Monday, May 10, 2010

Musings: Kudos and Cracks

It’s starting to get light about 5:15 a.m. now, which means Koko and I are out and about shortly after, walking through a world that’s still mostly asleep, save for the birds, which are raucously joyful. As we walk, Koko sniffs the things she finds of interest — the place where pigs crossed the road, something invisible to my eyes in a clump of grass, a rooster that’s moldered into a pile of feathers — while I stop to smell the fragrance of angel’s trumpet and citrus blossoms.

Before us, clouds spilled over the top of Makaleha and Waialeale was buttoned up tight. Soon the sky began to fill with puffs of orange and the sun rose, fully visible in its golden roundness, its fiery brightness dimmed by the same haze that caused Kalepa and Haupu to shimmer, almost as if a fine shower were passing by.

The county appears to be passing John Tyler by for public praise in yet another expression of its liability paranoia, which is beginning to border on pathological. It’s hard to fathom that thanking someone for putting rescue tubes in beaches without lifeguards could somehow open the county up to liability, but such is the apparently off-the-cuff opinion of deputy county attorney Mauna Kea Trask.

“I just want to make sure we can avoid, through the benevolent action of commendating someone for that, we don’t passively put our seal of approval on that,” said Mauna Kea Trask, deputy county attorney, adding that hopefully it won’t be a problem.

Let’s just hope his legal reasoning is more grounded in reality than his reported use of “commendatating.” And let’s really hope his actions aren’t driven by lingering resentment over a certain public heckling incident at a Path meeting involving the very same man whose rescue tubes have saved a dozen lives.

Speaking of the Path, The Garden Island today has a piece about how the debate over it is a sign of Kauai’s growing pains. It quotes Councilman Derek Kawakami making a comment he repeated on my radio show last Thursday:

“Before we had this bike path, it was an old cane road, where you could do whatever you wanted — ride your horse, walk your dog, walk your cat, walk your pig, litter, leave the dog doodoo — and it was just wild,” Kawakami said.

So why, if people were previously able to do all those things without anyone getting killed, maimed, sued or horribly offended, must their activities be so tightly regulated now that the same walkway has been replaced with concrete and incorporated into the county park system?

As I’ve said time and again, the path along Kawaihau Road is truly multi-use and so far as I know, entirely unregulated, yet it seems to be functioning just fine. So maybe the problem lies not in “growing pains” or dogs or even doggie doodoo, but enfolding it into the county park system, with its myriad rules and unionized work force.

Which raises the question, will the Path turn out to be a “lei around the island,” or a concrete choker in the chokehold of the county?

Getting back to Derek, farmer Jerry, who called the other day to weigh in with his response — “yes, people are inherently good” — to a question raised on my last post, mentioned that Derek told him he used to read my blog, but had stopped because “it’s hurtful.”

I don’t think Derek necessarily meant it was hurtful to him personally, because he hasn’t really been targeted here, but hurtful in general, and it’s true, it sometimes is, and sometimes I feel badly about that, because I am essentially a kind-hearted person. I’ve made a conscious effort to tone down the vitriol and hold back some of the poison arrows that fly so easily from my bow, but I know that sometimes people do take “some serious cracks” — to borrow Mel Rapozo’s words and personal experience — here and in the comment section.

Still, in at least one instance the public shunning had a positive effect. Just about a year ago, I wrote a post about an incident involving a young Hawaiian friend who had been stopped from fishing by Mark Barbanell, who owns vacation rentals along the Wainiha River. In the comment section of a subsequent post, Mark did indeed take some serious cracks.

So when I got a phone call from him one night, I braced myself for the worst. He was mad, but he was also hurt, and I felt badly as he described how he felt reading all the things that had been written about him. I was about to apologize when he said, but you know, it was a good thing, because it really made me examine myself and how I come off to others.

As a result of that self-examination, Mark said he had made some changes in his actions and behavior, and he had also made things right with the young fisherman. He even ended up thanking me for writing this blog, and said he felt it was a public service.

So while I understand where Derek is coming from, and respect the civility and kindness I’ve seen him display, in a small community like ours, there is some value to naming names and calling a spade a spade and holding people accountable for their actions. And sometimes, as in the readers' comments about Derek, that results in kudos, not cracks.


Anonymous said...

As I (re)read the garden island article it seemed more that mauna kea was essentially just saying "hold on - we don't need to do this today - let me double check the wording - and we can probably do it at the next meeting". I don't think he nixed the idea. He just wanted to double check, hence his statement "hopefully its OK"or something like that.
Then the poor guy gets trashed in the comments on TGI, and now here. I doubt that mauna kea was retaliating against mr. tyler, but maybe the reverse was true? I mean really, what is a lawyer saying "lets think about this before we act" doing on the front page? Who sent out the press release, and why did TGI even bother to pick it up? Its not just your blog - its that Kauai people are half-informed and just plain mean.

Anonymous said...

It sounded like the reporter was at the meeting.

jackbauer said...

"its that Kauai people are half-informed and just plain mean."
May 10, 2010 10:29 AM
I would have to assume that was trask or friend blogging on this one.
But, at any rate, he knows deep in his heart he is trying to wag tails with the big attorneys. Oh bruddah, get off it already. Thereʻs a big penalty later on in life for stepping on backs of own.

Now why might that be the case?
Could it be that everything is done in secrecy and idiots like ian cost, tokioks(s), nakamura, warren perry, Iʻm tired already...canʻt go on with this list of people that do things in a tightly knit junior league cabal (for uneducated punks) that get their lifetime employment because of family/friend ONLY, not talent, experience, or education. In fact, the dumber you are, the more quickly youʻll be accepted.
Hey, I speak truth.

And as to the mean part, I apply that to the racist whites that come over here (Hawaii) and terrorize the Kanakas, who by the way and as a whole, arenʻt mean about the crap that is happening to them and their families...but should be. And they have their own trask to help pound them a little further.

I would have to assume that was trask or friend blogging on this one.
But, at any rate, he knows deep in his heart he is trying to wag tails with the big attorneys. Oh bruddah, get off it already. Thereʻs a big penalty later on in life for stepping on backs of own.

jackbauer said...

Whooops. Did a double on the trask paragragh. Mistake.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Joan for your public self examination. It takes guts to do that. Yes you let arrows fly but thier never poisened.

Anonymous said...

"Kauai people are half-informed and just plain mean"

Why, because we talk stink and never let the truth stand in the way of a slanderous rumor?

Jennifer Tyler said...

Dear Mr. Anonymous, one never knows who you are laying rumors, with unknown intent, and you're not man or woman enough to stand behind your words with your name here. Easy to be "just plain mean" or misleading anonymously....

To set the record straight, the reporter was at the meeting, and then called me at home to find out more info on the rescue tube project. I knew nothing of a pending thank you letter or Attorney Trask's comments. I just provided the reporter with info on the intention of the tubes and that I was happy they have saved at least 12 lives to date.

By reading the article, it becomes increasingly clear how local government is truly caught up chasing its own tail (Joan will like that one with all the pooch Coco sharings)...

A public thanks acknowledgement wasn't ever something I looked for. 12 lives given back to their families because of the tube placements, and the heroic people using them--that's where the true thanks is.

John Tyler

Anonymous said...

"I would have to assume that was trask or friend blogging on this one."

--and what if your assumption is wrong?

But go ahead, jump to the conclusion you have already drawn, make decisions without all of the facts or information, believe that a half truth is just as good as a whole one.

Joan Conrow said...

May 11, 2010 5:44 AM

Anonymous, who invariably arises angry and ugly, obliterated.

Anonymous said...

"you're not man or woman enough to stand behind your words with your name here"

-- how did that work out for the last police chief, the fax-mistake FBI computer raid guy? or the various ladies who complained about county sexual harassment. anyways, small matter

more importantly, id suggest what irks people are seemingly ill-equipped (or extremely poorly managed and led) county attorneys that do not appear able to navigate well the legal field, and also end up unnecessarily paralyzing the organs of government. i could explain further, but i dont think this is new news. such criticism seems just even when factoring in these country lawyers having to deal with above average nepotism and incompetence as to the elected leadership, appointees, and individual departments