Puna Land Schemes

Why do people live there? (May 16, 2018)

Kudos to Alan McNarie and Civil Beat for this comprehensive yet succinct explanation of how so many people came to live on and near a dangerous volcanic rift zone (“Big Island: How Land Schemes Turned Lava Fields Into Subdivisions”).

The news recently has prompted friends of mine as far away as Europe, as well as the mainland USA, to ask, Why do people live there? Why is this happening?

Fissure 16 shoots lava into the air in Lower Puna. Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Many of us who have lived in Hawaii for many years had a sense of a history of greed, corruption, ignorance, bad judgment. But I was vague on the details of how, when and by whom those various Big Island communities were developed.

So now I can send Alan’s well-written article to these friends and have their questions answered as well as being educated myself.

— Kathy Titchen, Honolulu

Let’s change our zoning laws (May 17, 2018)

I appreciate your article about the subdivisions in Puna. I feel after the drama of this current eruptions calms down, we the people of Hawaii need to get involved with lawmakers to change zoning laws so no more land can be sold in these high-risk areas.

It costs the homeowners their savings, and it is costing the state an awful lot of money to evacuate these areas and monitor roads and risks the health of all people involved.

If the rift zone was undeveloped, this would be fascinating rather than devastating to Hawaii Island. We would still have vog and ash to deal with, but not as intense and not lava burning people’s homes.

— Eila Algood, Hawi

Lime Rental Scooters

Send Pele to wipe out the “Slime” (May 17, 2018)

There is a war on pedestrians in Honolulu. They are becoming an endangered species.

First it was the Biki, taking up much needed sidewalk space. Now it is motorized scooters (“‘Lime’ Rental Scooters Invade Honolulu With Mixed Results”).

It is no longer safe to walk on the sidewalks or cross the street.

Lime is disrespectful. It did not apply for permits. Apparently its spokespeople  believe getting a blessing from two council members is all they need. I don’t know if smearing feces on the scooters as is happening is the answer, but the company name should be changed to Slime. Maybe Pele can take a break on the Big Island and knock some sense into this ill mannered scooter firm

Kudos to Honolulu police for confiscating these vehicles.

— Lynne Matusow, Honolulu

Taxing Investment Properties

Hawaii doesn’t care about education (May 15, 2018)

Re: “Taxing Investment Properties To Help Teachers Is A Bad Idea.” Good points!

Another point is that invariably any tax increase on landlords will almost immediately be passed on to the renters just the same way landlords do with excise taxes, property tax increases and inflation.

Truth is, the state has lots of money. It is just that our leaders prioritize other needs over a Cadillac education system. If you give the state more money our leaders will likely just give a little more to education and siphon off the rest for other things.

It is not the tax revenue that is lacking. It is that prioritizing education over other things is lacking. Greater commitment with existing resources is what will make the difference. Certainly, voters know this. That is one reason why the proposal to tax investment properties will likely not pass.

— Peter McClaran, Honolulu

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