Friday, January 18, 2008

Musings: Clones and Squealers

A shower moved through quickly before I awoke, and the sky was dark mauka when Koko and I set out walking. As we returned, a light rain began falling, and I was admiring the way the moisture-laden air was infused with a peachy-gold light, when it began coming down harder.

Fortunately, just then my neighbor Andy happened by, with an umbrella, and he offered shelter and a bit of conversation until the rain gave way to a thick, vibrant rainbow.

We talked about dogs and the Superferry, as we often do, and I ratted out his dog Momi for chasing my car the other day. She gave me a narrow-eyed look that made it clear what she thinks of squealers.

Btw, I read in The Garden Island today that a guy squealed on himself for sending a threatening email to the developer who plans to cut down Koloa’s monkeypod trees. Apparently it’s OK to have a generic “Die Developers Die” bumper sticker on your car, but if you target one developer in particular, you’re in trouble.

Andy said he wasn’t convinced of military plans for the Superferry after reading my “Lifting the Veil” series, but thought I made some plausible arguments that got people thinking.

That was my goal, as I know he and I aren’t the only ones wondering how the boat is going to make money, especially when it keeps canceling service to Maui because high surf is wreaking havoc with the barge, as happened the past two days.

As Andy and I agreed, such problems would have been revealed during an EIS, along with the company’s business plan, but as it is, so much remains hidden about the operation that it’s bound to raise suspicions.

Got a copy of the Superferry Oversight Task Force meeting minutes from December —the first time the panel met — and several members said they thought efforts should be made to involve the public more thoroughly in the process and keep us all apprised of the proceedings. Although DOT’s Mike Formby agreed, the January meeting came and went without any movement in that direction.

However, it seems there was a bit of movement toward reform at the KKCR board meeting the other day. Station manager Gwen Palagi announced the staff is going to seek grants to acquire remote-broadcasting equipment and pursue a remote broadcasting relationship with Storybook Theatre in Hanapepe. This will allow people to do programs without having to come into the Princeville station. She also plans to create a human resources task force to review its volunteer policies, engage in more comprehensive community outreach, issue a “report to the listeners” on station business monthly, and initiate a mediation process regarding the suspended programmers.

Those are all positive steps in the right direction, and a hat tip to Katy Rose for the report. Board member Marj Dente called in on a talk show yesterday and said about 60 people came to the meeting — four times the number that has ever shown up before — and most of the 16 who spoke expressed support for the station, but also concerns.

I was surprised to hear Marj say KKCR has just 700 to 800 members, which is defined by those who give money to the station, myself among them. While that’s fairly good for one organization on Kauai, it’s still a fraction of the island’s population, and my bet is most of the members have North Shore zip codes, myself not among them.

Overall, I think the recent unrest has been a good wake up call for the station, because I often pick up this dreamy tone of unreality over the air when programmers wax on about how KKCR is this big ohana that represents the entire island. With 700 or 800 members, it obviously doesn’t.

While we're on the topic of unreality, although this is more nightmarish than dreamy, the FDA recently announced that cloned meat and dairy products can be sold to consumers, but advised the industry to wait a bit so folks can get used to the creepy idea.

This is just another example of the disgusting lengths we’ve gone to in factory farming. Now more than ever, animals are viewed simply as meat when you can clone a cow from a juicy tenderloin.

If that doesn’t bother you, consider this: Free Speech Radio News reported yesterday that slaughterhouse workers in Indian and Minnesota have come down with a “mysterious neurological illness. The affected workers in both plants had the same job function: to blast brain tissue out of hog heads using compressed air.”

Sounds like a good time to become a vegetarian, or at least go organic and eat Kauai’s free-range beef.


Anonymous said...

It seems like DOT just keeps repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

I wrote about my 2005 meeting with DOT in which the Kahului Harbor Pilots told them that putting anything on the end of Pier 2 (like a superferry barge!) would be problematical because of the surge.

Did DOT listen? No. And now we're paying over $2000/day to have tugboats hold the Superferry against the barge.

So the 2030 Kahlui Harbor Master Plan Draft EIS comes out and they talk about lengthening Pier 2. Now at that same meeting the pilots said the Kahului Harbor Turning Basin is already too tight and that building out from pier 2 will make it very dangerous for them.

And even worse, they've reserected Pier 5 on the west breakwater for the Superferry and cruise ships. But now they've added a breakwater along the edge of the turning basin to shelter it from the swell (that is currently one of our best surf be destroyed)

Do these people even LOOK at the harbor when they come up with these plans? I've watched for over 10 years as tugs maneuver to dock ships. Yeah, the deep draft ships don't leave the turning basin but the tugs do! They use the space that DOT wants to fill in with a rock breakwater to postition for pushing the vessels away from crashing into the wall!

Oh, and just as an aside, they'll be spending a third of a billion dollars to build these 2 piers for the Superferry and cruise ships (who are both on the verge of going under financially) and as far as I can see the cruise ship dock is not usable for ordinary freighters due to the U turn and restricted turning radius necessary to enter the dock.

And oh yeah. They're going to build a breakwater sticking out of the east mouth of the harbor to "reduce the surge". But the Army Corps of Engineers already did a study saying that wouldn't help.

Yet more examples of DOT's ineptitude.

Bottom line: Maui loses one of its best surf spots accessible to our lower income youth in Kahului and we also lose the outrigger paddling race course.

Yeah, I know the Governor SAID they'd keep the race course. But in another denial of reality, they're filling in one end of it for dock space and turning the other end into an expanded turning basin for pier 5 which means we can't set flags there.

If you are on Maui, please attend the public DOT meeting this Wednesday (Jan 23) at 6pm and voice your opposition. Harbor users get a presentation starting at 3:30pm. If you surf, paddle, fish or boat, you're a user...even if DOT doesn't think you are!

Anonymous said...

bit off the mark

the guy didn't squeal on himself. he signed the threatening letter so there was no doubt who sent it.

he just turned himself in when he was informed he was wanted.

Protest is fine. Threats are un cool.