Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Musings: Cowardly Cave-Ins

The season is definitely shifting, what with daylight lingering until nearly 7 now, and the sun rising earlier each morning. The kolea are dressed in their breeding tuxedos, ready for their flight back to Alaska, as are the Ruddy Turnstones. For the past two days I’ve seen flocks of about 40 Ruddies gathered on a quiet road with a view of the sea, where they’re staging in preparation for flying back as a group.

It speaks to a cooperative spirit that seems to have eluded the state Legislature, which really needn’t have bothered to convene these past months, seeing how little they’ve accomplished.

As Farmer Jerry noted after his last visit to the Lege, the morale at the Capitol is really low, because there’s no money, and that’s the grease.

The police chiefs shot down the medical marijuana dispensary bill, with our own Chief Perry providing the rationale, if you can call it that:

“We need to put more sound systems into place” before establishing such dispensaries, said Perry.

Well, Chief, that was the purpose of the bill, to let the counties establish such systems.

Even though it had full approval of the Senate, it died in the House, thanks to Speaker Calvin Say. Kauai Reps. Morita and Sagum voted for it, but Jimmy Tokioka was opposed. Apparently he and Calvin are very close, with one political insider telling me that Jimmy decided not to run for Sen. Gary Hooser’s seat because he’s being groomed for bigger things by Say.

“There’s a good chance Jimmy could end up Speaker of the House,” the source said.

Now there’s a scary thought.

The House also sat on the marijuana decriminalization bill, which is probably just as well, seeing as how the effective date had been changed to 2050 and the fines upped from $100 to $300 for the first and $500 for each subsequent offense. Fines like that could have the effect of even more people getting busted, since the state doesn't really get anything out of pot smokers arrested now.

But perhaps one of the more disgusting examples of total Legislative spinelessness is what happened to the shoreline vegetation bill. Introduced by Rep. Mina Morita, It started as a measure to control the practice of oceanfront landowners cultivating naupaka and other plants to expand their lots, create privacy hedges and otherwise encroach on the public beach, hastening erosion in the process.

Even DLNR wanted the bill, which included a process for levying fines against landowners who were blocking the beach, as it would make enforcement easier.

But in a cowardly cave-in, the Senate totally gutted the bill, removing the fines and all the rest of the language, which spoke to the need to protect coastal transit corridors — you know, the space where people can walk on the public beach. Now all that is left is an amended definition of shoreline and an effective date of July 1, 2050 — supposedly for the purpose of “facilitating further discussion.”

Yeah, give me 40 years to tell you all the reasons why I don’t give a damn if I’m encroaching on the public beach, because by then, there won’t be one.

This bill offers stark proof of the tremendous power that wealthy landowners and the Land Use Research Foundation (LURF), whose members include include major Hawaii landowners, developers and a utility company, have over the Legislature.

For additional proof of the power that wealthy landowners have in this state, here are a few recent photos of Joe Brescia’s house, which show just how close the burials are to his house.

So what do you think happens when they take the orange fences down? People can just walk anywhere, and pretend they're not in a cemetery?

Just fire up the barbie and have another maitai. No need worry about what's right under your feet, right outside the door.

To get these shots, our photographer had to brave the sprinklers that were watering not only the newly planted shoreline vegetation in front of a nearby vacation rental, but the plants crowding into the public accessway, too. She called to a man relaxing in a beachfront Jacuzzi to please turn off the sprinklers so she could traverse the public easement back to her car, but since he was a tourist, he had no idea how the irrigation system worked.

Just another pleasant day at the beach — for the tourists, anyway.


Anonymous said...

That's shaping up to be a beautiful house. I love the shade of blue he used, and the spiral stairway and "low visual impact" railing.

We used that at our place, too...1/4 inch steel cable rather than wooden pickets. Didn't want to mess up the ocean view.

Too bad about the bones but, as they say, out of sight, out of mind.

From the very beginning of this Bresca situation I predicted that the house would be build and declared legal. And so it has.

I don't even live on your island (Kona for me) but I can already predict outcomes of various things there. If it's that easy for me, how much more easy it is for those venturing a financial stake in a project and do real research on the nature of local power and the decision process.

They almost always win.

Anonymous said...

Another comment from the self proclaimed Kona sociopath. We know, you're retired, have no kids, no interest in local culture and love to look at fish. You predicted that the house would be built and declared legal? You and 98% of the people who gave a shit about the issue. You can predict the outcomes of various things on this island? Wow, people with money and power win! Who would have thought. What a brilliant observation and original, too.

Anonymous said...

"That's shaping up to be a beautiful house."

I'm sure Joe would be willing to sell it to you.

Kooko said...

Well well, in this case pictures are worth 1,000 words ...thanks Joan those photos really help to put the reality of the house and burials in perspective. Holy crap!

Dawson said...

"... as they say, out of sight, out of mind."

The sociopaths' epitaph.

Anonymous said...

"People can just walk anywhere, and pretend they're not in a cemetery?"

Daily on Kauai people drive over them, play golf over them, walk to the beach over them and sneak through bushes over them to take photos.
When will it end.

Anonymous said...

It won't...that's the point.

Everything is done on dead men's bones. Literally and figuratively.

Anonymous said...

If I were in the market for a Kauai home, I would be interested.

As Erma Bombeck said: "the grass grows greener over the septic tank", I wonder how that applies to bones?

Anonymous said...

Joan said "since the state doesn't really get anything out of pot smokers arrested now."

Not true. The state (and Kauai County) makes hundreds of thousands of dollars annually off drug busts (including pot smokers). for the uninformed here is how it works:

A multi-jurisdictional task force composed of fed, state, and local law enforcement go after property of anyone they criminally bust for drugs using federally asset forfeiture law. They bust low level drug users without assets, turn them into informants (if you help us out with bigger fish no jail for you). Those informants and the task force sting those with assets, take them to civil court with action against the property (land, houses, cars, boats etc) for "allowing itself to be used in the commission of a crime." The MJTF then splits up the profits. The county prosecutor recently bought a new $400 Blackberry with some of this money. A KPD communications system (about $250,000) was also purchased. On the mainland entire policy forces are totally funded through asset forfeiture law. The people without resources (street level drug addicts, snitches, informants can make up to 25% of the profit from the seized property. Asset forfeiture is a ever-flowing cash cow much preferred by law Enforcement compared to incarceration. Incarceration is only for drug users with no assets that don't know anyone with assets to bargain their way out of jail with.

The fact that we are the freeest country in the world, and yet imprision more of our citizens than any other country in the world shows the effectiveness of this system.

The police chiefs don't want anyone threatening this cash-cow.

Anonymous said...

OK...who besides me knows about, or actually remembers Erma Bombeck?

That quote was a title to a book she wrote.

Sometimes it's fun to be "old".

Beats the crap the "younger gen" will remember when they are "old"...but that's what my parent's generation said about us.

Never-ending cycle.

Anonymous said...

"... as they say, out of sight, out of mind."

The sociopaths' epitaph.


What...you live to be remembered? How egotistical is that?

Kooko said...

So I guess we all expect that the B-man will be selling this house. Any guesses as to whether the a-hole realtor mentions its history and the burials to the prospective (off-island) buyer(s)??? Mentioned briefly in passing, during the "closing", perhaps? "Oh and by the way..."

Anonymous said...

I don't think he's selling. I think it will be a vacation rental.

At any rate, what a Realtor must acknowledge by law or to avoid liability in a lawsuit is an interesting question.

There was a Realtor who lost a lawsuit due to not disclosing that the home he sold was under a commercial air flight pattern for takeoffs or landings.

Realtor disclosure issues are touchy, especially in this era of everyone having a lawyer on speed-dial.

Anonymous said...

That definitely applies to the Coqui frog problem on the Big Island.

Anonymous said...

Just another B&B on the coast....bones and breakfast!

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't JB just use the house. If he is as flush as everyone asumes why rent out to strangers.

It has a lovely setting and only the unenlightened few have suggested that evil is lurking in the background.
But that is probably the photographer stuck in the overgrown bushes.

Anonymous said...

I just love all of these flowery and ribald light hearted comments from people who have no idea what they are talking about.

Heres a suggestion. Ill move to wherever the heck you are, and build a house just as nice as Brecias over your ancestors historical remains.

Then you can also give me your House and Garden critique of it. Hows that for sarcasm and irony?

Sidenote: none of you are clever, except in your own feeble minds, surrounded by your own kind.

Anonymous said...

Come on over. I've got a mausoleum in Ohio that needs repair.
We'll sell it to you and move the ancestors and you can have a " granite stone house".

Anonymous said...

photos show much


Anonymous said...

I don't care which of my ancestors you build over. I'll even nominate some to be dug up so you can use their bones for hat and coat racks.

The dead mean nothing to me, unless I'm in their will, of course.

Anonymous said...

--- what was burial council / SHPD suppose to do in your understanding of the law? require monitoring, require data recovery, require reinternment? if your options for resolution are outside of the law, suggest changing the law.

--- can you bring more solutions to the table instead of just pointing out the glaring problems? IMO - no one here offers any solutions only anger, regret, loss, overall sense of doom and gloom or possibly the ever popular 'poor me' syndrome.

Kooko said...

The photos are unambiguous.

That house was "shoe-horned" in.

Will the orange markers be there when the realtor takes prospective buyers on tour? Or if a rental, will the photos on VRBO show these?? (just pointing out...)

Anonymous said...

"I don't care which of my ancestors you build over. I'll even nominate some to be dug up so you can use their bones for hat and coat racks."

Such a generous offer, given the big demand for hat and coat racks on Kauai.

Anonymous said...

I would think the burials would be marked with a fairly inconspicuous metal marker pounded in the ground and not sticking up...like geological markers or metal pins used for surveying.

If you weren't looking for them, you'd never see them.

Anonymous said...

It’s just a plant that makes you giggle and eat junk food. It’s nothing to get hung up about, let alone a reason to continue waging a drug war that has ruined so many lives and eroded so many freedoms."