Your Views for August 14


Kenoi ‘absent’

I know Verizon has portable cell towers. Can we get one for Seaview, Kehena and Puna Palisades? It will be a long time until we get land-line phones or Wi-Fi restored. I had to drive 30 miles to a Pahoa coffee shop to mail this.

Rural Puna is in a bad way. (Former mayor) Harry Kim would have been here. Mayor Billy Kenoi doesn’t even express sympathy or, needless to say, show up.

Harry Kim got an emergency cell tower in Kalapana for the influx of lava viewers (at my request) years ago, but it doesn’t reach down Highway 137.

Billy Kenoi needs to assume some of the duties of mayor and get us communications. Harry Kim understood health and safety. Kenoi is absent.

Bettie Van Overbeke

Pahoa

Trees neglected

I am writing in response to Colin Stewart’s article in Wednesday’s Tribune-Herald (“Storm may be albizias’ downfall”), and want to express my surprise at the lead sentence: “Big Island forestry and invasive species experts have been warning for years that albizia trees are a major threat to residents’ safety and property.”

Really? As Bob Dylan wrote: “It doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

The bigger surprise (and huge disappointment) should be the lack of foresight and initiative on the part of elected officials, who totally missed what the experts “have been warning for years.” Such blindness and negligence are tantamount to being criminal.

As the article states — the “Havoc caused by trees could galvanize efforts to abolish invaders” — really? The lack of certainty in the story’s lead-ins (“may be,” “could galvanize”) seems to be more of the “island mentality” at work.

One would think, even as cleanup and recovery continue at an appallingly slow pace (another shameful state of affairs that should be looked into), that residents, business people, emergency management specialists and elected officials (especially the latter) would be declaring an all-out “war” against albizias.

A war that begins by removing any albizia tree anywhere that threatens structures and/or infrastructure (especially electric and other transmission lines). A “war” that begins today and doesn’t end until all threatening trees are removed and, thereafter, controlled.

A “war” that is all out and unrelenting.

Will that happen? Only time will tell. But, if the past is any indication (“… specialists have been warning for years …”) we shouldn’t hold our collective breath — and — if nothing meaningful happens, then the politicians and others who sat by and allowed this devastation to happen, with foreknowledge, should be run off the island or prosecuted for abject neglect.

Larry W. Bittner

Pahoa

 

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