Letters for Friday, June 8, 2007

• ‘Coconuts’ resorts revisited

• Bullying not just on playground

• The click-it conspiracy

‘Coconuts’ resorts revisited

 I’m back again folks — still grumbling about the two monster resorts (Coconuts) that got conditional approval by the County Planning Commission last January. But as someone said, “It’s not over until it’s over.”

No matter that you (Kaua‘i residents) stood up and gave or sent in over 230 pieces of testimony against these two massive timeshare projects in August, 2006. Nor did the Planning Commission seem to acknowledge an additional 160 plus e-mails, faxes, letters or people standing up to say “No” to these developments in January.

The Planning Commission ignored us.

They knew better.

They didn’t care about the snail-paced traffic in the Waipouli corridor where there would be another 650 plus cars pouring onto Kuhio Highway. No problem with the influx of 1,200 additional people filling up our parks and beaches. And what the hey, while we’re at it, might as well cram even more solid waste into the already bulging landfill.

Outcome of the January hearing? The Planning Commission said, “Yes.”

Just  say “yes” has become a mantra of the Planning Commission. Some of us are so sick and tired of watching them pass projects that no one except the developers and their cohorts support that we are almost ready to give up. We feel like we’re speaking a foreign language or that our testimony is falling on deaf ears or … ?

Well, just as we are collapsing, caving in, wimping out, etc., along comes a breath of fresh air. A wonderful non-profit group “1,000 Friends of Kaua‘i” steps forth like a knight in shining armor. And they wield a hefty sword. It is called a lawsuit.

1,000 Friends is not alone in the lawsuit against the county. The Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation has joined forces in their complaint for declaratory action, asserting that the proposed developments will have substantial adverse environmental and social impacts. They are asking the court to find that the county should have prepared an Environmental Assessment prior to approval of the $280-million megaliths.

This case is moving nicely along in the court, which has ordered a building moratorium at the site until the preliminary injunction hearing today. Despite the dedication of these wonderful Kaua‘i residents, lawsuits are expensive. Donations (tax deductable) are needed.

Once again, dear Kauaians, I ask for your kokua to stop this encroaching concrete blight on our “Coconut Coastline.” Please call David Dinner for more information at 828-0323 or 639-7845.

Don’t give up.

Let’s just say “No.”

Gabriela Taylor


Bullying not just on playground

On May 30, the acting principal shook my hand in front of the Kapa‘a Middle School faculty, congratulating me for 20 years of “loyal service” with a smile on his face. That afternoon, the acting principal slammed his water bottle onto the table and stormed out of a meeting where teacher representatives were trying to resolve an issue. The next day, seven days before the end of school, the acting principal hands me a letter stating that he is reassigning me to sixth-grade English. I have been the educational-technology coordinator for 13 years. I haven’t taught English in all that time. He waited until all the postings are over, so I missed opportunities to apply at other schools. The acting principal ignored requests to meet with my union rep and refused to answer questions about the technology plan for our school and the tech position. The acting principal waited until after school Wednesday, two days before the end of the year, to send the master schedule out on e-mail. In it, there is a name placed in my educational-technology coordinator’s position. All of this was done without consultation or discussion. No professionalism or common courtesy. This is the conduct of the man who walked onto our campus in January and talked about the “Big ‘T’ — Trust.”

I should have known. In January he told me that if I did not support him in his directive, he could not support me in my tech position. I told him back then that as the chair of the Association Policy Committee, I would have to advocate for the teachers and their concerns. The acting principal has also been upset about my inquiries into the principal selection process, and other instances where I have had to be vocal about school concerns. I am trying to fight it, but he timed the action so that I have very few — if any — opportunities to get this resolved in time for the summer or the new school year.

The acting principal knows that this punishment hurts me but won’t silence me.

So why do it?

Well, for one, it at least derails my life for a while. More importantly, though, is that it serves to send a message to the rest of the staff.

When will our community tire of bullying in our schools? And this time we’re not talking about the playground — it’s people’s careers.

Keith Amano


The click-it conspiracy

Kimo Rosen’s previous letters have been fairly intelligent and insightful. Thus I was sad to see that his latest one (“Click it or ticket,” Letters, June 7) is so far off the mark on something so important. Seat belts were made standard equipment in cars because the research showed they are effective at protecting people from being ejected from the car in an accident, which is a major cause of fatalities in auto accidents. You can read such research for yourself. There is no evidence to suggest that wearing a seat belt puts you at significantly greater risk for death or injury because you get trapped in the car. And if there was ever a place where people needed to wear seat belts, it’s here, because so many people drive as if they have absolutely no clue or care about what they are doing.

There have been plenty of calls over the past several years to add seat belts to buses — school buses in particular. School districts are allowed to do it, but if they do, they are also responsible for making sure the belts are used properly. You can imagine this would be a very difficult thing to do with a vehicle full of kids who insist they know better about everything and will test authority at any turn. Also, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is not of the opinion that seat belts would be more effective on school buses than the current way the bus seats are designed (the high backs, and packed together closely). Also, shoulder harnesses are a bit impractical with the current design of school buses, and many believe that across-the-lap belts would likely lead to more head and neck injuries. As for public transportation buses, one can only imagine that most people would not bother to use seat belts if they were made available (Mr. Rosen is a case in point), so what is the point?

If the government was doing this just to make a buck, it would be an exceedingly stupid way to do it, because you could thwart their evil plans simply by wearing your seat belt. They are only “making money” on the malcontents who insist on endangering their lives by not using a proven safety feature.

I will say this, though, if not wearing a seat belt puts only you in danger, I say you should be allowed to go with God. You spin the wheel and take your chances. Don’t come screaming to the rest of us to pick up the medical and funeral costs you and your family can’t afford, though, when you get injured in a crash because you weren’t wearing a seat belt.

Michael Mann



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