Letters for Friday, January 11, 2008

• Evil at KKCR

• Radio license realities

• The gates of KKCR

• Not all doomed Spouting Horn

Evil at KKCR

We all saw the protest signs on the highway. Katy Rose cried “KKCR is racist.” Joan Conrow spewed “There is evil afoot.”

Despite the danger, I decided to find out what was going on. But first let me stop for a latte. You never know when it may be your last.

Down the dirt road I bounced to the radio station. It looked normal enough. As I walked through the door, the manager said, “Welcome to Kaua‘i Community Radio. Do you want to sign up as a volunteer?” I knew it must be some sort of code. Inside were people stuffing envelopes at crowded tables. Chairs were patched with duct tape. Old computers blinked.

I saw an African American man in a wheelchair. A Hawaiian woman. Hippies. A lesbian. A gay man. A surfer, businessman, construction worker, bank teller, young people, old people. These were all volunteers from the community giving up their spare time in between their jobs and personal life to help out at this struggling little radio station.

But I wasn’t interested in them. Where was the ruling elite? Perhaps in a backroom control center? Beautiful Hawaiian music played as I searched past handmade shelves full of CDs all perfectly cataloged and filed. Boy, these volunteers had been busy. Obviously tricked into doing the bidding of the ruling class. Still I found nothing out of the ordinary.

I had failed. Where were the racists? Where were the evildoers? I got back in my car and reached for another cookie on the console; the box was empty. I pointed my car down the rutted road toward the sun setting in cruel mockery signaling another end to a perfect Hawaiian day.

Stephen Williams, Princeville

Radio license realities

A recent letter regarding the situation at KKCR referred to “local radio licenses” in the context that such a license could be obtained by local advocacy groups if they really wanted to present an alternative to KKCR.

This is not possible, at least at present, and at least for a nonprofit.

The Federal Communications Commission makes available a certain number of broadcast licenses in the “public radio” spectrum (lower end of the FM band). Limitations include only a certain number of stations being allowed within a given physical distance of an existing station. This is to forestall any problems with unintentional interference or jamming.

I was asked to research a possible license for a new nonprofit public radio station for Kaua‘i this past fall (not connected in any way with the KKCR situation). The federal office tasked with managing these licenses advised that, because there is already a public radio station operating on the island, no further licenses will be issued for that spectrum because of the noted rule.

The rest of the FM band is, at this point, also so occupied that even a for-profit station would have difficulty getting an assigned frequency and license.

I’m not taking any position on the KKCR issue … just trying to clarify what the alternatives are.

Elaine Albertson, Waimea

The gates of KKCR

There are two gates to pass through upon approaching KKCR. One is at the intersection with Hanalei Plantation Road. That one is generally open until about 6 p.m. It is usually locked after about 2 p.m. on weekends. That is Princeville’s gate. It was highly unusual for it to be locked at 3:30 p.m., on a weekday, as it was on Jan. 3.

The second gate is at the station grounds. This gate is always open, but has been closed at least twice in the past three weeks — once on the morning of Dec. 24, when the entire station was closed and canned music was playing, and again on Jan. 3, when only “approved” people were allowed in. It is this gate which is in question, not the Princeville gate.

Next: Ka‘iulani is not the only programmer who has had disputes and arguments with other programmers. She is not the only “hot head,” but her treatment has been different than that of others. (One notorious hot head, now deceased, has actually attained sainthood status.) Many feel that instead of termination, all factors should have been weighed carefully, including the other programmer’s role in the dispute and the overall value of Ka‘iulani’s program to an under-served segment of the community, and a process of dispute resolution should have been employed.

Instead, her termination has become a flashpoint for the frustrations of the community about long-standing problems at KKCR. Unfortunately, instead of confronting these problems head on and working toward solutions, some have defensively back-tracked to justify her termination with many unfounded and unsubstantiated rumors.

Yet, it’s not too late for that dispute resolution — let’s hope it happens quickly.

Katy Rose, From the Web

Not all doomed Spouting Horn

Bob Yount’s letter to the editor on Jan. 7, “Concerned about council and counsel,” is so much the thoughts and sentiments of so many locals and visitors that I have spoken to recently.

I followed the Spouting Horn public hearings on the local government access channel and in person at the County Council meetings. Those went from misrepresenting the amount of income the vendors make to the demise of a wonderful outdoor shopping adventure for visitors and locals alike. These booths have been generating hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for the county in which these funds will now be going directly to our new Parks and Recreation Department until the vendors are phased out. I think we can all agree that our parks are in need of these funds. How does the county plan to offset this loss? Higher taxes? Diminished services? I know, Councilmember Mel Rapozo, it’s only peanuts.

These vendors offer good employment for locals and a place for crafters to sell their wares at affordable prices. During these public meetings there was a great deal of testimony supporting these vendors from crafters, employees, Po‘ipu Beach Resort Association and signatures of over a hundred visitors and Kaua‘i residents. I was under the impression that the council was there for the people but after experiencing how this issue was dealt with, I can now see that most of our County Council has its own agenda. Tim Bynum, Ron Kouchi and, with reservation, Jay Furfaro did see the benefits of this unique concession at our county park. I don’t want to see uncontrolled and illegal concessionaires in our parks or on our beaches but this park has had infrastructure built for vending purposes.

So you see Bob, it wouldn’t make sense for them to have an advisor to get the pulse of the taxpayers because it is evident to me that they are following either their own agenda or perhaps someone else’s unknown to us.

Renee Rosemark, Lawa‘i


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