The air had that wintry nip when Koko and I headed out in the colorless time just before sunrise, the grass sparkling with the remnants of last night’s rain. It could have passed for frost, except my feet, in rubber slippahs, knew better.
Garbage cans lined the street, the relentless Tuesday morning reminder of our great throw-away society, which always makes me feel a bit glum. But then a shama thrush, with its rust-colored breast and shiny black coat, flitted on to my mailbox, then my trash can and sang a few notes of beauty before retreating to the mock orange hedge, its tail flashing white in flight.
Spirits thus lifted, I was able to endure a peek at the headlines of my neighbor’s paper, where I learned that Gov. Lingle is defending her unconscionable decision to cut funding for the state’s universal health insurance program for children.
Lingle told reporters an alternative to the "Keiki Care Plan," called Children's Plan, will be sufficient even though parents will be charged $55 a month for each child who is enrolled. The Keiki Care Plan cost the state about $50,000 a month and was mostly free to families.
Now, $55 a kid might not seem like much to someone who is childless and earns what she does, but to families on the lowest end of the economic spectrum, it might as well be $550. Surely the state could cut $50,000 a month from the tourism promotion budget. Or better yet, why not raise the rents on the military? Don’t you think the Navy would pay more than its current $187 per year for PMRF? And if the military can’t afford the rising rents, well, then it could move to Las Vegas and Okalahoma and Texas, like the Hawaiians who have already been squeezed out.
As many predicted, it didn’t take long for the rapidly eroding eastside shoreline to start squeezing out that ribbon of coastal concrete known as The Path.
Yes, in typical Kauai County fashion, one blunder has been made atop another, and the blundering is poised to continue. First, the county built a seawall behind Pono Kai without a permit. Now — surprise! — the coastline is eroding around the seawall. This tends to occur around “shoreline hardening” projects, which is why they’re discouraged and permits are required.
After searching for a solution for more than a year, [County Engineer Donald] Fujimoto told the Kaua‘i County Council last week that the only feasible option is to build a new revetment behind the existing one.
This will entail ripping up a portion of the coastal path that the county completed last year. Due to space constraints created by an abutting private property, the path will likely be redesigned to run on top of the new seawall, Fujimoto said.
Let me get this straight. It didn’t work the first time, so let’s do it again at a cost of at least $2 million. OK, sounds like a plan.
Interesting, how in a bit of campaign fluff deposited in my mailbox yesterday, Bernard Carvalho takes credit for leading the county task force assigned to completing the Kapaa to Kuna Bay portion of the path.
Yet the Garden Island article on the seawall notes:
Council members Mel Rapozo and Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho said last year they cautioned the late Mayor Bryan Baptiste’s administration to wait until the revetment issue was resolved before constructing the next phase of the coastal path from Lihi Boat Ramp to Kealia.
Hmmm. This boondoggle doesn’t seem to reflect too well on Bernard’s already meager managerial skills.
I was actually starting to feel a bit kindly toward Bernard until I got that campaign flyer and noticed that among his “accomplishments,” which totaled all of six and included cleaning up Black Pot and Hanamaulu beach parks (BFD), he took credit for expanding bus service and initiating 10 affordable housing projects currently in progress.
Now how, pray tell, could the head of parks and rec have done that? It’s one thing to have limited experience. That’s understandable for someone who isn’t a career politician, and it’s OK. But to feather your cap with made up stuff, well, that’s pretty lame, Bernard. Perhaps he'll clear his conscience in confession at St. Catherine's, where he's a pastoral council member and past president of the parent-teacher guild. Oh, and don't forget he was also past president of the Kam Schools Assn. of Kauai. Wow, Bernard, your "commitment to community" is certainly impressive.
There’s something else that really bugs me about Bernard — besides the photo of him playing in some long ago Hula Bowl game on his most recent election flyer — and that’s the glaring dearth of haoles in any of his campaign literature.
I’m sure he doesn’t need, and maybe he doesn’t even want, our vote. But most politicians attempt at least some semblance of inclusiveness in choosing photos that show them interacting with the ethnically diverse members of our community.
His slogan may be “Together we can!” But the real message of his campaign is: “Locals only.”