Elect a mayor who will make Kauai strong
Iam writing in response to JoAnn Yukimura’s bid for mayor of Kauai. I am not surprised that she has thrown her hat in the ring but Ms. Yukimura needs to remember what she did to the people of the Westside after Hurricane Iniki. What I will share with you is not made-up stories, but facts. I worked for 42 years at the base and I seen with my own eyes and heard for myself what went on during that tragic time.
Right after the hurricane the military sent support in the form of food, equipment, ice and manpower. They contacted our mayor at that time, Ms. Yukimura, to let her know that they had landed at PMRF and was ready to go out and ••• John G. Rita Sr. distribute the supplies and manpower to help the island residents get back on their feet. Her response was to wait and not have the military do anything at that time. The ice was picked up by her people and was distributed but it went straight to the North Shore and Eastside. Westside received nothing.
For two weeks, these soldiers waited to hear from our thenmayor, these men and women had nothing to do because of our mayor’s refusal to accept their help. I returned to work not long after the hurricane to run the gas station on base; while working there the captain of the soldiers who had come to help us drove up.
I asked him why the military was just playing football and not going off base. His words to me I will always remember, he said: “I shouldn’t tell you this but it’s your mayor that is at fault. We can’t go out and help because she’s refusing our help.” We had soldiers who were willing and able to help, sitting on the base for two weeks before she accepted their help.
So to me, her asking us to vote her in as mayor again makes me angry.
People, wake up, we need a mayor who will make Kauai strong again. To bring back the idea that someone should get a job because they are the best qualified for it, not hire someone because it’s a friend, relative or a campaign supporter.
A mayor who will ask the hard questions and make department heads accountable for what their department is or isn’t doing. To take care of the local people, those who can’t afford to buy or rent a home and sees the wrong in all the new building construction and elite subdivisions that are coming up everywhere, driving the local people’s land tax so far up that they can barely afford their homes.
That will make affordable rentals and hold those who are renting above the county affordable limit by creating some kind of luxury tax clause. But will also reward those who stay within the limit with more tax breaks. Who understands that $400,000 is not affordable for our local people.
Who sees the need to bring back the plantation culture where everyone thinks about the next person and not sink all our money to build up tourist attractions. Who sees the value of having those communities where family lived next to family and friends and will always share a helping hand.
To tell you all honestly, the two who are running for mayor that I deem qualified for the job is either Mel Rapozo or Derek Kawakami. While I know Lenny Rapozo and personally thinks he is a great guy, he does not have what it takes to be mayor, just by the way he runs his park department and his lack of leadership and accountability. As for Joanne, it’s not only the above reason but also her behavior and attitude that I watch every week at the County Council meetings.
So please, I ask those of you who feel we have lost our island, to stand up and let our voices be heard and make Kauai our island again. ••• John G. Rita Sr. is a resident of Koloa.