Letters for Tuesday, August 12, 2008

• When is ticketing tourists not picking on them?

• We can all enjoy

• Utility’s population control

When is ticketing tourists not picking on them?

The Californian who complained about his fine for speeding at 42 mph in a 25 mph zone raises a serious issue (“Ticketing tourists unfair,” Letters, Aug. 9).

At what speed should police stop him or anyone else behind the wheel? At 52, 60, 80 mph? We could argue the traffic officer has to use his or her best judgment, but that seems like a tough and arbitrary call to make in a split second or two. Enforcing the traffic law as written seems the fairest and simplest option for the police. But is there good reason for society to regulate the speed of its traffic? What’s really wrong with driving 42 mph or 52 mph through my 25 mph residential neighborhood?

Not so long ago, a speeding vehicle ploughed into an innocent pedestrian on the sidewalk. Another careened into a tree and masonry wall. Both incidents were fatal. Besides safety, high-speed traffic also creates health and economic issues. Road noise from high-speed vehicles, like aircraft low overhead, disrupts conversations and work by day and sleep by night. On wet roads, speeders churn up a plume of spray containing particles and mold that drifts into nearby homes and lungs. Residential speeders damage our roads and increase our taxes. Speeding in residential neighborhoods is just plain disrespectful to those who live there.

Civil societies establish rules they think are reasonable to promote public safety and harmonious living. Most of us accept the idea that the United States is a country of law. But road hogs endanger fellow highway users by their reckless passing, tailgating, cutting corners and speeding. And beach bullies, druggies, thieves, domestic abusers, rapists and murderers among us surely also threaten our security and freedom. All we have is our own brave “thin blue line” to suppress anarchy and maintain fundamental freedoms for decent and respectable people. By their curbing of unlawful, disreputable, rowdy, violent and down-right dangerous behavior, our police ensure that we live in relative peace.

Although I don’t know a police officer or a police commissioner and am no expert on police work, I deplore unfair criticism leveled at our police force. Instead, we should applaud and support recent efforts of the new police chief and the entire KPD to improve policing on Kaua‘i. The new openness and access to the chief has been refreshing and his stated goal to improve the quality of our lives highly commendable. We already see positive changes due to his policies; officers are more visible than before on the ground and in their vehicles. By its actions, KPD has shown us its competence and restraint. Life has become safer and quieter where traffic laws are enforced. The Californian speeder raised a serious issue, but for a trivial reason. Shame on him and his ilk.

John Edson


We can all enjoy

I can’t say that I can be too sympathetic to David Schwartz’s letter to the editor. For one thing, he didn’t bring his family to Kaua‘i for the sole purpose of stimulating the local economy; he came for purely selfish reasons which included enjoying all that Kaua‘i has to offer. Suggesting that he should be above and beyond the law because he is a tourist that is contributing to the economy is just plain ridiculous. I’m a local resident who has contributed to the economy and has paid sales tax way more than he could ever do in his two visits and I still have to follow the law; it doesn’t leave me exempt. If I get ticketed, and lord knows I’ve had my share, there would be no one else to blame but myself. A cop gets paid to do their job without prejudice. Turning away every time a tourist breaks the law would raise questions about their integrity, moral principles and professional standards.

I’ve been driving to and from the Po‘ipu area for many years on a daily basis and have seen many more “locals” get ticketed than tourists do and from my years of driving down Po‘ipu Road, I can also testify that there is no way possible that you will not cause any “traffic problem” by going 25 miles per hour. What is unfortunate is that the Kauai Police Department lacks the manpower to monitor that area even more. Not much worse than getting killed by a speeder while taking a roaside stroll while on vacation.

I can’t even begin to imagine what goes through a cop’s mind every time he gets a call or pulls a car over. Will it be the last ticket he attempts to give? If I don’t pull this guy over, will he be the cause of another innocent losing his life? You couldn’t pay me enough to do what they courageously do on a daily basis.

Once bitten, twice shy? So what will you do if you get ticketed twice in Berkeley, Calif.? Move to Iowa? Believe me Mr. Schwartz, California won’t miss your contribution to their economy.

Dominic Acain


Utility’s population control

We need to thank the directors of our utility company for helping to curb the growth of Kaua‘i and reducing the average citizen’s ability to go to restaurants and other costly activities.

As a single person, my electricity bill for July came to $498.36.

I used 20 percent less electricity than last year and my bill was 20 percent higher resulting in a net 40 percent increase and 46 cents a kilowatt.

Our KIUC Directors have made no steps to find alternative energy so we are 100 percent dependant on the price of oil.

To add to their arrogance they have now declared they will not purchase excess electricity from those homes that generate more than they need using solar panels.

As the word gets out to the Mainland that Kauai’s electric rates are so much higher than anywhere in the United States, people considering to move here should give it a second thought.

Mahalo KIUC.

Robert Nesti



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