The season is definitely shifting, what with daylight lingering until nearly 7 now, and the sun rising earlier each morning. The kolea are dressed in their breeding tuxedos, ready for their flight back to Alaska, as are the Ruddy Turnstones. For the past two days I’ve seen flocks of about 40 Ruddies gathered on a quiet road with a view of the sea, where they’re staging in preparation for flying back as a group.
It speaks to a cooperative spirit that seems to have eluded the state Legislature, which really needn’t have bothered to convene these past months, seeing how little they’ve accomplished.
As Farmer Jerry noted after his last visit to the Lege, the morale at the Capitol is really low, because there’s no money, and that’s the grease.
The police chiefs shot down the medical marijuana dispensary bill, with our own Chief Perry providing the rationale, if you can call it that:
“We need to put more sound systems into place” before establishing such dispensaries, said Perry.
Well, Chief, that was the purpose of the bill, to let the counties establish such systems.
Even though it had full approval of the Senate, it died in the House, thanks to Speaker Calvin Say. Kauai Reps. Morita and Sagum voted for it, but Jimmy Tokioka was opposed. Apparently he and Calvin are very close, with one political insider telling me that Jimmy decided not to run for Sen. Gary Hooser’s seat because he’s being groomed for bigger things by Say.
“There’s a good chance Jimmy could end up Speaker of the House,” the source said.
Now there’s a scary thought.
The House also sat on the marijuana decriminalization bill, which is probably just as well, seeing as how the effective date had been changed to 2050 and the fines upped from $100 to $300 for the first and $500 for each subsequent offense. Fines like that could have the effect of even more people getting busted, since the state doesn't really get anything out of pot smokers arrested now.
But perhaps one of the more disgusting examples of total Legislative spinelessness is what happened to the shoreline vegetation bill. Introduced by Rep. Mina Morita, It started as a measure to control the practice of oceanfront landowners cultivating naupaka and other plants to expand their lots, create privacy hedges and otherwise encroach on the public beach, hastening erosion in the process.
Even DLNR wanted the bill, which included a process for levying fines against landowners who were blocking the beach, as it would make enforcement easier.
But in a cowardly cave-in, the Senate totally gutted the bill, removing the fines and all the rest of the language, which spoke to the need to protect coastal transit corridors — you know, the space where people can walk on the public beach. Now all that is left is an amended definition of shoreline and an effective date of July 1, 2050 — supposedly for the purpose of “facilitating further discussion.”
Yeah, give me 40 years to tell you all the reasons why I don’t give a damn if I’m encroaching on the public beach, because by then, there won’t be one.
This bill offers stark proof of the tremendous power that wealthy landowners and the Land Use Research Foundation (LURF), whose members include include major Hawaii landowners, developers and a utility company, have over the Legislature.
For additional proof of the power that wealthy landowners have in this state, here are a few recent photos of Joe Brescia’s house, which show just how close the burials are to his house.
So what do you think happens when they take the orange fences down? People can just walk anywhere, and pretend they're not in a cemetery?
Just fire up the barbie and have another maitai. No need worry about what's right under your feet, right outside the door.
To get these shots, our photographer had to brave the sprinklers that were watering not only the newly planted shoreline vegetation in front of a nearby vacation rental, but the plants crowding into the public accessway, too. She called to a man relaxing in a beachfront Jacuzzi to please turn off the sprinklers so she could traverse the public easement back to her car, but since he was a tourist, he had no idea how the irrigation system worked.
Just another pleasant day at the beach — for the tourists, anyway.