Business as usual in Hawaii

I knew it. The County of Hawaii stopped recycling and now cars and trucks are backed up clear to the highway. People sit in a catatonic state inching their way to the dump.

Instead of relaxing at the beach, they spend Saturday mornings loading debris into their truck, then driving down to be stuck in a line of cars disposing their rubbish.


What brought on this Saturday snarl? The county of course. Who else would be totally incapable of managing seven dumpsters, all at the same time?

Now view how your public servants managed to lose our recycle bins.

According to newspaper accounts, the reason China stopped taking our recyclables was because it was contaminated, that is, there was extra, unusable stuff in the bins that took too much time to sort out. The extra work made it unprofitable, so they stopped taking our recyclables.

The problem was that people too lazy to drive up to the dump would throw bicycles, BBQs, toilet bowls, bed frames and dead mongooses into the mixed recycle bins. You get the idea. China would get the dumpsters, and it took too much time to sort so they canceled the contract.

All the county had to do was to put a worker by the recycle bins to monitor the types of recycling, keeping it pure enough to sell to China. With one worker watching things we’d still have recycling.

But no, they put workers up at the dump to regulate trash that costs us money to dump, but no workers at recycling that made us money, selling it to China.

It seems to save the minimal salary of a recycle worker they lost us millions and made our weekends miserable. Business as usual in Hawaii.

But the latest example of the bumbling, backward thinking of the County Council and others can be seen with the recent vote to spray pesticides in parks and schools.

It’s so zany, I call it Catch-22 gone wild.

The first Catch-22 moment was when Mayor Harry Kim saw the stacks of studies on the dangers of Round Up and concluded that Round Up had not really been studied before.

Then after scientists across the world proved the toxic effects, Mr. Randy Cabral, of the Hawaii Farmers, said it was just a small “knee-jerk reaction to an anti-pesticide lobby.” The worldwide science community is a bit more than a “lobby.”

Another enlightened soul said that the poison is not harmful when “used as directed.” Scientists are no dummies, I’m sure they studied the pesticide “used as directed”and still found it dangerous. They study things really hard.

And Department of Parks and Recreation Director Roxcie Waltjen says without the pesticides, at $39,000 each, she will need an additional $16,000,000 a year to hire 400 new people to pull weeds. Add that to the current 283 employees, her budget would be near $25,000,000 a year. A little much there, Roxcie.

So 50 people testified against the pesticide bill and eight for it, and it still passed. This tells you something, that is, the mayor and the council do not represent the people.


Welcome to paradise where no one knows what they’re doing.

Dennis Gregory writes a bi-monthly column for West Hawaii Today and welcomes your comments at