Editor’s Page: Summer Gleaming

The lure of longer days.
Photo: Adam Jung

Welcome to the schizophrenia of summer. 


The longer days pull us in so many directions. We find ourselves lured by opportunity:  projects long-imagined, family time, career goals, travel. The longer days suggest there is time to do more. Energy charges the air (maybe it’s just the Vitamin D?), almost taunting us to accomplish great things.


And yet, we (well, it could just be me) feel simultaneously pulled to swim in the timeless ocean, to escape into a good book, to fly to the Big Island where the sixth generation of my mother’s side of our family is now growing up. To go where my cell phone doesn’t catch for hours at a time, where we plan the day by what we do, not by the time on any clock, to lie down and stare up at the sky.


This June issue reflects the competition for our time.  We have the Big Island guide, where senior editor Don Wallace went looking for a kama‘āina update for those who haven’t visited there in some time. And food editor Martha Cheng dined around the island.  And we are pleased to present our annual Restaurant Guide with the help of food photographer extraordinaire Steve Czerniak and a number of writers. We meet a mix of new dishes, classic favorites, a beer-and-wine face-off. What goes best with kalbi, uni pasta and cheesecake? We’ve got conflicting experts. Martha also takes us behind the scenes on two islands, with a seat at the table for the family-style meals that many restaurants serve to their staff.


And we have Summer Reads, in which contributing editor Loren Moreno delved into the latest and best reads among Hawai‘i-linked authors and books. The stack he brought back calls to us from the corner of our offices.


Finding Honouliuli takes us to the 1940s when wartime suspicions prompted the imprisonment of hundreds of people deemed a risk, mostly Japanese-Americans, at 17 locations throughout the islands. Associate editor Katrina Valcourt talked to the retired librarian who helped locate the forgotten ruins, recently named a national monument.


Even with the extra hours of sunlight, we must still make choices with the time we have. Originally, we intended that Big Island Mayor Kenoi would play a part in the Big Island story.  That was before Kenoi revealed he had run up a tab of more than $129,000 on his county-issued pCard. Before he admitted to travel, hostess bar bills, restaurants, hotels, personal charges that included a bicycle, surfboard, and his bar association dues.  Before he paid back more than $31,000 and apologized, we had requested a chance to tag along with him to share his favorite Big Island places. The pending investigation stopped all that. 


Before he hired lawyers, I had a chance to talk with him at the state Capitol when he fielded media questions about the pCard disclosures (that came in response to West Hawai‘i Today reporter Nancy Cook Lauer’s diligent pursuit).


And I asked him how an attorney known to be smart and savvy could be in this position? His response: “I was asked that by a good friend, the exact same question. ‘Billy, you one smart guy. How could you be so dumb? So stupid?’ I have no answer. I just, was. You get in your mind, as long as I pay it back, it’s OK, but it’s not. It was clearly bad judgment.”


I’d still like to hear what Mayor Kenoi would recommend to a relative or friend visiting from O‘ahu, but he had other matters on his mind as we went to press.


Perhaps summer reminds us of the possibilities, because we can recharge, press our reset buttons and start again. Here’s to finding some balance…and summer daydreaming.


Read more stories by Robbie Dingeman