Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Musings: Let's Pretend

Gray ghosts drifted across a colorless sky when Koko and I went walking this morning, and it was as if the interior mountains had ceased to exist. And then a patch of hot pink in the east infused color into a world already alive with birds.

Went down to the beach yesterday afternoon, to a windy, wild and roiling sea that swept fast across the reef and allowed me to dip only quickly and cautiously before retreating in the face of all that force and power.

I was thinking it must have been a rough ride on the Superferry. Brad Parsons reports that just 35 cars and 77 people rode from Oahu to Maui and Monday, and 21 cars and one trailer made the return trip. They're really packing 'em in now.

I was busy yesterday afternoon so didn’t get a chance to listen to the KKCR discussion of the previous week’s interview — Disappeared News has a good link to that original broadcast — where Austal workers talked about possible design and construction flaws in the Superferry. So if anyone would like to share the gist of yesterday’s show in comments, please do.

In local news, Nathan Eagle has an interesting report on a resolution in the Lege asking Attorney General Mark Bennett to rule on whether vacation rentals are legal on ag lands. Oh, gee, I wonder how he might rule....

This resolution is yet another example of taking a stalled bill — in this case, HCR 348 — and stripping its contents, then replacing it with new material. And this was done at the request of our own Rep. Roland Sagum, who reportedly told The Garden Island that "many" local farmers had asked for his assistance.

I find this rather intriguing, as much of the farming in Roland’s Westside district is done by the big boys like Syngenta, Kauai Coffee and Gay and Robinson. And it’s even more intriguing because farm bureaus testified against the resolution, which is supported by the Kaua‘i Board of Realtors and others who continue to pretend that vacation rentals are allowed on ag land.

According to the newspaper article:

They say state statutes do not prohibit vacation rentals on ag land and farmers need the supplemental income to survive tough financial times in a declining industry.

I have no doubt that a few farmers could use the extra income from vacation rentals, but a more accurate assessment is that speculators and second-home owners need the income to pay their mortgages. I’ve been doing some research on this issue, and it doesn’t seem the law needs any clarification. It’s quite clear that only farm dwellings are allowed on ag land, although none of the counties are doing anything to enforce that provision in the state law.

Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho got it right when she said:

“We all know that vacation rental use of agricultural lands will drive up the price of land far beyond the ability of farmers to farm such land in an economically feasible way,” she said. “It can be argued that transient vacation rental income might support agricultural activities, but too often the agricultural part is a charade to hide the fact that the vacation rental function is the main function of the property — e.g. a 10,000-square-foot mansion on an ag lot with a few fruit trees or a couple of horses.”

In another example of folks pretending something isn’t what it is, Nathan has a story on yet another mysterious, unidentified chemical smell that made school kids and teachers in Kekaha sick yesterday.

The article reports:

[St. Theresa’s Elementary Principal Mary] Buza-Sims said a Pioneer employee came to the school and said the seed company had sprayed its fields near Kekaha School around 9 a.m., but could not confirm if there was a link.

“Nothing we know of would have caused that,” Steve Lupkes, Pioneer site manager, said yesterday evening. “This morning the weather guy was talking about the vog hitting Kaua‘i.”

Oh yeah, must’ve been the vog.

Hmmm, wonder how those westside vacation rentals and pesticide-induced chemical smells will mix……


Mauibrad said...

Steve Lupkes, Pioneer site manager, said yesterday evening. “This morning the weather guy was talking about the vog hitting Kaua‘i.”

We didn't have any vog here yesterday, and we'd have had it before you all. People in distant areas of Kauai told me at about 10am they could smell something like pesticide but couldn't figure out where it came from until they heard about the two schools that were affected. If you can smell it, it means you are breathing in molecules of the pesticide. Aloha, Brad

Anonymous said...

Back to ag issues related to planning (or lack of), tourism and sustainable economies. it's a complex amalgamation of issues critical to Kauai, our state and the health of our planet.
Your questioning of Rep
Sagum's motives/support for the resolution is spot on. Some themes going on with the work he has(n't) accomplished. Does seem like the counties position favors home rule while the state guys want to run the table(there's that theme again).
More ammo for those advocating for a CON CON!

Anonymous said...

Hey, once again just like the last few times - no proof! Its a clean sweep; there has yet to be a single shred of proof that the hysterics among impressionable are caused by what so many desperately believe - pesticide spraying. In fact, once again there is expert and official opinion that it is not what so many desperately what to believe. It must be some vast conspiracy keeping us from proving what we deperately believe. Ooooohhhhhhhh! Don't you just hate when that happens. Its just like those Rosewell Aliens.
If they would just let us prove it - we could educate everyone and everyone would believe as we do!
Yeeeeaaaah, right!