Letters for Tuesday, May 20, 2008

• Mahalo for cleaning Black Pot

• Advice should be based on code

• ‘His’ words timeless

• Give dogs a chance

Mahalo for cleaning Black Pot

On behalf of the Hanalei-to-Ha‘ena Community Association, I extend our community’s deep appreciation to the county (and in particular to the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Kauai Police Department) and to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources for their very professional work last week in removing the illegal structures and activities from the state-owned land between Black Pot Beach Park and the Hanalei River. When the final transfer of this land from the state to the county is completed, the expanded Black Pot Beach Park will be a wonderful asset for everyone’s use.

Thank you also to the 50 people who came out on Saturday to clean up the remaining debris on the state-owned land and to repair and paint all of Black Pot’s picnic tables and waste containers.

In response to Barbara Poor’s May 18 letter to The Garden Island, I would like to clarify that the horseshoe pits at Black Pot will indeed be restored. Cathy Ham Young (who adopted Black Pot Beach Park years ago), the Community Association, the horseshoe pitchers and the county will be working together to make that happen as soon as possible. Carl Imparato


Advice should be based on code

The charter says that anyone following the advice of the Board of Ethics “shall not be held guilty of violating any of the provisions” of the Code of Ethics (Section 20.05G). 

The unstated assumption is that the board’s advice will be based on the code, not on the whims or prejudices of board members.

An April 21 letter from the Board of Ethics to the Charter Review Commission shows how the Board is exercising its power based on whim and prejudice. The first paragraph says: “At its April 10 meeting, the Board of Ethics unanimously agreed to lend its support to the efforts by the Charter Commission to clarify Section 20.02D. You are all aware of the issues surrounding the literal interpretation of Section 20.02D and we believe you are addressing those. A word of caution, however, that clarifying the issue for only one group such as commissioners does not address the problem with regard to employees. Many employees or elected officials who have a second job will need to appear before county agencies or commissions in behalf of private interests.”

What needs clarifying is not Section 20.02D but the board’s misleading use of the word “clarify.” The charter commission has proposed to amputate, not clarify, 20.02D by exempting members of boards and commissions from the requirements of the section, which prohibits county officers and employees from appearing in behalf of private interests before any county agency.

The Board of Ethics goes a giant step further by proposing, not to clarify 20.02D, but to kill it outright by exempting everyone from its requirements. The board has already arbitrarily ignored and bypassed the section in at least two recent rulings and is now asking the charter commission to help get rid of the section altogether.

The board’s rationale for rendering ethical advice is clear: If the charter prohibits behavior patterns prevalent in government or if enforcing the charter would inconvenience government personnel, it is the charter that must be changed, and until the charter is amended the board will ignore what it says.

Any doubts about whether this is really the board’s position are erased by the second paragraph in its April 21 letter, where the board asks the charter commission to “clarify” Section 20.02F, which prohibits county officers and employees from using county property for other than public activity or purpose. Clarification is needed, says the board, because “the literal interpretation of the section does not match current practice.” 

In other words, the charter must be brought into line with current practice, not the other way around.

Voters who placed the Code of Ethics in the charter, empowered the Board of Ethics to administer it, and charged the mayor, council, and board with enforcing it might well ask, “Who’s minding the store?”

Horace Stoessel


‘His’ words timeless

In response to Bettejo Dux’s comment (“‘His’ red phone,” Letters, May 14):

“It’s difficult for many of us today to live by rules written several thousands of years ago.”

Dear Bettejo, We do what we really want to do. Most of us don’t want to live by God’s basic principles of love and respect for Him and others. We’d rather live by our own (flawed) rules. Therein lies the problem.

Being that it was written thousands of years ago and is still around proves that His words are timeless.

Yes it is a difficult path, and I fail often. But at the end of the day, and at the end of our lives, it is worth it.

Continue to seek Him, Bettejo.

Jimmy Johnson


Give dogs a chance

I think a trial period for dogs on the path of say six months would be appropriate, with restrictions to the length of the leash. If after that time it is evident that responsible owners are picking up after their pets and there have been no incidents of any confrontations between pets and people, then lets make a determination to law.

Owners should also take the responsibility of muzzling their dog if it has a history of fighting with other animals.

Marjorie Lewis



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