Letters to the Editor
TURTLE BAY SHOULD PROVE TRAFFIC CLAIM
Turtle Bay Resort's spokesman was all over the news recently claiming, "The hotel believes it won't have an impact on traffic." Fine — prove it! Let's see an honest traffic study so that everyone can discuss the traffic concerns objectively.
If the resort owners are unwilling to objectively study the impact of their proposed expansion, then what does that tell us about their concern for the community?Gil Riviere
KAHUKU, IT'S TIME TO TAKE BACK COMMUNITY
Twenty years ago, the Kahuku Community Association allowed some of its members to deal with developers. Promises where made without consultation with the community as a whole.
I cannot believe that the consensus of Kahuku at that time, or now, would be to support the development of five hotels with 3,500 units. Property taxes, traffic, and septic and water use would increase tremendously.
Last month, about 100 residents of Kahuku held road signs fronting the high school stating, "Keep the Country Country." I bet these residents were surprised and confused when last week, on the night of the great flood of 2006, the Kahuku Community Association unanimously affirmed its loyalty to Oaktree. I wonder if everyone in the community received a notice and agenda to this change in a timely manner.
What was so urgent that the meeting needed to be held two weeks prior to its normally scheduled time? I would like to see the minutes and attendance of this public meeting.
Wake up, Kahuku, and take your community back!Ben Shafer
THE BIG ONE THAT GOT AWAY: KA'U SPACEPORT
Over a decade ago, a very large controversy arose on Hawai'i Island. It had to do with the development of a privately funded satellite-launching facility.
Mind you, this was not a military endeavor, but a private company's desire to fulfill a need and hopefully make a profit.
There were many opponents, as well as those in favor, of bringing to this island high-tech employment (along with the associated services and support).
One must evaluate how the Ka'u area has fared since that time in the mid-1990s when the project was forced to be abandoned. Are jobs abundant? Has your quality of life improved? Is this island known the world 'round as a place where technology and science are in the forefront? Are our schools on an equal footing with other communities or better?
You can't ask those who were most vocal and active for the defeat of the Ka'u spaceport, for they are nowhere to be found. Once victory was assured, they fled. Their job was done.
But not to worry, another area will benefit due to our reluctance to absorb technology. Here's a recent news item: "U.S. company plans $265 million spaceport in United Arab Emirates."Michael L. Last
HISTORY FEATURE IS ENJOYABLE READING
Many thanks to The Advertiser staff for producing the interesting "150 Years History" column. It is a joy to read and something to look forward to daily.
I have clipped every column for my collection. The Advertiser could later publish it as a book and could include some of "the best" works of Bob Krauss, Lee Cataluna and others. The possibilities are many.James Ma
GIVE US BACK EVERY PENNY OF THE SURPLUS
Somehow, winning an election endows our elected officials with an infallible judgment as to what should be done to govern Hawai'i. They and the daily newspapers are now engaged in a debate on what best to do with the surplus taxes that have accumulated in state coffers.
The answer is actually quite simple: Return it to the people who created it. All of it!
There should be no debate on one project or another. Surplus money happens because the state has excessively overtaxed its citizens. When that happens, the state Constitution says it is to be returned. It does not say some of it should be refunded; it does not say you can divide it up for various projects to reduce its total — it says it must be returned.Dave Reed
O'AHU HOMEOWNERS 70 AND OVER GET NOTHING
In his letter of March 2, Richard Eaton bemoans the fact that homeowners over the age of 60 get only an additional $20,000 exemption. That's not quite correct; homeowners 70 and over get nothing.
There is a brighter side to the astronomical rise in property evaluations; my heirs just "made" $90,000 without anyone doing a lick of work.Donald C. Blaser
STATE MUST SUPPORT OUR CHARTER SCHOOLS
As the president of the Hawai'i Charter Schools Network, I would like to thank you for the article concerning facilities for charter schools in our state.
The charter school community has been astounded by the lack of support for this initiative throughout our years of struggling to operate on budgets that are, at best, half of what the other public schools receive.
Article X in the state Constitution says, "The State shall provide for the establishment, support and control of a statewide system of public schools free from sectarian control, a state university, public libraries and such other educational institutions as may be deemed desirable, including physical facilities therefor." What possible arguments can lawmakers have for not following our Constitution?John Thatcher
TOO MUCH, ALL AT ONCE
As a pantry cook at Turtle Bay Resort, I know that if you add too much oil all at once, the sauce will break. Turtle Bay management plans to develop the Kawela Bay area all at one time instead of following the design hashed out in 1986. Their plan to complete this project all at once is irresponsible and sounds like a "recipe" for environmental disaster.Elaine Hornal
FACTS DON'T SUPPORT REPORTS OF DECLINING ISLE FISHERIES
In response to the March 8 letter from The Nature Conservancy's Suzanne Case, "Fishery measures are a catch 22." Hawai'i Nearshore Fishermen would like to comment: We have been providing Island and Mainland markets with 500,000 to 1 million pounds of fresh-caught nearshore species annually.
Some of our fishermen have catch logbooks that date back to the 1930s and '40s indicating that some of the most phenomenal catch years occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, with 1997 and 2003 being particularly exceptional years.
We are exhausted by the recurring rhetoric, such as Case's letter about "Hawai'i's nearshore fisheries being in a "precipitous decline" and that closing areas to fishing to "replenish fish populations" is the answer. Case states, "In fact, scientist estimate that our nearshore fisheries are merely one quarter of what they were only 100 years ago."
In our opinion, this often-regurgitated tale comes from a mercurial report that took historic fish landings of both nearshore species and included pelagic species such as skipjack tuna (aku) and yellowfin tuna (shibi) and compares these numbers to current landing levels of only nearshore species.
This twisting of data to demonstrate a decline is exactly why the legislation was introduced that called for good science.
On the federal level, the Magnuson-Stevens Act requires each Regional Fisheries Management Council to establish and maintain a scientific and statistical committee to provide "the best scientific information available" and assist in the development of fishery management plans.
The "proven tool" of Marine Protected Areas that Case talks about as it turns out are not so proven and, as nearshore fishermen, we are frightened at the prospect of a series of no fishing zones that are promulgated by politics and not good science.
Case also commented about local communities of fishermen being the strongest advocates "in those places where reserves have worked," but failed to mention that areas like the Fiji Islands, where the local communities who advocate to set up their own closed fishing grounds are the villagers who depend on the fishery to feed the village.
In Hawai'i however, fish is not the main resource and the proponents of closed fishing areas are not fishermen, but the scuba/tour industry who depend on closed areas to market to tourists for visual enjoyment - "look but no touch or eat."
Closing fishing areas shifts sustenance practices to buying groceries (and fish) and fast food. More critically, it leaves the people of an island state disconnected from the resource and the art of gathering. Hawai'i's fishermen hold dear the notion that fishing rules and regulations be based on sound science and be established fairly.Tony Costa
Hawai'i Nearshore Fishermen
A CRASH COURSE ON GROWTH
Like it or not, we are about to get a crash course in Civics 101. Civics is defined as: "The branch of political science that deals with municipal affairs and the rights and duties of citizens." The City and County of Honolulu is amending the City Charter. So, what is the City Charter, and why is it important to us?
The City Charter is a document outlining the conditions under which the City and County of Honolulu is organized. It defines rights, privileges and the formal organization of the city. The mayor and the City Council are bound by the Charter in how they manage municipal services.
There are 42 proposed Charter amendments that are currently going through the public hearing process by the Charter Commission. After the public hearings, the commission will decide which of the 42 Charter amendments will be placed on the November ballot.
Three of the proposed amendments would have the principle of "smart growth," which is a land-use planning tool, included in the Charter. Another amendment would require "no net loss" of agricultural or preservation lands. This requires an acre-for-acre replacement for lands taken out of agriculture or preservation from existing urban or rural lands.
The issue is not whether you are for or against smart growth or any of the other land-use proposals. The real issue here is whether or not these types of land-use planning tools should be elevated and included in the City Charter.
Supporters of smart growth speak about its virtues in increasing density in the urban core, increasing the efficient use of infrastructure, decreasing "sprawl." These all appear to be very good and noble motives to those of us who constantly find ourselves sitting in traffic.
To balance the discussion, you may want to consider who will pay for growth or increased density in the urban core, and what the city is doing to increase infrastructure capacity in the urban core. Unlike a single developer of a master-planned community, a developer of an in-fill project cannot afford to increase infrastructure capacity from his project site to the major backbone collector system, assuming that there is sufficient capacity in the existing collector systems. Are all of us willing to pay more to implement smart growth through improvement districts or higher taxes?
If some of the Charter amendments are adopted without the corresponding commitment from the city to provide increased infrastructure capacity, we will find it very difficult to provide housing to accommodate our community's needs.
Our civics lesson boils down to the basic rights and duties we all have as citizens in Honolulu. If you truly care about the future of our community, doing nothing is not an option. Do your civic duty, get informed and involved.Dean Uchida