Monday, August 24, 2009


(PNN) NEW LANDFILL SITE WILL BE IN KALAHEO: PNN has learned that the new landfill site on Kaua`i- reportedly set to be announced this week- will apparently be the one located just south of Kalaheo’s Brideswood subdivision, according to multiple sources both inside and outside the administration.

The so called Umi site (map) sits on east side of the north-south leg of Halewili Road (the “back road” from Kalaheo to `Ele`ele through Numila by the Kaua`i Coffee plant) about ¾ of a mile from the intersection with Kaumuali`i Highway and was recommended or “selected” by a mayor’s advisory committee originally formed and appointed in February of 2008 by the late Mayor Bryan Baptiste.

“Selected” is in quotes because, although the site was originally supposed to be ranked processed and selected by the committee, instead it apparently only developed the criteria for the rankings and filled out the score sheets which were then processed and completed by the county’s consultant, RM Towill.

The process also wasn’t exactly as open and transparent a process as many expected after reading the original Public Message regarding (the Mayor’s) Advisory Committee which said “all meetings of the Committee will be governed by the State Sunshine Law and will be open for the public to attend and to listen as the Committee conducts its deliberations.”

Instead, according to the minutes of the March 17, 2009 meeting, when the consultant “presented the names of the sites that the committee’s criteria and weighting had ranked as well as their scores and order... (i)t was agreed by the Committee that this information would not be posted until the completion of the Committee’s process.”

And indeed an examination of the minutes of the committee do not reveal the consultants reports or the specific comparative information leading to the selection of the Kalaheo site over the six others that were proposed.

Expectations were so far from actualities that the committee was apparently adamant toward the end that the original “charge” to the committee be amended to indicate the way the process actually occurred after they were cut out of completing the ranking process.

The April 21, 2009 minutes say:

The Committee requested that the wording concerning the Mayor’s charge to the Committee be clarified to better reflect that the task was to develop and weight the criteria which the consultant applied to the sites resulting in the ranking.

That indicates that the consultant RM Towill did not just “facilitate the MACLS with the objective to identify and recommend a site for Kauai’s next Landfill” as the county web site notice from August 13, 2008 reads but actually was the one who applied the criteria that the committee developed and made the final recommendation.

But even more disturbing is what various sources have been saying since the beginning- that the administration came in trying to force the Kekaha site on the committee with the membership “stacked”, some say, to insure that the dump remained in an area right across the highway and adjacent to the county’s only current landfill.

One source with knowledge of the process confirmed what many were saying last year- that the committee was told at the first meeting that "experts" had already made their preliminary studies and had come to the conclusion that the present site in Kekaha was the most favorable, "geographically" and "climatically".

That however was under Mayor Baptiste who, many county observers say, was trying to placate the desire of the current landfill workforce to keep the jobs in the area.

The one caveat on the selection of the Kalaheo site– which was ranked #1 by the consultant with the Kekaha site coming in #2 site and Kipu site in third- is that the administration in the person of the mayor is the one making the final designation since, as the minutes indicate over and over, the committee was only there to make a “recommendation” not a “selection”.

Although our sources agree that the Kalaheo site is the one that will be announced this week by current Mayor Bernard Carvalho, he did have the final say and because he could have changed his mind and selected a different site, nothing is “final” until the announcement is officially made.

The members of the committee- whose names were found nowhere at the county web site except in the meeting minutes- were:

Gary Pacheco, David Sproat, Ted Inouye, George Costa, Mike Curtis, Mary J. Buza-Sims, Jose Bulatao, Jr., Michael V. Layosa, Edward Kawamura, Keith Nitta, Kenny Ishii, Palmer Hafdahl, Glenn Frazier, Diana Simao, Kathleen Hurd;
County DPW: Troy Tanigawa, Emily Ishida;
Consultant: Brian Takeda;
Facilitator: Dee Dee Letts

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