Politicians Saying ‘Hi’ To Higher Higher Buildings

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BY J. ARTHUR RATH – Coconut Willee handed me these thoughts written on a Starbucks paper bag.  The bag had tear marks and coffee stains; Starbucks outlet uses paper instead of the plastic kind which never go away and don’t show wetness.

“This is my response to the Governor’s apparent blessing over making island high-rise buildings even higher,” he forlornly said.


Explaining the tears, he added: “You and I share lingering heartache with those remembering when fragile Hawaii exceeded what the Hawaii Visitors Bureau now exploits.”

These are Willee’s words:

Powerless to question
This thinking of the State:
“High rises mean big bucks
To build and pass around.”

“Pacific Scenery”
Becomes specific scenes
On neighbors’ balconies–
Covering sunset dreams.

Tired, tawdry, tacky,
Call this place “Paradise?”
Want tourists to $pend here?
Are leaders now wacky?

Termites once took their bites:
Bad buildings did not last!
They have no appetite
Now for concrete and steel.

This is the legacy
Fifty-year history,
Not a Sistine Chapel,
But horror in the sky.

Still, we are welcoming
More, more, and even more!
A “Statewide Master Plan?”
Maybe just words, a scam!

In Hawaii’s future,
From these higher rises,
Watching “choo-choo” go by
But from ground level,
All but the sky: “Bye Bye!”

Surfing’s not what it was
In our gem Waikiki.
New hotels change sand banks,
How the money rolls in!

Being superficial
For the APEC,
When gone, new grass turns brown,
Congestion problems stay.

Hawaii Master Plan?
“Just build and they will come.”
Until our “Paradise”
Looks like it’s just a scam.

It’s all “Pie in the Sky,”
Reaching ever so high.
Not even termites save–
All politics, of course.

This is what sad-eyed Willee wrote, to which I close with this note:

One party in power,
Over half a century,
Gains credit for this craft
Called “Modern Hawaii.”

If, as the state motto goes in English translation: “The life of the land is preserved in righteousness,” then recognize the legacy one powerful political party has left for our land that’s not on the right: Our taxes get higher and so do our buildings.

Looking at drippings on Willee’s Starbucks bag, I confided to him, “Sometimes, when holding my morning cup of coffee, my hands shake and I spill when reading the latest in government antics.”  (Didn’t have the heart to say that coffee sloshing happens by my being convulsed with laughter.

Hawaii’s one-party political control–a hard act to follow.