Letters for Saturday, November 15, 2008

• And will the county sue itself?

• Should we close Queen’s Bath?

• Our teens are killing themselves

• Lower baggage costs

And will the county sue itself?

Excellent article by Nathan Eagle (“General Plan gets teeth,” A1, Nov. 11) and a huge mahalo to Carl Imparato and his 100 or more colleagues who tirelessly got this issue on the ballot and pushed to get it passed. Also a word of thanks must go to the man behind the scenes who is always there fighting for the people with his legal advice, Walter Lewis.

Now that Carl and his supporters have gotten this amendment passed, the question arises (as he asks): Will the county sue itself as was done with the Ohana Kauai Tax Amendment to keep this amendment from becoming law?

And even if the county doesn’t do this, will the council have the fortitude to truly enforce the wishes of the people to limit the overdevelopment that is destroying the beauty and well-being of this island?

And think about these words of wisdom that Carl spoke: “We were forced down this path (enforcement of the General Plan update) by eight years of the Planning Commission acting like the General Plan didn’t exist and the County Council not doing anything about it.”

Specifically, where were our elected officials to see that these critical issues were addressed? Why should the citizens have to do the heavy lifting for them when they were elected to represent the people?

In fact, as Carl also said, instead of the amendment appearing on the ballot in the form of a simple question like the other proposed charter amendments, it was printed in its entirety making it much more confusing for voters to understand.

So, not only are our elected officials not doing their jobs but someone at the upper level is actually trying to deceive the public and keeping their mandates from happening.

Regretfully the two council members who really represented the people (getting the performance audit activated; addressing the millions of dollars wasted on our overbuilt bridges; finding out where money is being wasted on the “path”; and on and on) Mel Rapozo and Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho will be gone and we can only hope that the new faces will pick up where they left off and push the issues that are truly for the good of the people and for Kaua‘i.

• Glenn Mickens, Kapa‘a

Should we close Queen’s Bath?

I’ve been following the debate about closing Queen’s Bath in Princeville. As a life-long resident of Hawai‘i, I hate to see places closed to residents because of drownings. It seems to me inevitable that when people come here and are not familiar with our islands, whether they’re hiking or swimming, that lives will be lost if they are ignorant of the dangers. I believe that more effective education is the best way to lower the number of lives lost, not closing trails and beaches to everyone.

Most visitors arrive by plane, so are a captive audience. I recently saw a good video on an incoming flight recently, but once visitors deplane, where is that information? If we could give every visitor a pamphlet they could read on the plane that listed the dangers of our ocean, they could read it and keep it with them. Supporting this with a water-safety phone number they can access would be more effective. The water-safety number could include information of conditions around the island, updated daily and a listing of which beaches have lifeguards. This information is available on the radio, but it is hit-or-miss if visitors hear it.

I think it is negligent to soften the information we give visitors on ocean safety in order not to hurt our allure as a destination. They need to be told bluntly that they could die here if they are ignorant of ocean hazards.

Education is better than closing off places we love.

• Kathy Valier, Hanalei

Our teens are killing themselves

During the recent weeks of election talk and debates surrounding Kaua‘i’s suffering tour-based economy, its development and future sustainability, I think we are failing in one area: If we are truly interested in developing the future of Hawai‘i, we should be focused on preserving our future, meaning the children.

I was awakened last week by the news that my neighbor’s teenage daughter had just taken her own life, making her at least the third young person on Kaua‘i to commit suicide in the past six months. 

These deaths are a tragedy that must be stopped.

I found myself deeply impacted by her death and have to wonder what we can do as a community to step in and take responsiblity for our common future. There is no reason that these chlidren should continue feeling lost, disconnected, alone and with no one to talk to or reach out to. Is it really too much to take time out for one another, a few minutes out of a day for someone? Does it matter if we have the new car or can pay our bills, or debating whether we should go on that vacation when these children feel the desperate urge to end their lives? Not one bit. Let’s stop this on a base-level … setting aside time for these children our neighbors.

I feel that we all as a society are responsible for these kids either by our actions or lack of actions. 

• Carla Daniels, Kapa‘a

Lower baggage costs

Could the cost of baggage be the reason why people aren’t travelling as much? 

A friend of mine just returned to Kaua‘i from Colorado and was very disappointed to find he had to pay an extra $250 dollars more on his baggage. For the first baggage it cost $25 dollars and the second, third and fourth baggage was doubled and tripled to bring it to the amount ($250) mentioned above.

We spend a lot of money purchasing tickets for round trips to our destinations and back. One would think at least a couple of the bags should be free of charge.

The airlines are claiming it is necessary because of rising gas prices. Hello? Gas prices are going down now. A large plane can carry almost 200 people and at average most people travel with two bags or more. A family travelling has even more baggage. What the airlines charge on bags (first, second, etcetera) is more than enough for a one-way trip from destination to destination.

It’s time airlines allow a couple bags for free. I would like to travel to the Mainland in the near future. But I am afraid my plans would be killed because the baggage charge will be too high.

• Howard Tolbe, ‘Ele‘ele

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