To protect Kaua’i for future generations, Kaua’i County Council candidate Eduardo Valenciana said the council has to say “no” to development projects that can create adverse economic and social problems for the community.
“We have a pot of gold (in Kaua’i’s natural beauty), and outside interest see this and they will scramble just as miners did in the old Yukon day and try to steal the land,” Valenciana said.
Valenciana said developers have the money to hire the “best lawyers and marketing specialists” to advance their projects
“There are people (developers) who wish Kaua’i to become the next Disneyland, if they could do that,” Valenciana said.
As a council member, Valenciana said he would scrutinize proposals from developers whose “only interest is to make the fast buck.”
His other top priorities:
– Protecting Kaua’i’s way of life, which Valenciana characterized as being based on “family, honor, respect and service.”
Protecting that way of life means people who settle on Kaua’i from elsewhere need to “adapt to what is here,” and should march in step with “local culture and traditions,” Valenciana said.
“Of course, we need to embrace the good and the bad, but we want to be sure the foundation of future growth is tied to family morals,” he said.
– Using more public lands or private to create recreational activities for family outings.
“What needs to be done is a resurgence of the family unit, meaning we have to look at aiding that by creating and using agricultural land for recreational purposes,” Valenciana said.
Valenciana said he has made headway in that regard.
Working as a marketing specialist, Valenciana and Bicycle John, the oldest bicycle shop on Kaua’i, obtained permission from Grove Farm Co. to conduct a family-oriented bicycle ride to Kilohana Crater on Aug. 18.
Valenciana and John Tanner, the owner of Bicycle John, also got permission from the Kaua’i Marriott Hotel to stage slow-paced bicycle rides on parts of the hotel grounds.
– Working with Kaua’i’s youths.
Valenciana said he has met with youths and, if elected to the council, he would urge the council to meet with them periodically to solicit their concerns and to study ways to address them.
The meetings would allow youths to air concerns and to provide creative solutions, Valenciana said.
Such meetings could encourage some youths to join in government or community projects, Valenciana said.
– Protecting the interests of senior citizens.
“In every culture of the world, the elderly person is held in high esteem and respect,” he said. “But because we so obsessed with the culture of youth, we are moving away from providing for our elderly. Things have to be changed.”
– Traffic conditions. As a way to expedite traffic flow, left turn lanes can be turned into commuter lanes, reserved for automobiles with three or more occupants.
This plan could be implemented in east and west Kaua’i during peak commute hours, Valenciana said.
Valenciana first came to Kaua’i on Nov. 4, 1979 to recover from a traumatic event in his life.
He was a flight attendant aboard a plane flying over Mexico City on Oct. 31, 1979, when the plane attempted to land on a runway with dump trucks. With a landing gear sheared off from contact with one of the trucks, the plane lost control and slammed into two buildings in Mexico City. Of the 104 passengers, only Valenciana, then 22 years old at the time, and three others survived the crash.
He came to Kaua’i after the crash because he felt the island offered a peaceful environment for his recovery.
He kept a home in Los Angeles and on Kaua’i until 1994, when he became a permanent resident of the island.
His two children, whom he described as the center of his life, attend Wilcox Elementary School.
A third son is 20 years and is a graduate of Kaua’i High School. He is currently living in Los Angeles and is planning to move San Francisco.
In recent years, Valenciana founded Tres Hermanos de Kaua’i, a one-time publication company catering to Spanish-speaking residents on Kaua’i.
The company has been converted into a computerized marketing company to serve the needs of Hispanic travelers who come to Kaua’i, Valenciana said.
“We believe it is a huge market. We are trying to tap into a half trillion dollars spent yearly by the Spanish community in the United States alone,” Valenciana said.
Recently, Tres Hermanos conducted Spanish language classes for the Kaua’i Police Department so that officers could communicate with Spanish-speaking travelers or residents and respond to their needs during their work shift.
Staff Writer Lester Chang can be reached at mailto:email@example.com or 245-3681 (ext. 225).