We saw it coming, or at least, I did: a thick bank of clouds, fronted by a gray fringe, that was headed south when Koko and I were returning from our walk this morning. The sky turned white and then I could hear the rain coming, drumming and pounding as it swept over the trees, falling straight and hard, each drop visible, backlit by the sun. We were quickly wet, and so we kept going, me with my head up, enjoying the spectacle, Koko with her head down, because she’s not so crazy about water.
And then it departed, drifting toward Haupu and maybe Poipu, and we were left with wet fur and soaked clothes, respectively, and a vibrant double rainbow arching over the pastures and cinder cones.
It’s Friday, a good day for a wrap-up, so here goes…..
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a sexual discrimination suit against one of PMRF’s contractors, ITT Corp. on behalf of Kauai resident Melissa Pacheco and a male co-worker who opposed the harassment. Melissa blazed a trail as the first female firefighter out at the missile range, which prompted me to write a story about her for Kauai People three years ago this month. The clip archive died with The Advertiser, so I pulled this from my own files:
“When I first started, a lot of the guys were not very nice,” says Pacheco, who was hired on at PMRF in March 1995. “There have been a lot of ups and downs and adjustments, especially for the men, but for me, too.”
Initially, the firehouse had no women’s quarters, so she had to bunk with a dozen men.
Harassment, usually dished out by the same group of men, continues to be a mainstay of her job, but Pacheco can hold her own. “I’m a scrapper. If I know I’m 100 percent right, I’m not afraid to tangle. But there’s been a lot of stuff I’ve just let go. I have to pick my battles.”
Both PMRF and ITT gave Melissa a lot of heat for speaking out in that article. It’s been a tough road for her, but I’m glad the EEOC has taken her case.
In a surprising turn of events, former Mayor and Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura testified in opposition to the bill that would allow vacation rentals (TVRs) on ag land. The Council has again deferred a vote on the matter.
It’s unfortunate that in covering this story TGI reporter Léo Azambuja continues to rely so heavily on Councilman Tim Bynum, who introduced the measure. Today’s article is especially egregious, offering only Tim’s glossy take on things.
What I found most amusing was Tim’s comment that he had made the bill “clearer and a little tougher,” in part by introducing an amendment that the planning department “may physically inspect” the TVR before issuing it a non-conforming use certificate. Whoa, yeah, you’re really getting tough there, Tim.
The amendment makes it clear that the department’s staff may inspect a TVR if they feel it’s necessary. The criteria for a possible inspection, however, will be up to the department, said Bynum.
“We try to write laws that allow people to do their job, not dictate every aspect,” he said.
Yes, Tim, that would be great in an ideal world. Unfortunately, this is Kauai, and the planning department under Ian Costa needs clear direction, not more ambiguous leeway.
In a further cementing of the already tight bond between the University of Hawaii and biotech firms, Monsanto has established
In case you haven’t heard, the ACLU and Lamda are preparing to sue over Gov. Lingle’s veto of the civil unions bill. According to its press release:
“We’re obviously disappointed that Governor Lingle has, once again, used her power to deny the people of Hawai`i their civil rights” said Laurie Temple, Staff Attorney for the ACLU. “Luckily for the people of Hawai`i, however, our constitution prevents discrimination based on sexual orientation. If the Governor won’t honor her oath to uphold the constitution, the courts will.”
Meanwhile, a U.S. District Court judge has ruled that a federal ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional:
Judge Joseph Tauro in Boston ruled in favor of gay couples' rights in two separate challenges to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, arguing that the law interferes with the right of states to define marriage.
And in a further cementing of the already tight bond between the University of Hawaii and biotech firms, Monsanto has established a $100,000 scholarship fund bearing its name at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources for students who will study plant biotechnology and biological engineering. According to the press release:
“Hawai‘i is the gateway to the future of worldwide agriculture, and we want to support and encourage as many local students who are interested in pursuing an exciting and meaningful career in agriculture,” said Fred Perlak, vice president of research and business operations for Monsanto Hawai‘i.
Looks like the gateway will be dead and brown, the result of repeated applications of Monsanto’s Roundup….