Thursday, August 4, 2011

Musings: Gaping Gap

Going out with the dogs into the cloudy mist of very early morning, my first thought was, wow, it’s dark. The days are long only on the tail end this time of year, as the sun dawdles and rises later each day.

The Kauai Police Department inexplicably dawdled for three years, reportedly conducting over 40 investigations and making some 11 arrests, before it took the sudden action yesterday to tear down “Pine Trees Inn.”

What I’m wondering is, why now? After seeing criminal stuff supposedly going down there for years, why did KPD finally decide it had to go yesterday?

A friend sent me the county’s press release on the action with the message, “Another landmark bites the dust.”

Indeed. I was at JJ’s for lunch the other day, and observed that “Pine Trees” was the only bit of localism in an area that is otherwise entirely dominated by tourists. But I guess even that was too much for some of the area businesses, which would prefer that their well-heeled visitors don’t have to mingle with the scary locals — aside from those who serve them, of course.

This was reinforced by a quote reported in today’s The Garden Island:

Another mall employee, Trenton McClary, said crime is an issue, but is unsure if removing the structure will have an impact. He considered Pine Tree Inn an eyesore that blocked the view of the beach from the stores. The customers, he said, are “people spending $10,000 on a vacation and $1,000 for a helicopter ride.”

Which calls to mind an article I read recently about the widening wealth gap between whites and people of color. As AP reported:

The recession and uneven recovery have erased decades of minority gains, leaving whites on average with 20 times the net worth of blacks and 18 times that of Hispanics, according to an analysis of new Census data.

The analysis shows the racial and ethnic impact of the economic meltdown, which ravaged housing values and sent unemployment soaring. It offers the most direct government evidence yet of the disparity between predominantly younger minorities whose main asset is their home and older whites [like so many of the tourists and retirees coming to Kauai] who are more likely to have 401(k) retirement accounts or other stock holdings.

It goes on to report this shocking figure, which I believe is also reflective of the disparities between many haoles and locals on this island:

The median wealth of white U.S. households in 2009 was $113,149, compared with $6,325 for Hispanics and $5,677 for blacks, according to the analysis released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.

A report on Democracy Now! got into even more detail in an interview with Roderick Harrison of Howard University:

It really takes us back to a period where—characterized by the Kerner Commission as two societies, separate and unequal. This is a chasm that just is striking.

We’ve been seeing now for decades increases in inequalities in income. And this is—there are many factors in that, including the incredibly—the incredible increases in the ratio of the incomes of executives and managers to workers within firms. But also, some of it is driven by the growth of the very good incomes of families with two college-educated workers and the stagnation of wages amongst males and a very slow growth amongst females and very slow growth amongst people with less than a college education. So, these things have contributed to the gap. And one would expect that since you do need to make sufficient income to be able to have savings that you can invest, whether it’s in savings accounts or stocks, bonds, etc., one would expect the increase in income inequality to gradually produce increases in wealth inequality, as well. But clearly, the recession has, just in a few short years, thrown us into a truly different world. The black and Hispanic income levels, you mentioned, wiped out 20 years of gains; they’re back to where they were in 1993, approximately.

I think the prospects, at least for the next decade or two, are fairly grim.

It’s going to be very difficult [to reverse this trend.] I don’t see them—if they can recoup, if they can get back to the net worth levels that they were in 2005 within the next 10 years, I would be surprised.

As for what lies ahead:

People use net worth or draw on net worth to invest in their children’s education, to help with perhaps a first home, a down payment for a first home. We’re entering a period now where black and Hispanic families, one-third of whom have no net worth at all or negative net worth, won’t be able to help their children in this way. So this is going to definitely play into the next generation.

Which, in turn, ensures a steady supply of poor folks to serve the wealthy, fight the wars and fill up the privatized prisons.


Anonymous said...

Lock Up Your Profits: List of Prison Stocks For Your Watchlist

Gimme some of that!!

Let the good times roll!!

Anonymous said...

Ding, ding, ding! Right on Joan! You hit the nail on the head. The rich to Kauai buy monstrous mansions on Ag land while the poor locals' shade by the beach is torn down. Tearing away Pine Tree Inn will not bring down crime in that area. Proper police oversight will. Instead the police should be going after THOSE criminals in their illegal TVR's.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that was unpermitted was Perryʻs and Carvalhoʻs unpermitted demolition.

What a disgusting lap dog Perry is to pander to Jasper. And since Carvalho doesnʻt have an innovative brain cell in his big head, what can we expect? More lawlessness on the part of the law enforcers.

The tourists should be made aware that there are much better places to eat in the area than JJʻs. DUkes and Portofino are much much better. Never did care for JJʻs.

Anonymous said...

Crime prevention through environmental design. CPTED!

Anonymous said...

Who do the wealthy serve? Looks like we're back to plantation days.

Anonymous said...

Then you'd better "get your mind right", because "what we have is a failure of communication."

The message many fail to take in is that the big "we" (USA) own you (Hawaii) and the little "we" (the wealthy land owners and residents) call the shots.

I've been rich and I've been poor in my life. Rich, where I am now, is definitely better.

Anonymous said...

At least you've been a consistent asshole.

Anonymous said...

There's a lot to be said for consistency. As far as being an asshole, I'm wealthy enough to be anything I want without any perceptible consequences.

Anonymous said...

You're an old fart who talks shit. It has nothing to do with your money.

Anonymous said...

That I am, and I love doing it.

Go Brescia and those like him!

Now, there's someone who seems to be yesterday's news. He won that "war", so now you move on to other mostly losing battles.

Anonymous said...

It only took Brescia ten years and hundreds of thousands in legal fees to build that house (just in time for the housing market to tank) and he can't show his face around the island, so I guess it was worth it.

Anonymous said...

For guys like him, that amount of money is pocket change, and he wasn't planning on living there anyway. His corporate expense account is probably larger than that.

But he does have an extremely valuable piece of property, good for high-price vac rental and an excellent long-term investment.

He may not have done "good" (as some would define it) but he certainly did well.

I admire him. I'd love to be him. Alas, I must settle for being a smaller version of him. But, then again, he's still working and I'm retired since 2000.

Take it easy, but take it.

Anonymous said...

Ah, but he can't use it as a vacation rental and who knows when that property will be worth as much as he put into it. Won't be in your lifetime.

Anonymous said...

Think it will take over 25 years??

Anonymous said...

Much less than that but the property's value may rise in ten.

Anonymous said...

Then I'll be around to see it and gloat. Being 62 now and, in all likelihood, living into my early 90s as did the last 3 generations of my family, I'm looking forward to 3 more decades of paradise on my island home.

Anonymous said...

"He freely gave to charity, he had the common touch, And they were grateful for his patronage and thanked him very much, So my mind was filled with wonder when the evening headlines read: "Richard Cory went home last night and put a bullet through his head."

Anonymous said...

He admired Joseph Brescia
Had a lot of nice things to say
But his fawning got kind of creepy
Even Brescia thought "He's gay!"

Anonymous said...

. . . not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

Nah...I prefer women...

"3 waiting"

Anonymous said...

Deny it all you want, you're still Joey's Special Pal.

Anonymous said...

hey...if I had to suck his dick to get the primary place in his will...

Anonymous said...

Ya got that right

Who do I have to blow to get a large part of Brescia's inheritance?

Where does the line start?

Anonymous said...

You could try writing to him. Not you, old fella. You've got the experience but you'd probably have to buy it or give it away.

Anonymous said...

My, my...hasn't this devolved into grade school taunting.

Don't like the guy...allude to assumed faggotry.

Ad Hom him into submission.

How's that working out for you?

Anonymous said...

Don't assume he's gay just because he's willing to get on his knees for money. That's wrong. He may just be a whore.

Anonymous said...

People have been kissing ass for money for hundreds of years. So what's another form of "prostituting your ____ for money?

Fill in the blank with any sort of thing such as:


Everyone has his/her price.

Like the old joke: man asks woman if she'd sleep with him for $10K (or trust fund or marriage w/o prenup agmt or ...). She says sure. He then asks if she would do it for $50. She says what kind of a woman do you think I am? He says we've already established that. Now, were just haggling over the price.

Anonymous said...

Like that old movie where people dive into a tub filled with shit and dollar bills. Some people will do anything for money. That's fucked up.