Letters for Thursday, October 30, 2008

• ‘Economic tsunami’ you say?

• Luxury can be in the eye of the beholder

• Becoming winners in the elections

‘Economic tsunami’ you say?

Recently politicians (Bernard Carvalho) and policy makers (Alan Greenspan) have used the fearful word ‘tsunami’ to describe the economy.

This conjured up images in my mind from when the last real tsunamis hit Kaua‘i in 1946 and 1957, both significantly affecting Kaua‘i.

If that metaphor is to be used, it should be looked at what happens when a tsunami actually hits. At first, the severity of the situation is not readily apparent as the water recedes and reveals fish for easy catchings. I can certainly imagine an inexperienced politician, quick to react, making similar such policy mistakes in trying to quickly react to an ‘economic tsunami.’

Both of the real tsunamis that hit Kaua‘i in the past century came in multiple waves lasting over an extended period of time. The full effects were not known or understood until well into the disaster.

What is happening with the economy now is not known nor understood even by those, like Alan Greenspan recently admitted, who oversaw its creation and escalation under a Republican administration.

When voting for a local elected official who will need to lead during these times of complex economic events, it is important to choose the candidate who is personally intelligent, experienced, and versatile enough to handle the complex and shifting problems that the island will face in the years ahead.

JoAnn Yukimura is the only candidate for mayor who fits this description. Beyond that, the mayor will need the help of all of the people of Kaua‘i to get through these manmade events from afar to an even better place and community that Kaua‘i can be.

• Brad Parsons, Hanalei

Luxury can be in the eye of the beholder

This is in response to the statement in Amanda Gregg’s recent letter (“We all have a stake,” Letters, Oct. 27) mentioning “…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.”  

That statement seems to imply that writing letters and attending public meetings are activities of lazy, irresponsible people.

When I was working full-time and raising three children (including one who had major health problems and multiple surgeries and other procedures), I did not have time to attend meetings either. However, now that my children are all grown and I am retired, I do write letters and attend public meetings. 

If it annoys other people, I’m sorry; but I care deeply about what happens in our community and with our government officials.

Would Ms. Gregg prefer that I spend my time playing cards or sitting around with my friends in coffee shops? If she knows of any businesses that would hire 68-year-old women, I hope she will let me know. Otherwise, I thank her for taking time out of her busy schedule to write occasional letters; and if I’m still around when she retires, I would welcome her company at public meetings.

• Barbara Elmore,  Lihu‘e

Becoming winners in the elections

The elections are just a few days away and our lifestyles are at stake. We actually want the lifestyle that we picture for ourselves, our loved ones and our environment to win the election, and we hope that the candidates that we vote for will help facilitate that. These are turbulent times, and we want to make sure that the best captain is at the helm, both nationally and locally. Elections are at least as much about the people as they are about the candidates. The candidate who wins is a reflection of the people who elected him or her. Whom we elect as president, mayor, or council member is a reflection of our values.

We can all become winners if we get clear about what we want, study which candidate can offer that and vote for that candidate. We need to educate ourselves about:

• What is happening here now.

• What is projected to happen here as best we know.

• What needs to be done to make it better.

• Who would most be able to do that in the most efficient and kind way.

This letter is not about taking sides, it is about getting clear, because if we aren’t clear on what is best for our island and don’t get candidates to address the issues important to us, with specific solutions, we will elect officials who aren’t the best qualified to steer the helm. It goes without saying that the captain must be clear and strong.

Here’s an example of one minor issue, using the above example of choosing a candidate:

• (Here and now) Last week in the Oct. 20 issue of The Garden Island, Police Chief Darryl Perry stated that Kauai Police Department is understaffed. We need more police beats, and more police to effectively care for this island right now, as it is.

• (Projected to happen) We will have to handle the issue of the Superferry coming to Kaua‘i. State funding will decrease.

• (To make it better) The Superferry coming to Kaua‘i is put off until we can efficiently take care of our island and the 300 extra cars that could come each day as we build the police force above and beyond what it is already. Maui has had problems other than traffic with ferry passengers taking opihi, limu, and tons of ili ili stones. We would need enforcement to protect our natural resources as well as traffic issues, so most likely we would need to hire more DLNR staff as well.

• Which council and mayoral candidates would most be able to take a strong, yet respectful stand to keep the Superferry at bay until we were ready, if at all?

“Ainokea” (I don’t care) is a possible vote against what you believe in. Richard Hoaglun was a former NASA consultant, and science adviser to Walter Cronkite and CBS News during the Apollo Space program. He states that “2 percent of people coherently united outweigh 98 percent of people who are chaotically fear-based.”

Not caring puts one on the chaos side, and those who unite get the helm.

In the voting booth, when you close the curtain door, the vote is private. And just to cover choosing the best candidate for the future that we can’t predict, before you pull the lever you might want to pray for guidance to select the best captain to steer through the storms ahead.

• Annaleah Atkinson, Lihu‘e

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