Monday, February 15, 2010

Musings: On Miscellany

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 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 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.


Anonymous said...

Nancy, Joe and their lawyers have nothing do dig themselves out of at this point.

SHPD could reject the council's recommendation, possibly at the pressure of the county (and state) facing huge lawsuit losses (in this economy) if the house doesn't complete unencumbered.

Remember, the council's approval isn't required...only a successful procedural consultation.

Anonymous said...

No one should vote for any candidate for Council if they do not support a full audit of the Planning Department. Lani Kawahara voiced her support for it during her campaign but I guess that has fell to the wayside now that she has been elected.

Anonymous said...

"only a successful procedural consultation"

that has not yet happened.

Anonymous said...

There was a consultation that ended with recommendations.
Back to SHPD who has already approvrd the BTP.
Process over.

disgusted said...

Iʻm glad you gave this a little spotlight because itʻs really been bothering me:

"The Garden Island, where the most popular stories consistently are crashes, Kauai’s most wanted, the arrest log.."

It seems this is the peak of Paul Curtisʻ career aspirations and maybe some kind of personal character defect that has him so myopically focused on exposing someone that gets busted - FOR ANYTHING.

My family has stopped purchasing the Garden Island and this is one of the reasons. Hey this Kauai, itʻs a big family and these arrests donʻt need or require the notoriety they are getting.
Itʻs damn sure that no one will try or be inclined to turn their lives around with this kind of public humiliation and stoning by Paul Curtis. He convicts everyone before they get to court.
Before anyone snaps comment on this, put yourself in the same shoes. So far no one from my family has had this happen but any altercation with the police will be fodder for a sub standard writer like P. Curtis.
Whenever I go to TGI website, before I get to what Iʻm looking for, I get bombarded by at least 3-4 flashes of arrests/most wanted; itʻs as bad as pop-ups.

This practice has cheapened and sensationalized the TGI but then what can you expect from P. Curtis?

Wish TGI would get back on track like when Levine and Eagle first took over.

Anonymous said...

"only a successful procedural consultation"

that has not yet happened.


How would you define a successful procedural consultation, then?

It is not necessarily one in which all parties are in agreement. That could be construed as "successful" only.

"Successful procedural" merely indicates that all procedural steps were followed that I mean each step properly followed whatever protocol was required.

Mediation and arbitration PROCEDURES can be successfully followed without any mutual agreement. Most judges require that (mediation and non-binding arbitration) in civil cases prior to allowing them to come to court in an attempt to lessen the docket and achieve a settlement incurring no court costs.

Anonymous said...

"It'll be interesting to see how Nancy, Joe and their lawyers dig themselves out of this one."

"DIG themselves out?" Nice word choice, how ironic.

Anonymous said...

"How would you define a successful procedural consultation, then?"

One where the interested/involved parties are consulted, not just given a plan to review four days before the meeting.

Anonymous said...

While the local burial council plays its game construction, including construction of the septic system and the landscaping, will continue.

The state and the OHA obviously aren't interested in buying the property so nobody is ever going to order the house torn down. What is much more likely than any of Brescia's plans being upset is that, if it is so offensive to the iwi, then the burial council will eventually vote to move the iwi. 'Cause the house sure isn't going anywhere.

Just sayin'

Anonymous said...

"How would you define a successful procedural consultation, then?"

One where the interested/involved parties are consulted, not just given a plan to review four days before the meeting.

I would agree.

Proper procedural protocol must be followed. It's similar to the "due notice" given before someone is foreclosed upon.

"Due notice" should have been followed prior to the intentions of the burial council and supporters are then foreclosed upon.

Anonymous said...

is dwps trying to reinvent himself?

Anonymous said...

na, theyre all mostly following the rules of grammar etc

thanks for asking tho