Letters for Wednesday — March 22, 2006

• Governor deserves a hand

• Mahalo for coverage

• Malama pono: Let’s create Pila‘a Park

• Faulty KIUC conclusions

• Family touched by sympathy

Governor deserves a hand

I’ve been paying close attention to the daily unfolding events of the Ka Loko Dam tragedy and I must say, though some may think it brought to light certain deficiencies of “government,” I think it highlighted the efficiencies of the current administration.

I was impressed to read how quickly, and effectively the governor took control of the situation. She wasted no time in signing an emergency proclamation, coordinating efforts with her various department heads, reaching out to the Kaua‘i community in a town hall meeting, and getting engineers on the ground to inspect every one of Kaua‘i’s reservoir dams.

Her honesty and openness about the situation has been refreshing to hear, compared to the “blame-game” that so many politicians engage in. And she has remained focused on real priorities, like helping those who have suffered from the flooding, repairing damaged roads and infrastructure, and working to prevent future dam breaches.

Instead of pointing fingers, I want to give a hand to Gov. Lingle, for showing true leadership.

  • Lillian Rulon

Mahalo for coverage

To be uncharacteristically brief, your team there is incredible — up 24-7 during this crisis, writing and photographing nonstop right-on factual articles that made the community aware of not only what was happening but why, what to do to help and how, with a sense of family. Because that is what Kaua‘i is, for all our differences — family, a great ‘ohana that will rise again stronger, even better organized than before.

Thanks to The Garden Island, with your unprecedented additional computer coverage all day, we knew it all. And still will.

Mahalos. We needed that.

  • The Haynes Family

Malama pono: Let’s create Pila‘a Park

In response to the recent tragedy on the North Shore of Kaua‘i I have an idea to honor the memory of our lost ‘ohana. I am suggesting that James Pflueger donate his property above Pila’a beach to the county of Kaua‘i, to create a public park.

Gov. Linda Lingle said state law stipulates that a private landowner is responsible for the repairs and maintenance of privately owned reservoirs, and the state has responsibility for monitoring the reservoirs.

The Ka Loko Reservoir dam breached, sending millions of gallons of water down Wailapa Stream killing eight people. The saddest story is of Daniel Arroyo and Christina McNees, a beautiful young couple about to be married the next weekend. Christina was eight months pregnant. Tim Noonan, Wayne Rotstein, Alan Dingwall, Aurora Fehring, and their two-year-old son, Rowan Fehring-Dingwall, also perished.

Don Heacock, an aquatic biologist with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said the incident shouldn’t be called an act of God or a natural disaster.

“God doesn’t make reservoirs. Men make reservoirs,” Heacock said. “Men interfered with the natural stream ecosystem.”

Pflueger has a history of abusing the land. The Hawai‘i Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency jointly sued James Pflueger for illegal development of his property by clearing and grading large swaths of land discharging unauthorized, sediment-laden storm water into the Pacific Ocean for over 109 days.

Pflueger admitted to illegal grading and earth-moving makai of Kuhio Highway and on the southeast side of Ka Loko Reservoir — opposite its dam on the northwestern side.

It is Pflueger’s kuleana to take care of the land, respect and preserve it for future generations. I hope Pfluger does the right thing to honor the memory of the victims. The Ka Loko dam breaking may have been completely unpredictable, but it was preventable.

Pflueger’s land above Pila‘a is one of the most beautiful spots on Kaua‘i. It is in danger of becoming developed, taken away from the public, gated off. If it were to become a county park the community would greatly benefit from this tremendous asset. Another beach access, another place to have a picnic, to snorkel, to fish, to camp, to play, to honor the land and remember our lost ‘ohana. Pflueger has a golden opportunity, a chance to give us all the gift of integrity, to malama pono.

  • Koa Kahili

Visitors extend sympathy

This is a response to a letter in today’s The Garden Island that referenced Mr. Chang’s article on the results of the KIUC election. Am sure you will have received other responses, but will offer mine. I offer an alternative should you choose to publish any response.

This is in response to Trudy Bauman’s letter (March 21) on “Fuzzy Math.” It makes me wonder if she voted. The Garden Island reported there were 5,651 secret ballots in the KIUC elections. This is not the total number of votes cast. Each voter was entitled to vote for three candidates. Assuming each ballot was valid, there would have been 16,953 (5651 x 3) total votes. The three winning candidates garnered 8,031 of that total.

Her final negative comment was uncalled for. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could concentrate more on the positive aspects of life? It would be nicer to read an apology for her faulty conclusions. Aloha!

  • Johnny Rabasa

Family touched by sympathy

ank you for those who came to the memorial service for Gregory X. Espina. My husband recently returned from Kaua‘i, you truly touched him when you honored Greg in a very compassionate and loving way.

He truly will be missed, but his legacy lives on in his family, friends and those he has touched with his smile, songs and love. Greg will be remembered for who he was and will continue to live in the stories that we will be able to share with one another, as he remains in our hearts.

To the family, Mayor, Kapa‘a Class of 1972, and those who attended, thank you for making this a special day for a man who truly was loved in his community. Your words of condolences and hugs witnessed by my husband, Gonzalo, left an imprint in his heart on how all of you so loved a man who will live within our hearts. Love never dies….with much love and blessed aloha,

  • Catherine Espina
    Salinas, Calif

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