Letters to the Editor: Oct. 11, 2020
Opportunity to Reset Beaches
We have an opportunity to reset how we share our beaches with this pandemic pause in tourism. It would be pono for the beachfront resorts to stop erecting long rows of lounge chairs and umbrellas down the length of our beaches. It creates an environment of exclusion for the locals who have been enjoying these beaches for generations.
This unprecedented time is allowing us a rare glimpse into a Maui from years ago when life was slower; beaches were uncrowded; and marine life was abundant. Thirty five years ago, my favorite beach was in Wailea. A dirt road led to Wailea point where my ohana sat under a large Kiawe tree. After the Grand Wailea was built, I was told to move when I sat on the same beach. The guests at the resort looked down on me as if I was trespassing on hotel property. I never went back to that beach and mourned the loss of so much enjoyment and memories.
It is a dream come true that I am able to come back and enjoy this beautiful beach again now that the big resorts are temporarily closed. It would be even better if the beaches could be like this even after we open up to tourists. Let us share the beach with aloha. Mālama pono. — Barbara Chung, Kihei
Nevada Super PAC Money in Maui Races
Large corporate money is flowing from Nevada in an attempt to control the outcome of Maui County Council races and 7 charter amendments. The new Super PAC based in Reno, Nevada has launched a $120,000 effort to elect a pro-development/pro-corporate slate of candidates, essentially attempting to take over the Maui County Council. The “Hui O Maui Citizens for Change” Super PAC chairperson and treasurer is Grant David Gillham, who lives in Nevada.
All the cards, mailers, banners and television/radio ads against progressive council members, candidates and the charter amendments are from this source. They may use some local voices – but there isn’t anything local about this. Whether funds are A&B or other sources we do not know, as a SuperPAC uses black money – they do not have to give their sources.
Local groups such as the Maui Pono Network that back progressive candidates and the 7 charter amendments have to tell where their money comes from. The Gillham group is big money from an unknown source.
It’s dirty politics where anyone with large funds can attempt to overwhelm and destroy local good governance. Do we let some outside entity that throws $120,000 into our local races dictate our government’s future? Or do we vote with the majority of our Maui County Council, give ourselves the changes in our charter that we need, and move on?
Personally I will vote for all 7 charter amendments, King, Sinenci, Rawlins-Fernandez, Johnson, Paltin, Eyre and Kamikona. I will not let Nevada hired guns confuse my vote. — Sean Lester, Haiku
Concerned Industrial Cleaners Used on Sidewalks for COVID-19 Could Harm Reefs
I went to Mana Foods on Oct. 7, 2020 and noticed some people pressure washing outside. It wasn’t until after my shopping that the man leading the crew told me that they were actually contracted to spray “hospital grade” antiviral on all the side walks in every town. They had just finished Wailuku the week prior.
My immediate thought was what this cleaner will do once it hits our coral reefs. I wondered if this was public knowledge and found nothing about it online anywhere. I am concerned for our coastline as it has gotten a much needed break from the incessant use of non reef safe sunscreens and intense boat use. However, an industrial level cleaner being used in such capacities in every town is concerning. PLEASE look into this! — Sarah Bonneson, Makawao
Stick To Oct. 15 Reopening of Tourism
Based on the opening up plan that was announced for Oct. 15, many people have purchased airline tickets, and the travel industry and local Maui businesses finally see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. But the elected officials keep dithering.
If the mayor doesn’t stick to the plan, Maui’s disaster is only going to get worse. He has to realize that there are worse things that could happen than getting COVID, like a financial disaster to Maui which will take years to recover from. — Paul Seymour, Happy Valley, OR
End Interisland Quarantine
How is it that Gov. Ige and our mayor will allow trans-pacific travel but we can’t go to Oahu or Maui for healthcare visits without quarantine on return? What is wrong with this picture? — Paul Mullin, Maunaloa
Continue To Protect Our People From Covid-19
In the beginning of this pandemic, every person connected to getting the word out about protecting our ohana, our kapuna, our keiki and ourselves. “THIS IS WHO WE ARE, AND WHAT WE DO IN THE ISLANDS.” The power people persuaded us all to close down, stay home and take care of all islanders. Ok. We listened and happily complied. Now, for some reason those same words don’t seem to have any use or meaning since no one is speaking or writing them.
Now, they’re all insisting we open with 8 to 20 possible tourist positives for COVID-19 out of 1,000. … We’re all suffering the loss of dollars. We’re gonna get them back. BUT WE CAN’T GET OUR KAPUNA, OHANA OR KEIKI BACK IF THEY GET COVID. Do you understand now? — Scott Loock, Lahaina
Frustrated Trying To Reach A Live Person At Unemployment Office
Dealing with the unemployment office virtually has been an interesting affair thus far. Clearly there are a myriad of issues being reported and dealt with. In particular, calling in to speak with someone has, by far, been the most challenging.
For the first six months you’d have to call any one of seven or so numbers only to be told that no one’s available and call back later. I spent six hours one day calling repeatedly until someone finally answered. You almost don’t know how to act when there’s a live person on the other end!
Now they’ve streamlined the call center and all HUI phone numbers go into this newly updated call center. It only took me 15 minutes to get through, BUT I’ve been on HOLD for four hours! I guess I’m thankful I don’t have to keep redialing, but I’m so afraid I’ll get disconnected somehow before someone finally picks up!! This is my job today. It could be worse (and it has been). — Beba OBrien, Kula
Why Has Work Stopped at the New Kihei High School?
Just wondering if I missed something in the news about why work was shut down on the long awaited, long anticipated Kihei High School. I was told when my daughter was in 1st grade at Kamalii School that the new high school would be finished and open for her freshman year of High School. Well, she is now a Sophomore at UH/Maui.
It looks like Goodfellows started and stopped infrastructure grading and potential drainage problems on the property. It left two mountains of rocks on the south side of the property. I also read that the state overpaid for xeriscape landscaping of the property that looks like a bunch of dried weeds were planted. What is the status of this boondoggled project that Kihei and the overcrowded Maui High need so badly for our community? — George Hahn, Kihei
East Lipoa Street in Kihei Needs Speed Controls for Safety
I’m writing to bring attention to the lack of speed controls on a major street in Kihei: East Lipoa Street, between South Kihei Road and Pi’ilani Highway. If you compare this streetʻs safety standards to others that parallel it, East Lipoa Street fails.
Just to remind you readers what is there: condominiums, shopping centers, a gas station, more shopping, another busy shopping center with a notable restaurant, a bank, storage center, an international educational living center, a community pool, the DMV office with county community center, an elementary school and my favorite, The Kihei Kau Nani Community that has 57 housing units and there families.
You know you would never drive the way you drive on your own street. Why would you do it here on our street? That makes you just part of the problem. The county of Maui also owns some blame. A couple years ago Maui built a roundabout on Piʻikea Avenue. Question: Is the Safeway Shopping Center more important than the elementary school, the community center, pool or DMV??? All Iʻm asking for is a couple of crosswalks, reduce speed signs and a permanent crossing guard for the school. Thanks for listening . Blessed we live Maui! — Thomas Fitzthum, Kihei