Friday, October 26, 2007

Musings: Making a Shift

I got a good dose of that big bright moon, lying on the grass last night, bathed in her silvery light, and again during my walk this morning, watching her play hide and seek with racing clouds. I love seeing night shift into day.

My little rental cottage is going through a major shift as I prepare for the termite tenting team today. It’s an unpleasant mix of packing for a trip, moving and taking precautions against a poisonous gas that soon will permeate everything within a two-foot radius of the house.

With the help of two friends, the landscaping around the house has been shifted out of the ground and into pots, or holding areas in the garden, so it can be replanted after the termite tent comes down. We also harvested at least 30 pounds of taro from a 20-foot row along the north side of the house. It’s a mix of four varieties, and even though it’s dryland, it’s gummy and sweet.

It’s all been extremely inconvenient and disruptive, but I’m trying to look on the bright side, figuring it’ll be a chance to do a deep cleaning in the house and shift things around a little in the yard.

The Superferry bills haven’t gone through much of a shift as they make their way through the House and Senate. On one hand, it’s positive that legislators grilled state Attorney General Mark Bennett, DOT director Barry Fukunaga and Ted Liu, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, at length.

I don’t have a TV, so I haven’t been able to watch any of the proceedings, but Ian Lind notes in his blog today that Bennett did reveal that Bob Awana, Gov. Lingle’s former chief of staff, negotiated the harbor agreement with the Superferry, making it difficult for the guv to keeping claiming it was a DOT deal.

Still, the questioning didn’t lead to any substantive changes in the proposed bills, which continue to grant control over environmental conditions to Lingle, and what does she know about such things? Her administration didn’t think an EA was needed in the first place.

And nothing in either the House or Senate bill looks at the social impacts of allowing the ferry to run while the EIS is under way. That’s as much an issue to many, especially on the Neighbor Islands, as protecting whales and preventing invasive species.

Some of the media reports refer to it as a compromise bill, but I don’t see how they came up with that assessment. Somehow I don’t think they’re referring to the state environmental law and Supreme Court decision that’s being compromised.

It’s unclear whether the Senate and House bills will be able to merge into one that also passes muster with Superferry and Lingle. Since so much of the discussion around this legislation took place behind closed doors, before the special session started, it’s difficult for us outsiders — the public — to know exactly what might be the sticking points.

But on the bright side, I’ve got sticky poi and laulau in my immediate future.


Anonymous said...

Laulau and taro sound really yummy.
My own experience with State DOT doing the EIS for the Lahaina Bypass is that they do lousy work. When SHPD gets involved, more worse. Then we have the spineless folks at OHA who only get involved when "asked to" or if something is "significant" enough.
I can just imagine what we have in store for us when DOT does the EIS for the super ferry.

Anonymous said...

Joan,You are in a long term rental cottage on ag land? If you were here on Maui and you had a vacation rental in that cottage you'd be out of business. I'm not in the rental business but Ag lots are going through a big crackdown all of a sudden. No B&B's no TRV and Min. income from farming are some. It's interesting to see all this ag lot law making in conjunction with HSF. If local farmers are officially denied vacation rental income and must make a certain amount a year to farm, how many will survive? If Maui Land and Pine is planning to ship Maui gold pineapple and other "products" by HSF might they be going into the veggie business in a big way? Are we cleaning out small farmers in the interest of corporate agra business? Have not seen anything written about this coincidental crackdown and HSF...have you? Is this why the farmers were saying HSF too expensive at the hearing yesterday? ML&P has already invested 1mil in HSF and done their own shipping deal with HSF. OK, maybe I'm paranoid but can you blame me after watching the House hearing on my PC yesterday. I wish I could box it up and make it a required part of school civics curriculum. Heck, make it part of a requirement to vote in this state. Finally did I hear lots of hints from A G Bennett and Ward and others to maybe "fix" 343? Fix it like the current admin and congress went about fixing our federal agencies? Scary!!!

Larry said...

Hope all goes well with the tenting. It sounds traumatic. If you need a vacation to recover,where would you go, you're already on beautiful Kauai?

The EIS is to be done by Belt Collins, a company with many contracts in Hawaii. Originally it was to be a non-bid contract, but that ran into trouble so it was put out to bid. Belt Collins ended up with the contract anyway.

I wonder if they would be willing to produce a fair report that contained unpleasant news and then suffer the inevitable consequences.

Anonymous said...

Even though the State and counties contract their EIS work out to one of the popular consultants (Belt Collins, Wilson Okamoto, RM Towill, etc) the gov agencies are still in control of making sure that the work is done thoroughly which is not what happened with the Lahaina Bypass or with the Alii Highway project for that matter. What I have also learned is that the consultant will almost always side with the agency (and its biases) who is paying for the EIS.
As for ag lots on Maui with million dollar homes on them? I think Council woman Joann Johnson has the right plan in mind and she needs all the support she can get.

Larry said...

After the contract with Belt Collins is signed it becomes public information. It might be interesting to have a look at it.

State contracts I have seen inlude a clause that the final project must be approved by the state if the contractor is to receive the final payment. The state can receive a draft of the final work product and review it. This isn't unusual. And so there is a revision... and then the contractor gets paid.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the contractor gets paid and so do the subcontractors even though they may have done an extremely lousy job. For the Lahaina bypass, Paul Rosenthal did the archeological study in Kahoma above Lahaina and totally missed what seems to be a pre-historic village with acres of agricultural terraces connected by auwai causing the project to be halted at the last minute. Ronsenthal got paid alright, even though his work was sloppy and the State was ready to break ground based on sloppy work. Scary.

With the super ferry, looks like it not only will be running without a completed EIS but even if an EIS is done, it doesn't look like anything can be done about slowing it down for the whales. Scary.

Anonymous said...

If you're a whale.

Selva said...
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