Thursday, May 3, 2012

Musings: Gloss and Shibai


I was driving past Kealia yesterday, watching out for a bicyclist who was riding against the pau hana traffic and wondering why, when the Path that was supposedly created for them is right there, so many cyclists don't use it.

Could it be because the joggers and strollers and dogs get in their way on what is clearly a recreational path, even though Path boosters scammed the feds into kicking down funding under the guise of providing alternative transportation?

So it was with that same nose for bullshit that I checked out the "visioning document" for a North Shore Path, which pretty much follows the existing road, except in key areas. Can you guess which areas those are? You've got it: primarily undeveloped private lands that would benefit greatly from having a recreational amenity put through with taxpayers picking up the $4.4 million-per-mile tab.

We're talking about the Kilauea plateau on the makai side of the highway; the acreage across the road where Bill and Joan Porter pushed for a pavilion on ag land and CPRd the rest for gentleman's estates; Princeville Corp. lands makai of the highway near the airport, where Jeff Stone plans to develop gentleman's estates; and the taro fields owned by Princeville and the Wilcox family that represent the last bit of Hanalei not yet exploited for tourism.

Curiously, the map also shows a “future/proposed” Hanalei overlook at Pooku, even though that proposal has been beat back several times by the community, which made it pretty clear Princeville has played a key role in this “visioning.” And though the North Shore Path is presented as a “grassroots effort,” no Citizens Advisory Committee was convened for that particular segment.

While I must confess I didn't read the entire document — I can only stomach so much gloss at one sitting — I couldn't help but notice the bit about how “planning costs could easily exceed $2.0M [as in $2 million] for the entire North Shore Path network.” I'm sure that has planning consultant Ben Wellborn, who conveniently is also a Realtor, salivating.

Once again boosters are looking for federal money that is supposed to be used to “expand transportation choices and enhance the transportation experience,” which is probably why the North Shore Path website has wordage about “fewer cars.” But I think you'd be hard-pressed to show the eastside Path has reduced motor vehicle traffic in any significant way, if at all. In fact, it may actually have worked to increase it, because many people drive from their homes to use the Path.

My point is, let's be honest about this whole damn Path. Don't pass it off as providing alternative transportation when its purpose is clearly recreational. Don't claim it will be “forever green” when it's concrete. Don't say it's going to provide lateral access in perpetuity when it's using easements we already have. And in the case of the North Shore, don't pretend it's community-driven when it's so obviously been cooked up as an amenity intended to boost the  property values of a few private landowners and the visitor experience.

While we're on the topic of gloss and shibai, I was kind of astounded to get an email on behalf of Rep. Colleen Hanabusa's campaign that was sent out by John Garibaldi. Remember him, the front man for Hawaii Superferry? And now here he is, blatantly running the campaign of the woman who was president of the state Senate when the Lege held its special session and decided HSF didn't need an EIS to operate. Nope, no special interest legislation there, suck-suck, nuzzle-nuzzle. Gee, and all this time we thought they were our legislators.

Dropping the gloss and going straight for the shibai, fallout continues from the bogus Hanalei toxins story printed Sunday in The Garden Island. The state Department of Health yesterday sent off a blistering letter to the article's author — editor Renee Haines, who has since been fired:

Your story in the April 29 Garden Island News is missing some important information, and unfortunately misrepresents the facts.  We understand the paper’s desire for timely reporting, but we urge you to check on the accuracy of serious allegations like the ones being made by Mr. Lilley before going to print.  The Hawaii State Department of Health is very concerned about the misleading information being shared by Mr. Lilley and would like provide the following facts:

The concentrations of arsenic, barium, chromium and lead reported by Terry Lilley with the  Hanalei River heritage Foundation are within anticipated, natural background levels for the volcanic soils and related sediments of the Hawaiian islands.  The metals are naturally occurring, are tightly bound within minerals in the soil and are not toxic to humans or wildlife.  The terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna of Kaua‘i have lived with these metals since the island was created millions of years ago.  They are similar to levels of metals in soil that would be found anywhere on the islands as well as much of the world, and are not related to manmade pollution.  This is well documented in numerous reports over the past several decades, and summarized in the recent draft report “Hawaiian Islands Soil Metal Background Evaluation Report” prepared for the Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office of the Department of Health.

Mr. Lilly incorrectly compared the sediment data to regulatory standards for drinking water.  These are completely unrelated standards and are not applicable to metals in soil or sediment.

I don't know if Renee was fired for writing that story, which gave Hanalei a black eye just when it was reaping the benefits of exposure provided by The Descendants — the shibai film that glosses over the sins of Hawaii's 1% — or for other reasons. 

But it's very odd that the paper has not yet printed a retraction, a correction or at least the letter to the editor that Dr. Carl Berg submitted. 

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really, really liked The Descendants. It represents the Hawaii that is "real" for me as I live here on the Big Island.

Different people...different realities, it seems.

Anonymous said...

No Big Islander...there's nothing "real" about the Hawai`i that was presented in that stupid soppy movie. If anything, that garbage-mouth daughter needed a good firm hand in discipline for her star lip service ano!

Anonymous said...

Re: the path. If you want to walk on concrete, move to Honolulu.

Anonymous said...

For what it is worth, I would like the north shore path.

Anonymous said...

Omg...same names keep rearing their ugly little heads (Garibaldi) along with such blatant political connections that make your head spin if you happen to take notice. I'm with you on the whole path issue and its the reason I don't support Bynum who has been pushing this. The thought of a concrete recreational path, hardening our northeast coastline for the same beneficiaries that have turned Kauai into a playground for the rich, is truly disgusting.
And what's up with Joann has she sacrificed principals for her political gain? Her refusal to take a stand on Gmo companies on the westside has soured me on her.

Anonymous said...

For now, mandatory GMO labeling is a very important issue to me. I would not say outlaw them, but at lest label - so I can know what I'm eating.

On the path, I'm a supporter, as long as it stays away from particularly sensitive areas. Bikes or not, the Kapaa path is extensively used by local people, and women and babies and men always walking and exercising (our county council members should try that [Jay-Tim] and chatting. Try walk Kauaihau Road and get hit by one car. Its also a great way to give visitors a low-impact view of the beauty. Got to keep the loonies on the path.

And with those westside GMO companies - well seriously, police or health or EPA or local prosecutor should really at least conduct an inquiry to answer the many questions about exactly what they are doing, and why chemicals are being used - and in what quantity. Or council could place limits or impose guidelines for our collective safety. With our crazy high cancer rates.....it is very suspicious.

Anonymous said...

Disgusting. And I heard the Superferry's lawyer (now a judge on the appeals court) is going to decide Dayne Gonsalve's badge case - from the Superferry protest. How's that? Sure, that will be fair.

Anonymous said...

Why support the North Shore Path if it benefits the rich landowners at the expense of ALL Kauai taxpayers? At $4.4 million per mile, I feel ripped off. I don't want to see the rural & rugged areas developed either.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Joan for all your great reporting!

You give me reason to drink....Bloody Marys


Dr Shibai

Anonymous said...

"We're talking about the Kilauea plateau on the makai side of the highway; the acreage across the road where Bill and Jean Porter pushed for a pavilion on ag land and CPRd the rest for gentleman's estates;"....Hey Joan, why don't you name the land owners of the makai lands that are supporting and partnering in this vision by allowing the path to be built on their "private undeveloped lands". They're the ones that will get the tax break and write-off. Not the guys whose minding their business across the street. You must be a hater of Bill and JOAN (not Jean) Porter.

Anonymous said...

Keep the path exactly where its at and no more. We have better use for tax payer dollars, especially in this economic downturn. Everywhere one looks we're getting slammed from car registration (50% increase), license renewal fee $30 bucks, garbage pick up, school bus fee tripled, school lunch tripled if not more in 4 years, utility costs, food costs, gas....how can we justify these kinds of expenditures when families are suffering. Again, this is being done to cater to the tourist trade. Yhea local families use the path for recreation but we don't need a path to do that and we certainly don't need it to encircle the island like some want.

Joan Conrow said...

Anon. 3:18 Thanks for correcting me about Mrs. Porter's name. I would name the folks who own the Kilauea plateau but don't know who that is. As for the Porters, the map shows the Path on their land, too.

Casey Law said...

It is fair to say that the path is mostly for recreation now. But, as with any network, it becomes much more useful as it grows. Give it time.
As for private interests, path proponents would be lucky to have their support. Too often private landowners are suspicious -- just look at chaos caused by the rerouting around the Outrigger Waipouli.

Anonymous said...

If there was a bike path and the county ran buses with racks we could all use the path. Kuhio Highway runs to Ke'e and if you can figure out how to reduce the number of cars driving all over the north shore and give bikes a chance I'm all for it. I like the county bus. You just sit and cruise, check out he scenery because sometimes you forget how nice it is when you're rushing around.

Anonymous said...

Hawaii AG drops charges against Councilman Tim Bynum. What say now Shayme? Kaipo must be pissed at you guys, cause you cannot do the job. Maybe it's time for you guys to contact top brass at kpd to help retaliate and set Bynum up. They good at doing it, so what if you are being monitored. You're running out of options-Karma

Anonymous said...

It's time for State and Feds to investigate all of the unsolved murders and murders made to look like suicides on Kauai. The county coroner should also be investigated. It's a dam shayme what we put up with, this is not acceptable.

Anonymous said...

Wrong topic idiot.

Anonymous said...

I applaud the county in this investment of infrastructure for transportation. It is a blessing for the community on this island, no matter what Joan believes.

However, I must comment that there are two rather important public facilities in need of URGENT implementation:

1) landfill
2) drug treatment center

Anonymous said...

It's a shayme she was ever elected.

Shayme on those of us who voted for her.

Fool me once...

Anonymous said...

This is a blog with open conversation, it's called freedom of speech under the US and state constitution. I dont need a lawyer to speak and answer questions you *UNTS! WITCH *UNTS! Shayme is RAPING the taxpayers Shayme!

Anonymous said...

Joan your an idiot. Of course the current Eastside path is for recreation; it isn't completed yet which makes you entire article mute.

Anonymous said...

Hey idiot...u have a choice to read thisblog or not. Keep any personal attacks toward the author out of the equation. Have anything intelligent to say say it otherwise shut up!

Anonymous said...

Some of those council men better start using the path. That picture of Tim in the paper must have added a few pounds.