Letters for Sunday, October 10, 2021

Sterilizing cats is only sustainable solution

A huge mahalo to Good Fix. As a volunteer, I got a glimpse of the amazing work they do spaying/neutering, vaccinating and microchipping pet and feral cats — all at no cost to the owners (or those who bring in feral cats).

The owners even leave with a goodie bag and a chance to win some awesome gifts in a raffle. I have been profoundly inspired by the work this organization is doing.

I know there are those who would prefer to have the cats euthanized in the interests of protecting our precious birds and monk seals. While that might seem like an obvious, effective approach, studies by the most-respected experts have shown without a doubt that when the population of a feral-cat colony is reduced by exterminating cats, mother nature fills the vacuum. The remaining cats have fewer rivals and, therefore, a bigger food supply. The litters of these remaining cats grow larger, and before long the population is right back to where it was.

The sole sustainable solution is to trap, neuter and then release the cats back where they were found, which is what Good Fix is doing. This stops the cats from breeding, and in time, the colonies become smaller and smaller until they die out, as there are no new births. In the interim, we get the bonus of having natural rodent elimination.

This is not only the humane way to deal with the problem, it is the only long-term solution. Killing cats might seem like a quick fix, but it simply does not work to alleviate the problem.

By sterilizing Kaua‘i’s cats, Good Fix is instigating a ripple effect that will eliminate tens of thousands of cats in the future. They will continue sterilizing, vaccinating and microchipping pets and feral cats for free Oct. 11 to 16 at the Kaua‘i Humane Society outside Puhi. No appointment is necessary. If you text 808-651-9021 and let them know where there are feral cats, they will send professional trappers to catch them. The cats will be returned the following day with no more ability to contribute to the problem.

Again, a heartfelt mahalo to the dedicated, selfless individuals working with this organization, and to its benefactors.

Jason Blume, Princeville

Kilauea project will only benefit a few

Why use our local tax dollars for low-income housing?

Having just read the article on the council’s decision to proceed on the eminent-domain process to acquire land in Kilauea, I have some questions:

First, how does spending millions of dollars to acquire this land benefit the majority of tax-paying locals on the island?

Secondly, how does spending millions more of our tax dollars to build low-income housing benefit the majority of locals here on our island?

Unless all of this money is coming from either the state or the feds and can only be spent on low-income housing, I would think our local tax dollars would be better spent on road repair, parks and other areas that benefit all us, and not just a select few. Shouldn’t low-income housing be funded by private builders as part of a larger development so we taxpayers don’t have to subsidize it?

Jim Henry, Kalaheo

Kilauea land grab leaves many questions

As I pen this letter to the editor, I don’t know if the Kaua‘i County Council has voted for or against the Kilauea eminent-domain issue or not. Well, that’s just as well, because what I have to write I don’t want to be swayed by how the councilmembers voted.

The use of eminent domain (the taking of private property by a government entity) can be a “slippery slope.” Traditionally, the law was used to acquire land for the building of roads, railroads, etc., the idea being that this action was being done in the public interest (sometimes quite debatable, i.e., the building of a McDonald’s).

Now, with regard to the 23 acres of dedicated agricultural land in Kilauea that is at issue in this eminent-domain situation — it is a “hot potato” regarding the lack of affordable housing on Kaua‘i!

Who’s against affordable housing? No one is — least of all a politician. However, who will benefit from this action? How many homes will be built? Where does that money come from? Who qualifies to live there? Does one own? Does one rent? Perhaps I missed an in-depth article that addressed these and other relevant questions, but I doubt it.

It is my understanding that the affordable housing built in Princeville was meant for people with certain incomes. Maybe I’m wrong. It is also my understanding that an individual with a very “healthy” trust fund lives there. Maybe I’m wrong.

Now, as to another matter regarding eminent domain — “fair market value.” Offering $3 million when offers of $30 million have come in is just an invitation to litigation that will cost the county more $$$ and will not get the price down 90%.

However, maybe Mark Zuckerberg will donate or offer a great deal to the county so he can have “affordable neighbors.” Maybe not. He did just lose a few billion.

Lawrence Hornbeck, Kilauea

Use island’s water to power it

I read with great fascination that the energy project on the Westside is using a technology called “pumped storage hydropower” that pumps water uphill using renewable solar energy in the day and then allows the water to flow downhill through a series of turbines to create power at night.

I’ve been following certain technologies since 2003 when President Bush touted a hydrogen economy. Hydrogen can be produced through a process called electrolysis that splits H2O (water) into their separate elements. Electrolysis requires electricity, so the source needs to come from somewhere. Hydrogen can be used in stationary-generator applications and hydrogen fuel-cell automobiles.

I have also read that the Westside needs more water for agricultural purposes.

Here’s a thought. What if we had a system like an island-wide roller-coaster system of using water to create electricity for the grid, and any excess goes to hydrogen production.

To go one step further, if we have reserve points to collect excess water that might create flood damage, use that excess hydrogen fuel to pump water to the Westside for agricultural purposes. In effect, we are solving multiple problems all at once. Maybe the leaders of the island and state can connect the Department of Energy, FEMA, and the Department of Agriculture to discuss funding from all three agencies.

Also, check out the Canadian company Waterotor using hydrokinetic technologies from the power of slow-moving waters such as rivers and streams. If there is one thing Kaua‘i has, it is the abundance of water in specific spots. We have some brilliant minds in this world, but in many cases we don’t connect all the other interrelated issues.

Water — there’s more to it than meets the lips.

Eddie Greenlee, Koloa

Vaccine doesn’t kill, COVID does

Aloha.

This message is for those of you who are on the fence about getting the vaccine. The vaccine won’t kill you, but COVID-19 will. You decide.

Linda Bothe, Kalaheo

10 Comments
  1. Uncleaina October 10, 2021 4:37 am Reply

    Jason your heart is in the right place. Unfortunately your information about cat populations isn’t. You need to TNR at least 70% of a cat colony to be effective. So yeah, a few cat colonies will be impacted; but we have killer feral cats from The Kalalau lookout to Ke’e – this isn’t gonna fix the problem. Animal Balance tried this same thing for 10 years and feral population is unchanged. Sorry these are just facts.


  2. Mark October 10, 2021 4:52 am Reply

    Regarding (On the fence), wrong.


  3. nobody October 10, 2021 7:36 am Reply

    Regarding Kilauea: Rezone the property on condition of a dedication of land for low end housing. The owner makes money. Maybe so much he can contribute to the actual housing. The trade off is “we” loose ag land. The piece we’re talking about has a large road leading into it. It makes sense to put houses there. Give the owner the zoning so he can flip some lots to wealthier people, make some money. I’m in favor of housing for the bottom end of our society. Small, small houses or apartments. Why won’t this work? Any relators good at math?


  4. kauaiboy October 10, 2021 7:52 am Reply

    Mr. Henry:

    Regarding your LTE labeled “Kilauea project will only benefit a few”,

    “Why use our local tax dollars for low-income housing?”

    Because we desperately need affordable housing for our working class residents and this is the most sensible, cost-effective way to provide it.

    “First, how does spending millions of dollars to acquire this land benefit the majority of tax-paying locals on the island?”

    One must spend millions to make millions. Eventually. the cost of the land and the improvements thereupon will be covered by housing sales and rentals at reasonable rates to those who will contribute to our society. Those who end up living there will join the workforce and become part of the tax-paying locals.

    Secondly, how does spending millions more of our tax dollars to build low-income housing benefit the majority of locals here on our island?

    Spending on this project will benefit our entire island by creating good will and happy residents, just like it has in various other low income projects dotted throughout the island.

    “Shouldn’t low-income housing be funded by private builders as part of a larger development so we taxpayers don’t have to subsidize it?”

    Good luck in finding developers and builders willing to fund lower income housing. I view this condemnation as a wise move on the part of the County in an effort to level the playing field for housing for hard working local residents who have been priced out of the market.

    And for Mr. Hornbeck:

    “It is my understanding that the affordable housing built in Princeville was meant for people with certain incomes.”

    It was and it is. If a bad apple slipped through the cracks, that is far outweighed by the many working class folks who are paying a fair rent and have a roof over their heads.

    “Offering $3 million when offers of $30 million have come in is just an invitation to litigation that will cost the county more $$$ and will not get the price down 90%”

    Do you honestly believe Mr. Bertch when he says that he has been offered $30 million for an ag-zoned property which yields the right to 5 farm dwelling and one guest house? Get real. At $1.2 million for each of 5 homesites, each on 4+ acres , even after basic development and infrastructure and condominiumization costs are paid for ( a minimum of $.5 million), that property would be worth $6 million.

    Where did you hear that the County is offering $3 million? That is a good starting point, and a judge should settle on $5.5 million. And Mr. Bertsch can lick his wounds all the way to the bank…


    1. james October 12, 2021 8:15 am Reply

      Disagree. I’d rather have the money spent on road repair, retrofitting bridges, creating parks, and other projects that benefit most of us than just a few.


  5. manongindashadow0711 October 10, 2021 8:34 am Reply

    Linda B.
    You may be right , “vaccine won’t kill COVID-19”. But it will help you live longer and not suffer!


  6. RGLadder37 October 10, 2021 7:30 pm Reply

    I don’t see a problem with the island’s capability to produce electricity. If you mean pollution to the environment? Well let’s think here. 70,000 people and plus on the island of Kaua’i. In comparison to the rest of the world, really not important is that question. Production of island’s electricity. Still would not hit a mark on the EPA world wide, so that question of how to produce electricity, is not a factor in anything the EPA has.

    What now? Produce it any way you want to. It would not matter global wise concerns.


  7. andy October 10, 2021 10:19 pm Reply

    Hey Linda Bothe- how dare you be so sensible?


  8. JJ McKibbin October 11, 2021 4:01 am Reply

    “The remaining cats (after euthanizing/removal) have fewer rivals and, therefore, a bigger food supply. The litters of these remaining cats grow larger, and before long the population is right back to where it was.”

    “This (TNR) stops the cats from breeding, and in time, the colonies become smaller and smaller until they die out, as there are no new births.”

    It is astonishing that Mr. Blume and other cat advocates can say this with a straight face and not see the contradiction. If after removal “the litters of these remaining cats grow larger, and before long the population is right back to where it was”, then what prevents the same thing from happening with TNR? They literally never manage to neuter all the cats over an area of any size. Unless maybe it’s the fact that TNR rarely actually reduces the population in the first place.

    TNR does not work and is not a solution.


  9. Barry Dittler October 13, 2021 2:01 pm Reply

    Has anyone ever considered the downside to losing our feral cat population ? We messed up the environment with millions of chickens and rats running loose. And, rats also eat bird eggs. If not for the cats that prey on the small chicks and rats, we would literally be wading in chickens and over run with rats. So, they also play a part in balancing out the mess that we made of the native environment ! Mother nature has a way of putting things back in balance if we just keep our nose out of it sometimes.


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