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Swimming Lessons Should be Encouraged

Maui’s drowning statistics are the highest in the nation.

September 6, 2012
Kelly Duell - Valley Isle Aquatics , The Maui Weekly

The plight of our nonprofit that offers swimming lessons is severe. With Maui County officials turning the other way and Department of Parks and Recreation employees making decisions based on personal agendas, it does not look good.

The Board of Variances and Appeals (BVA) decided they do not have the power to overturn Glenn Correa's choice in denying us a permit to hold lessons at county facilities back in March 2012. That is the whole point of the BVA, but when you have laypersons, who do not know or understand the codes, regulations, ordinances and laws, that is what happens. Corporation Council Tom Kolbe only cared about winning the case, not about what was best for the community. He honed in on one point rather than considering all the points being made, and of course, as we know, the county sticks together, and that is exactly what happened.

We were dismayed with the reasons given as to why we were denied the permit. The only positive thing that came out of all this was that the BVA determined if we have one swim meet per year, then we qualify for a Type III permit. Since we have already had two swim meets this year, we should be given a Type III permit now. So if they deny this, then we should have a stronger case and may actually get awarded the permit. We will be posting the documents on our Website (www.valleyisleaquatics.com) if you would like to read all the documentation in this case.

We consulted with an attorney, who indicated that we have the right to reapply for several different permit types, which we have done seven times. We have received one verbal denial for a Type IV permit and one email denial for a Type II (cc) permit; all the other permit requests have been ignored with no response. We thought that the county would have some type of timeline in which to respond, but apparently the timeline is whatever they feel like doing.

When we requested another Type II (cc), we were then directed to make the request in a fashion in which we have not done in several years and to go through another department. When contacting the other department, we set up a meeting, but conveniently the person had to cancel with nothing rescheduled and no response to further emails and permit requests.

So, again the county does not have to actually do its job and can arbitrarily decide to whom and when they will offer a permit to without regard to the community's needs and desires. Our community needs the option of taking classes from us and the county needs to stop their monopoly and discrimination on this matter.

We have jumped through every hoop, dotted every I, crossed every T, but yet, the county has an issue, so therefore, they ignore us and refuse to acknowledge any of our permit requests. These people in these positions need to be relieved from their duties. Their jobs are to help the public, to offer programs that are in the best interest of the public, and to do their jobs without regard to color, creed, religious background, race, etc. If they cannot do this, then they need to get out and let someone who is fair do these jobs.

I am disappointed that Mayor Alan Arakawa sits back in his lush office and allows this to continue. Didn't he say he wanted to help businesses succeed and not be an obstacle? Apparently that was only lip service to win votes. I have found him not to be a man of his word and not to be the mayor of the people. He is just like the rest, and does not care about the public, unless it brings in "big business." He doesn't want to waste his time on us "little guys." It's too bad, because we thought he would bring about change and encourage county employees to do the right thing, but instead, he disappoints at every turn.

How many times must we request a permit? How do we encourage the county to actually respond to the permit requests? They did not care about the letters from the community; they did not care about the petition with almost 100 signatures; they did not care that the lifeguards do not want to teach lessons; they did not care that the lifeguard classes do not meet the needs of the community; they did not care that many people are utilizing the pools illegally; they did not care that we offer the best program on Maui because we care; and they did not care that Maui's drowning statistics are out of control--the highest in the nation.

Where does that leave this program? We have been working diligently to attain access to pools, however, we need your assistance. So if you are associated with any kind of pools and can help the cause, please let us know.

We are also looking for a home with a pool that we can simply use as our residence (and then we can use the pool for lessons). If you know any for rent, please let us know!

We will not give up the fight for what is right and just! We will keep pursuing this matter until the county does what is right and in the best interest of the community. This is the United States of America, where the government is there for the people and all people are treated equally. We will not sit back and let the county continue its discrimination and lack of fair treatment. Remember, it is the children who suffer!

Email valleyisleaquatics@valleyisleaquatics.com and visit www.valleyisleaquatics.com for more information.

 
 

 

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