Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Musings: Speaking and Silence

It speaks volumes that the owners of Coco Palms didn't even bother to request a permit extension until Feb. 6, nearly two weeks after the permits had already expired. The county has cut that property so much unwarranted slack over the past two decades that it's no surprise the owners were still expecting latitude. The question now is how long the county will dither before ordering the owner to take down those decaying, decrepit buildings.

Speaking of revoking expired permits, I was chatting with a Honolulu attorney yesterday, and he was wondering how the county thought it could get away with its unprecedented interpretation of the SMA permit for the Wailua Beach portion of the Path. The permit, which was issued in 2007, specified work must begin in two years and be pau in four, which the mayor's team is interpreting to mean a total of six years. “I've never heard of anything like that,” said the attorney, who does a lot of land use work. “Boy, are they opening a can of worms.”

Speaking of worms, the County Council today is being asked to approve $25,000 for special counsel's “continued services” to represent former Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho in the civil suit filed by Councilman Tim Bynum, and another $50,000 to represent planning inspector Sheilah Miyake.

So is this gonna be the one lawsuit against Shay that the county will actually fight rather than settle? Not that I wouldn't enjoy the spectacle of court proceedings, or learning more about the role that former Councilman Kaipo Asing planned in this whole debacle and the planning department's uneven application of the inspection process.

Shifting gears, I recently ran across an intriguing and poignant essay entitled, ““Hawaiian at Heart” and Other Fictions.” Posted on the Facebook page "Huna is not Hawaiian," which you can read about here if you're not on FB, the essay gets right to the core of some key issues, as these excerpts reveal:

The most widespread American mythology about contemporary and historical Hawai‘i revolves around the vision of the melting pot, a multicultural paradise where elements from every group combine into a rich whole that all can share.

The pleasure of this vision erases a violent, coercive, and tragic history. The multiplicity of races and cultures in contemporary Hawai‘i was born in the deliberate attempt by plantation owners to divide and conquer their workforce. Differences in language and culture were meant to prevent cross-racial organizing and solidarity among workers. This multiplicity of culture was also built on the bones of dead Hawaiians. By the most conservative estimates, the importation of diseases from Cook’s men and all the westerners who followed killed 90 percent of the Native Hawaiian population within a hundred years. The population collapse, from 300,000–800,000 Hawaiians in 1778 to fewer than 40,000 in the 1890s, created a gaping emptiness that was filled with non-Hawaiian immigrants

Hawai‘i has been sold endlessly as a place of exotic escape from real life. As a direct consequence of overexposure in the tourist market, Hawai‘i and all things Hawaiian have become kitsch.

Some Hawaiian-culture aficionados cross a line and begin to claim a Hawaiian identity, either as Hawaiians who mysteriously cannot locate or discuss their families, or as “Hawaiians at heart,” an ultimate appropriation, which has unfortunately been supported by too many Hawaiians concerned about others feeling left out. Being Hawaiian for non- Hawaiians carries no history of pain and loss.

Hawaiians at heart” are joined by “Hawaiians of the spirit” in the New Age spiritual industry’s marketing of “huna” practices. Like the American Indian–focused plastic shamans, it never seems to occur to these Huna practitioners that if their “Huna” was secret ancient Hawaiian healing, perhaps it should be directed first and foremost to Hawaiians, who have among the worst health demographics in the United States.

The disrespect, exploitation, and cultural distortion and appropriation of Hawaiian culture and identity would be hard enough to deal with in the best of times—but these are not the best of times for Hawaiians.

The ignorance of the US public about issues of sovereignty and the trust lands of the Hawaiian people, the miscategorization of indigenous issues as “racial,” and the right-wing resistance to “minority rights” have brought us to a point where Hawaiians are in great danger of losing the limited entitlements that already exist, much less the immensely greater resources and rights to which we are legally entitled and do not currently receive. We are Hawaiian at heart, history, and bone, in ancestor and child. Moke Kupihea has reminded us, “The past does not disappear, it is merely silenced” (2001, 124). As contemporary Hawaiians we are charged with filling that silence because others are too willing to fill it for us.

38 comments:

Elaine Albertson said...

"...The permit, which was issued in 2007, specified work must begin in two years and be pau in four, which the mayor's team is interpreting to mean a total of six years..."

And this is a surprise to your attorney friend? These are the same folks who tried to convince everyone that "shall" can mean "may" if you want it to. Unless someone has the cojones to call them on this BS, it will continue.

Anonymous said...

'shifting gears'.....i like it!

great post by the way. the FB page will draw some interesting comments, i'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting excerpt of the essay, Joan.



On another (less profound) miscarriage, I wonder when anyone will begin to focus on exactly how much damage and cost Tim Bynum has done to this county. All by himself.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of dirty SMA permits, Kauai Planning Department investigator Les Milnes told Lepeuli activists that the SMA permit granted to Bruce Laymon's Paradise Ranch, which he leases from landowner Waioli Corporation, issued in 2009 by former Planning Director Ian Costa, is valid "FOREVER". I might suggest you get a hold of a copy and read what the permit language actually says and share it with your readers! And share that with your Honolulu attorney friend and see what he thinks of Les Milne's comment.

Anonymous said...

"how much damage and cost Tim Bynum has done to this county"

Like the vacation rentals and Wailua bike path?

Anonymous said...

Lets be clear about this, the only reason that Hawaii exsists as a tourist destination (and therefore helps support the islands) is because of the so called Kitsch factor. As part of the United States, people feel safe visiting Hawaii when other places around the world are in so much turmoil.
Without the tourism & the military, Hawaii would be without its major income sources and where would that leave us?
As the largest welfare state in the union, people are not going to start farming and fishing to survive if Hawaii ever regains independance, they will still be holding out their hands but there will be no money when no one comes anymore to some future third world islands

Anonymous said...

I think most of Hawaii's residents whatever they may think about past history are not going to walk away from the USA. Hawaii will hopefully be spared from turning into an impoverished, third world, nepotic backwater country.

Anonymous said...

It (hawaiian) is a sad history indeed, but not unlike other races and creeds, who have picked themselves up and moved toward the future, i.e. the jews, kurds, armenians, Bosnians, etc.

Holding on to the past enslaves you to it. The US government tries as best as it can to empower minorities or races that have been discriminated against. If they choose not to take it and empower themselves, then.....

Dawson said...

> "The disrespect, exploitation, and cultural distortion and appropriation of Hawaiian culture and identity would be hard enough to deal with in the best of times—but these are not the best of times for Hawaiians." <

Bingo. Which makes it all the more revolting when the tourist industry promotes exploitive garbage like this in the Los Angeles Times: "If spring break is calling, Kauai may be the answer." (http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-trb-hawaii-kauai-spring-break-pg-20130205,0,7436571.photogallery)

Dawson said...

> "Lets be clear about this, the only reason that Hawaii exsists as a tourist destination (and therefore helps support the islands) is because of the so called Kitsch factor." <

That's one of the most clueless takes on tourism that I've ever read. You really, really need to read Devil's Bargains: Tourism in the Twentieth-Century American West by Hal K. Rothman.

Anonymous said...

I am sure Tim Bynum won't cost this County as much as Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho!

Anonymous said...

"Holding on to the past enslaves you to it. The US government tries as best as it can to empower minorities or races that have been discriminated against."

You really don't get it. Hawaiians aren't minorities that have been discriminated against, they are the indigenous people of these Islands who have been colonized.

Anonymous said...

February 13, 2013 at 7:09 PM

We all know that Shay is the one complaining about Tim because it is Shay that is continuing to cost the county money - how much was approved at council today?

Anonymous said...

Zoning permits are FOREVER (i.e. Hanalei Ridge).

SMA permits require the construction to be completed in two years - please read HRS 205A to better understand this...

btw - Les is right.

Anonymous said...

Every place on earth has been colonized and then recolonized. Remember the Menehune! Get over it. You all got the same rights and opportunities as every one else. You are free to practice your culture just like everyone else. Stop acting like a victim and thinking that someone owes you something because your great grandparent might have gotten screwed. Think about this...someone's indigenous rights do not trump my human rights which include the right of governance by consent.

Anonymous said...

February 13, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Shay - stop harping on Tim.

We ALL know this is your comment.

Dawson said...

> "Every place on earth has been colonized and then recolonized. Remember the Menehune! Get over it. You all got the same rights and opportunities as every one else. You are free to practice your culture just like everyone else. Stop acting like a victim and thinking that someone owes you something because your great grandparent might have gotten screwed. Think about this...someone's indigenous rights do not trump my human rights which include the right of governance by consent." <

Another poster giving the lie to the claim that colonialism is dead. You'd think they'd at least come up with something more convincing than the tired "everybody does it" fallacy.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't Shaylene up on federal charges yet?

Anonymous said...

10:08 OMG will we have to pay for that too?

Anonymous said...

Um, why do we have to pay to defend people who violate the law that they are suppose to represent/administer?

Anonymous said...

>"That's one of the most clueless takes on tourism that I've ever read. You really, really need to read Devil's Bargains: Tourism in the Twentieth-Century American West by Hal K. Rothman."<

The fact that "Locals" feel that they lose control when tourism comes to there area, does not detract from the point I made, Hawaii today is supported by tourism, and will never go back to the agrarian society it was before Western contact. Please read some of the other posts in this thread, stop the pity party, take your hand out of the welfare jar, and live in the now, if there are no jobs here then move, or maybe sitting around doing nothing with your friends all day getting a govt chack is more fun than being productive.
Without the umbrella that being a State conveys (and the welfare it provides), Hawaii as an independant entity would devolve rapidly losing outside investment.

Anonymous said...

>"You really don't get it. Hawaiians aren't minorities that have been discriminated against, they are the indigenous people of these Islands who have been colonized."<

The US is not going to give up the islands "End Of Story", the majority of those that live here now don't want that to happen!!!
And while there are many "Hawaiians" that work hard and are an asset to their culture, there are also many that wish to stand up for independance while still being supported on welfare.
As a culture you cannot even decide which sovereignty group should be in charge, to many wanna-be kings.
Tone the retoric down, and find a more acceptable compromise that all those non-hawaiians can accept.
Then you can practise your religion and cultural beliefs to your hearts content, but this willn never be an independant nation again!!!

Anonymous said...

Without the tourism & the military, Hawaii would be without its major income sources and where would that leave us? February 13, 2013 at 12:59 PM

It would leave us without settlers (like you presumably)coming over in droves to take land raping and culturally genocidal jobs that create the in-migration that we never needed in the first place. We'd be better off without both- the jobs and the people who come over to fill them.

Anonymous said...

>It would leave us without settlers (like you presumably)coming over in droves to take land raping and culturally genocidal jobs that create the in-migration that we never needed in the first place. We'd be better off without both- the jobs and the people who come over to fill them.<

The droves of westerners coming here started during the reign of Hawaiian monarchs, at their invitation, in an attempt make their kingdom more like the western society they aspired to be.
These people brought the skills and the abilities needed to bring Hawaii into the modern world.
Learn your history, Kamehameha was able to unite the islands only with the aid of western advisors, primarily John Young, who is buried at Mauna  ĽAla with the other royal burials.
When Hawaiian Sovereignty groups stop with their own revisionst history we will be a lot further towards reconcilliation than we are now.
And you presume wrong, my family has always been here, but i am pround to be both Hawaiian and American. And lets remember us Hawaiians came over in the second wave of settlers to these islands!!!




Anonymous said...

so we are paying for Bynum to defend himself against Sheila and Shayme?

What kind of BS is this?

Anonymous said...

I don't know what revisionist history you are referring to but I don't ever recall learning that Captain Cook and his disease-ridden men were "invited" here. Kamehameha I was smart enough to see the writing on the wall that we were a small nation and that he needed to unite the islands in order to better withstand pressure from other nations. Using the expertise of these haole men he had taken captive, was a strategic move on his part. What he couldn't foresee is the decimation of his people from disease and epidemics. If we hadn't been reduced to 40,000 by the time of the overthrow, I doubt it could've happened. In 1893, the year of the overthrow, the Kingdom of Hawaii was a recognized sovereign nation by way of Treaty with many other nations. Our Queen was overthrown in an act of war. There was no Treaty of Annexation. We are an occupied nation and there are no clear titles to land in Hawaii. Frightening thought to recent settlers who think their money can buy anything.

I won't settle for some commodified version of our culture that the tourism industry sells and I'll gladly watch the mass exodus of multi-national biotech corporations and the industrial military complex that have raped and pillaged our lands. Only then can the 'aina and na kanaka heal. You and any other American who doesn't want to be a part of that can choose from 49 other states to move to. I'll take farming and fishing any day over the crap service industry that pays low wages doing demeaning work for self-entitled tourists.

Anonymous said...

How do you condemn a building on Kauai?

Call the Department of Health, the Fire Department, the Planning or Building Departments?

None of these departments could answer the question - so Joan - please let us know how to get rid of the 20 year blight of Coco Palms, the building falling down in Hanapepe town and any other hazards to public health.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

"I won't settle for some commodified version of our culture that the tourism industry sells and I'll gladly watch the mass exodus of multi-national biotech corporations and the industrial military complex that have raped and pillaged our lands. Only then can the 'aina and na kanaka heal. You and any other American who doesn't want to be a part of that can choose from 49 other states to move to. I'll take farming and fishing any day over the crap service industry that pays low wages doing demeaning work for self-entitled tourists."

Fortunately yours is a minority opinion and it has a snow ball's chance in hell of coming to pass though I would not be unhappy to see the GMO guys change there ways or leave. Going back to a primarily agrarian and fishing society is a Utopian dream. You can continue to be bitter about the course of history or you can get over it and make the best of the circumstance you are faced with. Maybe you should move to some other Polynesian island. Maybe back to where your ancestors came from if you think that will suit you better.

Anonymous said...

TO: February 15, 2013 at 8:16 PM

Well said. Like that.

Anonymous said...

You are always liking yourself dumb ass man! It is pretty clear who you are.

Anonymous said...

Utopian dream or a necessary outcome of an unsustainable economy? Tourism industry doesn't pay a living wage for the majority of the rank and file employees. Many work multiple jobs and live in homes with multiple income earners in order to afford housing, utilities, food and other expenses. High level managers come from the mainland. Let's not forget the seasonal ups and downs of tourism when hourly workers get hours cut while managers enjoy their same high salaries.

Farming and fishing are honorable professions that help to sustain the cash economy. Without it and hunting, many families couldn't survive the "American Dream".

My ancestors have been here for thousands of years, compared to westerners who have been here for two-hundred. Any one needs to go are Americans who can't respect the history of this place that began long before they set foot here and continues today. Just because its an inconvenient truth doesn't make it any less true.

Anonymous said...

Many places in the world including on the mainland people have to work multiple jobs to survive. What alternative economy are you suggesting? I totally agree that farming and fishing are honorable professions. I just don't think there is enough of either to employ even a fraction of our residents. And you need to get off the idea that there is going to be a mass exodus. In fact locals are the ones most often moving away from Kauai. If anything more and more people are looking to move to Kauai. And frankly I don't care how long your ancestors have lived someplace and I don't want the government to give you any sort of prize either. What the hell does respect the history of this place mean? I respect individuals or cultures based upon the way they behave and how they treat others. In that regard I think the Aloha spirit I get from most Hawaiians is a wonderful thing.

Anonymous said...

@ "February 15, 2013 at 8:16 PM"

To correct a couple of your revisionist ideas
1) Cook was an explorer just as all peoples that made their way to hawaii
2) The "Haoles" you mentioned were not captives but advisors, in fact John Young was the grandfather of Queen Emma
3) Kamehameha was a conqueror, who took the other islands away from their rightful rulers, will those be given back?
3) And to be accurate, the US, did not annex the Kingdom of Hawaii, it annexed the Republic of Hawaii.
and it took 4yrs to convince the US Govt to do that.
4) Your overthrown Queen sued the US Govt, not for the return of her Kingdom, but instead for monetary compensation, see: Liliuokalani v. United States, 45 Ct. Cl. 418 (1910)

Learn your history, and be grateful these tourists visit to help support these islands.
You can always support yourself by farming and fishing, no one is stopping you or forcing you to work in a "crap service industry job".

Anonymous said...

>"My ancestors have been here for thousands of years"<

You need to actually learn your history, even if your family had been here since the begining of proven human habitation, that would still only be 800 C.E.
And please dont talk about respect of the land, I drive past places where "locals" dump trash and cars, and anything else they can find, while still slapping "respect the locals"
stickers on their trucks.
I also agree that farming and fishing are very honorable professions, but lets face reality, even if the Hawaiian Kingdom still exsisted, it would not be how the islands supported themselves, tourism would still be the main source of income.

Anonymous said...

@ Feb 21, 2013 10:26 AM

1) Again, Cook was never "invited" here. When he happened upon Hawaii, he allowed his disease inflicted men to go ashore, knowing full well Hawaiians had no immunity, and that they would die on contact. He knew this because his visit to Tahiti had the same result.
2) I am not disputing that John Young and Issac Davis were Kamehameha's advisors on western warfare. Kamehameha rewarded them with large tracts of land and they took Hawaiian wives.
3) I am not denying that Kamehameha conquered the other islands. By doing this he united the kingdom as one, paving the way for Hawaii to become a constitutional monarchy.
4)And to be accurate, Hawaii was never annexed by way of Treaty to the U.S. due to overwhelming opposition in the islands. A vote on annexation in 1897 failed as a result. It wasn't until the Spanish American war broke out in 1898 and the U.S. wanted to use Hawaii as a coaling station, did the U.S. decide to "take" Hawaii by way of a Joint Resolution of Congress called the Newlands Resolution. A domestic law that had no international jurisdiction, to this day.
5)As soon as she was free to travel after her imprisonment, Liliuokalani went to Washington D.C. to meet with Cleveland and plead for the restoration of her government. The vote for annexation in 1897 failed because of her efforts and that of Hui Aloha 'Aina and Hui Kalai'aina that submitted the Ku'e Petitions in opposition to annexation. The Newlands Resolution was met with mass opposition by kanaka in Hawaii, but that didn't stop the U.S. from taking down the Kingdom of Hawaii flag and resurrecting their own over Iolani Place.
6) Liliuokalani was entitled to just monetary compensation for the loss of her government and theft of Crown Lands. In the mean time, American businessmen banked in Hawaii.

What history do you insist I learn? The history written by the oppressor that furthers the propaganda and serves their interests? Mine is the history of my kupuna.

Why should I be "grateful" for an industry that is subservient? Is that the best we can do? I get no satisfaction serving drinks and meals, carrying bags, opening doors, giving out room keys, feigning aloha, being invisible, selling my culture for a buck. Watching the land get sold to the highest bidder, closing off access, ruining special places...impacts of being a resort destination.

Anonymous said...

ainrsoc 12805Kanaka 'Oiwi, Kanaka Maoli, Kanaka Hawaii....that is who I am, not "local". What is local to you anyway? Anyone who isn't white? I don't dump my trash or have a "Respect da locals" bumper sticker on my truck. I display the Hawaiian flag because that is my identity. So you think all "locals" are like the ones you just described? And all haoles are arrogant know-it-alls that like to tell us kanaka to get over our history and accept that Hawaii is America? Or that the only thing you will accept from us is aloha but don't give us this crap about the overthrow or your native rights?

Anonymous said...

"Overthrow, Native rights"
The overthrow is long past history and the only ones complaining are the losers. What are native rights? We should all have the same rights regardless of our ancestry or any other criteria you might come up with.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2/22/13 8:52 am:

You make my point. Injustice is just if you are the "winners" Loosers out of luck. It is the American way. Competiton over cooperation. Individual wealth over the community. Hawaiian values of aloha, 'ohana, pono, lokahi, laulima, aloha 'aina, malama 'aina don't fit within the context of American culture. I don't embrace a country that has subjugated mine.