Reference: USGS Maps.
Reference: Lava Talk.
The topic of poverty drew some debate on Kimura’s Facebook page, with people discussing definitions and perceptions of “poverty.” Kimura responds, “No, poverty level (which in this case is based on just a manmade definition) doesn’t illustrate lives in lower Puna at all — that’s why I’ve been posting other stats. In fact, no, average or aggregate numbers don’t illustrate lives in lower Puna accurately. Numbers are just numbers. I’m just trying to cover various aspects of the area.” Catherine Becker, UH Hilo associate professor of communication, left the comment, “Although some poverty in Puna is due to people making life choices to live more sustainably and off-grid, much of it is not. There is a high rate of drug abuse and domestic violence, and having lived there on and off for over a decade and raised my child in the schools there, I can tell you some of it is heartbreaking. Even those I know who are trying to create alternative lifestyles have been impacted by theft and violence. It an intense place, and the positives and negatives can be extreme.”
Mark Kimura’s thoughts on infographic above:
If we lose HI-130, Railroad Ave, and Government Beach Rd, (1) what does it feel like to commute between Pahoa and Hilo and (2) how many extra dollars would you be paying for gas? This infographic shows driving distances (stretched to straight lines) between Hilo (Farmers Market) and Big Island’s major city centers/landmarks, as well as some “back-of-the-envelope” cost estimate for commuting between Pahoa and Hilo via Chain of Craters rd.
As of today, Pahoa is only 20 miles away from Hilo – which is a reasonable distance as a suburb. But if you use the Chain of Craters Rd (which Hawaii County just started rebuilding), the driving distance is 72 miles. That’s equivalent to driving between Hilo and Hapuna Beach–but Chain of Craters Rd is no Saddle Rd, which is very comfortable for the most part. That means it would “feel” Pahoa is even farther than Hapuna Beach. If you live in Pahoa, going to Hilo will probably feel like driving to Costco in Kona.
Even if you just focus on mere distance, this difference translates into approximately 26,000 miles per year (Round trip, M-F). If your car’s MPG is 25, you would be buying extra 1,000 gallons of gas–or $4000+ every year. But if Chain of Craters Rd turns out to be not so kind to your car’s MPG, it would cost even more.
If this actually happens, there are so many possible scenarios, depending on what people will do over time and what the county does–and of course, what Pele decides to do.
NOTE: At right is a possible correction to the above map. The big pie chart in the above map is based on the report’s statement, “81% of the State’s papaya acreage is on Hawai’i Island…”, but when Kimura looked at the source of that information and did the same calculation, this number was about 90-91% instead. If that’s the case, the actual percentage of lower Puna’s papaya acreage is 58% instead of 52%. Maybe the authors of the report had a different method to calculate the share of the island of Hawaii, so Kimura posted this as a “potential” correction.