Waialeale showed herself for the first time in days when Koko and I went walking this morning, although the wind, singing in the tree tops, was steadily blowing a new clump of clouds mauka.
We passed a dying animal, which I discerned to be a rat in the dim light of pre-dawn, apparently the victim of poison or a car, rolling and flopping its way toward the safety of the brush. The scene gave me that icky shivery feeling inside, and much as Koko was interested, we did not linger.
Sunrise is not all singing birds and pink skies.
As we walked and a few cars — the regulars — passed, I thought of how Jimmy Trujillo stopped to chat yesterday morning when he saw me walking Koko along the road. We got to talking about current events, and at some point I uttered the words: “I’m still hopeful.”
“That’s what I like about you,” enthused Jimmy. “You still have hope, like we all do, or otherwise, how could we go on?”
I wholeheartedly agreed, then later, in one of those coincidences that keep life interesting, I was reading something and found this quote:
What’s important is promising something to the people, not actually keeping those promises. The people have always lived on hope alone. -- Hermann Broch
I guess that’s because sometimes, amid the drum beats for war and the environmental devastation, the cultural degradation and the economic implosion, the societal unravelings and the human suffering, things do happen to give us cause to believe that the odds aren’t completely stacked against us and justice, occasionally, does prevail.
The most recent of these was the April 6 order signed by Judge Kathleen Watanabe in a shoreline case brought by Kauai attorney Harold Bronstein — one of my few heroes. The order essentially told the state that when it comes to setting shoreline boundaries, it’s doing things wrong.
I wrote about it for the Honolulu Weekly, and you can read the story here:
Watanabe found the state had improperly relied upon cultivated vegetation and current, rather than historical, wave wash data when setting the shoreline for a North Shore Kauai lot now owned by Craig Dobbin.
So now Mr. Dobbin, who is trying to build a house just down the beach from burial ground beneath Joe Brescia’s house, and who has been planting and irrigating naupaka and other vegetation like mad, even to the point of encroaching into the public accessway that runs alongside his lot, will have to start over. [Correction: The plantings and irrigation occured under Joe Brescia's ownership of that lot. But it's continuing to encroach under Dobbin's ownership, and he was trying to use that vegetation for his shoreline. That's why it's important to remove vegetation that has been improperly planted on the public beach.]
His attorney — good old Walton Hong — tried on Tuesday to get the Planning Commission to grant his permits, but to their credit, they said no shoreline certification, no permits. (Would that had taken a similar approach with Brescia — no Burial Treatment Plan, no permits.)
Unfortunately, as Harold notes in the article:
“This is going to happen on a daily basis, and people have gotta push them [BLNR] to interpret the law in the right way,” Bronstein said.
Only yesterday, it turns out, the landscapers were busily re-planting shoreline vegetation that the big winter waves had washed out in front of Wainiha beachfront homes owned by people like Pierce Brosnan and “Coach” star Craig Nelson. It seems pretty clear that if the waves are washing it out, it's on the public beach.
So how much longer will this theft of the public beach go on as the Legislature and the state and the county look the other way?
But hey, I’m hopeful. How else could I go on?