Letters for Sunday, October 29, 2006

• Thanks, Mayor

• Big box dialogue needs to be raised

• Big box bill must be passed soon

•Clarifies comments

• Responds to Yukimura


Thanks, Mayor

Thank you, Mayor Baptiste, for again deciding for the residents of Kaua‘i what’s in our best interest. As I was sitting in the perpetual traffic jam that we call Kapa‘a, (good job fixing that problem during the last four years) and grateful that Costco had reduced my cost of gasoline by 50 cents per gallon, a friend called my cell phone to let me know that you had decided that groceries will forever remain overpriced on the Garden Isle.

Just as the local gas stations immediately reduced their prices in the face of real competition, grocery stores would surely do the same if they had some downward pressure on prices from a serious retailer. Let’s face it, groceries are the one commodity that every resident of Kaua‘i has to buy. Reducing the cost of food is the only reasonable way to lower the cost of living for each of your constituents. Congratulations on making sure that all of us will continue to pay the highest prices possible to feed our families.

Oh, and feel free to waste whatever taxpayer monies you need on the inevitable lawsuits that will follow. Hey, it’s not your money….

  • George Pasley

Anahola


Big box dialogue needs to be raised

One “big” aspect of the “big-box” issue that we might be wise to discuss more openly is this: it is a dangerous part of our “biggest” liability on Kaua‘i — our severe resource dependence. These big box stores exist in and depend entirely on an abundance of cheap oil, and on a paradigm of infinite global natural resources. The foundation of a Costco, Wal-Mart, The Home Depot or other big box retailer is the import of goods from anywhere on the globe where they can be had for the lowest price. Up to now, the assumption has held that the transport of these goods over vast distances can be achieved at almost no cost because of the availability of near free transportation fuels. However, a large body of evidence exists that demonstrates we are at the end of this era. The ever-rising cost of fossil fuels is on the eve of creating a major cultural shift for us all. It would behoove us all to re-establish the timeless tradition abandoned by most Americans over the last 50 years — to again become dependents of our land, not of our corporations.

Apollo Kauai is a renewable energy advocacy group that has been working on the island for over a year. We are only one of many groups here on Kaua‘i that understand the precarious nature of our current and severe fossil fuel dependence here on Kaua‘i. What does that mean to you? It does not simply mean that we want to put up more windmills, or grow more cane for ethanol. It does not simply mean that we want the Kaua‘i Bus to run more frequently, or that we want everyone to buy a Prius. It does not simply that we want you to switch over to compact fluorescent light bulbs and solar hot water heaters. What we want, and with a great deal of urgency, is to raise awareness of this absolutely critical issue so that we can all better mitigate the potentially devastating effects that would otherwise be brought upon us and our children by this imminent global shift.

Thank you to the mayor and the council for saying no to yet another big box of fossil fuel dependence. Thank you to Kaua‘i for raising the dialogue.

  • Ben Sullivan

Chairperson, Apollo Kauai


Big box bill must be passed soon

The mayor and the County Council are to be commended for their stand against big box stores. The people writing in to say it is too little, too late are wrong. The number of stores we have now is fine and makes all our lives easier, but we don’t need any more and more will certainly come if we don’t pass a size limit now.

As we know, more and more towns are passing laws against such large stores and we should do the same. It is perfectly legal to have such a law and we should have one before there are any more big stores asking for permits. This is in no way legislating against competition since stores of a modest size can still get permits in appropriate places.

As JoAnn Yukimura said, “The mega-store is beyond the scale of what is appropriate for Kaua‘i.” All those who are talking about keeping our more rural life stile and curbing ugly growth should be for limiting the size of our stores. I hope the County Council will be sure its bill is written correctly, is legal, and pass it as soon as possible.

  • Marge Freeman

Wailua


Clarifies comments

Re: Sandra Case’s response to my letter:

First, I along with several others DO NOT shop at or want anything to do with Wal-Marts and other big box predators, even if they were only 15 inches outside of Davis. They are poison and gobble up the local business in Davis, Kaua‘i and all other communities.

If it were up to me, we would just have a hundred miles of empty farmland in every direction of Davis. We are fighting hard to keep the little localized community we have left in Davis, a once really small college town that is being eaten up by predators and not the same charming place I knew 30 years ago.

Second, you took out of context and misunderstood what I said about a hurricane. Your letter failed to mention what I said before your quote (“No one was hurt, it well might be worth it in the long run”) of my letter.

I previously said: “Personally, I know some Kaua‘i residents who wish another huge hurricane would scare the living daylights out of developers to the point they would feel it is not worth building on Kaua‘i anymore.”

My point is that I am not alone because the damage these greedy developers are doing is more destructive in the long run.

I don’t want another hurricane but maybe (if no one is hurt) it will have to take another hurricane to finally drive these predators away.

This is all I was trying to say.

  • Gary Saylin

Davis, Calif.


Responds to Yukimura

In response to council member JoAnn Yukimura’s Oct. 27 guest viewpoint, I appreciate her willingness to stake out a position and to dialogue with the public via The Garden Island. She affirmed her intention to “outline the facts and write in a spirit of open discussion and mutual learning.” I respond in kind, with one exception. I leave it to the sponsors of the Ohana Kauai charter amendment to respond to many of the factual questions raised by the article and focus my remarks on process and politics.

Ms. Yukimura mentions three pending questions relating to property tax issues. One, we await a state Supreme Court decision regarding the Ohana Kauai charter amendment. Two, we await action by the council on recommendations from the Real Property Tax Task Force. Three, we await what she calls “comprehensive real property tax reform” to replace “the council’s package of interim measures” — something only the council can make happen.

At this point in time the Ohana amendment is at the Supreme Court and whatever the Court decides will not solve the other two issues, the resolution of which lies entirely with the council. Why, then, does Ms. Yukimura focus on the issue that now resides with the Supreme Court while skirting the two issues the council is free to act on?

In my reading of the situation outlined by Ms. Yukimura, the timely question is not why elected officials have opposed the Ohana amendment so vigorously. The question is why councilmembers lack the will or the courage or both to challenge the council chairman’s manipulations regarding recommendations from the Tax Task Force even to the modest extent of demanding a public explanation from the chairman for the unjustified delays in acting on the group’s recommendations.

Are there not at least four councilmembers who understand the disdain with which they have treated the Task Force? Do they not understand why Mike Dyer, a Task Force member, and his wife spent hundreds of dollars on newspaper ads pointing out the urgent need for council action because action on Task Force recommendations is the doorway to comprehensive tax reform?

I will not guess at Ms. Yukimura’s political motivation for writing this viewpoint article. I do say that spotlighting the Ohana amendment is a red herring that diverts attention from the council’s failure to act regarding recommendations from the Task Force and ultimately regarding comprehensive tax reform. As such, her guest viewpoint is the latest example of the extent to which politics trumps principles in this government even when the avowed intent is to speak and act on principle.

I would like to see the council abandon its defensive “circle the wagons” mentality and its “unity at any cost” posture and engage in open, honest debate about the issues they face and about their internal political process.

  • Horace Stoessel

Kapa‘a

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