Letters for Thursday • May 11, 2006

• Needed: traffic answers for Koloa

• Mothers thank legislators

• Private schools have much to offer


Needed: traffic answers for Koloa

The Koloa town meeting Tuesday night was productive and solution-oriented. Mahalo to the participants and organizers. The agenda was huge and the meeting was long, so inevitably, there were a few topics omitted, and others discussed that could’ve been expanded on.

An important thing to note is that, although it was implied and even said repeatedly that the county does not have a traffic plan for the area, that is not correct. There is a plan, and the backbone of it is a network of existing and soon to be built roads that will create a bypass, or beltway, around Koloa and most of Po‘ipu.

The already started Western Bypass runs through Kukui‘ula Development lands and will be constructed and paid for by them. The Northern Connector will intersect with the Western Bypass at Koloa Road and run from there to intersect with the Eastern Bypass, or Ala Kinoiki, at it’s existing intersection with Maluhia Road.

Most people who are knowledgeable about this plan agree that it will be effective when completed. The Northern Connector is a crucial component of this network. Without it, eastbound traffic from the Western Bypass will flow through Koloa with it’s already congested and problematic intersections. Although lands and design funding are in the pipeline for the Northern Connector project, there are still questions about how it will be funded and when it will be built. Other components of the county’s traffic planning efforts are currently under discussion with developers and community members, and include the possibility of several roundabouts for Po‘ipu Road intersections, and sidewalks and pedestrian improvements, and possible roundabouts for Koloa Town. It really should be noted that Mayor Bryan Baptiste and his staff at the departments of planning and public works have given lots of thought and attention to the needs of South Shore residents, despite the fact that infrastructure is overburdened islandwide.

How can we expect our public servants to excel and work hard for us if we don’t acknowledge their efforts?

What is lacking in the county’s transportation planning for the South Shore is a finely rendered, complete area-wide plan that is consensus based and supported by the community. That will be the real value of the proposed process that appears soon to begin. Community leaders and area developers are retaining the services of a forward-thinking consultant who will lead us through a process that could provide us with a very specific plan that has popular support. That is hopeful news, but wait — there is more: developers and the county appear to have agreed to pay their fair share for improvements that are recommended by the plan. The process of determining what that fair share is for each party will be difficult. Taxpayers may be faced with picking up some of that burden. Let’s hope that process does not dissolve into finger pointing and burden shifting. Fair share is just that, and we might all have to pony up if we want to preserve or possibly even improve our quality of life.

So, there are hopeful signs for the South Shore. Most of the people who’d be hurt by a moratorium are not mainland developers — they are people with faces and names who are our friends and neighbors. A consensus-based process to find solutions and get them implemented will be best for all. Thanks again to everybody who is working to get us on track for a good future.

  • Rick Haviland
    ‘Oma‘o

Mothers thank legislators

The members of MADD-Hawaii (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) are deeply grateful to our state’s legislators for their work during the 2006 session. By passing crucial bills on drunk driving and underage drinking, they have shown determination, commitment and courage in the struggle to keep our highways and young people safe.

 Among important bills passed, and either signed or awaiting signature by the governor, are: increasing the penalties for highly intoxicated drivers (those with almost double the legal limit of blood alcohol content or more); simplifying DUI arrest procedures; and suspending or delaying driver licenses to minors in possession of alcohol.

 Our admiration and thanks to key committee chairpersons, members and staff, and to the entire Senate and House of Representatives, for making 2006 such a productive session for MADD-Hawaii. Our state will be a healthier and safer place for residents, visitors, and all who care deeply about preventing drunk driving and underage drinking.

 

  • Arkie Koehl
    Public Policy Committee MADD-Hawaii

Private schools have much to offer

In a recent edition of The Garden Island front page news, Larry Bowman, of FALCO Partners, is shown presenting a check to the DOE that will total $400,000. We salute our colleagues in the public sector for their good fortune and commend Mr. Bowman for his civic mindedness and generosity.

In that article he is quoted as follows: “Let’s get [private school] students back into the public schools.”

Such a statement suggests at least two things: 1) that Kaua‘i (and indeed all of Hawai‘i) would be better served if there were no private and independent schools; 2) that public school facilities and equipment are less adequate than those in private schools. We respect Mr. Bowman’s right to his opinion but would beg to differ with him on these two points.

With reference to the first, note that independent schools offer a diversity of educational offerings for Kaua‘i residents who prefer an alternative to the large, statewide public system. Also, they save taxpayers money, as no public funds are used to educate students going to private schools. In addition, they productively employ Kaua‘i residents, in our case some 50 different individuals. Finally, through the community service of our students and staff and by making our facilities available to other not-for-profit organizations, Island School benefits Kaua‘i in ways that would not be available if we did not exist.

With reference to the second, a check of public-school equipment and facilities will show that in many cases these schools are better equipped than we are. For example, the computer laboratory and computers at Princess Kamakahelei Middle School are state of the art. What we do have is an elementary school technology curriculum based on ideas of Seymour Papert of MIT. Students learn to control the computer and to use it as a tool but not as a substitute for the substantive content of the regular curriculum. In addition, all of our middle and high-school classrooms have computer projectors, allowing teachers to use the Internet as an integral part of their teaching.

We in the private sector do not have the largess of public funds. Our claim to existence rests on two factors: namely quality and service that people and many foundations and business are willing to pay for. Apart from this, we would not be here. We respect our counterparts in the public sector and appreciate their talents and challenges. Public schools are necessary to our society, but this shouldn’t obviate the need or the benefits that private and independent schools address and have to offer.

  • Robert Springer
    Head of School, Island School
0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.