Letters for Sunday, May 13, 2007

• Big boxes won’t impact rural experience

• What will be next?

• Friends come in every color

Big boxes won’t impact rural experience

My wife and I are avid backpackers, hikers, campers, kayakers, and bikers. We also support the so-called “big box” wholesale and retail businesses on Kaua‘i.

And we do not object to shopping centers, large governmental structures, large processing and manufacturing plants. Neither do we object to large pavilions in our parks. Nor do we object to large, barge-like vessels taking tourists to remote scenic places up our rivers.

Not once has the Lihu‘e Costco Store interfered with our wilderness backpack experiences along Napali Coast, Kalalau, and the adjoining streams and ridges.

Not once has the Lihu‘e Wal-Mart Store spoiled our treks into Waimea Canyon.

Not once has the Lihu‘e Kmart Store moderated our enjoyment of and bird-watching at the Alaka‘i Swamp.

Not once has the Lihu‘e Home Depot Store plundered the serenity we enjoy at Sugi Grove and side-trips off Camp 10 Road.

The Lihu‘e Macy’s Store and the Kukui Grove Shopping Center do not spoil our camping trips, hiking, and seeing deer and wild pigs at Koke‘e State Park.

The huge concrete structures in Lihu‘e that contain the court rooms and police station do not spoil our enjoyment of the 15 miles of beach that includes Barking Sands.

The big white State Building in Lihu‘e does not hurt our enjoyment of the four National Tropical Botanical Gardens: Allerton, Limahuli, Lawai, and McBryde.

The guava processing plant at Kilauea does not interfere with our drives to the end of Kuhio Highway at Ke‘e Beach.

The 10-story-high Marriott Resort at Nawiliwili does not mitigate the enjoyment of our bicycle rides on the adjoining Kaua‘i Lagoons property.

Neither Sears, Safeway, nor Big Save Market hurt the scenic experiences we enjoy while paddling kayaks up the rivers.

And shhh, don’t tell anybody. But the large Lihu‘e concrete structure, near Wal-Mart, known as Wilcox Memorial Hospital and Kauai Medical Center, do not hurt our secret sojourns to Secret Falls, up the Wailua River, and Secret Beach, near the Kilauea Lighthouse and National Bird Sanctuary.

The “big box” pavilion at Lydgate Park does not interfere with our walks along the nearby beach. And so far, the large pavilion has not caused the smaller “mom and pop” family pavilions to go out of business. Try finding a vacant one during a three-day holiday.

The Kaua‘i County Council’s anti-Wal-Mart big box bill would prevent Recreational Equipment, Inc., from building a structure, on the Garden Island, like the one that exists in Seattle. A visit to the Seattle REI big box store is nearly a wilderness experience in itself. It contains a rock-climbing structure, trees, and a place inside to ride bicycles in the rain to try out rain gear, whenever it is not raining outside in Seattle.

We have some very creative and beautiful minds on our beautiful island. Unfortunately, if the Council has its way, local creations will be limited to 75,000 square feet.

The next laser 3-D TV sets that come on the market may require more space than that.

To suggest that large businesses, including Supercenters, in Lihu‘e will somehow spoil the rural character of the Garden Island is more than 75,000 square feet of shibai.

Jack Stephens


What will be next?

There have been many recent letters demanding that teachers be held to some sort of “higher standard” and be deprived of their livelihood for petty offenses. The only higher standard applicable to teachers should be that they inspire learning in their students. Yet this is seldom measured let alone addressed.

If it can be shown that the teachers at Kula were selling marijuana to their students, or bragging to them about growing the stuff, or even being lousy teachers they should have been summarily fired or strung up in the village square. But there was never any indication that growing a garden of plants had any effect on their effectiveness as educators.

And who defines legal vs. illegal drugs? Should a teacher who gets rip-roaring drunk on a Saturday evening be fired? How about a teacher taking any number of psychoactive medications that create altered states often more disorienting than marijuana. What about people who guzzle espressos or colas all day until their nerves become totally zingy. I do not condone the teachers who planted a marijuana farm — growing pot is illegal and should be treated as any other misdemeanor regardless of the grower’s profession. But to take away their livelihood sounds like cruel and unusual punishment.

The entire concept of random drug or sobriety testing is clearly unconstitutional. The fourth amendment reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I agree with the teachers who resisted the drug-testing requirement. At one time we used the concept of innocent until proven guilty. With the advent of random testing, we have changed to guilty until proven innocent. If we continue to give away our rights one by one, what will be next?

Stan Godes


Friends come in every color

I was completely taken aback by the ignorance of the letter written by Kimo Kimokeo on May11.

Do you think Hawai‘i is the only place to be “taken over” on this planet? People of every color have been taken over somewhere at some time. In the history of humanity there has NEVER been one time that some race hasn’t been oppressed.

Every color and race has people who will try to oppress others and people who will fight to defend the oppressed.

To lump all blue-eyed, white people into the same category IS the definition of racist. There are probably more blue-eyed, white people who want the same things you do, than greedy developers types who would carve up the ‘aina for profit.

Open your eyes and you will see friends of every color.

Jason S. Nichols



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