The air was filled with sound this morning: first the roar of the ocean, then the wind passing through the trees, and a chill wind it was, too. I spotted two thick waterfalls, but mostly the mountains were hidden, as was the sun, although it briefly peeked over the Sleeping Giant before being smothered by gray clouds.
My neighbor Andy, looking sleepy and cold when we passed on the road, predicted I’d get wet before I got home, but he was wrong, and the drops began to fall as Koko and I entered the house.
I always feel for those who have no home, especially this time of year, when it’s wet, cold and windy, the kind of conditions that make it tough to stay dry inside a tent or a rough lean-to in the bushes.
My young friend Kaimi, searching for a decent affordable rental on the North Shore, where he was born and raised, has encountered numerous landowners anxious to find someone to maintain and/or watch their property in exchange for housing. Problem is, the caretaker “houses” they’re offering are assorted shacks with no proper bathroom or kitchen facilities.
“How do they expect us to live like that?” he asks. Meanwhile, the owners are living in the lap of luxury. Needless to say, it’s a scenario that breeds more than a trace of resentment among locals desperately seeking housing.
A Maui reader commenting on Saturday’s post noted that multi-million-dollar spec homes are going on the market there daily — and not selling. Kaimi ran into one of those spec homes-turned-rentals in Moloaa, where the owner was renting out the five bedrooms separately, trying to make the mortgage on a $650,000 house built on seven acres of ag land. Unfortunately, it had no potable water, which didn’t deter the young men who were shelling out $300 to $400 each for a room and kitchen privileges.
A kind of quirky New York Times piece touches on how the “backlash against a decade of accelerated construction of vacation homes, condominiums and hotels, mostly in what are known as the Neighbor Islands,” has affected the Superferry.
The article quotes Kauai’s own Jimmy Trujillo of Hui-R, as well as Molokai’s Walter Ritte, who made this statement: “For us, tourism is just a way for outsiders to take our best places and then offer to pay us to change their sheets.”
While the story did a good job of expressing some of the sentiment against tourism-related and second-home development, I was struck by how even an issue story about Hawaii is relegated to the travel section. It’s a problem I continually run up against in trying to pitch stories to mainland editors. They don’t see the Islands as a real place, but a destination.
Still, it’s the kind of publicity that the Hawaii Tourism Authority doesn’t want, especially in the travel section of the New York Times.
While we’re on the subject of New York, I got an email from a guy who lives there and invented the “now watch” to help remind people to stay in the present. Apparently he gets a Google alert whenever the search engine finds something with the words “now” or “present moment,” and yesterday’s blog post did. Then he follows up with an email. Now that’s some dedicated marketing.
And before we move past the topic of the Superferry, check out Larry Geller’s clever “passenger satisfaction survey” on Disappeared News. I hear a “puke index” is also in the works, which will offer passengers an indication of how likely they are to vomit on the ferry given the day’s winds and ocean swell condition.
If you’re looking for some visual entertainment, Brad Parsons sent along links to a couple of youtube videos on the Maui demonstrations against the Superferry. And then there’s Bill Maher’s gritty take on the traditional year in review story.
Well, it’s the time when “Songs of Sovereignty” usually airs on KKCR, and I just got a report from Andy Parx that Hale Mawai went to the station to host Ka`iulani’s show only to find — you guessed it — the management pulled the same stunt as last week: locking the doors and playing canned Hawaiian music.
OK, now we’re moving into the realm of real chicken shit bizarro behavior. I mean, really, what is the station management afraid of? And why should we, the listening public, be again deprived of the regular programming?
Btw, I never did get a response to my polite request for a copy of the station’s policy on suspending/terminating volunteer programmers. However, a board member did fill me in on a few other policies, including all interview shows must be pre-approved by management, and neither programmers nor guests can make any disparaging remarks on air about the board, management, other volunteers or station policies.
So that effectively stymies any on-air discussion about problems at the station. And if a programmer does get kicked off his or her show, there’s no grievance procedure for appealing the dismissal.
As I said, the air was filled with sound this morning, but at my house, anyway, it won’t be what’s being broadcast on KKCR. I’d rather listen to the birds and the occasional KA-BOOM of a homemade cannon — a sound that will become much more common as the clock edges toward midnight and all hell breaks loose with firecrackers and rockets going off in my neighborhood.