Letters for Wednesday — October 26, 2005

• Task Force responds to Queen’s Bath tragedy

• Regarding Mean, Median, Mode differences

• Ain’t nobody here but us chickens

• Congratulations!

• KIUC spending is a disgrace beyond


• Kudos for reporting

Task Force responds to Queen’s Bath tragedy

Our Kaua’i hearts ache for Lynn Jones, who lost her husband at Queen’s Bath last week. Her quote to reporter Andy Gross (“Kaua’i is such a beautiful place. But people need to take extreme caution, especially if they’re from a place like Missouri and are more familiar with lakes and rivers than they are with oceans”) is very poignant.

We can’t stop trying to figure out how to provide our guests with basic information and warnings. A friend of mine, a very skillful waterman, who happened to take a hike down to Queen’s Bath a couple of hours after Mr. Jones was killed, told me that every 10 minutes or so a set would come in and explode onto the ledge sending powerful spray up to 60 feet in the air. And all the while tourists were hiking down the trail with (presumably rented) goggles and snorkels in hand, thinking they were about to experience a blissful tropical-isle setting, as advertised in various guide books. If they happened to reach the ledge (the bottom of the trail) just after a set, they might very well have ventured out onto the ledge only to suddenly find themselves 10 minutes later in an overpowering, deadly maelstrom. My friend of course was able to warm them that day, but it was too late for John Jones.

Unfortunately it takes tragedies like this to get our Task Force refired up to work for improvements. We will be exploring ways to help educate those who work at our hotels and other businesses as to how to educate our visitors about water conditions in their area. And we will encourage incoming air-line carriers to follow the exemplary, loving footsteps of Hawaiian Airlines and to show a brief water-safety video on their Hawai’i-bound flights.

  • Dr. Monty Downs
    Co-Chair, Kauai Water
    Safety Task Force

Regarding Mean, Median, Mode differences

Michael Erickson (“former math teacher”) effectively explains the difference between the median and the mean. Unfortunately the statement “the average is much more indicative of home sales,” is not necessarily true.

Consider a different example: If sales were $450,000, $750,000, and 850,000, the median is still $750,000 however the mean is $683,000. On the other hand if the third home sold for $4,000,000 the median remains $750,000 and the average jumps to $1,733,000. A prospective home buyer with $750,000 to spend might want to know that half the homes are still within his or her price range. Which number is more “indicative” depends on what you are using the data for. If I were a government official interested in tax revenues to support my cushy job I might be more interested in the average sale value. If I were a real estate agent I would be interested in both numbers because they both mean someone will soon “show me the money”.

  • Paul Kelley

Ain’t nobody here but us chickens

While pensioners make easy targets for Mr. Weir’s property rights as the ultimate good philosophy (GI, 10-20-05, A4), “common sense revolts at the idea” as Supreme Court Justice Douglas opined in a 1946 decision that swept away 400 years of property law.

Airplanes flying over the property of chicken farmers Arthur and Tina Cosby were frightening their chickens to death thus depriving the Cosbys the right to use of their property as they wished.

Did the Cosbys succeed in stopping airplane trespass onto their property and killing their chickens? No. Were the Cosbys allowed to enter into exclusive contracts with individual airline companies and pilots charging them for the right to use their property? No.

Evidently, “common sense revolts at the idea”, and that’s why we have a billion-dollar airline industry flying people around the world trespassing and violating the property rights of millions without compensation.

Might I suggest that instead of attacking Mr. Drews for his focused research and service to the community, Mr. Weir cast his line for bigger fish and provide his analysis of the recent U.S. Supreme court decision affirming local government’s right to transfer private property under eminent domain to another third party, without the owners’ consent — because doing so will result in increased tax revenues for the “public good.”

Does anyone own land anymore, or are they only entitled to fair compensation for such property in the form of legal tender?

Mahalo for your years of community service, Mr. Drews.

  • Ed Coll


Thank you, The Garden Island, for your series of investigative reports regarding Kauai Island Utility Cooperative spending. Such independent information is especially useful to all of its subscriber-members who vote for its Board of Directors.

While you are at it, you might take a look at KIUC’s budget for “public relations” for comparison with the former privately-owned electric company.

  • Triaka Don Smith

KIUC spending is a disgrace beyond imagination

First, thank you for the courage to inform the public about the actions of KIUC. It is almost more than I can comprehend that when there are so many people struggling to pay their electricity bills given they have nearly doubled over the past 6 – 9 months, that OUR CO-OP (what a laugh) would even consider buying houses, furniture and personal cars for employees.

This is probably how they avoid making a profit. I think we should take whatever action necessary to remove the CEO, the auto recipients and the entire Board of Directors. This is a disgrace beyond imagination — the utter greed and utter lack of concern for the people of Kaua’i. Perhaps we should insist the County take over and let the money grubbers find employment on some other island!

  • Judie Hilke Lundborg

Kudos for reporting

Kudos for your fine and thorough investigative reporting of the outlandish spending sprees at KIUC. We haven’t had in-depth reporting like this at The Garden Island for a long time.

I’ve written Sen. Gary Hooser with a query regarding possible regulation of co-ops by the PUC because as of now co-ops are unregulated, have no outside auditors, and have no requirements to report spending to their members.

We aren’t even allowed (as you reported) to know the salary of their executives, nor have a complete accounting of KIUC Board of Directors & staff’s itemized travel expenses which we pay for!

Please continue your fine work.

  • Tony Allen

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