The Garden Island prints readers’ comments-negative and positive-about its news
coverage and editorial policies.
I am a frequent contributor to the
Forum page. A few years ago, I had a column in the Kaua’i Times titled
“Kaua’i Family and Business News.”
I have looked with some
apprehension at the changes taking place in the pages of The Garden Island and
have been close to canceling my subscription. I am now willing to hang in a
while longer for two reasons. Firstly, you reinstated Ken Stokes’ column, which
I cherished a lot. The second reason is your Sept. 2 Forum piece titled
“We’re changing; tell us what you think.” I’ll take you up on
I feel the best way you can get this paper back on track is just
that: Solicit input from the public. This is our paper, after all. We pay for
it. The paper is a service. If it no longer serves that purpose, it loses it’s
clientele like any other service. Simple.
Half a year ago in these pages, I
mentioned that a single island newspaper has a very special responsibility.
Like a watering hole in the African Sahel that all animals must feel safe to
use equally to survive, the single newspaper must perform the service of
providing an impartial forum for all the voices of any island issue.
pointed out then how lucky we were here on Kaua’i to still have the same ohana
watering hole for all. We are still (and hopefully we will remain) a whole,
unified community, and as a community we are discussing our differences on the
same page, just like any family does.
I am not naive about the one-paper
monopoly issue. This is a different perspective-let’s say, a social experiment.
The key to success is equal access-and representation. Bias leads to lawsuits
and new newspapers. In collectively endorsing a single newspaper, we all hold
this responsibility as a sacred common trust.
Other islands are less
fortunate. There, the communities are already fractured and have separate
newspapers for separate points of view. We are very close to that point here
now. I have already heard grumblings about the need for a new newspaper.
Reason: The most important page of the newspaper has been shredded beyond
recognition: The op-ed page, the Forum. This page must be intentionally
maintained as an impartial space for all to share.
Community is very
precious and very fragile. The single watering hole is the only thing that can
save it. This is the newspaper’s responsibility. All the grumblings need to be
heard by all. That is the only way everyone can make accurate decisions and
policies. If people are left out of the dialogue, a blind spot is created in
the community. We need to keep all issues transparent for all.
unpolished opinion of my Kaua’i neighbors is far more valuable and special to
me than, say, official publicity or bureaucratic jargon.
Likewise, all the
national and international news and sports can be had any time, in any number
of other ways. It is almost always redundant by the time the newspaper prints
it. Boring! Turn-off! Who cares about warmed-over national sports when we have
some of the most exceptional and wonderful athletes right here? I want to
empower them by seeing them in these pages. The newspaper is a wonderful way to
learn more about the truly exceptional community of people we are here on
Kaua’i. We have enough subject matter right here to fill the paper with
This letter is not about thumbs up or thumbs down. The
“knowledge of good and evil” is what cast us out of paradise. The
good-bad paradigm always creates division and conflict. It is obsolete. The new
paradigm is, of course, true vs. untrue. (Good-bad is opinionated and therefore
an untrue measure of reality). Let’s stick to the truth, it can make us
One last thing and I’ll shut up. Do we really need to know about
children being pitchforked to death by some weirdo?? Sure, you can dredge up
any number of such obscene stories, but how do they enrich my life?
something very special here on Kaua’i: A real community with real people
willing to work through real issues. The newspaper is an important key to the
success of that process. Let’s get on with it and not flub it now.