Letters for September 3, 2015

• Pastor Paul much like David • Visitors not welcome at school? • Third factor in Kauai animal problem

Pastor Paul much like David

In the Old Testament, in the book of First Samuel it describes how David was a man after God’s own heart.

He is one of two men whom I know that have such a distinction. The other is Pastor Paul Kirchner, who is retiring from Lihue Lutheran Church at the end ofthe month.

Eduardo Valenciana, Lihue

Visitors not welcome at school?

Our 12-year-old is the reason we moved from Kauai two years ago. She uses a power wheelchair and if you’ve been to Home Depot you probably saw herphoto. She was the state’s Goodwill Ambassador for MDA. On a recent visit to Kauai she said she missed her school classmates so we visited Kapaa MiddleSchool.

At the school we were told we could not visit without prior permission from the principal. Our hope was to visit during lunch recess, while the kids were ontheir lunch break, out in the open space, where we could be seen. The answer was still no and the principal was in a meeting.

Having overheard the conversation, a teacher approached and apologized profusely “just one of the reasons I’m leaving this school.” Another teacheroffered to escort us but was also told no by the office. She too was frustrated.

I spoke to Principal Aiwohi via phone and here’s what he said: “It is a liability to bring outsiders in; this is an uninvited liability; yes, we have security but wehave the largest ratio of students to adults so we cannot assign a security person to watch you.” I asked what the Visitors Welcome sign means, to which Igot this reply, “It means we’re not going to arrest you.”

I understand safety protocols but I think this school takes the idea too far. Mr. Aiwohi takes his job seriously but clearly he didn’t care about our intentionand how he could help make it happen. We’re not a dangerous family. Have some trust in your kids and your school’s ability to handle “strangers.” In theend Mr. Aiwohi said “We are not here as an agency to provide visits to friends. We are here to keep the kids safe.” I thought you were there so kids couldlearn. Visitors welcome? No, but we won’t arrest you. Makes me wonder about that giant fence.

Ana Valdez, Beaverton, Oregon and Former Kapaa resident

Third factor in Kauai animal problem

While many focus on the problems at Kauai Humane Society and/or the irresponsibility of pet owners as being the major factors in our island’s animal problem, it seems no one is addressing another major contributor to the crisis: ubiquitous No Pets rental policies.

In a quick search of Kauai Craigslist longterm rentals, only 3 percent currently even “consider” pets. This not only contributes to the problems KHS faces, but also the homeless problem on Kauai.

How? Because many pet owners are faced with either surrendering their beloved companion to KHS in order to find housing (at which point KHS must feed/re-home or euthanize the animal), or becoming homeless in order to keep their companion. I know people on both sides of that excruciating decision. It also prevents people from adopting from KHS (or taking in strays) who are eager to do so.

If rental landlords won’t consider pet deposits or even a lease addendum making the renter responsible for any/all smells/damage (I’ve suggested this in carpet-less/unfurnished rentals and was still denied), how about Kauai as a whole takes a broader step and offers tax incentives for rentals that allow pets? We can’t force landlords to allow pets, but we can incentivize it.

It is scientific fact that pets can quantitatively improve the mental and physical health of their owners, and a genuine shame Kauai has such an anti-pet rental market. If incentivizing isn’t the right solution, hopefully this will start a dialogue toward addressing this important aspect of Kauai’s “animal problem.”

Donia Lilly, Kapaa

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