Friday, April 3, 2009

Musings: Parallel Struggles

Kauai’s Dan Hempey is in court on Maui today representing three leaders of the Reinstated Hawaiian Nation on charges they trespassed on Kahoolawe. The men landed on the island, where entry is allowed only by permit, and planted their flag to make a point: if the Kingdom never gave up Kaho’olawe – or any of the lands under its control at the time of the overthrow – how can Kingdom nationals possibly trespass there?

And so began Ia long legal slog, with Dan doing the case pro bono.

The judge already ruled they can’t use the sovereign nation defense, so today’s action is a trial with stipulated proceedings. You can get some background here.

This case, and the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, is pushing the key question: what will it take to get Hawaiian lands back in Hawaiian hands?

Meanwhile, in a move that works to further erode the kanaka land base by making real estate speculation so attractive, the county has begun posting its approvals of transient vacation rentals that are not in the designated Visitor Destination Areas. You can sort the log by status to see who has gotten the go-ahead, and where.

Interestingly enough, the planning department approved some in the Ag district, where they’re prohibited by state law, and appears to be granting wholesale approvals to the TVRs in Hanalei, Haena and Wainiha. Some of those approved North Shore units are actually on the ground floor of homes that have been elevated to comply with regulations for building in a flood zone. That space is supposed to be open so flood waters can move through.

Instead, all those tourists will be stuck there on the ground floor when a tsunami hits. So much for extending the aloha spirit to visitors. And so much for the county inspection process.

Approvals also have been granted to homes that are newly constructed, making a mockery of the supposed “grandfathering” provision.

But while TVRs in the open district in rural coastal ares have sailed through, the only denials thus far are for three TVRs in Kalapaki Villas in Lihue town, where the zoning is R-20. Go figger.

Finally, I thought I’d share a link to a thought-provoking video that was kindly provided by “Anonymous” in the comments section of a previous post.

It not only tells the story of a revolutionary movement that doesn’t seem to have gotten much media attention, but depicts the environmental and social consequences of copper mining on a tropical island. Especially fascinating is its account of how the residents of this island have responded with ingenuity and innovation to a blockade that's left them without fresh infusions of Western stuff.

The film raises a lot of intriguing questions about self-determination, the lasting effects of colonialism and the role of armed resistance in a struggle for independence, with more than a few parallels to the same struggle that's been under way in Hawaii for more than a century.


Anonymous said...

the people of bougainville would make great americans. and the creative recycling was impressive for sure, but it was (for me) the coconut oil fueled cars..have to see it to believe it. plus, the leadership seemed to have that nice quality of being legitimately brave as well as genuinely kind (and all of this to a pretty fun and catchy local soundtrack :)

Larry said...

Those TVRs approved in the ground floors of flood zones... that's amazing. How could they get insurance?

But this is something I'm not too familiar with. On Kauai, is the restriction a county one or a state one? That is, whatever law or reg says they can't put those rooms on the ground floor?