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• Stand up and be counted • Tourists should have little say in
Stand up and be counted
This hunk of a man in an Adult Corrections Officer’s uniform walked up to me a few years ago and asked, “Coach, you remember me?” I had to confess that I did not. But I learned that he was one of the skinny 9th kids on the junior varsity basketball team that my friend and I coached at Farrington High School. I found out he was working full-time, and was married with two children.
Back then, many of the kids lived in low-income housing projects and came from broken homes with little or no supervision. Getting in trouble and using drugs was the norm for them.
But while they were on the team we put our foot down and set the rules. A violation was grounds for dismissal. These young men had to understand the concept of being responsible for one another, and more importantly to be held accountable.
That year we won 27 games with no defeats, and averaged over 85 points. We defeated the top private and public schools. We scored over a 100 points in at least eight games.
Our strategy was simple, full court press, man to man defense from tip off until the buzzer sounded to end the game. There was no rest and everyone played. We had 3 rules: You must give 100 percent, if you’re open, you must shoot the ball, and you absolutely must be a good sportsman.
I learned more from those kids about dedication and commitment than they learned from me. I learned that adolescent children need to know that we care; that if given a chance, they will succeed.
This brings me to the recent meeting in Lihu‘e about the proposed Adolescent Drug Treatment Center. Testimony ranged from complete support, to concerns about the location of the care center because of its close proximity to local residents.
Core arguments centered on displacement of animals, and possible increases of criminal activity that would put the elderly at risk.
Those are very valid concerns. I don’t have an answer with regard to the animals — wish I did. But I too was concerned about the strong assertion that the elderly would be placed at risk. We certainly don’t want that to happen.
So I did some research on-line but could not locate any data about crime stats in the vicinity of drug treatment centers for juveniles. So I called two of my counter-parts on the mainland that had treatment centers in their community close to homes.
Neither reported any increase in crime, but more surprisingly it appeared that crime and calls for services were actually a little lower than similar neighborhoods without a care center.
Unfortunately, I do not have solid data to support those assertions. However, on the other side of the coin, there is no data to disprove the antidotal observations.
From my over 35 years of law enforcement experience, the “Not In My Back Yard” argument does not stand on solid ground, but is based solely on instilling fear in the community, fear that is unwarranted, reckless, and irresponsible.
What happened to those kids we coached? The vast majority are now leading productive lives, while a few ended up in OCCC. But there’s one thing I’ll always remember about them, and that was while in the gym they did not act like tugs or juvenile delinquents, they were just kids who needed guidance. They just needed a chance to succeed, not unlike those kids who have substance abuse problems; who are in need our help now.
I find it difficult to comprehend how someone can claim to support the program yet try to find every excuse not to have it build where it would do the most good. This project is so important that either you are for helping these children, or you’re against it. It’s as simple as that.
Some of these kids have victimized others, but by enlarge, they are victims themselves many times over. If we are a community who is as caring as we profess to be, now is not the time to turn our back on them; lets stand up and be counted by supporting the proposed adolescent drug treatment center.
Darryl D. Perry, Kaua‘i chief of police
Tourists should have little say in our decisions
I have frequently seen tourists feeding the chickens they claim to hate so much. I have also seen them feeding stray cats and pigeons, even in places where they are specifically asked not to do such.
Tourists can be quite dumb in this regard, and are prone to not thinking clearly about what they are doing while not at home. As a result, quite frankly, I don’t believe we should be making any kind of decisions about community issues here based solely, or even to a very large extent, on what tourists have to say on the matter.
If we, as residents, have a problem with the chickens, then we should do something about the problem for the sake of our community, not for the sake of some tourist’s pleasure.
I’m not saying I like the fact that the island is overrun by chickens, but if tourists have such a problem with them, then I would suggest they stop feeding them and the other stray animals, spend their vacation at the resort hotels and not in residential areas, and complain to the owners of those resort hotels to rid those premises of any chickens so as to improve the quality of their stay.
Writing into the local newspaper to complain about chicken noise is one thing. It didn’t sit well with me, but I could let that slide. Stating that Los Angeles would somehow be a better vacation destination, however, underscored for me how little stock I should put in that particular tourist’s comments. If he feels more comfortable and safe in Los Angeles compared to Kaua‘i, then he should, by all means, vacation there. He might want to check up on what areas he should stay away from, though, including every freeway.
Just a friendly suggestion for someone who seems to have lost their perspective.
Michael Mann, Lihu‘e
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