Friday, February 5, 2010

Musings: Money Talks, County Listens

The sky was several shades of gray, save for one spot, which was inhabited by a half-moon, and it was variously white, silver and gold when Koko and I went walking beneath it this morning. A streak of guava pink appeared on the eastern horizon, but was quickly devoured by dark clouds that brought rain to a yellow sky shortly after we returned home.

It was cold, but not so cold as it has been the past few days, when it was easy to tell the residents, in their hoodies, flannel shirts and even Ugh boots, from the tourists in shorts and sleeveless shirts.

And not nearly so cold as the county, which bulldozed structures belonging to Native Hawaiians in Wainiha yesterday. The details provided by the account in The Garden Island are painfully inaccurate, mixing up two different situations, but the overall gist is correct: Hawaiians are losing what has been theirs for generations both to unpaid taxes, which have skyrocketed due to the expensive haolification of land up there, and the county’s aggression.

The area where the structures were bulldozed is the mostly hau-covered sand spit at Wainiha Bay, where the road makes that horseshoe bend, just west of the double bridges. Part of the spit is county park land, though most people wouldn’t know it because it offers no facilities of any kind. It is adjacent to three kuleana parcels, two of which are owned by Hawaiian families who erected fishing shacks. Another is owned by Peter and Sam Thayer, who use their structure as part of their Wainiha vacation rental. The fourth parcel, which abuts the highway, is advertised on Craig’s list as an RV camp site, which the state has said isn’t legal, but also hasn’t stopped.

The issue started last July,when the county went out and gave notice to several people who were living there as campers, on what they believed was the private kuleana land, but what the county thought was park land. This apparently prompted the county to start looking into whether some of the structures there, which are in various stages of improvement, were on park land.

A few weeks ago, the county sent notice to the kuleana land owners saying their structures had to be removed by Jan. 11, which gave them 72 hours. One landowner contacted both the number on the notice and KPD, but no one in the county knew anything about it.

The kuleana land owners were advised they could locate the original survey pins, pay for their own survey or accept the county’s survey. The county claimed the kuleana land had been recently lost to shoreline erosion, but one Hawaiian family contended their structure had been in the same location for years.

Anyway, the Thayers moved their structure forward, onto the public beach, and it was not knocked down. Instead, the county said the state would have to deal with it. The two Hawaiian families did not move their structures, which the county demolished.

The Garden Island story mixes up the sand spit issue with Wainiha taro lands on the mauka side of the highway in a neighborhood that in recent years has been heavily gentrified with luxury homes. These taro lands, which had been owned and worked by Hawaiians for many generations, were recently auctioned off because of unpaid property taxes, and are now in the hands of developers who for darn sure ain’t gonna be growing kalo.

Yet another loi bites the dust.

And yet more examples of how the Hawaiians are getting squeezed out of the North Shore by those who are intent on turning it into a playground for the rich and tourists.

What really bothers me about the sand spit issue is how the county is destroying Hawaiian fishing shacks even as it approves vacation rentals that operated illegally for years — and even now have the bottom floor enclosed in a flood zone and function as multi-family dwellings — and allows modest homes to be transformed into luxurious mini-resorts under the guise of “unsubstantial improvements.”

Funny, how the county sits back and does nothing as fancy vacation rentals in Wainiha encroach on the public beach, but they demolish Hawaiian shacks that may, or may not, have encroached on public park land.

What's the difference?

Well, the rich landowners have the dough to hire attorneys and surveyors and otherwise work the system.

It seems that on Kauai, money just doesn’t talk, it screams. And the county, cowed, invariably listens.


Anonymous said...

mahalo joan for adding to the the story. the headlines speak volumes as to how local folks and those of hawaiian descent(dissent?) get reamed big time by our local and state (why not inlcude the feds on this as well). will it ever end? no hawaiians, no aloha. auwe!

Anonymous said...

As we new owners say:

"I got your "aloha" right here!"

Anonymous said...

Joan said, "money just doesn’t talk, it screams.

Swears is more like it! I'd love to see some super rich radical (a George Soros type) engage this county in a bunch of heavy duty lawsuits and bus' 'em up good!

Anonymous said...

Some public comments on this story in the HNL Advertiser.

I wish these islanders would just go back to where they came from...Polynesia and Micronesia!

When is "el Mufi" going to do the same in Honolulu County?

Just because these people think something does not mean it is true... If they have been given volations why did they not attempt to move prior to the actual bull dozer activity?

GOOD! Enough with these people who think they can do anything they want because of their ancestry. The parkland is for everybody, not just those good-for-nothing lazy bums!

Anonymous said...

here is the real beef on this issue. About a hundred years ago people were ranching here and growing kalo, and there were HUI lands, shared by many families. Right now there are four parcels, Silva, Riley and Kanei-Haumea, related through marriage (same ohana) and essentially surrounded by 23 acres of land the county says is a "park" that it owns.
Now here is the REAL scoop, people. The Haumeas/Silvas,Kaneis have been using this land as a fishing/camping, and kalo growing area for DECADES, through the old VERBAL SYSTEM of real estate. The County aquired 23 acres of land..HOW? FROM WHOM? WHEN? WHERE ARE THE RECORDS? They want the Kanei/Haumea ohana to prove it isnt thiers, they need the county to prove it IS. County 0. Hawaiians? Million dollar lawsuit.
You do the math.

Anonymous said...

"Hawaiians? Million dollar lawsuit.
You do the math."

-- can you expand on that? a suit based on what? thanks


jackbauer said...

None of your business you ass.
The case is in the bag. Eat your heart out.

Anonymous said...

"None of your business you ass.
The case is in the bag. Eat your heart out."

-- haha well thanks for sending the warm fuzzies my way. as to the interest, ya, im passingly interested in claims against the county, sure. as to any claim "being in the bag," sounds like wishful thinking. invite for a substantive response to my question still stands, unless you were full of shit in your comment :)


Anonymous said...

"engage this county in a bunch of heavy duty lawsuits and bus' 'em up good!"
how about the kingdom of atooi stepping up to the plate. Wouldn't you love to have them representing you. Might as well have A. Murkatami.

been watchin a long time said...

just like the Hawaiians to wait until the day after the bulldozing to file any paperwork in the court to save their structures.

Anonymous said...

Let me enlighten the newcomers to 0our island. A similar event happened with the Graces, AFTER their home got demolished, using similar tactics. They went to court. WON a TON OF MONEY, built a brand new beautiful home which is still standing, and they have been sitting pretty for a long time. This case is extremely similar to that. There is already a legal defense going already, and OHA is already involved. I myself have been giving info on this issue. The families will win this case hands down, because the county cannot find the paperwork that proves they own the 23 acres of "park" they claim they own. I know, because I have very good insider information on this. SO yes, probably MILLIONS of dollars, and a multi family lawsuit. The county does not stand a chance on this one, folks. PS, I am the anony that wrote "million dollar lawsuit."

Anonymous said...

And just to add to what I wrote in the above post, there is NO PARK there. Do any of you see ANY signs there? Lets see, how about Wainiha Bay Park? How about garbage cans? How about maintenence of this area? How about a park bench, a pavilion, or a rest room facility. DO you see ANYTHING that marks the 23 acres as a county parkland? want to know more about the REAL ISSUES? GO to the tax assessors office. Here are the tax map key numbers. GO check it out yourself. Then ask them who, where, why and when the county obtained their parcels, and when the four lots were obtained. Here are the numbers: County of Kauai: TMK # 580060300000, then the 4 lots are Kanei: 5800602600000, Silva: 5800602900000, RIley: 5800602700000, Haumea: 5800602800000. I invite everyone to go and put pressure on the County to COME UP WITH A DEED OF SALE.

Anonymous said...

Haha. That was funny. An anonymous asking another anonymous why they post anonymous. Hey, let's waste blog space trying to guess who all the anonymous posters are, rather than getting to the issues at hand.
I love hypocrites, don't you?

Anonymous said...

when the state transfers something it is called an executive order, try again.

Anonymous said...

no one will be selling or building on the those lots; they are now on the beach.

the loi, appeared really recently, newly planted, like after they received the notice to survey or vacate the land?

and actually it was a final decree that gave the land from the state to the county - research is really easy, if you people would only try instead of making up what you want to believe. the facts are available to those willing to see them.

Anonymous said...

proof that that land was state land rather than Royal Patent land, please?

A TMK#, a transfer document, or any other legal document that can be perused or a link to it would be really helpful.

What state land? It was crown lands, or privately owned Mahele lands, not state lands.

When or how did the state acquire these lands? Were they not owned by Robinson at some time?

Where are the facts to back up your statements? Where is a link, a pdf file, a jpeg, a phone number to call, anything of the Executive Order that is mentioned?

Gary prout said...

I lived there in the net house in 1972 in exchange for pulling taro which the local Haumeha family still does--and God owns it, the Hawaaians caretake for Him- leave it alone and pristine.