Letters for Friday, November 21, 2008

• Path opening postponed again

• KIUC response

• Big liars

Path opening postponed again

It was troubling to read in The Garden Island that the completion of phase II of the multi-use path has been once again postponed (“Path portion closed; Doesn’t stop residents and visitors,” A1, Nov. 20), this time to spring 2009. This is in spite of the fact the Mayor-elect Bernard Carvalho said in July that it would open by August or early September.

Even more frustrating is that in February of this year, and the opening of the path, it was indicated that completion could be as early as summer of 2008.

What is going on here? This whole area of pathways and canehaul roads had been used for years by me and others for hiking, biking and walking dogs. Suddenly, in January 2006 the entire area was officially posted closed and we were told that the new path would open early in 2007. Well, only half of it opened one year late in 2008 and currently we are being told phase II will not be finished until 2009, two years later than promised. Meanwhile, the unfinished section is gated up like a missile base.

To now raise issues of rockfall as a reason for the delay suggests that the designers and contractors are totally unfamiliar with the area. Rockfall and wash-outs have always been a problem in the area. That is why they had to replace the bridge across Kumukumu Stream.  Among the odd things is that the contractors had no problems in 2007 quickly building a bridge and several pavilions like those along the existing portions of the path. In addition, the unfinished section remained only loosely closed, was widely used by residents, and little or no progress was seen until the gate was erected in mid-2008.

It seems that the entire project is totally mis-managed by the county and the contractors.  There does not seem to be a will to finish. There does not appear to be a concern, or understanding, that this area was heavily used by residents before path construction started.  In addition, there is no transparency on status. Only when county staff have to testify before the County Council do we get any information. Phase II is but a quarter of the entire envisioned path project, and engineering-wise some of the easiest. I fear that the county has demonstrated its inability to manage such a project and, although I am a supporter of the entire path, I seriously wonder about the county’s ability to lead the entire project to completion.

Finally, regarding leadership: As most of us know, the path was a special project of Mayor Bryan Baptiste. During the entire time of the closure of the area of the path, and its lateness and incompleteness, Mayor-elect Bernard Carvalho was Director of Parks and Recreation and a confidant of Mayor Bapstiste. I hope that the leadership shortfall and lack of transparency on this project do not signal a leadership style that will spread county-wide. I call upon Carvalho upon becoming mayor to demonstrate his promised leadership by bringing phase II to an early completion and if early completion is not possible, to show his leadership by being open with us on why the project is so late and what lessons have been learned that will ensure that the path project should go forward at all.

• David Stewart, Wailua

KIUC response

Recent articles and letters printed in The Garden Island regarding the cost of fuel oil and KIUC’s 15-year Strategic Plan provides us an opportunity to clear up a few errors and misconceptions.

As outlined in our Strategic Plan, we will be shifting more than 50 percent of our energy supply to renewable sources by 2023. Our reasons for doing this include our environmental responsibility in reducing global warming and shifting us away from the fluctuations in oil prices, which we have no control over. The shift towards renewable energy sources, especially if they are Kaua‘i produced, helps to strengthen Kaua‘i’s economy by keeping dollars spent on energy on Kaua‘i. We currently export millions of dollars off of Kaua‘i for imported energy.

KIUC agrees that waste sources should be used for electrical energy supply but half of Kaua‘i’s waste collection and the Kekaha Landfill are controlled by Kaua‘i County. Western Renewable Energy’s (WRE) interest is encouraging, but as explained to E ‘Ola Mau Na Leo O Kekaha, WRE and Walter Lewis, KIUC has no control over the county’s waste and the county Landfill.  Energy projects involving county waste and county facilities will need to be initiated by the county.  So the petition that is being circulated by E ‘Ola Mau Na Leo O Kekaha, while good intentioned, is misdirected.

KIUC’s 2005 Renewable Energy RFP included selecting a developer to build a Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facility. That project has not moved and cannot be done without the county.  The county told KIUC that they could not directly negotiate with a private, non-governmental entity including KIUC. Therefore, we have been unable to proceed with WTE conversion or landfill gas utilization and await action by the county.

If the county opens an RFP or allows KIUC to directly negotiate a WTE facility, we would utilize a competitive selection process that could include WRE, among other WTE developers. 

We do agree that there is a significant opportunity for increased energy efficiency and that members can reap immediate benefits at the lowest cost of all energy options available.  Residential and commercial customers can call KIUC’s Energy Services group at 246-8284 for assistance.

• Randy Hee, President & CEO, Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative 

Big liars

When can you tell if a politician is lying? When they open their mouths.

The big lies:

•George H.: “Read my lips, no new taxes.”

•Clinton: “I never had sex with that woman.”

•George W.: “The economy is fundamentally sound.”

•Obama: “Change.”

Again we have gotten the same from our federal to our local government. My elected officials are the best paid in the world, and have assaulted my senses. Do you feel stupid yet? At least 72 percent of you should. The percentage of Hawaiians who voted for Obama. I sure feel stupid while I sit in traffic, burning the last of my $4.50-a-gallon fuel, passing the destroyed Coco Palms, smelling the broken sewer injection well, riding my bike down the unfinished bike path with locked gates. I have not read or heard anything new except the transfer of wealth from the working people to the government, while our elected officials blame the greedy rich.

The three E’s to prosperity are:

•Energy

•Economy

•Education

How are the above political? I do have some suggestions which I will write about latter.

 

• Gary Pierce, Kilauea

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