Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Musings: Rat Patrol

The rats in my walls and roof are getting louder, which makes me wonder if their numbers are getting larger.

I’ve been waiting for my landlord, who lives in New Jersey, to get the exterminators here rolling. While he’s been diligent, the exterminators are dragging. All they’ll do is put out bait, anyway, and there’s no guarantee the rats in my walls will eat it.

It’s looking like I’ll have to take matters into my own hands.

That will require several trips under the house, which is bad enough, followed by rat murder and burial, never a pleasant task. But I’ve done it before and am ready to do it again. I’m worried they might chew their way into my part of the house, and since they sleep all day and boogie all night, our schedules aren’t compatible.

They woke Koko and me up several times in the night, and once I got to thinking about the problems at KKCR and couldn’t easily fall back to sleep. I don’t want to be thinking about anything at 2 a.m., much less our troubled community radio station.

There’s a board meeting tonight that promises to be lively, although I’ve got an interview and won’t be able to attend. And anyway, I’m not convinced the problems are solvable. The Board, which is self-elected, has no incentive to change, and those who are most entrenched at the station have either adopted the “circle the wagons” approach to criticism, the old “head in the sand” tact of total denial or a hybrid of the two.

Still, I do commend the station’s paid staff for taking questions about the station during last Thursday’s call-in show, although reportedly the first part, which I didn’t hear, consisted of the kind of staged queries that got Hillary Clinton in trouble. I did mange to get on the air at the very end and asked about the station’s termination and reinstatement policies.

Apparently, they have none. Station manager Gwen Palagi acknowledged that the brouhaha had exposed several operational flaws at the station, including the lack of human resources policies. She said she is trying to rectify that situation, which is great.

However, in the absence of any clear policy, actions taken to suspend Kaiulani, Jimmy and Katy can only be viewed as arbitrary and capricious, and cannot be reasonably defended.

Gwen said she was open to suggestions on how to deal with human resources, since it’s not her forte, so I’ll give her one: Put those three back on the air immediately, with an apology, and change the schedule so Kaiulani doesn’t follow Noel Brooks. It's a simple act that could go a long way toward healing hurt feelings and washing the egg off the station's face.

I’m off to the hardware store now to pick up some live traps and heavy steel wool. When I get back, I’ll return to a rat patrol of another sort with the final installment of “Lifting the Veil.”

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