Dear Mayor Kirk Caldwell: I’m writing this to express my extreme frustration at the way the City and County of Honolulu implements new and largely unwanted and even illegal projects.

NOTE: pick the correct link

The gates project at a Diamond Head park is a perfect example of the kind of inefficiency in government that needs to be addressed.

For those that are not familiar with the issue, I would send you to Denby Fawcett’s article, “City Blocks Public Access Along Diamond Head Seawall.”

The reason given for these gates, between Makalei Beach Park and Leahi Beach Park, was that the city had been sued (once) because a woman fell through an opening in the railing. The railing is interrupted for stairs that lead to the ocean and then the safety railing continues.

If the woman does not understand the concept of stairs, I fear there really is no hope. Basically the city is in violation and should fine itself — conjure up an imagine of a snake swallowing its own tail.

Also, if any of the houses along this blockaded section catch fire and are engulfed on the street side, with access denied, firemen will not be able to fight the fire from the ocean side and anyone occupying those homes now have their secondary exits blocked. Cutting off an exit, trapping people in a burning building — now that has the potential of a very serious lawsuit.

The fences that were installed at Makalei Beach Park and Leahi Beach Park at Diamond Head received inadequate public input. Ricardo Figliuzzi

The section the city closed off to public access is one of the safest sections on the entire seawall, which extends from Leahi Park to the Elks Club.

Most of the seawall walk is without any safety railings and yet no law suits. Why not a cautionary sign — or maybe several, if public safety and prevention of further lawsuits is really at the bottom of this.

They exist on hiking trails and other situations where the public and visitors need to be warned to take caution. Every year we have quite a few visitors to Hawaii, that unfortunately drown. Should we deny them access to the ocean?

The city, without any civic input, enacts these unwanted projects and then we, the people that pay for this, have to spend endless hours, phone calls, organizing, protesting, complaining, petitioning, attending meetings, etc., basically trying to undo something that perhaps, should never have been done in the first place.

The waste of community time, Honolulu City Council time, city employees’ time, effort, and money to undo these projects is astounding and incredibly inefficient.

Involved in just this incident were police, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, its Department of Boating and Recreation, news agencies, inspectors, and the public, all trying to sort out who installed these illegal gates.

Someone wondered if perhaps many of the more disturbed and irate of our homeless community, often seen and heard talking to themselves and yelling profanities, might just be folks that were sent over the edge after trying to deal with the city.

The irony is that we’re footing the bill. So basically we’re paying to abuse ourselves.

There are many city employees that are really a pleasure to deal with. Their attitude is a sort of “we’re all in this together, so let’s work together and sort it out.” You know, that old Hawaii style.

Public Service

Then you have the obdurate, high-handed types that you probably find in any profession. But really there is just no room for this type of attitude, especially in public service, and it builds up a tremendous amount of resentment on the part of the public.

Whether you continue in public service, or not, Mayor Kirk Caldwell, this is a huge learning opportunity for you, the next mayor and all of us on how to streamline government so that it works with and for the community it represents and not against it. Public input on proposed projects should be required on anything outside standard operations to avoid this kind of thing in the future.

Hawaii could be an example of the way a mindful and efficient government should be run and it can if we all pull together and realize that we are, in fact, all in this together. There are no sides, only the whole.

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