Not so joyous was seeing a plastic bag stuffed with newsprint in my driveway and discovering that's the new mode of delivery for MidWeek Kauai. It's apparently cheaper than having it go out by mail — if you don't consider the environmental cost of adding tens of thousands of plastic bags to the landscape and landfill each week. Why is it that businesses are barred from giving customers plastic bags, and motorists are prohibited from tossing stuff out their windows, yet Oahu Publishing Inc. is allowed to do both?
Of course, it's not as serious as the U.S. and U.K. preparing to bomb Syria, regardless of what the U.N. says. But don't worry, it won't turn out like Iraq. Because you know, we learned from that debacle. This time, the Pentagon is admitting up front that it can't really control its cruise missiles, so don't be expecting any surgical strikes and do be expecting "collateral damage." Because what better way to punish a government for killing its own civilians than to kill more of its innocents?
Never mind that it remains unclear just who used those chemical weapons. It was supposedly Israel — never the most objective source — that provided “proof” it was Assad's regime. But thus far, no evidence has been publicly disclosed, nor is it likely to be.
Kauai County Al Castillo, as I mentioned previously, is refusing to disclose his opinion that all the improperly approved vacation rentals get to keep their ill-gotten, life-of-the-property permits. Now he's saying he doesn't even have to reveal who the opinion was for. Was it for planning? The mayor? An unsolicited opinion intended to ensure the TVR travesty is never corrected?
We don't know, because on Kauai, our county attorney writes secret opinions for secret clients on the taxpayer's dime.
Of course, it's not as serious as the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, which is steadily leaking radioactive water into the ocean we share. As the Associated Press reports:
[Nuclear Regulatory Authority chairman Shunichi] Tanaka said there is a much larger ongoing problem at the plant: massive amounts of contaminated ground water reaching the sea. But that problem cannot even be rated under the IAEA's International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale because it is unknown exactly how much ground water is escaping, how contaminated it is and what effect it is having on the sea and marine products.
So much, it seems, is unknown. Like the planning department can't even come up with a list of which TVRs it approved for renewals, and which it denied, without spending 15 hours compiling the data. When I asked planning director Mike Dahilig how that could possibly be, he replied:
The TVR renewals for this past cycle have been processed manually. That information is being entered into a database along with other information that continues to be culled from the files through the hand audit process. This database is still in the process of creation, remains incomplete and is not ready to efficiently produce work product at this time.
Gee, you'd think they'd have made a manual list as they were going along, just something for reference, a little cheat sheet, so to speak. And what's the value of a database that can't regurgitate what's just been entered in?
This seems a good time to jeer at the deluded comment by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. in today's newspaper:
“But, like in most things, we on Kauai are setting the standard for how it should be done.”
Now that's serious. Seriously funny, and seriously scary.