Letters for Thursday, May 24, 2007

• Water works

• Big box economics

• Council cut wise

• Is Robin Hood confused?


Water works

My wife and I wish to thank the people of Kaua‘i for supporting us as we continue to provide the people of Kaua‘i with local bottled water. Recent tests again indicate that the water we bottle and provide to both businesses and residents, in 5-gallon bottles, rates among the most pure waters in the world. We as residents ourselves in the “wettest place on Earth,” are humbled and honored to be able to provide this service to the community of Kaua‘i. Thanks again to all our supporters. We can’t do it without you.

Jim and Denny Satterfield

DBA Kauai Springs Inc.


Big box economics

A recent study by financial analysts UBS/Walberg found that Wal-Mart saves shoppers 17 percent to 20 percent on their grocery bills compared to other supermarkets. An average family would save about $2,300 per year. If there are 10,000 average families on Kaua‘i saving $2,300 per year, the total saved would amount to $23 million dollars … every year.

What would happen to the $23 million dollars Kauaians would save? They would be spending the money locally and supporting many more small businesses than ever before.

Then consider where that same $23 million goes today. Yes, some of it goes to the proprietors of small local grocery stores, but far more goes to Foodland and Safeway, which means much of it leaves the island entirely.

Over 10 years the savings comes to $230 million. Is any business worth protecting if it costs the citizens that kind of money? Government needs to stand aside and allow people the responsibility of making their own choices.

What about the argument for keeping the island rural, with local grocery stores serving as meeting places? We can still have that. Ha‘ena is rural, and nobody wants a big box store there. But Lihu‘e? Anyway, the more customers a store has, the greater your chance of meeting someone you know. I have never gone to Costco without meeting friends or acquaintances.

The government needs to have a heart, in addition to using good business sense. The families helped the most by lower grocery prices are the lower income families. A month’s salary of $2,300 is not uncommon here on Kaua‘i. If a family could save a month’s salary on its grocery bill, just think of all the benefits. More family money available for health, education, and housing … isn’t that the box where we should be putting the check?

Michael Meek

Princeville


Council cut wise

With all due respect to Catherine Stovall (”Ka Leo facilitator says ‘Mahalo,’” Guest Viewpoint, May 22) and to Mary Mullhall (”Ka Leo program is needed,” Letters, May 22) they are overlooking the true facts of the Ka Leo program.

Basically, this program was a community “feel good” get together, no more, no less. There is certainly nothing wrong with a group of citizens getting together anytime they want to and forming volunteer groups to paint over graffiti, clean beaches or any other project that will beautify our Island.

But we did not need to spend about $150,000 a year on facilitators to run this program and council members Mel Rapozo, Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, Kaipo Asing and Ron Kouchi were wise enough to see this waste of tax dollars and thus voted against funding the program further.

Along with friends, I attended many Ka Leo meetings at a time when our homesteads community was vigorously opposing spending $4.8 million on building the Olohena Bridge over a ditch. We pleaded with our facilitator (the link between the citizens and the mayor) to get the mayor to look at two other options at building that bridge which would have cost far less than his planned $4.8 million. However, meeting after meeting went by and the Mayor refused to consider any other option and the topic was finally dropped from the Ka Leo agenda.

I also attended another Ka Leo meeting at the Kapa‘a Neighborhood center — one other person, the facilitator and the mayor showed up.

The mayor even refused to let me voice a concern I had because he said the meeting was out of my Ka Leo area. So much for the thousands of people who supposedly attended these meetings.

So, in the four years that this program has been in operation, Ms. Stovall says that “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.”

What about the traffic, the low-income housing, the homeless people, the over development and the countless other problems that this administration should be concentrating tax dollars on?

If Ka Leo is such a great community based program then it will survive without using our money to fund it.

Glenn Mickens

Kapa‘a


Is Robin Hood confused?

The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life is a family-friendly, drug/alcohol/tobacco-free, no-admission fee public event. After outgrowing Kapa‘a Beach Park, the annual event was moved to Hanapepe Stadium in 2003. This popular all-island “slumber party” celebrates cancer survivors, caregivers, and our community for taking up the fight against cancer.

To ensure that donor dollars raised during Relay season are used for cancer research, advocacy, prevention education, early detection, and direct services to local families, we keep the cost of fund-raising well below 5 percent. Our thousands of supporters expect their contributions to support the Society’s mission.

New language added to the County Code via Bill 2212 — which states that nonprofit concessionaires will owe the county 10 percent of all net profits from events, attractions or activities within 30 days — is raising questions from our volunteers and patients: What aspects of our event count as “concessions?” Is all income received on county property on event night subject to the cut? Does the county not budget adequate taxpayer funds to operate facilities for free public use? As one of our donors put it, “Is Robin Hood confused?”

We don’t yet know if this law will hurt us; we don’t yet know that it won’t. If there is still a chance to amend the law, wonderful. If not, we hope the director of Parks and Recreation will seek input from nonprofits as the administrative rules are drafted, rather than waiting to hear it at a public hearing.

Mary Williamson

American Cancer Society, Kauai Field Office

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