Kauai mayor sees hope in 'ohana
By Michael Levine
The Garden Island
LĪHU'E, Kaua'i — Facing heavy budget cuts, potential county furloughs and fee increases that could be used to finance government operations, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. on Friday called on the strength of 'ohana to sustain Kaua'i through the coming "year of sacrifice."
"My strength comes not just (from) my immediate 'ohana," an emotional Carvalho said in his second annual State of the County Address, delivered in front of a crowd of some 100 at the Pi'ikoi Building. "I have also drawn my inspiration from you — the people of Kaua'i — my extended 'ohana."
Carvalho used the Hawaiian word for family 19 times in the prepared text of the approximately 30-minute speech, saying Kauaians' ability to take care of one other during adversity — on display during the recent tsunami scare — has made him an "eternal optimist" that sees "many signs of recovery and hope."
The speech came four days after the Monday submittal of his proposed Fiscal Year 2011 operating and capital improvement budgets to the Kaua'i County Council.
The $146 million operating proposal marks a 5 percent cut from the 2010 fiscal year and includes two furlough days per month for HGEA and UPW union workers as well as non-union workers and appointed personnel.