Letters for Saturday, August 2, 2008

• Share the neighborhoods

• Better leaders, better island

Share the neighborhoods

This afternoon my 4-month-old daughter’s nap was abruptly interrupted by the neighbor’s huge shredding machine parked in the road directly outside our house.

I waited in my driveway as he deliberately, slowly finished shredding his tree trunks and turned his machine off. He attempted to walk away trying not to notice I was waving and trying to get his attention; until I whistled loudly.

He stopped and started to walk toward me, chest out.

I assumed after being his neighbor for almost 10 years without any negative history we could communicate on a certain level like I do with all my other neighbors.

I greeted him, asked him how he was, and started to explain that every time he uses his huge machine it literally makes my house shake and that it is always a quiet neighborhood otherwise. Besides that, he woke the baby up (who I happened to be holding as she was crying) from a much needed nap.

He jumped back, seemingly offended and huffed “‘Bra’ I am born and raised here. Are you going to go tell at everyone else on the block doing yard work to stop making noise?” Pointing to his watch he explained he is well within the noise curfew.

I said, “Well I am not telling I am asking nicely. And yes you are within the allotted noise curfew, however no one else on the block has your huge machine and I questioned if the curfew is for weed-whackers, mowers and chainsaws, not industrial-sized shredders as loud as his?”

He turned away and told me to go back home and I stupidly replied, “Don’t tell me what to do.” He then turned back toward me while I was holding the baby, and threateningly, eyes real wide, said “Well don’t tell me I can’t make noise.”

I then said “Again I am asking you nicely, as your neighbor,” I bid him “aloha” and returned home, assured he didn’t get the message and questioning what I could have done to make the results better, instead of the intelligent, rational, respectful approach I chose.

Why would someone be so closed to respectful, open communication? Why would someone be so offended by me asking them to respect our neighborhood’s peaceful environment? Why does it matter where you were born?

Because you were born here gives you the right to make as much noise as you want, whenever you want? What about the peace and quiet, and respect for the other neighbors we share who were also born here?

My wife was born on O‘ahu. Me, the Mainland. Our daughter, Kaua‘i. We still have respect for our all our neighbors. Is this wrong?

Gerrard Legume


Better leaders, better island

The letter to the editor “Officials for island’s good” in Thursday’s edition was right on target … at least half of it was.

The letter states “We need to elect those who will provide good decision making for the betterment of our island community.” Right on. But where do we find those electable people who will represent us and not special interests or simply be pawns to those who were responsible for putting them in positions of power?

We are talking about the mayor and the administrative positions under him — commissions, boards, task forces etc. and we are talking about the seven members on the council. None of these people are bad nor do they knowingly set out to deceive or misrepresent what the people want them to do.

But the system is flawed and one only needs to look at the disarray this island is in from what the government has allowed to happen over the years to see that we desperately need change.

And the only change we have made and will probably make in selecting candidates that undo the mess we are in is to move the chairs around on the Titanic— no change at all.

Are there good, dedicated people out there who could change the direction we are going? Certainly. But, as an example, this island has never seen a more dedicated, qualified, brilliant man than Raymond Chuan who ran for council several years ago and missed being elected by 700 votes.

Whether good or bad, the majority of voters on Kaua‘i vote by name recognition thus giving an almost insurmountable advantage to the incumbents who have the TV cameras as their bully pulpit at all council meetings.

Thus it is the contention of a many Kaua‘i citizens that we need a council-manager type system that will give an experienced manager the power to run our government efficiently and not the way it is now. We would stop continual finger pointing by the mayor saying the stagnation is the council’s fault and the council laying the blame on the administration. The mayor would still be elected and would sit on the council along with the other elected six members of the council. There would be no more passing the blame as the buck would stop at their desk. Sure we will still have to elect the right people for mayor and council, but the manager would have the expertise to run things in a proper manner or he can be fired. No waiting for four years as with the mayoral system now in place.

Anyone who has followed the Charter Review Commission meetings (if not in person then in The Garden Island) will have seen that the Democratic process has been grossly abused. The very dedicated commissioner, Walter Briant has tried for five months to get the county manager system put on the ballot for the public to vote on but with only the vote of one other commissioner the amendment was defeated and the old boy system prevailed.

There are 22 candidates running for council and there is no doubt that many of them would be qualified to represent us and solve so many of the problems that have lingered for so long. But, as one editorialist has said, even with three empty seats on the council it is highly unlikely that any qualified person will have a chance of getting that seat over someone with a high profile name. So sad but true.

Glenn Mickens



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