We’re quickly gaining minutes on either side of the day this month, though it was hard to tell through the thick layer of gray that covered the sky when Koko and I went walking this morning.
I saw a silver spot that, in time, was briefly revealed to be the moon, but otherwise it was such a dim dawn that Koko was straining at her leash in anticipation well before I spotted my neighbor Andy, and his dog Momi, coming toward us.
Since he’s on the board of Waioli Corp., which owns the land that currently provides public access to Larsen’s Beach, I asked him what he knew about reports that Bruce Laymon, Waioli’s lessee, apparently got off to a bad start in his plan to install a pasture fence there.
But since he’s on the board of Waioli Corp., Andy didn’t want to talk about it, and instead filled me on his joint pains, which I found a far less interesting topic. Fortunately, I already had reports from other sources that Bruce allegedly was using a mechanized mower to clear brush, which violates the terms of his Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP).
As a result, attorneys sent a cease and desist letter to DLNR and Bruce’s attorney, Lorna Nishimitsu. It’s not the first time Bruce has engaged in unpermitted activities on various leased properties, with minimal consequences.
“So what do you think DLNR will do this time?” I asked Andy. “Tell Bruce, now don’t do that again, and I mean it?”
But Andy wasn’t biting.
“Can Bruce really be that dumb?” I pressed. “I mean, didn’t he realize that people would be watching him like a hawk?”
After all, as The Garden Island reported this morning, Bruce’s fencing project is now the focus of double-pronged legal action.
You’ve got Oahu attorney Colin Yost appealing Bruce’s CDUP on behalf of Surfrider Foundation, Malama Moloa‘a, the Kilauea Neighborhood Association, Hope and Tim Kallai and the Aunty Loke Would Go Coalition, and Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. filing an appeal on behalf of Linda Sproat, matriarch of the iconic Kilauea family. The appeals are directed at Board of Land and Natural Resources Chair Laura Thielen, who attorneys say acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” and “failed to protect Native Hawaiian rights” in granting Bruce’s permit.
And as Andy Parx blogged yesterday, Office of Hawaiian Affairs has also weighed in with its concerns that the project “will impact constitutionally-protected traditional and customary Native Hawaiian rights," like fishing and gathering.
Meanwhile, the county, which has been allowing the public to use an access that partly, if not wholly, encroaches onto Waoili land, is now negotiating with Waioli for a legit access along the more user-friendly “lateral” path to the beach.
It’s still unclear whether the albatross nesting area there ultimately will be protected. Under Bruce’s current permit, it won’t be, and if he moves the fence further mauka to keep the lateral access open, it still won’t be. Hopefully, if the appeals are granted and a contested case hearing is held, the needs of the birds will be addressed.
When I mentioned this to Andy, he was finally ready to talk.
“Oh, Joan, nobody cares about the birds except for a few kooks.”
He was just kidding. I think.
However, I’m sure a lot of folks don’t care about the birds, any more than they care that children in Fallujah, which the U.S. bombed the crap out of six years ago, are suffering shockingly high rates of serious birth defects, most notably heart problems. And parents and doctors are blaming the weapons we used. As BBC News reported:
We went to a house where three children, all under six, were suffering from birth defects.
Two boys were partially paralysed, and their sister clearly had serious brain damage.
Like all the other parents we spoke to, their mother had no doubt that the American attacks were responsible.
Outside, a man who had heard we were there had brought his four-year-old daughter to show us. She had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot.
She was also suffering from a number of other serious health problems. The father told us that the house where they still lived had been hit by an American shell during the fighting in 2004.
There may well be a link with drinking-water, especially in al-Julan.
After the fighting was over, the rubble from the town was bulldozed into the river bank, and most people in this area get their water from the river.
So why should more than a few kooks care, aside from issues of common decency and compassion? Because the military uses Hawaii to test and blow up all kinds of weapons, and we’re not privy to what or where, much less how these activities could affect us and the environment. We, too, are the Pentagon's unwitting guinea pigs.
Finally, here’s the winner of the creepiest photo of the week contest. Now these are truly a few kooks. But nobody can say they don't care.