Letters for August 3, 2016
The problem with visitor numbers
On July 29, TGI ran a article saying visitor numbers were up 5.9 percent for June compared to June of last year. It does mention the count had been down slightly for the first half of the year by 1 percent. We understand the numbers fluctuate but if you are interested in taking a look at a year over year comparison, you may have a hard time finding any data readily available. Why is that?
For lack of this info, I’ll have to make my own conclusions that there are more visitors than in past years and that there is a steady push to increase these numbers even higher. Higher, year after year.
Is this scenario for the greater good? Is being elbow to elbow with larger numbers of visitors the right choice for our island? Do we have a choice? Is anyone giving us one?
We are told by the Hawaiian Tourism Authority president George D. Szigeti that they “are especially heartened by these results.” I for one am not a bit heartened by it, as I try to navigate gridlocked traffic or try to find an uncrowded beach to recreate and relax on.
I want our visitors to come and enjoy Kauai. However, I do not want to feel squeezed out by them on my home island. I don’t see this situation changing, just getting worse as a scant few find it heartening and the majority of residents who might not, are given no choice and no options.
Higher taxes not the answer
While our administration and council ponder over how they will ever find the $100 million it will take to fix our horrible roads, some of the worst in the nation, they ignore the facts that have been told and shown to them for 20 years or more. The answer is not more taxes.
Our bid contracts for repaving our county roads, 300 miles of them, have repeatedly shown that the final lift, the finishing overlay, will be 1 1/2” thick 2” of Asphaltic Concrete when compacted will give 1 1/2.”
For two decades various council member, mayors, department heads, engineers and deputy county engineers have been shown roads at different locations where the final lift (cracking and coming off) was 1/2” to 3/4” thick.
These less than bid pieces of AC were presented for inspection at many council meetings and what action or investigation was taken — none, absolutely none.
Understand that we, the taxpayers had been paying for materials that we were not getting (under Larry Dill the policy was finally corrected) and over many years this fraudulent act was costing us hundreds of millions of dollars.
I have no idea who is responsible for this wrongful action to have happened but those on the council or in the administration who have known about this activity over the years are as culpable for not investigating as the one or ones committing the crime.
The Charter provides in Section 3.17 for the council to have the power to investigate situations such as this, but it never has and it seems unwilling even now. The council should be asked why it is so reluctant to look into how and why the county is being ripped off.
Its failure to use its investigative power to look at the continuing situations which remain targets for additional fines and illegal activities at the county’s four transfer stations is also mysterious.
Our former auditor and my good friend, Ernie Pasion did eight great audits and found out many corrections that needed to be done in our county operations.
But these problems and corrections he recommended were never pursued so this pattern of not ever finding out and placing blame continues.
At the coming meetings where the candidates will tell us why they want to represent us on the council it will be prudent to ask the hard questions — who will have the fortitude to really go after those who are knowingly doing wrong.