I haven’t been closely following the debate over the amphitheater proposed for the land on the mauka side of the highway in Kilauea, other than to express my dismay over the tacky miniature golf course that was the first phase of that project.
But then someone posted a link to this video in the comments section of yesterday's post, which was followed late last night by an email with the subject heading “Keep Kauai Country” and the headline “Preserve Kaua'i's Ag Land Urgent Action Needed.”
It framed the debate in a slightly different way than has been covered in the local paper (emphasis in the original):
So far, the controversy about whether to build the Kilauea Pavilion has focused on the surface-issue of whether or not the community wants or needs an entertainment complex, which includes an outdoor amphitheater, in Kilauea. A story has been spun to make it sound like the controversy is about "elitists" of Kalihiwai Ridge who don't want the noise -- versus the local people who "need" the services of such an amusement center.
Though the surface issue is noise from the amphitheater, the deeper issue that has not been discussed is the dangerous precedent that would be set by the Kilauea Pavilion development. This would be the first case on the island that a developer would be granted a "Special Use" permit to build a commercial facility on State-zoned agricultural land. Don't we want to preserve our precious agricultural lands? Once this precedent is set, it could have grave impact on Ag land across the entire island.
It then discusses how the developer allegedly launched a successful campaign to change the composition of the Kalihiwai Ridge neighborhood association board to eliminate opposition from that quarter, and speaks of a final public hearing on the permit to be held by the Planning Commission next month.
I’m not sure who is behind Keep Kauai Country, and I’m always a little suspicious of stuff that is sent out without any connection to a real live person. Still, the sentiments expressed speak to the ongoing struggle on this island over how ag land should be used. These debates are likely to become more intense as the economy worsens, which tends to make the county look more favorably upon any property tax-generating development.
And will the economy worsen? Well, I paid $4.53 a gallon for premium gas (which I need to prevent my engine from my knocking) in Lihue yesterday, and a friend on Oahu said she paid just over $4 for regular. When you consider how rapidly rising fuel prices will affect our electric bills, shipping, airline tickets (and thus tourism), food costs and just about every other facet of economic life on this island, and then factor in the fallout (hopefully not literally) from the devastation in Japan, it doesn’t look pretty.
Also not so pretty was the response that Hope Kallai got from Planning Director Mike Dahilig regarding her request to have the county look into Bruce Laymon’s fencing project at Lepeuli:
The context and specific relief outlined in the letter are not actionable given the form of the letter and its conformance with the Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Kauai County Planning Commission.
Ahhh, now I understand why Bernard chose an attorney, rather than a professional planner, to head the department. It aids the process of obfuscation.
Finally, Civil Beat, in following up on my post about Eric Shinseki eying the Senate seat being vacated by Akaka, printed a refutation of the claim. But interestingly, it came not from Shinseki, but Peter Boylan, Sen. Inouye's spokesman.
I guess the thinking there is that no one runs for a Senate seat on the Democratic ticket in Hawaii without Inouye’s knowledge and/or approval.
And that's not so pretty.