Hawaii lawmakers are pushing hard to get President Barack Obama's childhood home in Honolulu named a national landmark. If passed, it's sure to annoy Obama. Why? Well, if Polihale State Park on Hawaii's Kauai island is any indication, he'll have to roll up his sleeves and fix the plumbing himself.
Tired of waiting for help after flooding ruined facilities at the state park, nearby residents pulled an impressive DIY job and completed the estimated $4 million repairs just in time for tourist season.
"It would not have been open this summer, and it probably wouldn't be open next summer," said Bruce Pleas, a local surfer who helped organize the volunteers. "They said it would probably take two years. And with the way they are cutting funds, we felt like they'd never get the money to fix it."
Ivan Slack, co-owner of Napali Kayak, said his company relies solely on revenue from kayak tours and needs the state park to be open to operate. The company jumped in and donated resources because it knew that without the repairs, Napali Kayak would be in financial trouble....
So Slack, other business owners and residents made the decision not to sit on their hands and wait for state money that many expected would never come. Instead, they pulled together machinery and manpower and hit the ground running March 23.
And after only eight days, all of the repairs were done, Pleas said. It was a shockingly quick fix to a problem that may have taken much longer if they waited for state money to funnel in.
"We can wait around for the state or federal government to make this move, or we can go out and do our part," Slack said. "Just like everyone's sitting around waiting for a stimulus check, we were waiting for this but decided we couldn't wait anymore."
With the project finished, residents and business owners are now...waiting. The only thing left is having their home-made bridge certified, and of course, the tourists. But the folks deserve a shout out.
The challenge was borne out of necessity and the folks were probably not concerned with political labels. But the project is a great example of communities working (faster, and cheaper) without government. As Brian Doherty noted, in his recent Cato Unbound discussion with Seasteader Patri Friedman:
...an organized state with a monopoly on rule-making and force is not necessary to accomplish all vital social tasks...we can, if we are smart and brave, build something like our own culture from the ground up.
It's great to see real action put to a feasible and concrete use. Perhaps next, the residence of Kauai can establish their own police force and do something about one of Hawaii's biggest problems:
High Five: The Big Rigg