Voices of taxpayers sometimes seem to be ignored

The article “Public involvement is the best course of action” (TGI, March 31) was interesting and well done.

Councilwoman Yukimura, by her colleagues own words, the hardest working member on the council, hosted a workshop about “How to Have a Voice in County Government.”

A great idea and sound bite if the results from this type of educational process for the people could ever be a reality.

For over 20 years, I have attended most council and committee meetings; many commission meetings — ethics, planning, police and Charter Review Commission; state transportation meetings and those held in our neighborhoods. I have been on ad hoc committees and attended and have testified at work shops regarding our government operations. Along with other government watchdogs we have fought for the betterment of Kauai and its people with no other personal gain to be had.

There is no way we could have stayed more “involved,” but there is little or nothing to show for our efforts.

After attending meeting after meeting and being vocally involved and seeing that your efforts are going nowhere (not even getting a reply) you realize that asking for public involvement is only a gesture to make you believe that your opinion is really going to make a change when, if fact, those in power have already made that decision. Sure, maybe an EIS or EA or a budget restriction will enter into the decision making, but that didn’t come from public participation.

For 20 years I factually showed our council and administration how we taxpayers were being cheated out of millions of dollars by paying for AC (Asphaltic Concrete) to pave our roads that we were not getting — and who listened or at least investigated? No one. Only when Larry Dill became our engineer did the system change and we got what we paid for.

But why was there no investigation in the years prior to Mr Dill. coming aboard? Or why no investigation on the multi-use path to find out why this 10-foot wide 4-inch slab of cement is costing us $5.2 million per mile? Or why no investigation on bridges that cost us millions of dollars more to build than another company would have build them for? And why are we spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultant and planners to tell us that buses, bikes, shuttles and walking will solve our traffic problem — it will never happen. The vehicle is and will remain a way of life for the mass of the people and it is crazy to waste time and money on anything except wider and alternate roads.

There is your public involvement, JoAnn, but what good did it do? I and others like Ray Chuan, Walter Lewis, Ken Taylor and Joe Rosa have given you facts of what is wrong with our system but our voices in the wind just disappear.

As Ken Taylor said in a recent forum letter, “Isn’t it way past time that we tried a county manager style of government and get efficiency, transparency and accountability back into one that is broken?”

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Glenn Mickens is a resident of Kapaa.

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