System Failure - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

January 14, 2008

System Failure

There's an old saying: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."  But in Hawaii, we have a hard time agreeing on what exactly is broke.  And then, sometimes, we just talk about it, ignore it, and don't fix it. It doesn't take an engineer or an architect or even a state legislator to know that the physical plants in which our students and student-athletes are supposed to learn and train are woefully run down.  Dashed hopes, false promises, delayed responses, it all comes to the same ending often times--nothing gets done, and certainly nothing gets done quickly.

We have a habit here of building things and people up, and then if everything doesn't work out, we blame the institution or the individual.  Well how about looking at the system; the system that allows mediocrity to fester.  We talk about the importance of education, and then we stand by idly while passionate teachers run their own fundraisers or spend their own money to buy supplies in order to get by.  We want a top flight, competitive athletic department at UH, but we refuse to simply meet the industry standards for infrastructure and recruiting and assistant coach pay.  So big picture questions--do we dare raise taxes so kids have pipes that work in every school and air that's not 100-degrees?  Do we save money by cutting back local government, perhaps looking at a unicameral system vs. having a House and a Senate?  Do we have the nerve to stop feeling sorry for ourselves or inferior to the mainland in so many ways? Do we dare cut bureaucracy or force things to move quicker?

We have great people all over the place at the University of Hawaii; but this month we're stunned because we've lost a great football coach.  He gave the system ten years.  You wanna question his loyalty, the fact that he simply couldn't tolerate annual expectations to win just about every game with a perceived lack of support?  He had options, and maybe you don't; maybe you're ok just accepting status quo or worse.  He wasn't willing to; he had more local sensibility and soul than a lot of people we all know who were born and raised here.  And now, he's gone.  And that's a tough wake up call.  Maybe we'll wake up and move forward, because right now, it's a bad dream.  And I don't just mean this football thing.  Think About It. 

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