THE BETTEJO PAGE

The date?  April 16, 1969. The place? The Honolulu Advertiser Letters to the Editor page and  the Dissent column.  The head ? Where to Go When All’s Gone written by Mrs. William Dux. That’s me. A cartoon of a woman holding back a long line of automobiles and captioned Beauty and the Beast and a very large picture of-guess who?- noting that Bettejo is the Who Has It Editor for the Aloha Magazine. Copied word for word…

We are lucky we live in Hawaii. We live in beauty. And it may not be too late to preserve it. It’s too late to do anything with Waikiki, but everyone-except the poor tourist who pays good money to visit a concrete madhouse-knows this already.

The problem with the tourist, particularly the ‘package’ tourist, is that, while you might lose one-disgusted-with the wretchedness that is that area-for every one you lose, at least three more pop up behind him.

The only people benefitting from this sort of mass movement are the airlines and the hotels, and I see no reason why the residents of Hawaii, the taxpayer, mus sit back and watch his beautiful world destroyed in order to fill the pockets of a very few alienated industries.

And don’t tell me those ‘package’ tourists spend money. they don’t Ask any merchant in the Waikiki area.

But it isn’t a question of money. neither money spend nor money earned. Money is not the problem. the problem is the total destruction of an environment. We must plow up more trees, more land, more beaches, to house the hordes of people who visit us each year. We must cement more highways to transport them back and forth. We must build bigger airports to accommodate them.

Far-thinking men tell us we even need more cheap housing to house the multitudes of people we must import to serve the visitor every year. and where will it end?

Will it end when Oahu is one great airport, hotel. highway, ticky-tacky tourist complex?

It could end there. It could end there because there will always be those greedy enough to use the poor visitor-no matter how badly-to coax him to our cemented shores, bringing money, hopefully.

But what of us who live here? Who love the Islands? who wonder at the palms and the pali, the monkeypod and the shower trees? who love the sand the surf and the soft sea breeze? Will we sit back dumbly and watch the destruction as it takes place? will we climb quickly aboard the bandwagon-in the name of holy progress-and accept the fast buck offered which will wall-t-wall cement our own loveliness? and if ‘we’ don’t, will our neighbor? In the name of progress?

This os not progress. It’s regression of the most insidious sort.

LET ME ASK THIS: What is wanted? Money? If our environment is destroyed all the money in the world won’t buy it back. Not in our lifetime, anyway. Ever heard of a place called Lake Erie? Ever seen a picture of that manmade mess? It will take conservatively, a hundred years to return that stinking sink-hole to its former beauty.

Is that the fate to be bestowed upon this state? Willed to our children? If it is OI imagine some plan on making enough money to live elsewhere. You can be certain the airlines and the hotels will be going elsewhere. but where elsewhere?

Unless thinking people star moving, and start moving fast, there will be no elsewhere to move to.

What this city needs is a good, non-corruptable, imaginative, far-thinking brave (!), environmental engineer.

Up until just very recently, it was only the Great Ape who fouled his own bed.

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