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The North Kona water crisis is no laughing matter, yet there's certainly no lack of laughable rhetoric. Days before the first deepwell disaster his honor Mayor Lounge About procilaimed "I'm proud of the Hawaii County government." Of course he is. He's the mayor of Hilo and Puna, and only as far as the preponderance of taxes paid by property owners in West Hawaii, is he vaguely concerned with the emerging public health disaster in North Kona. As reported in the hotel room-service newspaper hardly read by anybody, periodic water service outages are imminent. Based on current usage, the water will run out the middle of next week. I certainly hope Mayor Lounge About is proud of the splendid and competent planning, contracting, and work of the Department of Pocketing Water Funding floated by millions of taxpayer dollars for nonexistent equipment, services, corrupt contractors, and dishonest "person of interest" civil servants. Reading the posts here on Konaweb and the comments on the room-service newspaper, it's clear not many property owners are as proud of the county government as Mayor Lounge About. Unfortunately, more than half of all the properties in North Kona have absentee owners, most of whom could give diddly squat about water restrictions. I have yet to find a vacation home ad that mentions ocucpants will have to restrict water usage. Another problem, obviously, is that the most prolific water users (the Department's "biggest customers") are completely oblivious. Swimming pools keep getting refilled, hot tubs replenished, houses pressure washed, construction sites sprayed, koi ponds refilled, vacation home lawns irrigated, and hotel water flowing rampantly without restriction. Of course, only property owners who are full-time residents and have faithfully and earnestly curtailed usage throughout the crisis who will be penalized. Good thinking, Hilo Mayor. The root problem is that nobody is managing the store. County employees feel free to pluck parts, supplies, even money, from the public pie, with our wonderful Hilo-elected government and council members gazing abstracting into the void, planning how they will spend their next "campaign contribution" from contractors, suppliers, and "persons of interest." Nevertheless, people who have moved here from the U.S. mainland are subject to a certain amount of skepticism if they were ingenuous enough to believe that life on the most isolated landmass in the middle of the planet's largest ocean was going to be like Sun City, Arizona. Residents all over the island have no access to public water supplies at all. Drive by the "free water" spigot in South Kona and you'll see vehicles backed up waiting to steal water from the Emergency Water Supply to water their marijuana plantations and supply their meth labs. In all fairness, other ne'er-do-wells also fill their 200-gallon tanks daily to avoid having to pay for the water made available by taxpaying property owners. You'll also see people washing their vehicles, bathing, and playing in the gushing streams. Frankly, considering the overall mind set and level of competence and honesty in our glorious county government, it's difficult to imagine any sort of remedy in the near future. As long as some county employee needs a bolt or a gasket or a pump part for his own place of residence, there's not going to be any working equipment, just as there are no wheels, tires, generators, or engine parts for the buses sitting in the six-foot high weeds in the county "repair" yard. As others have commented, "it's how we do it in Hawaii." A common saying on the U.S. mainland is "you can't fight City Hall." In Hawaii, "you can't fight the wonderful, glorious, County government." Unless, of course, you want your property taxes raised, your vehicle registration cancelled, or your house broken into by cops looking for illegal laundry loads. It's how we do things in Hawaii. Sit back, enjoy the show. And don't forget to fill up a jug with water from the free water truck parked outside the courthouse. Er, assuming it's still there. Hey, it could be worse. A lot worse. Still, I'm basically peeved that while most of us take dribble showers and flush our toilets once a day, there are so many clueless, greedy, self-centered misanthropes protesting the water restriction to the tune of thousands of gallons a day that we're all going to be taking sponge baths and buying overpriced supermarket drinking water next week. Gee, thanks, kids.
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