Elect a mayor who will make Kauai strong

The Garden Island - - Morning Briefing -

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.

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