Thursday, December 4, 2008

$43 MILLION- CHEAP

$43 MILLION- CHEAP: Tonight’s meeting on the future of the bike path- specifically the proposed segment between Lydgate and the Lihi boat ramp- should be a humdigner especially if a widely distributed email sent by Sierra Club stalwart Judy Dalton has any effect.

Seems she has joined the growing number of people who are upset over one thing or another but still “support the path”,

As we detailed a couple of weeks ago even though almost every single particular aspect of the ribbon of concrete has brought news of illegalities, boondoggles and just plain boneheaded lack of planning or cohesiveness, everyone seems to still be on the conga line to support the illegally conceived and executed costly monstrosity.

The latest absurdity is the proposal to put that path on a wooden boardwalk right ON Wailua Beach.

Dalton writes:

If you care about protecting beaches and would like Wailua Beach preserved in its natural, untouched state, please come to the Department of Public Works public informational meeting Thursday evening, December 4 at 7pm at Lydgate Beach Park.

Public Works will present plans for the multi-use path from Lydgate Beach Park to Kapa`a. One path segment includes a boardwalk to be constructed on Wailua Beach. The public could use the question and answer period to ask them to consider one of the alternate routes....

Since Wailua Beach is eroding and faces challenges due to global warming sea level rise, the boardwalk covering the sand dunes could jeopardize the beach's survival. Beaches are dependent upon sand dunes (dunes are flat there) to replenish lost sand. So, no sand dunes equates to no future for the beach.


To comply with environmental laws, a shoreline certification should be completed within 6 months prior to commencement of construction. The results from an up-dated shoreline survey could possibly preclude the boardwalk from being built on the beach, so we need to get assurance from Public Works that they will comply with the law and not allow the requirement to be waived under any circumstance.

But despite the controversies over shoreline setbacks, new illegally imposed “park rules”, the closing of portions formerly open areas, dog-walkers and a myriad of other results of having the usual gang of idiots in charge, one bit of information has escaped reporting in the local paper or anywhere else- the latest cost projections revealed in the council-required quarterly report presented to the council at their November 19th meeting.

The article in the local paper had plenty of information about the threats from then councilmember now Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri Carvalho’s equating walking on a closed portion of the path to shoplifting a blouse- and the implied threat to treat it as such when she gets such a case- there was nothing about Deputy Parks and Recreation Director Kaylan Dela Cruz’s report on how much more it’s going to cost to “complete” the path- a requirement of the original federal grant

According to Dela Cruz’s report that amount is estimated to be at least $42.431 million more and that is basically just the cost of the path’s planning and construction, not the purchase of the land below it or the condemnation process if the owners won’t sell.

The original $40 million that was supposed to cover the entire path from Kalapaki to Anahola came from a federal program designed to enhance “primarily for transportation, not recreation” bike paths which somehow has illegally morphed into what is now called a “multi-use path” by county workers and the lap-dog local press... making high speed bicycling an impossibility.

But that money is gone and guess what? The path- which was originally said to “not cost the county a penny”- is now going to cost taxpayers a pretty one.

To date the county has spent $347,000 according to Dela Cruz’s report.

According to Dela Cruz there is $7 million we’re trying to wheedle out of the state transportation “STIP” fund- money which, despite the desperate needs for money for highway expansion in the absurdly congested Kapa`a-Wailua corridor will now go to the bike path.

But the big news is that the Parks and Rec Department’s new head- Bernard Carvalho crony Lenny Rapozo- will be asking the council for at least $15 million that the county doesn’t have.

When outgoing councilperson Mel Rapozo- who with his pal Iseri has been the only thing standing between a total lack of transparency and accountability on the path for the last few years- asked where that $15 million was going to come from, Dela Cruz, in archetypical department head fashion answered” I’ll have to get back to you on that”.

Although it’s unclear where the other $21 million is coming from councilmembers added two and two and actually got four for a change, suggesting that perhaps we could tack it onto the upcoming bond float the county has postponed until more favorable conditions for it develop- most likely more than a year from now according to then Council Chair Jay Furfaro.

The bond float- estimated to be more than $100 million- will be going mostly to replace three aging wastewater systems that the federal EPA has told us we have to replace- and soon. It also has been proposed to do everything from fixing county roads to replacing stadium lights that are killing endangered birds (also a federal mandate) along with some other pet projects for which councilmembers don’t want to spend any money they are accountable for, but rather will be putting on the budget for future councils to deal with.

And there no telling whether the feds will wake up to what we did with their $40 million in bike transportation money by turning it into a dog walking path and ask for the money back.

Or whether the state or federal EPA will look at the illegally segmented environmental assessment process that measures only the impact of short segments of the path rather than look at the project as a whole. they could well require us to tear it out and start over again as has happened to projects done with similarly segmented assessments on the mainland.

So let’s get this straight- we’re going to go into debt, not to fix our dilapidated infrastructure and build new stuff to keep up with the lack of Planning Department’s willy-nilly development schemes, not to provide county services to those who will undoubtedly need them in the coming economic depression, not for a hundred other necessities but to finish building an illegal ribbon of concrete (or in the case of Wailua beach a wooden one) at the water’s edge (or in this case through the Safeway-Foodland parking lots and across the busiest highway intersection on the island).... one that has had community opposition to almost every aspect along the way.

Dalton’s plea for community opposition to the boardwalk at tonight’s meeting ends with a plea from a Wailua resident, He says:

I understand the intentions of the Path. I'm just committed to saving this piece of heaven before it's too late. The Path is one thing, the beach is another -- why combine them? Keep them as two wonderful, different things.

Once again schizophrenic Kaua`i speaks out of both sides of our mouth. The question is how can we blame the “What, me worry” county government for doing the same?

1 comment:

Nonyer Biz said...

"The original $40 million that was supposed to cover the entire path from Kalapaki to Anahola came from a federal program designed to enhance “primarily for transportation, not recreation” bike paths which somehow has illegally morphed into what is now called a “multi-use path” by county workers and the lap-dog local press... making high speed bicycling an impossibility."

why do you persist in repeating this canard? These funds are clearly meant for anything BUT high speed bike lanes. You can get the funds for buying up Civil war battlefields for FSM's sake.

Yes, Kauai's govt could screw up a steel ball with a QTip. It doesn't change the fact that we've spend a fortune over the years on baseball fields, football fields, running tracks, etc that are empty 95%+ of the time. Meanwhile, the walking path has people on it 24/7.

You're as obsessed with this subject as that old fool Mickens.