It was a gray kind of morning, with no color save for that provided by the grass and flowering shrubs, when Koko and I went out walking. Masses of dark clouds moved across the moon and Venus, with the promise of rain to come.
We hadn’t walked far when we ran into Farmer Jerry, just back from Oahu, where he and the other Board of Agriculture members approved quarantine zones on the Big Island to prevent the spread of the coffee berry borer pest — a story that Mike Levine at Civil Beat reported far more competently than Brand X.
We got to talking about airport security, since he’s been spending a lot of time flying, and Jerry said he’s noticing a lot more pat downs, some of them quite intrusive — up the thighs and into the butt crack and crotch — and some of them meeting resistance from passengers.
“If they’re going this far now, what’s gonna happen when we get to red?” he asked, in reference to the color-coded security alert system that Homeland Security now wants to change.
As the song lyrics go, "Babylon makes the rules whereby people suffer..."
We also got to talking about the homelessness on Oahu, with Jerry saying the gray and blue tarps are everywhere on that island.
“It’s a sign of decay,” he said, “like bad teeth. It’s out there for everyone to see.”
Which is why Honolulu’s new mayor, Peter Carlisle, is so determined that no one will see the island’s poverty-stricken, displaced underside during the upcoming APEC conference, which all kinda big wigs from business and government will be attending. Especially troubling was Carlisle’s take on homelessness, as also reported by Civil Beat:
"Homelessness," he concluded. "It's just like the common cold or people who are alcoholics."
That’s the same sort of sensitivity he showed when treating drug addiction as a crime, rather than a disease. Which just goes to show you can take the man out of the prosecutor’s office, but you can’t take the prosecutor out of the man.
Hard to believe Honolulu elected him mayor, but when things get tough, folks seem to like to get tough on the down-and-outers. Oh, btw, according to a report on Democracy Now! today:
New government data show U.S. corporations made record profits in the third quarter, earning at an annual rate of more than $1.6 trillion. That’s the highest figure since the government began keeping track 60 years ago. Overall corporate earnings are up 28 percent from the same time last year. Companies, however, have not been using the record profits to hire more workers. The Federal Reserve is predicting that the nation’s official unemployment rate will remain over 9 percent for at least another year.
But hey, get some great “Black Friday” deals over at Walmart...
Closer to home, the planning commission accepted Planning Director Ian Costa’s resignation, which was expected, since they do whatever they’re told. Still, it was surprising that the mayor himself showed up.
In the county’s way of putting people into jobs for which they’re eminently qualified, Ian’s going to be shuffled over to Parks and Rec, where he’ll serve as deputy director, as had been the scuttlebutt. That way he can keep doing his architectural work on the side. Still, Ian didn’t go out on any kind of ethics violation, though an ethics complaint was filed against him for recommending approval of four vacation rental applications that he’d worked on. The mayor just wanted to get rid of Costa, and all the negativity associated with him, so he could put in someone new. Who could then start attracting their own negative reactions from the public....
The commission also accepted the mayor’s proposal to make Deputy County Attorney Mike Dahilig acting planning director, and I’m sure that when the mayor has his new director lined up, the commission will accept that person, too. Yes, it’s supposedly up to the commission to hire the director, but if anyone thinks that’s done without the full involvement of the mayor, they’re living in dreamland.
While Mike appears to lack the qualifications for the job, of greater concern for the public is Mike’s willingness to direct the commission where he wants it to go. If he did that as the commission’s attorney, one can only imagine how much influence he’ll wield as director.
Which kind of undermines the whole purpose of a citizen body…..
Finally, blogger Charley Foster, in writing about Ian and Mike, noted:
Deputy County Attorney Mike Dahilig, allegedly (correctly) advised Council member Dicky [sic] Chang prior to passage of Ordinance 904 that failure to grandfather pre-existing TVRs would lead to a raft of expensive lawsuits against the county. (It's true. Dozens of appeals of denials of non-conforming use cert applications were filed prior to passage of 904. Had 904 not passed and those appeals been denied, many would have been filed in the courts).
And it struck me as rather odd that the county is busy passing laws to protect itself from the potential threat of lawsuits even as it fails to avoid actions that result in actual lawsuits. You know, like killing protected species and sexual harassment.