Maui Discussion

LETTER: Cannot Ban Halloween

October 25, 2011, 11:50 AM HST
* Updated December 9, 2:31 PM
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By Raymond J Hutaff, Kula

lahaina halloween front street party night

Front Street Lahaina by night. Photo courtesy of Lahaina Town Action Committee.

FACT: No one can ban Halloween on Front Street or anywhere else; it’s against our American constitution.  Our constitution gives us the right to assemble, right to free speech and the right to free expression, even if it is rude and crude.  In my opinion, this right should never be taken away, no matter if what takes place is offensive.  But, basic laws must be abided by, (so no naked bodies, public drunkenness, urinating anywhere but the bathrooms, no vomiting in corners, bushes ETC.

FACT:  Halloween never left Lahaina; it is the misperception of the news media that Halloween was banned by the Maui County Cultural Resource Commission, not true, not possible.

LTAC, sometime after 1989, organized the Halloween events in order to boost business on Front Street and to control, what had been getting out of hand.  Thus they provided street clean up the morning after, extra trash containers extra porta bathrooms and paid for some police presence.  All good stuff at the time, Had LTAC not done this it would have taken the same path of the Whaling Spree days.

As the event grew, problems also continued to grow and a mistake was made with an offensive Halloween Poster, the poster was removed, but the sensitivities of Hawaiians had already been hurt.  Besides removal of the poster, no real action has been taken by anyone to meet with those offended and discuss the problem (at least not to my knowledge) The Hawaiian people of Lahaina still feel hurt by those actions, they believe (and I agree) that Lahaina is more special than just Halloween. It has cultural, spiritual and historical significance way before the 18th and 19th centuries. The Cultural significance of Lahaina has been diluted by Halloween via misinformation and lack of knowledge.

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Without the Festival of Canoes, the only true cultural event, at this point, is the King Kamehameha Day Parade.  Hopefully, LATC or others bring more cultural events to Lahaina Town in the future.

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FACT:  In 2006 and 2007, the MCCRC hesitated to approve the permits because, based on testimony, the problems were getting bigger but solutions were never brought to light. The permit was approved, solely on the safety issue of closing the road.  The concerns of MCCRC were presented to the LATC at the time the permits were granted. MCCRC hoped that the problems would be resolved and the concerns of the Hawaiian Community Representatives would be resolved or at least discussed before the next years permit process.

2008 MCCRC did not approve a permit for a stage and food booths under the banyan tree, The Mayor’s representative, at that time, Mahina Martin, testified before the Commission, that if LTAC did not receive permit that the county would have to pay for police, portable bathrooms, trash cans and cleanup.  The Commission was under the impression that the event would be more controlled by the county than by the LTAC and its limited resources.  Basically the event had gotten bigger the LTAC could control, some on the LTAC felt that it was beyond the LATC to properly control the event with the funds it had on hand.  The MCCRC was under the impression that the road would be closed, more police would be on site, more portable bathrooms and more trash receptacles would be in place if LTAC was not in charge of Halloween in 2008.

FACT: LTAC never completed the application process in 2009 and 2010.

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FACT: Festival of Canoes cancelled since 2009, which was sponsored by LATC,

Hotels, local businesses ETC.  The festival of Canoes is an event that brings light not only to Lahaina’s rich Hawaiian Culture, but to all of Polynesia and more.

Lahaina needs to be known for all its history, not just whaling and Halloween; we owe it to all cultures.

FACT:  Yes Hawaiians went topless for a time before the missionaries came, as most indigenous people did, see Greek statues, National geographic ETC.  I don’t think comparing the innocence of the past a few who prefer the lack of cover up for Halloween are a good excuse.

FACT: The areas of front street are a sacred place for Hawaiians for many reasons, we need to understand and respect that.  That lack of knowledge is the core reason for many of the problems and distrust between the parties involved

FACT: Our Mayor needs to be responsible to the people of Maui, providing jobs and generating revenue for the county so that taxes won’t have to be raised or services cut.

I believe the Mayor has done exactly what the MCCRC had hoped for; a safe Halloween on Front Street, with the best control of the few who caused problems.

Almost every business on Front Street that benefits from Halloween are made up of good people trying to have a business here on Maui, those businesses provide jobs to people who have, families, food to buy and gas to purchase ETC, good people, heck one employee of front street turned out to Save Honulua and become a Council Women, one business owner is a life time Lahaina resident who graduated from Lahaina Luna.  They are not about the corporate greed that has been claimed.  No one can argue that Good people need Good Jobs.

No way should the Rich Hawaiian Culture of Lahaina be ignored or stripped of their past, no one wants that…… but it is happening. Hawaiians everywhere are struggling for their identity and want to preserve their past; even if Halloween on Front street went away, this problem would still not be resolved.

FACT:  The vast majority of people don’t want to loose the history of Hawaiians.

Hopefully all sides can get together and find a great solution by Oct 2012, after all,   LATC’s mission statement is “LahainaTown Action Committee promotes, preserves, and encourages the historical, cultural, social, commercial and environmental vitality of Lahaina.”

I believe that the Mayor wants to preserve and bring respect to all the cultures that made Maui a respectful place in the past, as well as providing employment to good people.

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