I continue to be impressed with the thoughtfulness and common sense displayed by Kauai County Councilman Arryl Kaneshiro. He's also shown he's not afraid to go against the grain.
In recent weeks, he's expressed an unwillingness to legislate every aspect of people's lives and a desire to focus on education rather than criminalization. He accepted the reality of imposing a very small tax increase to help improve the island's rotten roads, rather than pandering to voters in an election year. He's never thrown a pencil, talked beyond his allotted time or created an outburst that prompted a recess.
And he recognizes the pitfalls of a county manager system — especially in the hands of the dysfunctional Council.
Yes, that badly flawed concept is still alive. Even though the Council's own legal analyst, as well as the county attorney, have told them the county manager they wish to control would have to go through the civil service process, the Council refuses to give it up. Now they want the AG to weigh in. Meanwhile, The Garden Island still has not revealed the full scope of this power grab, including longer Council term limits and giving the manager authority over the police and planning commissions.
Arryl stands in refreshingly sharp contrast to his colleagues, some of whom can barely articulate a coherent thought, or are so immersed in their own narcissism that they are incapable of seeing the big picture or the public good. Truly, this is one of the worst Councils I've seen in nearly 30 years of following county politics.
While we're on the topic of incoherent narcissists, I see the annual March Against Monsanto is set for Saturday. I just had to laugh at the way it's billed as “a chance to educate.” Mmm, since when has carrying signs with simplistic slogans and falsehoods been educational?
Similarly deluded is Jeri Di Pietro, president of Hawaii SEED, who said the group's strategy is to increase education and awareness on genetically modified food in general. But how can they do that when they themselves are so woefully — even willfully — misinformed? To wit, Jeri's claim that “they shoot in the foreign DNA randomly. Depending on where that viral promoter of the foreign DNA lands, it can turn on dormant cancer genes.”
WTF? Where do they come up with this stuff?
Not to mention the willingness of some, like Councilman Gary Hooser, to flat out lie: “The high volume of restricted use pesticides necessary for the development and production of both parent seed and the experimental test fields too often drift into neighboring communities and sensitive ecosystems such as streams and nearshore waters.”
Shoots, even tests conducted by the antis themselves don't bear that claim out.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Health has released the scores of applicants who were awarded medical marijuana dispensary licenses. Unfortunately, they have yet to release the scores and rankings of the folks who didn't get it, because they're still in the process of notifying them. Talk about slow. It's been three weeks since they announced the winners.
At any rate, Green Aloha, the Kauai licensee, got the lowest score in the state. Yet another example of Kauai bringing up the rear.
And Politico has an interesting article about the downside of the Colorado legalization: the smell of production and processing facilities, many of which are located in Denver's poorest neighborhoods. The complaints of activists there are not unlike those leveled at the seed industry here:
Mayor Michael Hancock views the neighborhood outcry as unsurprising. City rules required grow operations—which favor warehouse-like structures—to locate in industrial-zoned areas. "Certainly, nobody wants to live under the clouds of those odors everyday," Hancock said, adding that it’s incumbent on the marijuana industry to work with communities to reduce the negative effects of their operations.
In recent weeks, Hancock signed off on an ordinance change that will require businesses seeking new licenses or renewals to submit "good neighbor" outreach plans. And next year, grow operations, which take widely varying approaches to reduce the smells they emit, will have to present odor-control plans to the city.
Elyria-Swansea was among a few neighborhoods identified by the Denver Post early this year as having roughly one marijuana business for every 91 residents—a clustering that intensifies problems like smell, but that also claims precious real estate.
"We have people who have tried to start businesses, and they weren't able to lease the spaces because the marijuana industry came in and could make a higher offer—and do it instantly," said [community activist Candi] CdeBaca. "We've borne the burden of the state and city's growth at the cost of our residents."
What's the old saying? Oh, yeah: one man's meat is another man's poison.
And finally, I ran across this cartoon, which I dedicate to all the folks who bitch and moan when I don't print their comments: