Letters for Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mahalo, Kaua‘i • American Experiment’s results not set in stone • What defines an eyesore

Mahalo, Kaua‘i

My brother Richie Basulto passed away Tuesday after suffering from colon cancer. We are so grateful that he is no longer suffering; he was very happy until the very end and went peacefully and very unexpectedly during a chemo treatment. He was a beautiful person and loved by everyone. With that said, my family wishes to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to all of the people of Kaua‘i who were there for him. He was here in California, but his heart was always in his home — Kaua‘i. Thank you so much from the bottom of our heart for your love and kindness. Sincerely,

Teresa Lopez Basulto ‘ohana

Rosemead, Calif.

 

American Experiment’s results not set in stone

In response to John Hoff’s Memorial Day letter, I would suggest that the immigration numbers point not to success or failure of the experiment, but rather to people’s perceptions of life here vs. elsewhere. The highest levels of immigration are from places that have serious problems. Anything looks better than what they have, and the “American Dream,” which for many born here is nothing more than that, is quite alluring even if not necessarily attainable.

Prosperous European countries currently have quite low levels of immigration to the U.S. By and large, people born in the U.S. have very little real knowledge of what life in another country is like — many couldn’t even locate other countries on a map. They just accept the prevailing “wisdom” that everything is better here.

Even people on the mainland think Hawai‘i is a foreign country that looks nothing like the rest of the U.S. I overheard a woman in the store in Koloa just today say how surprised she was that we had all the same brands of goods that they have on the mainland. It was all I could do to not turn to her and say “Are you serious?”

If that type of ignorance is widespread, you are very unlikely to find people who want to move to another country. That doesn’t speak to the success of the experiment.

I lived in two European countries for an extended period in the 1990s — The Netherlands and Germany. It was my impression that while some aspects of life were different and somewhat alien to me, overall, they seemed to have much better lifestyles. And I didn’t meet anybody who was so gaga over the U.S. that they wanted to leave their country. We don’t have all the answers. We don’t do everything the right way. I believe that our government should have a program that allows people to not pay any income taxes for one year with the caveat that you must then spend an extended period living in another country so you can actually compare what they do against what we do. I think it would help create a much more informed voting public and less “blind allegiance.”

The last thing we should do during this experiment is start patting ourselves on the back as if it is now set in stone and immutable. It is a fragile thing, and we are already messing it up by putting far too much emphasis on wholly insignificant issues that tend to divide the country rather than unify and strengthen it.

Michael Mann, Lihu‘e

 

What defines an eyesore

I live in Kekaha. That makes me part of the community, doesn’t it? I don’t have anything to do with that garden. Maybe they should change its name so as not to imply that simply because we live here we have some involvement with it. I will agree it looks tacky, but it doesn’t “stick out.” It actually “fits in.”

Take a look around.

Many of the homes in this neck of the woods look more like wrecking yards than back yards. They are choked with all kinds of junk including unused boats, and collections of inoperable rusting hulks of vehicles that haven’t moved since they were parked there. There are fences that violate height restrictions that were built without permits, animals staked out just feet from the highway and makeshift pens holding all manner animals living in squalid conditions. There has been a persistent degeneration of the conditions of some of the homes out here that demonstrate a sincere lack of personal pride, disregard for the rest of us that reflects negatively on the neighborhood that you and I share.

While I agree with you that the “tagged” paint job on the Matson container does absolutely nothing to help beautify the neighborhood, it really is unfair to single out the garden as the only eyesore we have. Some of this is taking place right along the main highway where a million-plus visitors travel every year to see the wonders of the Westside beaches and Koke‘e. What kind of impression does this leave with them? No wonder they are speeding.

Perhaps they fear being carjacked if they drive to slow.

Property values have declined with the economy. People trying to sell homes are finding it difficult to attract buyers who are willing to invest in an area that has yards that look more like the conditions one would find in a degenerating neighborhood in some inner city on the Mainland.

This is all happening under the watchful eye of our elected officials and the county agencies that are supposed to keep on top of all this.

John Clayton, Kekaha

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