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Letters for Thursday • May 18, 2006

• Kudos to KIF baseball coaches and players

• Alternative energy may not bring costs down

• Perhaps no media bias?

Kudos to KIF baseball coaches and players

Another baseball season has come and gone and as official scorer and arbitrator for the KIF I would like to reflect on the season.

I have played and been part of baseball at every level for 60 years and I want to salute every player and every coach for their efforts at making high school baseball a success on Kaua‘i. I particularly want to praise Waimea coach Kelly Robinson, his coaches and players for winning the KIF and wish them nothing but success on Maui at the state tournament.

But I also want to compliment coaches Ibia (Kauai High) and Carvalho (Kapa‘a High) for their competitiveness and hard work to make their teams winners. And even though Kapa‘a hasn’t won a game in two years I can honestly say that Coach Carvalho, his coaches and players could not have tried harder to win. I watched his players bust their rears to come out on top and never did one of them quit! The record may show no wins in the score book but in my book, they were all winners.

In fact, I saw catchers on all three teams block balls, save runs, and hustle — doing a great job and even catching both games of a double header — try that if you think it is easy!

I also watched infielders and outfielders make “big league” plays and everything that was done on the field was just another tribute to the coaches who tirelessly worked with them in practice.

Only a few of these athletes will ever play baseball at the college, professional or the “dream big league” level but I encourage each and every one of them to go to college — JC or 4 year — and get their education. Maybe they can become a Tyler Yates and get to the top but if not, they will get their degree which is invaluable in life and something that can never be taken away.

  • Glenn Mickens

Alternative energy may not bring costs down

A number of letters have appeared in The Garden Island recently reporting on new projects on this island to develop alternative energy methods of producing electricity. While these certainly appear to be credible efforts at reducing our dependence on fossil fuel, what is not commonly realized is that when these alternate sources of electricity go into operation on this island, our monthly electrical bills from our so-called “co-op” will go up. This may sound startling and not reasonable; but let me explain.

A major part of the cost build-up to our electricity bill is the cost of the generating equipment which constitutes a significant component of the capital cost of the physical plant. Since we the “members” of the “co-op” paid for the purchase of the Kauai Electric plant from Citizens Utility of Connecticut with a large loan from the Rural Utility Service (a part of the federal government operation) we have to pay for it whether we use it or not. Those of us who paid a lot of attention to the efforts by Gregg Gardiner, former chairman of the KIUC Board and the leader of the group that achieved the highly inflated purchase of Kauai Electric, we know that the rate-payers — and now the “members” of the “coop” like it or not — paid at least $20 million more for the plant than it was worth. And of course the Rural Utility Service, which loaned us the money, couldn’t care less whether we paid too little or too much for it, since the function of the RUS is to loan out money for the Public Good; the more money it loans out, the more brownie points it earns. (An extreme example of this kind of loan practice is the half-billion dollar loan to an outfit called Sandwich Isle Utility, to connect the Hawaiian community to the Internet, a noble idea no doubt; except that Hawaiian families living on Hawaiian Homeland almost all already have Internet serviced provided by the phone companies or Internet service companies. On our island, the underground fiber-optic cable that runs from Anahola all the way to Kekaha and branches out into the ocean near Wailua to connect with other islands, at a cost of several hundred million dollars from the RUS, will never be used, since anyone who needs to access the Internet already had the service before this half-billion dollar boondoggle was perpetrated.

The KIUC example is not nearly as ludicrous as the Sandwich Isle boondoggle; but we have to pay for the loan; while the Hawaiians here don’t have to pay for the Sandwich Isle loan. Being an isolated island, we do not have a so-called electric grid that allows us to move electricity in and out of Kaua‘i, depending on the supply and demand situation at any moment over the entire grid of which we are a part. In other words, if at some moment (such as the middle of the night) our demand is low while some area in the Eastern U.S. is needing more, our surplus can be routed to meet the demand elsewhere on the grid. That way, we may not fall into the situation where we have idle equipment that we are paying for but are not using — creating what in the business is called “Stranded Capital.”

Installing an alternative energy system sounds like a noble, responsible and patriotic enterprise; and is great PR for KIUC; but it will cost us an increase in the price we pay for the use of electricity, UNLESS, of course, our demand for electricity beyond what our current generating equipment can produce is met by new alternative energy systems. The potential for creating Stranded Capital here on Kaua‘i is particularly likely because KIUC is currently in a surplus situation in terms of generating capacity, because of KIUC’s purchasing, instead of leasing, the new generation plant at Hanama‘ulu from Kauai Power Partners, a private investment group in San Diego.

We have the highest electricity bill in the country, including the Hawaiian islands. If we go into alternative energy systems without considering the question of Stranded Capital, we will be paying still more, unless we think feeling noble and patriotic is worth the added price for electricity.

  • Raymond Chuan

Perhaps no media bias?

In response to Mr. Chaquette’s letter concerning a Left or Right media bias. While we can all look at studies showing a contrasting bias in the media, those same studies are often funded by special interests with a point to make.

From a statistical perspective, we can gather a different picture. Over 80 percent of ownership of the visual media is “conservative.” At the same time, 50 percent of reporters are Democrats while 4 percent are Republicans.

Different sources have different claims, but many of them agree with the recent UCLA political science study that showed 18 of the 20 major media outlets scored left of center.

Is there a media bias? Remember, the media is a commodity that goes to the highest bidder. You can contact UCLA for full details of their report.

  • Josh Duvauchelle

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