was a great feeling to know that someone out there cares, that I matter, but it was scary to feel how food, housing and health vulnerable we all are.

So, the point is we have a multi-generational opportunity to make things right, to change, not only for natives, blacks, whites, indigenous or immigrants, but for us all everywhere.

Let’s start here and now, pooling our mental resources to make this beautiful island self-sufficient in a sound and permanent manner, now and for generations to come, with happy people that can enjoy what their ancestors did and charging the visitors to be in paradise for the benefit of those living here making the magic happen. It’s an incredibly simple idea.



Establish a community park along Lahainaluna Road

“More park space and fewer gentleman’s estates in the draft community plan covering next 20 years” was the headline of The Maui News Weekender on July 4-5, 2020. Even if included in the final West Maui Community Plan, it is far from becoming a reality. Community involvement is necessary for the plan to succeed.

For example, how could you help develop the designated “central park” on Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate’s property located along Lahainaluna Road? Lahainaluna’s Sue Cooley Stadium is a perfect example of how one generous person can impact an entire community.

Some of the park’s features would be less expensive, giving everyone a chance to contribute accordingly. Park benches, gazebos, picnic pavilions, playgrounds, splash pads, horseshoe pits, tennis, pickleball, bocce ball, volleyball and basketball courts, amphitheater, dog parks, hiking trails, bike paths, restrooms and roadways could be funded by community members, organizations, and corporations.

Appropriate commercial activities would be allowed in a private park. Food trucks, rental kiosks, farmers’ markets, entertainment, weddings, party venues, cultural and historical tours are viable economic enterprises.

Community gardens/agriculture parks and food hubs/co-ops produce income. Planting forests and native plants, public access along with eco-tourism, nursery supply and eventually harvesting mature trees are literally economic growth.

In addition to commercial activities, donations and fees for events could help fund 24-hour security and park maintenance. Volunteers can also help to build and maintain a beautiful and safe park.

Positively impacting the community and future generations, start now to help create an amazing legacy park. Along with entreating Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate, advocate with the Maui Planning Commission and County Council members as they review and approve the proposed parks in the updated West Maui Community Plan.



Observers required for Hawaii’s elections

(The following letter was sent to state officials.)

There should be no discussion here. Securing the integrity of the elections and the vote, as well as protecting Americans’ Democracy, is non-negotiable.

We are all aware of the Office of Elections’ shady past, so it is imperative that ALL political parties have equal amounts of representation in our vote counting centers across the state.

There are too many ways in which the integrity of our elections can be compromised, such as introducing inaccuracies in the recording, maintenance and tallying of votes. Then, of course, there is the altering or destroying of evidence necessary to audit and verify the correct reporting of election results.

Therefore, I’m not requesting, but demanding, that the administrative rules include the definition of “Official Observer” and guarantee that all political parties have at least four official observers, each day of vote counting, in both the primary and general elections.

If the Democrats are extremely confident in their political candidates, then they shouldn’t have to find ways to commit electoral fraud.