Is it just me, or is the island falling apart? I’m not talking about coconuts falling off trees or beach sand wafting across South Kihei Road or even a portion of Haleakala suddenly breaking off and sliding into the ocean–those are normal events that take place in the evolution of volcanic islands. No, I’m speaking of a sudden rash of infrastructure failures in the Wailuku area.
A brief timeline is in order. On the afternoon of Monday, July 11, Ryan Piros, the assistant communications director for the County of Maui, announced that officials had just discovered that at some point over the weekend (or perhaps earlier) the entire county voicemail system broke. Something about a “corrupted hard drive” that would “take at least two days to repair” was the closest thing to an explanation we got.
Minutes later (I’m not kidding here), Piros sent a new announcement that the county was reopening the upper tennis and basketball courts at Wells Park in Wailuku. The courts had been closed three days for some unscheduled maintenance.
“Workers had to remove nine light poles from the tennis and basketball court areas after two poles came crashing down on Friday, July 8th,” Piros said in the statement. “The nine poles were said to be in the same rusted condition as the first two that came down and were removed as a precaution.”
Two days later, during the early morning hours of Wednesday, July 13, a few emergency doomsday sirens in Wailuku went off for no particular reason. The sirens, Piros noted in a subsequent news release, “alarm[ed] many Wailuku residents.”
I should say so. Apparently, the problem was that the sirens were really old. “The source of these siren malfunctions has not been determined,” Piros wrote. “However it was noted by Civil Defense officials that all the sirens that went off were older models which are already scheduled to be upgraded as part of a statewide modernization program.”
So at least as far as the warning sirens are concerned, officials have the rot and degradation under control. Mostly.
PAYPAL FOUNDER PAID WHAT?
Who said anything about the housing market suffering on Maui? At least, times are still good in Makena. That’s where Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, just bought a house. According to a July 15 story in Pacific Business News,
Thiel paid an historic $27 million for the 4,500 square-foot house (located on 1.7 prime, prime coastal acres). It’s the largest sale price for a single-family home in Maui history, PBN added.
And it’s not like Thiel got a great deal on a foreclosure, either. The previous owner bought the place back in 2006 for $19.2 million.
No word on whether Thiel used his own service to pay for the home.
And now a personal note, if you’ll permit me. Just like to give a shout-out to the good folks at Cardinal Moving Systems (part of Phoenix-based First USA Vanlines). They were the movers my girlfriend and I chose to move 150 cubic feet worth of our stuff from Northern California to Maui. And you know what, for the most part, it was a good move.
The movers in both California and Maui were courteous and helpful. They gave us bubble wrap when they could have easily charged us, and ran our credit card without additional charge even though their paperwork said we needed to pay in a cashier’s check at time of delivery. And our stuff arrived exactly as we packed it, with no damage worth mentioning.
One thing though: what was up with that coupon you gave us? When I booked the move, the CMS sales guy emailed me a $100-off coupon and said to print it out and give it to the movers. We didn’t ask for the coupon, but we were glad to get it. The only problem was that no one would take the coupon. The movers in California said the guys in Hawaii would take care of it, and the guys in Hawaii said they wouldn’t honor it because we were only doing a “minimum move.”
That last phrase turned out to be hilarious when my girlfriend called the CMS office and asked what exactly constituted a “minimum move.”
“One hundred cubic feet,” said the CMS representative.
“That’s odd,” my girlfriend said, “because we moved 150 cubic feet.”
“Oh that’s right,” the CMS chick said. “It’s 150 cubic feet.”
“Wait,” my girlfriend countered. “You just said it was 100 cubic feet.”
“It is,” the CMS chick said nonsensically.
The movers on Maui later said a minimum move was actually 200 cubic feet since we were moving to Hawaii, but had no explanation when my girlfriend asked why CMS would touch our stuff in the first place if we were shipping 50 cubic feet less than their “minimum move.”
Had the original CMS guy not given me that $100 off coupon in the first place, we would have been totally happy with our move. We would have told friends that everything went well, and that we had no idea why so many people had complained online about CMS moving practices. And we would have expressed utter shock at being told that the Better Business Bureau had given the company a F rating.
But hey–we’re on Maui now, so I guess it all worked out. ■