HAUOLI makahiki hou! I guess it's safe to assume that if you're reading this, the Star-Bulletin was Y2K compliant and it rolled off the presses as usual. And, apparently, Hawaii's fascination with firecrackers didn't blow us off the map last night when our civilization's odometer clicked over to 2000.
closer to reality
At this time last year, I filled the Water Ways column with a list of New Year's resolutions I hoped might have been on the minds of various individuals and groups around the Islands. So, now that a year has passed, why don't we see if any of them made the transition to reality?
First, I had hoped that state officials would have resolved to finally get on with the dredging of the Ala Wai Canal, after more than a decade of testing and studying, and holding meetings and planning sessions. Now, a year later, it appears the cleanup will begin in August, if they can find an appropriate place to dump the dredged material.
I had also hoped that the federal Environmental Protection Agency would resolve to fund the many projects to decrease pollution of the canal proposed by what is now called the Ala Wai Watershed Association. The agency must have made that resolution because the funding came through and there are indications there is more on the way.
Another resolution I imagined was a collective one by the most prominent users of the canal and the marina - the paddlers and sailors - vowing to take a more proactive part in the Ala Wai's stewardship. Unfortunately, so far, it seems that vow hasn't been widely embraced.
MY hope for the city/county to resolve to renovate the Natatorium War Memorial facade has nearly become a reality, as work has been ongoing for several months. Now, if the work stops there and Honolulu spends the remainder of the $11.5 million on the weekly sweeping of Waikiki's streets, it will have fulfilled my dream entirely.
For the Boating Division of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, my hope for resolutions was three-fold.
I had hoped it would resolve to find its way out of the marina business by allowing the private sector to operate and maintain our small boat harbors. I had hoped it would resolve to create a more understandable version of its boating regulations - and follow that with education and enforcement. And, I had hoped it would resolve to finally establish long-term leases with two of Hawaii's oldest boating institutions, the Hawaii and Waikiki yacht clubs.
THE club leases were recently signed, so I guess one out of three is a start.
Over at the state's Department of Transportation, I had hoped its leaders would resolve to follow the lead of most commercial harbors in the world by giving recreational boaters more access to Honolulu Harbor and construct a small marina near Aloha Tower. It seems apparent, I was really dreaming on that one.
And finally, after going through the war-zone atmosphere during last year's celebration, I prayed the public would resolve to never again allow the dubious thrill of exploding firecrackers to wreck havoc on the community in the name of cultural tradition. But, if my crystal ball is right (I'm writing this before New Year's Eve), today we are looking at tons of litter in every direction, a smoke-choked sky, several families left homeless by fires and numerous burn victims in our emergency rooms.
So, now that the new millennium is here, maybe a few more of my imagined resolutions will soon become reality.
Ray Pendleton is a free-lance writer based in Honolulu.
His column runs Saturdays in the Star-Bulletin.
He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.