Letters for Thursday — February 02, 2006

• Let police chief lead

• Mayor’s stand on Lum

• Taking it all away

• It was a weighted student funding figure


Let police chief lead

Editor’s note: the online poll referred to in the following letter asked the question whether reader’s had lost faith in the department’s ability to uphold public safety, not specifically faith in the police chief.

I find it amazing that The Garden Island’s “non-scientific” online poll indicated that 64 percent of those responding have not lost faith in police Chief Lum. I feel that having 425 respondents to such a poll was also remarkable. This tells me two things: first, that the citizens of Kaua’i feel Chief Lum is doing a good job and they want him to continue. Or secondly, this is a vote of “no confidence” in those in our political leadership who are opposing Chief Lum. I feel both cases are true. Will these political leaders heed the word of the people and act accordingly? What do you think based on past performance?

Chief Lum has been clearly controversial. However, reports are that crime is down and use of sick leave by the police staff is also down. The war on drugs on Kaua’i is being won. These are signs that the major job of the police department is getting done. Perhaps Chief Lum feels it is more important to fight crime than to prepare tedious and meaningless formal reports since formal reporting seems to be an issue with the politicians. I feel the results of any organization, particularly a police force, should be primarily judged by its performance in meeting primary goals. This is being done by KPD.

For some reason, there has been a concerted effort to discredit Chief Lum. As an example, the so-called issue on the cost overrun by the police department was blown completely out of proportion related to its importance. The overrun was a small percentage of the department’s total budget and such overruns are very common, in my observation, in most if not all government organizations. This issue was clearly an effort to discredit Chief Lum.

I know Chief Lum and I feel he is an honest and straightforward individual and I feel strongly that he is doing a good job. The fact that the police union SHOPO does not support him sends mixed signals as often the objectives of management and the union are not in agreement. I feel Chief Lum is making changes in the KPD that need to be made and such changes are usually not popular. Honolulu Chief of Police Boisse Correa who was appointed approximately the same time as Chief Lum is apparently having similar problems with SHOPO. I worked with Chief Correa in 1982 during the air traffic controller’s strike and I found him to be an excellent police officer and administrator. Again, being opposed by the union is not necessarily bad — that is, of course, unless you are a politician and it is an election year.

The Police Commission has a difficult job; however, the Commission was probably created to provide a level of separation between elected officials and the operation of the police department. This independence is very important in having an effective and independent police organization. The Commission must act only on facts and not respond to undue pressure from the elected officials. I feel they will do this.

  • John H. Gordon
    Princeville

Mayor’s stand on Lum

Until this week, Mayor Bryan Baptiste appeared neutral in the increasingly bitter debate swirling around Police Chief Lum. But, the potential political fallout of staying on the sidelines any longer made it necessary for the mayor to take action — even though it went against his policy of keeping his nose out of police commission business. The mayor cannot fire the chief of police directly — that’s the commission’s responsibility — but he can and did turn up the heat — forcing the commission to make the next move. There’s absolutely no question that his opinion will exert a strong influence on how the commission handles the Lum affair. It would be hard to imagine the police commissioners appointed by the mayor going against Baptiste’s publicly stated position on this red hot subject. With the mayor now firmly on the side of the anti-Lum forces led by a growing number of disgruntled police officers and an angry police union, it seems highly unlikely that Lum will attract the kind of influential support he’ll need to keep his job — no matter how hard he vows to fight. With Lum’s law enforcement background, he could certainly find a job better suited to his qualifications.

  • Fred von Wiegen
    Kapa’a

Taking it all away

Within a short period of time, the residents of Kaua’i have lost access to Moloa’a Beach, Kealia Slippery Slides, and Waipahe’e.

The sea wall in Aliomanu still stands and still continues to destroy the Aliomanu coastline.

Large white boulders appear over-night and tell us where we now can and cannot go … the Lihi … Lydgate … and Kealia Beach.

A 12-foot slab of concrete now cuts through Lydgate Park poised to continue through our City of Refuge.

Have you noticed the destruction of the cane haul bridge in Kealia? The destruction of the bridge at the Lihi? Guess what? The bridge at Kapa’a Library is next.

It’s coming. A 16 mile, 8- to 12-foot-wide concrete/asphalt slab will run from Ahukini all the way to Anahola Beach.

Is there anyone else out there who is saddened by this?

Mayor Baptiste and all Council members: BEFORE you voted to destroy one of the last untouched areas left to those of us who grew up on the East-side, did you bother to ask someone/anyone who loves the area, not someone wishing to destroy it, to take you back there?

The pueo? The fishing shrines? The burial sites? The ke’ala?

Whose job is it to protect our Kaua’i? Many of us thought you knew.

Is there anyone else out there who would like to stop this?

  • Lokelani Ka’auwai
    Anahola Hawai’ian Homes

It was a weighted student funding figure

Terese Barich observes in her Jan. 31 letter that the $4,200 the Department of Education spends to educate a student for a year is “ridiculously low.”

While she’s correct that we don’t spend enough, the $4,200 figure cited in an earlier news article is that portion of the total DOE budget that is included in the weighted student formula.

The total DOE budget in 2006-07 is more than $11,000 per student.

What makes up the difference? Most special education programs, school athletics, the Hawaiian language immersion program, school cafeteria operations, student transporation, school electricity, water, sewer, and gas, state and district administration, debt service, and school repair and maintenance.

  • Randolph G. Moore
    Honolulu
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