Letters for Sunday • May 28, 2006

• For a Republic of Kaua‘i

• Improve public transportation

• Where is the Planning Department?

• It’s the principle

For a Republic of Kaua‘i

Thomas Jefferson said it best: “Government is the enemy of every freedom loving man.” Ours, at every level, from local to federal, has proven itself to be ineffective at best and an enemy of the people at worst. Locally, we have a government which has refused to implement the will of the voters, built itself a palace of bureaucracy without even consulting its constituents, makes a recreational bikeway a priority while doing little or nothing about gridlock traffic. We all know what the problems are. Yet (and this assumes they count the votes correctly), we continue to vote these clowns back into office year after year. What is wrong with us? Are we just stupid sheep being led to slaughter? If so, we deserve everything we get.

Right now your government, via the charter commission, is preparing to offer amendments to our constitution, the county charter, to our voters. After attending a few meetings of this well intentioned group, I have concluded that amending our charter is like trying to patch a rust-bucket island car one too many times. It is vaguely written and the many amendments which will be offered to the voters will only confuse them. The correct course of action would be to write a whole new charter simply and specifically reflecting the will of the people and limiting the powers of government and its labor unions.

The one question I propose being put to the voters this fall is: “Should Kaua‘i begin a process to become an independent nation?”

Before you dismiss me as a crackpot, consider this: We have only not been a separate nation for about 150 years, a blink of an eye in historical terms. Many nations on earth have smaller populations and less resources. Some islands have more than one nation on one island.

Of course, many would be fearful of losing the bounty (welfare) of matching federal dollars and the grants to which our government and people are addicted. Not to mention the protection of Uncle Sam’s high-tech war machine. These people are short-sighted and afraid to be self-sufficient, sovereign and truly free.

The entire budget of $100 million per year could be charged to Uncle Sam as rent on its PMRF facility. Voila! No more property tax. OHA lands could be immediately transferred to their rightful owners, the Hawaiian people, with fee simple deeds. The sacred ground at Coco Palms could be returned to its rightful owners to become a cultural center and seat of the new nation. Land for affordable housing could simply be taken by eminent domain from the large landowners here who seem to prefer hoarding wealth to sharing it. The solutions inherent in becoming truly sovereign and free of the State of Hawaii and the USA go on and on.

I, for one, would gladly turn in my USA passport for one embossed with the seal of the Republic of Kauai.

• Michael Wells, Moloa‘a

Improve public transportation

Is building new highways and making other roads four or six lanes the only way to solve the traffic problems on Kaua‘i?

Would new highways and bigger roads add to the enjoyment of our unique natural beauty and the rural lifestyle we all need and enjoy?

How about a different approach?

Use the $380 million road-widening budget to improve public transportation to a degree those rental cars will not be needed to get around on the island.

Perhaps we should take seriously Will Rogers’ suggestion: “Take all the cars off the road that are not paid for.”

No community has ever solved their long-range traffic problems by adding new lanes.

Professor Albert Allen Bartlett, a retired professor of physics from the University of Colorado in Boulder, asks this question: “Can you think of any problem, on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way, aided, assisted or advanced by having larger populations at the local level, the state level, the national level, or globally?”

We all must remember that Los Angeles or any other big city did not just happen. It happens one project at a time.

Our quality of life depends on making changes before it’s too late at the county building, where they have never seen a project they didn’t like.

• Ken Taylor, Kapa‘a

Where is the Planning Department?

The front page news in today’s The Garden Island (Friday, May 26) about the residents and developers coming together to talk about problems is certainly heartening. On further reflection, however, one must pause and ask: “Where is our Planning Department in all this?”

The Kauai Planning Department, ostensibly the most important department in this county for protecting this island’s future, has a measly budget of barely a million dollars a year. In contrast, the Solid Waste Operation, which doesn’t even rate as a division in the Public Works Department, has a budget of $10.9 million (two years ago it was $7.8 million, two years before that, $6.6 million), and has nothing to show for it. As far as performance is concerned I suppose Solid Waste is in worse shape than Planning; the latter, after all, could attribute its dormant state to its starvation budget and resulting plummeting morale.

• Raymond Chuan, Hanalei

It’s the principle

Today, May 26, I made a visit to the recycling center at Nawiliwili to recycle 144 plastic, can and bottle containers. For such a small amount I am perfectly happy and willing to manually process these through the machines.

There was no one waiting; however, a man from the office approached informing me that I must take these to be weighed at the station below because “the State” doesn’t want me to do it that way with under 50 items. I complied.

At the weigh station, I had to wait and then my “little bit” was taken and weighed in at three pounds plastic, one pound cans and two (pounds) glass bottles. I go back up to the office and receive $4.10 instead of the $7.20 by actual count. When called on that fact, he was willing to make up the difference but I did not take it. Excuse me, that is not the point! I live on principle (this one being honesty) and this tells me “the State” is willing to rob its citizens even on such a small scale. Multiply $3.10 by the thousands who “just let it go.”

You ask us to be good stewards of our beautiful state and then have practices such as this. It is not about the money but about the principle. However, I remain joyful, of which you can not rob me.

• Susan Mills, Hanapepe


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