Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Musings: Save What Speaks to You

In the northeast, when Koko and I went walking this morning, the thinnest sliver of silver light held up the pale whole of the moon, while glowing, round Jupiter held down the southwest sky.

The mountains were touched with nary a cloud, and a few lingering stars blinked out as the sun gathered energy and poured it into a mound of fleecy white that was blocking its way. When the day arrived, I went back out and marveled at Waialeale in all her craggy glory, thinking of how much water had poured down her ancient face to create all those crevices and crannies.

Speaking of ancient, I noticed in The Garden Island this morning that Joe Brescia now is willing to sell — at market value, of course — the Ha`ena lot with more than 30 burials where he’s been trying to build a house.

It seems, from the article, that Keone Kealoha of Malama Kauai is willing to play a lead role in meeting with Brescia and his attorney, Walton Hong, to figure out a solution. Keone also astutely noted that “state legislators and administrators need to work with the community to develop a more comprehensive policy to handle burials in a more sensitive manner.”

It also seems that Chief Perry’s move to stop construction of the house last week is a little more solid than some critics claimed, as apparently Hong isn’t moving to challenge the Chief in court, as those same critics falsely predicted.

The paper quotes Brescia as saying:

I was disappointed that Kaua‘i Police Chief Perry took it upon himself to treat any work done on my property as a violation of Section 711-1107 of the Hawai‘i Revised Statues, and interrupted and halted the work planned,” Brescia said. “The law was obviously designed to punish those persons who desecrate burials without authorization.”

So is the issue then not whether an act constitutes descretation, but whether it’s authorized? If that's the case, it does appear to be time to revisit the burials law.

Meanwhile, it’s also time to be aware of just how much information the government is collecting about us and what it plans to do with all that data.

Finally, in what some may dismiss as coincidence, but I view as serendipity, I had just finished posting Sunday’s blog — where I mused about what course we are to take in this beautiful, troubled world — when I tuned in late to New Dimensions on the radio, just in time to hear the guest, Michael Meade, say something that brought it all together for me, and so I wanted to share it with you, too.

Meade is a storyteller, you see, so he told a story of a man who rescued a small fish that was afraid of being eaten by larger fish, and as he moved the fish into different containers, it just kept getting bigger and bigger, until it was so large the man finally had to carry it to the sea. In return for his kindness, the fish warned the man that a big flood was coming and told him to make an ark, which the man did and so was saved.

Meade went on to urge us to reach out to “the little things that speak to us to be saved,” and if each of us finds these things, and if enough people do their parts, these become the things that continue on when the big cultural structures — the political and religious systems — go up in flames.

It’s all about “weaving yourself back into the design,” he says. “Take the little thing that is talking to you and carry it as far as you can carry it, and maybe you will run into others carrying their fish along the way.”

You can listen to Meade’s talk all week for free. It’s well worth the time, especially because, as Meade notes:

Myths are trying to say through metaphor how to act when things threaten to fall apart.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hong's statement in the paper that it was "premature to comment on that now" about Chief Perry strikes me as more ominous than reassuring. Not commenting is a lot different than not "moving to challenge the Chief in court."

Joan said...

If you look again at the article, you'll see that that Hong's comment was in reference to the start of construction, not Perry's action.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how. Hong's "premature to comment on that now" comment is preceded by and followed by paragraphs about Chief Perry. As for the start of construction, the article says, "Brescia said he and his attorneys are proceeding with the necessary steps to resume construction."

Joan said...

Here's how:

For now, construction is halted with no immediate timeline as to when it will begin, if ever.

Walton Hong, Brescia’s attorney, said it was “premature to comment on that now.”

Anonymous said...

I hope you're right, but where do you get the idea that Hong isn’t moving to challenge the Chief in court?

Joan said...

No, let's hope TGI is correct, because it's their story I'm referencing. As to "where do you get the idea that Hong isn’t moving to challenge the Chief in court?"

First, I said he apparently isn't. And I base that on the observation that he has not yet done so and they are instead talking about trying to sell the land.

Andy Parx said...

That may be the funniest quote I’ve heard in a long time desecration without authorization. Where exactly do you go to get a permit to desecrate?

I don’t know how you “challenge in court” a police officer’s telling you that if you do “X” you will be arrested for “Y” without getting arrested. If were to yelling in the middle of the night and an officer said “stop that or I will arrest you for disturbing the peace” I can’t stop and “go to court” the next day to contest his determination the night before.

As I said elsewhere if Brescia wants to go up there with a shovel and get arrested then the matter would be in the judicial system.

Anonymous said...

Taking the issued statements as a whole, I'll bet that Brescia is working behind the scenes to get Perry to step back. The reason that no timeline has been established is that there are so many uncertainties to deal with. If you ask me, I think that if this is so precious to the Hawaiians, then they ought to get OHA to step up to the plate and offer Brescia a fair price for the property. Otherwise, I figure Brescia will eventually build a house there. The law Perry used wasn't designed for this situation and I'm certain it's going to be addressed and better defined. It may take time, but things won't stand as they are. If Hawaiians want the place preserved, they better get in gear and buy it before then.

Anonymous said...

as a state resident and taxpayer, i authorize OHA to purchase the property and convert it to a historic park with access to the shore. these funds shall be found in the OHA/state coffers being used to convert the coco palms into a cultural park.

charley foster said...

"falsely predicted." I like that. It's probably a premature judgment, though. I predicted that if something isn't worked out between the parties we could expect to see a suit filed against the county. That's still my prediction, unless a white knight who is not the county or the state steps in to buy the property. In that case I would turn out to be wrong.

Andy, It's not necessary that anyone be arrested to give standing to sue the county. It's enough that the police told them they could not start construction. It's not necessary to try to muscle past the police with shovels and picks and subject yourself to arrest. In fact, public policy would prefer that you not do that.

Anonymous said...

Questions for the great Chief Perry: What law has been broken and who broke it?

Did the burial council break the law by determining that Brescia could construct the house over the burials left in place?

Did the Historical Preservation Department break the law by accepting the burial council's decision & instructing Brescia to carry it out?

Did the County break the law by granting Brescia building permits that carried out the directives from the burial council and historical department?

Did Brescia break the law by following the directives & permits he was given by the county and state governments?

watchdog said...

To anonymous above (3:17pm): It is not necessary for any laws to be broken, just for conditions to change. The change in this case was the rise of a very determined protest movement. You have to admit that regardless of the permitting, the construction near the graves was going to cause outrage, the operative clause in the desecration law.

If the police's duty is to "keep the peace," then it's the chief's interest to defuse the situation, perhaps with a questionable ruling. But I do think that's better than taking sides when it will surely lead to escalation. And I don't think it's really mob rule, just avoiding a conflict in the present to give time for other possibilities to emerge, as they seem to have done.

Conditions change and opportunities can arise and fall, just as property values can.

Ed Coll said...

There seems to be an unspoken presumption that the county is risk adverse and concerned about liability, but past county official actions and the resulting numerous successful lawsuits against the county draw this presumption into doubt. Rarely do government officials acting in their official capacity suffer any personal consequences and any legal faux pas are paid by the hapless taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

This appeal of rights, these preachings of law, this legislation-language, all tangled like vines! The heart of it is so simple: Hawaiians ancient and modern are being bulldozed by money. Souls old and new, asleep and awake, are being betrayed for money.

Where on the island are the eyes that see to the righteous heart of what Perry did? Why is there not such a shout of approval, such a noise of joy, that it threatens to wake the dead and delight the living?!

Anonymous said...

Because your overwrought emotionalism isn't shared by most of the rest of us. Modern Hawaiians would rather live in houses and nearly everyone recognizes that compromise is always necessary.

Anonymous said...

>Because your overwrought emotionalism isn't shared by most of the rest of us. <

What is it that most of you share, then -- investors? Developers? Lawyers? Politicians?

Some of you seem willing to share the graves of indigenous ancestors with off-island investors. Are those the kind of "compromises" that you find "always necessary?"

Anonymous said...

The graves of indigenous ancestors are potentially under any building in the state. It's your spin to focus on the investers. But most everyone knows it's not just them. It's all of us. INcluding native Hawaiians.

Ed Coll said...

You come here with western ideas, capitalistic system. What is capitalism? One takes more than one gives. That's what capitalism is.

A Buddhist monk was lying on the ground with his feet resting on a statue of the Buddha. An unenlightened passerby said, "get your feet off the Buddha." Why asked the monk? Because it is sacred replied the passerby. And where may I put my feet that is not sacred?

Malama Aina.

Ed Coll said...

You come here with western ideas, capitalistic system. What is capitalism? One takes more than one gives. That's what capitalism is.

A Buddhist monk was lying on the ground with his feet resting on a statue of the Buddha. An unenlightened passerby said, "get your feet off the Buddha." Why asked the monk? Because it is sacred replied the passerby. And where may I put my feet that is not sacred?

Malama Aina.

Anonymous said...

Uh, not building over bones IS a western idea! The beatification of long forgotten human remains is a thoroughly western notion! Do you think leftist and their notions are any less guilty of imposing your foreign values.

Anonymous said...

how not western is socialism?

Anonymous said...

Ahhh...where have I been? We now have two Communists on Kauai? Katy Rose and, now I discover from his comments, Ed Coll? We're starting to get a regular little Maoist Club here. Isn't that cute? You ever notice that communists are, to a person, ugly? They're angry because they're so unfortunate and they're communists because they want, without working for it, what others have achieved with their own hands. After all, "It's only fair!!!"

Anonymous said...

I'm a capitalist. I buy wood and nails from the lumber store, and I have tools that I bought from the hardware store. I build birdhouses and sell them for more than the cost of the wood and more than enough to pay for the tools over their useful life. How have I taken more than I've given?

I hire someone to build the birdhouses. I sell the birdhouses for more than the cost of the wood and the tools and the builder. I've given a person a job, I've purchased things from the lumber and hardware stores, further supporting the workers who work at those places. I've provided something people want to buy instead of having to make for themselves. How have I taken more than I've given?

Anonymous said...

> ...they want, without working for it, what others have achieved with their own hands. <

Oh! Like the swell cabal of buddies who overthrew the Monarchy.

:)

Anonymous said...

Communists have done their share of overthrowing regimes.

Anonymous said...

> I'm a capitalist. I buy wood and nails from the lumber store, and I have tools that I bought from the hardware store. I build birdhouses and sell them for more than the cost of the wood and more than enough to pay for the tools over their useful life. How have I taken more than I've given? <

You haven't. Your buying, building and selling has profited you and profited others, and has disrespected no one and displaced no one (okay, birds). You haven't hired lobbyists to lean on legislators to write loose laws to let you built luxury homes on ancestors' bones. Your capitalism is renewable, and profitable in more ways than money.

In contrast, the capitalism of the power machine that is gouging great chunks of Kauai into money mines for millionaires -- damn the consequences to local hearts and souls -- is out of control, in large part with the collusion of those people who were elected by the people to protect the people.

Capitalism vs. communism per se has precisely jack to do with Bresica, Perry, seashores, houses, bones, or Big Box stores that block the view. The right to work for personal gain isn't the issue. The personal cost to others -- in all the ways that Others exist -- is.

Anonymous said...

So Ed was wrong when he said taking more than what you give is what capitalism is. Capitalism isn't inherently good or bad, but it can sometimes lead to outcomes that some people don't approve of.

Anonymous said...

"Oh! Like the swell cabal of buddies who overthrew the Monarchy."
Sure! These cabalists were citizens of the Kingdom who revolted against their flawed monarch who was going to withdraw constitutional government; a revolution much like in France and the Americas. She got less than what she deserved.

Anonymous said...

> Sure! These cabalists were citizens of the Kingdom who revolted against their flawed monarch who was going to withdraw constitutional government; a revolution much like in France and the Americas. She got less than what she deserved. <

Well... I suppose that in an age where 15% of the people in recent poll believe the Apollo moon landings were faked, the idea that the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy was like the American Revolution isn't that crazy.

...Is it?

Ed Coll said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"Capitalism isn't inherently good or bad, but it can sometimes lead to outcomes that some people don't approve of."

Uncontrolled, in the service of greed, it can lead to outcomes that nobody wants. It can destroy the very things the capitalist himself valued in the first place.

Ed Coll said...

Anonymous July 2, 2008 11:31 AM
said...

Ahhh...where have I been? We now have two Communists on Kauai? Katy Rose and, now I discover from his comments, Ed Coll?

Where have you been? Evidently jumping to (the wrong) conclusions for your deductions display an astounding lack of logic. Just because I criticize capitalism does not make me a commie. No apologies here if I don't fit into your reductionistic, bifurcated world-view. Using your "logic" one might draw a hasty conclusion that you are an Ignoranus but that would be an incorrect ad hominem attack so I will withold my conclusion (for now).

FYI I am not a communists in fact communists are as bad as capitalists. A pox on both their houses and throw in fascists and totalitarians for good measure.

As Air Force Col John Boyd said in his classic work on warfare "everyone wants to survive and more importantly on their own terms."

Based on that comment I guess now you would categorize me as an imperalistic, militaristic war monger.

As for being angry, why should I be angry I live in Paradise in the lap of luxury doing exactly what I want whenever I want. Life is good.

BTW - I also am an advocate of anonymous free speech as it protects people with unpopular ideas (like yourself) from retribution in what you obviously feel is an intolerant society.

Ed Coll said...

Joan,

THX for the link to Meade’s talk. Enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

"They're angry because they're so unfortunate and they're communists because they want, without working for it, what others have achieved with their own hands. After all, "It's only fair!!!""

I didn't know George Bush was a communist.

Joan said...

You're welcome, Ed. Thanks for checking it out.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I still love you Edward Coll even though you're an ivory tower lefty. That just makes you a socialist who can't make it in private business. You must be a friend of Katy's.

Anonymous said...

"That just makes you a socialist who can't make it in private business."

Well, if he can't make it in private business, he can become president. Look at our fearless leader Bush, who f-ed up every job he had while he was in "private business".

Anonymous said...

And Obama who can't get a job outside of being elected a Senator. All talk and no substance!

Anonymous said...

Harry Truman failed as a businessman before devoting himself to democratic party machine politics.

Anonymous said...

After graduating from Harvard Law School, Barack Obama could have had his pick of any number of jobs in the legal profession. Instead, he chose to become a community organizer. The University of Chicago's law school, arguably the best in our country, offered Barack Obama a fully tenured position as a constitutional law professor. He decided to teach part time in order to get involved in politics. Bush still doesn't know that we have a Constitution.

Anonymous said...

Fear of failure keeps a lot of people out of the private sector. So many of them end up working for the government. Bush/Obama...take your pick!

Anonymous said...

How can you compare Bush, who was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth and had every opportunity given to him with Obama, who was raised by a single mother and, after attending some of the best schools on scholarships, worked to become a professor at the University of Chicago and a US Senator? What can you expect from a citizenry who elected Reagan, a former laundry soap salesman or Bush, the village idiot, to two terms each?

Anonymous said...

Of all the untruths that have been spread about Obama, "fear of failure" has gotta be the silliest.