Stars! I saw them because they were out, and so was I, this nippy, clear morning, along with Venus, gleaming. The moon, new tomorrow, was nowhere to be seen, but Waialeale, and all the other mountains, showed face, and mist clung damply to the hollows in the pastures.
On my way to the beach yesterday afternoon I picked up an old uncle, hitchhiking, and we got to talking about the fine, sunny weather. “But don’t ever complain about the rain,” he said. “Rain is what keeps us alive. Always be thankful for it, and praise it.” Amen.
Last night, after listening to Willie Judah’s reggae show on KKCR, a couple of programmers came on and started praising the station, describing it as a gem, saying it does so much good for people.
That’s all true. It is an asset to the island, and a lot of folks, me included, do appreciate it and want to keep it alive. I’m sure those who work at the station and have shows take special pride and pleasure in it, and that’s to be expected — indeed, encouraged.
However, the inherent value of KKCR is not at the issue here. It’s about ways to make KKCR better, more inclusive, more reflective of and responsive to the broader community. In short, how can we open doors a little wider?
In response to a post on Disappeared News
about claims of racism at the station, blogger Doug White
posted this comment: “The latest Garden Island News story points out that there is presently no Native Hawaiian presence on the board, but the KKCR bylaws provide no method for dissidents to assume seats on the board except, according to the article, for applicants to win approval from the sitting board members. How likely is that? Well, we won't know until a dissident applies and is (or is not) seated, and remember, even if dissidents were to apply and be seated, it would take several years for the dissidents to become a majority on the board.”
So I did some checking around and found that Michael Locey, son of Auntie Angeline and part-Hawaiian, was an applicant in 2005 and completely rejected, even though he is very well known in the community and could have been an excellent connection with the Hawaiian community.
Musician Cindy Combs, who is also part Hawaiian was a Board member in the early 2000s but resigned. Tek Nickerson, Native American and very experienced in nonprofits, applied to the Board in 2006 and was not voted in.
Steve Thatcher, former chair of the Citizens’ Advisory Board, whom some might consider a dissident voice because he favors more community outreach and membership voting, applied in 2006 and was voted down. Steve did get elected in 2007 but received the one-year unexpired term of Robin Savage, rather than a three-year term.
It’s clear that one reason why the Board has been reluctant to allow station members to elect Board members is that they do not want dissidents of any ethnicity to serve. That's why even the Board's most recent action to allow the members to elect three Board members will be done on a trial basis only. If you want to know more, check out the article I wrote at Kauai People.
Amid talk of racism, I think it’s important to make the distinction between racism and racial prejudice. Katy Rose does a really good job of explaining the difference in an essay posted at Island Breath. It also provides background on what happened to prompt the racism charges against KKCR.
As she notes, and I agree, it’s important to look beyond individuals and at the institution. Still, individuals — whether it was staff members working autonomously or at the direction of the Board — did make the decision to lock the gates, a move that could bring down the station.
Ed Coll posted a well-done video, "KKCR Gated Community Radio," that he made of the Jan. 3 encounter with police on the road to the radio station that ended up with Hale Mawae on the ground in handcuffs. Coll notes: “It is in the old school cinéma vérité (direct cinema) tradition. Audio starts about 30 seconds in. Total time 8min 30 sec.”
The video does a good job of showing that the alleged threat to the station’s security was greatly exaggerated. It also raises questions about whether cops can legally stop someone from walking on Hanalei Plantation Road, which is owned by Princeville Corp., but a public right of way, with no private property signs posted.
The scene of the cops restraining Hale is extremely troubling. Fortunately, no taser was used. Note to self: find out if Kauai cops have tasers.
You might also want to check out some of the comments posted by Patrick Michaels on earlier KKCR posts, as he's provided some interesting information.
I’ll post part five of Lifting the Veil later today. Right now, I’ve got some work to do.