Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 |
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•Speak up on Koke‘e plan
•Talking about tragedy
•Keep our prisoners here
Speak up on Koke‘e plan
After reading the pre-final draft of the Master Plan for Koke‘e and Waimea Canyon state parks and attending the last meeting of the advisory board on April 3, I continue to be concerned about the commercialization of these parks.
The plan includes:
— Development of additional short-term rental cabins adjacent to existing cabins
— Converting clusters of recreational cabins to short-term rental
— A lodge, its capacity not specified (“to meet existing demand”) nor its location shown.
— Converting 7th Day Adventist Camp and United Church of Christ camps to concession rentals
— New park visitor service center building
— New park headquarters
— New camping areas at Halemanu and Pu’u Lua.
I am concerned that the plan outlines development in these parks to generate three times the revenues required to run them, even though in 2006 the operating budget for these parks was $300,000 and revenues from cabin leases and the lodge concession totaled $431,000 in 2004. The entry fees, which will go ahead regardless of approval of the master plan, will gross over $700,000, leaving me wondering why we need any further commercialization to sustain these parks.
The location of the new lodge is not included in the map of proposed changes. It worries me that the location of the lodge is not specified in the plan. It could be placed anywhere — even in the meadow!
Park planners lament that this has been in the planning stages for eight years. Perhaps this is because of DLNR’s resistance to the public’s wishes.
The continued inclusion of expanded commercial ventures as part of the park plan defies public testimony. It makes me wonder if the Administration has an agenda that overrides the wishes of people on Kaua‘i. If so, why lead the public on by asking for their input?
Our last chance for public input is the newly formed advisory committee, which is done by the Legislature to make sure the public’s voice is heard.
If you share these concerns, please attend the next meeting of the Koke’e State Park Advisory Council on at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Old Main Room of the Lihu‘e Neighborhood Center (3353 Eono St.) or contact Lauren Tanaka at Division of State parks at 808-587-0293.
Kathy Valier, Wainiha
Talking about tragedy
While I appreciate all the coverage of our anti-drug program and feel The Garden Island does a good job of reporting on events of community concern, I feel that I must correct a misquote in the May 18 article titled “Experts to shed light on drug abuse, Internet safety.”
It was reported that I said last year a student killed himself on graduation night because he did not get to walk at the ceremonies. In actuality, I said that we were planning an event to help seniors at Waimea High School deal with the anxiety that they are feeling as they graduate without Max Agor, and I recounted that a senior committed suicide on graduation night last year. I did not give a reason, nor do I know the reason, and it is not our business.
I do not think the mistake was intentional; however, it serves to remind us how powerful our words really are. Both students lives ended tragically and their friends and family are in deep despair.
We try to prevent these tragedies from happening. Talking openly about it sometimes helps people understand and make better choices. However, at the same time we must be sensitive to how that dialogue impacts the families that are grieving for their children.
Until we ourselves experience the loss of a child, we will never know what these families go through. So please let them grieve with dignity and allow their children to rest in peace.
Theresa Koki, County anti-drug coordinator
Keep our prisoners here
I agree with the writer of the “Bring our Hawai‘i prisoners home” letter (May 11).
I do not object to sending people who commit crimes to prison but it is a disgrace for Hawai‘i to send them to Mainland prisons. One of the most important factors in rehabilitation is contact with and support from family and loved ones.
If a person lives on the Mainland, they can drive or take a bus to see someone who is incarcerated. However, that is impossible if you live in Hawai‘i and the cost of flying to the Mainland on a regular basis is prohibitive.
Also, when a prisoner is at least 2,500 miles away from anyone they know, it makes them much easier targets for abuse because there is no one on the scene to be their advocate.
This whole problem is exacerbated by private (for profit) prisons. Their only reason for being in business is to make a profit and, in order to increase their profits, they need more customers (prisoners). They have no vested interest in rehabilitation and the longer they can keep you, the better for them. A repeat offender is just a potential customer.
Hawai‘i should bring our prisoners home to institutions run by the state.
Linda Estes, Koloa
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