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Ethnicity and the Kauai Flood

Posted Oct 23 2008 2:10pm

It is interesting that no one is talking about the racial and ethnic issues related to the fallout from the Kauai flood I reported on a week ago.  With thousands of tourists (and me as well) trapped on the north shore above the dam break no one talked about the sudden absence of certain services, including maid and cleaning services at the big resorts in Princeville.  You couldn't get your room cleaned or get towels for the pool...why?  The reason was that the "local" folks (some of whom are Hawaiian and other groups of lower economic status) must travel to the north shore from points south, including Anahola, where they can live more cheaply.  Almost no Hawaiians can live on the north shore any longer because the land has been bought up by rock stars, movie stars and (mostly) caucasion retirees living in condos in Princeville.  An area that is sacred to native Hawaiians, is no longer inhabited by Hawaiians, who are either dispersed or living in much more cramped quarters in Kapaa or Anahola. Img_0777

When the dam broke, many folks panicked...buying out groceries at the Foodland in Princeville, gas at the Chevron station, and many others demanding helicopter rides to Lihue to be closer to the airport.  If you got the dough, you could fly out...but the local folks who work in the hotels couldn't pay to helicopter in to their low-paying jobs on the north shore.  Not exactly New Orleans, but worth mentioning.

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