Every picture tells a story, so after seeing this one, and then taking my own visit, with tape measure in hand, to Wailua Beach yesterday, it appears that Mayor Carvalho didn’t actually “get smart” and move the bike path off the beach, as I asserted in my last post, but “got slick” instead.
Although the county press release states that “the proposed alignment for the Wailua Beach section will be shifted from the beach to the right-of-way on the makai side of Kuhio Highway,” it’s quite clear from this photo and my own observation that the path won’t actually run along the shoulder of the road, as most assumed — and The Garden Island headline proclaimed — but on the beach.
Yes, the route is a little bit farther mauka than the boardwalk was originally planned, but it’s still on the beach. In fact, now it’s right on the dunes, where most burials traditionally are. If you have any doubt that’s the beach, let’s remember that the rock wall was built to keep ocean debris from washing onto the road.
So nice try Bernard, right down to making the announcement on a Friday afternoon prior to a three-day weekend — the traditional time for putting a spin on news you don’t want followed too closely. Andy Parx, in his inimitable style, nails it with the title of his blog post on the subject: ANOTHER STEAMING PILE ON THE BIKE PATH.
That wasn’t the only steaming pile I encountered this weekend. When I went north, again with tape measure in hand, to the lovely shoreline of Wainiha, I discovered, much to my dismay, that Anthony Kiedis, lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, has installed his yard on our beach. See all the driftwood that the waves deposited on his manicured lawn?
Again, every picture tells a story, and this one, unfortunately, offers a tale that is repeated all along that stretch of coast where the state and county have allowed people to encroach onto our beach so they can build massive houses on relatively small lots and still have that de rigueur front lawn and thick naupaka hedge to provide them with the privacy they desire.
We measured debris on his lawn 36 feet in from his certified shoreline — a shoreline that is supposed to mark the highest seasonal wash of the waves, which represents the boundary of the public beach.
Now that he’s got a naupaka hedge and gate and lawn and landscape features on our beach, it raises the question: how do we, the people, ever get our 36 feet of beach back? Unless, of course, the state and county make him move back his plantings behind the true shoreline, which would cut his usable lawn in half and allow the riff raff to get uncomfortably close.
So I got to wondering, why is it that the government is always so worried about “taking” from private landowners, but thinks nothing of “taking” from the public? Why is that even as the experts warn against building too close to the shoreline, the county is approving oceanfront homes that would have virtually no setback if the shoreline certification wasn’t manipulated in the landowner’s favor?
Kiedis, of course, isn’t the only one. The same situation is occurring all along that shoreline, including right next door, where Joe Brescia is building atop a cemetery, and a few lots down, where the waves on Friday washed right under the house. And all along that coastline their gardeners are busy planting and irrigating to perpetuate the illusion that our beach is really part of their yards.
The county and state and Realtors and landowners can pretend that these certifications are legit, but the piles of ocean debris — and the pictures — tell quite a different story.