Letters for Thursday, June 16, 2011

Regarding the KIUC debacle • The

library can be better • Kaua‘i pride?

Regarding the KIUC debacle

The sleeping giant isn’t fully awake yet, but he’s starting to stir all right. Members from all over our island are voicing their concerns about the upcoming KIUC vote on hydroelectric power. If you feel your options were honestly and fairly presented beforehand, all you’ve got to do is vote your conscience. But if you weren’t satisfied with how they conducted themselves recently or simply disagree with the direction they’re taking, please vote “No” upon receiving your ballot. If the “No’s” ultimately prevail, then let’s see if our current leadership actually abandons all hydroelectric projects in the future as Mr. Proudfoot, KIUC’s attorney, warned.

Actually, I’d be more worried if Mr. Proudfoot was in charge of KIUC, but he’s not. He was just honing his “bullish” style of character, but trust me; he’s just full of himself and trying his best to scare us into voting “Yes.” In reality, he’s a little short on substance but tall on yarn. Should hydro project abandonment actually occur, we could always put people on the Board that are more inclined to move it forward. Problem solved. We might want a new attorney while we’re at it. Right now, I’m more concerned about how KIUC is going to count the blank or undecided ballots. I hope they count them as “No’s” as in other elections.

I truly wish we could all step back, take a moment to actually discuss our game plan with more clarity and proceed to get hydroelectric power on this water rich island in the best way possible. If using the FERC is that “best way possible,” then KIUC should have considered pono methods of expressing themselves versus the methods they chose.

But it’s too late now. The ballots are on their way, and we have to remember some cold hard facts right now.

The job of the KIUC Board of Directors is to chart the course of the company, then get out of the way. The CEO takes over and decides how to get there. So who’s really responsible for getting us in this predicament?

It can’t be Mr. Asquith. He just wanted to discuss the game plan for making hydroelectricity on our grid a reality and you just can’t do that with only three minutes. Anyone involved in a high school debate competition knows that.

It can’t be their attorney, Mr. Proudfoot. He was just there to support their CEO and Board Of Directors because that’s what he does. So that leaves their CEO, Mr. Bissell, the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Tacbian, the directors themselves or all of the above. But aren’t they just doing their jobs?

I think their first mistake was trying to emulate the Kaua‘i County Council style of taking testimony from its community members. But there’s no back and forth permitted or even encouraged in that style of meeting. If and when an exchange does occur, the questions flow from someone on the committee to the one testifying, not the other way around. Is that what you expected at your KIUC membership meeting?

It would have been more productive had a professional facilitator been used to organize and prioritize member concerns. To expect an outcome other than what we got that night would have been kidding ourselves. I used to provide facilitator services for Kaua‘i Electric while still employed there back in the 90s, but I don’t know what happened to that practice since it changed to KIUC years later.

And why can’t one member surrender his/her time to another? What’s the big deal? What if you asked a question knowing the answer you received was flat out incorrect and you had the data to prove it. Could you get it done in your remaining 1.25 minutes? I doubt it. We’ll have to organize a tag team style of questioning if they do it this way again. I think we were either intentionally set up to fail or the leadership talent over there is seriously questionable. I miss Randy Hee.

Vince Cosner, Lihu‘e

The library can be better

I grew up utilizing the library and continue to do so. I have seen the library system greatly improve over the years. The ease of reserving books and DVDs whether at the library or over the Internet is wonderful!

I do believe the library can be even better. Why can’t they be more like Borders or Barnes & Noble? Breaking out of their outdated shell and embrace the 21st century. Providing wireless Internet, coffee and a welcoming place to read and study with normal hours of business. Of course they would still remain a quite/no cell phone zone.

The State could solicit bids for coffee vendors providing a source of revenue as well as alleviating the cost to taxpayers for facility management. What better time to have this discussion than with the uncertainty of the economy and the recent closures of Borders across the islands. The library, if given the right resources and necessary upgrades, can play a big role in the communities they serve.

Josh Amas, Waikiki

Kaua‘i pride?

We have a lot to be proud of on Kaua‘i. But holding an event to spur said pride at a site that was built over our ancestors’ bones is outrageous. During the early planning stages of the Kukui‘ula development site, there was an archaeological inventory taken over approximately 1000 acres in the Koloa ahupua‘a. While its true that much of what was found was the remnants of a failed sugar cane industry, there were also a number heiau sites and ‘auwai areas that were highly recommended for preservation. This was in 1988.

Twenty-three years later, the same company whose birth is not of this land wants to exploit our local culture by creating a celebration on the same area that was to be protected. No matter what ethnicity you are, when you live in Hawai‘i there is a kuleana on the land that we all share.

That kuleana is to protect our ‘aina from mauka to makai. Times are hard right now for almost everyone due to the economy, but the United States and their money was never where our pride originated.

We have so much to be proud of on Kaua‘i and so much work to do to ensure that all of our keiki can grow up in a culture that is organic from this land. Kukui‘ula development is a corporation that is not of this land nor is it for our people. Our pride as the people of Kaua’i needs no shopping center celebration.

Iokua Mori, Lihu‘e

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