Letters for Wednesday — January 04 2006

• Stopping the runaway train

• Wrong Wehrheim listed

• Slow development down

• Stick to the issues


Stopping the runaway train

Since the same runaway train (AKA the bike/pedestrian path) is headed down the tracks, it is time to review a lot of questions and answers that are still pending. Fortunately I have kept copies of Lester Chang’s fine articles on this path plus copies of my testimonies before the council and articles by the learned lawyer, Bill Sweeney, who owns a condo at Kapaa Sands and represents condo owners along the Wailua oceanfront who don’t want a bike path built there. He wrote an excellent 105-page report on the problems faced with building this path, many of which have never been addressed.

Also, Councilmen Mel Rapozo and Jay Furfaro have brought up many outstanding questions to the proponents of this path from Mayor Baptiste to his key organizer and proponent, Doug Haigh. And, again, there is a lot of rhetoric and vagueness given when the hard questions are presented to them.

For instance, in a GI article by Lester Chang of 7/15/05 Mel Rapozo said, “He wasn’t going to support using a million dollars, $100,000, or $300,000 on a bike path that is somebody’s dream, an issue that is not a priority. The project is intended for recreational use and won’t make a dent in the traffic problems of East Kaua’i”—- which the proponents originally said was one of the reasons for building it. He also wondered how much of its own money the county would have to use for the project as the undertaking stretches out over years.” Also Mel has asked many times how we will ever maintain a project of this scope when our parks and recreation areas aren’t properly being taken care of now. Plus where will added security come from when our KPD is short-handed now and won’t be able to patrol this path. A quote in the GI 12/29/05 said, “The 16—plus-mile project is anticipated to greatly enhance RECREATIONAL opportunities for residents and visitors, and protect public access to coastline areas, a major objective of the administration of Mayor Bryan J. Baptiste for the area.”

Now, let’s analyze some of these “just build it” statements and disregard the facts. On page 79 of Mr Sweeney’s report, quoting the language under Federal Guidelines 23 U.S.C. 217 (i) it specifically states “No bicycle project may be carried out under this section unless the Secretary has determined that such bicycle project will be PRINCIPALLY FOR TRANSPORTATION RATHER THAN RECREATION PURPOSES.” (emphasis added). Mr Sweeney goes on to say that the County of Kauai and the Draft EA suggest that the Shore Path is recreational in nature and thus a recreational path would violate Federal Code.

Please remember that neither Councilmen Rapozo, Furfaro, myself nor Bill Sweeney are anti bike path IF IT IS A HIGH PRIORITY ISSUE AND WILL BE A BENEFIT TO ALL THE PEOPLE! We already have perpendicular access to our beaches and laterally those beaches belong to the people so that eliminates another pro argument for the path.

And let’s review a few great questions that lawyer Sweeney asks in a Viewpoint article in the GI (7/21/05) that were never answered.

He says, “Mr. Rapozo suggests that a majority is not in favor of the path. Whether in favor or in opposition we deserve further debate and answers on a number of questions that have been raised, including the following:

1) Should the project be a priority? In other words, should the county staff’s time and effort be better spent on other county needs and requirements such as infrastructure and transportation gridlock? (How about the head of our buildings division getting permits out faster!!)

2) Can the entire project be completed within the funding commitment from the federal government? Ultimately will the county need to expend its own funds to complete the bike path? If so how much will be needed and how will these funds be raised?

3) What are the projected maintenance costs for the bike path? Are they realistic? How will they be funded?

4) What are the bike path’s environmental, archaeological, ecological and social consequences?

The proof of the worth of the bike path will be found in the details and not the concept.”

Great questions that certainly need answers before this “train” moves on!!

  • Glenn Mickens
    Kapa’a

Wrong Wehrheim listed

My name is John Wehrheim. I’m the husband of JoAnn Yukimura, the father of Maile Wehrheim and the son-in-law of Jiro and Jennie Yukimura. I write this letter to clear up an identity confusion that has recently caused much concern to our family and our friends.

There are two John Wehrheims living on Kaua’i. To make matters even more confusing, we both live in Kilauea, both of us have been on Kaua’i for over 35 years, have farmed and worked construction and have the same middle name! A parallel universe right here in Kilauea!

Unfortunately, the other John Wehrheim recently appeared in the Garden Island Police Blotter and in the past has been arrested for other incidences. That person is John Wehrheim Jr. (Junior) who goes by the name of “Jack” and is in no way related to our family.

Because this is not the first time that Jack has appeared in the Police Blotter, and the similarity of our names has caused past concern and worry among our family and friends, I ask that if another “Wehrheim” incident appears in a future Police Blotter that the Garden Island make a clear distinction between John Wehrheim and “Jack” Wehrheim.

I hate writing this letter, bringing more attention to an unfortunate incident in Jack’s life, but I believe that I have to do it for the sake of my family. When past incidents appeared in the Blotter I was encouraged to write clarifying letters like this but Kilauea is a small town, I know Jack and like him, and didn’t want to bring any more attention to his bad luck.

Besides his offences were minor and I could image myself getting wild and crazy and actually doing a few of those things and getting caught! “It could have been me!” At one time I did make the Blotter for a hunting violation and a lot of people thought Jack did it so I figured “fair enough!”

But I can’t stay silent on this one. Sorry, Jack.

  • John Wehrheim
    Kilauea

Slow development down

As we prepare to arrive on the island for our 13th year, we are distressed at the article in the Jan. 1 paper outlining the number of new developments being planned or already in progress. When we started coming to the island, we were impressed by the “develop with common sense” approach. But it seems, like my area on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, development is the head wagging the dog.

Please, please use more common sense and slow the development down so you can do more planning for the rest of the needed services required for this glut of new people and cars. Visitors like us come to this beautiful island for the slow pace and beauty of the land. We could go to any city to see rows of buildings. Kaua’i is the Garden Island. Please don’t forget that. Progress is important, but at a sensible pace. We look foward to our 5 weeks in paradise.

  • Sheldon B. Segerman
    Yarmouthport, MA

Stick to the issues

Mr. Hayes, have you ever heard of the the U.S. Constitution? The first amendment reads as follows: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” No where do I read that “freedom of speech” and “freedom of the press” is “for liberals only.” Nor does it allow for censorship by the liberal media of anything contrary to their way of thinking.

The Garden Island, on the other hand, does a great job of printing both sides of an issue as the first amendment allows. Of which, I am truly grateful.

As for Mr. Micken’s comments, I am a Vietnam veteran. I served my country for over 16 years. I’ve seen my friends without arms, legs and eyes as they were treated at Bethesda Naval Hospital. I’ve stood in line for chow at Bethesda when the guy in front of me had half his face missing. And yes, it was worth the purpose and I think I’ve earned the right to speak.

Mr. Hayes and Mr. Mickens, instead of making judgment calls about someone you know nothing about. Try sticking to the issues being discussed.

  • Dr. Peter R. Saker
    Lihu’e
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