Letters for Wednesday, September 21, 2011

• Doublethink torture • Plastic Chinese bags

Doublethink torture

The occupational hazard of democracy is supposed to be know-nothing voters, not know-nothing office holders. 

Voters are not legally mandated to understand how their government is required to operate, but our elected, appointed, and hired officials are legally required to understand and obey civics requirements and service law.

Supporting the notion of democracy’s occupational hazards, the author George Orwell described “Doublethink” as the ability to hold two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, while accepting both conflicting beliefs as the truth. “Doublethink” is saying you have true democratic governance and saying that the “coconut wireless” is the most authoritative source of public opinion for our officials.

“Doublethink” is the dialogue from our County officials saying the State is responsible and that County entities chose to interpret and apply the solar water heating exemption rules contrary to the obvious intent of the law for over half of all new construction homes in Kaua‘i County.

Our elected County leaders proclaim publicly that the solution is changing State law and to endorse the obvious County failure. The failure is the mayor failed as our chief executive officer in providing management oversight, unlike O‘ahu and Maui counties with their successful outcomes. Executive management failures are demonstrated by yet another County department’s gross failure to correctly interpret and apply State law.

Why the Mayor’s subordinates allowed the exemptions should be the focus of the Council’s questions, not “Why can‘t the State write a law with language that prevents our mayor’s hired legal counsel or technocrats from torturing the words into meaning the opposite of the law’s intent?”

Doublethink is saying that the County issued the legal opinions and exemptions and saying the State is to blame.

Stated differently, why should Maui and O‘ahu have the any interest in wasting their legislative time and effort on changing a law that works perfectly well for 90 percent of the State’s population? Kaua‘i indulges in “Doublethink” with our separate set of “Home Rule” legal opinions that contradict State law. (Recent examples are encouraging the feeding of feral cat colonies near endangered bird species sanctuaries, years of ignoring court mandates regarding outdoor lighting including writing a comprehensive bird protection plan, encouraging endangered geese to live and thus fly in the State airport’s federally controlled air space, our unique pro-Ag/pro-TVR interpretations, solar heating rule exemptions and proclaiming ourselves law abiding good environmental leaders and stewards.)

Our leaders blame the State for the negative results when Kaua‘i ignores these laws’ intent. The over-arching problem is this County’s continual failure to properly interpret and apply State and Federal law.

Although the County Council can pass the solar water issue off to State legislators, that does not change the fact that the real problem is a systemic County issue, one demonstrated again and again by an inability, unwillingness, and/or conspiracy to avoid any act of self-examination, or to hold the responsible parties accountable for their indefensible errors. Instead of trying to blame the State, the Council should ask:

1) “Who is responsible for interpreting this exemption, and other State law, so differently from the other Counties to our harm?”

2) “Who ordered which persons to invent and authorize using Kaua‘i’s flawed solar exemption legal opinion?”

3) “What Council or mayoral administrative action is required to change our interpretation of the solar water heating exemption to achieve the same positive outcome reached by Maui and O‘ahu counties?” and

4) “Whose wireless coconut sent this legal interpretation to promote mass exemptions and to ignore the law’s intent to whose wireless coconut receiver(s)?”

Council “Doublethink” blames the State because the Kaua‘i County legal interpretation, unlike Oahu’s and Maui’s, intentionally ignores the law’s intent. What the Council should resolve is to quit indulging in doublethink, and to instead end the interpretation torture of state and federal laws which profit a few while leaving the general public to suffer the results caused by the systemic failure to interpret the law in a competent and timely fashion.

Lonnie Sykos, Kapa‘a

Plastic Chinese bags

The County of Kaua‘i has a plastic bag ban at grocery, retail stores, and take-out for restaurants. The irony is the stores have reverted back to using paper, the ban was suppose to be to get people to use reusable cloth bags. The ban has failed dramatically because it was never intended for paper to replace plastic thus taking us 100 giants steps backward.

Grocery stores continually run out of paper and when they do have paper bags they take up many times the space of the old plastic bags. People re-used plastic, the paper breaks and is garbage as soon as you take your groceries home and now many people are buying commercial plastic garbage liners during these recessed times when they can least afford it.

The biggest problem is Wal-Mart; the largest retailer on Kaua‘i and the social gathering place of many, sell blue imitation cloth looking bags made out of used plastic bottles. (Seriously, check the label.) The icing on the cake is these bags are made in China and everyone on the island and many visitors now have hundreds of these blue cloth looking bags made of plastic bottles in China. The ban was to get rid of plastic, but these beautifully designed blue bags that look like cloth are made of plastic.

To make problems worse every time I see someone walking with one of these bags I think it is my bag, (because all bags look alike) believing I have been ripped off since I also use these bags.

The environment did not make out off of this ban, Wal-Mart did because wherever one goes, to the beach, the grocery store, or to the farmers market people are carrying large blue bags made of plastic with large type displaying the Wal-Mart logo.

The advertising team at Wal-Mart made a great move by discounting these bags to 25 to 50 cents each. People now parade all over Kaua‘i displaying Wal-Mart’s name and logo. It used to be businesses paid people to walk around displaying their ad; Wal-Mart has us doing it for free!

Most people wind up purchasing new bags every time they go to Wal-Mart. Who remembers to bring their bags, especially visitors? The country of China makes out again. We replace another American product with a product made in China out of Chinese plastic bottles.

In conclusion, what was the county council thinking?

James “Kimo” Rosen, Kapa‘a


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