The dark sparkle of a clear, moonless night had given way to streaks of orange that became more vivid and were joined by splashes of purple just about the time Koko and I ran into my neighbor Andy, who informed me it had been even purplier earlier.
I always hate missing any of the dawn’s splendor, but it was cold, and a holiday, so I figured no sense bolt out of bed at first light when I have the full day to do as I please. Most likely that will include an excursion to the beach, where the mornings have been exquisite the past couple of days — not too hot, with a low tide partly exposing the reef and creating those irresistible turquoise pools amid the shimmer.
Yesterday, a monk seal was hanging out in the channel after my swim, so we left to give it some space to come in if it wanted. Later, the pigs were crashing around in the valley below my house, setting off the neighborhood dogs and causing Koko to pace and whine, the fur raised on her back.
I was made vividly aware of the technological differences between the generations this past week when a young friend was convalescing at my house after surgery.
“I’m sorry there’s no TV,” I said, to which he replied, “No worries. I was just gonna look at YouTube on my phone.”
“Do you want any reading material?” I asked later, to which he replied, “No, I was just reading some stuff about Lemuria on my phone.”
“Do you need a flashlight?” I inquired much later, to which he replied, “No, I’ve got my phone.”
Aside from home-cooked meals, and a little TLC, there was only thing he needed: “Aunty Joan, could you go out to my truck and look for my charger?”
By yesterday, he had recovered sufficiently to play music at the grand opening of Children of the Land, a Polynesian cultural center in what used to be the Kauai Children’s Discovery Museum, next to Papaya’s, in the Safeway shopping center. I stopped in to hear his band play, and ran into a fellow DJ from KKCR, who remarked on my show about drug law reform.
“Thank God for Sen. English,” she said, in reference to the Maui lawmaker’s efforts to decriminalize marijuana — possession of less than an ounce would be a civil offense with a fine no greater than $100 — and allow the counties to license medical marijuana dispensaries, which the bill calls “compassion centers.”
Btw, if you support such legislation, you’d better speak up. The decriminalization bill — SB2450 — was introduced by 20 of Hawaii’s 25 senators, and sent to the Judiciary Committee. Now is the time to email Judiciary Chair Sen. Brian Taniguchi at sentaniguchi@Capitol.hawaii.gov and ask him to schedule a hearing on this bill, which will actually save the state money.
The compassion center bill, SB2213, was amended and sent to the Ways and Means Committee, which is headed by Sen. Donna Kim. Again, email her at senkim@Capitol.hawaii.gov to express support for a hearing on the bill, and its passage.
Anyway, after singing the praises of Sen. English, who has distinguished himself on a number of issues, including the Hawaii Superferry, she joined me in bemoaning the loss of our own Sen. Gary Hooser — a loss that is made all the more painful in light of who might take his seat.
So far, Ron Kouchi, who lost a run for the mayor’s office and his most recent bid for a Council seat, has expressed interest. Unfortunately, he’s just the sort of good old boy who so often is sent to the Legislature. In fact, he's working there now, as a lobbyist for the County.
At least Councilman Jay Furfaro, who has also expressed interest in running for Gary’s seat, has a conscience. And his departure would open up another seat on the Council, not that I’m expecting that would make much difference in the overall scheme of things.
Folks often talk about changing the political structure on Kauai, but I’m not sure the citizenry really gives a hoot. All you have to do is look at the home page of The Garden Island, where the most popular stories consistently are crashes, Kauai’s most wanted, the arrest log and obituaries, to get a sense of where people's heads are at.
And finally, if you’re interested in the Naue burial issue, check out the story I wrote for The Hawaii Independent. It offers more depth than my blog post, (and the correct photo of Brescia’s house, unlike The Garden Island's story) as well as some interesting quotes about the process, which is one of the key issues here.
I especially liked this comment, because it summed up how citizens had to take the lead in correcting the government’s mistakes, and they’re paying a price for that involvement:
”Our government has thrown us under the bus,” said Louise Sausen, who is among numerous Kauai residents named in a civil suit that [Joe] Brescia filed against project opponents. “They don’t want to get sued, but let the citizens get sued.”
Ultimately, the most important thing to come out of last Thursday’s Burial Council meeting was the very clear message that capping burials in concrete and building a house atop them does not conform with the Council’s vision of “preservation in place.”
As Native Hawaiian Legal Corps attorney Alan Murakami noted in an email:
At this point in the process, the Council’s recommendations can be accepted or rejected by SHPD (State Historic Preservation Division). In other words, SHPD can still accept the plan over the KNIBC’s recommendations. SHPD can also request further revisions to the plan from BRESCIA and bring it back before the KNIBC. Nevertheless, this is the very FIRST formal statement voted upon by the KNIBC that objects to the placement of the house over the 7 iwi kūpuna now lying under or near the house footprint. It also places the SHPD in the position of being forced to deal with recommendations that run directly contrary to Nancy McMahon’s April 24, 2008 approval of the burial treatment plan that allowed a house to be built in this location, which Judge Watanabe threw out.
It'll be interesting to see how Nancy, Joe and their lawyers dig themselves out of this one.