Editor's Notes

I made a mistake two weeks ago in this space, and I want to correct it here.

Our recent piece on rail, which ran in the 11/18 issue, was based on original reporting by Curt Sanburn, and made a strong case for the reopening of the City’s selection process for the new rail line. The Weekly stands behind Sanburn’s story, and I regret giving the impression that we did not. Sanburn wrote exactly the story he promised and I thought he did it well.

In my editor’s note that week, I expressed frustration about our internal process, and did so in a way that was inappropriate and unclear. That frustration was rooted in confusion about who was responsible for the story on our end, which led to less editorial attention to Sanburn’s piece than is usually the case. That is my fault, does not reflect on Sanburn or his story, and I take full responsibility for it. I apologize to Curt and to readers for the confusion.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s proposal to fine property owners for bulky items left improperly along Honolulu streets has provided cartoonist John Pritchett his fodder for this week (see page 3), which is funny, but the proposal is legitimately problematic.

Ask anyone who’s lived in Palolo or Moiliili or along the Waianae coast and youʻll get an earful about the blight–and in some cases, the danger–caused when public streets become dumping grounds for household items.

Unfortunately, the mayor’s first attempt doesn’t seem like a real solution. For starters, what about all the people who use the free economy as their only hope at household furniture and appliances that aren’t broken? Better some of these things go to good use than straight to the landfill.

It also seems wildly unfair to see a broken couch on the side of the road and then blindly issue a citation to the owner of the nearest home. The obvious question: What if the owner didn’t put it there?

I’m reminded of a visit to Salt Lake City over a Thanksgiving weekend in the early 1990s. As a friend’s father drove us slowly through the neighborhood on my first day there, he pointed to what seemed an unusually large stack of beer cans and bottles outside one particular house. Then he said, “that’s the only black family on our block.”

I just about choked on my tongue. I was a guest in this man’s home and would have to choose my words carefully, but I had to say something. Then I noticed he was eyeing me in the rear view mirror. He continued speaking:

We have bottle and can pickup once a week. Some of the Mormon guys who sneak off and drink beer in their garages, they walk over at night and put their empties in front of this black guy’s house.

Definitely some kind of pathology at work there, and I’m not suggesting that the mayor’s plan would usher in a new era of bigotry in Honolulu. It just seems kind of obvious that when we face retribution for what’s in our garbage, many of us simply turn and dump that garbage on our neighbors.

Maybe the City could set up no-questions-asked bulky-item drop-off spots around the island. Maybe residents could request special pick-up.

The mayor and community activists like the folks at Moiliili Matters and Makiki Talks deserve credit for getting the ball rolling on this issue. Unfortunately, the current plan doesn’t sound much like a recipe for community building.

World Can’t Wait Hawaii, which maintains that “the war against the Afghan people is a war crime,” holds a rally today to protest President Obama’s decision to send 30,000 additional U.S. soldiers there.

Prince Kuhio Federal Building, Diamond Head side, Wednesday, 12/2, 4–6pm

Musician and ‘ukulele-maker Tangi Tully, who was severely beaten in an attack outside a Moiliili karaoke club last month, is now in a difficult medical situation–described by friends as a “near-vegetative state”–and unable to work. In support of Tully and his family of four, his musical ‘ohana has come together for a fundraiser. Appearing at The Shack Waikiki will be Teresa Bright, Afatia Thompson, Starr Kalihiki, the Don Tiki band and Halau Ka ua Kilihine, among many others. There will be plenty of food, a raffle, a silent auction and other events.

2255 Kuhio Ave., Sun 12/6, 5–10pm, $15 advance, $20 at the door, [email: friendsoftangi]

–Ragnar Carlson