Letters to the editor: 01-10-20

Government criticism OK

It’s one thing for the County Council to consider a past complaint against a Planning Commission nominee when determining if a person should or shouldn’t be considered for a board or commission. It’s quite another when a nominee’s political views and past criticism of government is weaponized against them.


I don’t know anything about the disciplinary action taken in 2003 against Mark Van Pernis, Mayor Kim’s recent nominee to the Leeward Planning Commission. I do know, however, that Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewiez’s comments against Mr Van Pernis as being potentially unfit to serve on that commission due to his criticism of county government in a public forum shows her deep ignorance of the bedrock democratic principle of free speech.

It would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious, particularly when Kierkiewitz was elected to serve the needs of all people in her district, and this island, regardless of their antipathy or love of government. Disappointingly, her comments reiterate those in recent letters to this paper by residents who similarly underestimate or are ignorant of the importance of that right — people who would restrict free speech that’s at odds with their beliefs or goals. Auwe.

In the nearly four decades I’ve been tuned in to local politics, I’ve seen kowtowers and rebel rousers appointed to commissions and boards, myself included. That’s how it should be. The important thing about democracy is that the voices on those volunteer boards and commissions reflect the diversity of the community, be they old boys, activists, or somewhere (or nowhere) in-between.

Janice Palma-Glennie


Kudos to local kid done good

While many island sports figures have had too much publicity, the great Jordan Yamamoto of the Miami Marlins deserves recognition too. In Yamamoto’s first two starts for the Miami Marlins, he pitched 7 innings in each outings, allowed 2 hits in each outing and both were shutouts gems.

Yamamoto’s accent to Major Leagues Baseball’s highest level is an amazing accomplishment in itself, but, the aforementioned stats have made MLB history.

Great to see another local boy making it in the big leagues and he truly deserves recognition.

Dean Nagasako


Roads need improvement for safety’s sake

West Hawaii Today printed the news titled “Less lethal year for Big Island roads; traffic fatalities down almost 22% in 2019.”

This news article reports traffic fatality statistics and 25 fatalities were counted in 2019.

The Hawaii Police Department said there were 32 traffic fatalities in 2016; 2017, and 2018.

Within a decade the highest death count was 38 fatalities in 2012.

What is going on with highway traffic safety?

Highway traffic safety entails aspects of engineering, enforcement, and education. All factors and constraints are interrelated and complicated in addressing problems of deaths on the road.

Roads are designed for mobility, but speed must be restrained. Traffic laws are enacted to maintain respect and civility through enforcement. Knowledge of rules for driving is necessary before being permitted to drive.

However, driver education is a lifelong constant.

Toddlers actually begin life on the road as learned from adults — being exposed to the good, bad, and ugly behavior of driving. Children observe good and bad driving habits of parents.

They pick up clues when parents scoff at the rules of the road.

Many of the existing county roads in Kona are outdated and lack the modern design and safety standards.

The roads are narrow and winding with inadequate shoulders.

Pedestrians and bicyclists encroach into car travel lanes.

This increases the potential for more traffic incidents, if not death or serious injuries.

Kona has an asymmetrical highway system due to land use planning and development standards.

Most of highways are built centipede style — main body with hundreds of feet attached to it.

A more appropriate approach would be to build a spider web like system with myriads of origins and destinations. Such a system would be conducive to a safer highway infrastructure.

Go where and when you want by the most convenient and safe route.

Harold Murata


County priorities seem skewed

Interesting article the paper. The county is short of funds and personnel to provide basic services such as waste collection, but can come up with millions to protect the “protectors”. Maybe if the “protectors” had a day job they could pay taxes and help out. Just a thought.


Richard Johnson

Captain Cook