Saturday, May 17, 2008


BUT WHAT IF THE DOG IS RIDING A BICYCLE? Sometimes it feels like half the people of Kaua`i have gone insane.

The biggest issue on Kaua`i drawing a hydrophobically hysterical teeth-baring crowd at this week’s Council meeting wasn’t vacation rentals, protecting ag land, the budget or even runaway development and the resultant hour it takes to get through Kapa`a.

No it’s dog lovers vs. dog haters.

At least this time the subject of discussion rather than the discussion itself was dog droppings as the first reading of the various dog path bills drew the gamut of emotional appeals and rational statistical prevarications and pontifications from a slew of people, most of whom have probably never seen the inside of the Council Chambers before.

And in response Councilpersons Mel Rapozo and Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho have written their own somewhat schizophrenic defenses of their personal activities in both supporting and opposing the bike path depending on the momentarily functional side of their mouths and faces.

But we must admit that at one of those moments a momentous event has taken place. On his blog today Rapozo becomes the first elected official to mention that the bike path was actually supposed to be- gasp- for bikes to get from point A to point B.

He starts a pertinent paragraph by saying: “the original intent of the path was for traffic enhancement. In fact, the Federal government provided funds for this County to provide an alternate route for transportation, not a recreational path.”

But then he ends it with what you would expect to hear from a politician in an election year.

“Don’t get me wrong. I fully support the bike path and the recreational use that it provides. This was not the original intent and we need to remember that.”

And what do we do with that remembrance? With that and four bucks you can get a gallon of gas.

Shaylene is, as usual, totally off her rocker again giving a slightly different blow-off to the question of whether our sea-side sidewalk is a park and therefore “no dogs allowed” in a letter to the editor.

“The law prohibits dogs in parks, the bike path is located on ‘park property,’ therefore, dogs are prohibited from being on the bike path.” she maintains although what the heck park property- as it seems distinct from “a park”- is we are still in the dark.

But then she goes on to say since it is a law, even though she apparently can’t cite a specific one, she is going to be vigilant in upholding it.
“I’m sure the rest of the community would take offense if I decided unilaterally to pick and choose which laws I wanted to enforce or not.”

And this woman wants to be our prosecutor? I’m sure we all want somebody enforcing laws they made up.

How did we get to the point where the argument against dogs on the BIKE path is not that it would endanger bicycling commuters-that for which we extracted $40 million in federal funds with a guarantee it would be for “transportation, not recreation”- but that the dogs might reach into the baby carriages and devour a keiki.

How did we get to the point where asking “what the heck is anything but a bicycle doing on the bike path in the first place” elicit a response of “why do you hate dogs so much?”

It’s a damn good thing we are the farthest you can get from Washington D.C. because if they got wind of what’s going on with their transportation money they could very well ask for it back.

Will we ever be able to actually ride a bike on the bike path? When is that U.S. General Accounting Office audit/report due anyway?

The real question may be whether your dog and pony path is worth $40 million. Because the dog and pony show is for a Kaua`i audience only and the feds may well say “we are not amused.”


Anonymous said...

It seems a majority think the Path project is good for Kauai. Mel and Shay seem to think they are the saviours of all things County and possess superior minds. Too bad their "facts" are often self serving fantasy. The gospel according to...

Anonymous said...

Rails to Trails monies are being used for bike paths that are basically recreation all over not just here.

Mel is just doing his usual posturing to run for Mayor. Just watch the wind, that's the way he'll be facing.

The plans from day one showed a mixed us trail/path. Dogs, horses walkers, skaters, were supposed to be included. The control freaks chopped the horses first and now the dogs. If someone whines about old people and kids slowing down circulation and creating liabilities since they fall a lot can we limit the path to 15-55?

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for the dirt bikes, mopeds, roller bladers, skateboarders, and other tax paying thrill seekers to start using this path. If the only requirement to use this path is paying taxes, then you all better wear safety equipment while walking your dogs.

Anonymous said...

A better question is

"but what if the dog will give you a table dance?"

That may sway one of the dwarves.