Brilliant Venus has slipped into a cloud patch, the crickets are chirping and three times this evening I heard the wheezing honk-bray of the Newell's shearwaters — the adults coming in to nest. Crews have been working to underground the utility lines at Kealia, so hopefully soon the birds will have one less death trap to navigate. When I drive by the construction and see all the guys working, I wonder if the “buck the fird” folks realize the `A`o are providing jobs for their family and friends.
Workers at Makaweli Poi in Waimea are looking at losing their jobs — and westside taro farmers an important market for their crop — because the mill is scheduled to shut down on May 24. Hiipoi LLC, a corporate arm of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, owns the mill and says it's losing money. But staff and farmers say it's more complicated than that.... At any rate, folks are concerned, and they'll be meeting at 7 Tuesday night at the West Kaua'i Technology & Visitor Center. Others will be addressing the OHA board,which just so happens to be meeting in Lihue Wednesday night. It sure would be sad to see the community lose that resource.
Meanwhile, I've gotten multiple confirmations of reports that defendants trying to enroll in Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho's troubled POHAKU program are being told it's “suspended” and “on hold.” So not sure what's happening there, or how it will affect people who have already paid the $200 and are waiting to take the class. But certainly something is happening there or the program would be functioning as usual.
And I found it interesting that Sen. Daniel Inouye got Hawaii a $128,585 grant to aid the protection of Hawaiian monk seals and green sea turtle, just as his one-time protege, WESPAC director Kitty Simonds, is orchestrating a move to delist the honu. That could signal the delisting proposal is dead in the water, so to speak.
I spent the better part of a beautiful day trapped in the courthouse being reminded that the wheels of justice move ever-so-slowly. I, like the 40-odd other people there, had been summoned for jury duty. So we all kind of laughed when the instructional DVD thanked us for being willing to cooperate. I'm not sure l'd call it willing when you're threatened with a possible bench warrant and contempt charges if you don't show. And we laughed again when they said don't be insulted if you aren't chosen.
The judge was Randal Valenciano, and I raised an eyebrow when he told us that after 9-11 people had joined the military to serve our nation and someone could quite possibly have lost their life for our right to serve on a jury. I was like, huh? You actually believe that waging war in Iraq and Afghanistan — and the associated secret prisons, torture, Guantanamo, secret drone strikes, President-ordered assassinations of American citizens who have never been charged with a crime, Patriot Act and NDAA — has enhanced the rule of law in America? But when you're the judge you can say whatever you want.
Still, Randal seemed in his element, and he was in good spirits, which helped to keep the often tedious proceedings entertaining. My number was never called, so I was excused. But as I watched people getting selected, saw their earnest desire to be fair and open-minded, to serve, two thoughts came to mind: humans aren't complete sheeples yet, and we've got to find a way to get average every day people more involved in their government, as in a much more direct form of democracy.