Another Serious Highway 130 Wreck

This one just happened at intersection of H-130 and Kapoho-Pohoiki Rd at 2:40 today!

This guy the cop is talking to was wanting to fight and it didn’t even look like he was in the wreck!

Hawaii Newspaper Guild and the Hawaii Tribune Sign Contract After Nearly Six Years of Negotiation

Media Release:

The Hawaii Newspaper Guild and the Hawaii Tribune-Herald have signed a contract after nearly six years of negotiations.

The two-year agreement covers all employees at the Hilo newspaper except pressmen, who are covered by a separate contract, and managers. The pressmen’s negotiations lasted as long as the Guild’s. The contracts are similar.

Both unions have bargained with the newspaper jointly for years, but the negotiations were prolonged this time partly because the company refused joint negotiations.

The contract provides the first wage increases for employees at the newspaper since Jan. 1, 2002.

During the negotiations, the Tribune-Herald was found guilty of 12 unfair labor practice charges by an administrative law judge of the National Labor Relations Board. The charges included the illegal firing of veteran reporters Hunter Bishop and Dave Smith, both of whom were union leaders.

The judge found that the company fired the union leaders because they were engaged in legally protected union activity, not because of any job-related violations. He ordered both Bishop and Smith reinstated to their jobs with full back pay and benefits. The judge also found the company guilty of illegally disciplining employees for participation in union activities and several other violations of employee rights.

Rather than implementing the judge’s order, the company has appealed to the NLRB in Washington, D.C. The appeal is pending.

Guild spokesperson for the talks and former Hawaii Newspaper Guild administrative officer Wayne Cahill said it was his belief the company had no intention of ever reaching an agreement, but that it had second thoughts because of the strong will of the employees, who were planning an island-wide consumer boycott against the newspaper if agreement could not be achieved.

Cahill said, “The employees and the full Big Island Labor Alliance made a strong statement at a rally in front of the newspaper on March 17. It had to be apparent to the company that it would have a hard time doing business in Hilo unless it treated its employees fairly.”

Cahill took over the talks in September 2009 after Guild sector representative Mike Burrell retired. Burrell had led the talks for the Guild for the first five years of bargaining. Cahill retired at the conclusion of the talks.

The Hawaii Newspaper Guild is a local of The Newspaper Guild, a sector of the Communication Workers of America. The Hawaii local also represents employees at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the Maui News and the Maui Bulletin.

Commentary in Response to Syd Singer Mangrove Lawsuit

Commentary by Larry O’Brien from Knowing.net:

Ours is not “a time of rapid evolution,” as claimed by Syd Singer in his misguided commentary recently posted at http://damontucker.com/2010/08/12/syd-singer-on-climate-change-and-conservation/. It is the opposite — a time of extinction and the passing of great things.

It saddens and shocks me that anyone who lives on these islands can dismiss extinction so lightly. You will never see or hear an ‘o’u, a a koa finch, a mamo, a nukupu’u, an ‘akialoa, a Kona grosbeak. You may see an ‘alala — there are some left in captivity. You might have seen a po’ouli but the last one died in captivity in 2004.

Kona Grospeak

I don’t know if it’s misguided hope or willful blindness that can claim that, because preserving nature is a struggle, we ought not “weed for the past.” Wouldn’t you have liked to go for a walk and caught a glimpse of some of these “weeds”.

Singer likes to say that the displacement of native species by non-native species shows that native species are “weak and unhealthy.” That’s nonsense. Any High School biology student (or anyone with the eyes to see our Hawaiian reefs and native forests) knows that islands create species that are specialists — the longnose butterflyfish that can snip away at individual coral polyps, the parrotfish that grind away at more solid corals and excrete the sand that, over thousands of years, become the beaches where the turtles lay their eggs. Just because lauwiliwili don’t expect to be eaten by roi (introduced in 1956), they are “weak and unhealthy”? Because the native birds aren’t immune to avian malaria (brought in the early 1800s) they are unworthy to live anywhere that mosquitos live?

Just as the native species are not “weak and unhealthy,” the ability of a species to invade is not proof of some moral superiority. The coqui frog is controlled in Puerto Rico by populations of specific species of tarantulas, whip scorpions, crabs, and lizards; we don’t have any of those species here. (And if Singer is such a fan of “winner takes all” conservation, does he think we should introduce whip scorpions to see if the coquis are really so wonderful?) One reason we have so many roi is because they can be ciguateric, so no one fishes for them (except for speardivers, who have begun conducting “roi roundups” — which Singer undoubtedly opposes).

It’s true that environmentalists sometimes overemphasize the drabness of invasive species — the mats of invasive algae that clog the once-colorful bays of Oahu, sparrows and pigeons as opposed to honeycreepers. But it’s not a matter of what’s prettiest — who’s to say that a java or saffron finch is not more attractive than an apapane or amakihi? It’s a matter of preservation. Just because there are plenty of sparrows in the world, is it okay if the i’iwi goes away? Just because there are plenty of cockroaches in the world, is it okay if the wekiu bug goes away?

The Hawaiian Islands have been changed by human activity ever since the first voyagers landed here bringing taro, pigs, and chickens. That the slopes above Kohala were covered with sandalwood trees when Kamehameha the Great built Pu’ukohola heiau and allowed cattle to begin roaming. Conservationists don’t deny that and aren’t motivated by a vision of a world that never was. Conservationists look at the world we have and see the passing of great things. I once saw a 1,000-pound bluefin tuna — you never will. I’ve dived on reefs that are gone now. My nieces and nephews have never seen an i’iwi or a blue whale. My 14-year-old nephew who lives in Pennsylvania has never seen the Milky Way. The world becomes a lesser place when uniqueness is lost.

If Hawaii is overgrown with the same vegetation that grows in Florida and the same birds that live in Hong Kong, what unique stories will our grand-children hear from the land? If the coral is gone and the reefs are covered by the same algae that lives in the Mediterranean and, without the reefs, the honu and the mano and the billfish go away, what stories will our grand-children hear from the ocean? If the sky above Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa is painted over with the same glaring lights that blanket the mainland, what will our grand-children learn by looking to the sky? That what came before was “weak and unfit,” nothing but “weeds,” and that you preferred to “surf the wave of change”?

Or are you going to tell them that you once saw great things, and you fought to preserve them?