Letters to the editor: 01-24-19

State bites West Hawaii hand that feeds

Here we go again! Another natural wonder on the Big Island gets a no trespassing sign. Huehue lava tube just north of the Kona airport is a wonderful place to stop and show visitors one of the things that makes the Big Island special. After a long flight, visitors are thrilled to get out, stretch their legs, and marvel at our lava wonderland just a couple of minutes from the airport.

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As you reported in Saturday’s paper, the state is saying the lava tube is unsafe and that the cars that are stopping there are damaging the shoulder of the highway! Instead of BSing us, the state could easily and cheaply put in a parking lot and turn it into a new tourist attraction. Their solution: a thousand feet of ugly concrete barriers and no parking signs.

This is just one more example of the state ignoring the need for public access to the natural wonders of West Hawaii. Recent crackdowns on popular hiking routes are turning families out for a jaunt into criminals. Despite decades of attempts by residents and legislators, the DLNR refuses to engage with us on ways to get the kind of public access that is common on other islands.

At this time there are only five legal hikes in all of West Hawaii (Ala Kahakai, Makahi Road, Manuka Trail, Kaheawai Trail, and Pololu Valley.) For comparison, there are 41 in Oahu, 35 on Kauai, and 19 on Maui. (https://hawaiitrails.hawaii.gov/trails/#/).

The state is happy to take the taxes from tourism in West Hawaii and use them for new projects on Oahu. But as we see again with Huehue, they are unwilling to even help us maintain access to the places in West Hawaii that we have been going to for generations.

Matt Binder

Waimea

Left’s been wall ready, but prez has other ideas

I read Warren Field’s letter about the border wall construction impasse between Congress and the president, and how he seems to be advocating that it’s all the left-leaning people who are to blame. He seems to have forgotten a few details, including that numerous Democrats have voted for wall funding (that was as late as February 2018, when Congress voted for $25 billion for border security paid out over 10 years), and then Trump turned the proposal down.

Since Trump’s wall has been estimated at costing roughly $5.7 billion, and it would take a number of years to build such a wall, I think we can assume that Trump could have had his wall if he really wanted it, without this partial shutting down of the government. But no, since the proposal would have legalized the “Dreamers” as well as other illegals, Trump refused to go along with the deal.

Politics is about compromise, but this president doesn’t get that. As for the Dreamers, they’ve all been educated on the taxpayer’s nickel, in public schools here in this country, and it turns out that many have now become nurses and all sorts of other professionals.

So doesn’t it make sense that if the American public has helped pay for their education, we shouldn’t now get the benefit of these professionals. It makes more sense if such individuals should be allowed to stay.

Carl Merner

Holualoa

Ease up on parking rules during events

On Jan 19, I volunteered for our 24th annual community surf event at Banyan’s. I was given supposed parking infraction ticket, which I paid, because I didn’t want to waste my time or the court’s time.

However, as a law-abiding senior citizen, I feel it was inappropriate because of limited parking and gray area parking signs on Alii Drive. Shouldn’t you make exceptions for such community events?

Tony Gee

Kailua-Kona

Don’t block access to lava tube

I believe it is a mistake to completely block off access to the lava tube north of the Kona airport. There were, and are, other less drastic solutions.

You could have used some creativity to make a small, safe linear parking area along the mauka side of the highway on the shoulder and separated from the traffic with concrete barriers, or a simple curb or even the flexible vertical plastic poles used to mark water drains on roads.

The state did and should make the makai side no parking, so people don’t cross highway traffic on foot. That part makes sense. Making the makai side no parking doesn’t make sense. It is an easily accessible lava tube for visitors and residents alike.

The county depends on the tourist economy for a large part of its budget and salary. Reducing visitor attractions is not in the interest of the County of Hawaii or the State of Hawaii. Make it safe, do not eliminate it.

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Donna Goodale

Kailua-Kona