KOLOA — More than 100 residents attended the first meeting of the Southshore
Property Association — formed to look at ways to encourage government to
respond to the needs of the South Shore community.
“The bottom line and the
direction we are going in is that we want serious government accountability,”
said Dr. Monroe Richman, a group representative.
During a meeting at the
Koloa Union Church Wednesday, SPA enlisted residents to work on issues they
said bothered the community the most at this time—abandoned autos, lack of
lighting, road repairs, better road signs and stripping for safer driving in
Koloa, Po’ipu, O’mao, Lawa’i and Kalaheo.
SPA’s focus is to represent the
viewpoints of property owners and residents of the South Shore on matters that
relate to the area.
They include zoning, real estate, development
projects, road construction and maintenance, safety and
“Anything that evolves from that will evolve out of what the
community wants,” Richman said. “We will be an ombudsmen for the
Richman, his wife, Ester, Tom Batey, administrative assistant
in the Yukimura Administration, Bob and Gloria Merkle and Donna Arnold
developed the idea for the organization.
“We have been disturbed for
quite a while as to the way things have been developed on the island,” Ester
Richman said. “This island is our home, and we want to protect and develop it
in a good way, not like O’ahu, not like Mau’i.”
The founders of SPA said
they are unhappy with a decision by the Koloa Community Association board of
directors to support Alexander & Baldwin’s resort project at Kukui’ula.
A survey showed 90 percent of the members were opposed to the project,
yet the board supported it, they complained.
Rick Haviland, president of
the KCA, said his board found the survey faulty and threw his support behind
the resort development.
SPA won’t be taking any stands on the issues of
development and the environment, Richman said.
The association, he said,
will be more effective than other neighborhood groups in resolving issues
because its meetings will be modeled after “town hall meetings,” providing for
full input from all residents.
SPA will have a board that could consist of
as many as 50 individuals, and they would be tasked with tackling issues deemed
to be important by the group’s members, Richman said.
“We don’t care how
big the board is, as long as they are willing to work,” Richman said.
Members will identify an issue, take a poll of community residents, bring it
to the attention of government and report on the progress of their work to the
SPA membership, Merkle said.
At Wednesday’s meeting, residents were
enlisted or volunteered to take on issues that were important to
Kalaheo resident Betty Dux said abandoned autos have been left in her
neighborhood and wants the county do something.
Merkle said residents like
Dux are frustrated because they don’t know whom to turn to get answers to their
If voting districts were in place, Dux and others could call
their elected official and get action, Merkle said.
Fixing potholes along
South Shore roads should be a top priority for the Kusaka administration, said
Dr. John Dillon, a 30-year resident of Po’ipu.
“They don’t do a good fix,”
Dillon said. “They put in asphalt for a couple of days and, it washes away with
the next rain.
Batey said the Public Works Department has responded to his
concerns about poor road conditions in the South Shore area and have made some
But, he said, the county’s repaving program is hampered by the
lack of funds. “They get some money and they can only make it go so
Milton Chung of Koloa said there should be sufficient tax revenues
from gas sales to cover the cost of repairing more roads.
“I have lived on
a road that is at least 50 years old and it has never been paved,” said
Chung, a resident on Kapau Road.
“I pay my taxes like anybody else, and I
think I deserve to have my road paved.”
Not everyone was optimistic about
the direction of the SPA.
Harold Naumu, a member of the Kaua’i County
Council in1971 and 1972 and a retired county worker, said the association will
fail because it has no clear agenda.
Richman said the SPA is getting off
the ground and that an agenda will become clearer as the group solidifies.
SPA also wants to invite more local residents to join the group. Naumu said
they won’t attend SPA meetings if they feel their “input is not welcomed.”
The group plans to meet every three months. Individuals interested in
getting more information about SPA can reach the group through