Letters for Thursday, July 7, 2011

KPD and DOT: Immediate help is requested

If history is a lesson, we must vote ‘no’

KPD and DOT: Immediate help is requested

On the morning of July 5, I was walking to my place of work across Nawiliwili Road from the mall. As I approached Nawiliwili Road from the mall entrance fronting Starbucks, I noticed an elderly woman (local, if that helps some of you accept what I am saying better) who had been standing there for some time.

When I got next to her, I found out why — she told me she was afraid to cross. She was waiting for another person to cross the street with her, fearful that she would be hit by a passing car. Does this seem right to anyone reading this? If so, could you please write a response letter and explain why?

This crosswalk, nearest the Kaumuali‘i Highway-end of Nawiliwili Road, is a deathtrap for unsuspecting pedestrians. I have crossed the road at that spot at least twice per day almost every day since the middle of last November. Nearly every day, some idiot goes barreling through that intersection in manner that seems completely oblivious to the fact that there is a crosswalk there.

Don’t try to blame this on the tourists. Locals and tourists alike don’t pay attention or don’t seem to care — they see this long stretch of road or the soon-to-be-changing light down the road and feel some urge to go as fast as they can. They don’t stop if a pedestrian is waiting to cross, and they often don’t slow down or stop if the pedestrian is already in the crosswalk. It’s particularly scary when two cars are traveling side by side down the road and a pedestrian is crossing. One car may stop, but the other just keeps going.

There is no traffic signal or crossing light at this intersection. There is at the Haleko Road intersection further down the street, but it is ridiculous to expect people to walk a few hundred feet down the road to the signaled crosswalk when there is a perfectly good marked crosswalk which is closer.

Either Kaua‘i Police Department needs to station a regular patrol at that intersection and heavily fine those who ignore pedestrian safety, or a crossing signal and light need to go up at that intersection. Someone is going to get hurt there. It’s amazing that it hasn’t already happened.

It should never be the case that the elderly in this community, or anyone else for that matter, have to fear crossing the street. Since we can not count on individuals

to act responsibly, we once again have to ask government to step in and provide assistance to force the issue.

I look forward to hearing the complaints about this letter, such as “our rights are being taken away,” “there are too many laws,” “you can’t protect people from everything,” “there are already too many signal lights on this island,” “you try change our way of life,” blah, blah, blah.

People have a right to be able to cross a street safely. If individuals would act responsibly, there would be no need to ask local government to step in.

Michael Mann, Lihu‘e

If history is a lesson, we must vote ‘no’

In this highly charged, controversial issue of getting greater hydro power on Kaua‘i — we now have six minor operations going — let’s examine an aspect of the plan that has not been adequately discussed.

We hear from Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative the word “trust, trust, trust” over and over. But let’s move back about 10 years when KIUC was in the process of buying Kaua‘i Electric from Citizens Utility and see exactly why or if we should trust what KIUC is proposing to do today.

In 2001, a group led by Greg Gardner held a series of meetings around Kaua‘i telling the people that $285 million was the best price at which KE could be bought.

Based on strenuous objection from some of our citizens and the Consumer Advocate, the Public Utilities Commission rejected that price. However, in 2002, the PUC approved a $220-million price that was still $50 million over the KE book value. Actually, we noted the ‘Ele‘ele plant that was being bought was a rust bucket and the only good assets we got for this outrageous price were the power lines that had been destroyed by Hurricane Iniki.

As a side note, Citizens Utilities’ stock soared on the big board after dumping KE to KIUC — interesting!

But back to “trust.” The same investment banker who was part of the “best price deal” in selling KE is an integral part of the Free Flow Power/Federal Energy Regulatory Commission deal being proposed today! And the same legal counsel that was there to advise KIUC in 2001 and 2002 is still the one giving legal opinions to the KIUC Board of Directors and CEO today!

If past history is a lesson, we need to heed. Then, with all due respect to our KIUC CEO, we must vote “no” on this ballot measure. As a co-op, we the rate-paying members are the owners. As such, we deserve a voice, and our views should have been included in the Voters Guide, in addition to the self-serving position penned by KIUC management.

Nearly everyone wants hydro power on Kaua‘i, as we desperately need to get off the fossil-fuel kick. But, as Kaipo Asing so often said, this whole issue is about the  process, and this process has been skewed from the get go.

Glenn Mickens, Kapa‘a


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