Letters for Sunday, March 25, 2012

• Kaua‘i history takes a nose dive • County salaries • Graffiti

Kaua‘i history takes a nose dive

It is very apparent that the younger generation who own Grove Farm don’t care about the history of Koloa Camp plantation homes since they are plowing them under.

When I arrived in Kaua‘i five years ago I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful 80-year-old woman who had lived on a plantation as a child. She was born in Koloa Town and told us about the history and showed us Koloa Camp to bring that time alive for us.  

So it brings me great sorrow that this part of the history of all the plantation camps, but especially Koloa Camp, is going to be gone forever. Grove Farm says in their letter that these are not the original plantation camp residents. Well, so what. It is the original camp, and I’m sure the stories about the people who resided there live on.

How do you tell old people who have lived in these homes for so many years to give it up? Can they just stop for a moment and try to realize that these old people have memories, good and bad, that are attached to each and every house?

I am 72 years old, and I have precious memories of my home on the Mainland and am making precious memories in my home here. To be pushed out of my home would be physically and emotionally exhausting.

This isn’t about the benefits to the people, as Grove Farm says in their letter.  Let’s be honest, Grove Farm, this is about greed raising its ugly head and you succumbing. So the heck with history and the heck with these people.

First the Monkey Pod trees, then the gentrifying of the stores and now the plowing of Koloa Camp (to be replaced with houses built in China, as if we don’t have the workers to build them here). All because of greed.

Gail (Tutu) Rosen, Lihu‘e

County salaries

The following questions, answers and charter citations are pertinent to the ongoing discussion in council chambers of salary resolution 2012-1.

1. Who sets the salaries for department heads and deputies?

Answer: The salary commission sets the cap, or maximum salary, for each position and the person or agency who appoints the individual sets the actual salary at or below the maximum (29.01, 29.03).

2. Does the charter authorize the salary commission to require conformity to its designated system of performance evaluation as a condition for the appointer to raise the salary of an appointee?

Answer: No. The authority granted to appointers in 29.03 to set salaries up to and lower than the maximum is unconditional.

3. What is the meaning of the provision (29.03) that the council may reject a salary resolution in whole or in part within 60 days but that any part not rejected within 60 days takes effect without council or mayoral approval?

Answer: The council’s power to reject within 60 days is self-explanatory. Council’s failure to reject within 60 days means that the council becomes obligated to appropriate by ordinance the salary figures in the salary resolution (3.11 and the last sentence in 29.03). Normally the council would fulfill its obligation by incorporating the salary figures in the annual budget ordinance with an effective date at the beginning of the next fiscal year. In short, the council alone has the authority and responsibility to appropriate the salaries established by the salary commission and must appropriate them unless it rejects them within 60 days.

The most egregious breakdown in this process occurred last spring. Under the terms of 3.11 and of salary resolution 2010-1 the council was obligated to incorporate in the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2011 a series of 7 percent increases for administrative positions but failed to appropriate the increases. The fact that the mayor did not want the increases to occur and did not include them in his budget submissions in no way diminished the council’s obligation to appropriate salaries in accordance with resolution 2010-1. The joint failure of council and mayor to honor the terms of the resolution opened the door to the confusion, obfuscations and violations of the charter associated with illegal salary resolution 2011-1.

4. How can the council do its part in the near term to place the executive salary process on a sound basis?

Answer: By rejecting salary resolution 2012, asking the salary commission to restrict the contents of its salary resolutions to salary figures and the rationale supporting those figures, and asking the commission either to set an effective date of July 1, 2012, for the 7 percent administrative salary increases that have been repeatedly deferred since 2009 and are now arbitrarily deferred until 2013 or to delete the increases from the salary resolution until the commission revisits them at a later date.

Horace Stoessel, Kapa‘a

Graffiti

I retired to Kaua‘i five years ago from Southern California. The main reasons for choosing Kaua‘i were weather, aloha spirit, no freeways and no graffiti. However, lately I’m beginning to see graffiti rearing its ugly head in Lihu‘e.  

It doesn’t appear to be gang-related, but merely expressions of youthful restlessness, but the seed is being planted. I saw it happen in Southern California to the extent that no visible wall was immune from the ugliness in the entire state. If the county takes action now, there’s a chance of nipping it in the bud before it becomes a rite of passage.

Robert M. Lund, Lihu‘e

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