Your Views for September 18

Why so long?

With all the fires burning in Oregon, Washington and California and the massive destruction and loss of life, and having lived through the Kilauea eruption of 2018 and losing almost everything, I can deeply sympathize with those who have lost so much.


By next year at this time, they will have gone back in and started the recovery process — clearing roads, rebuilding the infrastructure of power and water, and the process of rebuilding homes and businesses — and they will do it in the same area with the same fire risks that has been part of their lives for decades upon decades.

They will also be in the shadow of several active volcanoes all along the Cascade Range. Many of us remember Mount St. Helens and the massive destruction it caused. And they continue to rebuild with all the possibility that it could happen again. That is life.

And again, major storms are approaching the Gulf Coast and will surely cause extensive damage as they have many times in the past, and they will rebuild again, as they have before. That is life.

With this in mind, and all the dozens of lives that have been lost, the rebuilding will be supported and encouraged by their local government, with the federal government compensating the local government fully to all that has been lost.

And it will happen quickly.

So how is it that here on the Big Island we can have a volcano that did so much less damage, with no lives lost, than what is going on in the West and Gulf Coast and is less of a threat than the wildfires and volcanoes and storms in those areas, and our local government has more than $300 million in the bank or promised compensation and has in two years recovered only about 5 miles of the necessary roads in Puna at a cost of less than $9 million?

It can’t be safety, as no one has died in the eruptions.

Money? The feds compensate the governments fully.

Sadly, more people die picking opihi every year, and it is allowed.

Why does it take so long when Highway 132 was recovered nearly a year ago? Recovery of Highway 137 is slated for late 2021 or 2022. Why so long?

And the Lighthouse Road, a route to favorite recreational areas for residents? Why so long?

Why does our government not support us the best it can?

Maybe on Dec. 7, a change in attitude will take place and Puna residents will get the support and respect they deserve, and our roads and boat ramp will be quickly restored.


James Lehner


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