Friday, November 21, 2008


GOT TO KEEP THE LOONIES ON THE PATH: One steaming pile of legacy that will appear on the new Council table is the coastal bike path- a project that everyone apparently loves but no one really seems to like.

Seems people are waking up to the fact that this ill-conceived, illegally-executed, environmentally-insane, over-regulated and costly boondoggle of a bureaucratic nightmare has, instead of preserving beach access as it was originally “sold” by the late Mayor Bryan Baptiste, actually cut off access to the area north of Kealia Beach.

As PNN reported in 2002 the actual deed to the property contains a clause that requires it remain open 24/7/365.

Yesterday’s local paper’s report on Wednesday’s council meeting detailed yet more county-fabricated problems with the path, spurring statements from prosecutor-elect Councilperson Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho comparing walking there to stealing from a store and threatening to throw the book at anyone daring to go there until it’s declared open- sentiments echoed by Council Chair Jay Furfaro.

This was a bit much for reporter/blogger Joan Conrow, who has been seemingly non-committal on the path except when it comes to dog walking. She laid into various aspects of the path and Iseri’s declaration of war.

She wrote

OK, Shaylene, let’s get a grip. First, walking on a portion of the Path that has not been officially opened is not in any way like stealing a blouse. And second, you’re not trying to protect us from ourselves — whatever that is — you’re just trying to make sure the county doesn’t get sued.

She also expresses her dismay at some general aspect of the path.

And that’s what concerns me about the Path. Mark my words, we’re going to end up losing access when the concrete cracks or a dog bites somebody or coastal erosion encroaches — already a scenario at the portion by Pono Kai — and then the county will close it up, just like they’ve relinquished beach accesses, because they’re worried about liability.

In the meantime, best not be planning any scofflaw behavior, like walking Fido without a doo doo bag in hand and a carefully measured leash, because the county will show no mercy — and presumably, neither will Shaylene.

But like many others who have harsh words for a specific aspects of the “bike path” she still apparently remains neutral on the project as a whole.

Like Mel Rapozo- who with Iseri spent the last few years looking for accountability and uncovering the almost imbecilic derivation, justification and actualization from bike path to dog path- most people can’t find much good to say about the project path yet still “support the bike path”.

Another heretofore silent critic, David Stewart of Wailua, weighed in in today’s letters to the editor in the local paper.

He writes:

What is going on here? This whole area of pathways and canehaul roads had been used for years by me and others for hiking, biking and walking dogs. Suddenly, in January 2006 the entire area was officially posted closed and we were told that the new path would open early in 2007...

It seems that the entire project is totally mis-managed by the county and the contractors. There does not seem to be a will to finish. There does not appear to be a concern, or understanding, that this area was heavily used by residents before path construction started. In addition, there is no transparency on status. Only when county staff have to testify before the County Council do we get any information. Phase II is but a quarter of the entire envisioned path project, and engineering-wise some of the easiest.

Yet at the end he says

I fear that the county has demonstrated its inability to manage such a project and, although I am a supporter of the entire path, I seriously wonder about the county’s ability to lead the entire project to completion.(emphasis added.)


Do people like this also support the next phase, one for which we don’t have any money, having long ago spent that “free money” from the feds... or misspent it since it came from a fund for construction of a bike path “for transportation not recreation”?

That new phase- proposed in an illegally-segmented environmental assessment- brings the “coastal path” across the highway and smack through the Safeway and Foodland parking lots.

According to the newspaper article “(t)here will be a meeting next month to discuss the design of the portion that will connect Lydgate Park to Lihi boat ramp.”.although no announcment appears on the county web site.

But of course one man has not minced his oppositional words and has been the harbinger of the corruption and incompetence and downright pigheaded persistence of the path proponents since day one.

While the public slept the advocates have turned the once open and accessible makai areas into a highly-restricted, tightly-regulated “linear park” by illegally (as we’ve detailed many times) plopping down a ribbon of concrete where much if it will be eroded away by the ocean in a matter of a few years if not hours what with tonight’s predicted raging storm.

We’ll leave you with Glen Mickens’ testimony at Wednesday’s council meeting.

I believe it is way past time that this administration give an update on this total path---itemization of the money spent so far for work done; total money obligated for work now being done; prospective money needed to finish the entire 16 to 23 miles of path (length having changed several times since the start) including land acquisition, condemnation and ALL variables; a copy of the original contract with the Federal Government showing what TE funds were asked for, the exact route as outlined to the Feds; a copy of the final EA done on the entire outlined route remembering that the Comprehensive Exemption List for the State of Hawaii DOT states under Exemption Class 1: "Operations, repairs, or maintenance of EXISTING structures, facilities NOT proposed new ones as Doug Haigh once told the council that they were.

On October `18th, 2007 the council by a 4 to 3 vote approved an audit of this path by the State auditor to "examine expenditures, permitting and compliance with grant requirements"---a Garden Island quote. This audit was highly fought by all path proponents including 3 members of this council but, as Kipu Kai Kualii so wisely said, "It's the Administration's mismanagement of this entire project that leads responsible people like Rapozo and Iseri-Carvalho to call for an audit. If we don't have anymore "nonsense" and "incompetence" to hide (&/or correct) then why should we oppose an audit? The citizens of Kauai. if you ask me, deserve an audit as much as we deserve a path."

This path was ill planned from the get go and the chances of it ever being completed are slim to zero, especially in this highly unstable economy. I just returned from Broadbeach, Australia and there are some beautiful walking, jogging paths there. But the roads have huge bike lanes along them (the lanes are as big as for cars) and the true bikers ride fast on them.

Their paths, as so many on the mainland were programmed into the community BEFORE the area was developed---not like the path we are trying to retrofit here on Kauai.Had those who proposed this path tried to put it Mauka instead of Makai it might have had a chance to be built. However, as I have repetitively said, our tax dollars have way too many places of high priority to be used before even thinking about a bike path.

Remember that Doug Haigh once said that no study had ever been done on the usage of this path but the question screams for an answer, WHY? Before you spend millions of dollars on a project you certainly need to know the bang you are getting for your buck.

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