Letters for Thursday — April 20, 2006

• Eating crow

• Opposed to the $12-million offer

• The right thing to do

Eating crow

In light of the recent Board of Ethics ruling, those of us who publicly came to the defense of chief Lum in his on-going battle to save his job, now find ourselves eating a generous portion of crow. The board’s action was done quietly, but thoroughly and its findings clearly reveal that Lum should not have been hired in the first place. As it turns out, Lum did not even have sufficient administrative experience to meet the minimum qualifications. Second, he was given an unfair advantage in gaining the appointment due to the actions of an overzealous police commissioner.

The facts disclosed by the Ethics Board are so compelling they override the argument that Lum has earned the right to keep his job. Despite how much we may admire Lum’s crime-fighting record since he took office, there is no way to excuse the unethical practices that influenced the process that made him chief. If Lum were allowed to remain in office, a cloud of scandal would hang over him ˆ undermining his credibility and crippling his leadership, which would be a detriment to the department and the community.

But, the Ethics Board’s work is not nearly finished. Surely, if we find Mike Ching guilty of violating the ethics code, then it would be hypocritical of the county not to slap at least one other commissioner’s hands. Because the chief got the job unfairly does not absolve the ethical sins of yet another police commissioner, who used a cruel racial slur against Lum, which led to the filing of a discrimination suit that could ultimately cost the county more than the $150,000 it just spent to get to the bottom of the Ching/Lum affair.

While the County Council did a commendable job in handling the Ethics Board ruling, it should ask itself why no one on the council was aware that Lum lacked the basic qualifications to become chief, back when his name was first announced as a candidate for the position. The mayor’s office might ask itself the same question.

From what we’ve seen and heard of the police commission, there’s an obvious need for more oversight by our elected officials. As a matter of fact, the council might find it useful to create a permanent “council over-sight committee” to monitor all county boards and commissions. Call it the “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure committee.”

  • Fred von Wiegen

Opposed to the $12-million offer

A friend of mine once told me, to do business in Hawai’i you have to double the cost and add 50-percent. That was 10 years ago now so I imagine the cost is roughly four times.

If the developers at Coconut Beach Development are really serious about wanting “to be a real positive force in the community” then their offer should be closer to $50 million. After all, what do we have to lose but paradise itself?

If the Kaua’i County Planning Commision caves in on this one, then it’s time we seriously consider a new administration and commision. The area that is proposed for development is near one of the most important sites in ancient and modern Polynesia/Hawai’i. How can we explain our decision to future Hawaiians (and by this I mean all people who care about this island) that we paved over their heritage. When are we going to wean ourselves from dependence on unmitigated growth on Kaua’i. Education is the key to success here, not more tourism and condos.

  • Mike Austin

The right thing to do

And yet another article about a senseless dog(s) attack on a precious family pet. My condolences to the Crawfords for the cruel loss of Kiani. I agree with Jeff Hayes, current laws are way too soft. This was a vicious attack, period. What if it was a child ripped from the mother’s arms?! Come to think of it, that’s exactly what it was.

Do you think these dogs will ever be trusted by the neighbors again? I seriously doubt it. Owners of dogs who train them to hunt and kill have an enormous responsibility to ensure the safety of others including other innocent animals. It may not be the law but damn it, it’s just the right thing to do.

  • Stephen Shioi

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