Constitutional Protections

Navy’s storage tanks served us well in wartime, but now threaten aquifer

Chad Blair’s recent editorial comments on the ConCon were timely (and most welcomed) and set me to focus on an important public concern (“I Read Hawaii’s Constitution So You Don’t Have To,” Oct. 5).

The Navy’s fuel storage facility at Red Hill is located above a critical aquifer that supplies clean water to more than 500,000 people from Moanalua, through Downtown/Kakaako and Ala Moana/Waikiki, to Hawaii Kai. Hastily built in the early 1940s under emergency wartime conditions, it served us well during World War II and through the Korean War, Vietnam War and other military contingencies.

In 2014, the Navy reported the facility sustained yet another fuel leak and is in need of modernization. In agreement with federal and state officials, the Navy has since been studying steps to upgrade the aged facility.

However, the fact that the facility is only 100 feet above Oahu’s primary resource for clean water is of greater concern to residents and visitors alike.

Article XI, section 1 of the Constitution requires the state to conserve and protect Hawaii’s natural resources to include land, water, minerals and energy. Further, sensible environmental laws were enacted since the 1940s to preserve and protect our vital clean water resources. Accordingly, it appears that the state and military are now compelled to comply.

The state should enjoin the military to participate in completing an in-depth state study to identify potential environmental threats to this critical source of life-sustaining clean water, discuss mitigating options, and arrive at informed solutions that protect this vital natural resource for generations to come. This should include establishing actionable timelines to assure early completion and ameliorate public fears.

— Charles Ota, Aiea

Puuhonua O Waianae

We can learn from this model community

If nowhere in the nation has a tent city successfully transitioned homeless into permanent housing, Puuhonua O Waianae may be the first (“This Waianae Homeless Camp Is Going Legit,” Sept. 30).

Taking the step from homeless encampment to affordable housing village, they’re looking to buy or lease land in Waianae to relocate their community to.

Lauded as a possible model for future homeless safe zones, we can learn from Puuhonua. As a successful encampment for years. Puuhonua’s operating procedures could give helpful suggestions of how future ohana zones might succeed. Building this Waianae zone could work out the details in setting up future ohana zone-to-affordable housing sites in rural areas — the way Duane Kurisu’s Nimitz project is a model in urban settings.

Puuhonua is a natural for an ohana zone, but the ohana zones bill expires in three years. Puuhonua had architects design an affordable village, and is acquiring funds for land and infrastructure. There are yet no plans for how they’ll build or pay for buildings.

As Puuhonua o Waianae tackles homelessness, affordable rental housing funding for building this affordable village would be helpful.

— Renee Ing, Makiki

Hotel Strike And Abandoned Cars

Where are you, Kyo-ya?

Stewart Yerton wrote a good article on the action (“2,700 Workers Strike At Popular Waikiki Hotels,” Oct. 8).

As it wasn’t mentioned, I went to the Kyo-ya website for more information on ownership. It was glaringly blank. Where is this company located?

Sounds like they’ve done a lot for the community, if not for the staff, but are they a U.S. corporation?

I’ve been reading how Americans can buy American. It’s interesting how many major “U.S.” brands are foreign-owned, meaning, among other things, they pay no federal taxes.

It kinda raises other questions. So do abandoned cars on Kauai (“Kauai: A Rising Tide Of Abandoned Cars On The Garden Isle,” Oct. 10). It’s terrible, and it’s bad here on Oahu, too, the difference being that nobody is saying anything about this blight.

I understand that HPD is understaffed and that our junkyards are overfilled, but in light of such a crisis, could we not, county by county, hire a temporary force to address this?

I can’t believe that all of these vehicles are untraceable, even if the lolos remove the license plates. Anybody can check the vehicle identification numbers and at least report that to police so that the owners can be contacted and ordered to remove the vehicles or be fined.

— Tom Tizard, Kailua

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