Monday, February 7, 2011

Musings: Politics and Birds

Yesterday's Musings on who might take Rep. Mina Morita's place, as well as other topics, prompted a few comments about former Sen. Gary Hooser perhaps being tapped to take her place.

I also had thought it would be great to get Gary back in the Lege, but according to this map of Mina's 14th House District, it does not appear that Gary lives in the district. However, I believe that Councilman Derek Kawakami does. The district includes Kapahi and the coastal area through the Houselots, but not Wailua Homesteads.

And according to Haw. Rev. Stat. §17-4; see §17-4(a), emphasis added:

§17-4 State representatives. (a) Whenever any vacancy in the membership of the state house of representatives occurs, the governor shall make an appointment within sixty calendar days following the first day of vacancy to fill the vacancy for the unexpired term by selecting a person from a list of three prospective appointees submitted by the same political party as the prior incumbent. The appointee shall be, at the time of appointment, and shall have been, for at least six months immediately prior to the appointment, a member of the political party. The appointee shall, at the time of appointment, be a resident of the same state representative district as the prior incumbent. The political party shall submit the list of prospective appointees to the governor within thirty calendar days following the first day of vacancy.

If Derek or Council Chair Jay Furfaro is appointed, this language from Section 3.05 of the County Charter speaks to the process to be followed in filling a vacancy on that panel:

“Section 3.05. Vacancy in Office. In the event a vacancy occurs in the council, the remaining members of the council shall appoint a successor with the required qualifications to fill the vacancy for the unexpired term. If the council is unable to fill a vacancy within (30) days after its occurrence, the mayor shall make the appointment to such vacancy. The foregoing provisions shall apply in the event a person elected as councilman dies before taking office; provided, however, that the vacancy shall be filled by the newly elected council within thirty (30) days after the beginning of the new term.”

I also noticed that the county is moving ahead with its Habitat Conservation Plan for endangered seabirds, according to its press release. At the very end of the release, it states:

The lighting retrofits at Vidinha and Hanapepe stadiums are completed and the project is underway at three other county facilities including: Isenberg Park and Peter Rayno Park softball fields; and the Lihu‘e County Park tennis court.

It certainly didn't take the County long to retrofit its most egregious lights once the Department of Justice held its feet to the fire. It's only unfortunate it didn't get on it sooner and avoid the ugliness and "fird bucking" associated with the abrupt cancellation of night football games last season.

However, it appears that the County still is not willing to risk a full schedule of night games, as noted in the press release:

For stadium facilities, the HCP calls for the county to retrofit lighting using partially shielded fixtures, and to conduct a minimal number of night games with the shielded lights that is estimated to result in up to a 40 percent decrease in the number of birds currently impacted by the lights.

For sports facilities with significant lighting, such as soccer and baseball fields and tennis and basketball courts, the county agrees not to illuminate playing fields and courts during fledgling season, between Sept. 15 and Dec. 14, until such time as those facility lights are fully shielded.

So the question arises, why did the county decide to go with partially shielded, as opposed to fully shielded, lights at the stadiums?

Still, even with its plans to minimize outdoor lighting during fledging season, the County is looking for a permit to "take" up to 15 birds annually.

I was pleased to note this, even though the language is incredibly wishy-washy:

The HCP also states that the county will examine the feasibility of a county-wide or county facility-wide policy or ordinance that will stipulate the use of bird-friendly lighting for all new development on Kaua‘i, the release states.

Let's hope the feds and state delete the "examine the feasibility of" language and replace it with "will adopt a county-wide ordinance."

Because it certainly seems the Council and Mayor should be able to craft an ordinance to that effect — unless, of course, they subscribe to the philosophy of "buck the firds."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

looks like harold B. and his side kick are headed to HNL and the House.
Morita is running away from the N. Shore over to a more local suttounding that can actually do some good