Letters for Monday, October 27, 2008

• We all have a stake

• JoAnn Yukimura, for our sustainable energy future

• Bieber endorses Pleas

We all have a stake

Mayoral candidate Bernard Carvalho’s warmth and connection with residents will help us triumph during historically-trying times. To use the oft-cited quote, “All politics is local,” I’ll add to that and say that that is as it should be.

Those elected into power should be advocates for the people. I believe Carvalho will lend a voice to those on Kaua‘i who don’t necessarily have the luxury of writing letters or attending County Council meetings because they’re too busy finding a job, working two jobs or raising children.

Recognizing that both mayoral candidates have the best intentions of improving the way of life for residents, answering the “Who should be the next mayor?” question isn’t about intention or promises, but leadership style and sincerity.

I believe this island needs Carvalho, a proven team player who worked with the late Mayor Bryan Baptiste to bring progressive ideas into fruition. The harder times get, the more clear it becomes that family and community are most important.

Carvalho is one of the people.

And to paraphrase him, the spirit of aloha starts with us.

• Amanda Gregg, Kapa‘a

JoAnn Yukimura, for our sustainable energy future

We in Apollo Kauai have been studying the issues of our oil dependence and climate change for the last three years. We have been educating ourselves and fellow residents about both the impacts and mitigation strategies for Kaua‘i. Our investigations and educational efforts have included numerous public meetings presenting renewable energy solutions, transportation, efficiency and conservation measures for saving energy, and a myriad of related subjects. During this time, rising local electricity rates and ever-increasing transportation fuel costs as well as global events and awareness of climate changes have caused a call for urgent immediate action to address these energy issues.

Most recently, that call reached a fever pitch here on the Garden Island, when Maurice Kaya, former head of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, as one of several presenters, addressed a room of over 200 Kaua‘i officials, business people and concerned residents at a renewable energy event organized by the county Office of Economic Development. Mr. Kaya started his presentation with an insistence on the need for the people of Kaua‘i to proceed with far greater urgency in addressing our energy dependence. He emphasized that we cannot simply consider this in a box, as “another” social problem that will eventually resolve itself. He proceeded to outline the incredible fragility of our entire economy because of our total reliance on increasingly scarce and expensive petroleum.

Our energy crisis has been building for years, and despite the recent softening of oil prices, it is widely expected to worsen significantly in the foreseeable future. And, despite interest in this or that possible technological “solution” (algae, nanotechnology, cellulosic ethanol) there is very little disagreement in the energy industry that we are at the edge of a precipice. The single most important thing for local governments around the country in responding to this unprecedented crisis is clear recognition of it and to quickly begin implementing solutions.

We need a mayor on Kaua‘i who understands both the severity of our situation, and the appropriate responses to it. We need a mayor who goes into office on Day 1 as a strong proponent of the solutions that can benefit us the most. We need a mayor who has the experience of having worked through real crisis situations before. We cannot afford anything less now.

Some may see this perspective as too pessimistic or alarmist, and choose not to think that they or their job or business on Kaua‘i might be impacted by such abstractions; but we need to face the facts. Most of us already see the affects of our electricity and transportation costs and the resulting rising costs of all goods, including food and services. If we can elect a mayor who truly understands the urgency of our energy situation, we can move together as a community and successfully meet this challenge.

We can expand the bus system that former Mayor and current Council woman JoAnn Yukimura started; we can depend on affordable housing becoming a reality as in the past; we can transform the co-op that Yukimura helped found; we can protect the rural island that Yukimura has, countless times, defended; we can begin employing the conservation measures and green building practices which will save our county energy. With Yukimura’s leadership, we can avoid saddling the Westside with yet another toxic burden in a waste-to-energy incinerator; and instead proceed with much more profitable and innovative recycling efforts. We can expand the farmer’s markets that Yukimura championed, and by doing so, help promote more agriculture on Kaua‘i, more small farms and more exporting of our products. We can assist Kaua‘i families and individuals who must live on limited or fixed incomes to save through energy saving incentives.

We cannot and should not rely on solutions to come from our state and federal government. Instead, with Yukimura’s leadership assisting us in becoming more energy self-reliant, and in joining together, we can take responsibility for the well-being of our families, businesses and our communities right here on Kaua‘i.

Apollo Kaua‘i endorses JoAnn Yukimura as the person most capable of working with us to bring about the energy solutions we will need to enjoy that optimistic future.

• Apollo Kaua‘i

Bieber endorses Pleas

Since July, I have attended each County Council meeting and Charter Review Commission meeting in-full. This is not remarkable, nor the point, but what is impressive is my witness to the dedication, comprehension and participation of council candidate Bruce Pleas within the aforementioned meetings.

His knowledge of Kaua‘i County operations, in particular its legislative function, is equaled by few council or board members. This is no secret.

Additionally, he authored this year’s charter ballot proposal concerning mayor and prosecuting attorney elections through to the General Election.

Bruce is well-known and highly respected within our government, his Westside community and amongst his current council candidate opponents. In my experience, no other current council candidate outside the incumbents have stepped foot in chambers to conduct the people’s business, and certainly nobody has done the people’s business better from the public side of the bench than Bruce.

Undeniably, his time has come. Bruce Pleas belongs in County Council, for he has earned it. Do the right thing by casting a vote for Bruce Pleas to County Council.

• Rolf Bieber, Kapa‘a

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