Letters for Wednesday, May 2, 2007

• Apocalypse now

• Homeless ferry not likely

• Wilcox Health in transition

• More on slowing warming

• Let’s keep Koke‘e

Apocalypse now

O‘ahu is like a big city with skyscrapers, multi-lane freeways where old people are run down like something out of the classic “B” movie “Death Race 2000,” anonymous citizens, several generation homeless who know all the angles, hardened criminals and equally savvy police.

Kaua‘i is like a small town where everyone knows everyone, and may as well be a thousand miles away as often as their peoples interact.

Everyone would acknowledge that Kaua‘i has growing pains, with traffic at a near standstill, a severly understaffed police department not ready to deal with big city crime as evidenced by the Byron Say fiasco, and a whole host of problems, societal and enviromental that are currently just kept under the lid of the boiling pot. It surely risks bubbling right over the top with the introduction of hard core homeless, perverts, thieves, drug dealers, gang members, bikers, grifters, agressive surfers, mongoose, frogs, snakes, invasive weeds, crazy drivers, illegal aliens … as Kaua‘i becomes yet another suburb of Honolulu.

Some things are best kept rare and hard to obtain in order to preserve their value.

T.L. Cameron

Campbell, Calif.

Homeless ferry not likely

Some readers have expressed a concern that O‘ahu’s homeless will make their way to Kaua‘i via the Superferry. The reason stated is that the Superferry will be more appealing than air travel since they can bring along the cars they live in. From the Superferry’s Web site: “Drivers must provide valid driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.”

I’ve seen this type of vehicle on the west side of O‘ahu. It would be surprising if they are actually drivable, much less have a current registration and insurance.

Brian W. Young


Wilcox Health in transition

I would like to share with my beloved fellow Kauaians my perspective of the whole Wilcox Health debacle. Mind you that I am married to a physician so I am a little closer to the problem. I am not privy to what is discussed in executive sessions or board meetings. Whatever is decided there has affected me as much as every Kauaian on this island. Before Hawaii Pacific Health came into the picture, Wilcox was losing money. In an effort to remedy that, the previous administration merged with Straub and Kapiolani with the assumption that the three organizations (now named Hawaii Pacific Health) would be a bigger and stronger financial organization. When Hawaii Pacific Health actually took over, Wilcox Health (as part of HPH) started to clean house in an attempt to become financially viable again.

What happens when reorganization takes place?

It happens in all big corporations, it happens in our homes with our families, things have to change. Change out of a comfort zone hurts, it hurts very much. I remember disliking this new outfit a lot. Unnecessary jobs were eliminated, doctors had to see a certain number of patients and those who did not do it saw their salaries severely cut. All the fat was scraped off everywhere. Our pain was real, friends lost their jobs, and the morale dropped in a big way. There was anger, resentment, and many doctors could not put up with it and left. Things in the hospital are still in transition but the folks are getting used to it. I have mellowed and my brains have taken over. This was necessary to eventually get us back on track and in financial health. Resentments are still lingering which is natural and people, including politicians (how scary is that), are still stirring the pot which is regrettable. My dear Kauaians, we are not losing our health system; it will be there for us but we will hold Hawaii Pacific Health accountable that they do not screw us over (forgive the French); not after all the pain we have endured. We, the people of Kaua‘i, are expecting regular and honest updates on the state of affairs in our local health system, preferably in language that we all can understand.

Paula Zina


More on slowing warming

I am grateful for the insights in Ben Sullivan’s piece on what we can do to slow down global warming.

Here are a few additions: It turns out that the greatest contribution to global warming is methane and nitrous oxide from raising cattle. By skipping hamburgers and steaks, we can improve our health and the planet’s health. Cows produce methane which is 23 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Over 30 percent of the world’s land is used to grow cows. Some 50 percent of the land in the continental United States is dedicated to cows. An added fact, red meat raises your cholesterol and is not a healthy food choice. Transportation is the second biggest greenhouse contributor. By combining your car trips and car pooling we will ease traffic as well as the climate. Losing forests has greatly impacted global climate change. If we recycle paper and cardboard, we can increase and protect forest lands. Please ask the Mayor to support a convenient curbside recycling program. An incinerator, or waste-to-energy factory, will increase carbon dioxide in our environment. If we eat a more plant-based diet, reduce our transportation needs, elect an island-wide curbside recycling program, and encourage others to do the same, we can dramatically protect our planet’s climate and leave behind an island-healthy life for our children’s children.

Diana LaBedz

Surfrider, Kauai Chapter

Let’s keep Koke‘e

Recently, Koke‘e has been one of the bigger conflicts that involve the public that I have known. To me, Koke‘e is like a gem, it’s something so valuable, something so rare, that I can’t bear to have it changed. My family and I go up all the time, and we always have fun with each other and our friends. I don’t see why people even have the idea of changing it.

Koke‘e is not only special to me; it holds many other wonderful memories for tons of other people as well. Tourists love to come and hear the beautiful sounds of the Hawaiian birds. It’s a place of relaxation and peace, and a place where you can get a break from all the chaos that goes on in life. Being there is like being in heaven, so peaceful, fun, and relaxing.

Koke‘e isn’t just a place to hang around in. It’s also used for educational purposes. The environment is just perfect. Take my school for example. We always go up to Koke‘e to learn about the plants, the birds, and many other things. Not only are you learning, you are having major fun. You can see everything instead of just looking at it in some textbook to learn about it. You can see the way it looks in real life, hear it, and if it’s a plant, you can feel it. You can see and learn so many things up in Koke‘e, and to put other things up there would destroy the great learning environment.

As you read what’s written here, please consider that this would not only affect us, it would affect the only Hawaiian life left on that mountain. Please help save this mountain; it’s the only Native Hawaiian forest we have left on Kaua‘i.

Megan Chock

Eighth grade, Philip Steinbacher’s class, Island School


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