Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022 |
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Lessons learned from the conflict produced in the community by the whole
experience of the proposed sale of Kaua’i Electric to the Kaua’i Island Utility
Cooperative are in sharp focus. Trust in the concept of a cooperative may never
be rebuilt after the way the directors of KIUC have done business.
too bad. Their infractions in accountability and communication fairness may
have sullied forever in the minds of Kaua’i residents, a form of community
management of resources with real potential to create a shift from the money
power, profit-first Big Daddy know-it-all, inflexible and shortsighted power
structure that disallows clout to the people.
It’s good to see the values
of a sustainable future come to the fore in the observations of Mark Lyons
(“Observor says now is the time to invest in energy efficiency,” TGI Aug. 8).
It’s truly the time to invest in energy efficiency, to plan well. We may have
to make sacrifices in order to achieve long-term benefits that will accrue to
our health and to the fulfillment of our obligation to the earth. If we keep
the vision strong, our pocketbooks will benefit.
However the cards fall in
the final sale of Kaua’i Electric, we should be alert to several matters which
to my mind are unfinished business, induced by the good, the bad and the ugly
described in the paragraphs above.
The Planning Commission seems to have
violated its own mandate by infractions of proper procedure in its handling of
the KE request to build a fossil fuel plant in Hanama’ulu. To me, its original
decision granting the request was null and void because of it. It’s an irony
that after the fact they agreed to amend their documentation.
KE’s plant in Port Allen may not operate at full capacity because it doesn’t
meet Environmental Protection Agency standards of quality air control. Will the
people of Kaua’i be obliged to foot the bill for repairing deteriorating KE
equipment? Or dismantling the existing and purchasing now? What will be done if
an appraisal indicates contaminated oil and fuel leached into the
Lastly, where did the money come from to buy radio time to promote
KE’s and KIUC’s integrity, blitzed over the air waves for several weeks?
Somebody must have deep pockets.
I applaud the astute homework given
verbally at the informational meetings by members of the community in which
they documented their exposition of the negative aspects of the sale of KE to
KUIC as originally proposed.
If the letters of dissent to the purchase that
have appeared in the newspaper were to be collected, they would outnumber the
letters in favor of it 15 to 1. They would make a magnificent collage to
commemorate the will of the people to hang in the halls of history. But we are
creating history, not memorializing it.
We have come far in rebuilding
ourselves after Hurricane ‘Iniki. I believe that we all want to continue the
shift to the creative mode rather than the reparative mode. At any price, we do
not want to “reinvent any jurisdictional mess.”
Big Daddy has got to learn
to join us in pulling taro. For we are people who attend the land. It’s our
duty to become more and more sensitive to the traditional values of the host
This is where a contemporary interpretation of the principles of
integrated resource management successfully employed by native Hawaiians in
times past, as explained by TGI columnist Ken Stokes, can become a practical
avenue to reconstruction of the island in the new Spirit of Kaua’i People
Number 5 of his series, “Converging on tools for community
transformation” (Aug. 2), is especially pertinent. Through the use of the
Internet as a major tool, we can be learning from each other, he tells us.
Networking. Consensus-building. Releasing the caring aspect of human potential
That’s the picture of a genuine cooperative.
We need an
easily accessible community forum here badly. Such is the True Democracy
program of Kilauea’s Sergai Bliss. It utilizes a setup of voting machines
around the island similar to ATMs in which the public’s input would be the
basis of designing public policy one step at a time, with ample opportunity for
refining propositions that would become law (TGI April 17 and April 26). It
cites a means of interfacing government accountability and community
decision-making that would be mutually supportive.
It’s time to plant and
pull taro, the challenge of creating a sustainable future for all of us. A
future in which we culture a new respect for each other and for the
Let’s not go against everything we’ve learned about
alternative energy in the last 30 years. Everything is connected in nature. A
strong economy, community insight and the rights and blessings of the
environment—everything is connected.
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