Letters for Saturday, April 14, 2007

• What good, ridiculing?

• Public transportation subpar

• Zero Waste, Kaua‘i, welcome

• More myth busting


What good, ridiculing?

On March 13, at the Planning Commission hearing on Kealia, and later that day on Coco Palms fitness center, testimony was given by a representative of the Wailua-Kapa‘a Neighborhood Association. The Planning Department director and later the director and the chair of the Planning Commission tried to discount the testimony by picking on the presenter about the association. With intent to belittle and discredit, he asked each presenter thereafter whether they had been invited to the association’s meetings.

Community grassroots organizations are viable entities that are entitled to participate in government hearings. Neighborhood associations invite residents to attend meetings in several ways. If people do not wish to pay attention to notices, or attend meetings, that is their right.

The whole incident was very disturbing on a number of levels:

1) No public body should ever try to intimidate and disrespect any member of the public who comes to speak on an issue. The public is the employer and the commissions are the employees.

2) All testimony should be accepted as from the people or groups who give it, and accepted with respect.

3) In this case the way the presenter was treated was an effort to keep the public from using the public process. Every governmental group has an obligation to receive testimony in the manner in which it is given.

The mayor appoints this and other commissions and is responsible for them acting with respect to the public.

The County Council votes to accept or reject the recommended commissioners and is, therefore, responsible also for their conduct.

The Planning Department head is responsible that all members of his department and all commissioners know their jobs and their responsibility to the public.

The Wailua-Kapa‘a Neighborhood Association hopes all of the above will take to heart these comments and treat the public with the respect they deserve and inform their commission member and employees that they are to do the same.

Marge Freeman

Wailua-Kapaa Neighborhood Association representative


Public transportation subpar

Inefficient, ineffective, and redundant are words that describe the activities of our public transportation system, which chooses to mix paratransit with moving people, as well as allowing Kawaihau Road to have six bus stops to Kapahi Park and five coming down … as opposed to one stop at the Wailua Homesteads Park and one stop at the Wailua Houselots Park.

What’s with that?

Our county/state/federal systems are so broken, there is simply too much to be fixed with no catching up in sight. Too much shoved down our throats and not enough “for the people by the people” … all administrations need to be replaced with Green candidates and not those who continue to line their pockets or position themselves for kudos and after-the-fact gifts.

Debra Kekaualua

Kapa‘a


Zero Waste, Kaua‘i, welcome

It pleases me to announce the formation of a new organization that formed after our recent recycling conference. Zero Waste, Kaua‘i will outreach to educate and involve our community to join the rest of the United States and progressive countries in efforts toward moving away from landfills and incinerators. All over the world, forests are being clear-cut because communities like ours are not recycling paper and other resources. Gaping holes are dug into the earth because communities like ours are not recycling glass and aluminum. Worse, wars are being fought, people are dying in many far off countries because of the need to gain control of oil to make more and more plastic and to run our economy. Our goal is an islandwide effort to move into the 21st century to create a convenient curbside recycling program that includes green waste that will be used to rebuild our depleted soil. It is only a matter of political will and common sense. Most of the ships that leave the Los Angeles/Long Beach Port are filled with recyclable resources bound for China. China is a paper customer because they have no forests. They need plastic feedstock for material to make all the “stuff” we use. Hawai‘i is close to countries that need our recyclables and we can accommodate their needs. Our island peoples create 250 tons of trash a day that ends up in our landfill. Please talk to your neighbors and encourage them to contact their councilperson and mayor to urge them to start an islandwide curbside recycling program. Our future generations will appreciate the actions of today.

Gordon LaBedz

Kekaha


More myth busting

I would like to add some additional myth busting to what Mr. Stan Godes so eloquently wrote in Wednesday’s The Garden Island about vacation rentals on Kaua‘i (“Let’s bust some myths,” Letters, April 11).

•Myth 1. The only jobs affected by a ban on VRs would be low-paying landscaping and hospitality jobs.

Bunk: How about the millions of dollars spent on advertising in newspapers and on the Internet by these 545 targeted VRs who the County Council in its infinite wisdom (tongue in cheek) said in the newspaper recently that there is no loss here, that the timeshare and hotel industries will replace them. They callously want to put 545 small local businesses out of business to give that income to the corporations whose money goes right off this island and benefits the local community nada. How about the other numerous professionals who serve these same businesses. At an average of $2,000 per Web site alone its over a million dollars. There is a whole industry here that will crash and burn along with the skilled people that we will lose in the process. How about the 11.41 percent tax on the approximately $5 million of VR income of these rentals, there’s another million per year the island will lose. There has been no better spokesperson for the tourism business of Kaua‘i than the local homeowner sharing his or her property with guests from all over the world. Instead the council seems to want to corral our visitors to areas where they don’t want to be. Has anyone considered the opinion of our visitors. Remember 95 percent of the money we circulate comes from them. Where’s the Kaua‘i Aloha? Obviously this very divisive issue is only serving to erode the good will among neighbors and friends in our community. I personally would like to see the council spending their time on more important issues like addressing the ice problems, senseless assaults, epidemic car breakins on visitors and our secretive and ineffective police department. I have been involved with vacation rentals for 10 years here and have seen nothing but good things come from it for many people most of all, our home-owners. I remember the stark poverty and the junk cars everywhere just 10 years ago. The Wall Street Journal in an article called this “The Garbage Island.” Does no one remember? I predict a loss of interest on the part of many would-be travelers to our Kaua‘i. The loss of revenue will take a while to feel the effect but I have little doubt as to the far-reaching effects of this terribly conceived legislation. Think property values are dropping now? Well wait till after this bill gets passed and seriously limits the qualifications of future buyers. Think about this. Empty houses that nobody can afford. Unemployment. Loss of tax revenue so sorely needed to fix our island’s problems. I contend the complaints against the use of private homes for hospitality is baseless and infringes on the basic privilege of owning property. I seriously question the wisdom of using the Visitor Destination Designation as a guide for this Bill. It seems the councilmembers are setting a course for Kaua‘i to eventually be just like Maui. Yuck.

Doug Manning

Hanalei

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