Letters for Saturday, April 7, 2007

• Enforcement unfair to visitors

• We in the grey areas

• Start testing at top

• Testing is a nightmare

• Testing a can of worms


Enforcement unfair to visitors

Almost two years ago, and after much research, our extended family contracted to rent one of the homes on Tunnels Beach affected by the resurrection of this old ordinanace that has apparantly been unenforced for many, many years (“Conservation land not for rent; state gives homeowners June deadline,” A1, April 3).

We have purchased airline tickets on which we stand to lose a lot of money if we must cancel our trip because the home is unavailable.

Changing the playing field a few months before already planned vacations are scheduled to happen is simply not fair to Kaua‘i’s tourists.

Is this how the state wants to treat its guests?

What about the aloha spirit?

Kim Crowley

Wexford, Penn.


We in the grey areas

As a farmer and permanent Kaua‘i resident, I have many concerns about the vacation rental policies being developed. It seems that both sides of the fence want to make this a black and white issue.

Simply put, those for vacation rentals seem to want carte blanche for where and when they have their rentals, and those against the rentals want to only see them in VDAs (if at all). But there are alot of us in the “between grey areas.”

We own agricultural land and we have a small farm. Unfortunately, we cannot make enough income from farming alone. Therefore, (like most people on this island) we have had to diversify our income into a couple of small side businesses and a small Bed & Breakfast. We value our privacy and therefore keep low occupancy rates (about 10 days per month). Our neighbors value the services we provide and even refer family members to stay with us when they are in town. We have over an acre of land so parking is not an issue and we have never had a noise complaint. We pay our taxes and provide employment to others. We also educate our B&B clients about the island (etiquette, the environment, and giving tours of our farm) — obviously this doesn’t happen in resorts.

We are not getting rich off of our B&B (two rooms), we are just squeaking by as it is. How are farms supposed to stay in business if they can’t diversify with other goods and services? This is an issue being addressed on all of the islands (a bit more progressively might I add) through the AgTourism Association www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/agtourism/index_home.shtml. They promote sustainable agriculture and diversified farming products.

I humbly request that the County Council work with this organization in developing its policies. I would think that licensure for B&Bs or vacation rentals on farms could be accomplished through an application process that includes a farming business plan (as required when land is to be ag dedicated) and proof that the farm is owner occupied.

Please don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. If we can’t hold onto our small B&B, it’s easy to imagine what will happen; we’ll have to sell (we’re in debt from trying to keep the farm going so it’s not like there will be some big payday), close down the farm, and then the only people who can afford this sort of property will move onto it and not farm, but remodel it into a “gentleman’s estate.”

Is this really what the County Council wants? I appreciate how difficult your job is but we beg you to allow for this type of positive operation to continue. Farming is not what it used to be but it can be sustained through diversified enterprises.

Kathleen Vergols

Kapa‘a


Start testing at top

If we are concerned with drugs in and around our schools, and we are going to start drug testing our students randomly, then we should start at the top. Starting with the head director of the Department of Education all the way down to the cafeteria help, janitors, and more importantly, the teachers, teacher’s aides and all of the school staff including the principal. By all means, test if there is a student who is visibly under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Then each case should be dealt with on an individual basis, with all circumstances taken into consideration. But to subject students who have never had any problems or issues at school to this is unfair. But it seems to me that this is the system’s way of solving our problems.

Make a new law or bill.

Yeah, like that’s going to make everything alright. We need to spend more time writing in our childrens hearts and minds instead of writing on paper to make more new laws and bills.

Joel Green

Kapa‘a


Testing is a nightmare

When will we shake ourselves awake from this nightmare called “The War on Drugs?”

Now I see our Lt. Governor is promoting random drug testing for our kids.

While he may flippantly dismiss concerns about privacy rights, I urge my fellow citizens to take this threat very seriously.

It goes without saying that we love our children and that we want them to be safe and happy. But I cannot condone the statement by White House Drug Czar Bertha Madras that “privacy rights and trust issues are relatively unimportant when weighed against what drugs can do to an individual.”

This argument — that we should sacrifice our liberties in the name of security (a dubious proposition, at best) — is becoming common currency in our present political climate. None of us like to live in danger, particularly when kids are at risk, but we must be ever vigilant to the ways in which our fears are exploited by those in power.

If we are truly concerned that a drug epidemic is endangering our kids, we must find creative ways to address that issue without sacrificing our civil liberties.

I am sure that a centerpiece of the argument for this incursion into privacy will be the claim that the information garnered through testing will not be shared with police. However, I contend that, like so-called “gateway” drugs, such practices are a “gateway” to more oppressive government intrusion in our personal lives.

I fervently hope that Hawai‘i’s youth and their families will resist this insult to our integrity.

Just say “No” to random drug testing.

Katy Rose

Hanalei


Testing a can of worms

Can someone please explain how drug testing students is not a violation of their constitutional rights.

The students are mandated by federal law to attend school. They are not an applicant for a job, or any other form of activity that would justify drug testing. Besides that, it is ludicrous to drug test a minor.

If a child tests positive for drugs, the next step is to blame the parents, and that will open a can of worms our already overburdened legal system is ill prepared to deal with. Just let our teachers teach. They are an amazing, exceptionally efficient part of our society.

If they say drug testing is needed so be it, but all our legislators need to do is give them the proper funding to do their jobs, and then keep their noses out of it.

I’d love to see one of those bozos teach a class for a semester.

Joseph Lavery

Kapa‘a

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