Wednesday, May 18, 2022 |
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• Vacation rental watch?
• Fitzgerald should be in jail
• Teacher’s story continues
• Lessons from KIUC
Vacation rental watch?
It is worth keeping in mind that the problem of vacation rentals might largely be solved automatically, if it could only be made clear that VRs are illegal. Because many residents in VR-infiltrated neighborhoods are now eager to make sure the zoning laws are enforced. Meanwhile, Bill 2204 with its grandfathering clauses might only result in the VR industry going underground.
The VR industry grew because the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance was not enforced from the beginning, probably because the VR impact was slight at first. Probably, many residents themselves contemplated getting into the market. Such laxness for the law is common in small communities anywhere, so there is no need to particularly castigate Kaua‘i politics on this.
VRs proliferated especially after the Internet and cellphone use became common. Inflated property values, prices, and taxes followed as the real estate market came to serve investors rather than housing needs.
But residents are clearly becoming an ever stronger counterforce to the VR industry. Counterforces arise naturally to brake anything that grows unchecked. They become effective when discontent (in this case) reaches some critical level. Discontent is now at the exasperation level for many.
Groundswell neighborhood policing may end up as the way VRs will ultimately be regulated and a balance achieved. It may be the only efficient way. But first the neighbors need to know for sure that VRs are illegal.
Fitzgerald should be in jail
Scooter Libby has been well and truly Nifonged. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is the one who belongs in jail. He was appointed to find who leaked Valerie Plame’s name to the media. Richard Armitage soon confessed to Fitzgerald that he was the leaker. If a crime had been committed, Armitage should have been prosecuted. Fitzgerald presumably decided, correctly, that no crime had been committed. Plame could not have been covert and routinely report for work at CIA headquarters. Fitzgerald should have closed out the investigation at that point. Instead, Fitzgerald told Armitage to keep quiet. He then started grand jury proceedings in what has become a sad travesty of justice.
In the end, Scooter Libby was tried and convicted of “obstructing justice” by a vengeful prosecutor and a hanging judge who wouldn’t allow defense attorneys to call certain witnesses or even tell the jury about Armitage’s confession. What “justice” could he have possibly been obstructing when Fitzgerald already knew no crime had been committed? Libby’s big mistake was not using the “I can’t remember” defense polished by a leading presidential candidate…
Fitzgerald knowingly and willfully has ruined a fine man’s life over a crime that wasn’t committed. We can only guess why, but we know Fitzgerald should be in jail.
John A. Love
Teacher’s story continues
I’d like to thank all who have spoken with me to offer support. I even got a call from California — please contact me. There are many parents, students and teachers with experiences to share. What’s happening in our schools is probably one of Kaua‘i’s biggest “open secrets.”
My story continues. After waiting until the last minute to inform me of my reassignment, Acting-Principal Nathan Aiwohi ordered me to return my keys on June 8, the day after classes ended — effectively giving me eight hours to clear out 13-years of work. After I complained that he was singling me out (and a visit from my grievance rep), he gave me until the next work day at noon. Even this was absurd, since he had already given others longer extensions.
I turned in my keys on June 12, but asked for an extension on my laptop. He refused. On June 14, he had an office clerk call my house four times, every hour from 12:45 to 3:45 p.m., telling me to turn it in by 4 p.m. that day. It seemed mean-spirited and overly obsessive. I felt harassed. Was this an attempt to get at my documentation of abuses? It could be — he also asked me to teach him how to bypass teacher logins so he could get on their computers when they weren’t around. Why?
Teachers, parents and students continue to be bullied and manipulated by a few principals who fear collaboration and transparency. The outgoing CAS has supported and emboldened these principals. I call on our community and its leaders to speak out against abuses of power and authority. I ask our educational leaders to help teachers focus on their jobs by changing the culture in our system.
Lessons from KIUC
What have we learned recently about the Kaua‘i Island Utility Co-op? Well, let’s see:
First, we learned that KIUC is the “largest advertiser” on a certain radio station. Putting aside the content of that station’s broadcasting, why on Earth is KIUC even advertising anywhere?
It’s not as though KIUC has competitors in the electric utility market. I have complained in the past about spending any KIUC funds for advertising. Such a policy makes sense only to egotistical marketing-oriented people, spending other people’s money. It does not make sense for a public utility which already has a monopoly. Period.
Next, we learned that KIUC board members have retirement plans, even though they have other full-time careers to provide such benefits and should not be spending an entire lifetime career on the board. What happened to the concept of SERVING on a board, without compensation, as a community volunteer?
Then, we learned that KIUC, following a request submitted on a Friday, acted the very next Tuesday to approve a substantial monetary gift to a private school! How could this agenda item have been expedited so quickly, in a manner that did not allow proper public notice? Could it have anything to do with the fact that the board’s attorney, who is also a member of the private school’s board, called it a “win-win-win” situation? How convenient.
Now, a general matter that goes beyond KIUC:
This gift from KIUC to a private school points up a major problem on the island. Many Mainland transplants have come here, looked down their noses at the public schools and, rather than pitching in to help improve schools for everyone, have opened private schools because they feel THEIR children deserve “better!” It’s the same mentality that tells them, “It’s OK for local people to have small, unimposing homes; but WE must have huge imposing luxury homes like the ones we had “back home” in (fill in name of luxury/upscale/gated community.”
I really wish we would impose a simple test on people seeking to serve in any leadership positions on this small island. In assessing their other qualifications, we should ask, “Do you support superior education for everyone? Or do you choose to abandon the public schools and place your own children in private schools?” People who do not support public education do not deserve to “serve” the public.
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