Letters for Monday — October 10, 2005

• Olohena options won’t be forgotten

• Affordable housing YES! More snarled traffic NO!

• Kaua’i doesn’t need profound tax problems

Olohena options won’t be forgotten

Lester Chang’s article “Olohena Bridge to re-open (TGI 10/5) was interesting and very informative. Possibly because Lester had the chance to meet with Eugene Sobieki from the Acrow Company some months ago that he was able to get better information of what options we had of building a bridge over a ditch other than spending $4.8 million on the “Taj Mahal” we built.

Obviously Unlimited Construction Co, and their crew did a fine job of building this bridge and I take no exception with their work or with their finished product. BUT I do take great exception with those who some-how pushed to get this costly project started without fully exploring the cheaper quicker options that were available. The Acrow and the Culvert type bridges were feasible options and could have been built for about 4 as much money and would have taken about 1/7th of the time to start and finish with road closure time of a few days as opposed to 2 months.

Acrow bridges are built around the world — over rivers and ocean waters and there is no problem with rust — the reason this administration gave for not using Acrow. And Culvert bridges have been and are still being used all over Kauai and are all cement so price and time were certainly right and yet we didn’t choose either of those. And remember that these other 2 options WOULD HAVE STOOD UP JUST AS LONG AS THE ONE BUILT!! The other falsehood told to the public was that the Acrow bridges are “temporary” and the Federal Government wouldn’t fund them with the 80-20 match. As Mr Sobieki said, their bridges are modularly constructed and can be taken down or left as permanent structures AND they are federally approved.

At many Council meetings, members of the public asked over and over why a bridge over a very small ditch would cost so much money. The predominant reason the administration gave was the “accelerated” schedule to build it — all the overtime hours of working 24-7. Guess what, there was no 24-7 done and the bridge was finished in 2 months giving the contractor a $250 thousand bonus for early ending!! Again, no finger-pointing at the contractor as he just went by the administration’s contract which allowed the public to get ripped off!

The other factor that this administration ignored when they wouldn’t consider Acrow or Culvert was the inconvenience and the cost to the people in the Wailua Homesteads. One ingenious person in this area figured time lost and added cost per mile driven by 2400 people who drive Olohena Road every day and the figure ran into millions of dollars — PLUS the hazardous detour route the people were made to use.

The buck stops at this Mayor’s desk and not with Donald Fujimoto and his men who did what they were told to do. When Olohena Road opens on the 7th of October, the Mayor may pound his chest for this accomplishment but it is highly unlikely that the thousands of people who were overcharged for this project, saw their gasoline budgets sky rocket and were daily inconvenienced will forget it when it comes time to vote.

  • Glenn Mickens

Affordable housing YES! More snarled traffic NO!

I am somewhat baffled by Lester Chang’s reporting of the Wailua affordable housing project proposed for the vacant lot across from Kintaro’s. I attended the public hearing on Sept. 27th and not once did I hear any nearby “multi-million dollar condominium” owners voice concerns about the project lowering their property values. On the contrary, I heard only agreement for the need for affordable housing on the island and kudos for the design of the project and how well it fits in with the existing complexes. What was actually voiced by nearby homeowners was a concern regarding escalating traffic woes and pedestrian dangers which could occur if the project was built on that lot.

What I am surprised Mr. Chang didn’t report was the Planning Commission’s questions to the developer concerning the apparent gross underestimations of the project. The developers stated that their studies showed that of the 82 affordable units “with a total of 207 parking spaces for the project” no more than 30 cars an hour would leave the development during the two morning rush hours. Only 60 cars leaving an 82-unit development during rush hour? I find that hard to believe. They also stated that of the 82 affordable housing unit’s residents, only 16 would be school-aged children needing to cross to and/or wait for a school bus. SIXTEEN kids? In 82 units? Again, I find that hard to believe.

With the Waipouli Resort construction project well underway across from Safeway, and AT LEAST one more project approved for the lot near Bullshed, (not to mention the Coco Palms mega plex,) is the vacant lot across from Kintaro’s really the best spot for THIS affordable housing project at THIS time? The developers wish to start and complete the project in one year, Dec ’05 – Dec ’06. Yes, the mayor met with the DOT on Sept. 29th to address the traffic problems in this specific area. But even if they come up with a plan to ease traffic — Can it be completed in a year?

Kaua’i absolutely needs affordable housing. But cramming it into an already overcrowded corridor, with no concrete or well thought out plan for traffic relief in sight, seems grotesquely short-sighted.

  • Ross Martineau

Kaua’i doesn’t need profound tax problems

Ray Chuan’s viewpoint in the TGI Forum Thursday, Oct. 6, directs some name-calling and invective towards someone who cannot respond in kind. In this viewpoint he states that nearly all the states passed a California-style Proposition 13 tax cap.

Actually, only 22 states did, and none of the measures came close to the scope of Prop 13. What name-calling should we now apply to his misinformation? Disingenuous? Deliberately careless? How about Liar? What was left out of the essay was how much he profited from Prop 13 before he got to escape to retirement in Hawai’i. How this happened before the really profound problems, caused by this measure, hit the State of California.

Now, he is part of an effort to repeat this sorry history, along with the other old men of a local special interest group who won’t be around to suffer the profound problems they will create for Kaua’i. What namecalling should we apply to this behavior?

I support the efforts of the Council to represent the interests of the entire population of Kaua’i; rather than just its wealthiest and greediest.

  • Pete Antonson

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