Letters for Aug. 18, 2015
Cap the visitor count
Life on Kauai can be easy-going. When things get difficult we look on the bright side, head down to the beach or have a get-together with friends. But lately things are more than difficult, bordering on impossible especially for anyone living, working or recreating on the east or north sides of Kauai.
Basics like going to the market is enough to make you clear your calendar for much of the day because planning around traffic hours doesn’t work anymore. There is always traffic.
The Kalalau safety video from DLNR advising visitors of potential hiking hazards tells us for every helicopter rescue from the Napali it costs us around $650, not including the cost of the Fire Department rescue crew. Watching the video reminds us why many of us don’t hike there anymore. It’s like Disneyland with the number of people on the trail.
Want to spend some pleasant time looking at fish snorkeling Ke’e or Tunnels? Forget about it. You have to leave home at dawn to get a parking place. Many of us don’t go there much anymore either.
The Kauai Visitor Bureau executive director informs us that visitor numbers are up and it means everybody wins. Everyone does not win. Increasing the visitor counts on an island that lacks the infrastructure or the space to pack anymore visitors in isn’t working for us anymore.
There is no longer a bright side to this constant push for more visitors. We have to stop ignoring the problems it gives us. We could fix our roads but won’t due to lack of funds. Have all these visitors generated enough income for our county to accommodate their use of our narrow streets? No. Can we build more beaches for them or increase the size of our island? We cannot.
What is our option? A visitor cap. We cannot keep ignoring what is being done to this island by the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the Kauai Visitors Bureau. We like our visitors but not in these large numbers and we are trying to live here. This is not Disneyland.
More behind reason for strike
Mr. John Zwiebel’s Aug. 17 letter is misleading about the August, 1981 strike by the United States air traffic controllers (“PATCO”). Under federal law, then and now, a work stoppage by federal employees was/is illegal. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal a few days before the strike, the head of PATCO stated, “The only illegal strike is one that is unsuccessful.”
The controllers perform an essential function, not unlike police and firefighters. President Reagan forgave those controllers who returned to work within 48 hours. About 10 percent did. The system was augmented with military controllers but nonetheless was necessarily downsized for a period of time. This caused an extreme hardship on the nation’s airlines and travelling public.
I was an airline pilot at the time who was demoted in a reduction of force, necessitated by this illegal strike. I was hardly alone. Any objective view of the strike was that it was the failure of the government to provide an essential service because of the illegal conduct of its employees. An analogy would be Kauai’s police and fire departments shutting down because of an illegal strike.
The public sector unions have done just fine since then; often at the unfair expense of the taxpayers. Private sector unions have not done so well because of global competition, fostered by both Democrat and Republican administrations and congresses.
San Clemente, Calif.
Why the rush to repeal?
Dear council chair Mel Rapozo,
I want to thank you for your attempt at clarity in your article on repealing the barking dog law in the
Sunday, Aug. 9 issue of The Garden Island. It is, as they say, the thought that counts.
I found it interesting that you mentioned twice your duty as a councilmember to pass good laws and neglected to mention our duty as residents and voters to pass laws which we did when we passed the barking dog law only last year. The same law, which you just repealed.
I want to know what was the rush?
If what you say is true and it is just as hard to amend a law as it is to write a new law, why in the world would you not have a newly written law already in hand before the repeal. I find it hard to believe that a large block of barking dog owners got together and lobbied you to get rid of the law ASAP. My thinking is it is more likely that one of you four councilmembers have possibly received a citation for barking dogs.
Am I wrong?
Allan B. White