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LETTERS for the July 30 issue

By Staff | Jul 30, 2020

Practice aloha – Don’t accost people for wearing a mask

Having moved recently to Lahaina to make it my permanent home, I was always under the impression that being “pono” and practicing aloha was very important in regards to people who make Maui and especially Lahaina their home. It was one of the reasons, other than the great beauty that exists here (like nowhere else on Earth), that I moved here with my family.

Recently, however, while I was outside, I was accosted by a man who was shouting at me to “take my eff-ing mask off!” Since this was very uncharacteristic of what I have always expected from the people of Lahaina and Maui and general, I was, to put it mildly, quite taken aback by this display of rudeness. Whether this person was a resident of Maui or not, I do not know. But he was with two other friends who seemed to understand how un-aloha he was being and appeared to try to get him to stop. It is, in my view, essential for all of us on this island to remember that we are all in this crisis together. And all of us need to remember that no matter how hard times are for everyone, we all must practice aloha no matter where we are.

We also have an obligation to remind our friends or family who visit us here in Maui about what practicing aloha and being “pono” are and expect that from them while visiting the island. If we are not doing this, it brings shame to everyone here in Lahaina and Maui in general.

I choose to wear a mask outside. It is my right to do so. It causes no one any harm and protects others (since this is how masks work). According to both county and state guidelines, everyone is supposed to be wearing masks at all times, except when they are in their home.

As a licensed health care practitioner for the last 29 years, I can tell you with all the world’s conviction that COVID-19 (or any other virus) does not stop being a threat the moment we walk outside of a grocery store or some other place of business. If we are all not vigilant and following the guidelines indicated by both the state and county government, we could very quickly see a rapid rise in infections. This is especially so since it will become more accessible for people from the Mainland (where case numbers are skyrocketing just about everywhere) to start coming here again Sept. 1, assuming that plan is not postponed or revised in some way.

I know we are all better than this person I encountered, and others like him. Let us remember that we are all in this together and keep Lahaina and Maui safe and aloha. And PLEASE, for your sake, your family’s sake and for your neighbor’s sake, practice aloha and wear a mask.



Help solve Maui’s tragic cat situation

I moved to Maui in 2006. I’m originally from Los Angeles, where we had a killer bee problem back in the ’90s. These aggressive, Africanized honeybees produce more honey and were bred throughout Brazil for this very reason. Migrating to California in huge swarms, these bees devastated livestock, killed a few people and injured many more.

Citizens were outraged, and for about a year-and-a-half, most blamed Brazil for this menacing creation. After finally realizing we were on our own, California tried to eradicate the bees. As is always the case with apex predators, despite a concentrated effort to eliminate the killer bee, populations rebounded. This is the same situation we face with coyotes, cockroaches, alligators, rats, sharks, cats and so many other animals. Eradication will never work when dealing with apex predators.

Someone in California came up with a plan to introduce millions of honeybees into the situation. Understandably, many people complained that adding more bees was a terrible strategy. However, the docile honeybees that were introduced bred with the aggressive killer bee and gradually produced a much tamer bee, which effectively solved this major issue.

I am using this killer bee analogy to help people better understand how to solve the cat overpopulation problem here in Hawaii. Fortunately, unlike the killer bee, a blueprint has been created decades ago that has helped over 500 major cities worldwide solve their own cat problem. TNRM (trap, neuter, return, manage) has been proven to be the ONLY successful solution, and it also happens to be humane.

Because cats are territorial, they work together, like a team, to help prevent new cats from entering their colony and taking their resources. A fixed, fed, healthy cat colony will help reduce cat populations statewide. Hawaii has had a cat problem for around 200 years. If killing them worked, then why do we still have a cat problem in Hawaii?

While millions of dollars have already been spent and hundreds of thousands of cats have already been killed, it should be clear by now that we will never be able to kill all the cats and must look toward established, successful strategies to effectively solve this issue once and for all.

Active volunteer participation is a major key to an effective solution. Even a few minutes a week cat help make a huge difference. Killing or removing fixed cats only opens the area up to unfixed cats, who will move in, take over the resources and quickly breed out of control.

The ultimate goal is to have a fixed, fed and healthy cat colony in every neighborhood, so that they can work together as a team and prevent more cats from entering the area.

For more information and ways you can get involved, please research online or check out SaveMauiCats.org. Hawaii can effectively solve this tragic cat situation, just like so many major cities have already done worldwide.

MICHAEL WILLINSKY, Save Maui Cats Inc., Lahaina


Advice for a better world

LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter, immigrants, Christians and many others suffer the consequences of hatefulness and intolerance. Sadly, some respond back with equally venomous rhetoric and actions. Racial injustice, genocide, discrimination and evils around the world are intensifying.

Though the sins of the United States may pale in comparison, they still exist. For example, Hawaii’s illegal annexation along with the fraudulent vote for statehood is compounded by today’s quiet-title land thefts, blood-quantum restrictions, underdeveloped Hawaiian Homelands and ineffective government polices allowing for destruction and desecration of important historical and cultural sites.

All things considered, it would be easy to succumb to depression and despair.

Thousands of years ago, Solomon penned similar disheartening sentiments. He concluded “there is nothing better than for people to be happy and to do good while they live… God makes everything beautiful in its time… God will bring every deed into judgement, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

In the meantime, “honor God and obey His commands.”

Taking this advice, the world will be a better place.