Letters for Wednesday, May 9, 2007

• Baby and bathwater, gone

• Wal-Mart, deliver us from tyranny

• High traffic flow problems

• Drug testing teachers

• Protect our land

Baby and bathwater, gone

What disturbs me most about the crafting of the new vacation rental law (Bill 2204 as amended) is that in one broad stroke farmers will lose their current ability to supplement their farm income with vacation rental income.

Ms. JoAnn Yukimura says she wishes to protect local families and corporations (”Thinking about big box stores,” Guest Viewpoint, JoAnn A. Yukimura, May 6), but then works to outlaw vacation rentals on agricultural land.

In many cases, this income allows our local farmers, the real farmers, to exist in an economic environment which does not favor their survival.

Ms. Yukimura’s thinking is problematic in her wanting to prohibit vacation rentals on agricultural land where they don’t impact their neighbors as they may in closely packed rural communities.

In her mission to punish the faux farmers, it seems there’s no problem with punishing the true farmers along with them.

Reading her proposed bill, there’s no difference. Is the task of designing legislation that doesn’t ruin honest farmers or make them into criminals too difficult?

Why can’t legislation be crafted that would allow real farmers vacation rental permits by showing that their income is derived from farming operations? How difficult is that?

Phil Keat


Wal-Mart, deliver us from tyranny

The Kaua‘i County Council’s proposal to erect a Berlin Wal-Mart barrier between consumers and a proposed Supercenter indicates that they may have been absent from their grade school and high school history and civics classes.

Perhaps the surf was up on those days.

History has shown that in the long run freedom is going to win because human nature is going to demand it.

For those who missed the history lesson, following is what happened: The Berlin Wall was built in 1961 to divide the two parts of Berlin — Communist East Berlin and non-Communist West Berlin.

Less than 50 years later, 2007, the Kaua‘i County Council is proposing to erect a Wal-Mart barrier, in the form of Bill 2203, to separate the majority of consumers, who want it, from the Supercenter.

Before 1961, large numbers of East Germans chose to leave their country to escape Communist rule, drab government-controlled shops with low-quality selection, and seek freedom and a better living standard in the West. The Communists built the Berlin Wall to stop the emigration and protect the government-run stores from competition.

Before 2007, large numbers of Kaua‘i residents and visitors voted with their feet and pocketbooks by raising their living standards by shopping at Wal-Mart and Costco, where the stores are cleaner, the prices are lower, and there is a better selection of products. The County Council now wants to erect a Berlin Wal-Mart barrier to stop the stampede to the big stores and protect the small stores from competition.

In 1989, widespread demands for more freedom took place in East Germany. In response, the East German government ended its restrictions on emigration and travel to the West by its citizens. By 1992, nearly all the Berlin Wall had been removed.

In 2007, a survey of registered voters on Kaua‘i, conducted by SMS Research, indicated that 56 percent favor a Supercenter on the island.

Are the Council members listening? Or are they too busy buying rotisserie chickens, pizzas, and hot dogs from Costco?

Jack Stephens


High traffic flow problems

Nice article on the recently completed Olohena Bridge by Lester Chang (“Ponding on Olohena Bridge triggers complaints,” A1, April 21).

But this is only the beginning of one-lane bridge problems and high traffic flow between Olohena and Kamalu Roads.

Kaua‘i’s flood of ever-increasing off-island “gentlemen farmers” buying Kaua‘i lands, time-share facilities and Norwegian Cruise Line’s usurping big-bus day trippers scheduled for increasing locations, puts the antiquated, one-route horse-and-buggy road system to a demand that the County Council look beyond its desire for immediate additional pocket tax funds.

Like committing overall improvements in routes for all its constituents before so “blindfoldedly” signing away “our” island’s beauty and equal accessibility.

Tom Beck II

Wailua Homesteads

Drug testing teachers

For over 15 years Hawai‘i public school van and bus drivers have been required to undergo pre-employment, as well as random drug testing.

These drivers spend on average two to three hours per day with students transporting them to and from school.

Teachers spend five to seven hours per day with the students. Unfortunately, a few teachers have made poor choices (regarding use of drugs) and created an uncomfortable situation for the majority.

A random urine test seems a small price to pay for the safety and peace of mind for all in the teaching professions.

Wendy Akita


Protect our land

I just read on-line letters to the editors about big box controversies, traffic issues, etc. I traveled to the North Shore today and made my way back to the Westside in the early evening.

Everywhere I went there was traffic and crowds. Whether it was Wal-Mart or Saveway or driving to the Kilauea Lighthouse, there was traffic and crowds.

I stopped specifically at Safeway to buy some items needed only to find that those items were already picked over and there was nothing much to buy. What’s a resident to do?

Day by day the crowds grow. As a resident who worked here and contributed in an honorable profession, it is hard to see the island being taken over by the tourist crowd. How else could the meat counter already be picked over by Monday?

I am leaving here soon, but I hope the ‘aina that I loved for so long can be saved and the people who treasure Kaua‘i as a living gem can once again reign. Much aloha to the protectors of the land.

Marion Meckelburg



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