A thick layer of clouds and the deep quiet of a Sunday morning on a three-day weekend made it easy to sleep in a bit today, so the sun was already bleeding red into a narrow patch of clear sky above the Giant by the time Koko and I set out walking.
We quickly ran into my neighbor Andy on this 117th anniversary of the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian nation, and I told him I’d talked to my sister last night. She lives in St. Louis, and had listened to last Thursday's radio show, which touched on Hawaiian sovereignty, over the Internet.
“I don’t think that issue is really on hardly anyone’s mind on the mainland,” she said. “The only thing most people know about sovereignty is that group Todd Palin belongs to, and I don’t think that’s the kind of association the Hawaiians want.
“I don’t think most people on the mainland have any idea that Hawaii was an independent nation with a Queen,” she continued. “They just look at it as another state. They don’t think about its history. But when you go there, it feels like another country. First, it takes so long to get there, and it has that tropical climate. All the foliage is so different, and Hawaiian words are part of the daily vocabulary. It just feels very, very different.”
“Ah, so the Hawaiian culture does live on,” Andy said.
“Yes,” I replied. “Hawaii is different. You can even find saimin on the menu at McDonald’s.”
Ah, so much educating needs to be done…..
But hey, at least Mayor Bernard Carvalho got smart and has agreed to move the bike path, which was sold to the feds as an alternative transportation route, off Wailua Beach and into the right-of-way of the main transportation route: Kuhio Highway. It makes sense, especially since the path is going to run along the highway at the golf course, anyway.
According to the county’s press release, the path will run makai of the rock wall, which will be removed and replaced with a concrete barrier. Since the path will be made of concrete, there’s no need to auger down into the sand and risk an encounter with burials. Still, it’s pretty hard to tell from the schematics on the county’s website if the path will still be on the dunes, as the state DOT reportedly told the Sierra Club’s Judy Dalton, according to The Garden Island.
And then there’s that lawsuit over the cultural impacts of the Wailua Bridge widening project, of which the path is a part, to be resolved. I heard DOT’s Tammy Mori on the radio the other talking about how crews will drill down 90 feet to install the new cane haul bridge, and thought, uh oh. A hearing for a preliminary injunction is scheduled for Feb. 8, but the state filed a motion to change the venue to Kauai, which might bump that hearing until later. Meanwhile, the work proceeds.
Anyway, the mayor’s decision to move the path just goes to show that even when some folks think a matter is over, settled, pau, and nothing can be done to change it, a loud enough public outcry can make a difference. So gotta keep on standing up for what you believe — even when the naysayers try to convince you it's futile.
Heck, most people thought attempts to reform KPD were futile, but then I read that Chief Darryl Perry actually fired two bad cops and one slack civilian employee last year. Another four officers were suspended for “poor performance, falsification of records, conduct and conduct toward the public.” That’s good news, and I don’t recall any previous chiefs submitting their annual disciplinary reports to the newspaper — perhaps because there weren't any.
Now we've just got to work on reforming the marijuana laws. It was rather discouraging to read the article about the Kekaha man who got 90 days for growing 77 marijuana plants, for several reasons.
First, you have the stupidity and waste — it costs $88,000 a year to incarcerate someone — of sending someone to jail for growing.
Second, you have the robed tyrant making asinine comments like:
Kanahele’s “defiance,” including possession and use of marijuana and the influence it creates, and how it contributed to his problems, should be proof that marijuana is a dangerous drug, Valenciano said.
Third, you have the "knock 'em back till late in the bars" county prosecutor making hypocritical (and inarticulate) statements like:
“His problems has [sic] to do with drugs,” and he continues to smoke marijuana, Iseri-Carvalho said.
Fourth, you’ve got the county prosecutor actually arguing a small kine case like this herself, which offers grim evidence of just how badly that department has deteriorated under her administration.
But interestingly, most of the comments left on the story supported the concept of "free up the weed." It’s time for Kauai to follow in the footsteps of the Big Island and California, where an Assembly committee just passed a measure to legalize and tax the plant — “It is estimated that the bill would generate $1.3 billion a year in taxes and marijuana cultivation fees.” — and adopt a new, more akamai approach to this issue.
Ah, so much educating needs to be done….