Hanalei River boatyard owner Mike Sheehan apparently follows the adage “revenge is a dish best served cold.” Though it's been 16 years since Mina Morita helped get the tour boats out of the river, for Sheehan, it's payback time.
By all accounts, Sheehan was the one who turned her in for operating unpermitted vacation rentals further up the river — an action that ended with Mina and her husband, Lance Laney, being ordered to pay $31,000 in fines and dismantle two structures.
Now Sheehan's suing the couple and Kauai County, claiming they polluted the river and altered its flow, then conspired with the county to cover it up. Meanwhile, he's also suing the county for shutting down his boatyard. Ah. Yet another person whose big ego is costing the county big money.
It's so sad that Sheehan is wasting his kala on vendetta lawsuits when he could be putting it to a far better use than smearing Mina. And it's equally sad that The Garden Island is so eager to play along and give Mike a platform. But then, Mike's paid boy Terry Lilley is reporter Chris D'Angelo's dive buddy, so he's got a direct line.
In refreshing my memory on Gov. Cayetano's decision to move the Hanalei tour boats to the westside, I was struck by two things: the threatened demise of the industry was a lot of hot air, as it's thriving on the westside; and Mayor Maryanne Kusaka did do at least one good thing in her term when she ordered the boats out of the river. Can you imagine what a zoo Hanalei would be if the boats were still running there?
Speaking of zoos and lawsuits, I hear the county is proposing a $300,000 settlement — $100,000 each with a no-disclosure clause — in the EEOC complaints that police officers Mark Begley, Hank Barriga and Darla Abbatiello brought against Chief Darryl Perry. It all stems from a 2011 incident that, in typical Kauai fashion, spiraled out of control and ended with Mayor Bernard Carvalho suspending the Chief. His subordinates, Begley and Barriga, then fell like dominoes, and have been out on stress leave for more than two years. They reportedly won't be coming back to the department, but Darla has been working all this time.
Meanwhile, deputy county attorney (and former deputy prosecutor) Marc Guyot, who advised both the chief and the mayor, is leaving the county's employ at month's end. He's reportedly shopping for an attorney to represent him in a lawsuit against the county, claiming the chief ruined his reputation. Not that I recall he had one....
And now we've got lifeguards suing the county, too. Maybe The Garden Island's court reporter could do a bit of investigating and report on just how many county workers are embroiled in legal action against their employer. As opposed to, say, writing a lengthy paen to the Waipouli McDonald's….
Finally, it's fascinating to see the feral cat control issue taking on the same mainland — perhaps even international — legs as the GMO issue. No doubt PETA and other groups will soon be using it to raise money, with faux journalists piling on. Like Sally Richards, who has a letter to the editor today:
I love Kauai, and I would like to get the details on the lethal culling of cats on the island. It’s very difficult to put my head around this. Actually, I’m stunned. I have contacted PETA and expect to hear back from them soon about the details. I am a Mainland journalist/author and I’d like to tell this story to the rest of the world so they can decided [sic] for themselves how to digest this issue and if they’d like to boycott Kauai, or if they think nothing of it.
Gee, nothing like starting from a nice, unbiased premise, and securing "the details" from an unbiased, well-informed source.
And here we go again with yet more threats of getting tourists to boycott the island.