A very welcome and much-needed rain fell heavily through the night, perhaps part of the same system I drove home in yesterday afternoon, admiring the brilliance of blossoming trees as I followed a path of steam rising and swirling from hot blacktop, like a witch’s cauldron, as a squall vanished into the blackness of really big rain mauka.
I’d gone to meet a friend, which required me to pull over to get her call, which by then I had missed, about our rendezvous location.
“I didn’t have my phone’s headset,” I said in explaining the delay.
“Oh, and you didn’t want to break the law,” she replied, referring to the new ban on “holding a mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle” that went into effect on Sunday.
“No,” I said, “I didn’t want to get caught breaking the law.”
Yes, thanks to yet another well-crafted piece of legislation from the County Council, I no longer can hold my phone while driving on Kauai, but if I’m wearing a headset I apparently can still dial it or check email messages — the two most distracting aspects of in-transit phone use — just so long as the device remains lying on the seat.
And I can still eat, drink, smoke, put on make-up, change clothes, let the dog hang out the window, turn around to yell at the kids in the back seat, talk to passengers, check the surf, change the radio station, rifle through the glove box, put in CDs and DVDs, program the GPS, watch for whales, read a map, pull off on the barely existent shoulder of a narrow, dark road to use my phone and — if I’m the cop I saw yesterday — drive 40 mph through the construction zone at Wailua.
Because somehow all that stuff is not as dangerous and distracting as holding a cell phone.
Yeah, we all know it’s not a great idea to do any of the above or use a cell phone while driving. But do we really want to keep giving the cops more opportunities to intrude into our lives?
Meanwhile, the Council is tomorrow set to take up two more badly crafted bills, except these are give-aways, not take-aways.
One is farm worker housing, which gives the guys in Moloaa, who bought their land dirt cheap ($10,000 per acre) because it had no housing density, the gift of being able to build an 1,800-square-foot home, and people like our cattle ranching Councilman Darryl Kaneshiro the opportunity to throw up a few extra rental units for their friends and family, I mean “workers.” Wink, wink.
But no worries; if the county finds one of these structures is not being used for its intended purpose, they’ll make the landowner tear it down, which would be just about the same time that hell freezes over.
The other is Tim Bynum’s bill, which gives ag land owners the gift of being able to legitimize, at least so far as the county is concerned, vacation rentals that remain illegal under state law.
I just can’t wait to see all the extra profit, I mean, produce that Kauai’s ag lands generate with these bills in place.
And today the Planning Commission takes up yet another give-away, a bill designed to diminish the protections of the shoreline setback ordinance. Among other things, it allows coastal landowners to skirt its requirements if they can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Commission, based on the recommendation of our trusty planning director, that their project “will not adversely affect the beach process or interfere with public access or public views to and along the shoreline.”
But no worries, the recommendation “must be based on a report written by a qualified professional consultant.”
And we all know those guys can’t be bought.
Or at least, not cheap.