Graveyards must get priority in tight times
It's a shame the 6,000 grave-sites at Hawai'i's four state-owned cemeteries continue to suffer neglect and vandalism.
The state "inherited" the four cemeteries, in Makiki, Kapalama, 'Aiea and 'Alewa Heights, which have not had the benefit of specific budgeting by the Legislature for maintenance or upkeep for years. They receive the occasional mowing by prisoner work lines, but the state is doing little or nothing about graffiti, rubbish and cracked headstones.
Unfortunately, that's the kind of thing that has to happen when a budget-strapped state government has to prioritize. We can't think of many state expenditures that would be easier to dispense with.
That's not because keeping up these cemeteries isn't worthwhile; it is. But it's the kind of work that can be picked up by interested church groups, relatives of the deceased or community volunteers.
In addition, nearby property owners interested in boosting the value of their own holdings should be interested in making these old and extremely interesting graveyards into assets rather than liabilities.
We're long past the point where government can be all things to all people. These cemeteries are a good example.