Letters for Thursday, June 28, 2007

• Disturbed by unsafe Kalalau Trail

• Cross training police/fire

• MMA and UFC just plain brawling

• Traffic more of a problem than vacation rentals

Disturbed by unsafe Kalalau Trail

I am grateful for and at the same time disturbed by the article on the state of the Kalalau trail (“Hikers: ‘Neglected’ Kalalau Trail unsafe,” June 26) — grateful because I had planned to hike it at the end of August and now will choose not to go due to the dangerous conditions. I am grateful to find out now rather than arrive at mile 7 or so, and after all that hard work, probably turn back like those two young German women.

I am disturbed because doing a quick search on the Internet showed no warnings of present conditions (including the official www.hawaii.gov site). What is it going to take before the state takes action — someone falling to their death? The Napali coastline is one of the most beautiful on earth, and a huge tourist draw for Kaua‘i. If indeed we wait until there is a fatality, that is very negative reflection on us as an island, and a case of sheer neglect in regards to human life.

Vicki Sterne

Koloa


Cross training police/fire

There is a serious problem on Kaua‘i with an understaffed police department that has been in the news a lot recently.

This is a problem across the nation, especially in the more expensive places to live, as police are recruited away to more affordable areas so they can afford to buy a home and raise a family. It also seems that young people just aren’t as interested in being police officers as they used to be.

The solution often successfully implemented is to merge the police and fire departments into one public safety department and cross-train policemen and firemen to do each other’s jobs, rotating every year.

How, you may ask, does this improve police staffing? Well, while it seems that nowadays fewer are interested in police work and departments across the nation are lowering standards, accepting recruits with drug convictions, gang affiliations and without background checks. Fire departments are in the opposite situation. People are standing in line to be firemen; large numbers of people apply for few positions. Standards are being raised. Fireman toil away in volunteer fire stations, low-paying positions at military bases and as seasonal wild land firefighters in the hopes of gaining enough experience to someday get a high-paying job at a quiet residential fire station.

Young people can be given the opportunity at the highly coveted fireman jobs and at the same time serve a need in their community as policemen. This can save big bucks in reduced police overtime and fire department staffing can be reduced, as it’s currently necessary to keep firehouses full of paid firemen, mostly sitting idle waiting for the odd chance something big were to happen requiring all of them. With cross-training there will always be plenty of policemen available to aid a larger emergency. Policemen trained as firemen would be on patrol through neighborhoods ready to be the first on the scene. And with the ever-present threat of hurricanes, tsunamis and terrorism, this only makes sense. Also, when police/firemen are off duty, they will still have the critical eye of a policeman, thus putting more eyes and ears on the streets looking for criminal activity.

T.L. Cameron

Campbell, Calif.


MMA and UFC just plain brawling

I have to agree with Randy Ortiz that the idiots were there before MMA and UFC. But sorry, Randy, I also have to agree with Michael Mann and the other letter writer. There is absolutely nothing entertaining in watching grown men beating up on each other and seriously hurting each other.

MMA and UFC are not martial arts. They promote bullying to children because all they see is “I can be stronger than you and I can beat you up!”

Martial arts of any kind is about self discipline and humility (not showing off your strength and how you use it). Hollywood makes it look all bad and tough — always looking for a fight. That’s why grown men and bullies react to this type of “I’m bad and the best of the best” attitude!

MMA and UFC is plainly street fighting and brawling.

The 1975 movie “Rollerball” I think is what inspired this type of brawl (MMA and UFC) in a cage ring. In this movie, people enjoyed seeing men hurt each other.

It’s not right to tell our children not to hit or bully other children, then have them watch this type of promotion.

Howard Tolbe

‘Ele‘ele


Traffic more of a problem than vacation rentals

Ms. Yukimura’s guest viewpoint and much of the dialogue about vacation rentals reveal an attitude pervasive on Kaua‘i: Basically, it’s a “them versus us” attitude that locals have towards anyone who wasn’t born here, has too-light skin color or the wrong-shaped eyes. We love the easy money that tourism brings as long as those haoles stay in their own neighborhoods: the vda zone — our ungated gated community designed for them, not us.

Vacations rentals are a “problem” if there are too many in “our” neighborhoods. Yet, for the visitor and homeowner, this “problem” is a blessing. The visitor gets an opportunity to stay outside the tourist ghetto of wall-to-wall hotels and condos and the struggling homeowner gets an opportunity to share in some of the benefits of the dominant industry in the state. It was the Internet that created this democratization in vacation rentals. We seem to prefer to blame absentee landlords who are perceived as greedy simply for seeking the highest and best financial return on their properties.

This is a group with which our county seems to have a love/hate relationship. It is OK to take their tax money but not OK to let them earn it back via a short-term rental of their property. It’s OK to fleece these folks because they aren’t really us, they don’t really live here. Providing a long-term rental is seen as more beneficial to “us” than to provide a short-term one to “them.”

If this is about too much of something causing “us” a problem, where is the bill limiting the number of vehicles, both tourist and local? Gridlock traffic is certainly a more pervasive problem than whatever impact vacation rentals have.

Michael Wells

Kapa‘a

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