Another bit of history: An “Open Letter” from “The Hawaiians”

I just ran into this scanned image while going through files on a misplaced flash drive that I unexpectedly found.

It’s a large ad that appeared in the Hawaii Free People’s Press, an underground newspaper published several issues between mid-1969 and the end of 1970.

The open letter is signed by Pae Galdeira, leader of a very early activist group of Hawaiians. Galdeira died in May 2015.

It reflects one of the roots of today’s Hawaiian movement.

Click on the image to view a larger version.

December 1970

Feline Friday: Our travel solution

Romeo Here we are, the first Feline Friday of February, and Mr. Romeo is here to welcome you aboard.

We’ve noticed an interesting shift now that the cats have gotten used to their new home and their inside-the-house lifestyle.

Romeo, once the swashbuckling cat who patrolled the yard and fought any wandering cats that tried to pass through, seems to be much more subdued these days. He’s lost his swagger. Maybe that’s just because he’s getting older. But I think it could reflect his changing role, no longer the warrior.

When we lived in Kaaawa, if a visitor came to the house, the cats would scatter and disappear into other parts of the house. If it turned out to be someone familiar, or if the visitor stayed for a while, a few cats would venture out. Usually Wally would be first to show an interest and seek a bit of attention. Kili would eventually make an appearance. And it wouldn’t be long before Romeo came out and turned on his social charm, showing that he wasn’t afraid.

Duke would never appear, and might even have been hiding under the bed. Toby would also disappear, as would Annie and Harriet.

Once Duke, and later Silverman and Kili, were diagnosed with feline diabetes, this created a problem when we traveled.

During the best times, we had a cat sitter who could give the shots IF the diabetic cats would make themselves available. Duke and Silverman didn’t cooperate. But the last few years in Kaaawa, after Silverman died, I would put Duke in a reasonably good size cage that I set up in the living room. That assured that he could be found to get his shots. And we could count on Kili not to run and hide, even if she didn’t voluntarily come forward. So our regular Kaaawa cat sitter was able to take over the full cat care, including insulin shots.

But when he wasn’t available, we would have to board the diabetics at VCA for the duration of our trip, and get someone else to feed and care for the other cats at home. The combined cost was high, but it was worth it for peace of mind.

Fast forward to Kahala. The cats have suddenly switched roles. Duke, Toby, and Kili are far less afraid of visitors, and usually will just sit out in the living room and watch them enter. Romeo now mostly hides, as does Ms. Annie. We’ve got a former vet tech who knew the cats at VCA. She visits twice a day and updates their food, water, and gives Duke and Kili their shots. She’s wonderful, and the cats like her.

It saves us a bundle over boarding at the vet, and we split the savings with our cat sitter, so we’re able to pay her well and still save some money.

And it does let us travel when we have the chance.

–> See all of today’s Friday Felines!

There are several “two-fers” among today’s photos. That is, photos with two cats. I’m not sure why it turned out that way this week. Anyway, enjoy!

Answering Clinton’s Wall Street challenge

This from Bob, a friend and former neighbor in Kaaawa.

First, he flagged this excerpt from a story in today’s New York Times regarding last night’s Democratic debate (“Hillary Clinton Is Again Put on the Defensive Over Perceived Ties to Wall Street“).

At one point, she challenged her opponent to identify even one example of how her Wall Street contributions or paid speaking fees resulted in a favor from her, calling the implication an “artful smear” by Mr. Sanders. “If you’ve got something to say, say it directly, but you will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation that I ever received,” Mrs. Clinton said.

He then linked to a short 2004 interview with Elizabeth Warren, which provides at least one response to Clinton’s challenge.

Elizabeth Warren on when Hillary changed position after taking money from Wall Street.”

Throwback Thursday: Sharing a meal c.1985

Another cat photo for this Throwback Thursday.

This is proof that we’ve shared our table with cats for an awful long time.

I believe this dates back to about 1985 or 1986. This was our #1 cat, who lived to be about 19 years old. She routinely took a spot on the table, usually right next to my plate. She tried to be patient and wait to be offered tidbits, but often a gray paw would shoot out to snatch a bit off my fork somewhere between plate and mouth.

She died in the summer of 1988, not long after we moved to Kaaawa. She was an indoor cat in Kaaawa, but did get to visit the yard a few times before she was gone. She taught us a lot about cats, that’s for sure.


Looking back at the roots of Hawaii’s prison crisis

My Civil Beat column this week tries to explain the modern history of Hawaii’s prison system, which began in the 1960s and 1970s as a plan to create a modern and humane way to deal with crime (“Ian Lind: Falling Short Again On Prisons“).

It’s a sad story of bureaucratic inertia, administrative infighting, and political opportunism destroying what was seen at the time as a remarkably innovative plan to recreate and modernize the state’s prison system.

I’ve gotten just one comment so far on the column, an email from an old friend who has spent his life dealing with prison issues. Russ Immarigeon wrote:

I just read your recent column about prison-building plans in Hawaii. What a terrific column! Man, it’s so rare to hear someone with such a fine sense of the history of failure of prison-building proposals. Not only that, I think you hit the target on why past plans failed and future plans are likely to fail.

Here are the first few paragraphs of the Civil Beat column.

Forty years ago, Hawaii tried to re-envision and reform the state’s old and obsolete prison system. The aim: to create a prison system second to none.

The magazine of the American Correctional Association, an organization of prison professionals, reported that Hawaii’s new prisons were expected to be “the most modern, the most humane and the most sophisticated anywhere.”

But even as the new buildings were going up, the widely hailed vision was being undermined by bureaucratic inertia and infighting, and by the Legislature’s failure to fund key parts of the system.

And with a surge in crime brought about, in part, by the unprecedented size of the the baby boom generation, we saw the arrival of a new political era that leveraged the fear of crime into a potent campaign issue, first nationally and then locally.

Instead of leading the nation, Hawaii’s new prison system was overcrowded on the day it opened. The state has spent much of the past several decades struggling with chronic overcrowding and administrative woes, continuing allegations of civil rights violations, lawsuits, and repeated periods of direct federal supervision of several of its facilities.

In the process, the explosive growth of the prison population has become a huge drain on the state’s budget, pulling money away from desperate needs in education, health care, family services, and on and on.

This history is rather depressing.

But the current reality is even more depressing.

The prisons have become a sacred cow. The public knows little about what goes on in them because they have become closed institutions and because most of us don’t want to know.

We’ve lost the understanding that these aren’t simply “criminals”, but are sons, brothers, uncles, and friends who have gotten into trouble and need a way out.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, there was more community concern about what went on in our prisons and jails. There were community groups with considerable social and political clout that were actively involved in prison issues. Things didn’t go totally unnoticed.

Today it seems quite different. The prison and jails are far more isolated from daily life of the rest of the public. Weak administration allows chronic conditions to continue (poor health care for prisoners, excessive overtime and favoritism among guards, inability to staff family visits, etc, etc).

And now, with preciously little attention to the deeper issues, Governor Ige is pressing for approval to commit half a billion dollars to moving the Oahu Correctional Center so that developers can access the current site in Kalihi, and other private interests can profit on constructing a new facility. All with little, if any, public discussion of why we’re doing this and, far more importantly, where this is taking us.

I hope that some of you have access to CB and can check out the column.