Friday, April 2, 2010

Musings: Shedding Some Light

Stepping out into the morning, I heard the roar of the ocean in the distance and the heavy drip of drops falling from higher leaves onto lower leaves and also from eaves.

The moon, appropriately egg-shaped in its approach to Easter, appeared as a ghostly dot in a silvery sky, while the Giant was draped in drifting clouds. And then the sun came up and cast just the distant cinder cones in an ethereal glow of pinkish-gold light.

An article in today’s The Garden Island sheds a bit of light on the strange process that the state is following in reducing its workforce, with Department of Human Services administrator Janice Shitanaka having to ax all her co-workers and then herself. Yet as she explained, she might be able to keep a state job:

“It’s (a) domino effect,” with higher-seniority workers allowed to bump workers with less seniority regardless of that higher-seniority employee’s immediate ability to do the job of the person she has bumped, she said.

The bumped employee could then use her seniority to bump another co-worker with lesser seniority, and so on.

So then we end up with state offices that are not only short-staffed, but staffed with people who don’t know what they’re doing?

Sen. Clayton Hee has called a hearing for this Saturday to find out what the folks involved with the State Historic Preservation Division are doing, seeing as how the National Parks Service, which provides half its funding, has released a scathing report that points to serious deficiencies in the way it’s handling burials and other historic and cultural sites.

The report contains a lot of fascinating stuff, including the news that when state archaeologist Nancy McMahon closed the Kauai office to move to Oahu and become SHPD’s deputy administrator, she brought everything with her — including iwi, which are stored at her house, the location of which was redacted.

The report notes that this is not a good thing, as obviously the people of Kauai would like to see their ancestors’ remains reinterred as quickly as possible.


The obvious is also stated in an article that reports visitor arrivals are still down on Kauai. What’s more surprising is that we came in behind the Big Island, which traditionally lags. The article reports that even in tourism, we are dangerously undiversified, with most of our visitors coming from the U.S., especially the economically hard-hit West Coast.

Yet where are our marketing efforts focused?

Continuing to boost that awareness is KVB, which along with the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau “blitzed” five different U.S. cities since January and promoted Kaua‘i in major media outlets like “Eye on LA” and “View From the Bay,” [KVB Director] Kanoho said.

I was amused by one comment left in response to the newspaper article:

There is SO much turmoil on Kauai, so much animosity from locals to visitors that dominate the discussion groups, corruption in government and police, burglaries and traffic complaints. WHY would someone spend hard earned money to visit THAT?

Hey, if you’re coming from LA, Chicago or another big American city, our corruption, traffic and crime look like nothing. Indeed, any prospective visitor who checked out the Most Wanted column would chuckle at the rag tag bunch of desperadoes who are being rounded up largely because they missed a court date.

It’s always sad for me to see how many of these folks obviously have a substance abuse program. Yet instead of getting treatment, they just keep cycling through the court system, at huge cost. When are we going to take a fresh look at the War on Drugs?

And on that note, a friend who was living at a place where the landlords made their income from marijuana grown in Northern California and shipped to Hawaii reports that he had to move because his rent was raised. Seems his landlord needed more dough because even that market has dropped, with the price of pot dropping by 25 percent and overall sales down, which was attributed largely to the decline in the construction industry.

I couldn’t help but think that here was yet another business where Kauai is sending money over to America for something it could be growing itself. You know, buy local.

Finally, many thanks to all who took the time to offer thoughtful comments about comments. I appreciate the support, the ideas and most especially that people take time from their lives to read this blog. Blogging certainly has helped to shed a light for me on how people think and look at the world.

And now I'm off to plant some fruit trees at the community garden where I work, with the fragrance of the season's first gardenia filling the air around my desk.


Anonymous said...

"including iwi, which are stored at her house"

-- wtf?

Anonymous said...

ever see the form agency comment letters that SHPD spends time 'writing'?

it has check marked boxes - no need to bother thinking about an historic site just X to mark the response.

Unknown said...

"Finally, many thanks to all who took the time to offer thoughtful comments about comments. I appreciate the support, the ideas and most especially that people take time from their lives to read this blog."

no, thank you! happy planting!

Anonymous said...

Do you have a link to the SHPD report?

Joan Conrow said...

Here you go:

You can link to a PDF of the report from a menu on the left.

Kooko said...

I tried posting yesterday, but it dissappeared...

please leave the comments uncensored (unless obviously offensive)

all points of view make one an informed person...