Letters for Tuesday, October 7, 2014

• Council wrong to appeal 960 decision • Bullying substitute teachers again • Trash fees may continue to climb

Council wrong to appeal 960 decision

Shortsightedness seems to be epidemic in county government.

With the county out of money, it was baffling that the Kauai County Council would appeal U.S. Magistrate Barry Kurren’s decision invalidating Ordinance 960, particularly since Kurren’s ruling confirmed an earlier opinion by the county attorney.

There was a lot of talk about this being a cheap appeal, costing just the remaining $50,000 in the county’s legal defense account plus some $12,750 for costs. (To me, $62,750 doesn’t seem like chicken feed. You could hire a park caretaker for that.)

But think beyond the appeal. There is no scenario under which this appeal doesn’t continue to cost the taxpayers a lot of money.

If the county loses, then the council will be asked whether it wants to appeal to the next level, and to spend more.

If the county wins the appeal, the case would go back to Judge Kurren for additional work on the unresolved legal issues, or for trial.

Under either a win or a loss, the council probably will be required to pay significantly more in legal expenses than it is expecting to pay right now for the appeal.

The council majority may believe that it is in the right, or that more clarity is needed, and may believe that it will win. But to support the appeal because it can be done cheaply — that’s shortsighted and plain wrong.

Jan TenBruggencate

Lihue

Bullying substitute teachers again

Ige, Abercrombie, DOE, Hawaii Legislature; all targeting substitute teachers once again: “poor excuses” for leadership. Having embezzled large portions of substitute teachers’ salaries for nine years; being sued and losing; paying back only portions of dollars owed; now these “poor excuses” are attempting to sell a 3.1 percent raise in substitute teachers’ daily wage as a salary increase when in actuality it’s a pay cut.

This 2014-2015 school year, substitute teachers were notified that as of July 1, Class II substitutes would receive $151.81 per day rather than $147.10, which we were previously paid. Problem is that the $147.10 daily wage was for a “6 hours 1 minute to 7 hours” workday. With the $151.81 increase (3.1 percent) substitute teachers are now required to work not 6 hours but 7 1/2 hours; turning a pay raise into a pay cut. Do the math: $147.10 divided by six hours equals $24.52 per hour, whereas $151.81 divided by 7.5 hours equals $20.24

As this sub sees it, this is a 3.1 percent “pay cut with longer hours.” Am I wrong? Maybe Ige, who doesn’t regret killing education bills, can explain this to me? Ige, Abercrombie, DOE, Legislature; all individuals elected or appointed to positions of authority in charge of creating futures for our state, county and our children’s futures. Are they worth keeping in office? Vote for trust and change; Duke Aiona and Barca this election.

John Hoff

Lawai

Trash fees may continue to climb

Kauai is considering the proposed implementation of Pay As You Throw (PAYT- Bill 2551), a variable rate strategy for residential refuse collection, beginning in the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

In brief: If a resident chooses to take a smaller refuse container (64 gallon), their monthly fee decreases by $2 per month to $10. If a resident chooses to continue using the 96 gallon container, their fee will increase by $6 per month to $18.

The above rates seem reasonable, but I warn you, in the future the county may be tempted to jack up those rates to outrageous levels as is being done with PAYT benchmark cities elsewhere. A number of PAYT benchmark cities already have monthly rates at twice what Kauai is presently contemplating. Keep it reasonable, and keep an eye out for the fee jacker-uppers.

Brad Parsons

Princeville

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