New South Shore group attracts over 100 residents

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

education.

“Anything that evolves from that will evolve out of what the

community wants,” Richman said. “We will be an ombudsmen for the

community.”

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

them.

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

complaints.

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

repairs.

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

far.”

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

sp.assoc.@usa.net.

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