Letters for Friday • May 19, 2006

• Stop making excuses and save Kaua‘i

• Mr. Godes, “Time for Discourse” IS rhetoric

Stop making excuses and save Kaua‘i

I read with amazement Jay Furfaro’s May 14 article entitled “Seeking Solutions”. Until that article I didn’t realize how ineffective and leaderless this county council is. The entire article was presented to make excuses for the disastrous amount of development choking Kaua‘i. Excuses only help those that make them, Mr. Furfaro. You stated, and I quote, “For the most part, what we are seeing today are the end results of existing zoning that was put in place many years ago.” He then goes on to explain that the fault lies with decisions made 25 years ago. You had 25 years to stop it!!! Who wants to hear a leader say, “It’s not my fault,” “Don’t blame me,” “They did it,” “There’s nothing I could do.” He then goes into a feeble attempt to characterize zoning as if it were the only barrier to development. You then go on to state this council has achieved great things by building bypass roads. You’re a genius, councilor! Just what Kaua‘i needs, more roads open for development ie. Calvary Church! You obviously do not have the talent, skills, or ability to lead your people and protect this jewel we live on. Leaders do not point the finger! They find solutions and make it happen.

There are numerous ways to stop development. Find one!!! In California they formed a coastal commission to curtail development along the coast. If a developer wanted to develop and the commission didn’t feel it was in the best interest of the environment, they just said “no.” Create a county equivalent. Make developers do exhaustive traffic impact studies through independent planners, and if they can’t prove not one car will be added to our already choking roads, turn them down. Get rid of the existing rubber-stamp planning commission and replace them with people who have a vision for keeping Kaua‘i beautiful, instead of working overtime to create a Honolulu- or Maui-type mess. Kaua‘i is in a state of emergency! Your article was an insult to the intelligence of your constituents.

Mr. Furfaro, if you, the council and our mayor spent as much time and the people’s money getting rid of the planning commission as you are in your ridiculous attempt to get rid of our police chief, or suing the people who elected you to frustrate their vote on property tax relief, you would be making a real difference.

Instead, you’re playing politics while Kaua‘i burns. I have never been so disgusted with whining, fingerpointing, excuse-making dolts as I am with you. I have over 4,000 distributors in my companies and I know them all. I’ve gotten to the point that I can recognize a leader very quickly. I’m sorry, Kaua‘i, but your current group of politicians is leaderless. JoAnn Yakimura has the skills, but so many years in politics have killed the warrior and vision she had as a young lawyer fighting to keep Kaua‘i beautiful. We need you back!

The best solution? In November replace every existing politician we have. There is no way we could do any worse than what we have now. Even if we elected Bozo the Clown.

  • Gordon Oswald

Mr. Godes, “Time for Discourse” IS rhetoric

In response to Stan Godes’ letter this past Thursday, let me say….BS.

Although well thought out, beautifully articulated, and good use made of that “Vocabulary Word for the Day Toilet Paper,” Mr. Godes misses the point entirely.

Yes, I live in Princeville. But accusing one who lives in Princeville as the pot calling the kettle black is a ridiculous and argumentative attack. This island is a development, Mr. Godes. Furthermore, if we cannot learn from the mistakes of the past, are we not destined to repeat them? The “I got mine — to heck with anyone else” line is not only combative but erroneous.

Let me say that you’ve missed the entire point of my letter to the editor. I am NOT anti-tourism, NOT anti-affordable housing, NOT a throwback, dirt-head that wants to bring the island back to what it was. Those days are gone. But to suggest that we have some intelligent discourse on the future of resort/vacation rental development on this island is what we’ve BEEN doing. Where’ve you been? Intelligent discourse on the island of Kaua‘i has amounted to little more than a shell game.

I remind you that while the island is increasing in visitor popularity, the vacation rental industry maintains far below a maximum occupancy rate. That includes resorts & hotels, vacation rental condos & homes, as well as B & B’s. You think we need MORE?

If the county Planning Commission is going to approve any more development at all, it should be for residents, with an emphasis on affordable housing. How are we to accomplish this when speculators are spending $400K on condos during the planning stages, and then flipping them for $800K a year later? You’re suggesting we have some intelligent discourse on that? Get serious. There’s no such thing as moderation once saturation has occurred.

And good for you with throwing in the towel on the education of our youth! What do you mean “for whom will these executives perform their services?” In your own words, “our county administration spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on outside consultants.” Hey, I know, maybe they could spend the money HERE if there were qualified, educated people to spend it on. I don’t know any society or community who doesn’t need more accountants, more doctors, more lawyers and more professionals. Sounds to me like you’d rather us all shoot for the stars and become hospitality industry personnel — making beds, sweeping corridors and cleaning toilets. Way to go!

Look, all I’m saying is if we don’t learn from the past, we’re going to repeat it. Yes, tourism is our main source of economic income, but when there are vacancies all over this island, and we continue to build more and more, what good is it? If we’re going to build, build something that will add to the quality of life for the residents. You know, Stan, I don’t know how happy the tourists would be 10 years from now if they showed up for their lovely, aloha-filled vacation, only to greeted by a bunch of angry, bitter people that have had their choices greatly diminished by the industry they’ve helped to foster.

No one ever said or asserted that this island could be self-sustaining. We rely on a lot of products, goods and services from off-island to keep our lives going forward. But we have an obligation to be the BEST we can be, and to be responsible for ourselves and our children, given our limitations. We have enough of an uphill battle, Mr. Godes. Perhaps you should consider giving a hand up, instead of adding more rungs to the ladder.

  • Jeff Hayes

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