Major West MauiBy Gary T. Kubota
LAUNIUPOKO, Maui -- With the sound of a bulldozer in the background, Edwin Lindsey Jr. examines black stone terraces running for hundreds of yards along a grassy hillside here.
Nearby are house sites built before Western contact, or in the 1800s, and deep in the valley beyond the development are remnants of a heiau.
"I'm not against development," said Lindsey, a retired schoolteacher. "I just think we should take a good look at this before bulldozing."
Between Puamana and the Lahaina pali across miles of sugar-cane fields and dry grass land, developers have never been busier.
The subdivisions at Launiupoko, Ukumehame, and Olowalu represent the first major development in west Maui south of Lahaina town.
The three parcels total more than 1,600 acres of land.
"It's going to change the open space look. It's going to look completely different," said Dana Naone Hall, a native Hawaiian.
Lindsey, a Lahaina resident and a member of the cultural group Na Kupuna O Maui, fears it will also destroy valuable archaeological sites.
State historic preservation officials have recommended keeping all sites built in the 1800s or earlier. They say a section of the stone terraces was built in the early 1900s to grow sugar cane.
The developer has agreed with the state's recommendations and promised to preserve more than 40 acres of the land occupying sites.
Lindsey says he feels the heiau mauka of the development indicates the importance of the region and more study should take place before further bulldozing.
The activity follows major land sales by Amfac/JMB, a major landowner in west Maui and operator of Pioneer Mill Co.
Purchasers are having their proposed developments reviewed by county and state agencies.
The Mahanalua Nui subdivision at Launiupoko has received preliminary approval to subdivide 433 acres of land into 50 parcels and develop four roads. Its construction plans are pending review.
Olowalu Elua Associates is conducting an archaeological study to develop a portion of its 733 acres at Olowalu. Part of the plan is to build a retirement community with medical facilities.
A number of Maui investors wants to resubdivide 452 acres into 13 agricultural lots. They are seeking final subdivision approval from the county. Pioneer Mill has a lease on the land until 2004.
James "Mac" Lowson, president of the West Maui Taxpayers Association, agrees sugar-cane fields along the west Maui hillsides are beautiful.
But he says the subdivisions will also allow housing in west Maui to become more affordable and help new landowners meet their debts.
"We can all wish for the 1950s and 1960s when we don't have to pay the bills," Lowson said.
Lowson said he's worried that without proper planning, developers may build on land needed for a Lahaina Bypass and an eventual four-lane highway between central Maui.
Members of the Lahaina Open Space Society have been urging the county to acquire land for a public park at Olowalu.
"We've tried to get the county serious and interested," said Robert "Buck" Buchanan, a society board member. He says with real estate prices still low, he thinks the county should act now to make purchases.
Hall said she wants to make sure public access is provided to native cultural and religious sites.
Hall, formerly the chairwoman of the Maui-Lanai Islands Burial Council, has been reviewing the archaeological work to ensure any human remains found at the sites are treated with dignity. A number of native Hawaiian burials have been found at Olowalu.
Mauis mayor is
pretty firm on raising
the gasoline tax
The 1 cent a gallon boost is gearedBy Gary Kubota
to make up a shortfall
WAILUKU -- Maui Mayor James "Kimo" Apana says he's "pretty firm" about raising the county's gasoline tax by 1 cent a gallon to make up for an anticipated shortfall of a half million dollars in property tax revenues.
The county's gasoline tax is 13 cents a gallon. The state charges 16 cents.
Apana, who plans to include the proposal in his March 15 budget, said the money would be applied toward moving the resurfacing of all county roads from a cycle of 15 to 12 years.
The council would have to approve the gasoline tax increase before it becomes law.
Apana said the resurfacing schedule slipped from 12 to 15 years because money was applied to a popular program to lay speed humps to slow traffic in Maui communities. Apana said the county has a long waiting list of requests for speed humps and he's not going to cut into the program.
He said he feels the program discourages speeding and reduces the demand for police traffic patrols.
"Most people say speed humps are very effective," Apana said.
Apana said the 1 cent cost of the speed hump program equates to a little more than $7 a year for taxpayers.
"For (the cost of) a plate lunch and a coke you have the opportunity to slow down traffic in neighborhoods and protect the children," Apana said.
"I'd say it's worth it."
Apana said he hopes he doesn't have to increase any other taxes and sees Maui County as faring better than other counties in Hawaii, including Honolulu, where the shortfall is anticipated to be $130 million.
After racial incident,By Gary T. Kubota
Iao school institutes plan
to teach tolerance
WAILUKU -- Facing a federal investigation into racial harassment of an African-American student, Iao Intermediate School is integrating more curriculum and training about racial tolerance into the classrooms.
During Black History Month in February, the school plans to add into the eighth-grade curriculum a video and written history about America's civil-rights movement.
Students in eighth-grade social studies and sixth- and seventh-grade health are to learn about the history of intolerance in America through the film, "The Shadow of Hate," and a text titled, "Us and Them."
School Principal Elizabeth Ayson said a staff committee was developing a list of the materials in September but the process was accelerated following the complaint.
Ayson said the National Coalition Building Institute, a nonprofit group, plans to work with Iao and some other schools in developing programs about diversity, tolerance and ethnic history.
Institute regional director Kevin Shollenberger said his group wants to develop teams of people in the schools, including students, who would conduct peer training on tolerance in classrooms.
Sandy Ma, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said she was pleased with Iao School's moves.
"I'm glad that Dr. Ayson is putting together a plan to teach tolerance at Iao School," Ma said.
The U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights is investigating a complaint from the mother of eighth-grader Philliep Knox about incidents of racial harassment at the school last fall.
Knox, 14, also a special education student, was punched in one incident and shoved in another and faced harassment daily, his mother Shelly Knox said.
Since the complaint was filed in December, the school's Parents Teachers Students Association has held a meeting at which a number of people apologized to Shelly Knox.
Ayson also apologized on behalf of the school and publicly condemned the incidents.
Ayson returned to school Monday, after a 10-day "administrative-directed leave." Part of the reason for the leave was to develop steps to improve racial tolerance at the school.
She also was asked to clarify a newspaper opinion article written by her that some people interpreted as placing the burden of racial tolerance on the parents of students.
Ayson has said the school has the responsibility to maintain a safe campus but needs parents' support in helping to change the their children's behavior.
Ayson said the staff committee, formed in June, has been developing and implementing a plan for diversity.
She said it focuses not only on the issue of race, but also other forms of discrimination and harassment, including gender.
Brown said he does not plan to apply Iao Intermediate's racial tolerance plan to other schools because it is directed specifically toward conditions within the community. He said other schools in the Maui District might adopt the same plan, but he is leaving the decision to them.