Thursday, July 23, 2009

Musings: Trade-Offs

A welcome and blessed rain came in the night and was still falling gently this morning when Koko and I set out walking beneath gray skies streaked with yellow and the faintest hint of pink.

The interior mountains were totally obscured by a thick, gray cloud bank that covered even the Giant down to his base, and a pile up on the horizon promised more rain today, which is a very good thing.

Not so good is the toll on turtles, birds, marine mammals and especially sharks that Hawaii’s longline swordfish fishery takes. In reporting a story on a proposal by National Marine Fisheries Service to expand the fishery, I was stunned to learn that two to 10 sharks are caught for every swordfish, prompting one observer to dub it a “shark fishery, not a swordfish fishery.” The ratio is even higher — 10 to 20 sharks for every fish — in the greater Pacific longline fishery.

"Are you sure?" asked the editor. "That seems like an insanely high number."

What can I say? We humans are frigging nuts. How long do you suppose "harvests" like those can continue before the shark population is depleted?

The article really got me thinking about the trade-offs we make, so often unconsciously, in what we choose to eat:

“Every swordfish you eat literally comes with a side helping of sea turtles, whales, dolphins and seabirds,” said Teri Shore of the Turtle Island Restoration Network.

Meanwhile, The Garden Island today offered a few tantalizing, tasty tidbits about yesterday’s heated Council meeting, where the panel finally took up the issue of transparency, rules and policy.

It’s good to get it all out on the table, but ya gotta wonder where it’s gonna go from here when the members are exchanging barbs and accusations of dishonesty. Perhaps some family counseling is in order. Otherwise, we’re gonna have a badly split Council that is even less effective than usual.

But in order to know the whole story, we’ll have to wait for the Hoike broadcast, if you’ve got a TV and the fortitude to sit through hours of squabbling, or wait for the rest of Michael Levine’s report tomorrow.

And if you're an animal lover, or just in the mood for a sad story, read this piece on the fallout of the big midwest dog-fighting bust.

Just another example of an unconscious trade-off — gambling and sick thrills for the lives of so many dogs — that human beings make.

38 comments:

Richard said...

Aloha kakahiaka Joan,

You can always be counted upon to educate, illuminate, inspire, challenge and more with this most wonderful blog that you commit to living online. Whether I read it every day for weeks on end, or come back after a perhaps unintended lengthy break ("Ahem"), it is clear, poetic, and infused with aloha. Mahalo a nui.

Allow me to say that, I--for one--will now always and evermore be aware of the impacts that my own, or my family and friends, desire to enjoy a swordfish fillet have on creatures unable to protect themselves. Auwe. "...friggin nuts" is right. Among other things.

I have an inquiry about something I learned this morning. Will write you soon.

In the meantime, have you noticed that Hawaii People's Fund has a new website?

The organization is very happy with it so far, and excited to build awareness of this new virtual community that will serve to complement the foundation's existing--and I daresay--inspirational website.

Let me end with the note that Nancy and I have been distributing in recent days. And thank you.
Richard



Aloha,

Grassroots, community-based peace, justice and social change organizations are invited to add relevant island events to the calendar at the new website for Hawaii People’s Fund, ChangeNotCharity.org.

As more people post events and more people visit the site, we hope it will serve the progressive community as a useful tool.

Mahalo.
Hawaii People's Fund
---
Check out the Grassroots Action at http://www.ChangeNotCharity.org
Sign up here for our e-newsletter:
https://app.e2ma.net/app/view:Join/signupId:59369/acctId:34934

Hawaii People's Fund
949 Kapiolani Blvd. Suite 100, Honolulu, H.I. 96814
(808) 845-4800
http://www.hawaiipeoplesfund.org

Andy Parx said...

The council meeting will be on Ho`ike Ch 53 at 3:63 this afternoon. It's 11 hours long running time.

Anonymous said...

Andy will give us a brief summary of less than a thousand words.

Andy Parx said...

Sorry 3:53... I don't cough in less than 1000 words.

Anonymous said...

Council Meeting Summary

I was there. After 11 hours it boiled down to this. With the exception of Tim and Lani everyone on the council wants to conduct business by talking to each other one-on-one. Kaipo accused Lani of never coming to talk to him. Lani said Kaipo never responds to her emails. This is not about technological literacy or any of that crap. The powers-that-be know that off record one-on-one communications leave no trace and are therefore not transparent.

Email of course leaves a trail, may become a public record and therefore make the actions of our government transparent.

Apparently only Tim, Lani and the public want that.

Anonymous said...

Yes, why talk one on one when you can communicate impersonally via e-mail. It's sad to see these post-Iniki (for lack of a better phrase) transplants who have no sense of history (or who believe that Kauai's history began when they moved here) criticize someone who was fighting to preserve Kauai long before most of these donkeys even knew Kauai existed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anonymous at 3:23pm. Kaipo has said many times that he doesn't use email. How the hell is Kaipo going to respond to Lani's emails when he doesn't use email? Why didn't Lani speak with Kaipo one-on-one? Come on Lani, remember where you came from. These transplants have no idea about Kaipo's background and love for Kauai, and you are falling right into their hands. They need to leave. NOW!!!!!

Anonymous said...

"Kaipo has said many times that he doesn't use email."

Funny he never said it even once at yesterdays marathon meeting.

Anonymous said...

The question is, what did Lani know? Did Lani know that Kaipo doesn't use e-mail? If so, then her sending Kaipo e-mails smells like a set up.

Anonymous said...

"The question is, what did Lani know? Did Lani know that Kaipo doesn't use e-mail? If so, then her sending Kaipo e-mails smells like a set up."

Who said Kaipo doesn't use email? Staff prints them out gives them two him and types them in. Duh! What you think he designs all those crappy Powerpoints himself?

Anonymous said...

How do you know what "staff" does? Are you Tim or Lani?

Anonymous said...

Lani could still speak to Kaipo and send an email to create a record if that was her goal. It seems weird to not speak to him.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, why talk one on one when you can communicate impersonally via e-mail."

-- you for real on that one?


"These transplants have no idea about Kaipo's background and love for Kauai"

-- i have a pretty good understanding of some of the real estate deals he has done for him and his relatives. does that count?


dwps

Anonymous said...

It is not that Lani does not speak, to Kaipo, but that she does not speak to him 1 to 1 about "the peoples business."

By law that conversation is supposed TO BE DONE IN COUNCIL SESSION. I seems some of these message writers don't know democracy, sunshine, and open records from Hitler's mustache.

The peoples business is supposed to be done in public and be transparent.

And yes dwps "a pretty good understanding of some of the real estate deals he has done for him and his relatives does count" and many locals speak of it to this day as the turning point that made a former man of the people go bad.

Anonymous said...

If the "conversation is supposed TO BE DONE IN COUNCIL SESSION" how did Tim and Lani get together to do their web page? I forgot, they must have done it by e-mail!

Anonymous said...

"Yes, why talk one on one when you can communicate impersonally via e-mail."

-- you for real on that one?

You mean to tell me that you don't communicate with your co-workers except by e-mail? It's not like the council is housed in a high rise office building with Kaipo and Lani separated by ten floors. Are you for real? You must only communicate via Joan's blog.

Anonymous said...

"If the "conversation is supposed TO BE DONE IN COUNCIL SESSION" how did Tim and Lani get together to do their web page? I forgot, they must have done it by e-mail!"

Duh! You took the quote out of context. You did not quote "the" and "the" is "THE people's business" any council members can get together to discuss other items (like a website, their kids school, sports, etc.) with any number of council members, but all "the peoples business should be conducted in public as openly as possible. Do you get it now!

Anonymous said...

The council spent hours on Wednesday talking about the same issues that were on the website. Shame on them for wasting time talking about stuff that's not the "people's business".

Anonymous said...

"about the same issues that were on the website."

Please be more specific. There are many websites. If it was on the County Government website then it was the peoples business, if not not

Anonymous said...

"How do you know what "staff" does? Are you Tim or Lani?"

I was pointed out at the council meeting himself very slowly and in every painful detail, you know like the Readers Digest "I am Joe's colon" article, and no I am not Tim or Lani just a citizen exercising my right to attend and enjoy what Joan describes as "stomach turning" entertainment. I guess not everyone enjoys free horror shows like me. Well I guess they are not really free since we as taxpayers pay for it.

Anonymous said...

"Please be more specific. There are many websites. If it was on the County Government website then it was the peoples business, if not not"

The website is Bynum and Kawahara's kauaiinfo. The topics on kauaiinfo are the same topics that the council talked about. By your definition that's not the "people's business" since it wasn't on the county gov't website.

Brad Parsons said...

Joan said, "But in order to know the whole story, we’ll have to wait for the Hoike broadcast..."

You won't even know the whole story just from the Hoike broadcast.

Anonymous said...

Anon #1, "Kaipo has said many times that he doesn't use email."

Anon #2, "Funny he never said it even once at yesterdays marathon meeting."

Anon #1 is mixing up Darrell with Kaipo. Darrell is the one who says he does not use e-mail. Also, Lani said she sent written correspondence to Kaipo that was not answered. She did not say she sent e-mail to Kaipo that was not answered.

You guys need to listen better.

Anonymous said...

"You guys need to listen better."

Mahalo Anon July 24, 2009 3:44 PM

Anonymous said...

Kaipo, no email, no cell phone, no answer memos, no answer notes, how is Lani to talk to him?

Anonymous said...

"You mean to tell me that you don't communicate with your co-workers except by e-mail? It's not like the council is housed in a high rise office building with Kaipo and Lani separated by ten floors. Are you for real? You must only communicate via Joan's blog."


-- via phone, fax, email, and in person, to answer your question, like most moderately professional people

obviously, email is quick and easy, but it also leaves a perfect paper trail and shows a person has notice -and for that reason some people do not want to use it. email makes for perfect, persuasive, and easily admissible courtroom exhibits. no email, no record of what was what. so yes, i can understand why some people do not want to use it, or just avoid it all together


dwps

Anonymous said...

From the Garden Island-

Answering a question from Chang, Kawahara acknowledged that despite claims by her and Bynum that they had “explored all avenues,” she had never actually raised her concerns about transparency in a face-to-face meeting with Asing, instead sending written communications because she was intimidated after she voted for Furfaro and not Asing to serve as chair during the body’s first meeting in December.

Better eat some rusty nails or sumpthin. Dunno, must be someone with the backbone to look 'em in the eye even when yer agin 'em.

Andy Parx said...

Although it’s late in this post to provide some info and answer some conceptions/misconceptions from the anonymouse’s (and I’m usually loath to acknowledge unsigned posts anywhere) let me say:

1) The full YRL for Tim and Lani’s site is
http://www.kauaiinfo.org/default.asp
It contains all you need to know.

2) Many of us have spent years at the labyrinth of council meetings and know intimately all the procedures, rules laws etc including what staff and everyone else does - It’s not very hard if you pay a little attention. We’ve been complaining about these same things Tim and Lani are now saying- and a whole lot more that they will be bringing up as soon as these low hanging fruit are picked- and have met the stonewall from the Minotaurs consistently. Try it sometime- it just takes a little research a few questions and paying attention.

3) Not only has Kaipo repeated for many years he doesn’t use a computer much less email, he repeated it at the meeting as I said in the first installment of my coverage yesterday
http://parxnewsdaily.blogspot.com/2009/07/mutiny-at-county.html I’ll have more soon.

4) Kaipo is notoriously impossible to reach. even by phone. He never returns messages left at council services unless it’s from a fellow government official or crony.

5) The fact is that meeting face to face meetings put councilmembers in jeopardy of violating the sunshine law if they talk about council related matter. On Thursday (watch the tape) Councilmembers Chang, Furfaro, Asing and Kaneshiro admitted breaking the law when discussing their past face to face meetings, admitting they committed to votes- which is illegal under all circumstances- and saying that they “met” to deliberate council matters in “groups” of more than two many times- mostly through what’s called “serial one on one conversations” which are equally forbidden.

Knowing the sunshine law- and “getting it” unlike most councilmembers (even long time members)- Lani sought to avoid all this by being professional and more importantly transparent in sending on-the-record, publicly documented memos about her concerns and issue with the way Asing operates council services. If Kaipo wanted to meet face to face after all those memos and such from Lani he could easily of asked her. He even ignored proposed legislation she and Tim submitted. The fact is he never even acknowledged receiving any one of them which was the reason Lani and Tim went public with their concerns since it was the only way.

6) When dwps says “i can understand why some people do not want to use (email), or just avoid it all together” because it leaves a paper trial, well that would only be if you are doing something shady or illegal.

Miliaulani said...

Locally born and raised, and part Hawaiian like Kaipo, I have voted consistently for this man for as long as he has been running for office. What I admired about him for many years was the one-man campaign he ran, keeping his spending to a minimum, his integrity unable to be bought. I don't understand what happened along the way, but I do believe the very qualities I admired over the years must still be a part of who this man is. There is no doubt of his love for Kauai and his desire to preserve the specialness of this place, but he has made some obvious missteps. If anything, he needs to be open to new ides, new ways of doing things. Just because things were done the same way for the last 26 years, doesn't means it cannot be improved upon. If other councilmembers are having difficulties with the processes,than it behooves him to listen and implement change that is beneficial to all concerned.

I voted for Lani and want her to be able to do her job just as effectively as Kaipo. She is young with fresh ideas and she is helping to bring County government into this new age of technology. Kaipo should support that and be willing to change with the times. If not, perhaps it is time for him to step down. He has done many good things for Kauai and we owe him gratitude for his years of service, however, perhaps it is time for a change.

I support Lani and Tim's desire for a change in the way the council runs their business. Lani openly admitted that she was somewhat intimidated by Kaipo and so she communicated via written correspondence. Nothing wrong with that and I admire her for saying as much publicly. Being the only woman on the council makes it even more intimidating, especially when both Kaipo and Darryl have talked down to her in a patronizing way in the past. Lani does not deserve that. She is green yes, so the responsibility lies with the seasoned councilmembers to assist in any way possible to help her to do her job, if they are truly 'ohana as Jay said.

Miliaulani

Andy Parx said...

Most of us feel the same way Miliaulani. We voted for Kaipo the first time he ran and every two year since (except the year he ran for Mayor). We even “plunked” many times, voting only for him.

That ended for me two elections ago.

He was our hero, fighting against uncontrolled development and administration incompetence. In many ways, he still does.

But he was never really one buck the system and so learned how to work within it even if he wound up on the losing end of 6-1 votes- or 5-2 or 4-3 when he had an ally or two- for decades . No one doubts he still does what he thinks is “best for the community”.

Unfortunately the political system he learned and under which he now leads was built on secrecy and the back room deals of mostly bad people who not so coincidentally had, for the most part, their own personal and financial interests at heart.

Apparently he feels that since he has the best interest of we average, local, working-class people at heart, the methods that worked then to hurt the people can be used to help them- the ends justifying the means.

He’s 73 years old and isn’t going to change how he does business now. He justifies it by thinking he has our best interest at heart- and maybe he does.

But that isn’t enough.

Kaipo will tell anyone who listens- especially new councilpersons- that the key to success is to not “rock the boat” and whatever he has to do to make thing come out “right” is ok, even if he has to violate the spirit- or even the letter- of the rules and laws that provide for transparency and open government.

It’s very sad for those of us who love him.

Time was when there was both a beneficent and a greedy “plantation style” of governing. Both were paternalistic because that was the way everyone operated. But the era of the magnanimous luna are gone, supplanted in large part by the grassroots democracy that fingertip availability of information provides us.

It’s kind of the political equivalent of what happened when the printing press let people read the bible for themselves. We can all read all the documents and reports and get answers to questions directly from the source... we don’t need an intermediary to do that for us anymore.

Kaipo, by remaining the same while times have changed, has become an unacceptable relic of an age when paternalistic “I know best” governance was simply how one led and it was only a matter of “good” people and “bad” people using it to exercise power that mattered.

Kaipo fails to see it is the paternalism itself is the problem. We no longer need or want to have to rely on the vagaries of hoping people will act in our interest.

He thinks that if he has to bend a few rules and even disregard few laws it’s ok because he is talking care of us.

Kaipo was my “hero” on the council for many years and he certainly thinks he is dong the best thing for us all. It’s very sad for all of us, but we can’t stand by and let this happen- we’ve done it for too long because we had no voice on the council, with the exception of when Gary Hooser was there.

Gary didn’t have a “second” but now we have elected two councilpersons who are willing to say the emperor is naked. We need to support them and see to it that Kaipo keeps his promise that this will be his last year of service.

Were this 1976, I’m sure he’d feel the same way.

Anonymous said...

The last two posts from Miliaulani and Andy are right on the money. thank you And for putting the caustic wit on hold and eloquently writing with some heart. Can we see some more of that on "Windmills"?

Anonymous said...

The last two posts from Miliaulani and Andy are right on the money. Thank you Andy for putting the caustic wit on hold and eloquently writing with some heart. Can we see some more of that on "Windmills"?

Brad said...

Miliaulani,

That's a great comment. You should cut and paste that into a letter to the editor on The Garden Island webpage.

Anonymous said...

It's one thing when there's a gallery of newbies cheering her on, but what's Lani going to do when there's a controversial vote with vocal opposition to her beliefs when she can't even talk to Kaipo face to face because she didn't vote for him? How many Hawaiians of Kaipo's generation communicate only in writing with a person that works in the same building? Andy, watch how Tim and Lani vote on the stuff you've blogged about.

Brad said...

Re: Anonymous July 26, 2009 2:17 PM

You know I finally understand why Lani has not been meeting with him. First, based on the things he said at the Council's first organizing meeting she may not know if she can trust him. Second, she might want to have a witness in meetings with Kaipo. That witness cannot be another Councilmember. If the witness is not a Councilmember, Kaipo is not likely to speak freely nor even grant the meeting. Third, so why not just do it in letters and memos and otherwise address him only in legal Council meetings? It actually makes perfectly good sense, esp. if you're dealing with a person who exhibits the signs of Dementia. All the more reason he should resign the Chair.

Anonymous said...

Really, Brad, did Lani explain this to you before or after she told you to tell the faux poster to send a letter to the editor?

Anonymous said...

By the way, given your "understanding", Lani must have been bulls-tting the public when she explained why she never met with him for seven months.

Anonymous said...

By the way, given your "understanding", Lani must have been bulls-tting the public when she explained why she never met with him for seven months.