Letters for Thursday – February 09, 2006

• Lum the underdog

• Lum’s not perfect, but …

• Leave the food alone

• Support voting systems bill

• Dux rebuts


Lum the underdog

Oh no.

He’s fighting back.

Chief Lum, the penultimate underdog.

Mild-mannered and unassuming, a bashful-looking little guy occupies the center of a controversy that threatens to turn county government upside down before it’s through. Faced off against UNDERDOG LUM are the powerful forces of the establishment, sometimes referred to as the OLD GUARD: the mayor, county council, police commissioners, the police union.

But Lum, who comes off a bit like the absent-minded professor in televised sessions before the council, this week played his trump card by filing a federal civil lawsuit, which should have a chilling effect on any police commission action that would send him packing as the mayor has publicly recommended.

The more they gang up on Lum, the more the public supports him. What his enemies don’t seem to comprehend is that the public doesn’t care if Lum doesn’t file the right report or tie his shoes the right way. What they care about is how many bad guys he puts behind bars, how he solves the drug problem, and how he protects the community. If he ruffles some feathers in the process of lowering the crime rate, and as long as he’s not a crook himself, then most people will continue to support the chief.

We keep hearing about dissent within the department and lousy morale, but the statistics (at least the ones we keep hearing) seem to indicate the police are doing a good job, overall. Maybe all Lum needs is a good public relations person to smooth things over and a capable secretary to ensure he follows the proper protocol.

Meantime, is there no politician running for office this year smart enough to see the political advantages of taking up the cause of the embattled chief? Of course, it would be a political minefield since you would be taking on the Kaua’i equivalent of the Roman Empire.

But, if Lum’s record holds up and his detractors are proven to be nothing more than bullies and political hacks, then the chief’s allies would be catapulted to hero status — negotiable currency from which political careers are made. Come to think of it, Lum might consider running for mayor himself — it appears he has the backing of the community and he’s certainly got name recognition.

  • Fred von Wiegen
    Kapa’a

Lum’s not perfect, but …

Once again we are at a junction in the history of the Kaua’i Police Department. This is the latest in a series of important decisions that you, as commissioners, must make; the decision whether or not to remove K.C. Lum as police chief.

In the last three years, Kaua’i has had three police chiefs, and if the mayor has his way, we will soon have a fourth.

Where do we stop?

Please take a deep breath and start to think what is happening here. Politics is running the Police Department and not common sense. In a poll taken by the local newspaper, 65 percent of the population said that they were happy with this chief. In a democracy, the people make important decisions by a majority vote, so unless Kaua’i is no longer in the United States, are we not allowed to voice our opinions?

The KPD has a history of corruption, unrest and poor management. Rome was not built in a day, and to solve the many problems plaguing the department, it takes time and unity. Everyone must work together for the common good, but with a fragmented organization, it takes much longer to see good results. Of course, not all people will like the change. Some people will fight change to the point of total disregard for the department and the good of the island. These people will put road blocks in the way of every change, they will do whatever necessary to prevent a new regime from succeeding because they are thinking of only themselves.

I do not say that chief Lum is perfect in the position of chief — no one is perfect save for the Almighty who judges us all. Chief Lum has made mistakes, but no one could achieve perfection unless he is backed by his staff. Given the time and support, the chief can be guided to a more perfect union.

If chief Lum were removed, do you honestly believe that the department will magically improve?

No.

The problem will continue and the shift of power will go the other way. In a short time, you will be faced with another decision to remove, yet again, another chief. Stop the cycle now.

I ask you all, commissioners, take the time to make the correct decision, don’t let politics control you — let your heart see the real truth.

  • Geoffrey M. Culverhouse
    Hanalei

Leave the food alone

The University of Hawai’i should relinquish their three taro patents on Pa’lehua, Pa’akala, and Pauakea. These hybrids were derived from a cross between Maui Lehua (from the Hawaiian Lehua group) and a Palauan variety.

Hawaiians bred and selected taro for different characteristics like taste, color, smell, adaptation to different environments, and more. How can UH claim to own that which is held sacred to Hawaiians AND the product of years of patient observation, skill and knowledge it took to create these varieties? What right does an entity have to claim to own the taro that has evolved and endured for thousands of years before our time?

UH should also stop the Genetic Engineering (GE) or GMO of taro.

They tell the public that they are not doing any GMO research on Hawaiian taro varieties. That may be true. But they continue to do it on the Chinese variety called Bun Long. This variety is favored as table taro and for its luau (leaf). It is also the taro used for making taro chips. They have already “successfully” added a rice chitinase gene to the Bun Long. Now they are also adding genes from wheat and grapevine.

They have crossed the lines of sacredness within the plant kingdom and they are messing with our food. As farmers, we feel that they are also messing with our livelihood.

  • Chris Kobayashi and Dimi Rivera
    Hanalei

Support voting systems bill

A skilled information technology student could hack voting machine software and tip the vote as a teenage prank. I urge you to support HR 4666 (that would give states more time to make decisions on voting systems, many of which have not been adequately tested and qualified) and extend the HAVA (Help America Vote Act) deadline. Honest voting, vote counting and honest elections. Please help to salvage what we can of our constitutional rights.

  • Tyler Barnes
    Koloa

Dux rebuts

On May 1, 2003, George Bush landed on the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, in a Lockheed S-3 Viking, where he gave a speech announcing the end of a major combat operation in the Iraq war. George’s landing was criticized as an overly theatrical and expensive stunt. Clearly visible in the background was a banner stating “Mission Accomplished.” It was criticized by some as premature — especially as the war dragged on and on and on and on and on …

  • Bettejo Dux
    Kalaheo
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