Letters for Friday, October 17, 2008

• Princeville, most dangerous community

• On charter amendment wording

• Serious problems and the race for mayor

Princeville, most dangerous community

Princeville is by far the most dangerous community on the island and in the state. More people die in Princeville due to drownings than any other community in the state. These drownings occur at a place we all know as “Queen’s Bath.” Another tragedy has taken place there this week, with two more lives lost and families shattered. These unnecessary deaths can and must be prevented.

Princeville, you sit up on the hill with your fancy fountain and guard gate with 24-hour security to protect your residents and you even lock the back gate at 9:00 p.m. Princeville Community Association has rules, e.g., what color you can paint your house, type of roof, no gardens, no fences, can’t park on street, must have a garage door, etc., etc., all to protect and preserve your special little community. Princeville is now loaded with timeshare and inviting visitors to come stay in their community, play golf, go shopping, see a timeshare presentation.

Tragically, according to “The Ultimate Guide Book” (a deadly/unsafe book) one of the really neat places to visit in Princeville is Queen’s Bath. So Princeville decided to put in a parking lot (protecting near-by residents from cars parking on the side of road), inviting visitors to park and wander into the unknown dangers that lie ahead. The trail is often a site of injury, just getting to the rocky shoreline. Seems like almost every surf season somebody dies at Queen’s Bath. I’m sure the Water Safety Task Force or Pat Durkin could give you the exact death count there, if you really needed that. But isn’t one preventable death too many? These are preventable deaths. Princeville, you can and you must close the trail and destroy the parking lot. You have rules for everything else there and yet you choose to do nothing about the death toll that is piling up on your hands. This week two kids, a 7- and a 9-year-old, are going home on a plane with two empty seats next to them, their mommy and aunty died in Princeville.

• Gary Hudson, Kapa‘a

On charter amendment wording

Today, while reading and voting my absentee ballot for the upcoming General Election, I noticed two items that caused me to think harder and deeper than usual in my decision-making. I am writing to “Letters” because I feel the need to publicize my thoughts beyond my normal network, hopefully reaching the greater Kaua‘i community through this The Garden Island news forum. Some who read this may feel my concern is simplistic and unnecessary, but as a writer/editor/publisher and teacher of writing and reading skills, I am doubly aware of language and how double negatives may be misconstrued.

First, in reading over the Amendments to the Charter of the County of Kaua‘i dealing with: “Shall an elected or appointed officer or employee, or member of a board or commission not (my italics) be allowed to participate …” 

I noticed the unusual negative construction in this wording. I re-read the other proposed amendments on the ballot and found all others were phrased in the positive. I am not taking a language/form exception in writing in a picky or superficial manner, but warning the citizens of our island to read this particular amendment very carefully. I suggest that when you answer either “Yes” or “No,” that you address the negative construction and don’t assume the wording is in the general mode, where a “Yes” means yes, and a “No” means no. In this case, because of the negative construction as mentioned, it will be the opposite.

Second, I take my much prized freedom of speech as a naturalized United States citizen into use in saying, please be careful in weighing your voting decision not only about our national and state choices, which is an obvious charge, but also thinking about the last item on the Kaua‘i Charter amendments, where complete and absolute power may be given to the County Council in granting transient accommodation permits, inferring that no checks or balances will be granted or available. Yes, council members will have been required to have more than a majority vote, as stated, and yes, they should be considered worthy — and trustworthy — for this decision making. However, in remembering how the United States Constitution was forged by the genius-level cluster of statesmen who hammered it out in original form, I remember that the system of checks and balances, always, was supposed to be the “insurance” that the final decisions would be as right as possible for us, as the people. I believe that should be the case in our own little “fish bowl” of Kaua‘i County government business — for after all, this is our own personal fish bowl, and we want to insure it will be kept in a manner we can all swim around in and survive well, as well as multiply, without some great visitor manu or hungry puhi being introduced into our realm either inadvertently or intentionally.

•  Dawn Kawahara,  Kapa‘a

Serious problems and the race for mayor

I remember sitting in a high school class in the 1960’s listening with rest of the school as the Cuban missile crisis unfolded. Soviet ships were approaching Cuba loaded with missiles and John Kennedy announced that we would use military might if necessary to turn those ships around. The U.S. and Russia had hundreds of armed missiles pointed at each other.

We sat there listening as the ships approached each other, wondering if we were about to witness the beginning of World War III. It was with great relief that the announcement came that the Russian ship had turned back and that this was not the beginning of a nuclear holocaust. It was like waking from a nightmare, the world was suddenly okay again and we went on with our lives.

Unfortunately, the crisis facing the world today is not going to go away so easily. The infrastructure based on cheap oil and easy credit is very damaged. Even as oil briefly becomes cheaper, the message is clear, there is not enough oil to meet the world’s growing needs for energy. Global warming is injuring the planet and buying foreign oil is destroying our local and national economies. It is increasingly accepted that as rapidly as possible we need to provide energy from the sun, wind, waves and alternative fuels and that we will have to start growing  large amounts of  food in our local communities.

We must accept that business as usual is really over. I believe that it is vital to pick a mayor who has shown a long-standing interest in and is extremely knowledgeable about alternative energy sources as well as about growing food locally. Most importantly, we need a leader who is passionate about these issues.

There is no doubt in my mind that JoAnn Yukimura will give us our best chance to make the changes that must be made as quickly as possible. All other issues pale in the face of these serious global problems. Bernard Carvalho is a well-respected community leader and when this crisis passes he may well become a very good mayor. Today though, we need what JoAnn has to offer.

 • Lee Evslin,  Kapa‘a

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