Thursday, May 04, 2006

Keeping on Message

or ... The Return of Erin Brockovich

I got a call at work yesterday from one of the guys who runs the catamarans out front of Hilton Hawaiian Village. For 27 years he's walked barefoot across the reef. Now he wears boots because of the sludge. He has never seen sludge on the reef in all the time he's been there, and it only appeared after the rains ended.

Fine. I take his name and number, and figure I'll pass this one up to the top. The chair takes the info, and passes it to the Division of Aquatic Resources, who are looking into long-term effects of the sewage dumping [The City, State, and most of the media still call it a spill. If challenged, some call it a 'diversion.' It was not a spill. It was a dump. A big, South Park-sized dump].

So far I'm feeling good. Government is working the way it's supposed to. I can be proud of my agency. It's the next phone call that bothers me. A representative from Aquatics calls and wants to know what I told the catamaran guy. That I'd pass the info to the top. Right. But did I say anything else? Not really. Anything about this being connected to the 'incident?' What exactly did I say? Uhm. Exactly and verbatim? I said 'sludge. yuck. ' OK, good. He just wanted to make sure we were all on message.

As if I was ever on message in my life.

I asked if he could call me back and tell me the results of their field inspection. He couldn't. He didn't think I was authorized to know.

Now I'm not saying that the government is covering up evidence of potential damage from the sewage dump.

That wouldn't be on message.

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