Letters for Thursday, December 28, 2006

• The true island lifestyle

• Fore!

• Setting the record straight

• Big-box debate ‘amusing’


The true island lifestyle

Kaua‘i is one of the most beautiful and charming island communities in the world, bar none.

Increasingly, like the song says about New York City, if a person or family can make it here, they can make it anywhere. Because we are a part of America, we inherit the American Dream including the “two weeks off to visit paradise,” except … we happen to be paradise, or at least in the daydreams of our visitors.

This creates a paradox. A paradox is a story problem that doesn’t really have an answer; the problem must be solved by changing the story’s foundation at its roots.

We who live on this island and call Kaua‘i home are providing our guests and foreign visitors with lifestyles and a variety of material choices of goods and services that we cannot even provide for our own selves or our families.

Why do we do that — offer more than we have?

This American Paradox dream continues to crowd out island lifestyles here … including many endemic and indigenous people, plants and varied life forms. It seems to be our island’s “inconvenient truth,” but real nevertheless. How will our youth choose to stay and make a home and family without actually owning? By creating the current situation we have borrowed from their future and we continue to do so.

When speaking to island children and youth, I recommend all of them to visit the U.S. Mainland in their lifetime, but more so, I recommend they visit several of the more than 15,000 islands at home here in the Pacific, where the real island cultural success stories are to be learned within aloha.

Increasingly we are adopting Mainland values with choices we are making about who comes here to live, what is built here, and what things are bought and sold here.

With the Mainland choices we are compelled to make come Mainland problems, i.e. overwhelming traffic, disrespect for our ‘aina, lack of good opportunity to utilize the land, widening gap between the rich and the poor. We do not need the lights of each small town on Kaua‘i to grow together. Let each town have its history and identity, not like L.A. or O‘ahu, where towns grow from clumps like bamboo and loose their identity.

What does Kaua‘i stand for? What is our foundation?

Forgetting what things stand for is dangerous. As a wise kupuna said to me, “If we as a people don’t know our foundation, then we have no foundation.”

In many ways, that is what we see all around us, people acting without a sense of their foundation.

What is suffering now is our Kaua‘i lifestyle and our ability to limit the growth of our island’s problems. We all know what they are and just because a politician can list them does not mean that solutions are being found in effective and timely ways. We need leadership and aloha to face these growing concerns.

I believe that Kaua‘i needs a return to a more sovereign form of governance, perhaps a sovereign elected island governor with a council of elected volunteer town mayors. We should become an island example of how each place can govern itself within a limited relationship to America. And we should be looking to our Pacific Island neighbors to help us learn how to wean ourselves from colonial capitalism, which is what maintains the huge gap between our island’s poor and rich families and overburdens the middle class.

Mark Jeffers

Hanapepe


Fore!

I will make this very short and to the point.

I don’t want a bike path going through our public golf course, period!

Councilwoman Yukimura stated that the bikers need a way to get from Lihu‘e to Wailua.

Well, hello!

Isn’t there a bicycle lane along the Kuhio Highway from Lihu‘e to Wailua?

If you’re not going to use the bike lane then why don’t you make it into another lane to ease the traffic congestion? Again, trying to please the few instead of trying to please the majority who are stuck in traffic gridlock everyday — somebody better get their head straight.

The $13 million plus should be used to fix our traffic problems, not recreation purposes.

The council should serve the majority, not the minority.

And you know who I’m talking about.

M. Kiyabu

Kapa‘a


Setting the record straight

In response to the letter by Rich

Hoeppner (“Losing faith in government,” Letters, Dec. 27) where he asserted the national debt is 500 percent of the gross domestic product, I would like to set the record straight.

In the Nov. 27, 2006, issue of Fortune magazine, during an interview, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson stated, “So while we finance the war on terror and dealt with the cost of a couple of hurricanes, we still have a fiscal deficit that’s roughly 1.8 percent of the GDP, and that’s below the average size of the deficit over the past 40 years.”

John Ullis

Kalaheo


Big-box debate ‘amusing’

I find the big-box debate rather amusing, especially as a shopper who frequents Costco and Wal-Mart and has saved hundreds of dollars a month thanks to these stores. I have even seen employees of small local businesses shopping at these stores as well. Do they not enjoy the rural lifestyle? How can they undermine the efforts to preserve local businesses and the lifestyle?

I have to admit I would hate it if big, efficient companies pulled in to my community and forced me to either become more competitive or seek government regulation to ensure my survival. An interesting thing happened recently in Koloa. A “tiny box” natural foods store opened and has been able to offer cheaper or similarly priced products as its close neighbors. Many of the products are even higher quality. Made me feel like I was getting ripped off at the supermarkets.

Of course my IQ isn’t 99.9 percent higher than the rest of the island, so I have a hard time seeing the fairness in all of this.

Dan Richmond

Koloa

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