Protect the community integrity of neighborhoods
Just a quick note from a longtime visitor from Canada: I have been a real estate agent in Victoria, B.C., for 40 years and see so many rezoning signs in Lahaina for B&Bs and TVRs that I think a few thoughts might be helpful.
First, it is quite understandable that owners no longer living in homes wish to increase their income via short-term rentals. However, well-functioning neighborhoods are the foundation of community good health and overall community spirit.
If too many homes have continual short-term rental turnover, it clearly affects the stability of long-term owners and renters.
A policy should be developed whereby the community integrity of neighborhoods is protected by the planning committee to limit the density of short-term rentals.
Perhaps nearby neighbors must reach a 75 percent approval level, which is the case in Victoria.
Best wishes in keeping Lahaina and West Maui as community-minded as possible in the ensuing years. After all, it is your home and your community, and there are already a huge number of tourist accommodations.
PATRICK SKILLINGS, Remax Camosun Oak Bay
Trump's decision hurts animals
As he was signing edicts hurting one group after another over the past two weeks, it was only a matter of time before Donald Trump got around to hurting animals - already the most oppressed sentient beings on Earth.
The animals' turn came by taking down the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) site that reports on government regulation of roughly 9,000 animal handling facilities. These are laboratories, dog breeders, fur farms, circuses, zoos and aquariums.
The site is used every day by animal protection activists to monitor government enforcement of the 1966 Animal Welfare Act, the only effective federal law protecting animals.
Taking down the APHIS inspection site is a huge setback for animal protection. It will almost certainly lead to reduced government inspection of animal facilities and more animal suffering - a virtual repeal of the Animal Welfare Act.
Ironically, this oppressive act was launched by the same dark-of-night process as that of pulling more than 100,000 visas from thoroughly vetted Muslim immigrants one week earlier - no notice, no hearings, no due process, no public announcement.
The oppressive mindset doesn't really care who the victims are. Hopefully, the courts will.
LESTER NAITO, Lahaina
Election system must be reformed
I have to voice my opinion about our election system. West Maui is part of the U.S.A., so it does concern us as well. One-hundred, 200 years ago, the system was maybe okay, since votes could have taken weeks to reach Washington.
Today, with all the media, CNN and every other major station predicts - correctly - the winner of the presidential race. They should not be allowed to do so. In most countries, projections are NOT allowed until the last polling place has closed, even if it's just a parliamentary election. And they have no different time zones like we do (Europe). There should be a law to keep results under wraps until it's all over.
This is long outdated and - if somebody would dissect the Constitution to the last letter - probably also unconstitutional.
How else can somebody who is almost 3 million votes short of the POPULAR VOTE be elected to the highest office in the country? Zoning, rezoning, gerrymandering - that's how.
Heck, I can't think of any office holder - unless appointed - who does not have to win by 50 percent plus one vote. If nobody has 50 percent or more, then there is a runoff election.
We are ONE nation, and therefore, the majority of the population should elect the POTUS. Even the mayor of Maui; every governor has to win by popular vote. President Trump has no mandate from the people, no matter how you look at it, and now he is even upset that he did not get the popular vote. He should be happy to be in the White House and be quiet.
There is another disadvantage to the early projections: when the polling stations close on the East Coast and the winner is declared, the states in the west have still three hours to vote. If the winner has been decided already, then why bother to vote? It could make just the difference.
When President Trump threw his hat in the ring at the very beginning, most people thought this has to be a joke. Look who is sitting in the White House today... the media are partly to blame as well.
No matter how you think about our "leader," our voting system MUST be changed. Thus, it could never happen that we have somebody in the highest office without the majority of the voters.
As a closing thought, with all the things that go on in the White House, I unfortunately foresee a lot of unrest in this country in the next four years, and our president has just started. I would not be surprised if there is an impeachment in his future. He is already toeing the line; just wait a few more months.
The president of the United States MUST be elected by at least 50 percent plus one vote. Congress, hop to it and change the law! We must never have this happen again.
JOHN BLAHUTA, Lahaina
Keiki music classes are life changing experiences
Thank you/much mahalos to Reuben and Rhonda Pali of Maui Music Mission for bringing the gift of music to our keiki here in West Maui. You are a true treasure for our children!! You are giving them the lasting gift of music, dance, singing and self-confidence.
Your lessons are truly life changing experiences for our little ones, and we are so grateful. Our granddaughter would not even get up on stage when she first started lessons last spring break, and by the end of summer she was up on stage and SINGING AND DANCING AND PLAYING HER UKULELE!! Thank you for your time and love. We are forever grateful.
SALLY AND JOHN NESPOR, Napili
Support Maui Prep's cat food drive
Maui Prep first-graders are initiating a cat food drive to benefit the Lanai Cat Sanctuary. They are seeking cat food, cat toys and monetary donations to help offset the cost of caring for 500-plus cats at the sanctuary, and the work they do to help protect the native seabirds on the island.
The project was spearheaded by the students and set into motion by first grade teacher Sarah Risser. The kids worked together to come up with ways they could help and are beginning work on homemade cat toys and donation boxes. Please support their drive to make their world a better place
POVI LARSEN, First Grade Parent at Maui Prep
Do what is right for the Hawaiian Nation
"America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." - Alexis de Tocqueville.
"The propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself has ordained." - George Washington's Inaugural Address.
The United States formed a nation primarily on Judeo-Christian principles. One prominent exception is in regard to property. Hawaiians practice Biblical Levitical land laws.
Americans influenced Hawaiian royalty with Western property ownership concepts. "Foreign" agricultural operations displaced local Hawaiian farmers with water diversion and other means. These devious acts, along with other atrocities, allowed for a successful overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
Opportunists, developers, moguls, celebrities and ignorance are continuing the legacy of exploitation. The demise of the plantation era operations have left enormous parcels of land available for purchase with questionable ownership.
Sales and acquisition of these lands is tacit approval of unscrupulousness. Quiet title/quiet claim is the court-endorsed mechanism for "legal plunder." Just because it's legal doesn't make it right.
Government entities established precedents allowing thousands of acres of "legally plundered" land to be developed. Important agricultural land is rezoned for housing and multi-million dollar estates. "Affordable" home prices near $700,000 perpetuate poverty and homelessness for Hawaii's workforce families.
Don't expect the blessings of Heaven on ill-gotten gains. Our nation has a choice. To keep a great nation we foremost need to be a good nation. Stop exploiting - do what is right!
MICHELE LINCOLN, Lahaina