Second Friday can be better coordinate
The Second Friday of the month is for a Lahaina celebration. My West Maui Soroptimist Club has a booth at Campbell Park along with other non-profits surrounding the music venue.
I was very sad to see LahainaTown Action Committee (created to promote Lahaina) and Lahaina Restoration Foundation (created to preserve Lahaina) staging conflicting events.
When Mayor Arakawa created the Friday town venues, he asked LAC to act as the chair for Lahaina, and they have been doing so for the past three months. They provide the music and tables for nonprofit organizations to raise funds for their clubs by selling food to the attendees.
To see our potential customers rush off to a new event next door at the Baldwin House was disheartening to say the least. This lack of aloha must not happen again without causing unneeded bad feelings. It is imperative for all of Lahaina to work together to make "our" Friday the best possible.
RUTH F. McKAY, Lahaina
Keep bus fares fair
Reading an article in The Maui News on May 14, I could not help wondering about two things: 1) How fast our legislation is when it comes to rate increases and how slow otherwise in everything else; and 2) The cynicism of Budget Director Sandy Baz.
The proposed bus fare increases would eliminate the $1 one-way fare and the $2 daily pass.
While the proposed increase of the daily pass to $5 seems reasonable, the reason that Mr. Baz gave for eliminating the $1 fee was "a rider... who transfers twice... would pay $3 one way."
What about those - the majority I might add - who just take a roundtrip into Lahaina? They now would have to pay $5 for a daily pass instead of a $2 roundtrip (a 150 percent increase). And to add insult to injury, County Transportation Department Director Jo Anne Johnson-Winer said the $5 daily pass "is still a bargain."
already to stir up regrets by our politicians for the good it did to Maui when it was implemented... or "how can we milk this?" The number of riders has gone up - there is more demand, so let's raise fares! I thought this was supposed to be a public service?
As for the speed, when I read the article, it was May 14. The first of two votes before the full council will take place May 24, and the measure will go into effect July 1. And it will, make no mistake about it. The headline in The Maui News, "Council eyes new bus fares," could as well have read: "Council WILL increase new bus fares."
No input from the public was sought or considered; the paper wrote "... a check with a few bus riders." I wonder who checked, and with how many?
Let's say a senior citizen on a fixed income somewhere in Kaanapali or around the Cannery needs to see his/her doctor once a week. The previous bus fare was $8 in four weeks. Now it would go to $20. As I said, 150 percent more, and that person is not transferring twice anywhere.
There should be a provision that keeps the $1 one-way fare for persons who are one or both of the two: residents and seniors.
The council's credo: "Let's rush this through before anyone notices."
REMEMBER THAT WHEN ELECTION DAY COMES AROUND. Call your county representative and ask how she or he will vote.
Well, I guess all good things must come to an end.
JOHN BLAHUTA, Lahaina
Fight for tree preservation
Me? A tree-hugger? I never paid much attention to trees, except to admire and appreciate their value to us. Way back in grade school, we learned the basic value of trees in cleaning the air, providing shade and retarding soil erosion, and often providing nourishing food. Then with age and hopefully some wisdom, the list of values expands to sound abatement, reducing wind effects, providing habitat for birds and insects and increasing land value. And they look good, too!
We can see what happens when tress are removed, from the extremes of Easter Island to the clear cutting of forest here on Maui as well as numerous other places. Removing trees increases flooding and erosion, right?
So why aren't we fighting for tree preservation instead of against it? It took over a year of strong effort by dedicated citizens to preserve a small group of decades-old large shade trees in North Kihei. The urban forest at Ulua Beach Park was devastated earlier this year, and in spite of claims that a number of trees would be preserved, we see none at this time - only very young, new smaller species replacements which will take decades to mature and never provide the benefits of those removed.
Next, we hear that many of the towering palm trees on Kaahumanu Avenue will be removed because they are too tall. Trees are being uprooted at a shoreline park near Lahaina. Come on! More trees, not fewer.
MIKE MORAN, Kihei
U.S. government causes problems
Americans need to know that it is our own government that is the problem, and that it controls a great deal of the situations around the world that seemingly threaten us.
Certainly nearly every dictator or communist system in the world has been set up with the help of either our State Department and/or the CIA since World War II.
Like it our not, it is American insiders that influence organizations such as Haliburton through the Council on Foreign Relations (subversives against the American people). These same people supply our armed forces, and they are helping Communist China to become a military superpower through fake "free trade" agreements and moving American technology and industry to this and other tyrannical nations.
This is what has gone on and is happening now. It's Obama's job to destroy our currency, so Americans will be forced to subjugate themselves under a world currency to be controlled by a tyrannical oligarchy set to take world control through the United Nations.
It is time for the American people to be informed and educated about the true nature of the treachery and treason that has been committed against "We the People." Go to JBS.org, learn the truth and write letters to Congress before "Liberty and Freedom" fade away into a distant memory.
Crushing college dreams
As graduation season swings into high gear, a new economic crisis confronts thousands of this year's high school and college grads - crushing college student loan debt.
America's student loan debt recently reached the $1 trillion mark. That's more than our total credit card and other consumer debt.
Ninety-four percent of the students who get a college degree take out these loans, up from 45 percent in 1993, according to The New York Times. The average college grad is saddled with more than $20,000 in debt by the time he or she dons the cap and gown. This is a tremendous burden for young graduates, many of whom are having trouble landing that first job.
Faced with the prospect of even more debt, many delay plans to attend graduate school. And for those lucky enough to find work, high monthly student loan bills may mean working two jobs or moving back in with mom and dad. While everyone agrees that a college education is the pathway to greater success in America, student loan debt is leaving too many graduates stalled at the starting gate.
"Higher education can't be a luxury," says President Barack Obama. "It is an economic imperative that every family should be able to afford."
Recognizing the relationship between education and economic growth, Obama has made boosting America's lagging college graduation rates one of his top priorities. It's no secret that rising tuition costs are a major cause of stagnant or declining graduation rates, especially in communities of color.
Currently, Obama is urging Congress to renew a 2007 bill that lowered the federal student loan interest rate from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent. If Congress fails to act, the current rate will double by July 1, increasing the average student debt burden by $1,000 over the life of the loan.
On the very day that student loan debt reached the $1 trillion mark, Senate Republicans blocked a vote to extend the 3.4 percent interest rate on student loans for another year. It reminded me of an old African proverb: "When elephants fight, the grass suffers." Thousands of low-income students and their families are suffering while the two sides in Congress engage in ideological warfare.
College graduation is as important to our national security as a strong military. But when it comes to funding, education seems to always take a back seat to war. How much would graduation rates for African Americans and Latinos rise if they did not have to overcome the added economic barrier of high student loan debt?
MARC MORIAL, National Urban League