Council candidates should address charter changes
We are changing history in this election — in more ways than you think.
There are proposed changes to the Kauai County charter on the ballot this year. Funny thing, none have been mentioned inthe candidate forums. If these proposals win, they will change language in the charter to correct mistakes and make it genderneutral, add to the duties and responsibilities of the fire chief, create a zoning board of appeals, and change the name of theCivil Defense Agency to Emergency Management Agency.
In addition, we will change the percentages required to get changes on a ballot election, give the power to the county clerk todetermine if an amendment to the charter is valid and create a permanent Charter Review Commission. The first four seemlike a pretty good idea, but the next three I would like more information on.
What will be the impact of changing the petition percentages? Will we have greater or fewer things to vote on? How is thecounty clerk qualified to know if an amendment is valid and don’t we have a lawyer for that? And a standing commission forcharter review seems unnecessary — why not just convene a commission when needed? What will be the ongoing budgetimpact of this commission?
It isn’t that I am for or against any of these changes — I am reserving judgment for further research. But, I would have liked toknow where the candidates for county council stood on them.
Questions about TIGER Grant
TGI has reported (Oct. 16, “Council to discuss TIGER Grant projects, budget”) that Kauai’s government is still trying to decidehow to best spend the $13 million received from the federal government for revitalization of Lihue Town Core. This moneywas a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Grant.
I have couple of questions regarding the TIGER Grant. First, according to TGI, the grant was made in October 2015. Why hasone year elapsed and county government is still debating what to do with the money? Did the county not have to submit aproposal to the federal government with plans on how the money would be spent to revitalize Lihue town center? If detailedplans weren’t required, shame on the federal government. However, the question still remains as to why, one year later, thecounty is still not settled on what to do with the money.
Also, according to the TGI article, construction isn’t expected to start until 2018, over a year from now and over two yearsfrom getting the grant. If private industry worked at this pace the bankruptcy court calendars would be overflowing.
The second question I have is in regard to the type of projects described in the TGI article. These projects include bicyclelanes, left-turn lanes, shared usage roadway signs, parking restriction signs, etc. This all sounds much like painting lines onthe roadways and putting up signs. Hopefully there is much more to the project than TGI described since this list of projectsjust doesn’t sound like $13 million of work. Regardless of whether it is worth $13 million or not, the question remains as towhether lines painted on roads and restricted parking signs will really revitalize Lihue town center.