Kaua‘i County Councilwoman Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho has taken up the fight against graffiti in Anahola, her home community.
Disgusted by the sight of graffiti — including racial slurs — on a main wall of a lanai at the Anahola Clubhouse and an apparent arson inside the clubhouse, Iseri-Carvalho met with Anahola residents at the clubhouse last night to try to squash a surge in criminal activities that have stunned some residents.
“It (the environment at the clubhouse) is supposed to be nurturing, a learning type of environment, and (for adults and children using the clubhouse) to see the graffiti degrades that experience,” Iseri-Carvalho told The Garden Island. “The people shouldn’t be subjected to such filth.”
She said graffiti can be found in many communities on Kaua‘i, but finding it in the largest Hawaiian community on the island “outrages me.”
Hawaiian families try to teach their children the importance of respecting the ‘aina (the land), people and property, she said.
The racial slurs and acts of arson within the clubhouse and lanai area run counter to that training, Iseri-Carvalho said. “It is so offensive,” she said Thursday. “It is so disrespectful.”
County-sponsored programs for kupuna (the elderly), exercise programs and a traveling pre-school program are conducted within the clubhouse throughout the week.
Kaua‘i Police Lt. Miles Tanabe, who heads KPD’s police training division, was asked to attend the meeting to help set up a neighborhood watch program in areas around the clubhouse.
“We are going to look at what type of crime-deterring devices can be installed at the clubhouse to prevent similar incidents,” Iseri-Carvalho said.
The vandalism prompted Iseri-Carvalho and Lorraine Rapozo, president of the Anahola Hawaiian Homestead Association, to call for the meeting.
“It is about awareness,” Iseri-Carvalho said. “I think the more people become aware of things like this, the more we can band together and find a solution.”
The clubhouse has been hit by graffiti for many years, but the occurrences have become more frequent in the past five to six years, and the graffiti messages have become more severe, Rapozo told The Garden Island Thursday.
“We have gone through many, many (incidents of) graffiti,” Rapozo said. “But this one appears to be targeted at one county employee.”
Last week, the employee, a caretaker, told some area residents not to ride their motorcycles in the lanai portion of the clubhouse, Rapozo said.
The caretaker also told the residents not to “break tables (found within the lanai) and windows,” she said.
“I guess they (the vandals) are retaliating in this specific incident,” she said. “This has been going on for years.”
The same people also tried to burn a hand-carved wooden plaque that hangs on the wall of the lanai. County firefighters were summoned to the scene to put out those fires.
Rapozo said she just wants peace within the Anahola community.
“The community needs to get involved, work together, and make it a safe, wholesome community. We need to help families help other families,” she said. “I still think it is a safe place, but it has its challenges.”
Iseri-Carvalho said it was her impression the vandalism has left many parents too afraid to allow their children to play at or by the clubhouse.
She said she is equally upset that the racial slurs and graffiti are in full view of anyone who uses the clubhouse.
“There is a traveling pre-school called ‘Tutu and me.’ The kupuna also conduct their classes in the clubhouse on Tuesdays,” she said.
Department of Hawaiian Home Lands’ classes to help DHHL beneficiaries prepare for home purchases also are held at the clubhouse, she said.
Iseri-Carvalho said the graffiti came to her attention as she went over county documents on the planned renovation of the Anahola Clubhouse.
The $84,200 allotted for the work is part of $1.5 million the Kaua‘i County Council and Mayor Bryan Baptiste approved in the current budget for the renovation of the county’s nine neighborhood center, including the Anahola Clubhouse.
“There is a concern about using this money due to the damages the building has sustained from the vandalism,” Iseri-Carvalho said.
The council is proposing to set aside another $150,000 in the 2006-2007 county budget to finish the restoration work on the county facilities, she said.
• Lester Chang, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) and lchang@ kauaipubco.com.