Letters for Saturday, August 13, 2011

• Consider the Dolley Madison approach •

If they can get you to ask the wrong questions … •

Slow down, this is not the Mainland

Consider the Dolley Madison approach

In response to the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative members’ second petition to recall the election and strong requests for a verifiable count of signatures, KIUC simply issued a statement defining a valid signature versus an invalid signature, plus a restatement of the count.

They completely sidestepped the question about verification and that they might have a vested interest in protecting their own privacy in how the determination was made on each signature.

At KIUC’s Board of Directors meeting on July 26, I was the only one from the public signed in to talk. Chairman Phil Tacbian said only members could talk and they could only talk about items on the agenda for three minutes.

I was called to speak and introduced myself as the point person on the second petition. The chairman said the petition was not on the agenda and therefore could not be discussed, so I could not talk. I thanked him and sat down, setting my precedence for respect.

I sat and listened as each director gave their report. Consulting counsel Proudfoot reported that he advised the Board on how to proceed in response to the second petition.

To paraphrase, I said: A point of order, chairman! Mr. Proudfoot just brought the subject of the second petition to the table. I may now speak on the subject.

“No, you may not,” he said. This is the second time the chair chose to be dismissive.

Steve Rapozo, vice chair and chairman of the Members Relations Committee, did not mention the second petition in his report. This was the third time that a KIUC elected representative chose to ignore their commitment to being open and reaching out to the public.

Rapozo’s Member Relations report centered on defining exactly what their course of action would be for outreach with the public. After 10 minutes of discussion, it was still a quandary for them as to what it would look like.

Knowing that Rapozo probably categorized me as an unreasonable obstructionist, I approached him with a suggestion. He was a bit taken aback, but he listened. I reminded him that history has taught us the approach that works under similar circumstances: the Dolley Madison solution of giving weekly parties for opposing political sides in neutral territory. Apply it to island-wide regional parties, where the public is attracted first by the food and then by the opportunity to ask questions of their elected directors and opposing views one-on-one. Rapozo listened. Time will tell if he is receptive to Dolley Madison’s ingeniously iconic solution, which is used in the White House to this day.

Rapozo is one of the Gang of Five that controls the direction that the board votes. The three up for re-election are Ben Sullivan, Stu Burley and Steve Rapozo. If we vote out Stu and Steve with strong candidates, we will have purged the Gang of Five with our own Five Alive. This is the light at the end of the tunnel.

Meanwhile, the chairman invited Free Flow Power representatives to report on their progress. This was not on the agenda.

Will KIUC consider the possibility of a forum approach in getting to the root of the matter discussed in a neutral venue with an opportunity for both sides of the issue to be in the planning process of determining what should be discussed and how both sides can be fairly presented?

Tek Nickerson, Kapa‘a

If they can get you to ask the wrong questions …

I couldn’t agree more with Vanessa Van Voorhis’ quote from Thomas Pynchon (TGI, Aug. 5, page B6, “We Love It”): “If they can get you to ask the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.”

Doubt it? Your contributor of questions, Byron York (TGI, Aug. 5, page A4, “Media Voices”), offers this one: “ What’s wrong with partisanship in debate over the debt ceiling?”

Byron goes on to show that the Democrats and Republicans have somehow conspired to fill the public purse with private debt. Quite so.

On the other hand, had Byron phrased it as “Why has there been so little partisan debate over the debt ceiling?” he would have had to talk about whose private debt we’re destined never to repay.

He might start by listing those wealthy representatives and regulators to whom we’ve entrusted our economy. Then he would have had to talk about our bloated military and our endless wars and who is profiting from them at the expense of the infrastructure of our social well-being while inflicting global havoc. Then we might discuss how we, as 5 percent of the world’s population, manage to consume 35 percent of the planet’s resources. God bless the U.S.A.

Yep, it’s omnipartisan (neologism of the year).  

Anyone not surprised Byron chose to ask it as he did? Me, neither.

Alex Hay, Kekaha

Slow down, this is not the Mainland

Just a concern for the speed limit in Wailua. Motorists used to speed on the highway before the new bridge was built. Now that the new bridge is done, it’s like driving on the Mainland.

Motorists speed coming from both Lihu‘e and Kapa‘a. I sit in my office and see cars and big rigs flying on the highway. It is especially dangerous when the bigger trucks are speeding. If they need to come to a sudden stop, they carry so much weight and force that it would be nearly impossible. This could cause a major accident and road closure that would create traffic for days.

I know it’s impossible to have a police officer in Wailua all day every day, but is there anything that can be done to make the highway safer for other motorists?

Kahanu Smith , Kapa‘a

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