Letters for Friday • May 5, 2006

• Essence of JoAnn

• Immediate action needed at Lydgate Park

• More on traffic and development

• Wondering about budget

Essence of JoAnn

Wow! Who knew that you could get Republicans to not show up at public events simply by having Councilwoman Yukimura speak? Had I known this before, I would have bottled this up as “Essence of JoAnn” and made a fortune on it — then, in true anti-Republican fashion, I would have paid my fair share of taxes on it. Alas, ‘tis but a dream. Councilwoman Yukimura is a person first and a councilwoman second. She does have an opinion, just like you do, and I see no reason why she can’t express that opinion, even if it disagrees with that of her constituents or is offered up at a public venue. You would not be complaining if she had said something positive about the Bush administration or Republicans, so let’s just cut the crap. Why are you holding her to a different standard than you do all of the nincompoops in D.C., who do nothing all day long but disparage members of the “other party.”

It’s time to grow up.

  • Michael Mann

Immediate action needed at Lydgate Park

The time has come to rebuild the damaged sea walls of the swimming ponds at Lydgate Park. The recent rain storms sent a deluge of driftwood and debris down the Wailua River and polluted the swimming ponds. The cost for labor and equipment was in excess of $30,000 each time a clean-up took place.

Our beach was shut. Swimmers, beachgoers, visitors, guests and especially local families, scurried back to their rooms, worried over the pollution and raw sewage or leptospirosis. Normally busy, the park became an eerie wasteland. I felt anxious, depressed and somehow overwhelmed and helpless. What to do?

Accordingly, I appeal to all of you who enjoy the park to press for preventive measures. The height of the Morgan Swimming Pond’s walls must be strengthened and increased. The sand and boulders must be cleaned out and the depth of the ponds must return to 10 feet as originally planned in 1964. At present the ponds are approximately 4 to 6 feet deep. To help restore and renew this great park community, call the Mayor, County Council or the Army Corps of Engineers. Attention is needed now to keep our park safe, sparkling and accessible to the residents of the East Kaua‘i community.

I think often of the words of the prophet Isaiah: “And those from among you will rebuild the ancient walls, you will raise up the age old foundations; and you will be called the repairers of the breach, the restorers of the sacred paths in which we dwell.”

  • John Lydgate

More on traffic and development

I would like to thank all the people who took time from their schedules and gave testimony at various commission hearings about more development on Kaua‘i. I am sorry I did not attend any of the hearings. Often we become too busy with relatively minor day-to-day items that we fail to deal with major long-term issues that affect our home. I’m afraid this is what’s happening with our state and local governments. I promise to do better and urge others who feel strongly about Kaua‘i to also speak up.

We have a major crisis on Kaua‘i with traffic in particular and infrastructure in general. Everyone who drives in Kapa‘a is aware of the mess that steals time and money every day from motorists. Proposed and approved new developments will only worsen the problem. Recent traffic and flooding tragedies have clearly shown we should have options for traffic flow — not just one congested road. What would happen if there were a tsunami warning or other emergency? Could Kapa‘a, or other communities, be evacuated before the disaster occurred?

I am a 30-year resident and all I can remember is studies, talk, promises, etc. about traffic and roads. Little has been delivered in that time. We must have a better road system. We must be better able to handle emergency traffic. We should say no to any development that adds to traffic. Our island does not need additional projects that claim to have only minimal traffic impact. We need a moratorium on massive projects such as the proposed condos on the Coconut Coast near the Market Place. We must have a more effective traffic system in place before any more vehicles are added.

  • Jim Seitenzahl

Wondering about budget

Councilman Daryl Kaneshiro is wise to question Mayor Baptiste’s huge increases in his proposed budget. It is hoped the entire council will likewise object to these increases. The Mayor proposes spending almost $10 million more based upon an increase in taxes he projects due to higher assessments. Meanwhile, resulting from the same higher assessments phenomenon, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa announced a 39 percent cut in the real property tax rate on Maui. Whatever happened to the Republican platform of less government and lower taxes?

Adding a large number of new positions will mean that every future budget will continue to bear increases for wages and benefits. Once hired it is very difficult to eliminate positions. And where is the evidence that the bus system is so crowded that it requires over $1 million more to be spent? Furthermore, ever since Mayor Kusaka would not allow trained police officers from off-island to be hired, there have been 30 police positions budgeted but unfilled. This is not responsible management of our taxes.

On May 3 the Council is scheduled to hold public hearings on the budget and on the tax rates. One injustice in the tax rate schedule should be addressed. Our local farmers living on agricultural land who supply us with local produce from a few acres of farmland are taxed at the same rate as the large commercial farms. The small farmers, many of whom are elderly, cannot export or sell commercially, and don’t earn enough to afford the higher taxes. Yet, there are many others who are using their residential homes for businesses and offices who only pay the residential rate. The small farmers deserve a separate tax rate.

  • Fred Wells

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