Thursday, May 19, 2022 |
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• Paying for it twice • Bike lane, bike route • Only temporary
Paying for it twice
The trouble with a “Shot in the dark” (In Our Opinion, March 14) is that one shot cannot hit all the targets.
In this case, the shot was aimed at the county government and their planned un-televised budget meetings this spring. However, the missed target was Ho‘ike, our Public, Education, and Government (PEG) television access service provider.
Did you know Ho‘ike is, and has always been, well funded to televise government meetings? Did you know you pay for it? You do! Check your cable bill.
In fact you are being charged twice. Once in your monthly cable TV bill and again by paying your Kaua‘i County taxes, a portion of which goes to Ho‘ike. Ho‘ike is double-dipping. You pay them directly through state-mandated cable franchise fees and again through your county taxes.
I agree with The Garden Island that because of our tight economy “the need for community members to have easy access to what cuts and increases to fees are being made becomes all the more important.” Namely, the county budget meetings should be televised on the government access channel to allow public oversight.
There is nothing stopping the Ho‘ike cameras from rolling except Ho‘ike’s insistence they be paid twice for the same job. Ho‘ike already receives over $400,000 annually in state-mandated cable subscriber fees, and capital monies from the cable company on top of that. According to most recent IRS 990 forms, Ho‘ike has over $598,000 in unrestricted net assets that could be drawn upon.
That money has built up over years because Ho‘ike has not fully expended its PEG franchise fees (which you pay on your cable bill) and from county contracts (which you pay for in county taxes). The estimated 40 employee hours to cover these budget meetings would only come to $800.
The public should also know that the state regulator, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, has offered the county the authority to administer Ho‘ike (and will even pay the county to do so), but the county remains unresponsive to this standing offer. The current plan from the county will have government meetings covered by an outside, Mainland corporation. Captioning services will be provided by another corporation located in India, instead of the current Hawai‘i-based service provider. If this award is finalized, Ho‘ike will become a sub-contractor to this Mainland company in a for-pay contract where Ho‘ike will provide the equipment and personnel that has been already paid for by cable subscribers.
Fortunately, the Internet allows concerned individuals, citizen groups, and civic-minded organizations (like The Garden Island) to bypass Ho‘ike and get this valuable information to the people. Unfortunately, the civic-minded must pay yet again to do a job they have already paid for twice.
Ed Coll, Puhi
Bike lane, bike route
With all due respect, Mr. Rutter, I take issue with your comment in your March 10 letter titled “Real bike paths needed” where you say, “There is no bicycle path along the main highway on Kaua‘i.”
What exactly do you think those “bicycle route” signs mean along our highway with the stripped off areas?
You are exactly right that this bike, scooter, walk or jog “route” has not been properly maintained. If you will ask retired highway inspector Joe Rosa about this “route” — he was there 30 years ago when it was built — he will tell you that it was made for bicyclists but due to minimal usage it was not maintained and some of the highway was widened into this bike area due to the need for more vehicle usage.
But restriping this “bike route” has been ongoing over the years as you will note when driving on the highway.
I also agree with you that a better, safer “route” for this path might have been through our cane haul roads but no path will ever be for anything but recreation as I have previously stated. We should be lobbying our federal department of highways to shift the millions of dollars being spent on a path (from transportation enhancement funds) to repairing our direly needed roads.
And again, Mr. Rutter, I hope that you will agree with signage along our highways like “speed limits,” “littering $1,000 fine,” “click it or ticket” and many more. So when signs specify “Bike Route” that is exactly what they mean and yes, these are dedicated bike lanes on Kaua‘i — seldom used but, nonetheless, there.
Glenn Mickens, Kapa‘a
Re letter “Next time let me sleep” by James “Kimo” Rosen:
My goodness, people were just getting to higher grounds to be safe from the tsunami. It was only temporarily. Not like they were going to move in and stay there for the rest of their lives.
After the “all clear” was given, you had the rest of the day and throughout the night to sleep.
Howard Tolbe, ‘Ele‘ele
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