It used to be so much simpler, and better

Way back as a kid, I was driving to Naalehu in Ka’u and while rounding a curve on the narrow road with no center line, I came across a loaded dump truck that took up most of the road, heading in the opposite direction. Visibility was poor and I was traveling too fast for the prevailing conditions.

To avoid a sure collision, I drove off the pavement, down the embankment, into the brush. The truck driver stopped to check on me then produced a chain and pulled my Model A back onto the pavement. My vehicle was damaged and could not be driven. He apologized, we shook hands, and he then drove me home, which was on his way. My brother helped me tow my car home where I repaired it with some old, spare parts. Car insurance was not a mandate then.

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Fast forward 64 years later. Yesterday I learned that the Kohala Traffic Safety Committee was denied the right to utilize the conference room in the State building behind the Waimea courthouse. I never believed it because the reason given, I was told, was because it didn’t have insurance. I checked and it was confirmed! Can you believe that?

I moved to Waimea in 1968 as a cop and was assigned to attend the Kohala Traffic Safety Committee monthly meetings, which I did. The police station was a part of the old courthouse where the Waimea Senior Citizens now meet. It was a very active committee that discussed boring subjects involving traffic safety and improvements. Keep in mind, Waikoloa did not exist and the Queen Kaahumanu Road ended just past the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Waimea had a stop sign at the main intersection and no traffic lights at all.

Parker Ranch donated 17 acres for a civic center and the new police station was built. The courthouse was built next and then the state building with its popular conference room. The Kohala Traffic Safety Committee got permission to hold its monthly meetings in that conference room and continued to discuss traffic safety issues. County and state representatives frequently attended those meetings as it was a very reputable place to seek input on traffic concerns for free.

However, we are told that a new person is now in charge of the Department of Accounting and General Services and while checking out his responsibilities, he found an old law that requires the users of this conference room to be covered by some sort of insurance. Not having the proper insurance, the Kohala Traffic Safety Committee was denied access. Consequently, they now meet in another state facility which is the local library where insurance is not required. This committee, which is older than the person making the decision to deny it use, is still, thankfully, functioning.

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The homeless and the criminals get all of the breaks. Steal, lie, cheat, traffic in dope and get a free attorney. Volunteer to better your community and be denied access to a conference room for lack of insurance. Is there a conspiracy by the state to screw the working taxpayers? Times have really changed.

Leningrad Elarionoff is a resident of Waimea.