Few sounds are more welcomed than rain pounding on the roof, dripping on the ti, bouncing off the banana leaves, and that’s what I awoke to this morning.
The moon, which rose full and jack-o-lantern orange through last night’s high clouds and haze, was nowhere to be seen, and the sun was but a slight smudge of pale pink in the east when Koko and I slipped out for a short walk among plants and soil that were fully quenched.
When you get right down to it, that’s the only kind of bounty that really matters, yet most of our focus lately has been on the other kind, the human-created kind, which Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke cautioned “won’t rebound quickly,” despite a massive infusion of government aid.
The talk was all about money when I took Koko to the vet yesterday, where the desk clerk and several customers were in a heated discussion about the growing disparity between Kauai’s super-rich and everyone else. They were all locals, and they weren’t concerned so much about the economy in general as getting squeezed off the island in particular.
One woman said a realtor had told her: “Forget the millionaires, now Kauai’s attracting billionaires.” Another cited home prices at the new Kukuiula subdivision in Poipu that start at $1 million, asking: "Who can afford that?"
They were particularly upset that the county has failed to provide any new programs or facilities or activities for youth and teens, despite getting so much more money in property tax revenues.
I just observed it all, Koko on my lap, and was struck by how they bonded over their rejection of the class-consciousness that is starting to become more prevalent on Kauai. Hmmm. Maybe it’s no longer fashionable to be a conspicuous consumer.
I read a short article on billionaire Warren Buffet in “The Week” last night that noted he’s fond of saying: “You want to be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy.” Suddenly I understood why I’m not rich. I always thought the goal was to avoid both fear and greed.
When it comes to greed, I often think of Joe Brescia building his spec houses over burials at Naue. There he is with his millions, and meanwhile, the Hawaiians who are protesting it are scrimping along. One of them, Andre Perez of Oahu, who was arraigned on Kauai yesterday on trespassing charges stemming from an Aug. 7 protest at the site, noted the contrast in a Monday email:
I heard that the Noho Hewa video was shown at the film festival tonight and that it was pretty good. I had mixed feelings cause I wanted to go but was $10 and bread is kinda tight right now.. I couldn't help contrasting these thoughts- I like watch dis video about Hawaiian resistance but at the same time no can go cause gotta save money and gotta get up early for court on Kauai. Basically, no can watch the video about the struggle cause of the struggle. Fuck up.. BUT- we will continue to persevere - ONIPA'A!
Speaking of perseverance, those fighting the Superferry in court – in particular, the way a special law was passed to allow it to sail without first having the EIS required by another law — will have another chance to be heard.
The Honolulu Advertiser reported last night:
The Hawai'i Supreme Court today agreed to hear an appeal seeking to invalidate a state law that allowed Hawaii Superferry to begin operation last year without an environmental impact statement.
The court said it was transferring the case from the lower Intermediate Court of Appeals and would schedule oral arguments because it involves a matter "of imperative or fundamental public importance." A date for arguments was not announced.
The Sierra Club, Maui Tomorrow and the Kahului Harbor Coalition requested the transfer as part of their appeal of a Maui Circuit Court ruling in November that upheld the new law known as Act 2.
The last time the three groups were allowed to present oral arguments before the Supreme Court, they won an uncommonly swift judgment that brought a halt to Hawaii Superferry service.
In an update of the story this morning, the paper reports:
Wailuku attorney Isaac Hall, representing the Sierra Club, Maui Tomorrow and the Kahului Harbor Coalition, said "it's encouraging" the court accepted the case on the grounds that it involves an issue of importance and at the discretion of Chief Justice Ronald T.Y. Moon.
"If the court rules that Act 2 is unconstitutional, then the injunction should be reinstated until a real EIS is done pursuant to Chapter 343," Hall said.
The comments that followed the story included the familiar whining about how no one has fussed over the environmental impacts of other ships and the usual cheap shots at Isaac Hall.
But “sweetleaf” did raise a good point:
One would think that a "$250 million enterprise" would take the time to time to read the rules first. Of course it's gonna come back and kill em... what a costly mistake.
As did “flyin bob":
Why is the DOT doing the EIS and not a private company that would normally do it, and WHO is paying for the EIS?
Good questions. Maybe they could forward their queries to Gov. Lingle. Oh wait, she’s on the campaign trail for McCain, whose national security adviser and campaign contribution “bundler” is Superferry investor and Board Chairman John Lehman.
Any more questions?