Friday, September 5, 2008

Musings: Naue Nuggets

The action has been in the evening sky lately, with Venus, a crescent moon and Jupiter forming a gentle arch from the horizon at sunset, and the Milky Way so clear and dense with stars last night that I couldn’t tear my gaze away, even as Koko pulled at the leash.

By morning, when Koko and I went walking, it was all thick clouds, with the faintest lavender hue in the southwest and a light rain that turned heavy just as we got home. And at the bend in the road, an unexpected burst of lovely fragrance emanating from an unseen source, blossoms hidden deep within the dense vegetation.

I keep hoping for a similar sweet surprise in the Naue burials case, but it doesn’t seem promising. Judge Kathleen Watanabe is expected to rule on the matter by Sept. 15, but in the meantime, construction of Joe Bresica’s house on top of iwi will be allowed to continue.

Besides building his house, Brescia's minions have been busy adding another 11 defendants to the six already named in a civil suit filed against those who have attempted to stop construction. All the new defendants were identified by newspaper articles, television reports and this blog as allegedly having been involved in the Aug. 7 protest.

I’ll spare you all the details of the most recent court proceedings, as they are well covered in articles that Blake Jones wrote for The Garden Island yesterday and today.

Instead, I’ll share of the juiciest tidbits that I picked up in the courtroom yesterday.

For starters, it cost Brescia $15,0000 to $17,000 when Police Chief Darryl Perry halted construction at the site in June, saying the work could violate a law prohibiting desecration of burial sites, according to testimony by Brescia's project manager, Ted Burkhart.

Brescia has also spent a whopping $80,000 to date on security for the project, Burkhart testified, and continues to shell out $13,000 per week to have the site guarded 24/7. That’s $77 an hour, and you can bet the guards aren’t making more than $15.

He’s also had to spend some $150,000 more than he expected on the foundation, which included putting concrete jackets over the seven burials that are now stuck beneath his house.

Oh, and btw, Burkhart also revealed that they finished the house foundation just four days before they knew they had to stop work for a court hearing. How convenient, to go to court with the burials already covered in concrete. It may be legal, but it’s seriously smarmy.

And construction costs for the 2,400-square-foot house — originally estimated at $1.8 million — continue to rise, Burkhart said, because “the subs [contractors] have escalated their costs for that project. We’ve had some difficult in finding some people.”

Yeah, because who really does want to work on a burial project?

Philip Leas, one of Brescia’s attorneys, asked plaintiff Jeff Chandler, a Wainiha resident who claims he is a lineal descendant of the burials, if blessing the site would make him feel better about the desecration.

“I don’t think blessing that place will resolve your problems as far as the iwi,” Jeff said.

“Would it help?” pressed the attorney.

“How many blessings have you had already?” Chandler shot back. “Did it help? My experience with iwi spirits is if it’s not done properly then it will never help.”

It also became clear that the Burial Council, in voting to preserve the 31 burials in place, had no thought that Brescia’s house would be built on top of iwi, a view shared by Chandler.

“Preserving in place is taking care of them,” Chandler said. “Capping them [in concrete] is not preservation in any form I’ve been taught.”

Chandler’s testimony also underscored the ongoing squeeze that Native Hawaiians are feeling on the North Shore with the influx of luxury homes, many of them used for vacation rentals.

He said his family was forced to sell land in Haena because they couldn’t pay the skyrocketing property taxes. Chandler, a fisherman, said he’s had to start fishing at night because the beaches are too crowded in the day and the beach accesses are blocked with cars. And as access to the beach is diminished, he has to walk farther than ever to reach traditional fishing spots.

“You don’t like these vacation rentals, do you?” asked Leas.

“It’s not that I don’t like them,” Chandler said. “It has changed our community and lifestyle.”

And that, in a nutshell, is what this is really all about.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps huge community gatherings on the beach in front of the house at night would help. You know, sing songs, talk story. Bring the keikis. Make the guests feel welcome.

Anonymous said...

Changing community and lifestyle. Finally, the real reason behind defending bones. Absent bones, I'm sure the protesters - defenders of stability - would find some other button to push.

Communities and lifestyles change all the time. They certainly did in the rural (now deeply surburban/urban) midwest community I grew up in. "Change is coming", hails both Pres candidates. To think that Hawaii in general or Kauai in particular deserves to be isolated from change is wishful thinking at best.

Regarding the $77/hr for security with the guards getting maybe $15 (could be closer to $10), there are numerous general and admin costs to cover, the largest being liability insurance. The second is state-mandated 100% med coverage for 20+ hr/wk employees. I doubt the pre-tax profit is in any way out of line for similar companies.

Joan Conrow said...

Changing community and lifestyle. Finally, the real reason behind defending bones.

No, that isn't the "real reason" behind defending bones. But it is what attracts people like Brescia, who don't care about such ancient cultural practices as honoring and caring for bones.

Anonymous said...

But, you've not answered the basic point of the comment...that Kauai somehow has adopted the attitude that it should be exempt from change.

Forget bones. Pick some other development without that issue. Or, pick the HSF, discounting any EID-related potential harm to the environment. Even if all that didn't exist, Kauaians simply don't want to be connected to, let alone bought out by, off-islanders.

Neither did the midwest farmers whos acreage is not subdivisions.

Things change. It's unstoppable. People either adapt or get steamrolled.

Joan Conrow said...

I think everyone recognizes that change is inevitable. But should it occur through a process of anything goes? Of steamrolling? Of wanton destruction? Should it be driven by rampant greed? In no way pono? The process of change is something we can direct and affect.

Anonymous said...

I'm OK with that, as long as it includes the HSF as a means to get a "highway to Kauai" and as much development as there are people willing to buy into Kauai.

Anonymous said...

change is enevitable. some resist it, some embrace it. irregardless, values that disregard or disrespect others, actions that cause irrepairable harm or reduce the standard of living should be determined by community members and not outside interests whose motives are not in the best interest of the community.

Tane said...

It's typical for outsiders to quickly judge and make a mistake of comparing the islands with the Midwest, USA. Remember this is Hawai'i and not the continental USA. To compare apples and bananas and say it's the same fruit is ludicrous, ignorant, and arrogant. Ethics and morality play a part in this issue as well as international laws. US domestic laws have no jurisdiction in foreign countries. It is wishful thinking in believing that Hawai'i should kowtow to the US American ways of thinking. You are out of your element if you do.

Regarding security guards, if they are contracted, there is no extra-extenuous expenses they have to pay to hire them. The amount would be questionable according to their contract with the parties involved. State mandates are irrelevant and the costs would be plausible.

Not all changes are good for the community and they have a right to restrict what they want in their community. It's their freedom of choice. They decide what changes they want; not the outsiders. People have the power to regulate what they want and only get steamrolled if they choose to allow it. You decide if you are a person with rights or sheeple who comply because outsiders said so.

Anonymous said...

"US domestic laws have no jurisdiction in foreign countries."

True, but Hawaii isn't a foreign country, as much as dreamers wish it to be. so that arguement is moot.

Counties can indeed limit growth, but its the governing body only that has the power to do so, and apparently they do not wish to do so. That may change, but I doubt it.

awolgov said...

As to most of you who comment that there is something unacceptable about Kanakas respecting the iwi of their ancestors and wanting to keep things as is, you really donʻt get it, do you? Furthermore, if you acquired a drop of this admirable reverence for your deceased, perhaps you wouldnʻt be allowing your tax dollars to drop bombs on other sovereign nations.
There are a lot of factors at play here in Hawaii: it is foreign-to you because you are not the inherent sovereigns. So, yes, you should actually have a visa to be here.
Regarding change and the ʻget over itʻ attitude, there are laws instituted by your own de facto government (Hawaii state constitution) that say the Kanaka are protected and whatever their lifestyle was or is shall be protected. There is also another law passed by your congress, Public Law 103-150 that states the Hawaiians NEVER relinquished their claims to the lands. There is also a reinstated nation/government...are you ready to learn about that?
So, please, just keep in mind, there is some powerful political authority behind all that is occurring in Hawaii with respect to the lands/resources. It is far beyond public opinion and polls.
What creates the problems are judgesʻ manipulated interpretations of the laws and political question, not to mention the compounded fraud and lies that have lead people to believe they actually hold bonafide title to land they have built on.

Anonymous said...

Some cheese with that whine? Don't you know how many treaties we break?? You will have what we choose to allow you to have.

"Reservation" anyone?

The Akaka bill is your only reasonable hope, and that is doubtful. In any case, it wouldn't even come close to fulfilling your dreams and, by the way, close the door on legally pursuing any further sovregnity.

awolgov said...

S o v e r e i g n t y. Thatʻs how you spell it, since it was an obvious struggle for you.
Supreme Power or Authority:
• the authority of a state to govern itself or another state: national sovereignty.
• a self-governing state.

And honestly, I donʻt know how a nation of gracious people, the Hawaiians, have stomached the crassness of what has arrived here from the bowels of amerika.

Not speaking to all Americans, but some of know the saying: you can take the boy out of the country but you canʻt take the country out of the boy. (p>s> Thatʻs as tactful as I can get with your ʻkindʻ).

Ta Ta.

Anonymous said...

I challenge the assertion that mainlanders owning real property are guests here in a foreign land.

That may have been the case at some point in the past, but not now. Those of us owning fee simple land are co-owners with you of this place. What once was a "single family dwelling" now has "gone condo".

Not "magical", "spiritual", etc. Just "place". Like Nebraska is a place.

Those of us owning buildings on leasehold land pay lease rent, typically to some Hawiian body or another. To that extent, those people are guests in an extremely limited viewpoint since their rights are limited to the constraints of the lease agreement. And you are getting the benefits of their lease rent, by and large.

It may be true that more and more of the "units" in this "condo complex" are being owned fee simple by mainlanders and that the buy-in price has gone up, but that's the world for you. Like any other property, it's location, location, location.

So cut out that "guest" thing. It wears thin. We're all in the USA, after all, useless whining denials aside. I'm not anyone's guest here. I own lots of acres fee simple. I'm your neighbor. I don't live in your "guest house", like it or not. And all my friends are coming to buy as well.

Don't like it? Don't sell. Get your planning/zoning commissions to pass controled growth laws? Not happening? That's democracy for you, then. Can't make everybody happy all the time.

Remember, the legal system doesn't have anything to do with justice. It's merely a codified method for dispute resolution.

You'd better hope the Akaka Bill passes. It's your last and only hope. Don't rely on any UN or "international court" intervention. We don't listen to them. They listen to us.

Anonymous said...

Chandler said. “It has changed our community and lifestyle.”

I wonder what the Marquesans said when the Tahitians invaded their home? Now THAT was a change!

Anonymous said...

nunya, you're right; they just don't get it. some never will but others may see the light and work towards restorative justice when that moment of reckoning occurs. mahalo for your astute comments regarding current laws and processes in place that have supported or encouraged self determination for kanaka maoli and the descendants of citizens of the Republic. irregardless of how some folks view Hawaii's status as the 50th state, we ain't in Kansas no more.Onipa'a!

Andy Parx said...

You bunch of gutless genocidal pigs are sickening. Has anyone else noticed that virtually all the piggy little Amerikans that posts comments here have to hide who they are like dung-beetles under a rock.

You don’t even have the courage to stand behind what you say. You’re a small-minded bunch of fat leeches on society who gloat over your genocidal past. and won’t even own up to your own drivel.

No wonder most people see you as sad little boils on the butt of humanity.

Anonymous said...

You gotta love the folks who write so intelligently here.

Manawai said...

Sadly some people tend to resort to foul language and name calling when they have nothing with which to support their opinions.

Anonymous said...

> Not "magical", "spiritual", etc. Just "place". Like Nebraska is a place. <

Hawaii is a place like Nebraska is a place? Sounds like the comment posted a few weeks ago that the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy freed the islands like the American Revolution freed the colonies.

The sorrow for the present is that there are hundreds of millions who think thus. The promise for the future is that the self-centered Western culture of Me Uber Alles is nearing the end of its centuries-long run. In neighborhoods and nations, the cracks are starting to show.

It's no accident that the Joe Bressicas of the world are running into more resistance than at any time in history. The unbridled Consumerism that spawns such soullessness as building palaces atop ancestors is on its way out -- not that people want the cash any less, but that the system cannot sustain itself any more. By engorging the bank accounts of the few and starving the spirits of the many, it guarantees its own passing.

Anonymous said...

This morning I woke up in a curfew;
O god, I was a prisoner, too -
Could not recognize the faces standing over me;
They were all dressed in uniforms of brutality. eh!

How many rivers do we have to cross,
Before we can talk to the boss? eh!
All that we got, it seems we have lost;
We must have really paid the cost.

thats why we gonna be
Burnin and a-lootin tonight;
say we gonna burn and loot
Burnin and a-lootin tonight;
Burnin all pollution tonight;
Burnin all illusion tonight.

Oh, stop them!

Give me the food and let me grow;
Let the roots man take a blow.
All them drugs gonna make you slow now;
Its not the music of the ghetto. eh!

Weeping and a-wailin tonight;
Weeping and a-wailin tonight
Give me the food and let me grow;
Let the roots man take a blow.
I must say: all them - all them drugs gonna make you slow;
Its not the music of the ghetto.

We gonna be burning and a-looting tonight;
Burning and a-looting tonight;
Burning all pollution tonight;
Burning all illusion tonight
Burning and a-looting tonight;
Burning and a-looting tonight;
Burning all pollution tonight.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the end of Western civilization. Things will go on as they have for more years than you and I have left in us and our children.

By then the hawaiian bloodline will be so diluted that things won't matter anyway.

Anonymous said...

> Things will go on as they have for more years than you and I have left in us and our children. <

Yikes. No offense, but where'd you learn history, CNN?

> By then the hawaiian bloodline will be so diluted that things won't matter anyway. <

That's the same smug crap that imperialists have always reassured themselves with, as the cracks begin to appear.

Anonymous said...

I guess the opposing viewpoints expressed here can never be reconciled. One has "hope" on its side. The other has "history and experience" on its side.

Time will tell and by that time these discussions will be long forgotten.

If I had to choose now, I believe the odds favor history and experience by a significant margin. But long shots have been known to win other races.

I wouldn't put my money on this one, though.

Anonymous said...

> I guess the opposing viewpoints expressed here can never be reconciled. One has "hope" on its side. The other has "history and experience" on its side. <

"Hope" has nothing to do with it. Huge numbers of people increasingly infuriated by the same old crap, does.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your honest opinion on the burials. Your posts, along with others, inspired me to write a commentary on the Naue burial lawsuit at The Cultural Property Law Blog, at I welcome your comments and look forward to your future coverage of the suit.

Kimberly Alderman

Anonymous said...

Add to "history and experience" current law, the final trump card to all forms of protest. Given enough money and desire, people can do whatever they want in Hawaii as long as they are backed up by the law and willing to do whatever it takes to push back on protesters.

Bresca will win. He has won. There will be numerous other Brescas in your future.

History, experience and law. Only one of those can be changed, if you can get enough backing to effect a legislative change. Barring that, I see only more of the same.

Like it or not, I think the anon(s) with the "doom and gloom" scenario, relative to locals, at least will win out.

And winning often defines "right" throughout history, regardless of culture.

I, too, wouldn't bet anything significant on the "hopes and prayers" crowd. Right/wrong, just/injust doesn't matter and are no guarantee of success.

Anonymous said...

By the time this settled one way or another, not only will these blog entries be long gone and forgotten, but we who read and write them will be as well.

awolgov said...

"You gotta love the folks who write so intelligently here."

Yeh. That was an intelligent comment by Andy, who most of you ʻanonsʻ couldnʻt come close to in the intellectual be careful, piggies, and try not to show your stupidity so much. You really donʻt belong on this blog. Thereʻs plenty barrel scraping blogs online, why donʻt you go follow the scent.

Anonymous said...

"Huge numbers of people increasingly infuriated by the same old crap"

Relative to the nation as a whole or Kauai? If Kauai, "huge" doesn't even apply, even to a majority.

Relative to the nation, Nobama/Biden do have huge support, but McCain/Palin has overtaken it, at least for now.

No matter who wins, get ready for either more of "the same old crap" or the "new and improved crap". Either way, you will be disappointed.

I personally don't care.

Anonymous said...

Without researching, wasn't there some form of ante-development movement on Oahu and Maui?

Didn't work there, as we all can see. So, why do you believe it will work on Kauai?

Because we've learned from the past? Because we're kinder and gentler? Because more aging hippies have money? Not that...they just have grey long hair now.

So, why do you feel Kauai will not follow Oahu and Maui?

The Big Island is exempt to a certain extent because it doesn't have the land constraints, but it is moving in the direction of Oahu/Maui.

Do you really think it can be stopped? Would you bet your future on it?

Anonymous said...

> Relative to the nation as a whole or Kauai? <

Think larger. Consider a span of history that is considerably longer.

> I personally don't care. <

In that case, never mind.

Anonymous said...

From what I've read, there are 66,000 American retirees/month from the Baby Boomer generation. As a whole, that generation stands to inherit 7 trillion dollars. The research further stated that most of the inheritance to date was spent on travel or invested in real estate.

Cutting and pasting from an interesting comment from another poster to this blog, shown below, the 50+ crowd seems to be "ruling the world" in the USA now and for probably 3-4 more decades.

How does this factor into the equastion for the future of Kauai?


Lifting from the Sep/Oct AARP mag (I've received it for 10 yrs now):

41% of American adults are over 50, highest percentage in US history.

80% of Congress is over 50.

Half of Americans who voted in teh 2006 elections were 50+.

People over 55 own 77% of all financial assets in the US.

50+ adults account for 45% of US consumer spending ($2.1 trillion/yr).

By 2011, the American 50+ population will surpass 100 million.


So, money and numbers = "national consciousness" for the most part.

Better put your hopes for change in consciousness on hold until, maybe 2040...but then see what the opinions of those who stand to inherit all that wealth are.

Nothing changes, really.

Anonymous said...

Check out the real situation:
Nation war against nation.
Where did it all begin?
When will it end?
Well, it seems like:
total destruction the only solution,
And there ain't no use: no one can stop them now.
Ain't no use: nobody can stop them now.

Give them an inch,
they take a yard;
Give them a yard,
they take a mile
Once a man and twice a child
And everything is just for a while.
It seems like: total destruction the only solution,
And there ain't no use: no one can stop them now.
There ain't no use: no one can stop them now;
Ain't no use: no one can stop them now;
There ain't no use: no one can stop them now.

Check in the real situation
Nation fight against nation
Where did it all begin?
Where will it end?
Well, it seems like: total destruction the only solution.
Mmm, no use: can't stop them;
W'ain't no use: ya can't stop them;
Ain't no use: no one can't stop them now;
Can't stop them now, no one can't stop them now.

There ain't no use: no one can't stop them now.
Everybody strugglin': ain't no use - ain't no use -
Ain't no use you even try;
Ain't no use: got to say 'bye-'bye!
Ain't no use! Ain't no - ain't no use: no one can stop them now
No one can stop them now

Anonymous said...

If you keep cuting and pasting our of, you ought to use the handle "Troubador".

Or, formulate your thoughts in your own words.

"The hills are alive...
with the sound of Haoles"

Or be satirical with parodies like my twisted exerpt above from The Sound of Music. At least it would make us smile at some indication of wit.

Anonymous said...

There once was a man on Kauai,
Who looked around, questioning "Why?"
He saw Haoles come in,
Making all sorts of din,
Grabbing a much bigger piece of the pie.

(anon 7:26)

Anonymous said...

There once was a man from LA,
Who wanted an island for play.
Two smaller ones were owned,
"I can do that, too!", he moaned,
If I start small and build up from today.

Bresca's house on Kauai by the sea
Was build over ancient iwi
The locals are sore.
He'll need a big door.
It'll open with a skeleton key!

Anonymous said...

That's it, Joan!!!!!

The only comments allowed must be phrased in the form of a limerik!!!


Anonymous said...

There once was a man from Nantuckett,
Who brought over a mechanical bucket.
He moved tons of sand,
Things got way out of hand,
His reply to local issues: "I'll take them under advisement and consult with proper county authorities and have my lawyers draft a reply."

(appologies for the lack of the ending rhyme, but I didn't want to get banned!)

Anonymous said...

I'm working on "The Ballad of Joe Bresca" sung to the tune of the Beverly Hillbillys theme.

Stay tuned...

Anonymous said...

Oh, so many spankings neede; so little space and time. All things considered, I think I'll stick to the guy in the fool's paradise who states that McCain has caught up:

You need to remember that 270 electoral votes are needed. In state by state polls (as of today), Obama has 207, McCain 174. In considering the results in those States too close to call yet, Obama has an 87% chance of reaching 270, while McCain has a 15% chance. This is the closest unbiased analysis. Others have Obama with a range of 260 to 300. Some biased for McCain still show Obama with a substancial lead. There's lot's of time left. If it were close, McCain would not have rolled the dice and doubled down.

Anonymous said...

McCain/Palin is up 10 points over Obama/Biden, last time I heard based on a poll of the most likely voting public.

Anonymous said...

You're still looking at the popular vote...means little or nothing. The Electoral vote, State by State is where it's at.