Letters for Tuesday, October 21, 2008

• Charter amendment strengthens checks and balances

• Over 85 and back to work

• Close it off, first

• Solutions for needs

Charter amendment strengthens checks and balances

The author of the Oct. 17, letter “On charter amendment wording” misunderstands the last of the proposed Kauai Charter amendments, the one that is related to implementation of the General Plan. 

Contrary to the author’s conclusion, that charter amendment would not give “complete and absolute power” to the County Council in granting transient accommodation permits. Exactly the opposite is true.

Today, county government can grant permits for hotels, timeshares and other transient accommodations with complete disregard for the negative impacts on our island and its residents. And, in fact, over the past eight years, the Planning Commission has done exactly that, allowing the construction of more than four times as many new tourist units as was envisioned in the high growth scenario of the county’s General Plan.

The proposed charter amendment would remedy this by requiring the county to comply with the general plan’s growth scenarios. Under the charter amendment, the County Council could implement the terms of the charter amendment in either of two ways. First, if the County Council passes an ordinance that requires the Planning Commission to comply with the General Plan’s growth scenario, then the Planning Commission could continue to be the agency that grants permits — but subject to that new requirement. Second, if the County Council does not pass such an ordinance, then the County Council would be the agency that grants permits — but also subject to the requirement that the council must first find that approval of the permits would be consistent with the General Plan.

In either case, decisions would be appealable to the courts. No checks and balances would be lost. Rather, a new “check and balance” would be added in that permit approvals would now have to be consistent with the Kauai General Plan, the important document that provides the roadmap for Kaua‘i’s future.  

The charter amendment to implement the General Plan (the last charter amendment on the ballot) is therefore the solution to the current situation, in which county government currently does indeed have “complete and absolute power” to grant an unlimited number of permits for tourist accommodations, regardless of the consequences.  

• Judy Dalton, Lihu‘e

Over 85 and back to work

I was watching a news clip the other night highlighting our present economic situation and how it has taken a major toll on people lives. What really caught my attention was a story of an 85-year-old lady who needed to enter the labor force again in order to make ends meet. I wasn’t able to catch the whole story, but whatever I was able to pick up, made me so heartbroken and sad as well as very angry. I had to vent my feelings to my wife; she was so understanding and comforting.

See, this hits home for many of us. I have a loving mother who falls in this age group and as a son would never let this happen to her. We have been taught as children that we have a moral obligation in taking care of our widows and elderly within our own family and throughout our community. My hope and prayer is that we don’t have any of these type of situations on this beautiful island. Let us be charitable toward all people, especially our kupuna.

• Myron Lindsey, Koloa

Close it off, first

Reading Monday’s The Garden Island lead story about ocean safety awareness I find myself utterly dismayed at the total lack of leadership and/or action by those purporting to “govern” this island.

Over the years I have learnt to live with, but not accept, government failure to take preventative actions with infrastructure and safety, always waiting until something serious happens.

Now it seems that even the tragic deaths at Queen’s Bath of two visitors is not enough to prompt immediate action. “…limiting access may be up for discussion soon at multi-agency talks.”  “…hopes to get interested parties, such as the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, at the table in coming weeks to discuss possible limitations to the access to Queen’s Bath.” Meanwhile we’re open for more injury and, God forbid, drownings.

Hello? Any leader out there? Get a crew to the site with a truck, strong gate and a cement mixer and close the place off. Then start up the talking clubs and decide when and under what conditions the gate will be open. Would a nice lawsuit by the victims’ families help?

• Hartwin Weiss,  Princeville

Solutions for needs

Concerns for the present and future of Kaua‘i weigh heavily in the hearts of residents of the Garden Island. Kaua‘i needs among other pressing needs affordable housing, solid waste management, alternative energy initiatives and drug abuse prevention.  

We need JoAnn Yukimura to lead us through present needs and to take us to a sustainable future.

We have been supporters of JoAnn Yukimura since she first ran for Kauai County Council in 1976. Through the years she has demonstrated her ability to take challenges as they come, put each challenge into perspective, and find solutions for the common good. Kaua‘i needs JoAnn’s experience, her thoughtful understanding of the island’s needs and problems, her commitment to finding solutions and her passion in keeping Kaua‘i Kaua‘i.

Needs plus solutions equals JoAnn Yukimura, mayor.

• Karl and Catherine Lo,  Koloa

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