Letters for Saturday — January 7, 2006

• Thanks for the Poipu help

• Salt Pond getting trashed

• The bike path is great

• Ohana Charter in court


Thanks for the Poipu help

I would like to express my appreciation to the individuals who spent their time and money to help restore Poipu Beach Park. Many did read about some of the individuals that made it possible, but few know what work actually went into the project. Regency Development, a local development business, donated its equipment and labor for several days to do the job. This equipment was rented by the development company by the hour for several days until the job was done. Those who have rented equipment like this before know that the cost for renting such equipment costs several hundred dollars, not to mention the labor cost of running the equipment. Leader and owner of the Regency Development team, Mike Thompson, was the individual driving the project. People had wanted this done for many years since the beach was changed from our last hurricane; it simply took a man like Mike Thompson, and his crew to get it done. Another bunch of helping hands was added by the local Boy Scout Troop 270 which organized projects at the beach park that amounted to nearly 200 volunteer work hours. I think as citizens of this beautiful island we should use these outstanding examples to motivate all of us.

  • Sean Thompson
    Koloa

Salt Pond getting trashed

For several years now our family and a small group of friends has gathered regularly at Salt Pond beach to watch the sunset and share the week’s happenings. Usually we each take something to eat, either dinner picked up on the way or snacks, and something to drink. Occasionally we will all take something to throw on the grill and stay longer; sometimes the telescopes will come out and we invite others at the beach to look at the stars with us. At the end of the evening we gather up our trash, make sure nothing has been left behind, and return to our separate homes.

However in the past month the county has added garbage cans to the beach. Now beach-users can just dump their garbage into the barrels and don’t need to take it home. Sounds good, doesn’t it? However, the barrels were overflowing when we showed up this week. Grocery bags filled with trash were piled beside them and loose trash was blowing against the airport fence and around the beach. To say it was a mess is an understatement. Salt Pond beach was so much cleaner before the county added these barrels, at least in the area we use; people took their trash out with them when they left as we did. Now the fly population has increased to the point that we have to fight them off our food, not a problem before. The possibility of a small child being injured by something left beside one of the barrels has become all too real. And heaven forbid that a monk seal should ingest a shiny piece of foil or spoiled bit of food.

I would hope that either the county makes it a practice to empty these barrels more frequently due to the high use of that section of beach or that it is returned to the way it was before the county stepped in. It’s a beautiful stretch of beach that I’d hate to see become unusable because of garbage.

  • Susan Campbell
    Kalaheo

The bike path is great

Here’s a question. How many letters has Glenn Mickens written to the paper regarding his opposition to the bike path? Two? Four? How ever many it is, we’re pretty clear out here that Glenn Mickens doesn’t want this. OK, but what about the other 55,000 residents? Why does this one man’s opinion get such value and editorial space? Was he elected by the community to express our views?

No.

Is he a guest columnist for the Garden Island news?

Perhaps.

I’m sure he has strong feelings about lots of things – but once he’s had his say, we don’t need to hear them repeatedly.

And regarding his well-known opposition to the bike path. Glenn, I use the path that is there now. I have tried to carry my 3-year-old son on the beat-up cane road that runs north of Kapa’a. Have you ever actually seen it? It is a rutted, pothole-filled road that was so rough I had to turn back for fear that I would lose control of my bike and crash with my son onboard. The single track rut that runs through Kapaa town north to the cane road is not “lateral access” – it is a disconnected sandy path. The only place one can ride with small children (or perhaps even let THEM ride) is in Lydgate Park for maybe half a mile. Mr. Mickens, we can’t oppose things simply because YOU won’t use them – this is a COMMUNITY of people with many needs that are different than yours.

We live on a magnificent Island, I am proud our city leaders have the foresight to build the bike path over naysayers objections so we can safely ride our bikes and enjoy it.

  • John Patterson
    Kapa’a

Ohana Charter in court

A critical issue as to the role of citizens in our government is arising in the Charter Review Commission and will have important repercussions for all of us.

Our elected County officials are of the view that citizens have a periodic role in governmental affairs. They may vote for their representatives, the Mayor and the Council, and may exercise their rights of speech, but should not have any other powers. An implementation of this belief is occurring in the County’s contentions being made in the lawsuit brought by the County concerning the Ohana Charter amendment now in the Hawaii Supreme Court. In that case the County attorneys are arguing that despite its adoption by almost two thirds of the Kauai voters the amendment is invalid because only the County Council is empowered to create laws dealing with taxes.

Citizens appearing before the Commission have a different view. They point out that one of the checks and balances of our democracy is the right of the people to intervene when the actions or the failures to act of the elected representatives are not believed to be in the public interest. They note that when the Kauai County Charter was adopted the voters approved the provisions that authorized citizens to use petitions to require a public vote on amendments to the charter and that one of the early amendments was to authorize citizens similarly for initiatives for ordinances and referendums.

Proposals have been presented to the Commission that would on the one hand undermine the citizens rights mentioned and on the other hand would strengthen them. Unfortunately these matters are happening with the participation of only a limited number of our citizens and are unknown to most. The rights we have are precious and can be lost when they are not diligently guarded. Before it is too late all residents are urged to learn about what is involved and to make their views known to the Charter Review Commission.

  • Walter Lewis
    Princeville
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