High hopes for the new year

With the new year comes new hope. As part of that new hope, here are some things that would be wonderful to see on Kauai in 2017.

Let’s take a look at some of them.

w The condition of roads and highways continues to improve and we find fewer and smaller potholes rather than more and bigger ones. No fun hitting a pothole at 50 mph and there are some doozies out there.

w Traffic is somehow not insane for drivers passing through Kapaa and Lihue. This is completely unlikely if things stay as they are, but wouldn’t it be nice if one day, while driving through Kapaa any time between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m, traffic wasn’t backed up for miles? And it’s getting nearly that bad through Lihue.

w Since we’re talking about driving, we hope that folks calm down a bit out there and not be in such a huge hurry to get where they’re going and tailgate other drivers, raising the hostility level and the chance of road rage. Ironically, a driver in a huge hurry Sunday heading to the North Shore was tailgating and passing cars at every chance. That same car was later spotted stuck in the sand at Hanalei Black Pot Beach. Easy to understand now why the driver was in a mad rush.

w That the coral that has died on the North Shore and other locations around the island makes an amazing recovery and the tropical fish return in great numbers. What has caused the coral to die has not been specifically determined. Run-off of fertilizers into the ocean, climate change, military use of sonar and sunscreen have been cited as possible causes. No matter how you cut it, it comes back to something people are doing.

w That the county council reduces spending — or at least holds the line — in the next budget. The county budget continues to climb each year and is approaching $200 million. It is possible to reduce spending. Really, it is. If spending is to increase again, there should be some firm reasons why.

w On that note, we hope that newcomers to the council, Derek Kawakami and Arthur Brun, are able to exert some influence when it comes to the budget process. Both are bright and know the needs of the island well — and the most effective ways to establish a balanced budget.

w That all the groups that do such wonderful work, like Junior Achievement, Boys and Girls Club, Hospice, Kauai Economic Opportunity, Rotary, Aloha Angels, Kauai Historical Society, Kauai Museum and Lihue Business Association, food banks and the Kauai Chamber of Commerce, continue to thrive and receive the support they deserve.

w That not a single life is lost to drowning this year. Kauai has the best lifeguards in the world on duty, and with the support of the Kauai Lifeguard Association, the Rescue Tube Foundation, people will be safe and smart in the water. We also urge our visitors and locals to be aware of ocean conditions and, as KLA emphasizes, swim at lifeguarded beaches.

w That every dog and cat at the Kauai Humane Society is adopted into forever homes; that no animals are abandoned; that no animals are just dropped off at KHS; and the owners of every home should have a dog or cat as pets just to make life better.

w That airfares for islanders come down. No joke. We know the airlines all say they are offering the best deals possible now, and fight to keep fares low. Perhaps they are, as they know their revenues and expenses better than anyone. But we would love to see residents given the opportunity to purchase some discounted tickets for trips to the mainland or interisland trips.

w And finally, that the aloha spirit continues to flow throughout this island and every one adopts an attitude of basic courtesy, respect, grace and humility. We can disagree with each other, but we can do it without being rude, nasty and disrespectful. It’s surprising that some people who have lived on Kauai a long time have never learned how to live aloha. Let’s help them get there.

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