MAKE KAUAI GREAT AGAIN
February 28, 2016

…again?

Doesn’t this imply  once it was great and now it’s not?

If  so, then wouldn’t it  be true, only one who lived on Kauai during its great period could respond? I mean,  what changed? To go from greatness to not so great must mean something changed.

My husband and I sailed to Kauai in 1969. We tied up at the sea wall in Nawilili, just around the corner, as it were, from one of the hottest hot spot saloons on the island. The first person we met was Walter Brian–Head of the Water Department–we’d known  him on Oahu–and my husband was headed towards a job as Engineering Department Head of McBryde Sugar.

Sugar was King.  Actually, managers of sugar plantations were Kings. Department Heads and their wives were Lords and Ladies. There was an inside joke:  haolis lived in the haoli camps;  field hands lived in Japanese camps, Filipino camps,  Portuguese camps. But– by our time– racism was floundering. There were lots of  shanties.  Warm. Dry. It was a feudal state,  but McBryde was  benevolent.  Mules–Brownie, Blackie and Caliban– wore saddles filled with seed cane to replant at planting season. It was a great life, for most of us. Bill loved the men he worked with, they loved him. Bobby Pfeifer was President, Ceo, and  Chairman of the Board of Alexander and Baldwin of which McBryde was a totally owned subsidiary.  There couldn’t have been a better man at the helm.

Cane was a dollar crop. Grown to maturity for almost two years.  Burned to harvest. Cane fires flared in  splendor in the still winds of early morning sky. Then milled and shipped to California to be refined and packaged and sent back home.  Alexander and Baldwin is Matson, remember?  Those guys didn’t go to school to carry their lunch. Sugar kept their ships full going out and full coming back.

This glorious field of long tall grass worked with grace and beauty to keep our air fresh. The air on Kauai,  clean and invigorating,  filled our lungs with the essence of life. Of health. Breathing is the most important thing we do on this planet.  Breath bad air, breath illness and misery and death.

I see more cars–spewing stink and CO2 and sporting angry drivers–driving to Lihue  then there were on the island when we arrived. Today, on Kauai, there are places where you should wear a little white mask to keep your lungs working.

We’d little crime. Few homeless.  Few unemployed.  We weren’t rich, but, for the most part, we were happy. Put a dollar sign on that.

Recently someone suggested we contact young Mark Zukerberg–philanthropist– to get us back on track.

May I humbly suggest we contact Ted Turner? He’s a philanthropist. He owns over two million acres of land. “The sad thing about destroying the environment is that we’re going to take the rest of life with us…” I think Bobby and Bill would have loved him. I do.

 

 

 

 

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TRANSPORT, BUSES, SUCH A BORE
February 22, 2016

 

When I first arrived on Kauai some forty years ago, Kauai was a feudal state. The plantation managers were the kings and their department heads were  lords and ladies. Field workers lived simply, but, for the most part, peacefully together. Outside this circle were the big land holders, small business and services, schools and hospitals, a few quaint island style hotels and a rich rash of city and county workers. It was a benevolent state. All of us, at our different levels, lived in peace with each other and the extraordinary beauty of the island and its surroundings. I think of the great and glorious fields of waving green cane,  a cash crop, which contributed to clean fresh air and extraordinary beauty.

I think of Iniki.  Troubled times, and how we all came together…visitors, too, some of them…as a family and worked towards restoration. I think these times are gone.

Today the island is a third world country. Treated with much indifference and malignancies by the rich.  The powerful.  The greedy.  The military  And a most fragile industry, the tourist industry. Today we are a hard hit, rapidly disappearing middle class, with a steadily increasing number of unhappy islanders.

How dare I  express this?

Because it’s true.  We live at  the end of a long line of destructive influences. Some people, mostly newcomers, question why we didn’t protest over-development. We did! But the big land holders, the rich and the greedy and their bought off political cronies, held all the cards. Look at the mess they’ve created on the highways.  None of us can afford the million dollar  needed to build more roads.

All of us on this island, rich and poor, brown, black, yellow and white, young and old will be catastrophically impacted by this ignored insult left unanswered. This monstrosity is always in the headlines.

We all have to transport ourselves to somewhere. Some people must commute.  And you can’t even write that  expense off your taxes. Buy a car, buy some gas, some oil, tires, batteries–whatever–go broke in the process.  Working people  have to get to jobs so they can pay for the commute. They have no choice. The rush to work, the rush home, causing road jams that just won’t quit.  We have constant, disgusting, frustrating  traffic jams. Bumper to bumper fore and aft. Any hour. Any day.  Coming or going.  Where or why. To satellites overhead we must look like ants on a senseless journey to and fro.

Add to that visitors who fly in and  rent a car. Off to their destination. Off to see the sights.  Which they can’t see, they’re driving so fast. Or grumped miserably in a lump of exhaust that takes the breath away.

Then we have locals who love their cars, trucks–four-wheeled noise makers–like Americans, a few years, back loved their horses. “I’ll die before I’ll let you take these reins from my hand.”

Horses were prettier, but history repeats itself. Such a bother. Such a bore.

 

 

 

 

The Greening of Lihue
November 17, 2015

Don’t you sometimes feel sorry for politicians?

I know they’re not our favorite servants, public or otherwise. I’ve known bedmakers who would serve their office better. Certainly we all know they should have a  better grasp managing money. If we managed our budget  as they manage theirs, we’d all be broke. Sadly, many  are, but I don’t think they should blame  politicians for that. I know who–or what–they should blame but I don’t want to start a fight.

Think about this? No matter what our politicians do, seems like  half the people in the country, in the state, in the county, disapprove. Bad.  Can we assume  fifty percent  approve? Good.

We rarely hear from they who approve, but we hear a constant stream of invective from those who disapprove. Some people like bike paths. Some people don’t. Some people want super ferries. Some people don’t. Most people don’t want higher taxes but everybody wants more, better, and faster public services. Fancy new high-tech garbage trucks? Oh boy! Where to dump the stuff? Not in my backyard? That’s  a 100% downer.

Everyone complains about the roads. Repair mine. Don’t repair his. Then we complain about the inconvenience we experience when the roads are under repair. Lihue is a maze most of us rats get lost in. Noise. Detours. Traffic jam ups and, quite often, a wrong turn–arrows, flag offs–sends us skittering off a hundred and eighty degrees south of that place we wanted to reach.

A restaurant? The Mall? A public potty?  A parking spot within walking distance of it? (That’s any place less than ten steps from  the spot on which we wanted to land.)

Some  answers: bring a book. You can read it in  stopped up traffic jams. A sandwich. Munch. Munch. A bottle of water. Slurp. Slurp. A road map.  Note paper and a pen. Write a letter to TGI about stupid politicians who do  stupid things and inconvenience the hell out of us. Complain. Stomp your feet. Cross your arms. Scowl. Got cell phone? Yell at the innocent in a government office who answers the phone.

So what’s this got to do with greening?

Well, I love  the green roundabouts. I love all the greened up strips beside the road. I love to see work men planting something. Watering something. ‘Course all this green stuff costs green stuff. Some guys want to spend it. Some guys don’t.

I got a’idea. Plant citrus. Local oranges are delicious–and the scent of orange blossoms!! –everybody loves good smells. Beats carbon dioxide.   Picking them when ripe would create government jobs and income. Buy homegrown food–good food, healthy food–from government road side stands.

Maybe we could plant some long green stuff. Sugar cane. Tall grass. So gorgeous. So generously, sweetly,  cleansing the air we breath. Such a marvelous living historical reminder of the wonderful island we once were. Don’t recommend burning.  Machete it–more jobs– let it grow back all by itself.

Thank you Mayor Carvalho.