Letters for Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Time to close gate on ‘Gas Gate’Citizens should decide bigger issuesDairy will affect all on Kauai

Time to close gate on ‘Gas Gate’

Can anyone who lives here disagree with the fact that our mayor is a devoted, hard-working public servant? We may not all agree with his politics, but anyone who attends public events or functions well after the normal county work day, has seen Mayor Bernard Carvalho officiating, addressing the audiences and even break in to song when the occasion warrants. He tirelessly appears, weekdays and weekends, at many events for the island’s children, seniors, charities, business groups, civic organizations, visiting dignitaries, etc. He is personable, outgoing and truly spreads the aloha spirit to all.

If the media reports are accurate, there may have been a misuse of the county gas card for one or more private vehicles. That should not have occurred. The County Council, now in the budget process, can best resolve this problem by budgeting for a gas card for the mayor and his key aide(s), just as is done for corporate executives and key staff personnel. Has anyone thought about the savings to taxpayers? Mechanics and auto dealers alike agree that the cost of gas is minor when compared to the operating cost for driving a vehicle. The costs to taxpayers for misused gas, if any, is minor when compared to the cost savings to taxpayers where a private vehicle was used on government business. So, the use of a county gas card, if used to fuel a private car, was actually a savings to taxpayers who were spared the wear and tear on the county car that was not used.

Shouldn’t our mayor and his top aide be issued a gas card for any vehicle they use because they are almost always on county business? The mayor’s position is not a 9-to-5 job. The County Council should address this problem now during the budget process. The auditor was doing his job. Just address the problem, collect what is due, if anything, and see that the mayor’s post receives a gas card for use when he is appearing in his mayoral capacity, no matter what car he chooses to use. If the mayor and key aide(s) are willing to use their own cars, thus saving taxpayers the wear and tear of a county car, the least we can do is to cover the cost of their gas.

Bridget Hammerquist

Koloa

Citizens should decide bigger issues

The Kauai County Council unanimously decided to let the public vote on who should set the county’s Wailua Golf Course fees, the mayor or the council. So, our county government will let we, the citizens, decide something relatively insignificant, in the grand scheme of governance, like golf fee determination, but won’t let us decide the really important issues.

Perhaps the most significant county governance issue is how we want our county to be managed, i.e. a county manager versus the current executive mayor. The county has steadfastly refused to put the county manager issue on the ballot.  

Another significant governance issue that the county refuses to let its citizens vote on is how we citizens are represented by the council. Again, the county refuses to put to the ballot whether council members should represent specific districts versus the current countywide representation system.

County management and council representation are significant county governance issues that county citizens should be able to decide through the ballot box. Could it be that the county government establishment rejects this because it fears possible diminishing of its power?

Peter Nilsen

Princeville

Dairy will affect all on Kauai

My wife and I so enjoy our happy life in Poipu. We would hate to see it change, but it sure could. Now is the time for all to do something to fight the proposed huge dairy project. Who wants to have a cow for a neighbor? Not us.

During my business life, I had to travel through the city of Ontario in Southern California (which is made up of many large dairies) several times a week. I always had to roll up my car windows and turn on the air conditioner just to keep the flies and sink out. It was really bad.

If you think just because you live several miles from a dairy that you won’t be affected, guess again. If the dairy goes in, it would surely have a great negative impact on the tourist industry here. Why do you think we got rid of the previous dairy here on Kauai?

John Miller

Poipu

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