“What happened to our spring?” asked a neighbor that Koko and I passed on our walk this morning, following a night of heavy rain that brought out the waterfalls on Makaleha, and beneath thick gray clouds that promised — and did indeed deliver — more showers before we returned home.
Hey, rain IS spring. It seems that people have become so accustomed to the drought conditions that now they whine when windward mauka Kauai gets a normal amount of precipitation. I’m so grateful we’re getting all this rain, as I can see it visibly replenishing the island, plus it always makes me happy and puts me in a good mood.
Still, I found myself feeling annoyed when I read today’s article on the Kalihiwai Ridge neighborhood association dropping its contested case hearing against the amphitheater and associated commercial uses on ag land in Kilauea.
Part of it stemmed from seeing attorney Roy Vitousek given extensive space to spout “gag me” platitudes like:
“I have never been part of a project where there has been as much heartfelt, widespread support in the community,” he said.
Perhaps that’s because he’s typically doing stuff like suing the state on behalf of landowners in the conservation district who want to vacation rental their houses — I won’t call them homes, because they’re commercial enterprises — even though they signed agreements when they were given permits to build saying they wouldn’t engage in such uses.
I don’t really have an opinion about the amphitheater, but the developer’s choice of Vitousek, who is always on the wrong side of land use issues, sure raises a red flag.
And part of it stemmed from reading Deputy County Attorney Mauna Kea Trask, who is supposed to be representing the county, and by extension, the public, taking an advocacy position on behalf of the developer:
Trask said the particular area approved for the project was not good for agricultural use, and it was used by the now-defunct Kilauea Sugar as a baseyard to store machinery.
“This was essentially the loudest place in Kilauea, up until Kilauea Sugar went under in the early 1970s,” Trask said.
How do you know that Mauna Kea, when you aren’t a farmer and you weren’t even alive in the early 1970s? And should you really be going public with your project-friendly opinion — or any opinion — when the Planning Commission has yet to make a decision?
Kinda makes it hard to believe that the folks who oppose the project will be given a fair shake at the April 12 meeting. This is the sort of thing that makes the public think, why should I even bother to participate when it sure looks like a done deal?
But then, that’s all par for the (putt putt) course at the Kauai County Attorney’s office and planning department.