Letters for Monday, May 21, 2007

• Do your part

• Swift action needed

• Here’s an idea • Rural buildings the answer

• Controlling violence

Do your part

Can’t you just hear and feel the groundswell of citizen activity to control the growth on Kaua‘i?

Thanks to the work of our activist organizations and articles like those by Gordon Oswald and Walter Lewis, for the first time since I have lived on Kaua‘i, there is a feeling that we can do it. We can design the growth of our island intelligently. It is time for our mayor and County Council members to represent the wishes of Kaua‘i citizens and more vigorously resist the Superferry, the big box stores and the large housing developments, while preserving our agricultural lands. If every citizen will simply do a little bit (write a letter to the editor, give a donation to one of the community activist organizations, or come to a council or Planning Commission meeting) we will be able to turn the tide.

Chip in today.

David Dinner


Swift action needed

In response to Walter Lewis (“An alert citizenry can be effective,” A Better Kaua‘i, May 19), what you say is right, yet too philosophical for present emergencies.

More bonafide legal discoveries at hearings are needed that would invalidate questionable development.

Ray Chuan pinpointed an important flaw that hasn’t received due credit — after the fact permits; usually issued only for remedial work and accompanied by fines and penalties. That’s only one, and looking at the whole picture is defeatist.

Finding the loopholes should be priority.

In other words, focus. For example, look up the definitions of each zoning law such as variance or Special Management Area. You’d be surprised how rigid those definitions are but the commissioners and council have softened their intents and purposes.

The opposing public needs to pound the laws at hearings. There is too much gray area in approvals. The county government, as you rightly say, doesn’t have the expertise in these areas for legal decisions. Many times they are just waiting for us to emphasize so they can be comfortable in a “No” vote.

More bodies at hearings are needed and if a commissioner appears tainted, we start a petition for removal outside and during hearings. They are not indispensable and they can be replaced contrary to what this lock-box county government clique would have us believe.

The developers, county, state (and archaeologists) have been on a very loose leash for far too long.

Elaine Dunbar


Here’s an idea

Since there are concerns about the drug rehabilitation home being at Salt Pond, why don’t we use the old county building and old police station for offices and housing ?

The old county building can be converted for offices for the staff. Add a chain link fence around the old police station with barb wire on top of the fence, then house the people who need to be “rehabbed.”

At the old humane society, transform it into some apartment for our young families who really need a place to live. Maybe it could be at least two stories and about (20) two bedroom or three bedroom apartments at an affordable price that our young families can afford.

This way we (pardon the expression) kill two birds with one stone.

What about it, mayor and planning director?

You could rent it under a county program and use the money to build or remodel other old buildings for more affordable units for our young people or young families. Like the old Oyaku Fish Market in Hanapepe, and in Kekaha. Start thinking of our next generation, instead of ways you could approve more buildings for the rich and putting more money in your pockets.

Howard Tolbe


Rural buildings the answer

Jack Stephens recently wrote a letter (“Big boxes won’t impact rural experience,” Letters, May 13) regarding the “rural” lifestyle of Kaua‘i that was “spot on.”

I believe that 80 percent of Kaua‘i is considered federal or state reserve. Which, I believe, means no building on that 80 percent of the island. So 80 will remain rural. That leaves 20 percent to build upon, much of which has already been built upon.

Wal-Mart wants to enlarge its store and in doing so its plans are to have the building look Hawaiian or at least rural. As to the rest of the 20 percent of Kaua‘i, all that has to happen is for the county government to make a law that says all new buildings for commercial purposes must have an architectural style that is “rural” or “Hawaiian.” I would think that this would solve a lot of the complaints, except for those people that love to complain “cause they feel so good when they feel so bad.”

Gordon “Doc” Smith


Controlling violence

Joan Luzney has described perfectly a central problem in society (“Surfacing violence,” Letters, May 19).

Unfortunately, the seeds begin early, in the home setting, when parents begin by example and/or subtly teaching their children to feel superior to other people.

Somehow, the children later reach the point of thinking that ridiculing other children, teasing, bullying, name-calling, etc., makes them somehow “better” than the others.

It continues in the classroom, where some teachers and administrators ignore such behavior and fail to deal with it on a school-wide basis.

I would urge parents to set the right example by encouraging their children to realize that “differences” seen in other children are not good or bad and that it’s OK to talk with the shy kid, the disabled kid, the overweight kid, the kid from another race or culture, etc.

Then, in the cafeterias and assemblies, “cliques” should be discouraged by periodic seating re-arrangements; this could be done by randomly assigning a number to each child and having everyone with the same number sit together for that day or that week.

If parents and teachers would make these two changes, it would be a good beginning toward solving the problems that lead to such miserably unhappy campus shooters — and it might, in the long run, save their child’s life.

Barbara Elmore



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