Letters for Tuesday, August 5, 2008

• Mission impossible

• Timeshare tax unfair


Mission impossible

I am the event coordinator for the new Kauai Bodyboarding Association. We are a nonprofit amateur group organization and our season has scheduled six competitive event dates for the year.

Our first event, March 1, was held on the beach at Hanalei’s Pine Trees. The second event, we hosted the U.S. Bodyboarding Association’s first pro-am tour stop on May 31 and on July 26, the third event was completed. Both the second and third events were held at Shipwreck’s on the beach near the Grand Hyatt in my backyard. Suffice to say the entire bid to obtain a county use permit was unsuccessful.

For some reason we are being made an example of what county would like to see every other water sport or group, in general, comply with. This wrangling has even compromised Kauai Bodyboarding event winners to have any press releases, their names or standings in our sports pages because The Garden Island writer held back because she understood we were illegally running our event and didn’t want to promote that TGI supported something illegal. Now that’s a novel statement. Let’s see if this letter ever gets posted as has been the case with many past writings to the Forum from me.

Anyway, we have consistently been issued the necessary use permits within five working days of event packet delivery to DLNR. Both times that we applied for park use permits from the county, we were denied. I’ll save you the huge amount of drama, fabrications and inuendos that transpired either by e-mail, in person and/or by telephone. What was supposed to be an event honoring Mayor Bryan Baptiste for his support of our opio and the new entity, we were shut down every step of the way and counseled that it was a bad idea to do this especially because we hadn’t contacted the Baptiste ‘ohana for their blessing.

Packet delivered July 3 and on July 7, the county phone calls started coming in. Originally the county parks personnel stated that he “was not even going to open or review the packet, because the event was scheduled less than 30-60 days from packet delivery” or three-weeks out and that was outside of county’s protocol for permit review or issuance. I had to ask a good county worker friend to intervene on our behalf with the parks personnel, whereby the packet was eventually reviewed. However, ongoing e-mail, phone and in-person meetings, listening to comments of how our group might possibly drag the mayor’s name through the mud if we didn’t put a “class act” together, virtually scared us away from this idea and so we instead changed the headliner to a back-to-school event.

Through the learning experiences of dealing with the county, I am beginning to understand why most people would not go the distance in keeping any organization intact. What I found to be most unusual, very confusing, concerning, unsettling, and out of character for other bodyboarding/surfing competitions in the past held by other organizers, was the county’s assertion that in order to be delivered a use permit and having filled their requirements or that “all the ducks were in a row,” was the request that our 30-member, 12- to 20-year-old group of opio required four uniformed security guards from a security company on the Shipwreck’s site at $20 per hour, per guard and that KBA adult security was unacceptable. Also, the need to rent and have delivered two portable toilets to the Shipwreck’s parking lot/park where adequate bathroom facilities already existed. The total cost: $880. I did attempt to call a security company and that company asked, “Are you serious, because I’m too busy with the Plantation Days Festival. I’ll work out a schedule and call you back.” Two more calls to the security company and no return call or support. The portable toilet people said they were afraid they would get in trouble leaving a portable there. All of this for a day at the beach which ultimately will tire out our opio, so they are off the streets at night, positive good activities, being brought down to our knees at such an early stage of existence is disheartening.

Anyway, both events went off without any life-threatening problems, although county would probably fabricate otherwise and tell me that it was the Hyatt that was telling these stories instead of being straightforward, playing the control game. At every event there are always different issues that need attention, and a lesson learned that will be implemented and better handled at the second annual event. By then, we should be professionals at dealing with bureaucracy gone wild and we will know where the people are who are truly willing to help this fledgling group, not throw the thumb screws on.

I would appreciate any feedback that you dare make public in the Forum. If anyone has a legal opinion on beach access, right of way, Hyatt comfort station on county property at Shipwreck’s and if others have had to jump through similar hoops to obtain a county permit, I’d sure like to hear your story, especially if you received one without all the shibai that I encountered.

Debra Kekaulua

Kapa‘a


Timeshare tax unfair

Aloha, we are a family of four who have come to visit your beautiful island for around a week a year for the last 20 years, usually staying in timeshares we own or exchange into.

Our vacation budget is limited, especially with stratospheric airfares. If we have to pay an extra “timeshare tax,” that will cause us to cut back on our spending on your island. I know a lot of other timeshare owners feel the same.

Consider the ripple effect of thousands of tourists who spend less, less meals out, skip tours, rentals, etc. This translates into less contribution into Kaua‘i’s economy, and its workers will suffer.

Another factor to consider is that, despite the clever claim that the timeshare tax is “revenue neutral,” it may be illegal and unenforceable as it illegally targets a certain class of landowners to the exclusion of others.

Even if this tax is passed, it’ll probably be tied up in the courts for years, causing further Kaua‘i funds to be spent defending it.

Thanks for your time and constant hospitality whenever we visit.

Doug Maner

Visitor

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