Editorials for Saturday — October 11, 2003

• Kanaele Bog

• Tax revenues

Kanaele Bog

A pocket of rare Native Hawaiian plants is just part of what Kanaele Bog above Kalaheo represents. The bog is a mini version of sections of the Alaka‘i Swamp, but at about 2,000 feet lower elevation. The bog is also the last of its kind in Hawai‘i, according to some environmentalists.

Alexander & Baldwin’s plan to allow The Nature Conservancy to manage the 80-acre site is a good trial plan for keeping the area in its native state.

This section of Kaua‘i is something of a mystery to most residents and visitors, and a place probably most have never been to. Nearby is the Alexander Dam, a pressed-earth engineering work that is said to be the largest of its kind in the world. The dam broke during construction, taking the life of some workers and bringing tons of red dirt silt to the coastline at Wahiawa Valley between Kalaheo and ‘Ele‘ele.

Within the Kanaele Bog botanists may yet find more rare Native Hawaiian plants. In addition, the bog should be protected as an area that remains close to what Kaua‘i’s environment was like prior to the arrival of the Polynesians over 1,000 years ago.

To protect and preserve key sections of our native environment it will take hands-on care and careful oversight. Placing restrictions on large sections of land, as was done through the federal Critical Habitat program, offers little or no such care as part of the program. Having a corporation work with an organization like The Nature Conservancy is a much better way to go.

Tax revenues

State coffers are being filled faster than expected. The latest reading released yesterday shows that revenues from excise tax collections and other area jumped a whopping 10 percent as compared to similar tax revenue in September 2002.

Such increases shows that the economy of Hawai‘i is on an upswing, while the economy of California and other states is hurting.

The source of the upswing is a strong visitor industry and a real estate market that is going through the ceiling, at least on Kaua‘i.

This two areas are in part being pumped up by the after effects of the terrorist attacks on America in September, 2001. Visitors are coming to Hawai‘i instead of going to Europe in some cases, and Hawai‘i is looking like a more desirable place to live all the time with the increased threat of terrorism on the Mainland, and the continuing crime problems in some urban areas.

How much this new flow of revenue will affect the plans of Gov. Linda Lingle remains to be seen.

This trend needs to continue for at least several more months until it is proven to be a long-term boost.


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