Letters for Sunday – February 19, 2006

• Bring on the paid contractors

• Send the right message

• Advice from a Kaua’i-lover

• It started on Kaua’I

• Political insanity

Bring on the paid contractors

Mahalo nui loa to the landscape contractors who are now taking care of the entire 6 miles of plants, trees and grass along the Gateway Project. At LONG last the area is beautiful and it has finally been proven to skeptics that if a maintenance job is to be done right it will be done by paid contractors and not by volunteers. Too bad it has taken five years for the powers that be to realize that volunteers (and there were good ones like Lester Chang and many more) are only a supplement to any job, and paid professionals are the real answer.

Now wouldn’t it be great if those who run our government could take a page out of this successful operation and instill it in every corner of our failed system. In fact, it would be nice to start by getting our County Council to unanimously pass Mel Rapozo’s performance audit resolution instead of defeating it by a 4 to 3 vote at the last council meeting. This audit could go a long way toward showing where the gross problems are in this flawed government of ours.

  • Glenn Mickens

Send the right message

I’ve read several articles trying to solve the nursing shortage by appealing to males, but I don’t see how these articles or campaigns could be successful, and referring to movies like “Meet the Parents” only emphasizes sexist stereo-types that keep boys away.

Condescending campaigns like “Are you man enough to be a nurse,” may be a good-sounding catch-phrase, but only a socially inept nerd on a cheesy television sitcom would fall for something this meaningless.

If we want teenage boys to consider nursing as a career, then the message has to appeal to them:

“Guys — with only four years of college, you can make $60,000 to $80,000 a year working only 3 to 4 days a week, and easily make over $100,000 with overtime. This is important for local boys planning to have families and own homes in Hawai’i’s inflated housing market.

Nurses have long risen above the status of maids and secretaries, and from the ER to the OR, there’s a wide range to specialize. The hardest thing for boys to overcome in becoming a nurse is the sexist stereotyping which quickly fades after the first few paychecks.

For nurses who are offended that I focused primarily on monetary gains rather than altruistic rewards — this letter is directed at teenage boys who are taught from a very young age that men must provide for their families.

  • Gerald K. Nakata

Advice from a Kaua’i-lover

We visit the Garden Isle every May or June and look forward to our return each year. We love Kaua’i; its people, its culture, and it’ scenic beauty. My wife and I have seen a lot of changes over the years: I was at Barking Sands in the early 1970s and my wife (girlfriend at the time) was an R.N. at Wilcox Hospital. One of the things to us that is so special about Kaua’i is not only the beauty of protected places like the state parks, state forests and National Wildlife Refuges, but also the pastoral agricultural lands you pass through between island towns. It’s one of the things that keeps Kauai special for both residents and visitors alike.

These agricultural lands are an important defining character of the island. When we lived on Kaua’i over 30 years ago some five sugar plantations helped to keep Kaua’i’s landscape rural. Now there is just the Gay and Robinson operation on the west side. Happily, operations such as Kauai Coffee have filled some of the void, but if Kaua’i is to remain a viable agricultural community and protect its important rural landscapes, a comprehensive land protection strategy is needed. I’m talking about coming up with ways to keep these lands in private ownership, and at the same time recognize that there is tremedous public value in seeing that these lands remain open and economically viable for agriculture.

Large lot zoning schemes can’t do it alone, given constant pressures of high land values and “creative” definitions of what folks consider an agriculture use. What is needed instead is to establish agricultural preservation districts on the island, and to engage both local and state government in partnership with area landowners, and private non-profit land trusts like the American Farmland Trust, Trust for Public Lands and others to provide money to secure developement rights from ag land owners in the form of conservation easements. That way, owners are compensated for the value of their land, the land remains in private ownership and on the local Kauai County tax roles, and the protected lands provide productive farmland for the Kaua’i economy thus helping its economic diversification.

One more thing, in the flat agricultural area past Kekaha and west up to Mana, protected agricultural lands across HI 50 from the Pacific Missile Range could also be the home to well-sited and designed wind machines to augment the Kauai utility grid. This would not only keep the area in farm use, but would help lower electrical generating costs to the utility and to Kaua’i electrical customers who now rely too heavily on oil for power generation.

Just some thoughts from a soon to be retired mainlander who loves Kaua’i very much. Mahalo and Aloha.

  • Keith Dunbar
    Bothell, Wash.

It started on Kaua’i

It seems almost impossible but next year it will be 20 years ago since my son Chris graduated from Waimea High School. He also played basketball with the Kekaha Bantam team that took the County of Kauai’s Bantam League championship in 1984.

He has just been promoted from Detective Sergeant to Lieutenant. Kaua’i is where it all started. It was the best move I had ever made.

  • William Pedoty
    New York

Political insanity

The other night I heard on channel 2 that Condoleeza Rice is asking for $75,000,000 to fund a freedom center in Iran. This makes about as much sense as putting a statue of Buddha in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The same evening I heard that President Bush has given the Mexican Army $360,000,000. It is a well-known fact that the Mexican Army is riddled with corruption and drug smuggling. How do you think this bunch of hoodlums will use the money?

We are having budget constraints, social security is in trouble, Medicare payments are certain to be cut and other social programs eliminated altogether. We have a severe deficit and our debt is in the trillions while politicians flitter our money away on hair-brained schemes. Our politicians need to take a refresher course in common sense and remember what there jobs really are. This insanity doesn’t occur at the federal level alone. It is found in Honolulu and Lihu’e also.

  • Paul Daffinrud

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