A Drive To Improve Our Roadways

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - January 02, 2008

CALEDONIA, MICH. - The weather can fluctuate from the upper 90s in the summer to below zero in the winter here in Western Michigan. There is a spate of heavy-duty trucks moving farm equipment, livestock, cars and any other item you can think of.

Nearby Grand Rapids has a population roughly the size of Honolulu and the outlying areas are predominantly rural. Despite a similar tax base and challenging weather conditions, the roads in this area are virtually pristine.

I commented a few weeks ago about our deplorable road conditions in Hawaii and lamented it simply does not have to be this way. I broke down the finances our state and city government collect from us and how there is a definite lack of priorities in the use of those funds.

I maintain that we could be enjoying dramatically better roads and highways if our governmental leaders would simply choose to make it so. We have the finances, but we don’t have the leadership to create a quality of life environment. We need to ensure all elected officials are being held accountable for their actions regarding road conditions. If they fail, then you should be prepared to replace them with others at the ballot box.

If you are of a like mind, I hope you will continue to be active in pushing this important agenda.

I am driving on city, state and federal roads here. They are beautiful and they are a delight to travel on. I am not criticizing Hawaii’s road conditions just to complain, but I want to share the perspective of other communities to drive home the point that we don’t have to put up with these terrible conditions anymore.

Tell the governor, the Legislature, the mayor and the City Council that you are sick and tired of poor roads and you are fed up - way up. If you don’t get the answers or results you demand, then you need to replace those who fail to deliver.

There is no doubt the allure and romance of Hawaii knows no boundaries. The reputation of our home as the ultimate destination is intact. I tuned in to the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl and was excited to see even the most mundane shots of Aloha Stadium as well as the beauty shots of Pearl Harbor and the North Shore. While in stores and restaurants, when folks here learn we are from Hawaii, the reaction is virtually universal.

It is either “What in the world are you doing here?” or “You are so lucky to live in paradise.”

We love to come here for Christmas and New Year’s because no matter how you rationalize it, there is nothing quite like a white Christmas. The chill in the air, the snow on the ground and the bundling up in coats and scarves all scream “Happy Holidays.” I’m all for going to the beach in board shorts and a Santa hat, but hot chocolate by the fireplace watching snowflakes gently falling is pretty nice, too.

Hawaii is blessed with natural beauty and for generations we have been asked to sacrifice more and more because the trade off was our exotic locale. Well, that excuse just doesn’t work anymore. There is no reason why we cannot create an environment that celebrates the beauty of the islands while enjoying the benefits of our hard work. As daunting a challenge as it may be, the reality of positive change exists. It is up to us to decide if our community is worth fighting for.

A new year is upon us which means a new year of opportunity. Elections are 11 months away. I hope we have the desire and the will to truly make Hawaii the paradise everyone says it is.

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