Thursday, December 03, 2009


Thursday night Chinatown rat update

by Larry Geller

First, let me give credit for discovering the rat circus in the  Chinatown window to George Fox. In the struggle to process the video and get it out there while my computer fought hard against me, I neglected to ask him whether I might mention that he is the person who invited me to shoot the scene. I want him to have the credit. If Chinatown gets cleaned up, it’s thanks to George’s vigilance.

Tonight (Thursday), KHON carried a followup story on its 6 p.m. news, and KITV will cover the issue at 10 p.m.

KHON has an on-line poll on their website. They ask, “Are budget problems a good enough reason to not target rat infestations in Chinatown?” They will announce the results during their 10 p.m. newscast.

Update: KHON poll results: only 11.8% of respondents answered “Yes, there are other priorities.”

I wonder if the Lingle administration has already given an answer to the poll question. In the KHON news video, Laurence Lau from the Department of Health notes that leptospirosis is a serious concern. What exactly is leptospirosis?

From the Wikipedia, this short snippet:

In humans, leptospiral infection causes a wide range of symptoms, and some infected persons may have no symptoms at all. Leptospirosis is a biphasic disease that begins with flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, myalgias, intense headache). The first phase resolves, and the patient is briefly asymptomatic until the second phase begins. This is characterized by meningitis, liver damage (causing jaundice), and renal failure; because of the wide range of symptoms the infection is often wrongly diagnosed. This leads to a lower registered number of cases than there really are. Symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting, and may include jaundice, red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and/or a rash. The symptoms in humans appear after a 4–14 day incubation period.

Lau next appears to answer the question about what the state will do, given that the gov has decided to decimate the vector control division:

Realistically, it’s going to be up to the private store owners, land owners, building owners, to hire private operators to deal with the problem.

I’d suggest that frequent inspections and assistance to shop owners is very much in the interest of protecting public health. Do they think we want any of that leptospirosis stuff, or any of the other diseases carried by rats and other vermin?

At present, inspections are once every two years. This is almost the same as no inspections at all. For example, as the inspector walks out the door, the shop owner knows that there won’t be any inspections for the next weeks or months. So anything goes. What is needed is frequent, random, unannounced inspections.

Liquor inspectors visit restaurants at night, why shouldn’t DOH inspectors be out after dark? That’s when the rats and roaches come out, of course, not during the daytime.

Meantime, better wash that banana before peeling it, you never know if a rat has peed on it before you bought it.

Leptospirosis and more could be yours, complements of Hawaii’s Department of “Health” and an administration that is ideologically opposed to raising taxes or finding alternative funding sources so that we can have teachers, elections (Office of Elections budget cut 94%, crippling it), ag inspectors, or clean food.

(update: forgot to add: I’ll bet the Governor never goes food shopping in Chinatown… so it’s just our problem, not hers.)


... Yeah Larry. What kind of pinko commie are you? Let the market resolve the rat problem and stop pushing your government welfare-dependency ideas like government health inspections of our food chain. bow down to the awesome power of the invisible hand.

... back to reality ... can't wait till the Bush era is over in Hawai'i on Dec 6, 2010 and will be sure to boil all food until then.

The sad truth is, our forefathers fought hard to have health regulations and some sort of regulatory system in place to prevent disease and death. How can this governor in all sincerity just turn the clock back on one state in this union? How can the people of Hawaii just accept this? There is something that is called prioritizing, public health as well as education should be in the top categories. With the aid of the internet this will spread and have an effect on the reputation of Hawaii, but Ms. Lingle is probably not so concerned, she is on her way to bigger and better things on the mainland. I wish that we could send the rats with her.

let not forget that it was Democrats that axed the School of Public Health from UH ten years ago. Lingle is just carelessly exploiting an area weakened by like-minded conservative Democrats in the decade that preceded her...

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