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LETTERS for the March 11 issue

By Staff | Mar 12, 2021

Maui’s cat problem

Many third world countries have cat and chicken overpopulation problems. While groups like Animal Balance help dozens of poor, destitute islands throughout the world solve these issues, Maui and Hawaii have basically refused to come on board and accept the greatly needed TNRM (Trap, Neuter, Return, Manage) help.

Maui, in general, has never truly embraced solutions or even properly educated the community — a basic and inexpensive strategy. Our local government has never provided ample resources to actually solve this tragic mess and instead relies on a tiny group of volunteers to sacrifice everything and risk it all… but inevitably fail at solving it for them.

These are just some of the main reason most large national rescues refuse to help here. While many experienced rescue groups have visited Hawaii and Maui, most determined their efforts would be wasted here and are better utilized where a solution-oriented public exists. For starters, considering the staggering number of stray cats, there is an inadequate volunteer base and almost complete lack of messaging or community interest. Animal abuse, neglect, abandonment and cruelty is often shrugged off as acceptable or cultural. It’s shameful.

Until a large, united portion of the general public demands change from our local government, this tragic cat overpopulation problem will always exist throughout Maui and Hawaii, and most large rescue groups will not come to help change things, knowing they will likely fail here.

Unless we show the world that thousands of us are united, we want their help, are already working toward solutions and are willing to work even harder, we’re all on our own in this Wild, Wild West for animal welfare.

Sadly, despite the handful of volunteers dedicating incredible efforts and countless sacrifices and tears for many years and decades, the innocent cats and dogs will continue to pay the price.

We must unite together, stick to a proven plan and demand change through our local government, hoping we can convince Best Friends or someone great to help us create an effective and long-lasting solution (which has existed for decades worldwide in places where the public actually wants change and will work together toward a solution).

For more information or ways you can help, please visit SaveMauiCats.org. We are an all-volunteer nonprofit working hard and trying our best to help make a difference for everyone.


Thanks for making Rotary benefit a success

Rotarian George Kahumoku Jr., Grammy Award winner, donated an online concert with the help of our local community partners. Our annual “Night Under the Stars III” first-time virtual fundraiser was a huge success. Participants enjoyed a personal talk story with Uncle George, were able to make their favorite song requests, and learned about Hawaiian music history. Jessica Hill, participating online from Seattle, offered an impromptu hula to “Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai.”

Rotary Club of Lahaina and Lahaina Rotary Youth Foundation annually award graduating high school senior scholarships to help college-bound individuals with meeting their academic expenses, such as tuition, books, labs, supplies, possibly boarding and meal plans.

You may continue to send your tax-deductible scholarship check donation to Lahaina Rotary Youth Foundation, P.O. Box 10127, Lahaina, HI 96761.

A 501(c)(3) donation receipt will be sent to your return address for tax purposes.

JOE PARK, Rotary Club of Lahaina

Raising the minimum wage is good business

I’m a small business owner, and I strongly support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025. Paying employees wages they can live on is good business.

Employee turnover is disruptive, expensive and inefficient. Constantly hiring and training new staff slows down your business and costs time and money. It undercuts customer service.

With better pay, our employees stay with us, providing the great service that keeps our customers coming back and recommending us to others.

When the minimum wage goes up, businesses will see costly turnover go down.

Raising the minimum wage will also put more money in the pockets of local people, who spend it at local businesses like mine.

As I like to say, you can’t spend it if you don’t have it. If you work full-time and can’t afford basic necessities like food and rent, you’re probably going to skip your haircut at my business.

I support legislation that would incrementally raise the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025. In fact, I’m one of hundreds of business owners from across the country who has signed a Business for a Fair Minimum Wage statement supporting an increase to $15.

The minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009 — the longest period without a raise since the minimum wage was first enacted to help workers, businesses and the economy recover from the Great Depression.

Raising the minimum wage will increase wages for many essential workers, who aren’t paid enough to cover their essentials.

It will boost the customer spending we need at businesses like mine.

Raising the minimum wage will help us recover from the pandemic and strengthen our economy and our country.

MICHAEL O’CONNOR, Business for a Fair Minimum Wage