Dark was the operative word when Koko and I went walking this morning, although it wasn’t all that early. But the dark sky was mottled with darker clouds and the streets were dark with rain. At times Koko nearly disappeared when she slipped into the shadows, following some tantalizing scent, prompting me to recall a conversation I had with a hunter the other day.
You always want to have at least one white dog in your pack, he said, so you can follow it out in the dark.
Numerous trucks passed me, with all the drivers waving, and then I passed a small, black truck parked alongside the road. Its entire back window was filled with old English lettering that read: Charge Um Like One Visa.
Ran into my neighbor Andy and his dog Momi, who always greets me with sweet, restrained affection. It’s in marked contrast to the way Koko says hello to Andy, which is standing on her back legs, front paws waving, and all the while whining.
We got to talking about a number of things and somehow the conversation wound around to the bisexuality of the alii, with one Hawaiian scholar suggesting that perhaps it was safer for chiefs to have sex with other men because then they didn’t have to worry about offspring, especially those who might be of lower status or plotting to kill their siblings in order to gain power.
We parted ways and within a minute I heard a raucous, wild squawking, which set Koko to lunging, and I looked through a hedge to see one rooster mounting another. Then they parted ways, shaking out their feathers.
Stopped to read the headlines on my neighbor’s newspaper and a man walked by, smoking a cigarette, and asked, what kine dog that? I don't know, I answered, just poi. We smiled at each other and he stopped to pet Koko, then I turned my attention back to the headlines and was aggravated to see yet another front-page splash on that lame Wailua reservoir fish-stocking project. It's a perfect example of the conflict between the mission and actions of DLNR.
On the one hand, you’ve got our state aquatic biologist, Don Heacock, fighting these releases because numerous scientific papers show how badly introduced species impact the native environment.
And on the other you’ve got DLNR employee Wade Ishikawa pushing them — under the guise of “natural resource management,” no less.
As one scientist noted in an email to me:
By law DLNR is supposed to malama the natural environment, protect native species, not destroy them.
It’s the same conflict we see over feral animals, with the state caught between its mandate to protect native species and its desire to perpetuate hunting. What’s that old saying about you can’t serve two masters?
I thought about that while reading an Advertiser article that was distributed today via email under the subject heading Hewa: Settlement Proposed in Battle Over Hawaii Ceded Lands. For those who don’t know, the Hawaiian dictionary defines hewa as mistake, wrong, incorrect, defect, and the man who distributed the email often uses it to mean evil.
The proposed agreement, being drafted by attorneys for the state and OHA, calls for the lawsuit that was just bounced back from the U.S. Supreme Court to be dismissed with prejudice in return for Gov. Lingle signing a bill that would require two-thirds approval from the Lege on any sale of the so-called “ceded lands.”
The article states:
The proposal appears to be a way for the two sides to come to a compromise each can live with while taking away the uncertainty of an impending Hawai'i Supreme Court ruling.
Problem is, it would quash attempts to secure a moratorium on “ceded land” sales until Hawaiian claims are resolved. So any such settlement is bound to result in folks condemning OHA as an instrument of the state, a sell-out.
Like DLNR, OHA often finds itself caught between a rock and a hard place — which is not to say that such predicaments aren’t at times entirely of its own doing.
If you’ve been wondering what the big agribusiness and chemical companies are doing in Hawaii, you might want to check out the cover article I wrote for Honolulu Weekly. It gives an overview of what’s happening with GMOs in the Islands, and some of the related issues.
And in the midst of it all is the state again, trying to please the folks who produce our number one farm commodity, while mandated to protect the environment and public health. Except in this case, they aren't even making the pretense of serving two masters.
I’ve also got a piece in that issue on how the Maui District Court decision on Kahoolawe relates to sovereignty.
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