By Rich Figel
When you're a writer, sometimes it's impossible to keep your personal and professional lives separate. I've never pretended to be "objective" or unbiased in my blogs and op-ed pieces for the old Star-Bulletin or Advertiser. I get involved in stories I cover, and those stories have changed my life.
Last night, via a Facebook message, I was told Bob Moncrief had passed away on Wednesday. He and his wife, Trudy, were the lone residents on L'Orange Place next to Kailua Beach, who publicly denounced the gate that was erected to prevent neighbors and others from using the beach path at the end of their "private" road (which, btw, is used for public services such as trash pick-up, utilities and mail delivery). That was three years ago this month.
His actions helped spur other residents to form Beach Access Hawaii and led to the statewide Ground Hog Day rally in 2008. A coalition of over 20 environmental groups and civic organizations took part in that event. Bob and Trudy were ostracized by the other L'Orange Place homeowners for speaking out against the gate. But for Bob it was simply a matter of doing the right thing. He felt the locked gate violated the spirit of aloha.
Below you'll find links to the Beach Access Hawaii site and the Star-Bulletin column I wrote that was inspired by him. Indirectly, my involvement in that cause led to my current role as producer of the Career Changers TV show for OC16. Since I wanted to publicize the movement to protect shoreline access in Hawaii, I signed up for the free TV production classes offered by Olelo. That allowed me to produce a short 10 minute piece about the issue, which aired on Olelo after I was done shooting and editing it.
Thanks to that experience with Olelo, I realized I could actually produce my own local TV show with help from more experienced videographers. And now I'm thinking bigger, with plans to eventually produce my own low budget film here in Hawaii. It's amazing how one person, standing up for what he or she believes in, can influence so many others in ways they never could have imagined.
Have a great weekend... and for Bob, I'm going to play my Ground Hog Day rally mix CD nice and loud. Tunes like Get up, Stand Up (Bob Marley), I Won't Back Down (Tom Petty), Stand! (Sly & the Family Stone), The Rising (Springsteen), Stand In the Light (Kapono), I Will Not Be Broken (Bonnie Raitt), and Rock Me On the Water (Jackson Browne). Mahalo, Bob, for making a difference.
Links inspired by Bob and Trudy Moncrief:
Star-Bulletin archived column, Addicted to Life
Career Changers TV show times and other resources.