My Turn: Some different solutions instead of same ol’, same ol’

Here are some thoughts that may or may not fit into the scheme of things here in Kona but at least they are thoughts outside the box and not the same sh**, different day.

Per traffic between Kamehameha III Road and Nani Kailua Drive, what if businesses staggered their starting times until we can find a solution for this traffic quagmire? It worked in Los Angeles during the 1984 Summer Olympic games. On no occasion were people sitting in the bumper-to-bumper traffic that is seen regularly on our roads. Of course, this would have to be on a voluntary basis, but Peter Ueberroth proved that this was a solution.

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Again, not necessarily the proper answer for us but it is a solution. What happened when Honolulu ran out of horizontal space? They went vertical. I don’t know about you, but I have driven that strip between Lako Street and Kamehameha III Road and there is no space to go horizontal without condemning homes of which we already have a shortage. Could we conceivably go vertical in this zone?

Homelessness is at a critical point. I can’t stand to hear friends saying their guests will never come back here due to the harassment and other issues they experienced in our Kailua Village.

The big chat is Village 9, now renamed Kukuiola. The EA (environmental assessment) and the PER (preliminary engineering report) won’t be completed for some time and then comes the bidding processes and then the building process — all costing millions and millions of dollars.

Now, if the county had not already set a precedent with the new judicial building, I would not have a foundation. But since the relationship between the County of Hawaii and the Queen Liliuokalani Trust (QLT) has been established, my suggestion is to make a homeless shelter out of the now, almost defunct, International Marketplace in the old industrial area.

This is on QLT property. It has all the necessary infrastructure already in place including zoning, if I’ve been correctly informed. With a few minor tweaks, this property could be ready for living in a very short time with a minimal expense comparatively to Kukuiola. And another line item to our budget will not have to be added to transport the individuals to an area so far from town. All the services presently provided are in that general locale in the old industrial.

And speaking of setting precedents, the latest was with the discovery of iwi whilst dredging in Lono Kona (aka Hamburger Hill) to connect that area to the sewer system. I have a truly genuine question (one time I’m not trying to be a smartass). What makes these iwi different that the iwi found while surveying the area for the Alii Corridor? The iwi from Lono Kona have been interred elsewhere. Can the ones in the area of the proposed Alii Corridor do the same? Seriously, I’m asking a sincere question.

You know, when I put out money for something, I generally like to see a tangible return. I see our inmates getting “three squares a day,” which is more than some working their okole off get on a regular basis. I have also heard nothing but horror stories about the bathrooms at our public places.

First, we need to have porta potties for the homeless until we can get them into shelters. Second, since all I hear is that we don’t have the personnel to maintain our facilities, why don’t we bring the inmates over and give them something to do. We could kill three birds with one stone: 1. Not have to pay wages and benefits for new county employees; 2. Give the inmates a sense of purpose and get them out of their cells; 3. Clean the Queen Kaahumnau Highway center medians, and public facilities that our Parks and Rec claim they have not bodies to do. This would give me an actual visual of for what my tax dollars pay.

And speaking of the inmate’s assistance, ever heard of Kamilo Beach — aka Plastic Beach? Tons and tons of plastics wash ashore on this southeastern beach annually. Many private organizations go there several times a year and barely make a dent in the mess. There is a company in UK called MacRebur (www.macrebur.com). The premise of this company is to take plastics that would otherwise go into a landfill and make roads out of those plastics.

Again, kill four birds with one stone: 1. Clean a toxic beach; 2. Save our landfills; 3. Create a purpose and training for inmates; 4. Reduce costs for road materials (and these roads will last longer).

It’s too bad that the Planning Department did not take Newton’s third law into consideration when they proposed and implementation date for the short-term vacation rental bill. The county knew this bill was coming but did they do anything to make sure they were staffed adequately before the implementation date?

Since we know that the county is reactive as opposed to proactive, I’ll let you figure that one out on your own.

And then there’s the 92-plus-1 new positions that have been placed as line items in the budget. If those 93 jobs were averaged at $50,000 per year, that comes to $4,650,000 without benefits (that’s a whole other equation). If none of these positions are filled, guess what happens to that money? It becomes a slush fund. Are you happy knowing that our local government has raised our budget by 12.7% to have a $4.5-plus million slush Fund?

Speaking of slush funds, is there a public accounting for the $82 million that Gov. David Ige sent to Hawaii island in disaster funds? Where can I read on what those monies were spent?

And then there’s the Salary Commission who is appointed by the mayor, really? They invite him to attend their meeting to ask him if he’s OK with increased salaries for mayor, prosecutors and council members? Who dosn’t want to earn more money? That’s like asking a drought-laden farmer if he would like water! C’mon! The Salary Commission should be appointed by a non-county entity. Not sure exactly who, but inviting the fox to guard the chicken coop is insane!

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I know that some of this will be met with resistance. Probably because it makes too much sense and is thinking outside the box. Instead of replying with snide remarks, why don’t you come up with some of your own solutions to our dilemmas? Mine may not be the ideal solutions but at least I’m trying to make a difference. And you?

Kelly Drysdale is a resident of Kailua-Kona.