Letters for Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kaua‘i is changing •

Junior Lifeguard program outstanding •

Mediation not for KIUC

Kaua‘i is changing

Sometime over the weekend a bicycle was stolen from our driveway on Laipo Road.

 Not exactly an earth-shaking crime, but the bike belongs to my 90-year-old father. He rides it almost every day on the bike path in Kapa‘a — both for exercise and to visit with his friends.

As a decorated veteran, an ex-prisoner of war and a survivor of the Bataan Death March, with two artificial hips and assorted scars, he really didn’t expect anyone to steal his inexpensive blue girl’s bike (the lack of the middle bar allows him to mount the bike easier with his limited hip mobility), but Kaua‘i is changing.

William Peterson, Kapa‘a

Junior Lifeguard program outstanding

If someone knows another Kaua‘i team that’s ever won eight state titles in a row, please send in a letter. I recall some good streaks we had with our mock trail competition team, a couple of friends of mine had children/students that were on the teams. And maybe a Senior team in some sport has done this along the way. It’s quite outstanding achievement in any context.

So, what meaning is there in this? I myself am not a “winning is everything” person, although I admit that even in “friendly” family card games I prefer the feeling that comes with a win to that which comes with a loss. Overall, however, it’s not the wins themselves that have me busting my shirt buttons with pride and happiness.

What brings me joy about this program are the following:

1) All youth from age 13 through 17 can be in Junior Lifeguards — Free. Sure, the state winners tend to be the youth who are star athletes and competitors, but youth of all body types and with varying levels of skill have enjoyed the program, and they are all treated with respect and given equal attention, and I believe they all progress, in one way or another, because of being in the program. Every participant gets a sharp-looking medal.

2) Our youth get to spend a bunch of time with our top water safety professionals. This year they were Kalani Vierra, Randy Ortiz, Eugene Ancheta, Bruce Stine, and Marvin Lum. A number of other Lifeguards have been our coaches the last 8 years, although I believe Eugene and Kalani have been the 2 constants throughout this amazing streak.

3) Our Junior Lifeguards add significantly to our “Force Multiplier” presence. i.e. non-professionals on our beaches who have skills and safety knowledge and who make at least as many Kaua‘i rescues/year, often on remote beaches, as do our Lifeguards themselves.

4) Education about the pitfalls and dangers of drug use is a key part of the program, and an alternate lifestyle (i.e. to a life of drug use and experimentation) is demonstrated and shared first hand.

5) Just plain summer fun, our youth are out there on the beaches and in the water with people their age. (I keep trying to avoid using the word “kids”, although given my own age that is the word that first comes to my mind.)

I know there are a 6 and a 7 and an 8 (for 8 championships) but I don’t want this to get too lengthy.

Congratulations to our Junior Lifeguards and to our coaches and to our parents.

Monty Downs, M.D., President

Kaua‘i Lifeguard Association

Mediation not for KIUC

My very good friend, Jose Bulatao, suggests in his letter of July 31 (“Shared kuleana”) that “the core group of petitioners consider the feasibility of this possible approach” namely “the professional expertise of mediation services (such as KEO has).”

Good, but unrealistic. Before you start gathering signatures for another petition embodying this suggestion, consider these requirements:

(1) A formal suit or action against KIUC must be filed with the Court which may or may not refer the matter or matters for mediation depending upon the issues raised in the Complaint; OR

(2) Without a suit or action filed in Court, parties with problems to resolve must file with KEO a request for mediation. Opposing parties must agree to mediation.

Because the failed “second” petition declared that “the Board has stacked the deck” and created an “illegitimate election process,” I commented in my letter of July 23 that “the petition could be better resolved in another forum.”

Mediation is a good suggestion. But, to get there (1) or (2), above, must be satisfied and for KIUC to agree to (2) would be a disservice to the 5,000-plus members who voted to support KIUC’s decision.

Perhaps, they had as much, if not more, information on the issues as did those who collected signatures of unqualified voter-members for their second petition.

I have been, and still am, along with many others, a volunteer mediator with KEO for approximately 5 years.

Alfred Laureta, Lihu‘e

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