Letters for Saturday – February 18, 2006

• Supports Chief Lum

• Stop the destruction

• Any heroes out there?

Supports Chief Lum

We, the residents of Kaua’i, asked for and demanded that a Chief of Police be appointed to rid the police department of corruption and get rid of the old boys or at least clean them up. Chief Lum was appointed and then appointed his deputy Chief Venneman. The Chief has started doing his house cleaning and I also might add that the crime statistics are falling. Evidently he is cutting into somebody’s action as there appears to be a personal vendetta to get him. What is the motive for asking him to resign. What are these people going to get out of it? The only people to get hurt on this deal are the residents of Kaua’i.

Hopefully, Leon Gonsalves will excuse himself from the vote on Chief Lum at the police commission hearing. If he fails to do so then we will all see what kind of a person he really is. Hopefully he will resign from the police commission.

It appears that Rapozo and Carvalho want the endorsement of SHOPO and will go to any means to get it. And why should we allow the union to run the police department?

I have my “I support Chief Lum” bumper sticker, do you?

  • Richard Swift

Stop the destruction

How many people were lucky enough to catch that absolutely-gotta-pull-over-and-smile rainbow that blanketed Kealia Bay two Thursdays ago? I pulled over three times. The tourists were so tickled, and their joy was contagious. I raised my arms and shouted “Hallelujah” right along with them. A couple pickups worth of Kapa’a Warriors pulled off the highway too. Every one of those young men were smiling from ear to ear.

I jumped in my truck and headed down into Kealia and then I saw the Komatsu bulldozers and the remains of the cane haul bridge and the orange construction net and the cement blocks … And poof! All that good feeling was gone.

It’s inside of my belly and it isn’t going away. It’s not a physical pain. It’s more like an ache. I’ve tried tracing it back to its source but I keep getting lost.

I think that I’m just sad. Right before my eyes, the precious memories of my childhood are disappearing. My Grandma Daisy memories and my Daddy memories. My most precious memories of all …

I’ve climbed over most of the coastline that stretches from Kealia Bay to Anahola Beach. Go see for yourself. It’s open to everyone right now. No fences and no large boulders. Take a bottle of water and maybe even a lunch. But go by yourself. Listen and feel and smell and open up your eyes. Go sit someplace and be still. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to find my “God-Rock.” It’s an unremarkable rock from afar but as you approach it, steps seem to appear. Once over the top, a ledge about two feet down awaits your feet. Straight ahead is the ocean. On an average day, you may count 10 shades of green and 10 shades of blue each. To your left and right, the rugged coastline.

It is here that I feel most small and it is here that I feel most at peace.

A few bays away, I can pick opihi for my aunty whenever she visits from the Mainland.

Counting, scrambling, slamming, wedging, holding on, and joyfully playing hide-and-seek with the ocean.

It is here that my heart beats Hawaiian and it is here that I feel most alive.

Mayor Baptiste and all Council members: I need you to see that the real issue is loss. Hanalei, Kilauea Slippery Slides, Moloa’a, Aliomanu, Waipahe’e, the bridges, the Lihi, Lydgate, and Nukoli’i.

It’s not about commoners, rich people, haoles, or locals.

This bike path is a monstrosity. Parking lots, bathrooms, comfort stations, pipelines, sewer lines, digging, digging, and digging. And if that ain’t enough, an 8 to 12 foot concrete/asphalt slab…

Once again, please stop the destruction.

  • Lokelani Ka’auwai

Any heroes out there?

Looking at the cost of rentals and employment listings in The Garden Island’s classifieds, I feel ashamed of Kaua’i’s property and business owners, and I would like to challenge someone to step up and be a hero.

Property owners: Give up a mere 10-20 percent of your profits and lower your rents (or take your property off the “vacation rental” market and offer it as a long-term rental).

Business owners: By giving up a mere 10-20 percent of your profits, you can pay higher and more realistic wages to your employees, and in return you will receive better service. A happy employee is an employee who will, in return, have more pride in their jobs and thus provide better service.

I realize that everyone is looking to make a profit and there is no crime in that, but my question is: HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? Granted, there are some business and property owners who are not making much of a profit (if any at all). I am only directing this letter to those who are making enormous profits and are taking advantage of Hawai’i’s ever-increasing property values and stagnant wages by continuing to keep their rent/wages equivalent to the current market. Why? GREED.

Example: a studio in Princeville that used to rent for $450/mo is now listed for $850-$1,000/mo. That is far over 200 percent of an increase from only 7 years ago. Many of these property owners have no real need to keep their rents at the current market rates. They simply do this for profit. And while they are making a killing, they are killing the spirits of Kaua’i’s people who have little hope of ever getting ahead and struggle harder every year to simply keep a roof over their heads.

Wages: Although I see there are many more job openings, I hardly see much of an increase in wages — and certainly none that comfortably cover the costs of living on Kaua’i. Only one quarter of one’s wages should go towards rent according to the basic “Budget Guidelines.” How many Kauaians are able to meet these budget guidelines?

If more property and business owners would step up and be a hero, perhaps there would be less hopelessness and crime on the island. Kaua’i’s people are becoming increasingly desperate, and thus many have turned to illegal activities and/or working under the table while collecting public assistance (i.e. HUD and Welfare) just to survive and I can’t quite blame them. Many long-term residents have left the island and I hear talk of many more long-term residents who are seriously considering the same. Because basic survival on Kaua’i is becoming increasingly difficult, or even, I believe it’s fair to say impossible.

In closing, I just want to give praise to some of the heroes of Kaua’i who do not hold greed in their hearts; who know how much is enough. You know who you are.

  • Jaana Makipaa

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