Letters for Wednesday, April 18, 2012

• No transparency at KIUC • Bike thieves

No transparency at KIUC

On Tuesday, March 27, I attended two KIUC Board meetings, all of  the annual meeting and part of the monthly meeting, before I had to  go to work. I submitted written and oral testimony at the annual  meeting, which was allegedly held to install the two new directors, and for the nomination and election of officers, and for committee  appointments.

Little did I know that my testimony, and that of the other member/owners who said their piece, meant little or nothing to the board. It seems that everything on the agenda to be decided upon had mostly  been figured out the day before at a private in-house “caucus” meeting.

KIUC doesn’t subscribe to the transparency of the Sunshine Law. And, since board members are forced to sign confidentiality statements, there is very little detail available about what else transpired behind closed doors.

So, the unknowing public was invited to the KIUC meetings, believing that the business of the co-op would take place at those meetings. But, they were nothing more than a sham, a dog and pony show, a sleight of hand — misdirection by Chairman Tacbian, the man behind the veil, and David Bissell, the front man.

 Remember the Wizard of Oz? If it weren’t a bylaw requirement to hold some public meetings, I’m  absolutely sure that there would be no meetings the day after the “real” meeting took place.

I’ve been involved in non-profit and co-op board politics for many years, and I’ve never seen this kind of secrecy and disrespect for  the owners of a righteous company, by secretly appointed overlords. I have experienced this type of behavior in very dysfunctional non-profits, so this is why I am writing to you, my fellow citizens.

In this International Year of the Co-op, and 10 years since the beginning of the KIUC Cooperative, it’s shameful that this situation still exists today. With hardly anyone besides the Apollo Kaua‘i folks and a few others ever attending KIUC board meetings in the  past, or otherwise attempting to hold the KIUC administration  accountable, and with 74 percent of the members not bothering to vote in the  election, we now face a situation that is crying out for a paradigm shift in the business as usual. We must demand an end to backroom  politics in our co-op. The option is to do nothing and take whatever  they force on us, and whatever they charge us, without a peep.

Ever since the Free Flow Power/FERC debacle and the $11 million smart meters, Mr. Tacbian and his cohorts have awakened many sleeping stakeholders in the company they have been running. Kudos go  out to the more than 40 concerned citizens who came to the March 27 meetings, and to all those who worked hard in the recent election. A special thanks goes out to The Garden Island, whose reporter asked the board to become more transparent in it’s decision making. Many more need to get involved if our co-op is to truly represent the  wishes of its owner/members. Let’s pack the next board meeting Tuesday, April 24, at the Chartroom at Courtyard by Marriott Kaua‘i at Coconut Beach at 3 p.m.

Fred Dente, Kapa‘a

Bike thieves

Back in August 2011, I wrote about the bicycle that was stolen from my 90-year-old father, a decorated veteran, an ex-POW, and a survivor of the Bataan Death March, with two artificial hips and assorted scars.

 It was just an inexpensive blue girl’s bike (the lack of the middle bar allowed him to mount the bike easier with his limited hip mobility), but it meant the world to my dad. Every day he would throw it in the back of his pickup truck, drive down to the beach and ride the bike on the “Multi-Use Path”. It gave him exercise and the chance to talk story with his friends. He never expected anyone to snatch it right out of our driveway in Kapa‘a. The response to my letter was amazing. Many people wrote us offering bikes they had or money to buy a new bike. My dad’s pride would not allow him to accept such gifts, but he appreciated the offers.

It took me months to find an appropriate replacement bicycle for my father. It took me even longer to get it shipped all the way from Florida. But in January of this year, as a belated Christmas gift, I presented my 90-year-old father with a light blue Sun Streamway 7 — a 7-speed bike with an extremely low “step-over”.

He has been driving down to the path almost every day since — when the wind and weather allowed — to ride the bike up and down the path. He loved it. The low “step-over” was easy on his two artificial hips, the exercise peddling was great for his mobility, and the chance to “talk story” again with his friends on the path was priceless.

Sometime Monday morning, however, while he and I were in Lihu‘e at the DMV renewing his driver’s license, someone drove a truck up our driveway and grabbed not only his new bike, but my wife’s treasured turquoise 21-speed Trek mountain bike, as well.

They ignored my cheap yard sale bike, which is almost insulting. It was not a simple “crime of opportunity.” Both bikes were tucked in far out of sight and covered, invisible from the road. Whoever took them must have visited our home before and seen them here. They made a mistake, however.

The Sun Streamway 7 is a very unusual looking bicycle with a U-shaped frame and an extremely low “step-over” — and is only sold in Florida.

I had to jump through all sorts of hoops to get one shipped to Kaua‘i. As far as I know, not only was my dad’s bike the only on Kaua‘i, it is the only one in the state of Hawai‘i. One look at the picture, and you could never mistake it for another bicycle — even if repainted.

So whoever took it will not be able to ride it or sell it without proclaiming loudly to one and all “I am a bike thief who steals from 90-year-old veterans and women.”  If you want to see what the bike looks like, do a web search for Sun Streamway 7 Bicycle.

If the thief would care to return the bikes, I am willing to pay a reward, no questions asked. Just call me at 635-9129 and I will meet you in a neutral location. If anyone has any information about who took the bikes, and it leads to their arrest or the return of the bikes, I would be happy to pay a reward.

William Peterson, Kapa‘a


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