If you ever had the impression that our utility cooperative is punitive, vindictive and not especially interested in transparency and debate, much less the views of its owners/members, well, you'd be right. Seems that in a fit of petty pique, KIUC has decided to reduce its annual underwriting of KKCR, our community radio station, from about $2,700 to $250:
When asked why, the explanation was that 'a couple' of our programmers just won't give KIUC a fair shake and constantly bash them.
I wonder what/who they found so offensive. Was it Jonathan Jay urging folks to —gasp — stop using electricity from dawn to dusk for one day a month in order to promote conservation? Felicia Alongi-Cowden expressing her concerns about smart meter technology? Jimmy Trujillo asking for support in live-streaming some of the forums on the upcoming KIUC board elections, like the one in Hanalei last night that attracted a remarkable 50 persons?
Or has KIUC decided it will only spend our money on messages it can thoroughly control, like "Currents," its "never is heard a discouraging word," replete with recipes, monthly throwaway?
I was interested to learn, while perusing the job announcement for KIUC's communications manager, that the position manages a $1 million annual operating budget. Wow. That's a lotta kala to be spending on promotions/advertising in this tiny market where there's no competition for services. Even worse, it obviously hasn't been effective.
Equally ridiculous is that voters may be asked to decide this burning question:
“Shall the terms “must” and “shall,” when used in the Kaua‘i County Charter, be interpreted as mandatory directives and shall the term “may,” when used in the Kaua‘i County Charter, be interpreted as permissive?”
I know, this is really challenging, especially when the word "shall" is used twice in posing the question, which would seem to indicate we already know what it means. But just to be sure, let's do a five-second online dictionary check:
1 archaic a : will have to : must b : will be able to : can 2 a —used to express a command or exhortation
Yup, there it is clearly spelled out in 2-B. Yet County Attorney Al Castillo is apparently a) unable to Google search words, b) unable to read, or c) so mired in the political game that he's lost common sense.
But hopefully voters, whether they're casting their ballot for three new faces on the KIUC board in March — hey, let's give Joel Guy, Pat Gegen, Ken Stokes or one of the others a go! — or marking yes on the “shall” question in November, will help to set things right.