Letters 2-25-14


Transparency is still missing

I received a phone call from Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s West Hawaii liaison after my last letter to the editor was published in January.

The meeting with Barbara Dalton was a very uncomfortable experience. She asked me why I wrote that letter, which criticized Gov. Abercrombie’s administration for not being transparent with the public regarding highway projects. In addition, she told me not write any more letters criticizing the governor and go through her if I have any more concerns in the future.

I wrote several emails to Gov. Abercrombie’s Honolulu staff regarding the meeting I had with Ms. Dalton. Someone from the governor’s Honolulu office called me a few days later. He apparently told Ms. Dalton that it was inappropriate to tell me not to write letters criticizing the governor.

This individual, whose name I didn’t get, also promised to get an update on the stalled right of way acquisition for the final east side Daniel K. Inouye Highway phase. It’s been over a month and I’m still waiting for this person to call me back. I’ve sent several emails to various individuals in the governor’s Honolulu office with no response. They don’t care about my concerns it seems like, which is deeply frustrating.

I will remember this when I vote for governor in November.

Aaron Stene

Kailua-Kona

Site is the best one for shooting range

A Jan. 30 West Hawaii Today article discussed delays in completion of an environmental assessment for a proposed public shooting facility at Puuanahulu because of noise concerns raised by neighboring hotels and landowners. A spokesperson for one group indicated that with “all of the other available land,” a large-scale shooting range should not be developed “right next door” to “a major commerce and employment center,” where visitors enjoy Hawaii’s “peaceful beauty.”

For the record, the proposed shooting facility site is located on an open lava field in a public hunting area between an active landfill and a commercial heliport. Its closest property boundary is one and a quarter miles distant from the spokesperson’s referenced commerce and employment center.

Two scientifically-based sound surveys conducted in 2005 and 2012 were unable to discern gunfire sound from predominately vehicular-based background noise generated both from within, and adjacent to the referenced center. Results were shared with the center’s spokesperson, a participant in the community-based shooting range working group for the past five years.

Candidate locations for an island shooting range have been discussed for 20 years. Seven sites, located in Hamakua, South Hilo, North Kona and Kohala, were actively investigated. Only the Puuanahulu site met criteria that considered land size, use restrictions, projectile containment, access control, means of entry, access to utilities, prevailing weather conditions, wildfire susceptibility, proximity to habitation and other factors. There is no wide selection of other suitable available land.

Ten years of effort have been invested in the Puuanahulu range site. The current development plan has received widespread community support. On Target Inc. is committed to development of a safe island public shooting facility and looks forward to working with the range site’s neighbors to address and alleviate their concerns.

Richard Hoeflinger

President, On Target Inc.

Controlling the feral cat population

Did you know that over the course of seven years one female cat and her offspring are capable of producing 420,000 kittens? That is a staggering statistic and one that the Hawaii Island Humane Society works diligently to curb. Every month, HIHS offers a free spay and neuter clinic for feral cats to help control the population and improve overall health of these animals. During the clinic, HIHS tests feral cats for disease and performs ear tipping to make identifying sterilized feral cats much easier.

Together, as a community, we can reduce the number of homeless pets. How can you be part of the solution? Have your pet sterilized — it is the only way to reduce pet overpopulation. It is a safe surgery that is less stressful on your pet than having a litter of kittens. There are low-cost and free sterilization programs available from the Hawaii Island Humane Society. Find out more at hihs.org.

The mission of Hawaii Island Humane Society is to prevent cruelty to animals, eliminate pet overpopulation and enhance the bond between humans and animals. Please consider how you can help.

Donna Whitaker

Executive Director, HIHS

Bringing more guns to island a bad idea

While I certainly respect the freedoms endowed by our Constitution, I am not in favor of the position proffered by Hugo Von Platen Luder in the Feb. 12 West Hawaii Today letters who seems to have an opinion on everything.

Bringing more people with more guns to Hawaii Island is not a reasonable motivation to build a shooting range as a means of entertainment or economic incentive. It will mean more guns, more shootings and deaths.

The same day as his letter, this paper printed the report of a woman accused of an assault with a hatchet; imagine what she might have done if her finger on a trigger was easier to pull than to swing or throw a hatchet. Yet another report ran from Honolulu about a man suspected of shooting at law enforcement officers. Have we forgotten in Waikiki the visiting law enforcement officer on trial for shooting a local man in a fast-food store?

A reasonable justification for a shooting range is to give all of our law enforcement personnel a place on this island to qualify and train on the use of their authorized weapons. I know in the past they had to go off island for such qualifying shoots.

Certainly, a gun-owning resident might also use the range in controlled circumstances, but it should not be a business enticing “others” from bringing more weapons to this island. More guns and weapons is nothing but bad business. If you have never seen a person shot dead by a bullet, believe me, you don’t want to, nor do you want it happening here.

J. Brown

Kailua-Kona

Please keep Kona country

The reason I moved to Kona, some 40 years ago, was because Kona was country; but sadly, our small country town has grown.

More business in town needs more parking, which sadly the farmers market is using; but if it must stay, please keep Kona country, just don’t let it look like a backwoods country slum.

Marge Spencer

Kailua-Kona

Play was a joy to attend

Last Sunday, my wife and I joined three other friends to watch “Fiddler On The Roof” at the Aloha Theatre. We have a combined age of more than 300 years so we have seen quite a few plays in our lives. This production of “Fiddler” ranked supreme. What an incredible afternoon. The way all the volunteers joined their talents was so professional and held the audience spellbound. Las Vegas, Broadway, London or Paris can’t hold a candle to the performance we witnessed. Just because a person is rich and famous does not make them one iota more talented than the performers in this production. We are so grateful to have plays of this caliber right here on the Big Island. We cannot thank the whole crew enough and encourage others to obtain tickets while they are still available.

Tim Schutt

Ocean View

Change speed limit at dangerous intersection

The intersection at Queen Kaahumanu Highway and Nani Kailua Drive allows a 45 mph speed.

There are no on-ramps to merge onto Queen Kaahumanu Highway while turning from Nani Kailua Drive so one must accellerate from zero to 45 mph to merge with traffic.

Turning south from Nani Kailua Drive onto Queen Kaahumanu Highway is particularly dangerous, because of a curve on the highway to the north, which limits the view of oncoming traffic.

There have been deaths and injuries at this intersection.

All major intersections on the island are limited to 35 mph, not 45, unless there are on-ramps.

Why is this one 45 mph?

Gene Moore

Kailua-Kona

Paying property taxes online a shocker

Nothing beats our Big Island. However, there can be areas of inefficiency.

I went to pay our property taxes today on its new online service. I couldn’t believe the fees. An e-check cost an additional $3.50 to process and if you use a credit card, there is a fee plus 2.5 percent (or somewhere close to that) of your tax amount.

I called the Real Property Tax Department and was told that this is the amount the “vendor or servicer” is charging, hence they are passing the fee onto us. Most commerical banks allow a commercial account to ACH, which is an e-check, at no additional fee. I am sure our goverment would qualify for such an account. Also, there are credit card processing companies out there which charge as little as 0.25 percent of the balance, which is a far cry from whatever service our county is using.

I wish our government had been more deligent in saving us taxpayers money. It makes me feel like they are not working for us, the people.

Rowena Tom

Kailua-Kona