The streets were wet, the eaves were dripping and the clouds appeared ominously dark, though it was hard to tell, exactly, because it still was dark when the dogs and I went out walking. The shama thrush was belting out its quavering melody, and I felt that rush of adrenalin that always comes from being out in the start of a new day. We returned home, just as the sun was rising in a gold-gilded cup, teaming up with a shower to make rainbows, and I thought, only a couple more weeks before we start losing light on the morning side again.
Speaking of light, as in sunshine, I was talking with a friend the other day about the comment Councilman Mel Rapozo made at last week's meeting, where he was saying the Council had done more in responding to possible improprieties at the Prosecutor's office "than any situation where we've had potential ethics violations and even some potential criminal allegations in the county.”
As I said to my friend, so how come we never heard anything about those cases? Why didn't the Council refer them to the Board of Ethics? Is it typical for the Council to sit on its hands when county workers/officials are acting improperly?
Then I thought about how nothing will change, at least for the next two-and-a-half years, because even though the deadline is June 5, no one has filed papers to run against any of the Council or state Lege incumbents. And I thought, wow, that's the first time in my 25 years on Kauai that everyone is getting what Andy Parx aptly termed “free passes.”
Except County Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, who got a free pass in the last election, but this time is thankfully is being challenged by Deputy County Attorney Justin Kollar. And Shay holds the distinction of being the first, and only, prosecutor in the county's history to plead the Fifth.
Ah, yes, so many dubious firsts this year.
Like the Prez maintaining a secret kill list, which raises the question: so how, exactly, is he any different than Stalin or Pinochet or any of the other dictators who place themselves above the rule of law? And Americans just yawn.
Another issue that hasn't been getting much attention is a state Department of Health proposal to establish— remarkably, for the first time — rules regulating the discharge of pesticides into state waters. The rules are in response to a lawsuit brought against the EPA, which came out with its own general permit. But the states are allowed to come up with their own rules, and Hawaii, unfortunately, has come up with a set that's weaker than what EPA developed.
One major concern deals with monitoring — DOH asks merely for a quick visual check for impacts at application only “when considerations for safety and feasibility allow.”
There's also the issue of loopholes. Pesticide discharges are allowed to “maintain water flow in agricultural irrigation ditches and canals," to “protect public health or the environment,” and in “pest emergencies” that can be declared by any mayor, as well as the governor. They're also permitted if the discharge only degrades water quality on a “short term basis,” which is not defined.
Furthermore, only large operators are asked to evaluate alternatives to pesticides, and they are allowed to decide for themselves which option is best. And diverting pesticide applications from drinking water intake and distribution system is only required “if feasible.”
If you're interested, there's a video conference hearing set at 9:30 a.m. Monday — such a convenient time — in the state health office at 3040 Umi St. in Lihue.
Meanwhile, the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife is moving forward with a plan to create 105 acres of new wetlands at Mana to serve as both habitat for endangered waterbirds and a tourist attraction. A meeting earlier this week didn't attract many comments, except from marine biologist Dr. Carl Berg, who questioned whether it was such a great site, given the proximity of PMRF and the landfill, and the chemical drift from the nearby fields planed in GMO seed crops.
It's been a pet project of PAHIO developer Lyn McCrory since she sat on the Board of Land and Natural Resources, and she's even kicked in some dough. The navy, however, has apparently cooled to the project since first endorsing it a decade ago. But it still looks like it's all systems go.