Kauai, Hawaii: A letter from Karlos to the media

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An October 29th, 1998, letter (and interesting story) from Karlos deTreaux, of Kauai, Hawaii, to a member of his local media...

Mr. Algire
KITV Channel 4
Re: Coverage of Y2K event on Kauai.

Dear Mr. Algire

Though we spoke briefly in July in the Magnum gun shop on the topic of Y2K, our conversation had a profound effect on me. (Below find your original email to me) At the time I was in the midst of the fear phase of the "human element " of the Y2K virus. Symptoms include panic, fear, paranoia etc. I was hoarding food, buying guns and ammo, and heading for the hills. I was contemplating removing all my savings from the bank as well, and purchasing gold etc. You know the drill. While I still believe that Y2K will bring about an almost certain recession, if not a world wide collapse, I have come to see the event in an entirely different light.

I came to the realization that if I was prepared in all aspects, but my next door neighbor was not, then in effect, I was not.

In my neighborhood even to this day most neighbors have not heard of Y2K yet. The community is in effect "non Y2K compliant". The humans have not prepared themselves as part of a community. Having all the guns in sports authority could not protect my family from the ultimate sorry outcome If I was only one of a small number that had prepared.

I started the Community Self Reliance Cooperative to bring the island of Kauai into what I have coined "Community Compliance".

I hosted meetings at a friends house who had ample space for such an event, and began meeting with a small group.

We discussed all the issues pertinent to Y2K, but mostly ended up discussing the human emotional and spiritual aspects of it. It was interesting and thought provoking, as well as comforting to be part of a group that was all quietly freaking out on the subject of Y2K. At some point it became time for action. I paid out of pocket for a web site. Copied hundreds of articles and hit the street. Rather then focus on the negative, I stated that there were sobering realities of Y2K to be considered, but it (Y2K) was also one of the greatest opportunities we have ever had to become close as a functioning, loving community. I began a dialogue with the office of the Mayor here, that ultimately led to the meeting in the article below.

Because of that meeting, the Mayor decided that Y2K was so important to the island, that even though it was election time, she must address the issue publicly. That does not make sense politically, but it does make clear the Mayors priorities.

Tomorrow, (Thursday October 29th) The Mayor Of Kauai will publicly declare her intention to make Kauai the first Community Compliant County in the Hawaii, as well as the entire US. To my Knowledge, there have been NO public Y2K meetings so far in the state of Hawaii. Tomorrows meeting will have 10 speakers over 150 guests form the entire island, and a whole new spin on Y2K. The Mayor has taken the vision to Heart.

Y2K is a problem, but it is also an opportunity.

It is a chance for communities that have become discordant to become whole again. It is a chance to use the undeniable deadline of Y2K as a motivation to change things in real time, fast and efficiently.

The point of community compliancy is to create a community that understands the potential disruptions that could be caused by Y2K. They understand the time pressure, and the need to get past petty differences to work with laser like focus, and unity, on a common goal.

The community must pledge to become "partners" with the local government in creating functional alternatives to the existing dependency on technology that might not work for an unknown period of time on or after 1/1/2000.

Community members must prepare mentally and emotionally, as well as physically and financially so that regardless of what the Millennium brings, that community will be able to carry on in a civil manner so that if and when the power goes back on, there is a community still in place to turn on the light.

Our ultimate enemy in the Y2K crisis is our own fear of the unknown. Currently, if more then 2% of the population of savers suddenly decides to take all the money out of our savings account the banks will be crippled. Over 5% and they will crash, thus bringing in a new dark ages for at least some time to come.

The publics perception of the safety and of the Banking industry's safety, compliancy and basic "trustability will ultimately effect the industry more then the millions of dollars they are spending on the software and embedded chip side of the issue. The same is true of a community's belief in their local government. All these factors come together to bring the realization that we simply can not head for the hills at all. Like it or not, we have cast our lot with society as it stands. We can not jump ship. Even in regards to my money, I realize that if I deplete my savings account because I want to get MY money out before the late comers realize what is happening, will bring about the same scenarios the Y2K bug.

We are in this as a community, can we stand as one?

On the Island of Kauai, The Mayor, Ms. Marianne Kusaka responded to my request for a meeting of County Agencies, Utilities, Banking and Industry leaders. In this meeting some sobering facts about the state of Kauai came out, but more importantly, the Mayor decided to take swift action. She created a monthly closed door meeting of the participants for the purpose of information sharing without the worry of litigation. She further initiated a county wide program of aggressive Y2K assessment, and a look at the bigger picture beyond Kauai, such as tourism and how it will be affected.

She will open the Islands first island wide Y2K awareness meeting for the public tomorrow. She will publicly declare her pledge to bring Kauai into a state of community compliance.

This is new terminology, as our own group coined the phrase. She has taken it to heart and made it her own.

The concepts basic tenant is that we have grown dependent to technology at the cost of our own human dependency. We have traded each other for technological equivalents.

To be community compliant means to be ready to deal with disaster whether it is man made, or natural. In the case of Y2K our community on Kauai (if Ms. Kusaka leads the way) will be prepared to continue as a civil, functioning community regardless of whether or not there is power coming from Kauai Electric, water from the Water Department, and food in the stores. We will be ready. The next fourteen months will be hard ones to negotiate for the Mayors office. They will be exploring the almost wholly uncharted territory of community building. The community must enter into a partnership with the county, with each other to find the most realistic methods to deal with numerous problems that will be revealed daily as we examine our almost total dependency on the mainland and Oahu for even the most basic goods and services.

How could we feed ourselves if we were cut off. How would we find enough fresh water to drink without sewage treatment, and Kauai Electric running the wells? How would we get from point A to point B without gas for our automobiles, and will we deal with the chaos, fear and panic if large groups of people start to feel the painful feelings of "not enough" and move from free thinking individuals to the heard mind of stampeding animals trying to get their basic needs met.

We will have to be taught, we will have to learn, we will have to be willing to take many steps back to take one or two steps forward in this learning process.

We have become addicts. We are addicted to the comforts our technology brings us, the ease of life, the lack of the necessity to learn even the simplest skills required to feed clothe, shelter and heal a human. Few of us could fix a care, make butter or grow a cucumber if our lives depended on it. And they just might possibly could.

The Mayor is proposing a plan that will bring Kauai together as students in a great school. Students that have a final exam coming up, and even a graduation day. January 1st, 2000.

When she declares this tomorrow, there will be no real fanfare, because most of the media is afraid to look at the big picture. The fact that the Mayor of one of the smallest islands in our state is declaring her desire to take the issue of Y2K head on, to turn it from crisis to opportunity, to share it with her island partners as a model that could become a standard for coping with Y2K across the country will go almost unnoticed.

Only because she is ahead of most of us on this issue. She is a visionary. She is willing to set out into uncharted territory even amidst her election because it is the timely thing to do, the only thing to do, if one truly understands. And Mayor Kusaka does. As a state of islands, we are for all rights and intents the most isolated land masses in the world. We are famous for bananas, but try and find one grown here. But I digress. It is my hope that your news crew might find this event newsworthy.

You will find that the state of Hawaii is one of only two remaining states in the nation that does not have a state Y2K web site for citizens and government leaders to inform, educate, and clarify the latest news. Outside of the iron triangle of the Banking, Telecommunications and Public Utilities industry, very few small to midsize businesses are even taking a look at the problem. They have not been allowed to yet.

Hawaii needs to be told it's OK to question the information it's people are getting. It needs to be told where to look, and how. It needs to be told how to prepare for the Y2K situation, and ANY other natural or manmade event such as hurricane tidal wave, war, or terrorist act that might isolate us even temporarily from our mainland suppliers. How will we survive without the ability to prepare prudently on these rocks in the middle of nowhere? How long could the islands sustain thousands, hundreds of thousands even millions of foraging, starving scarred humans if Y2K did have the disruption of goods and services that more and more experts are predicting?

The media is so far "medicating" us into an "it's ok because they say so," state of lethargy.

Please find it in your soul to cover tomorrows event. It will be the first such event in the state of Hawaii. It will be one of the first in the US and the rest of the world. It is "newsworthy" because it is about the human condition. Where are we dependent, what are we dependent on and why, and HOW have we come to be in this very delicate state without a lifeline, and without the means to get off?

Please visit us tomorrow as we unveil our plan for community compliancy on Kauai. Please show it to the rest of the state. Please show us it's OK top question as long as we don't panic. One of the main things that causes panic is fear. Fear of the unknown.

Thank you for your time Mr. Algire... You are partially responsible for this meeting tomorrow that will set a new course for Kauai.

Please follow it through!

With sincerest aloha, and mahalo's in advance for your help with this story,

Karlos deTreaux

-- Karlos deTreaux (y2kbug@gte.net), October 29, 1998


Karlo, you have inspired me, how one man can do a lot. There have been individuals throughout history who have turned its course, like Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Jesus, Napoleon, Darwin, Einstein, etc. but they never were alone entirely. Einstein took his ideas from the giant who preceeded him. What would Jesus have been without his disciples? MLK was a part of a huge organization. Now, Bill the webmaster, has started a Best of the Best list for cheap and simple ways for neighborhoods and individuals to become self-sustainable before 2000. The ultimate and safest contingency plan of all. I hope to see contributions from you and your island.

-- Tom Osher (bagelhole1@aol.com), December 08, 1998.

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