Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Musings: Understandable

If the Kealia project is approved today, it will be for two reasons, and two reasons only: special interest pressure and backroom deals.

I understand why the guys who have leases on the land are now shilling for the developer. I understand why they're pressuring the Planning Commission to give the developer an unprecedented eight-year extension of his subdivision permits. I understand that they don't want to lose the ranches and farms that they've created, and they're afraid that if they don't go along with the developer, he's gonna pull the rug out from beneath them.

I understand all that.

But when you're talking about turning 2,029 acres of prime farm land into yet another “ag subdivision” — a model that has resulted in lots of houses, but precious few agricultural endeavors, all around the island — it's not just about what a handful of guys want.

Throwing some money toward a rodeo ring, a poi mill and the rehab of a privately owned property — the Kealia store — isn't a fair trade for giving the latest owner of that oft-sold land a chance to try and make his millions on a project that has never gotten off the ground

It's not worth allowing him to skip out on an affordable housing requirement. It's not worth missing the opportunity to designate that acreage as Important Ag Lands, which would still give him some development rights, but also ensure it's in ag for perpetuity.

This application started out the right way, with the Planning Department recommending denial. But then the tenants got in there and started working it, working amongst themselves, and with the developer and his attorney, Max Graham, on a deal that benefits them, a deal whose terms have not yet aired publicly.

I understand that some of the players believe they're acting in the overall best interest of the community. But if that's the case, shouldn't we all be in on the discussion? Or is transparency just something that government is supposed to do, while the people hide their own backroom deals?

So while it's understandable that the tenants might be snookered, might want to hope against hope that they won't get burned by the crappy deal this developer wants to foist on the public, there's no excuse for the Planning Commission to get suckered in. Unless they just can't say no to the folks who are looking out for their own selfish interests.

Because surely the members of the subdivision committee must understand that when you're dealing with a mega-rich developer who has no ties to the community, as is the case here, you can't trust that he is looking out for anyone's interests but his own.

Meanwhile, I've been watching with interest as some Kauai folks and politicians speak out, quite rightly, against the Public Land Development Corporation, and most particularly the ability of its five-member appointed board to make land use decisions that can greatly impact this island.

I wonder, do they have any awareness that a three-member subdivision committee formed from a Planning Commission appointed by the mayor has that kind of power, too? Will any of them attend the meeting to speak out against this project?

Ironically, I'd heard that a “sit-in” was planned for this morning at Mayor Bernard Carvalho's office, to let him know they're unhappy that he isn't calling for the repeal of the PLDC. But it was called off because “decision makers” couldn't attend. And I thought, do they even know that a big land use project is up for consideration that very same morning? Something concrete and real, that's going to affect their own backyards?

I understand it's all a lot to keep up with. But let's not miss the forest for the trees.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

The few that are to be rewarded with cash up the ying yang are going to be double dipping. The unions and private contractors that are going to do the no bid jobs are connected to the powers. They know that if this goes through that they will be able to get a lot of money from its laborers as in union dues are one third of the laborers check. These guys slave all day and do drugs all night so this is another way the powers double dip. Who else runs drugs on Kauai, KPD has not busted a meth lab on Kauai as of yet so where is all the drugs coming from. The private poi mill, the kealia store and the little rodeo is to please a certain few. Kealia Kai and its developers is full of crap. When they first started, they cleaned the area and made Kealia look nice then maybe a couple years later they stopped. Kusaka approved the sale of Kealia because rumor is that she received land and other things. Mayor Carvalho is a sell out and needs to be impeached for gas theft. He will sell his own heritage for cash and land. The OG contractor is to get handsomely paid off. This whole thing wreaks of corruption. The Kealia store is not even totally paid off, just ask the original owners daughter. The squatter behind the red bldg that use to be Island school is still there. All these people including the planning commission should have their email, phone, txt message reviewed by proper authorities.

Anonymous said...

JoAnn Yukimura and Tim Bynum testifed this morning against the extension along with others.

Anonymous said...

I am glad JoAnn testified as she is showing her true colors again. What ever happened to the Ag Park that they were supposed to get in Kilauea? Who are these people that are going to farm these ag lands? Maybe the seed company wants to come to the East side now. The have a lot of jobs. LOL

Anonymous said...

Pretty soon Kauai will be a big checkerboard of AG estates.......

Anonymous said...

pitiful.

Selfish little people at that kealia store.
an island wide boycott to stay away from them would be good.

They have jeopardized the whole island so teeta can buy a few more fat gold bracelets to display her ╩╗importance╩╗ and for sho she one suk-sess.

Undesirables is what they are.

Anonymous said...

It's telling the kind of comments this blog attracts.

Anonymous said...

Don't blame Kilauea ag park on JoAnn. It's a water issue.

Anonymous said...

Big lawyer party at Kintaro's last night. Hempey, Bronster, and Al Castillo all sitting together. Maybe they were negotiating the next "settlement" where Al gives taxpayer money to Hempey and Bronster.

Anonymous said...

Hempey is smart, Bronster is smart,
Castillo is very slooooooooow

Anonymous said...

Al does not approve settlements, they are approved by the County Council.

Anonymous said...

Al tells the county council in executive session, "you should approve this settlement because it will cost more to defend against the case," and then the county council approves it.

Anonymous said...

How would you know that unless you are attending executive sessions? Isn't it illegal to divulge what happens in an ES?

Anonymous said...

There is a flag that the lawyers get to sign when they win a jury trial. Castillo has the most signatures on it. He may be a lot smarter than his critics on this blog think.

Anonymous said...

Al isn't dumb at all. He just mostly keeps his mouth shut. The County is usually so deep in the s--t that he's doing all he can to not make it worse.

Anonymous said...

Al trades settlements with his pal and tells his pal to dump the clients al is not willing to settle with.

Anonymous said...

And by pal, I mean lawyer pal. As in the lawyer pal he gives settlements to and parties with.