Letters to the editor: 01-07-20

Short and sweet

Thank you Nancy Redfeather for a concise explanation of a local issue that effects every single one of us … the of the herbicide ban Bill 101.

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Cindy Whitehawk

Kona

Bill 101 lacking, but danger on roadways not

This letter is written from someone who has owned eight farms and works the land still. I found Bill 101 to be ill informed, based on emotion, not well researched, and the individuals that you produced as expert witnesses were instead emotional witnesses.

The state road guy from Maui was the worst. He did not tell you that all state roads are built with wide shoulders and an apron on that shoulder so they can be mowed. He did not tell you that Maui has soil so it is easier to mow. Also did he tour county roads (which are not able to be dedicated to the state because these roads are not up to state standards) to see the steep banks and drop-offs that will need to be mowed?

If the county truly wanted to limit the use of herbicides in maintaining the roadways it would commit to a 10-year program to bring all the roads into state standards so they could be mowed. Then hire a substantial number of road maintenance workers and buy mowers and weed eaters to equip these maintenance workers so they can work safely.

Have any of the council members ever walked, run, rode a bike or driven on the Mamalahoa Highway on the county-maintained portions during the wet season? It is dangerous to walkers, runners, cyclists and motorists due to the limited sight visibility caused by the encroaching brush. Just drive up the Alii Drive bypass and see how cyclists have to pull into the roadway due to the encroaching brush on that wide shoulder. As a cyclist, I find the road hazards from the encroaching weeds extremely hazardous.

If the council members are interested in how this will impact road maintenance they should spend two days on a road maintenance crew. We are talking boots and blue jeans, not designer jeans and sneakers. They may learn how ill informed this action is.

In closing I would have though that the Jeffery Surnow settlement of $15.1 million would have caused the county to sit up and take notice of roadway safety. Not only did the county quickly build a shoulder to the Waikoloa Road that would have given Mr. Surnow a safe place to ride his bike but also created an apron on that shoulder so it could be mowed.

The county needs to assess its liability for impaired roadways caused by its own lack of maintenance and set aside funds to pay those future lawsuits. What is truly missing from Bill 101 is an economic analysis of the costs to the county.

Those costs would include increased costs of maintenance (equipment and workers), increased danger to the walkers, runners, cyclists and motorists from the crowding of brush on roadways and then the financial costs to settle lawsuits due to impaired roadways due to lack of visibility from brush encroachment as well as the potential for loss of life and injury to the public.

If you decide in haste you will repent at your leisure. Let’s see this economic analysis.

George Robinson

Kealakekua

Kudos from a visitor

I recently had the pleasure to return to Hawaii after a 42-year absence. Despite the enormous amount of development that has taken place, I was surprised to discover that the reef and snorkeling at the Captain Cook Monument in Kealakekua is much improved.

Measures that you’ve undertaken to protect the environment at that location are clearly working. Keep up the good work!

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Jerry McIntosh

Toronto, Canada