Monday, January 4, 2016

Musings: Misplaced Priorities

It seems like the state is itching to spend some money, but its priorities are a bit screwed up.

Like it wants to spend $15 million to build more beds at the Kauai jail — but how much has it allocated for local drug treatment programs? The state keeps pouring money into the lock-up side, while doing very little to help folks deal with the addiction that is at the root of their criminal behavior.

And I'm not talking about Warden Neal Wagatsuma's dubious homegrown treatment programs, but bonafide, legit, on-island rehab services that will help people quit the ice, oxy and heroin habits that are controlling their lives and spurring the car break-ins, burglaries, bank robberies, domestic violence and other crimes that clog the courts and KCCC.

The state also wants to spend $9.2 million sprucing up the Lihue Airport check-in counters and offering free Wi-Fi. Why? To help folks forget the traffic they crawled through to reach the airport? As Councilmen Mason Chock and Ross Kagawa correctly noted, the money could be put to much better use.

Meanwhile, in case you hadn't noticed the throngs, “Kauai was well-promoted in 2015,” with visitor numbers up 4.5 percent over the previous year.

Which contributes to situations like the one expressed in a letter I got from a Norwegian cruise ship passenger from Santa Barbara who somehow happened upon my blog after a stop-over at Nawiliwili:

I wanted to see one of the most famous places on Kauai, Ke'e Beach. I found out the only way I could get there was renting a car or hiring a taxi. There were hundreds of rental cars, but they were already rented out for the one-day for the ship. When I took a taxi to Ke'e Beach the place was jam-packed, most of them from the ship and a large number of tourists staying in hotels and condos in South Shore (Poipu) that drive almost 2 hours to get there. In addition a large number of hikers for Kalalau Trail leave their cars for all day or much longer. There was massive traffic.

So yeah, just keep piling 'em in, with no regard for the carrying capacity, until people get disgusted and go elsewhere.

Hawaii desperately needs to diversify its economy. You can't just keep expanding the visitor industry forever and expect that people will have quality experiences, or the tourism bubble won't burst. Not when the Islands are in direct competition with places that are just as pretty, less expensive and a lot more friendly.

Take, for example, this hacked electronic sign on the Hana Highway, as posted on the Maui Watch Prime Facebook page:
It generated numerous supportive comments, including this one:

Karen Chun‪ LOL! This is how I feel every day when there are 4 out of 5 cars on Hana Hwy blocking me from even getting out of our neighborhood to go to the store.‬

Karen Chun moved to Maui from the mainland, bought a home in Kuau, smack in the middle of the sugar fields, and promptly set about trying to destroy HC&S, claiming health effects from cane fires. She's also active in the anti-GMO movement.

More and more people like Karen are coming to Hawaii. They don't want agriculture, and they don't want tourism (unless they personally are profiting from it). They just want to live off their trust funds, their mainland real estate profits, or in Karen's case, Mama's money, while the Islands keep bleeding locals who can't afford to live here any more.

They are supported in their anti-ag fear-mongering by folks like the Center for Food Safety's Ashley Lukens, who recently posted this plea on Facebook:

just putting this out there - because thats what we do this time of year, right? I'm looking for a mentor/guru/teacher to guide me towards a more balanced life. im open to classes, churches, temples, meet-ups, anything. just someone to look up to, be inspired by, learn from... so there you go, facebook. help a sista out.

Gee, Ash, you sound a bit down. I know it's not easy going through that “30s angst,” when you're trying to figure out who you are and why the hell you're on the planet. 

You might want to start by re-examining your job. I mean, it must be stressful, being paid to lie and scare people, plus feeling the anger of folks who quite rightly see you as trying to destroy not only their livelihoods, but their way of life, when you really don't know WTF you're talking about.

Surely a smart, well-educated woman like you must feel a little conflicted — heck, sickened — when you read stuff like Will Davis' totally misguided and misinformed letter to the letter, fueled by the "Pesticides in Paradise" propaganda you've been peddling.

Guides/gurus/mentors are all great, and they can provide some powerful inspiration. But there's nothing like self-reflection, introspection and ruthless self-honesty to help you find the balanced life you seek.


Anonymous said...

The county, state and their friends and family profit from creating problems so why should they solve them.

Anonymous said...

So the Federal Government is solving problems like taxing us to death and leaving a $19 trillion debt for our future generations to solve. Just saying, I think the Federal Government is the WORST!

Anonymous said...

"it must be stressful, being paid to lie" and you should know a thing or two about that Joan. You are being paid by the Cornell Alliance for Science. Which is being paid by the $5.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to promote GMO and attack anybody who speaks out against it.

Joan Conrow said...

You're making assumptions, 10:05, and they're incorrect. No one that I know —including myself -- is being paid "to promote GMO and attack anybody who speaks out against it."

If you look back at my blogs, you'll see I was criticizing Hooser, Center for Food Safety and Ashley Lukens well before the Alliance for Science was even started. And there's nothing in my work for the Alliance that involves either promotions or attacks.

Anonymous said...


I just wanted to say in general, (not just relative to this post), that I am proud of you. It takes a heck of a lot of guts and courage to say what you do on an island so small.

I most assuredly disagree with you on many subjects, (agree on others), but I am not sure I would have the courage to voice them using my own identity in my own backyard and to a highly uneducated and unread populous.

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks, 1:52. I appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

My my. Cornell and actual science sure has gotten under the skin of these people. They remind me of vaxxers and global warming fanatics.

Anonymous said...

Actual science is not funded by the people who have the most to gain from the science.

Anonymous said...

Ross and Mason have it wrong.
I am a Kamaiiana. My roots are in my adopted home, beautiful Kauai. Mt family and I moved here over 7 years ago. In this time I have watched and waited in the traffic in the Wailpouli corridor for many hours. Things have gotten so bad that I have to time my weekly Costco trips in order to miss the traffic.
The Council has it all wrong. Instead of making the highways bigger and better they should put forth bills that LIMIT rental cars and stop all development.
Even the Farmers Market is getting crowded. I am a real farmer. I grow papayas and rambutan. Of course everything I grow is natural and organic. The farmers market is now a zoo, and tho' I like the fact that I sell my fruits, the traffic is real bad.
As far as your comments on Maui sugar and your so-called Agricultural articles, they are nonsense. Smoke is bad and who knows what those Ag companies are doing to the precious land.
I am part of a growing community led by Gary Hooser that promotes healthy lifestyles and a return to Kamaiiana farms.
My yard boy told me that his Dad used to work in the plantations and when he came home he was really really tired and dirty. He was so tired that he couldn't play ball with my yard boy when he was a kid. This is wrong.
The movement that Gary Hooser ( a dedicated and honest man) and I promote believes in real farming. Farming where everything is grown is a nice way. After I spend some time in my fruit orchard I am not really that dirty and have lots of energy.
If we all returned to the land like Gary and I do, then life would be better.

I know it is hard to get the west side families to realize that their farming style is really bad. But, with HAPA and Gary we intend to teach these people the right way to do things. It will be a challenge because many of them are not very educated.
Another idea I have to reduce traffic is to have the hotels stagger the hours their workers work. This will reduce the number of cars so I can get to Costco quickly.
My Costco trips are in line of the old Hawaiian ways of sharing. I pickup a couple of other real farmers on my way to Lihue. We stagger this carpooling, but usually I do the driving since I live in Kalihiwai Ridge and the other farmers live in Kilauea or Waipake.
I am ready to Hoomalimalimali and Hooponoponpono with you anytime. We have to get this island back to a good place. I still respect you and have much Aloha, even tho' you are misguided and do not know the ways Kauai is supposed be.

Perhaps, you could do an in depth interview with Gary Hooser and Mason. These two enlightened individuals seem to have the right ideas. Stop development, stop rental cars, end the Big Agricultural entitles, control the big land owners use of land and most of all encourage people to band together and march, chant and do other types of civility action.
Thank the Green Earth Goddess that Gary has announced his re-election campaign, now I can give money to HAPA and to him.

Anonymous said...

@5:35 That's complete nonsense. Industry spends billions on "actual science" to develop new products.

Anonymous said...

Add Holo Holo Scenic byway to the list of misplaced priorities. This long term project funded mainly by tax dollars has as its objective, to attract more and more tourists to kauai. Of the multi millions of dollars to be spent little or none is earmarked for the benefit of residents. The sponsor of the byway recently said funding requests for this fiscal year alone amount to $30 million. We gonna spend $30 milliion in tax money to promote a tourist takeover? CRAZY. Elected officials, kill this stupid idea. Use the County, State and Federal dollars to improve the lives of Kauai people.

Friends of Kauai

Anonymous said...

5:58. You live here 7 years and you know what's best for the island. Put your name on the ballot, you can join your Patna Hooser on the bottom. I need a barfbag reading your bullshit.

Anonymous said...

@5:58 please tell me I missed your sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

The irony about Karen is that she knew before she bought her house in the cane fields that she'd be affected by the nuisances that come with commercial farming. This isn't decorative hobby yardening.

In fact, the deed to Karen's home specifically disclosed exactly the type of farming nuisances that she is perpetually whining about. SHE KNEW what she was getting into and bought it anyway.

Anonymous said...

And the agenda continues
Paradise is being poisoned

Anonymous said...

@5:58 it is sarcasm. Look it up in the dictionary or Google it if you can borrow a computer.

Anonymous said...

Being born and raised on Kauai gives me a very special feeling. My parents were also born and raised here = more than a special feeling. I was told "when in Rome, do as the Romans do." Sugar cane made Kauai. If not for the Industry, Kauai would be loaded with Hawaiians and Maluhinis. Kauai Sugar couldn't compete with third world sugar prices. There were no anti sugar groups. Lives depended on Sugar. No Sugar, no jobs, no eat until you can catch something to eat. Newcomers beware of what you say or write. Words have a way of returning to bite. Be nice, act nice, do nice things. Get to know Aloha. And tell the truth, we have enough liars on this island.

Anonymous said...

Wow 5:58 pm,

You are one smart Kama'eena. We live on the cliffs at Kalapaki and we 8 of us car pool to Costco in our Volkswagen Beetle too. We still need to figure where the groceries go. But we get it done with multiple trips.

Anonymous said...

5:58 A "real farmer" growing papaya and rambutan. Big deal, try growing taro, or lettuce, or raising pigs, instead of watching a damn tree grow you idiot. You ain't no real farmer, just another transplant like Hooser who think they are so much better and smarter than the locals. Your letter is stupid, Hooser will lose next election, and hopefully you will just watch your trees grow and stop telling us how to live.

Anonymous said...

You guys are stupid! 5:58 is making you look stupid. Try looking up sarcasm you idiots. 5:58 is yanking your chain.

Anonymous said...

@5:58, probably the best post ever on this site! Just classic. If you will run for Council I will support you in a big way. Just the way I will support Gary the Green Earth God!

Anonymous said...

The intelligence level is shining brightly. Now I know why it's so hard forr some to understand why chemicals, poison, and food don't match.

Anonymous said...

1/5/2016 @9:29 pm, practically all food has (Naturally) occurring poisons in it, before man even gets a hold of it. And everything is made of chemicals.

Now what were you saying about intelligence levels?