Friday, April 18, 2008

Musings: Where Stay?

The moon, full Sunday, had already set when Koko and I headed out this morning, and the mountains were hulking silhouettes, their detail obscured by the same fine haze that made it possible to look directly at the burnt orange orb of the rising sun.

As Koko and I walked along the road in the soft pink light of dawn, it was impossible not to notice the splayed and flattened bodies of toads and birds scattered everywhere, the uncounted casualties of our love affair with the automobile.

Bees, both the honey and bumble kind, were buzzing all around the fragrant white angels’ trumpets, which always burst into bloom enmasse. Saw farmer Jerry, heading in to prepare for tomorrow’s big garden fair at KCC, and it seems the bees are mad for the pollen in the corn field — non GMO, and organic — that he’s raising as part of a research project at the Wailua experimental center.

Apparently Ray Maki, of Permaculture Kauai, had called him wondering if he had bees, as he wasn’t seeing too many at his place. It’s something we’re hearing a lot of these days: where are all the bees?

The other day on the radio I heard Ka`iulani Huff and Hale Mawae talking about how tourists often ask, where are all the Hawaiians? To which Hale responded: “They’re underneath your house.”

Yes, plenty of Hawaiian bones, or iwi, can be found beneath the vacation rentals, mansions and hotels built along the coast. That is, if they haven’t been carted away to a storage container or reburied someplace else.

Hale, Ka`iulani and others have been camping out in front of property purchased by Joe Brescia in Haena to protest his plans to build a home on top of some 30 burials that have already been dug up. Who knows how many more lie buried in that sandy soil?

I was quite amused to discover, when reviewing testimony submitted for the resolution to get the AG’s opinion about vacation rentals on ag land, a letter that Mr. Brescia had submitted. It was apparently misfiled, as he’d intended it as testimony on another bill, SB 1891 which deals with criminal penalties for misuse of public lands.

His testimony shows just how clueless some of the folks buying up property on Kauai really are. Here we have a guy who has dug up burials and planted vegetation to extend his lot onto the beach — and who lives in a neighborhood rife with illegal vacation rentals on conservation land — urging the Lege “in the strongest terms to set meaningful penalties that will give the enforcement personnel the tools they need to stop the destruction of our State' s precious beach resources.”

He goes on to complain:

The combined forces of uncaring ATV riders and "eco-terrorists" who are removing beach vegetation and lowering dune crests promises to have devastating effects to our beach resources.

Brescia and his ilk don’t seem to understand that they are the ones destroying the dunes by planting them and creating a vegetative barrier that has disrupted the normal flow of sand. Have you been out to Haena lately and seen the erosion they’re causing?

But then, they don’t notice this kind of stuff because this is not really their home and they’re so rarely here. Brescia, in fact, directed the legislative staff to make and distribute 30 copies of his email testimony because he was “overseas on business.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Lege really did toughen up enforcement and go after guys like Brescia?

In the meantime, however, the folks who were finally busted by the state for having illegal vacation rentals in the conservation zone are suing the state to have their lucrative rentals reinstated, arguing that since half of Haena is conservation and half isn’t, they should have the same rights as those who live outside the conservation district.

Never mind that they bought the property knowing full well it was in the conservation zone, and that many of those involved in the suit don’t even live here — aside from the Faye family — and in fact, aren’t even individual homeowners, but groups of doctors and other investors who got together to buy these lots.

You gotta wonder, where are their brains? And more important, where are their hearts?

In closing, Andy Parx does a good job on his blog of dissecting the auditor's report on the Superferry exemption, focusing on AG Mark Bennett's questionable role in the process. And Dick Mayer sent a link to a searchable version of the audit with an index.


Anonymous said...

got bees in my yard; lilikoi starting to bloom bigtime. whole lotta buzzin' goin' on in kapahi; here's a link on bees and the farm bill-
lots of crazy happenings all around the globe. went to harbors meeting last night' light turnout but no one testified in support of the millions to be spent on superferry amenities. lots of concerns about water and air quality as well as military impacts and the effects of rising sea levels, peak oil and a changing economy.
hope brescia chokes on a bone!

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks for the info on the harbors meeting. I really like it when people share reports like this.