Vog does have its benefits, as I observed while driving west yesterday evening and beheld the sun — its fiery brilliance muted into a perfect rose-colored disk that could be viewed without blinking by the naked eye — slowly sinking into the sea.
And somewhere out over that same sea are an untold number of kolea. Adorned for weeks now in their tuxedo-like breeding finery, it seems they’ve now departed for their nesting grounds in Alaska. I noticed a number of them congregating on the neatly mowed lawns of an “agricultural” subdivision on Sunday, and by Monday they were gone. Although they’re generally pretty solitary and territorial birds, each sticking to its own little patch of grass, they apparently join forces for the long flight to their summer home.
Like so many other Hawaiian words, a quick Google search revealed their name has been co-opted by numerous resorts, vacation rentals and other properties that have absolutely no relationship to the birds. Perhaps, as the old saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Unless, of course, you’re GMO giant Monsanto, which is suing Dupont for allegedly infringing on its Roundup Ready patent. The same Bloomberg.com article reports that Monsanto spent $980 million on research and development last year alone, and Dupont — the number two guy in the industry — is expecting to sell $500 million worth of herbicide-resistant corn and soybean seeds this year. Now are you starting to get an idea of just how big and valuable this industry is?
Larry Geller over on Disappeared News has a good idea: chase out the GMO industry and plant a real cash crop. Seems California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said it’s time to have a public debate on legalizing and taxing marijuana, which could provide an important new tax revenue for that state. So why not us? Larry’s post includes a very short PSA by Juan Cole, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a former cop who speaks of “the horrors we have created in this war. The war on drugs is, has been and forever will be a dismal and abject failure.”
Got an email from Jeffrey Mikulina, formerly with the Hawaii Sierra Club and now with the Blue Planet Foundation, who was responding to yesterday’s post about Gov. Lingle criticizing Rep. Mina Morita for killing a proposal to ban new fossil-fueled electrical generating plants.
It seems he agrees with the guv’s position on the ban and still doesn’t “fully understand” why Mina took the stand she did. He directed me to the Booz Allen Hamilton report that indicates Hawaii could achieve a 70 percent clean energy goal with no new fossil-fuel plants and no imported biofuels. Mina reportedly had expressed a concern that a fossil fuel power plant ban could force the state to burn more biodiesel fuel, which she said is more expensive and has larger carbon footprint.
It seemed from Mina’s brief comments in the article that reported the governor’s annoyance that she was also objecting to the call for a ban right now. And after looking at the Booz Allen Hamilton report, it does appear that the scenarios for reaching that 70 goal — a cable to Oahu from the outer islands, more wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, hydro and electric vehicles and even aggressive efficiency measures — are so far off at this point as to fall into the realm of largely speculative.
Also got an email directing me to a cool site with shoreline study erosion maps. Kinda makes you think twice about buying that beachfront lot.
And another email about a meeting in Kilauea tonight to discuss a ditch system that was apparently created without a permit to divert water from Kalua`a Stream, which feeds Moloa`a Stream, into Kaloko reservoir. The loss of water has apparently hit Moloaa hard, as many folks there depend on wells. So what it’s looking like is a showdown between Moloaa residents, who want that water back, and about 20 users — some of them organic farmers — on the Kilauea Irrigation System, as well as the Mary Lucas Trust lands. There’s more in this report.
This scenario is yet another reminder that water is THE key issue. Without it, all our dreams of a sustainable Kauai, and even our reality of a non-sustainable one, will come to naught.
On that note, I wanted to provide an update on the efforts last Friday to have the default judgments against Andrew Cabebe and Kaiulani Huff set aside. They were both sued by Joe Brescia, who claimed their efforts to protect the iwi kupuna have cost him money — to the tune of $380,000. Judge Kathleen Watanabe wouldn’t allow them to rejoin the larger civil suit that is still ongoing against Jeff Chandler, Puanani Rogers and others. The best their attorneys could get was a stay on the judgment pending outcome of that trial, which will challenge some of the expenses Brescia claims he incurred as being part of the normal cost of building a house.
The judgment against Hanalei Fegerstrom was set aside because he wasn’t specifically named in the papers that were served against him. And a judgment against Nani Rogers was previously set aside because the process server claimed he’d served her on a day when she could prove she was in Japan.
It seems Brescia’s actions fall squarely in the category of a SLAPP suit. As Kaiulani noted: “He wants to ruin us and squash us like bugs.”