Today is the day when we start to lose daylight, with a minute shaved off both ends, signaling the shift that will take us to the shortest day of the year.
And this will be a short post, because I don’t have much time.
For starters, tune in to KKCR this afternoon from 4 to 5:30 p.m. when co-host Jimmy Trujillo and I will be discussing the War on Drugs and its spawn, Green Harvest. Our guests will be Big Island cannabis activist Roger Christie, who will discuss the new law that makes marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority there. Kauai attorney Dan Hempey is also scheduled to join us, and hopefully we'll have some written replies to questions from Police Chief Darryl Perry, who declined an invitation to appear on the show.
Shifting now to another battle, the one to preserve rural neighborhoods as communities, rather than resorts, the Planning Commission on Tuesday denied Protect Our Neighborhood `Ohana the right to appeal approvals granted to Transient Vacation Rentals (TVRS) in Wainiha and Haena.
After several lengthy executive sessions, the Commissioners followed the recommendation of the Planning Department, which said PONO’s appeals should be denied because the appeal process was intended to serve only landowners whose applications were denied.
So in other words, the public has absolutely no say when it comes to whether TVRs will be allowed in their neighborhood. It’s now clear that in issuing its approvals, the Planning Department is giving just about everyone — with one puzzling exception that raise the issue of retribution — the green light, so long as they were previously using their property as a TVR and got their application in on time.
No consideration is being given to density, sewage, impacts on the infrastructure, location in a tsunami zone, special management restrictions or public concerns. It certainly comes as no surprise that the TVR review and permitting process is a total frigging sham.
On a related note, I got an email from a prospective visitor seeking a kanaka-owned B&B, hotel or TVR. I wracked my brain and asked around, but alas, could not identify a single one. If someone knows of one, please leave a comment.
Meanwhile, at least one self-described farmer is balking at attempts to make sure the so-called “farm worker housing bill” doesn’t turn into yet another giant give-away of agricultural lands. Unfortunately, he’s getting support from Councilmembers Tim Bynum (who lives on ag land that he doesn’t farm) and Dicke Chang.
As The Garden Island reports in an article on attempts by the County Council’s planning committee to plug giant loopholes identified by the planning department:
Some farmers took issue with the focus on preventing misuse rather than the importance of helping farmers, the original aim of the legislation.
“This is a farm worker housing bill, not a close-the-loophole-on-abuse bill,” said farmer Bill Robertson.
Tim Bynum acknowledged that the council may need to “risk some potential abuse” to ensure that the bill helps in its broader goal of securing farm land for farming, and Dickie Chang said the council was trying hard to work for farmers but could not expect a “fool-proof” bill.
I wasn’t aware that the original intent of the bill was, as Tim says, to secure farm land for farming. In my understanding, it was primarily to give housing rights to people who currently do not have them, while allowing other farmers — a term yet to be defined — a chance to build housing for their workers.
It seems to me that if people are getting rights they currently don’t have, even if they’re engagd in the noble pursuit of growing food, they ought to be willing to live with a few restrictions aimed at ensuring we actually do have some ag lands. Otherwise, we're just gonna end up with another big land use sham, just like TVRs.