It was a splendid evening, so Koko and I went walking beneath a golden wedge floating on a bit of fluff in a navy blue polka dot sky. As it got darker, and the moon sank lower, the polka dots got bigger and started to twinkle.
This fall equinox morning wasn’t too shabby, either. Towering columns of orange-hued cumulus teetered over the ocean, as pink wisps snaked upwards toward glowing Venus. Waialeale and Makaleha were perfectly clear, their faces flushing lavender as a fiery orb peeked up over the horizon.
And to think I almost slept in and missed it.
If you missed my radio interview with Caren Diamond last night, I’ll fill you in. We were talking about transient vacation rentals (TVRs) and former Councilman Mel Rapozo called in from Minnesota. He was on the Council when it passed the TVR bill, which specifically excluded such uses on ag land. Why? Because he and others — including Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, now the county prosecutor — felt it was clearly prohibited by state law.
Mel vowed to personally file an injunction against the ag TVR bill if it’s passed by the Council, which again takes up the matter at its meeting tomorrow. [Correction: It's been deferred until Oct. 14.]
The question raised by Mel and others, including my former neighbor Andy, is this: “Why is the county trying to do something that circumvents state law?”
Good question, to which I might add, why does the county circumvent its own laws? Remember the little huts that were built along the Kealia part of the bike path, without any permits? I’m sure you readers can think of a few more examples.
Speaking of the bike path, it looks like the Wailua portion is becoming Mayor Carvalho’s first hot potato issue. As I noted in my article in The Hawaii Independent, the mayor reportedly promised to move the path off Wailua Beach if that’s what OHA recommended. And sho’nuff, that’s what OHA recommended, in a switch from its previous stance. The rationale given for the reversal was poignant, and speaks volumes about the challenges involved in rebuilding a crushed culture:
“The connections to the past, and thus the direction for the future, are being made everyday as the pieces of the past are lovingly, gingerly, and humbly put back together in a race against time and irreparable loss from destruction and alteration.”
More than one observer noted parallels between the controversy at Naue, where Joe Brescia has capped burials in concrete so he can build a house, and the bike path at Wailua. Plans call for drilling into the sand with a two-foot-diameter screw auger in order to make concrete pilings to secure the wooden boardwalk, possibly damaging iwi buried there in the process.
"When are we going to stop covering Hawaiian burials with concrete?” a friend asked.
That’s another good question, one that will be taken up by the Kauai-Niihau Island Burial Council, which is supposed to meet on Oct. 8 now that Gov. Lingle has finally appointed the two people — as yet unnamed — needed to form a quorum on the panel. Will one be a developer’s representative?
In the months-long hiatus since the Council last met, and deadlocked on a motion to reject the latest burial treatment plan, Brescia’s house has gotten just that much further along.
But in other parts of the nation to which Hawaii supposedly “belongs,” the discovery of burials stops construction dead:
A man stumbling upon a human jaw while out walking his dog was the first sign something was amiss. Then officials uncovered something more: More than 600 sets of remains, long ago buried and forgotten, on the site where luxury condos were supposed to be built.
The remains, found on a site overlooking the Mississippi River in Dubuque, have left the nearly $60 million condo plan in limbo, and the developer has sued the nuns who sold him the property.
[The developer] said there are no immediate plans to develop the land, where he had hoped to build two 12-story towers.
''It's very unmarketable because who would want that responsibility?'' he asked. ''So we will proceed to clean up the entire area for remains.''
As blogger Andy Parx noted in forwarding me the link:
Don't see any "oh they're just old forgotten bones" arguments here....
Congressman and gubernatorial hopeful Neil Abercrombie, meanwhile, is arguing that the feds should pay double for a big construction project in Guam so Hawaii folks can do the work. As an AP article published in SF Gate reports:
His idea is to legislate high wages for a massive construction project in the federal territory of Guam, restrict the ability of foreigners to get those jobs and hope Hawaii residents, although 3,800 miles away, will flock there for the work.
As for criticism that he’s blatantly playing to the unions:
"Of course I'm playing to working people. The building trades and working people have been the foundation of my political career for 36 years," he said. "If I didn't do this, people would say, 'What's wrong with him?'”
Oh, nothing that can’t be explained by spending 36 years as a politician. A better question is what’s going to happen to Guam when 17,000 Marines relocate there from Japan? That’s a 10 percent jump in its population. But hey, that’s what happens when you’re a federal territory. You get what Uncle Sam wants to give you.
And finally, Chief Perry gave his wife, Solette, and the people of Kauai a big gift when he withdrew his name from the selection process for Honolulu police chief.
In a story reported in The Garden Island — and reprinted in The Advertiser, which used to cover such stories itself — the chief said that “family comes first.” I’d heard Solette did not want to move back to Honolulu, and it says a lot that he sacrificed the chance to be the state’s top cop at a really crackerjack department.
Perry also acknowledged “an outcry from the public about my application,” but didn’t elaborate. Who among us would have welcomed the prolonged and painful prospect of finding a new chief, much less a good one?
The last line in the story said it all:
"Time to roll up the sleeves," Perry said in his Sunday e-mail.
Sigh. Yes, there’s still a lot to be done to turn this sow's ear into a silk purse.
I know I’m not alone in asking, how long might that take? And is it even possible?