Drawn by the island's beauty, visitors are now staying an average of 7.2 days on Kauai, we are told, which gives them plenty of time to get into trouble on land and sea. What's new was this revelation by Councilman Jay Furfaro:
The ocean safety information is making a difference at the hotels, but Furfaro said 62 percent of tragedies occur with people staying at transient vacation rentals.
The county engineer has the authority to close beaches and trails if conditions present a public safety concern, Furfaro said. Queen’s Bath could be closed for six months at a time, he added.
So does this mean that residents will also lose access to trails and beaches that are closed to protect the tourists from themselves? I can't imagine that will go over too well with folks who are already feeling squeezed out of their favorite places by the steady increase in tourists.
And if the county engineer has the authority to close natural areas that present a public safety concern, what about the vacation rentals that have bedrooms on the ground floor, unpermitted boat docks and other such hazards? Or more to the point, doesn't he have authority over the Building Division, which has allowed so many of these violations to occur?
Meanwhile, eastside folks are circulating competing petitions, one calling for the removal of Kapaa Middle School Principal Nathan Aiwohi, who is reportedly on leave, and another supporting his integrity. The issue, it appears, is his leadership style, which is characterized in one petition as “dictatorial, authoritarian” and in the other as an “exemplary model.”
The removal petition, which is signed by Councilwoman Nadine Nakamura, includes such revealing comments as:
This school has outstanding staff and they are constantly being squashed by the principal. His decisions are unnecessary, unrealistic and just ridiculous.
He derives pleasure from bullying students, teachers and parents and is preventing our school's academic progress.
He has been nothing but a source of rudeness and hatred against me and my family for a good six years now, and it's time to put his reign of terror to an end.
HE IS A TYRANT. HE TREATS THE STUDENTS LIKE PRISONERS WITH NO RIGHTS
And a really sad one from the former band teacher:
The mental and physical toll on me can be documented. I have been diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety disorder due to years of a hostile work environment. I will never be the person I used to be. I will never get my career back. This man has been the ruin of me and the ruin of real music on the East side.
The support petition, which was started by Aiwohi's wife, Leah, and signed by surveyor Dennis Esaki (who was recently given the political plum of a seat on the state Land Use Commission for his work on Gov. Abercrombie's campaign), includes such comments as:
I am very pleased with everything Principal Aiwohi has done for KMS. I do not feel that the absence of PTSA has anything to do with him.
We know Nathan E. 'Aiwohi as a man of integrity, character, and leadership which is demonstrated in both his personal and public life.
He is not one that easily compromises, which takes courage to go against even opposition and to stand up for what he believes is right and best for the people and children he has under his responsibility. He can be quite strict and will stick to the rules and regulations that his position expects him to be...I think they call that integrity
The clash dates back to 2008, and reportedly prompted resignations from the school's PTSA boards in 2011 and 2012. There have also been complaints that he assigned two of the school's best teachers not to the classroom, but to work on accreditation. Other reports contend that staff morale is low and excellent teachers have left the school because of his leadership. Numerous complaints reportedly have been made to Complex Area Superintendent William Arakaki, who in 2011 was given a petition with 200 signatures asking for Aiwohi to be removed from his position at Kapaa Middle School. Aiwohi previously was the principal of Hanalei School.
Moving on, The Garden Island's new editor, Bill Buley, introduces himself in an aptly titled piece, “More than you want to know about me.” In it, he offers this revelation:
I plan to learn about Kaua‘i and study several books, “The Ultimate Kaua‘i Guidebook,” “Best Easy Day hikes Hawai‘i: Kaua‘i,” and “Hawai‘i for Dummies.’”
Ahem. Let's hope he seeks a broader education than will be found in those pages.
Personally, I would have been more interested in learning about his plans for the paper. You know, answers to questions like, are you actually going to edit the reporters' stories? Guide them in some investigative/substantive reportage? Beef up the news content in the paper? Stop running so many verbatim press releases? Publish stories in a more timely fashion? Limit people to no more than one letter to the editor per week?
I guess we'll just have to wait and see. At least he likes dogs.....
Speaking of which, a friend sent me this picture, with the caption:
if only the mayor would perk up and listen like she does