Letters for Sunday, September 18, 2011

• Tourists like to bike too • No more ‘banky-panky’ • WOT we

cannot afford to lose

Tourists like to bike too

No offense to Glenn Mickens (“Don’t stymie drivers,” Sept. 12), who apparently will not be applying for an AARP bicycle loan, but I have to side with Michael Mann (“Bike routes not safe,” Sept. 14).

After moving to Kaua‘i some years ago from California, where I regularly biked to work on wide bike lanes and paths, I foolishly tried to ride on Kuhio Highway on the Westside. This was one of the most frightening experiences of my life.

The worst part was when I came to one of the narrow concrete bridges, which was preceded by a warning sign: “Bike lane ends.” What was I supposed to do, turn around? The “bike lane” itself was about two inches of glass strewn, pot-holed, uneven pavement. That was the last time I rode a bike on this island!

Next week I will be visiting one of my favorite islands, Lord Howe, off the coast of Australia. There are few cars on this small island and virtually everyone, locals and tourists alike, ride around on bikes.

Everyone seems to enjoy this activity, even those tourists who have not ridden since childhood.

Let’s see: Small island, good weather, half the people on the island are visitors, many of the permanent residents are retired. Any similarities to another island we know? Seems as though there is an industry in bike rentals, sales and maintenance just waiting to be developed on Kaua‘i — if only there were places to ride.

No one is suggesting that the majority of the working population will bike to work, but what about the literally thousands of others who might like the recreational opportunity? As a former professional athlete, I think even Glenn Mickens might be in favor of that.

Of course the cost element always enters in. But what would the effect on our tourist economy be if we made the island a more attractive place to visit? What if automobile traffic was reduced, particularly by tourists who might like to bike somewhere instead of driving?

Why not utilize the maze of old plantation roads? We are not talking about using all highway funds for bike lanes and dedicated paths, but using even a small portion would be a good investment in the future of our island.

Robin Clark, Kalaheo

No more ‘banky-panky’

The Attorneys General of the 50 states are investigating the five largest mortgage banks, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial, for illegally foreclosing on homes. The Obama administration is urging a quick settlement hoping to put another scandal behind us. But several state Attorneys General, including New York, Delaware and Minnesota, are questioning the need to let these banks steal homes to end the probe. This group wants a very narrow deal that will not exclude legal action against the banks. It is not clear what position has been taken by the Hawai‘i Attorney General.

The banks are accused of not following proper legal procedures in securitizing and grouping the mortgages, so it is possible that those securities do not actually contain the mortgages. The banks are also being investigated for fabricating missing documentation.

There is a lot happening now and it is hard to keep track, but we should not let the banksters engage in any more “banky- panky” or they will further damage our economy.

John Zwiebel, Kalaheo

WOT we cannot afford to lose

Transitioning in the ways we deal with trash will require some monumental efforts. Let’s face it: Habits are hard to change.

Here are some ideas:

1) Have a program focusing on “How to… (set up ways to monitor and separate trash in the household — from “a” to “z” — be produced and played on public access community television)

2) Make DVD copies of this program and send a copy to each household.

3) Arrange community meetings to “demonstrate” and promote the “responsible and profitable” ways to deal with trash.

4) Encourage “Zero-Trash” practices and approaches to minimize trash output. Award prizes to communities or individual households who have “mastered” the art of zero- trash management.

5) Declare WOT: “War on Trash” as a focal point to protect and preserve our lives, our property, and our island!

We cannot take it for granted that people will automatically respond to new approaches and demands about the way we dispose of our clutter. In many cases, our mindsets may be stuck in the “force-of-habit” mode, and we will need to be effectively “re-trained” to meet the new standards of trash- management. Consciousness and awareness will not cut the mustard.

We may need some “boot camp” applications to get the message well learned and maintained. This might be one of those instances where adhering to strict requirements at regimented levels of performance must be monitored. This is, essentially, our War On Trash (WOT) which we cannot afford to lose!

Jose Bulatao Jr., Kekaha

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