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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Maui water


Your editorial on the Nā Wai 'Ehā (The Four Waters) case in Central Maui not only got basic facts wrong (like confusing Central with East Maui), it did deep injustice to years of community efforts to achieve a more sustainable and just water future.

First, this case is not about jobs, but about control over our water resources, which the law declares a public trust. Nā Wai 'Ehā streams are drained dry by two companies: (1) Wailuku Water Co., a former C. Brewer plantation now in the business of taking public water and selling it back to the public, and (2) Alexander & Baldwin, which proposes to join in that business, selling the same water it claims its HC&S plantation needs.

After years of investigations, HC&S admitted to dumping water on non-productive sandy fields and losing more than 25 percent of the water from its leaky system. The evidence also revealed that HC&S has alternative sources like its nonpotable wells and county reclaimed water.

Now, A&B claims it wants to invest in alternative fuel crops. Why doesn't it also adopt responsible alternatives to destroying streams? Because it's easier (and more profitable) to cry "jobs," than to give up its 19th-century water monopoly.

The editorial wants the Water Commission to "approve the HC&S proposal," which was HC&S's after-the-fact bid to toss the streams some leftovers and leave Maui's legendary two largest rivers, 'Īao and Waihe'e, as trickles. This is exactly why the law doesn't let private companies (or newspapers) dictate our water policy.

Flowing streams are not these companies' private property, but an environmental and cultural legacy for future generations. While you were content simply to parrot the plantation line, the public trust holds the state to a far higher standard.

Isaac Moriwake
Attorney, Earthjustice



Thank you for the article about the Baldwin High School girls softball team receiving money for a new softball field. ("Baldwin softball to get new field," April 8).

While some question the expense of this project at this time, discrimination is discrimination and needs to be corrected no matter the economic hardships. Enforcement of existing laws is important and an important lesson for all.

While softball is not going to be an Olympic sport in the next summer Olympics, it was in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It may go back to the Olympics in the future, and the keiki on that future field in Maui may play in the Olympics some time down the road. This field represents so much more than a field of dreams.

Ruby Marcelo
Silver Spring, Md.



As a parent, I too worry about my son not attending enough school to learn what he needs to learn to prepare him for the next grade level. At the same time, I also don't believe that the Hurricane Fund should be used to pay for non-essential workers. Does a school need to have four administrative staff in an office to answer phones? Can job descriptions be combined to save on staff?

As a state worker working in an office that is short-staffed, I'm disgusted that DOE/BOE wants to be greedy to have everyone maintain employment when DHS and other departments are losing their jobs.

Also, why is Save our Schools having kids sleep at the Capitol on a school night and "surviving on fruit?"

My daughter, who goes to a public charter school, is most likely going to be displaced because another state department wants their building. So instead of giving all that money away, maybe Gov. Lingle could spend some on a permanent building for those children.

Teri Silva



House Bill 2582 would increase the cost of living on a boat in the Ala Wai and Ke'ehi small boat harbors from around $11 a foot to between $28 and $36 a foot, an approximate 250 to 350 percent increase. At this price level, Ala Wai and Ke'ehi residents can rent apartments, condos or houses and will leave in droves.

Marinas on the Mainland and internationally charge a flat fee ($50 to $250) for liveaboards, in addition to a per-foot fee for mooring the boat. The reason for a flat rate is that the size of the boat does not affect the demand on shower facilities or other amenities provided to residents. The number of people on a boat affects the facilities.

A fee increase may be necessary during this economic climate, but not one that empties the harbor of revenue-producing residents. I suggest that the live-aboard fees be raised to $350 for a single person and $400 for two or more in addition to the mooring fee. The Legislature should then increase the number of allowable live-aboard slips from 15 percent to 30 percent. That is one solution to DLNR's insatiable need for revenue.

For the record, I am not a resident of the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor.

Bill Beadle



It never fails to amaze that the Bush-haters are still out there stewing the past, ignoring reality and spewing venom. Perhaps somewhat more questionable is that The Advertiser still feels compelled to print their letters. Witness Barbara Love's letter ("It's time to put GOP back in its place," April 7).

Actually, the Democrats have controlled Congress for more than three years and the Democratic president has been in office for almost 1 1/2. When Bush left office, the federal debt was $10.7 trillion and it is now $12.7 trillion.

In the middle of the Bush years, the budget deficit was $400-plus billion, but Obama's projected deficit for fiscal 2010 is $1.75 trillion. How did that happen? It surely wasn't because the Pelosi-Reid Congress could spend on every crazy, pet project without restraint and without a veto threat, now was it?

Well, raising taxes, spending more and putting the federal government in charge of more things will fix all of our problems, no doubt.

No reason to remember the strong economic recoveries that occurred after Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and Bush all cut taxes or that total federal tax receipts historically have always gone up after tax reductions.

James A. Martins