Letters for Wednesday, May 16, 2007

• Big boxes

• Mahalo to Terese Barich

• When does Paradise cease to exist?

• Big boxes are only a symptom

Big boxes

Way back in 1969 when we first visited Kaua‘i, there were about 20,000 people and six Big Save markets, along with smaller ones such as Ishihara, Kukui‘ula, Pono and Sueoka. Then Safeway and Foodland came to Kapa‘a which was predicted to run out other markets. That did not happen.

We now have some 56,000 people along with the addition of Wal-Mart and Costco options for groceries.

If the county decides to limit needed space for full services and at the same time approve population growth in the form of condos, hotels, etc; then we may find we are short on needy supplies. We all know how expensive it is to purchase from the Mainland once the freight is added.

The forecast for Kaua‘i in year 2020 is 65,000 to 75,000 people. It’s time to put a stop on growth and concentrate on infrastructures. By the way, we still have Ishihara, Kukui‘ula, Pono and Sueoka Markets. They will still be needed due to the population growth and the desire to shop locally because of traffic. Let’s keep our growth for needs in Lihu‘e and leave other towns with local providers.

Bobbie Love


Mahalo to Terese Barich

Kudos to Terese Barich for her insightful comments regarding our state’s new policy on random teacher drug testing. Throughout my 15 years teaching and 15 years working other jobs, I have found teachers to be the least drug using/abusing group of individuals in our society. To randomly test is not only insulting to teachers but takes money away from actually improving public education for our children. Existing language in our previous contract (reasonable suspicion) was adequate to protect our students.

Ms. Barich hit the mark when she refuted the argument that teachers should be tested because they take care of our children. Based on that argument, if it is reasonable to randomly drug test teachers, it is also reasonable to randomly drug test all parents, coaches, pre-school teachers, Boy Scout leaders, and anyone else who provides services to children. To randomly drug test teachers is a slippery slope. Why stop with the teachers? What’s good for one faction of our community is good for all.

Gary Craft


When does Paradise cease to exist?

The frustration and highly negative attitude by Hawaiians towards what’s happening to the islands of their ancestors (Letters, May 11) is certainly understandable.

The rest of us “haoles,” as well as a few Hawaiians, have been contributing to changing the islands and taking away the nature and beauty that is Hawai‘i. I understand the advocate position that if a few of us can enjoy these beautiful Islands in their present condition why should we be able to close the door and not let others develop the land and come to paradise? The real question to ponder is, which is more important: preserving a paradise, or opening it up equally to all which leads to its destruction?

The other question is, at what point of expanding human development of the land does paradise cease to exist? I personally feel we’re fast approaching the lost “Garden Island.” Soon we can call ourselves Maui Jr. or O‘ahu II which are prime examples of the dangers we face. The responsible path for our local government to take is to close the door. I’m sorry, but preserving this paradise is much more important than a perceived philosophy of “I can live anywhere” equality, or “we need the money” tax base. Equality loses its attractiveness if the jewel everyone’s reaching for loses its shine. There are certainly occasions where being early has its rewards, and this is one of them.

Our local governing bodies should impose economic measures that will stop all development capable of leading to an increasing rate of in-migration. I would not say this in any other forum in America outside of the islands, but government itself should provide for current resident families in their quest for homes and a higher quality of life for their children. On an island the capitalistic ability to expand stops at the water’s edge and ruining the finite terra firma of Kaua‘i is very easy to do. Doing whatever it takes to expand our tourism tax base will provide all the funds necessary to accomplish these goals.

After all, if we stop all major private developments, and the carving up of our ag land, tourists will still come and our tourism tax base will not only be preserved, but increased over time. If we don’t, they’ll leave us alone to wallow in the “develop for money” conquest by a few who have come here from the Mainland to preside over the destroying of Kaua‘i’s natural beauty in the name of profits. Soon, ever escalating property tax collections will be the only avenue available to cover lost tourism revenues.

Gordon Oswald


Big boxes are only a symptom

From TGI letters, at least some people are correctly perceiving that big box stores are a symptom, not a cause, of over-development on Kaua‘i.

Companies like Home Depot, Costco, etc. did not come to Kaua‘i just to compete with local hardware stores and supermarkets for local dollars. Rather, they did their homework and noted that Kaua‘i would be growing.

Since the demise of big agriculture, both town and rural lands are increasingly being converted into homesites, not for locals so much but for wealthy newcomers. The market for the big box stores would come not only from the surge in construction and population but also from the needs of long-time local people whose rising housing costs would increasingly drive them to seek bargain prices.

Even small families and the wealthy would become the new shoppers, driven by the psychology of getting more for less, even if much is to be later wasted. It’s a deep-rooted human instinct that big box stores know only too well and exploit fully.

The long-term solution to over-development is not so much limiting big boxes but to somehow make the land more valuable for other than real estate development and speculation. Perhaps Kaua‘i, with its precariousness from exotic pests, can take a lesson from southern California. For decades, California citrus and avocado growers prospered by protecting themselves from competing imports, by banning them, citing the dangers of accidental pest introductions with those imports. Could Kaua‘i do something similar for its farmers? Maybe not, under today’s global market.

David Au

San Diego


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