Letters for Wednesday – October 05, 2005

• Letter was only half right

• Up in smoke

• Bring troops home now

• Analyzing KPD’s OT issue

• Don’t kill the birds

Letter was only half right

Mr. Trennoche, I just returned from my daily rain-or-shine six-mile walk, so at least only half of what you said is wrong. I have not ridden a bike since my jr. high School days 62 years ago, so you are correct about the bike. And, since I was a volunteer at Lydgate Park, I totally agree with you – it is really a place for safe swimming, picnics and family parties and not for serious bikers. See, we can be on the same page!

However, this is the point in your article where we differ. When I opine that a project must be good for the masses of the people, I obviously mean that the cost can be justified by the amount of people it will benefit. Ask the thousands of people who use their vehicles each day – for work, to shop, for emergencies or just for recreation — if they will abandon that vehicle and use a bike — the answer will be a resounding NO!!

I have been jogging and walking for 30 years and again, Mr. Trennoche, I agree with you that exercise is good for every-one. But please don’t lose sight of the facts about building this path which I enumerated in my last letter.

The dreamers and the feel-gooders who insist that the 80 4.006654e-307deral funds for this path are “free” money that can’t be used for other purposes just aren’t telling the whole story. It is still OUR MONEY and as Councilman Rapozo has repeatedly said, we can’t maintain our roads, our parks, our beaches and our hiking trails now so why add new projects that will benefit very few — a cost analysis per person using it out of our total population would be staggering! — AND WILL NOT BE MAINTAINED!

Ironically you mentioned the “path” from Baby Beach to Otsuka’s. This path was built by the state in 1988 and the retired state inspector, Joe Rosa, has testified before the Council that he monitored it for usage for 3 weeks and no bikes used it! It is asphalt and covered over by sand and weeds in most places, was never maintained and is still walked on today. But why spend millions of dollars putting a new 12′ wide cement slab over a path that wasn’t used for its intended purpose 17 years ago??

It is hard to have a dialogue with people who wish to ignore the facts or, at least won’t answer the questions that these facts bring up. Good luck with your mountain bike, Mr. Trennoche — don’t get wet in the rain, don’t get hit by cars that don’t see you, and don’t hit any ADA people or walkers or little kids on that path in Lydgate.

  • Glenn Mickens

Up in smoke

Is it just me?! I have one more gripe to air. I know, I know. Just one more.

Ever noticed how many cigarette butts are on the ground? Smokers carelessly toss their smoldering butts out their car windows, oblivious as to where they end up. The next time you’re waiting at any traffic light look down at the curb. How many hundreds if not thousands of cigarette butts are there?

Understand I’m an ex-smoker. I did the same thing for years (and make no excuses for it). Funny how it is, when you quit smoking you really notice the smell or the mess that it makes. And if you think “who cares?” is it any different if I tossed a soda can or a burger wrapper out the window?

It’s littering, simple as that. I’ve been on Kaua’i long enough to realize how beautiful it is and how fortunate we are to live here. Smokers, people DO notice when you flick your butts on the ground. Please stick it where it belongs, in YOUR own ashtray.

  • Steve Shioi

Bring troops home now

Please take note that even the generals stationed in Iraq are admitting that our presence is making the situation in Iraq worse. We need to bring our troops home now!

  • Judie Hilke Lundborg

Analyzing KPD’s OT issue

I was following with interest regarding the KPD’s overtime costs overrun in question. If I were to analyze this issue, I would take into account the following to determine if there was any unnecessary overtime costs incurrence:

Which units have incurred most of the OT costs – administrative, vice, patrol?

What’s the percentage of the OT amount over total KPD base pay?

What’s the percentage of increase in OT over last year’s? Only the amount $322,000 was mentioned which may be an average pay for eight positions.

Any pay raise rates paid in FY 05?

Vacancies – how many and were these vacancies budgeted? If they were, what was the savings from the unfilled vacancies? How realistic was the KPD payroll budget? Any change in methodology?

Like a hospital (health), KPD (safety) is a 24-hour operation.

Analysis of sick/vacation leaves is necessary (refer to civil service contract). Control over sick leaves by a county or state department head is almost nil under the Civil Service Law. Coverage is always a must.

Trends and comparison for the last 3-5 years.

Monthly meaningful monitoring of budget variances.

It would be interesting to find out how the KPD head in collaboration with and guidance of the finance head have analyzed the variance between the actual costs versus the budgeted amount. Was a meaningful report presented to inquiring parties, which I believe may have helped them to have a better understanding of the situation? A benchmarking effort by the Finance Department maybe necessary as well, by researching other County Police Departments in the nation with similar operations like Kaua’i’s.

It may be easy for the KPD and the Finance heads to say, ‘Yes, this will not happen again in the future.’ What if it will, fire the KPD Chief and the Finance Head? Accountability is a must in any department. If there are any questions on costs overruns, the department head must be ready to give a thorough explanation of the cause with proper documentation.

  • Belma A. Baris

Don’t kill the birds

Please, before you set out to kill all the chickens … and any hapless Kauaian song bird that gets in the way … know this: the ‘bird’ flu is not passed on, on Kaua’i, by chickens.

The way it works: at the moment it seems the flu is transmitted from bird to human. When it ‘jumps’ it will then be transmitted from human to human. That’s where the danger to us in Hawai’i and Kaua’i begins. Someone with no symptoms of the flu, but able to transmit the disease, will board a plane in the Far East and fly to Hawai’i. Every person on that flight – including the crew-it is a closed environment, remember-will have been exposed to the disease, but none will have symptoms. Some passengers and crew will disembark in Honolulu and head for resorts, restaurants, tourist spots … Kaua’i … and expose everyone they meet to the disease.

It is my hope someone more qualified than I will respond to the ridiculous scheme proposed in the Forum before someone attempts to kill all the birds. It would be better to quarantine the tourists, but you can imagine what an uproar that would create. Better a pandemic than the loss of a dollar. Right?

  • Bettejo Dux

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