The recent coverage of KIUC in The Garden Island
reflects very poorly upon reflects very poorly upon the paper. What we have seen in Andrew Gross’s coverage is not investigative journalism, but instead manufactured outrage.
It has illustrated how much easier it is to provoke the reactionaries than it is to maintain the standard of integrity that we should expect from our local media.
Stating facts out of context is not journalism, and asking provocative questions without seeking to answer them independently is not investigation. Calling this behavior ‘reporting’ would be generous.
Only now, two weeks after the fact, do we recieve the breakdown of every dollar spent by KIUC. Put in the proper light, at only 0.3-percent of the budget, the expenditures in question seem far from outrageous.
To allow readers to make an informed decision, this material should have been included in the very first published article.
For those readers looking for a cause célèbre to boost their sense of self-righteousness, The Garden Island delivered. For those readers looking to make an educated appraisal of our local utility, The Garden Island’s coverage was an abject failure.
May I suggest a follow-up article, one that explores the relationship between rising fuel costs and utility rates, tween and the attempts by KIUC to explore alternative sources of energy. At this point I think you owe it to them.
- Bryan Gilstein
Best KIUC can do?
If the self-serving treatise offered by KIUC in TGI’s November 5 issue is the best they can do to defend their actions they should have kept their silence.
The KIUC executives start in a meanspirited way by seeking to diminish The Garden Island paper and its reporting. paper and its reporting. They don’t dispute the accuracy of the information contained in the TGI articles. Instead, they try to assert it is misleading. After enumerating a laundry list of cost components in a form interesting only to accountants, they say TGI has missed the real problem of high rates, “the cost of fuel.” They claim electric bills won’t change materially until something is done by the cooperative about the cost of fuel or we find new ways to generate electricity using alternative energy. As they well know, the cost of fuel is essentially outside their control, but they say that they have been “working tirelessly” to develop renewable energy sources. However, after three years they have ABSOLUTELY ter NOTHING to show for it. And the KIUC program to have solar heating used to reduce electric usage in water heaters through installations by “approved contractors” is inconsequential.
tractors” Then the KIUC leaders brag about creating in the past three years a net worth of $30 million which they claim is a source for investing in alternative energy. What investment do they propose?
They state that they are aware that members would prefer a lowering of rates instead of collecting money and then returning it and say “they are working on it.” But they are intentionally vague about how. In fact, the needed action is clear — a petition should be made tion to the Hawaii Public Utility Commission to review rate charges and to provide reductions as may be found reasonable.
In the proceedings, examination should be made as to cost of service to assure KIUC’s costs are reasonably allocated among its customers classes as there is no current assurance that this is the case.
KIUC could not have garnered $30 million in profits in the last three years without undue charges to its customers. It is time the KIUC sought to serve the interest of its customers and members instead of catering to its lenders.
If KIUC does not fulfill its duties to its members by initiating an application to the PUC for rate proceedings at an early date, the consumers of electric power on this island should act to compel this result.
- Walter Lewis
TGI’s gory description of the four-dayold remains of two accident victims at the Hanapepe overlook was quite unnecessary to reporting the story.
sary Such unprofessional and inconsiderate reporting would never have passed editorial review at a more sophisticated paper.
Shame on you!
- Bill Cole
Gross’ departure regrettable
So, a blow has been struck against freedom of our Kaua’i press and investigative reporting that will resonate over time. Andy Gross is no longer with The Garden Island. His articles did a great job of exposing irregularities at KIUC.
It appears that from the beginning he thought that he was completely supported by the paper and had their permission to go wherever the story took him. Then, unexpectedly, an editorial came out which literally kicked the legs out from under him and his questions and conclusion about KIUC, so Andy resigned. It is said that a phone call from an officer of KIUC to the new owners of The Garden Island threatened them that ad-threatened them that advertisements from KIUC and other businesses on Kaua’i would be terminated if this investigation did not stop. And the paper caved in. Will the paper have the responsibility to tell us whether this is true?
Having been in baseball all my life I know that the field manager needs the support of the general manager, the owner, his coaches and his players to be successful. Andy lost the support of his bosses and had every reason to leave. The electrical ratepayers on Kaua’i rallied behind each of Andy’s articles and applauded and cheered the revelations that he uncovered.
You were only with the paper for seven months, Andy, but the positive impact your work made with the people of our island will not be forgotten. We definitely need newsmen of your caliber and it is regrettable that nefarious and clandestine action must force an excellent reporter to leave the paper that we heavily rely on to provide us information about public issues.
- Glenn Mickens
EDITOR’S NOTE: No calls were made to this office or our corporate offices by either an officer of KIUC or anyone in its communications department threatening that KIUC or any other business would pull their advertising as a result of our news coverage
First amendment issue?
The letter titled “Intelligent design should be taught in schools” on Nov. 4, involves a larger issue. This is a first amendment issue, involving the separation of church and state. Some people actually believe there is no separation, or do not care. If there is no separation, then all churches and religious institutions should pay the same taxes as everyone else. Some religious leaders spend a lot of time imposing their will on the government, through politicians they call friends. Organized religion pressures politicians to do what they want. Organized religion is involved in the government, but religious institutions do not pay taxes.
Maybe they should. Otherwise keep church and state separate.
- Eric Voorhies