Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Musings: Clearing Things Up

An unexpectedly free half-afternoon found me at the beach yesterday on fresh-washed sand shared by a snoozing monk seal and watching big, dark blue waves capped with white that were skimmed by a fish-seeking albatross flying horizontally.

Despite the gray-tinged clouds bunched up over the mountains and bobbing along the horizon, there was no sign of the promised rain, which arrived instead this morning, just as my neighbor Andy was preparing to dispense dog biscuits at the end of our walk.

The streets were unusually quiet, as they have been lately, what with spring break and furloughs and tourism down. One upside of the economic downturn has been a marked reduction in traffic.

As we walked, Andy had gotten to talking about William A. Fernandez, who built the largest theatre in Hawaii, the 1050-seat Roxy Theatre in Kapaa, and was on the verge of bankruptcy when the U.S. entered World War II. Suddenly 40,000 troops were stationed on the island and the theater remained open 24 hours a day, allowing Fernandez to make money hand over fist.

“Oh, so it appears we need a war to improve Hawaii’s economy,” I said. “But what’s wrong with the two we’ve got? They’re just not big enough?”

As Andy noted, that’s one thing both political parties can agree on: spending money on war. Still, it seems there’s a fine line between wars that boost and drain the economy, and we’re apparently caught in the latter.

(Just to lighten things up, here’s a link to a humorous and clever piece in The New Yorker spoofing the Taliban’s effort to soften its image.)

Anyway, aside from the human woes caused by the sluggish economy — last week alone, two people came to the food pantry for emergency distributions, telling me, in stunned, soft voices, that they’d just lost their jobs, and other residents are moving in with family because they can’t afford even the lowest rents on the island — I’m getting reports of institutional decline.

One county worker was talking about the disarray in the state Attorney General’s office as talented attorneys and competent secretaries leave because of furlough-induced pay cuts and increased work loads. And yesterday, The Garden Island reported on the drastic reduction in conservation enforcement due to the budget cuts.

So I’ve been wondering, is this the way governments fall? Just keep trimming and gutting and pretty soon you get to a place where it functions even more poorly than usual and then collapses completely?

Meanwhile, the County Council is focusing on more pressing issues, such as allowing dogs on the entire length of the Path. Like blogger Andy Parx, I’m gonna miss the thoughtful reporting of Michael Levine and his ability to convey what’s really going on at the Council meetings, as he did with his report on the dog bill:

While the council’s Wednesday vote, like the vast majority of first reading votes, may have technically been 7-0, a number of council members voiced their displeasure over the timing of the bill’s introduction with deafening silence. At least Chair Bill “Kaipo” Asing, Vice Chair Jay Furfaro and Councilman Daryl Kaneshiro declined to vote “aye,” but the record will reflect unanimity.

Ah, so the rift on the Council continues. Have you ever noticed how much passive aggressive behavior takes place in politics?

I also found it interesting that Councilwoman Lani Kawahara, who has been portrayed as an advocate of open government, declined to pony up the results of a survey on such a proposal, as did the Administration:

Councilwoman Lani Kawahara, chair of the Parks and Transportation Committee and a proponent of the measure, referenced the completed survey, but backed down when her colleagues pushed her for the results, which have reportedly been compiled but have not yet been released to the public.

Attempts to obtain the results from the Department of Parks and Recreation were unsuccessful. Beth Tokioka, executive assistant to Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., said she did not believe the administration would be releasing any information prior to its presentation to the council next month.


It kind of makes you wonder, if they’re hesitant to release a survey about dogs on the Path, what else might they be withholding?

And a friend drew my attention to Mike’s report on the fine paid by Humane Society Director Becky Rhoades for having an unleashed dog on the Path. It seems that Dr. Becky had erred only in an attempt to bring another errant into compliance:

“I had a little poodle in my basket, tied to my handlebars. I was guilty,” Rhoades said, noting she paid the fine last week. She said she saw a dog without a leash north of the dog-friendly section, and went over to educate the dog’s owner.

“I have zero tolerance for dogs off-leash,” Rhoades said. “That’s where we get into problems, because you don’t have control over your dog.”
.

But so long as they’re in a basket, no problem. Or, you could outfit them in high-heeled boots to restrict movement.

The funniest part, however, came at the end:

Asked Monday why the press release was issued, Iseri-Carvalho said she had received numerous calls from the community regarding Rhoades’ citation, first reported by blogger Joan Conrow of kauaieclectic.blogspot.com, and wanted to make clear that she is not party to any conspiracy between the Kauai Humane Society and The Garden Island newspaper.

I'm so glad she cleared that up.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Our prosecutor believes that there is a conspiracy between the Humane Society and the newspaper? And she has to issue a press release so we all know that she is not a party to that conspiracy? There is something quite disconcerting about this ... what is it?

Anonymous said...

if the poodle was tied to her handlebars, why was she pleading guilty? this does not make sense.

Anonymous said...

if the poodle was tied to her handlebars, why was she pleading guilty? this does not make sense.

I think the basket was tied to the handlebars and the poodle was in the basket. I imagine a scene like the Wizard of Oz with Toto's escape. If the poodle did not leave the basket, then if I were Rhoades, I would definitely contest the citation.

Maria said...

"Our prosecutor believes that there is a conspiracy between the Humane Society and the newspaper? And she has to issue a press release so we all know that she is not a party to that conspiracy? There is something quite disconcerting about this ... what is it?"
maybe joan and shey are part of the conspiracy? maybe not....

Anonymous said...

I just wonder what motivates Joan's Rhoades hatred.

Anonymous said...

"Rhoades rage"

Anonymous said...

"I imagine a scene like the Wizard of Oz with Toto's escape."

"Rhoades rage"


-- those are gems. thank you


dwps

Anonymous said...

You gotta be a Rhoade scholar to understand the current bike path rules.

Mel Rapozo said...

My testimony at last Wednesday's Council meeting was a little more than, "county workers should not be punished by having to clean up dog waste and that giving those workers more responsibilities while implementing two furlough days per month was not fair." My testimony addressed two important points.

First, the current ordinance requires an 18 month trial period, followed by a report to the Council by the Administration. The 18 month trial period has not lapsed yet. The Administration's report has not been sent to the Council yet. There was a purpose for the trial period. This new bill is premature and defeats the purpose of the existing ordinance. It attempts to circumvent the existing ordinance.

Secondly, the recent newspaper article regarding the current state of the parks says it all. The problem with the lack of maintenance at our parks is not due to the economy. The conditions of our parks were no better when the economy was good. The problem is manpower. We simply don't have enough caretakers for all the parks on this island. There are approximately 45 employees assigned to Parks and Beautification for the entire island. With the furloughs likely to start in July, we are looking at 90 less workdays, per month, for this department. In other words, the conditions of the parks will only get worse. Any additional workload to this department is not very smart. Its a numbers game, and we don't have the numbers.

I have always owned a dog, and in fact currently own a 5 year old chihuahua/fox terrier. I am quite anxious to see the report by the administration after the trial period ends. I have often been labeled "anti-bikepath" because of my strict oversight of the project. I firmly believe that all laws need to be followed, especially by the County. Over the life of this project, I have asked my questions. Many questions have not been answered. I support the path, however I do not support the County's intentional circumvention of local, state and federal laws to get it done. That was the oath I took as a council member, and I will continue to seek compliance of all laws for all projects taken on by this County.


I hope this clarifies my testimony at the last Council meeting.

Anonymous said...

Both Shay and Mel are conspiracy theory nuts seeing conspiracies against them everywhere the look through their self-serving political glasses, when in fact they abuse their "discretionary power" to conspire against others.

Remember both Mel and Shay were absolutely convinced K.C. Lum or "someone" intentionally altered a government document "to make the county look bad". Both claimed there was a conspiracy against them, while they abused their power to create a conspiracy against Lum.

Lums house was raided by the AG and computer equipment was seized (right before the primary election). After a six month investigation they found no evidence and dropped the case. It was an unintentional sheet feed error as everyone already knew, but Shay, Mel, and others saw it as an opportunity to destroy a political opponent. All of course at taxpayer expense.

Really sad for Mel who as a private investigator and former cop let his political ambition blind him to the truth of the matter.

Down_Under said...

Conspiracy?? Let's talk about Rhoades getting the $100 lowest possible fine from Senda. Wait...colour me happy...didn't ole Trudy use to be on the board of directors for KHS? Rhoades clearly trying to make a statement by admitting her guilt...under the safety of her ole pals gavel. Imagine that!

Anonymous said...

"Conspiracy?? Let's talk about Rhoades getting the $100 lowest possible fine from Senda. Wait...colour me happy...didn't ole Trudy use to be on the board of directors for KHS? Rhoades clearly trying to make a statement by admitting her guilt...under the safety of her ole pals gavel. Imagine that!"

Really do not think that comes close to sicking the AG on someone just because they are running for your county council seat!

Anonymous said...

Deep thoughts by Mel


Rapozo said: "I firmly believe that all laws need to be followed"

Even bad laws. When slavery was legal it would be I enforcing returning slaves to their "lawful owners" as I "I firmly believe that all laws need to be followed".

Anonymous said...

"This press release isn't to embarrass anyone. I just wanted to let you know that I am not a part of that cover up involving the Pope and pedophile priest in Wisconsin."

Mike said...

Thanks Joan. I have really enjoyed reporting here on Kauai and will really miss the whole drama when I'm gone. But I'll keep an eye on KauaiEclectic from Oahu.

-- Michael Levine

Anonymous said...

I think we forget that the "bike path" was to help decrease car traffic and the county fraudulently created a multi-use path and "park" that discriminates against good people with dogs.

The $500 fine is an easy quick way of bringing revenue to the county.

The Unions need not worry about extra work. These guys are lucky to have a job. Many of the dog walkers are doing a lot of their job any way.

The top heavy leaders for the Mayor should recant their raises and provide more man power for all our parks. They SUCK! Its an embarrassment to our Island.

Also, the irresponsible people who leave diapers, mattresses, broken beer bottles, and human waste (in the bushes)need to get the tickets ....not conscious dog walkers.

Somehow the good dog people got caught in this mess between the path supporters in the administration and the Mel/ Shaylene lobby against.

Politics stink on this island. Hold your nose. It's not the dog doo doo, its the BS coming out from our "leaders".

Anonymous said...

"Politics stink on this island. Hold your nose. It's not the dog doo doo, its the BS coming out from our "leaders".

Yes indeed I am convinced we could more that meet the islands energy needs if we could harness the hot air generated by these self-serving windbags as they prattle on about manure management and conspiracies against them. But in all honesty I am part of a conspiracy against them, a conspiracy to get them out of office and off the dole.

Anonymous said...

I hope Rapozo does not get re-elected, I would never vote for him. His actions are all self serving.

animal.care.foundation said...

Yeah, right..a poodle in a basket on the handlebars??? I'd ask the citing officer if that's what it was. I don't think she'd get cited for that. C'mon dig Woodward! Dig!! You don't need to interview Deep Throat to fact check that claim. Just ask the prosecutor lady who the citing officer was and she'll probably tell you. Perhpas you could be Rhoades' Wicked Witch of the West..err, Pacific.

animal.care.foundation said...

And shouldn't the dog have been crossed tied to the basket like Rhoades says all dogs in vehicles should be? More hypocrisy. What if Rhoades hit a bump and Toto went flying, huh?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm so sure this prosecution was about protecting the dog.
And the press release had nothing to do with political payback.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm so sure this prosecution was about protecting the dog.
And the press release had nothing to do with political payback.