Mars was absolutely beaming when Koko and I went walking beneath a sky that was just about equal parts stars and clouds this morning. A cool wind whispered and sighed through the ironwood trees, where a pair of roosters has taken up residence, on opposite sides of the street, and as we walk beneath them each day, they crow in unison, much to the delight of the people living nearby, I’m sure.
I delighted in the rain that fell yesterday. It had been so long I’d almost forgotten the rhythm of rain pattering on the roof, the beauty of a sheets of rain blowing across the landscape and getting lost in the clouds that drape the mountains.
The farmers I know were also pleased to get some rain, the soft steady kind that really saturates the soil. It was much needed, reported farmer Jerry, who said the rain gauge at the station contained only dried bird droppings when he checked it after the three-day weekend.
Speaking of the long weekend, I’ve been interested in how the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lives on, not only 40 some years after his murder, but in the days that have followed the holiday that honors him. I heard Ron Wiley talking about him on the radio, a friend repeated quotes a speaker had used in a talk and another friend left a message on my voice mail:
“I just wanted to wish you and Koko a happy Martin Luther King Day,” he said. This was followed by a pause, and then the words: “We shall overcome.”
Yes, I, too, believe we eventually will overcome in what King described as a “revolution of values” in the very moving “Beyond Vietnam” speech that he delivered at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, and that was broadcast on Democracy Now! It's definitely worth a listen.
The deep conflicts that confront us locally and internationally are not differences of opinion, they’re differences in value systems, and changes in values aren’t achieved through brute force or a recitation of facts or persuasive rhetoric or scientific studies or even lawsuits. The shift happens through a slow, gradual process of infiltrating the dominant culture with a new way of being in the world, and like any revolution, it's a process that doesn't leave much room for compromise.
I’m wondering how much of Kauai’s truly important agricultural land will be compromised through the process of identifying the Important Ag Lands, which gets under way in earnest today.
A look at the list of people the mayor and County Council appointed to the “stakeholder/technical advisory committee” charged with making recommendations about the land that should be protected from development didn’t leave me feeling too hopeful about the process.
The committee is supposed to be made up of “members of the Kaua‘i Community, such as farmers, ranchers, agricultural land owners, agroscientists and engineers, educators, or those working in agricultural-related fields,” according to the statement of interest guidelines.
OK, so the ag land owners part explains why Tom Shigemoto and Mike Tresler, who represent A&B and Grove Farm, respectively, are on there, even though neither have any particular agricultural expertise. But Dee Crowell? (Update: I just found out he now works for Princeville, so apparently that's why he was appointed.) Mattie Yoshioka? Sandi Kato-Klutke? How exactly do they meet the requirements, other than they’re part of the county’s in-crowd?
But the biggest stretch of all is North Shore Realtor Mimsy Bouret, who must be on there solely to ensure Bette Midler's land doesn't get put into the IAL because her only understanding of ag land is how to sell it to gentleman farmers and divide it up into CPRs.
Speaking of which, I heard the 2,000-acre Kealanani “agricultural” subdivision at Kealia has been foreclosed on by the bank. Unfortunately, the approvals it won remain with the land, allowing the faux farm development to move forward.
As I recall, when the developers were pushing that project they made assurances about how they would strictly enforce the farming provision in the homeowners' rules because they are members of the community who love Kauai and care about its future, blah, blah, blah. So will the new owners at the bank have that same level of commitment and concern? Or will this be just another shibai ag subdivision, like Keala Kai, across the highway?
It seems that when a property is sold or lost to the banks before development begins that the approvals should be revisted, because the situation has changed. A good case in point in Coco Palms, which keeps on changing hands, with all those valuable approvals intact, even as the property continues to deteriorate.
Returning to the topic addressed on my last post, yes, I know it's the state, not the county, that does shoreline certifications. But the county affects how that plays out in terms of the public beach when it approves landscape plans that extend to the shoreline certification line, which is supposed to be valid for just one year. And while I've been told the state employee doing the certifications is dedicated to his work and trying to do the right thing, he is also subject to pressures that are placed upon DLNR to interpret the law, and define shorelines, in a way that tends to favor landowners over the public.
One comment left on the last post was helpful in citing the Supreme Court decision and statute that addresses this issue:
From Diamond v. State of Hawaii:
Indeed, the statute utilizes such language as "the upper reaches of the wash of the waves" and "at high tide during the season of the year in which the highest wash of the waves occurs."
The legislative history of HRS § 205A-1 also supports the interpretation that the shoreline should be certified at the highest reach of the highest wash of the waves. In 1986, the legislature amended the definition of shoreline, adding the following emphasized language that is currently in the statute: "the upper reaches of the wash of the waves, other than storm or tidal waves, at high tide during the season of the year in which the highest wash of the waves occurs, usually evidenced by the edge of vegetation growth, or the upper limit of debris left by the wash of the waves." 1986 Haw. Sess. L. Act 258, § 2 at 469 (added language emphasized). Regarding this added language, House Standing Committee Report No. 550-86 states:
[Y]our Committees have incorporated the suggested amendments to this bill by:
. . . .
(2) Amending the definition of shoreline, to further clarify the manner in which the shoreline is determined to protect the public's interest[.]
1986 Hse. Stand. Com. Rep. No. 550-86, in House Journal, at 1244 (emphasis added). This clarification, which requires the shoreline to be determined at the time when the upper reaches of the wash of the waves would be at their highest, evinces the legislature's intent to reserve as much of the shore as possible to the public. Accordingly, the "upper reaches of the wash of the waves" is the highest reach of the highest wash of the waves in non-storm or tidal conditions.
That would certainly seem to include the big swells that are typical of North Shore conditions. However, if the Lege is truly committed to "reserve as much of the shore as possible to the public," they can show it by passing a bill this next session that gives DLNR more authority to force landowners to remove vegetation that encroaches on the beach.
I appreciate those who make comments that advance or clarify a discussion, including those who offer a different point of view, and I will be attempting to raise the level of discourse a bit by moderating comments.