Wednesday, August 31, 2011


PERMITS? WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' PERMITS: It's hard to know what goes on between those "world class" ears of Councilmember Dickie Chang sometimes but his attempt last Wednesday to defend the administration's vision of Lydgate Park didn't do much to help matters.

At last week's committee meeting council watchdog Ken Taylor delivered a scathing attack on the Department of Parks and Recreation's (P&R) contention that the camping facility described in Bill 2149 would be "world class" despite the lack of bathrooms and other facilities along with insufficient training, supervision and equipment- not to mention numbers of park maintenance workers- to keep it clean and safe.

Without mentioning P&R's head, Lenny Rapozo, or his deputy Ian Costa, Taylor made the mistake of saying that "where I come from" or anywhere else in the world for that matter, the department's leadership would be fired for the present conditions in the area even before camping is offered to visitors as a "first class" camping experience.

Chang's "rebuttal" was jaw-dropping, telling Taylor that "local people are not that hard to please," continuing with an implied and thinly-disguised racially-charged rant telling Taylor how local people don't want to hear "where I come from."

We can only surmise that in Chang's mind "local people" apparently enjoy bathrooms with perennially stuffed up toilets and sewage-tainted standing water, along with overflowing trash cans.

T'ank you massah fo' any small kindness. Just give us an ocean and a fishing pole and we's as happy as pigs in s**t, eh Dickie?

Well at least one "local" was more than offended.

In a letter to the editor in today's local newspaper our friend Camellia Ditch-Crosby of Lawa`i wrote directly to "Mr. Chang" saying:

We don’t know what locals you are talking to that say they are not hard to please regarding the parks’ condition because most of our `ohana and friends are not pleased at all.

It’s the worst condition it’s been in the 65+ years we’ve lived here. We are seven generations on Kaua`i. Yes, the lawn has been cut short and raked, but the bathrooms are filthy. The Kapa`a restroom, next to the police substation is a good example. The Po`ipu, Salt Pond and Nawiliwili restrooms too.

Some of my ‘ohana said the volunteers are now taking charge of cleaning and painting the pavilions and restrooms. Why? Please don’t generalize and say locals are not hard to please; that’s not true. We want to know where our tax dollars are being spent. Or are we going backwards and eventually the county will be using “out houses” the way we grew up.

The fact is that "local people" don't need an official "campground" to spend a couple of days at the beach. But we're all damn tired of disgusting bathrooms and the lack of enough toilets that's resulted from the county's creation of "beach parks" and then promoting them to visitors.

We as a community have to decide whether we want to keep creating "parks" and installing facilities at formerly "wild" places, making what used to be "local" spots suddenly attractive to visitors. Because then we not only essentially lose the ability to just pick up and camp there without permits but, as taxpayers, we have to pay for the resulting need to keep the places clean.

The "south Lydgate" area where the proposed campground sits is just such an place. If it weren't for Councilmember Kipukai Kuali`i demanding an amendment to define the campground area so that theoretically beach "fishing" could still take place, we'd have lost it entirely... although it's a crap shoot as to what will happen when the park ranger comes across a family that has just shown up, sans permit, and set up for a night of fishing on the beach- just outside the "official" campgrounds where tourists are paying $25 a night.

The schizophrenic vision of the "world class" facility with, according to Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura, design flaws that cause the ponding in the showers and bathrooms is not just a product of the usually muddled thinking Chang exhibits. The rest of the councilmembers present also voted to move the bill to the full council while Kuali`i and Councilmember Mel Rapozo- who have tried to hold Lenny Rapozo's and Costa's feet to the fire on the bill- were away on council business.

Despite the fact that nothing has changed since the bill was shelved years ago it will certainly pass next Wednesday. And then we'll have lost another beach due to the actions of the "park" developers- aka, the "world class" imbeciles in elective county office.

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