I'm not sure why the county and The Garden Island continue to refer to Hanamaulu Beach Park as that community's “jewel.” Surfrider's monthly water report consistently identifies Hanamaulu Stream as one of the most polluted on the island. The August report shows it with an annual geomean enterococcus bacterial concentration of 949.4 — it should be less than 35. Yet that dirty little secret is never ever mentioned in all the talk about cleaning up the park.
It'll be fascinating to see how the cops plan to keep a lid on Hanamaulu Park, considering their total inability to keep derelicts, druggies and drunks out of the pavilion adjacent to both their Kapaa substation and the mayor's shining Path.
And seeing the picture of deputy parks director Ian Costa in today's paper caused me to wonder — again — how is it that he still has a high-paying management job with the county when as planning director he totally blew off implementating the vacation rental bill?
I was interviewed about the TVR mess on Hawaii Public Radio's “The Conversation” last Friday, where I identified a lack of political will as the primary reason why there's been no enforcement. The fact that Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. pawned Ian off on his campaign manager, Lenny Rapozo, in Parks & Rec seems to underscore that. Because if Ian hadn't been doing the mayor's bidding, don't you think he'd be gone?
Imai Aiu, the former deputy planning director who actually approved most of the improper TVR certificates before being reassigned to Housing, soon will be gone. His last day with the county is Wednesday, which means the County Council lost its chance to ask him what went awry, unless it issues a subpoena.
Speaking of legal stuff, attorney Peter Schey, director of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, has generously offered pro bono legal services to “vigorously defend” Bill 2491, the pesticide/GMO ordinance, against challenges brought by the chemical companies.
See, that way the county can save its money for the really important legal issues, like defending former Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho and planning inspector Sheilah Miyake against Councilman Tim Bynum's civil rights claim. How much do you suppose Tim would've settled for? Subtract that from the half-million spent to date on legal fees, and the difference is what we're paying to spare Shay's ego.
Getting back to 2491, I've heard people say it's so great we're having this debate about chemicals and GMOs on our island. While it doesn't feel like a debate, since neither side is actually talking to the other, there is a discussion of sorts going on. And that is definitely good. It's an important issue, and it needs to be addressed.
But it felt really creepy to read this in a recent letter to the editor:
When in the presence of field workers, I start having breathing problems — couldn’t understand why until I noticed it happening while in the Waimea Library and grocery stores and seeing these men in there when looking to see what could be causing the sudden breathing problems.
We need to hold the chemical/seed companies accountable. They should tell us what they're spaying, and ensure that it's not drifting into homes, hospitals and schools, contaminating the environment.
But when people start treating field workers like lepers whose mere presence in a store is making them sick, well, that's something entirely different, something really, really ugly that needs to be nipped in the bud.
Because yes, pesticides are poison, and they can do and do make people ill. But so do anxiety and stress. So let's not compound the pesticide problem by preying on people's fears and relegating our neighbors to a class of untouchables.