Letters: Road Safety, Vaccine Verification, Water Usage, VFW Luas, Makena Landing & Roadside Greenery ʻButcheredʻ
* Updated July 30, 12:55 PM
Proposed Safer Roads Legislation Good, But Need Better Speed Limit Enforcement
While I applaud US Sen. Brian Schatz’s proposed legislation to make the roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists, the number one thing that will make the streets safer is traffic calming, i.e., police enforcement of speed limits.
I walk along Waiehu Beach Road several times a week and vehicles are traveling at expressway speeds – all the vehicles, all the time.
Cyclists also need to be more cautious when passing pedestrians in the bike lanes. A little shout out that they’re passing – like “on your left” – would make me feel safer too. They pass me at great speed too, without considering that I might veer into their space. They need to be aware that the bike lanes are used not only by them but also by pedestrians and wheelchair/scooter users. — Sara Mogel, Wailuku
Community ‘Under Attack’ by Commercial Luas at VFW on Uluniu Road
Please allow me to inform you of an extremely disruptive and disrespectful situation that our community is facing on Uluniu Road in South Maui.
We live in a quiet neighborhood, that is in no way zoned for commercial enterprise. At least 5 nights a week the VFW on Uluniu Road is holding a huge commercial luau. We are being subjected to repetitive, blasting music almost every night of the week. It is an assault on our homes and on the endangered Hawksbill turtles who choose this special beach reserve to nest in. We are being overpowered by repetitive noise, flashing lights and yelling crowds on a nightly basis. The habitat simply cannot support or survive this. It must be stopped.
I grew up on Uluniu Road and in my experience, our community has been a good neighbour to the VFW. Today our community is under attack. The nightly assault on our senses is unbearable, like living with a running lawn mower in your home. I am concerned about all of the damages that are resulting from this selfish, disrespectful behaviour.
It is our collective kuleana to be respectful stewards of this island. If you are going to attend a luau, please go to one at the hotels in any commercial tourist area. Please do not subject our quiet neighborhoods, where hardworking people are trying to live in peace, to this nightly accost on our environment. — Colette Rixey, Kīhei
Drug Users Bigger Problem than Tourists at Maui Beaches
In regards to [a previous] letter from last month that pointed out the problem with the naked men on Po’olenalena’s Secret beach, yea I wondered where all those Little Beach deadbeats would go. Funny how all this works. So many people are now complaining about tourists, who actually arrive on Maui with lots of cash stuffed into their pockets, when they should be complaining about all the pot-heads and meth-heads that seem to be everywhere.
I got tired of dealing with them all on Little Beach several years ago and now go to several beaches in North Kīhei. I’ve not been near Makena since. — Gary Kuhn, Fort Wayne, IN
World Can Learn from Pre-Colonial Hawaiʻi’s Sustainable Food Systems
My family recently visited Maui from our home in the Pacific Northwest. Maui is blessed with beauty and a rich cultural heritage that native Hawaiians should rightfully be proud of.
I am greatly encouraged by Hawaiʻi’s climate emergency proclamation and hope it will have real teeth to make changes. Buying sunscreen that is poisonous to coral should be illegal, period. Solar production should be on every roof top and gas guzzling vehicles should be phased out. These changes and more can make a difference here and around the world.
And as important as these changes would be, I think Hawaiians can help the rest of the world in an even more meaningful way. We all need to learn to return balance to our natural systems. Pre-colonial Hawaiʻi had learned how to create sustainable food systems that the community shared and there wasn’t this incessant need for more, bigger and newer material items.
While visiting it became obvious that many native Hawaiians are not necessarily happy about the return of tourism. I don’t blame them for this sentiment and frankly feel they are justified in their concerns. I have seen blatant disregard for the natural environment and native customs of the island by visitors and I am painfully aware that the carbon emitted from our flight is a huge issue in itself.
If we are to survive the wreckage of this looming climate disaster we need to blend the wisdom of past cultures such as that of the Hawaiian people with sustainable technology of the modern era. Climate change is not going to lead to rising sea levels alone. Wildfires, flooding, food shortages and energy shortages are happening all across the globe and will likely intensify. We need to focus on stopping and reversing climate change now. — James Trujillo, Olympia, WA
Congress Must Support International Assistance Funding for COVID-19
With the Delta variant accounting for 83% of United States’ COVID-19 cases, our government continues to urge citizens to vaccinate. In other countries, this is not the case.
In India, where the Delta variant was first detected, cases continue to climb, and new studies suggest that the death toll is higher than official data. On Wednesday, July 21, in NPR’s Morning Edition, Arvind Subramanian shared that between 3 and 5 million people have died in India from COVID-19, a much greater number than the 400,000 identified by the government.
Without proper infrastructure and resources, other low-income countries may share a similar miscount and could struggle to overcome an increase in positive cases. While we confront growing numbers ourselves, Congress can simultaneously support international assistance funding in subsequent COVID-19 relief packages for other countries.
With The Borgen Project, you can easily express support for this funding by either calling or emailing Congress on its website. Today, you can make a difference and help decrease the world’s toll. As retired Admiral Stavridis and General Zinni say, “No matter how successful we are in fighting the threat [of the] pandemic at home, we will never stop it unless we are fighting it around the world.” — Lucy Dustman, Makawao
System To Verify Vaccinated Passengers Needs To Be Better at Kahului Airport
Just returned to the Island on the date the 72-hour pre-travel, negative COVID-19 test was no longer required for fully vaccinated residents and tourists. UGH! 1.5 hours of waiting, STANDING, in line at Kahului Airport to have all of my vaccine data RE-entered into a computer system. WHY?!?!?
I had uploaded my card, typed in the name of the vaccination facility, the type vaccine received, the dates of the first and second shots and whatever else Maui thinks it needs/requires from residents to return or from tourists to visit. Oh, and for the five or six arriving flights, there were 8 – EIGHT rather grumpy “officials” checking out the 1,500 or more passengers! WHY?!?!?
How many returning residents and tourists have tested positive, not false positives, upon arrival to Maui? If Maui is going to re-verify and re-enter information it already possesses into computer programs, at least have the courtesy to employ the adequate resources. Residents and tourists have already spent 5- to 12-hours traveling to Maui. Don’t make everyone STAND in line for an hour or more! Organize and be better. — Denise Wynn, Lahaina
Thank You for Comprehensive COVID-19 Pandemic Information
I just want to thank you for your comprehensive coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hawaiʻi and in Maui County. You guys are doing a GREAT job. I know that I can go to one of your daily stories about the pandemic and get up-to-date numbers and facts.
Even though the news is not often good, knowing I can get this information is somehow calming, if that makes any sense. Thanks again and please keep up the very good work. — Laura Seaton, Makawao
Maui Needs To Better Manage Unequitable & Precious Water Usage
Maui’s water seems to be living a double life. In one reality, an endless supply of water exists to irrigate golf courses, fill pools, tubs and toilets in thousands of rooms to accommodate what feels like an overwhelming amount of visitors lately. The other reality is a Stage 1 water shortage that took effect on July 2 for Upcountry, which is hitting our farmers and ranchers particularly hard.
We are experiencing droughts more often as our global temperatures rise and with that less reliable rainfall. While traffic and crowded beaches are obvious strains to our environment, the strain I feel most concerned about is water.
Hotels and resorts are the largest consumers of Maui’s water and many are irrigating deserts for aesthetic purposes and maintaining the illusion of paradise. Our most precious resource is being used frivolously for the visitor industry while the demand is on us to conserve use under penalty of fine.
I’m not against conserving water during a time of need, but the imbalance is glaring. We need water solutions and we needed them yesterday. We cannot keep putting off addressing these inequities. Water is a basic human right and it should not go to for profit entities at the cost of the people. We have streams with no flow but a fake waterfall in the middle of our airport. We have to do better. Our futures depend on it. — Jordan Ashley Hocker, Kula
Save Maui’s Beautiful Open Spaces and Lovely Vistas
I recently visited Maui after 20 some odd years. You really should restrict your tourists. Your island is heaven and beyond gorgeous. Don’t kill the golden goose thinking the eggs are anything special. I used to live in Aspen, CO, another beautiful place, but today a very different place.
When I was in Maui before there were many more fish to see in the ocean. This time it was still beautiful but…. keep your open spaces and lovely vistas. The Native Hawaiians deserve better stewardship and so do everyone lucky enough to live there. Save Maui and all of the islands, they are worth it. — Jane Colman, Keller, TX
Roadside Greenery ‘Butchered’ Along Maui Highways
If I did not see it myself everyday on King K and Haleakalā highways, I do not think I could believe the butchery that was done to the roadsides by the highway department in the past month. Come take a look and see what they have done; and be saddened by the unprofessional, reckless and careless manner of their blatant destruction of roadside greenery.
Today we have long stretches of dead trees and debris lining the road, as well as severely hacked, mangled and torn hillsides — not carefully cut as one would expect, but mangled, dead, brown and destroyed as if bombed! Not carefully managed as one sees in most states that care about the beauty of their roadsides, but butchered.
Each and every day that I drive by and see the destruction, I am both saddened and angered at such unprofessional carelessness — and to think my tax dollars were also used for this callous disrespect for the aina. Heads should roll!
I can’t imagine what visitors think when they see these stretches of destruction in Hawaiʻi? Come and see for yourself how some of the most beautiful environment has been trashed by those responsible for keeping it beautiful — and then make phone calls, send e-mails and ask that those responsible be held accountable for their rape of our beautiful environment. — Vincent Linares, Kula
Makena Landing Overrun by Commercial Tour Companies
Perhaps Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino should visit Makena Landing mid morning any day to see the extreme overcrowding of our precious coastline. Multiple kayak, dive and snorkel tours clog the waters and parking area. Locals are totally shut out of this valuable resource. — Roger Baeder, Kīhei
Chick-fil-A Not a Good Fit for Hawaiʻi
Chick-fil-A is a homophobic and transphobic organization that uses its customers’ money to support anti-LGBTQ organizations and causes. Its corporate lack of morals does not represent the diversity of our islands’ people. Show our PRIDE by avoiding Chick-fil-A. — Robyn Walters, Kīhei
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