Help council craft the big bills that govern us

Aside from having to schedule a special meeting to sort out the administration’s salary resolution snafu, we appreciated Kaua‘i County Council members’ efforts to tackle some substantive issues this week.

Instead of devoting time to what people should be allowed to do on the lawn of the Historic County Building, our seven-member legislative body turned their attention to some matters that, well, matter.

Topping Chair Jay Furfaro’s agenda Wednesday were measures concerning solar water heating for all new single-family and duplex construction, which could mean reducing our reliance on imported oil; home exemptions, which could mean saving homeowners some money on their property taxes; an update on county hiring, which could mean focusing on filling dozens of empty positions; establishing a human resources department, which could mean a government with fewer sexual discrimination cases; and the long overdue implementation of a County Charter amendment to keep the growth of development on island in check.

While individual views may vary, we are always glad to see our elected officials put important issues like these before the public so concerned citizens can help shape the debate as it moves forward.

The council has a full plate next Wednesday too.

After spending hours developing the legislation in committee, we’d like to see the council approve the bill regulating transient accommodation units so long as it preserves the spirit of the amendment voters overwhelmingly approved in 2008. Smart growth is critical in our shared goal of retaining Kaua‘i’s unique rural character that our livelihoods and overall well-being depend on.

Similarly, we’d like to see our representatives carry the “we need to get serious about our solid waste problem” message they campaigned on to tangible results by quickly adopting the resolution from our environmental services management engineer. This would make the principles of Zero Waste an official county policy. Just imagine how much trash our 1,000-plus-employee government generates monthly. Diverting as much rubbish as possible from our nearly overflowing landfill has to be a top priority if we’re going to contain costs and protect the environment.

While we recognize our democratic process can be slow and not without its share of flaws, the transparency it does afford at the legislative level remains unparalleled. We hope fellow citizens stay engaged in shaping the local laws that govern the island.

Scope council agendas online and tune in to the meetings, both of which are viewable at www.kauai.gov. Form your own opinions and share them with your elected officials.

We’re happy to provide space for you to air your viewpoints too. You can email letters to the editor at letters@thegardenisland.com.

Apathetic attitudes simply won’t produce the solutions we need to the problems we face today.

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