Letters for Tuesday — December 20, 2005

• ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ dogs must go

‘Jekyll and Hyde’ dogs must go

Mr. Wong, with all due respect, your Dec. 14 story simply and clearly underscores how unpredictable these “power dog” breeds are, and why they are so dangerous to keep. The fact that the Humane Society worker said it was “one of the friendliest dogs they had,” that it played with your kids, that it didn’t attack the FedEx delivery person, that it never left the yard, etc.—but then suddenly, inexplicably, decided to attack some unsuspecting woman who had not even entered the yard must surely give you and others cause to see just how unpredictable they are. What if it had decided to attack one of your children or your wife instead? It could have just as easily been one of them, given the senselessness of the attack against Mrs. Zafrides.

It isn’t as if your incident is the first time a dog of this type has attacked someone—there have been plenty of stories in the past several years from across the country of people being seriously injured or even killed when one of these dogs goes on a rampage.

We can either learn from the mistakes of others, or not. It seems we are trying very hard to not take the very clear lessons that have been presented to us. Meanwhile, innocent people continue to be hurt or terrorized out of someone’s misguided sense of protection of family and property. Gun hater that I am, I would ALMOST rather you owned a gun for this purpose. At least the gun won’t just decide to go try to kill someone of its own volition (please note the emphasis—I’m trying to make a point and NOT advocating gun ownership).

I, for one, am going to keep speaking out on this issue until we come to our collective senses and start being responsible. There is absolutely no reason to add to the risks we already live with (as you so graciously pointed out) by throwing these “Jekyll and Hyde” dogs into the mix!

  • Michael Mann

Coast Guard is here to help

As a member of the U.S. Coast Guard, I was stationed at Nawiliwili, Kaua’i several years ago. I look back at those times as the best years in my Coast Guard career. What made it so special was the people of Kaua’i. You embraced me and my fellow Coast Guard members, making us feel welcome and part of the Kaua’i Ohana.

This is why I am shocked by recent events. Several weeks ago, a Coast Guardsman was beaten so badly at a beach park that he had to be airlifted to O’ahu for treatment. My first thought was, “oh he was looking for a fight” or “just some young, immature locals.” But after asking more questions, I heard about a young member getting yelled at and chased out of the gas station while trying to fuel her car. And other members being spit at and pushed out of bars. Many avoid beautiful beach parks like Polihale, Salt Pond, and Lydgate.

This is not the Kaua’i I know and love. Did the Coast Guard do something to invoke the ire of residents, is this evidence of the ice epidemic, or are residents upset at the many new mainland faces are buying up land and building million-dollar homes next to Hawaiian Homestead land? In any case, there are ways to approach these issues while respecting these members who risk their lives serving the country and your community.

Please remember, the Coast Guard serves your community by rescuing mariners and ocean users when they are in distress, protecting maritime interests so that barge traffic can flow freely and keep your shelves stocked, and by taking a lead role in environment protection, regulating and responding to pollution accidents and marine mammal incidents. You just need look at the Hurricane Katrina response to see the Coast Guard in action or maybe just remember Iniki when the only place you could get ice was the Coast Guard station. With Aloha,

  • Jennifer Conklin

Failure, responsibility and blame

The Dec. 1 County Council meeting agenda included an item requesting approval of $100,000 for special counsel expenses concerning a proposed investigation of the Kauai Police Department and the Police Commission. After public testimony critical of the need for the amount requested was given under a suspension of the rules Chair Asing called the meeting back to order and verbally castigated two of the witnesses saying that they belonged to organizations which were responsible for much of the legal costs being incurred by the County.

Mr. Asing’s remarks were unwarranted, because they were tasteless and because they were wrong. The Council Chair has developed a predilection when receiving public testimony with which he disagrees to refrain from engaging in a dialogue with the witnesses during the time they are providing testimony and answering questions and comments from council members, calling the meeting to order which precludes further witness statements, and then offering frequently made and disparaging remarks about their testimony. This practice with which Mr. Asing has become comfortable does not conform to democratic principles of fair play as they silence the witnesses charged improperly about their testimony. If Mr. Asing wishes to have the respect of the community, he must end this reprehensible practice.

Although the County has a staff of attorneys in the County Attorney’s office, the Council has turned increasingly to retaining outside counsel to represent it in legal proceedings. If he intended to refer to Ohana Kauai as the organization he claims to be responsible for legal expenses the County is spending he is badly mistaken. After the property tax charter amendment was adopted by Kauai’s voters, it was the County that decided to initiate a lawsuit to try to have it declared invalid. All the Ohana members have done is to seek to preserve the will of the people as expressed in the election. The great bulk of the moneys the County is now expending for lawyers arises because of the conduct or failures of County officials. It is regrettable that these truths cannot be spoken at Council meetings because of Mr. Asing’s abrasive practices.

  • Richard Stauber

About Ed Case

Ed Case seems to emulate President Bush as of late. First, he supports eminent domain (private land seizure by the Government)(HR4128), and now he votes to extend the controversial provisions of the Patriot Act (HR3199), even further curbing our supposedly-protected, yet thoroughly eroded, civil liberties.

It didn’t take Mr. Case very long to renege on his sworn Congressional oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” So help him God.

  • Dennis Triglia

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