A blanket of stars was replaced by a soft glow of blue, which gave way to striations of rose and gray when Koko and I went walking on this crisp, cool morning. The mountains were free of clouds and faint tendrils of mist snuggled up in the deepest recesses of the pasture. Along the road, the grass is turning brown, and not from Round-up, but lack of rain.
Flying into Kauai last evening after a day in Honolulu, I was struck by how yellow and dry it is around the airport and Hanamaulu, as well as Kalepa Ridge. It looked an awful lot like leeward Oahu, and that is not good, especially for late February, when everything should be lush and green.
Speaking of green, if you support decriminalizing marijuana, which would turn possession of less than an ounce into a civil, rather than criminal, offense and save the state about $6 million a year, SB 2450 will be heard by the Judiciary Committee at 11 a.m. on Thursday. You can send testimony to Judiciary Chair Sen. Brian Taniguchi at sentaniguchi@Capitol.hawaii.gov.
And speaking of legislation, the U.S. House of Representatives did pass the Akaka Bill yesterday. As The Advertiser reported:
Democrats wanted to ensure that the bill passed before Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawai'i, leaves Congress at the end of this week to run for governor.
"It is the culmination of a legislative lifetime for me," Abercrombie told his colleagues as he urged their support for a bill he has worked on for more than a decade.
If this crappy bill represents “the culmination of a legislative lifetime,” it doesn’t say much for Abercrombie, who now has his eye on the governor’s seat. Not that Mufi would be any better…..
I found it interesting that neither The Advertiser nor the Star-Bulletin included any comments from any Hawaiians, save for the administrator of OHA, which has supported the Akaka bill because it positions it to assume the role of the governing entity. Surely their reporters have some contacts in the independence and sovereignty movements they could call.
Since they failed to provide any opposing point of view, I will. Here’s a comment from sovereignty activisit Andre Perez of Oahu:
Despite only 1 hearing on 1 island, 10 years ago where the majority of testimony was opposed 9 to 1 against the bill and whereafter all subsequent hearings were immediately canceled, the Akaka Bill has been pushed by a few powerful Hawaiian organizations and politicians and is supposed to represent self determination for Hawaiians. Nothing could be further from the truth. Today, about an hour ago, a new version of the Akaka Bill that was just introduced yesterday, passed in the house and will now go to the senate.
This is unprincipled, NO HEARINGS = NO SELF DETERMINATION. The Akaka Bill and self determination should never, ever be used in the same sentence.
And if you want to understand more about why some Hawaiians are opposed, check out this short, impassioned clip where Kaleikoa Kaeo lays it on the line quite clearly.
The good news is, the bill faces a tough fight in the Senate, but not because Republican opponents there view it as the sell out it is. Instead, they’re touting the line of Hawaiian-hater Kenneth Conklin, who claims it will be racist and discriminatory. Of course, Conklin also claims the U.S didn’t stage an illegal overthrow of the monarchy — something Congress admitted in the Apology Resolution — so that gives you an idea of where he’s coming from.
I’m wondering where John Hodge is coming from when he makes statements like the one reported in today’s The Garden Island:
“I think it’s really important for all of us to preserve any part of the Hawaiian Islands, the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, and the shoreline, but having the ability to preserve a part of Hanalei Bay, which is incredibly unique, would be fantastic,” Hodge said Monday. “My family and my girls and my wife would love to help do that.”
If that’s how he feels, why did he buy that 32,000-square-foot lot for $4 million to begin with? And why has he even now begun digging a foundation for a house there as he attempts to sell the lot at the magnanimously reduced price of $3 million to the Kauai Public Land Trust, which would buy it using state and county money?
One thing I found perplexing, aside from the push to acquire this overpriced parcel that flooded heavily in the last storm, and so should not be approved for a house in the first place, was the newspaper’s report that “$1.85 million in the county Open Space Fund has already been tapped,” which was followed later in the story by the comment:
Councilman Tim Bynum said Monday that he understands now is a difficult time to spend county money on land acquisition, but said both the Open Space Fund — which can be expended after recommendations from the Open Space Commission — and the Hanalei District Fund cannot be used for balancing the budget.
So how can the money in the open space fund already be "tapped" before the recommendations from the Open Space Commission are received, and presumably put out for some sort of public review and comment?
I was also intrigued by the comment from mayor’s assistant Beth Tokioka:
“Being that Hodge is one of several potential expansion parcels, it’s hard to say at this point what it will specifically be used for, however, the overall vision is to provide more and better parking, more recreational use area and to better manage and perhaps isolate commercial uses within the park,” Tokioka said. “The park is so popular and so heavily used that expansion is necessary in order for the public to truly enjoy it.”
Three million for a parking lot, or to manage commercial uses? Surely they’re not talking about the plate lunch truck, so perhaps the reference is to boating operations.
But at least the county recognizes the park is very heavy used. And perhaps that has just a little something to do with turning Hanalei into a resort by approving all those vacation rentals in town and along the bay.
Such is the lure of green, and not the kind that sprouts after rain.