Sunday, May 24, 2015

Musings: Neighbors

Over at a friend's house, TV on, some show called “House Hunting” has an Aussie couple with an oh-so-original dream of living off the land and on the beach — he catching fish for dinner, working an odd job here and there; she mostly worrying about their two young kids and no hospital.

But he's the dominate one, so they go house-hunting on a remote Fijian island, where they find a Canadian who got tired of the winters back home and now looks well-fed selling real estate to the JOJs. He takes them first to some fab oceanfront place that would cost well over $1 million in Hawaii, but is just $270,000 there. Still, it's beyond the reach of rural islanders, and stretches the budget of the Aussie, who admits he hasn't saved as much as he would like.

So the Canadian shows them someplace cheaper, away from the beach, off the grid, no views. They're stoked with the indoor privvy. But then, through the bush, they spot a cluster of houses where Fijians live, with their tin roofs and chickens and pigs.

“Oh,” says the wife, clearly crestfallen. “My vision of paradise didn't include neighbors.”

“Turn if off,” I implored. “I can't stand it any longer.”

I've always hated reruns. And Fiji, it seems, is the new Costa Rica or Kauai.

Next up: The Aussies start a B&B to pay the mortgage on their Fijian fantasy.

And a Kauai guy puts on a grim reaper mask because “I want the people on the Westside to know that I’m fighting for their children.”

Gosh, I can't imagine a more effective approach.

Which brings us to another re-run: anti-GMO folks at the airport intersection, protesting. This time, it's against Monsanto, which doesn't even have a facility on Kauai. But who can blame them for being confused? Even their leader Gary Hooser can't make up his mind.

First he tells us:

Saturday’s rally isn’t about being for or against GMO.

So just ignore all those anti-GMO signs, OK?

Then he tells us:

It’s not about science.

Uh, we gathered that a long time ago, but good to hear you admit it.

Then Gary tells us:

Tons of pesticides are used. It’s about the impacts.

OK. Then how come nobody is protesting the termite treatment guys, who actually use more restricted use pesticides on Kauai than the seed companies?

After all that, Gary comes out with this Facebook post, telling us it's actually none of the above:

Yup. He's got that right. It's about money.

Which is why anti-GMO activist Fern Rosenstiel denounces seed company workers as “poisoners” even as she, in her job as bartender/cocktail waitress, serves up a known poison that has killed countless people, destroyed innumerable lives.

And it must be why Gary doesn't pay higher prices for organic food — he confesses “I eat GMO products everyday” — and instead supports companies whose business practices he abhors.

Ah, yes. I do wish Gary would hold up a mirror, and not just before he goes on camera in those atrocious shirts.

No, I mean when he says stuff like, “So long as the agrochemical companies remain in denial and attack mode, we will get nowhere.” And bitches at Syngenta's Josh Uyehara for “[calling] me out in our local newspaper rather than meet with me personally to discuss issues and differences he might have” after Gary went all the way to Switzerland to talk shit about Syngenta.

Gary took a trip financed by undisclosed donors — yup, there's that money thang again — to attend the Syngenta shareholders meeting in Switzerland, where he gave a short, and largely erroneous spiel — what he termed “a simple ask of our good neighbor:”

We asked them to withdraw from their lawsuit against Kauai County, to honor and follow our laws as passed by our local government.

Even if they've been thrown out of court as illegal.

Which is why Council Chair Mel Rapozo sent a letter to Syngenta CEO Michael Mack, clarifying that Gary's visit was neither officially directed nor sanctioned by the Council, and all wrong about the law-breaking stuff. In his reply, Mack thanked Mel for affirming that Syngenta “is operating in accordance with the law on the island of Kauai.”

Mack went on to say Syngenta has been on Kauai for 40 years — jbu,  that's longer than Hooser — and takes its role as “a good corporate citizen seriously,” which is why it voluntarily participates in the state's good neighbor program.

And there we are, right back where we started, with bucolic paradisiacal fantasies crashing headlong into the reality of neighbors.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

People don't want anything to change. They want the island to stay just the way it is RIGHT NOW, with one tiny exception --- their personal desires. They want to build a house, but no one else can build a house. They want to own a BNB, but no one else should own a BNB. They want 5 kids, but everyone else should have 1 or 2. They want a new landfill, just not one that effects their corner of paradise. They came and stayed, but everyone else should come and then go. Everyone is right, and everyone else is wrong.

Anonymous said...

The Aussie moved to the cheaper land in Fiji, raising property values there. But didn't he also lower property values where he left so that some other less affluent person could live there?
My point is just that money moves around. It goes where its cheap until its not cheap there anymore. Then it goes somewhere else. Then it comes back.
Its kind of the yin yang of money,

Anonymous said...

Change is inevitable. People will have kids and populations naturally increase. More people mean more houses, roads and services. Facts of life.
Except for Kauai. We are using the same basics roads the Plantation built 100 years ago. We have the same town footprints. The Plantations also had the major influence on the State zoned Ag lands. So no easy way to add residential neighborhoods.
We need housing and roads. Our County officials have not planned for any of our kids actually living here and owning a house.
Gary, JoAnn and Mason seem to be in the new comer ethos. I got here yesterday so you can't come tomorrow. And, f*ck the kids and businesses, I gots my money, my big ol' Ag Estate and I don't need no tourism, Ag or other businesses to scintillate my Chi/Qi. My life is about harmony.
T'is true, them rich NS newbies are a significant voting block and can influence an election. But-
We need real leadership. A person who can say "we need housing and we will help expedite permitting and assist in the Land Use (LUC) process."
Otherwise, say bye bye to the few remaining local farmers. Most Ag properties that were locally owned have long been sold and now are Ag CPRs.
We have a Council that is STILL giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Tim Bynum Lawsuit....what? Enough all ready. Next I can see JoAnn (and her spiritual doppelganger, Gary) suing the County because the Council has made rules that appear to try to shut her/him up...a preferential rule enforcement that seems made specifically for her and Gary. Move over Timmy, you have paved the way, for JoAnn/Gary, you have shown that a Council member can sue the County and the rest of the Council members will gladly pay up. The secret society of the political elite on Kauai. As Jay F gets a big fat salary and huge pension increase in his NEW job...after his complete mishandling of the Big Ag bill, weird midnight selection of Mason and gift of wealth to Bynum...poke me eye out with a Tax Increase Batman, the County will need lots of money.

Anonymous said...

Joanne is borne and raised on Kauai her parents re Nisei and her father was awarded the congressional medal of honor for being in the 442nd. She is NOT a newcomer the fact that you do not know that makes you obviously a newcomer.

Mason is part Hawaiian and born and raised here. He is NOT a newcomer. The fact that you do not know that he was a firefighter and saved people for a living makes you a newcomer.

You may not always agree with them but they are local born and raised on Kauai. Ross is also born and raised here. So is Arryl. Who is also part Hawaiian
I see comments all the time here now.

There was a huge shift on the council. You have a majority council embers that are borne and raised here. I forgot to add Mel Rapozo is also born and raised here nd also part Hawaiian. Kipukai is almost pure Hawaiian and born and raised here on Kauai from an ali'i blood ohana no less.

Yet you all complain about how terrible the council is. Well the council is currently composed of 6 born and raised mostly or all part Hawaiians and one second generation haole kama'aina.

SO what exactly are you talking about newcomers? This is the council you asked for! So what more do you want?

You obviously are not well versed in who or what Kauai people are. This is actually one of the best councils I have ever seen.

I know you all hate Gary but he has been here longer and went to school here, prmary high school and college and his children are borne and raised here.

Would you prefer people that just moved here to be council members? Felicia hs been here over 20 years. You didn't like her either. You do notlike Tuls Gabbad wh9 is borne and raised on Kauai and part Hawaiian. And young.

You don't like Tim who has been here over 30 years and cared for kids in tough situations for decades.

So which is it? Seems whomever gets in you commentators don't like them Who would you like to see then? Seems nothing makes you happy.

Gary Hooser has lived continuously in the islands since he was 16 years old and is parents were here before statehood. Not exactly a newcomer. You my not like him but he was pretty much raised in Hawaii. You don't like Walter Ritte who is pure Hawaiian and considered a national hero. You do no like Kaiulani Huff who is Hawaiian.

I am sensing trend here.
Mahalo.

Dawson said...


2:44PM said
"...Yet you all complain about how terrible the council is. Well the council is currently composed of 6 born and raised mostly or all part Hawaiians and one second generation haole kama'aina."

Proving once again that cultural heritage is no guarantee of common sense, empathy, responsiveness, fairness, inclusiveness, effectiveness, efficiency, accountability, selflessness, or any of the other attributes of good governance.

Anonymous said...

Mel deserved an A + for stepping in as the Council Chair and intervening in support of Syngenta. Mel knows that Syngenta is on the right side of the law and he does not support the County defending this stupid appeal. Like Syngenta, we should all be thankful that Mel had the courage to speak up. Right on Mel for being willing to support this company who is not compelled to follow no stinking county ordinance.

Anonymous said...

@5;45pm

I agree.

Anonymous said...

A critical point here is that the ordinance NEVER TOOK EFFECT...so there was no law for Syngenta to follow or not. Gary is so full of BS and so many people just swallow it whole. Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

This blog has become a depressing, negative-on-everything place. It's so easy to point out all that is wrong with the world. And participants must feel good because they can have someone and someplace to share misery with. How about something positive instead of digging up dirt all the time or complaining and criticizing those who are trying to DO something in the world, good or bad, instead of sitting back and critiquing?

Joan Conrow said...

Yes, indeed, Anonymous 5:31. Instead of criticizing, critiquing and complaining, how about offering something positive?

Anonymous said...

Neighbors, wish I had them instead of more transient visitors.

Anonymous said...

531
There are many citizens who give time, money and talent to the County for free.
The County can't even put up Bus stop shelters. One example of JoAnn and her shoot, ready and aim fantasies.

Anonymous said...

5:31 -- Go read the Garbage Island and leave us alone. Or start your own damn blog.

Anonymous said...

Mel is doing exactly what he is acusing the big fist of doing, ie acting like he is representing the council in his official capacity. On Council letter head supporting Syngenta who the County if officially opposing in court. No one can speak for the entire council except all have agreed via resolution. Go Mel! You geevum bra!

Anonymous said...

@5:31 am
Let's work together to figure out how we can build affordable housing in Kapaa.
Let's work together to figure out how we can stop the pollution to Hanalei Bay as well as Mahaulepu.
Let's work together to figure out how we can keep residential districts residential. You see we are all willing to be proactive in what's good for Kauai. Join the club.

@8:32 am
Mel was and is doing just that acting in his official capacity as the Council Chairperson. Keep up the good work Mel!

Anonymous said...

11:26

We totally agree with your Lets Work Together List, especially the part about keeping residential areas residential.

Seems like BnBers and TVRers ain't going to be joining in, judging by their universal opposition to the ordinance.

The Community said, lets work together, compromise. The operators said, screw compromise, screw community.

So waddaya you gonna do, Councilpersons ?

Anonymous said...

11:26

We totally agree with your Lets Work Together List, especially the part about keeping residential areas residential.

Seems like BnBers and TVRers ain't going to be joining in, judging by their universal opposition to the ordinance.

The Community said, lets work together, compromise. The operators said, screw compromise, screw community.

So waddaya you gonna do, Councilpersons ?

Anonymous said...

You know what is so painfully funny to watch? Think on anything is goin to be solved behind the computer screen or going to meetings where its painfully obvious people that are moving her in the last 20 yeas want things done their way including a lot of people that post here.

Lots of miserable people on this isle. The rest of us will continue to straddle the fence and jostle and shove each other around for some sort of middle ground and continue to put a brown face on a white racist conglomerate hijacking of our island.

And while that is going on those of us with any sense in our heads be they local born and raised or kama'aina s will continue to drain this island of its best and finest and leave you all to the fate you so richly deserve. The one we all pray for every day.

Another Iniki to blow you all outta here.

Anonymous said...

That's a pretty harsh solution 7:00. Or maybe a government with its eye on the ball, willing to enforce the law before stuff gets out of hand.

Anonymous said...

This is not the first time Rapozo has misused his position as a council member and inappropiately used county resources to further his personal agenda. http://thegardenisland.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/aclu-threat-causes-county-to-pull-out-of-rally/article_4ed87e18-3bf7-11e0-9012-001cc4c002e0.html

Anonymous said...

@7:00 & 7:03

This B&B/ Homestays are getting totally out of hand. I hope in the wisdom of the Council that they can see what can happen to our homes districts should B&B's be allowed to establish a presence. There will be no turning back if just one B&B becomes legal. You the Council just made it legal. If in the wisdom of the council they decide on the ordinance vs a moratorium #1 - the use permit should not be perpetual, #2 -the use permit cannot be associated with the sale of the property ( non transferable). If so they will use the permit to elevate the property value for resale. #3 - septics and sewers only no cesspools allowed on a retail rental property. #4 - owner must reside on property as their primary residence 100% of the time. No jockeying room here. # 5 - 100% off street paved parking for all residents as well as guests. #6 - create a new tax class and lump all B&B's, Vacation Rentals and Homestays under the TAT tax class.

To the Kauai County Council,
Thank you in advance for reading my testimony.

Anonymous said...

Nah another hurricane to chase the white/yellow/brown or whatever color Devils off of Kauai is the only solution.

People who love Kauai will stay and vote the white/yellow/brown Devils back in office.

The white/yellow/brown Devils will come back a few years after the hurricane.

This is the cycle that we live in on Kauai. It's the Locals in office and the greedy ones that's selling the people of Kauai out.

Meth is the number 1 killer on Kauai and who do you thinks sells these drugs that terrorizes the families and tourists in Kauai. Yes it's the Locals.

This is coming from a person who was born and raised in Kauai. Yes I am a local and I love Kauai and I will never give up fighting for her.

F-/($! The Kauai Mafia!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I predict that the Council in its wisdom will do the same thing they originally did for TVR's on non-ag land and grandfather them in as long as they've been operating legally by paying their taxes and owning a unit that was legally built and completed. this way the Council avoids a string of law suits and caps the number of B&B's that legally exist now. As for B&B's on ag land, it's long been State law (not County) that you have a special use permit to operate. The Council also let the ag-land TVR's get permits, so I figure these too will be permitted. I think a cap in new B&B's is fine as long as it allows for growth commensurate with Kauai's population growth. This bit about not allowing the permits to be transferred to a new owner probably wouldn't hold up in court. But then what the heck! Our County government has shown its pertinacity to do things that get them sued. After all, if they lose...it's free money anyway! Just raise taxes again, ya Council members? No problem!

Anonymous said...

question. how do you operate legally with no permit? paying GE/TAT taxes is no free pass. what happened with TVRs ain't going to happen with BnBs.

Anonymous said...

question. how do you operate legally with no permit? paying GE/TAT taxes is no free pass. what happened with TVRs ain't going to happen with BnBs.

Anonymous said...

It's easy 6:44 PM - One only needs a permit to do something if there is a law/regulation that says you must have one. Up until now, and still now, the operation of a B&B in residential-zoned areas (not ag land) was/is entirely legal as no County or State law governing them exists. It was the same way with TVR's (not on ag land) until the Council addressed and approved legislation to regulate them in 2008. The ONLY TVR's and B&B's that were regulated in the past, and under those regulations needed a permit to operate, were those on State-regulated agricultural lands. They required a STATE permit to operate. Comprende? What the Council determined, with the solid advice of legal council, was that you can't just all of a sudden make an existing legal enterprise illegal. It is a "taking" (legal term) and subject to compensation or more. So the Council wisely grandfathered all the residential-zoned TVR's which were paying their taxes and had built-to-code structures with building permits. Here, if you can imagine, in the old days no one needed a permit to build a house. You just did it and it was legal! Eventually, Kauai became a state and the Counties passed laws saying that to build a new structure it must be built like so and so and you must submit plans to show it will be built just so and receive our approval for those plans in the form of a PERMIT...for a reasonable fee of course. But all those existing structures built before building permits were required by law were then, and still are now, LEGAL. Take a house that was built in 1909 with no permits! No laws existed then saying one must have a permit. It is entirely legal although one could not build it that way today as it would be ILLEGAL because building codes came in were after 1909. Si? (I think you get Joan, ya?)

Anonymous said...

8:47 ought to leave the lawyering to a skilled professional, your wholw argument is bullshit based on bullshit

Anonymous said...

You, 8:47 and 3:37 should hire yourselves out to Las Vegas. 8:47 picks the the subject, does the research, develops the logic for the bettors and 3:37 can do the handicapping and set the odds. you can't miss being a huge bust.

Anonymous said...

i just love how the illegal unpermitted TVR owners talk about we'll sue you for enforcing the laws. YUK

Sam Lee said...

8:47 and 3:37

you're fired !

Anonymous said...

Except that MEL stated clearly, and on the public record that "The STATE FAILED" that is why we are "here" (during 2491 hearing with dept of ag, health). For the state to fail in regulation, the chemical companies must have failed in conforming to that regulation right? Everything changed come election time and he never asked the state to enforce regulations. It would seem that Mel is contradicting himself yet again. Gary never said he spoke on behalf of the council. Mel was just going out of his way to give back to his campaign supporters. Just another political stunt from the plantation council.