guest viewpoint – Ka Leo facilitator says ‘mahalo’

It is with great sadness that I report that the County Council has voted to eliminate the Ka Leo O Kaua‘i program from the budget the administration presented for the county’s next fiscal year effective June 30.

This news came as a surprise to us all. The County Council voted to cut the budget during the final days of the budget deliberations. The vote was 4 to 3 to eliminate, Ka Leo O Kaua‘i, “the Voice of Kaua‘i” program along with the two County Community Response positions.

The Ka Leo program is close to many of our hearts so every option is being considered to keep the program going. We will keep you posted as more information is known.

The Ka Leo program has strengthened our community foundations. It has saved the county annually many times its budget in the graffiti busters program and other painting projects alone. In addition to serving as a link between the community and the County administration the Ka Leo O Kaua‘i program has recruited and organized many of our county volunteer teams such as Adopt a Park, Graffiti Busters, Neighborhood Watch and CERT.

The community-driven agenda and revised format that was launched at the beginning of this year has been applauded in every town. This year’s Ka Leo meetings have been well-attended with 15 to 50 community members present at each one of the meetings held around the Island.

Mahalo … to the approximately 3,000 community members who attended their towns’ Ka Leo O Kaua‘i community meetings during the past four years.

Mahalo … to the over 300 community members that attended their towns’ Ka Leo meeting during the past six weeks.

Mahalo … to the hundreds of volunteers around our island who have helped at community workdays or quietly painted over graffiti at their park.

Mahalo … to the hundreds of volunteers who are serving their communities on one of the county’s volunteer teams.

Mahalo … to the Kaua‘i County Team that has worked with Ka Leo O Kaua‘i community members and County Community Response Specialists on many community projects and initiatives.

We have shared and accomplished much together.

It has been my privilege to know you and to serve the Kaua‘i community as a Ka Leo O Kaua‘i facilitator since the program’s inception at the beginning of 2003 and as the County’s Community Response Specialist for the east and north districts beginning in 2005.

I believe in the strength of community and am dedicated to continue to serve Kaua‘i’s community efforts to the best of my abilities. Warmest regards.

• Catherine Stovall has been a part of the Ka Leo o Kaua‘i team since 2003.

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