Friday, April 23, 2010

Musings: Friday Follies

I woke in the night to the comforting sound of rain hammering on the roof, but by morning it was merely dripping from the trees and so Koko and I got out and went walking through wet grass and puddles that soon soaked my shoes and her belly, though neither of us minded a bit.

The bird song was loudly exuberant along our route, and as we returned, I caught the sun peeking out of a gold-crested cloud, glinting through the trees, which caused all their clinging raindrops to glisten like jewels as a Hwamei repeated a simple, yet richly melodic, tune.

Actor Piece Brosnan, meanwhile, is sounding the call to protect whales from commercial hunting. His appeal was made in a mass email sent out by Richard Diamond with the subject line: Pierce Brosnan Request – Save the Whales. It made me want to send out my own request: Pierce Brosnan — Save the Beach. Yes, he’s one of those Wainiha land owners whose gardeners are busily vegetating the public beach in front of his oceanfront house.

Speaking of oceanfront, The Garden Island gushed that a developer has given the county 138 acres of land makai of the Lihue Airport north-south runway “free of charge.”

Well, I could guess you could say it’s “free” if you don’t count the $1.4 billion, 400-unit Kauai Lagoons Resort timeshare projects he gets to build in return. The county is such a good negotiator. It also squeezed that developer to build 82 “affordable” rental units at Waipouli, where lease-ups are languishing because the units are, well, unaffordable.

The county’s parks and rec department, meanwhile, is saying it simply can’t afford to allow dogs on the entire length of the Path because of the maintenance requirements. Instead, it’s proposing to allow them on a 2.54-mile segment north of the Kealia lookout, even though the Council is considering Tim Bynum's ordinance to go the whole distance.

In reviewing the power point presentation made to the Council on the subject, I was struck by how differently county workers and members of the public feel about the issue. While some 97 percent of Path-users surveyed felt dogs should continue to be allowed on the path, just 21 percent of the 29 staff members polled agreed. A whopping 62 percent said no, citing such reasons as:

You don’t how safe that dog.

One grievance already has been filed, although the cause wasn’t noted.

I got the presentation because I had asked county public information officer Mary Daubert how many citations were issued on the Path after receiving a report that an unidentified Councilman had ordered a step up in enforcement, and rangers were reportedly “hiding in bushes” and handing out citations right and left.

I’m not sure a Councilman holds that kind of sway with Parks and Rec, but I checked it out and found that between Dec. 1, 2008 and Feb. 24, 2010, a period of 15 months, five citations were issued to people who had dogs in areas where they aren’t allowed. But in the past two months, 11 citations were handed out for that same offense. Kealia Beach seems to be the hot spot for tickets.

What I found more interesting than the citation figures, however, was how much people power has gone into this one relatively insignificant issue. Some 25 persons served on the “Dog Path Task Force,” and 11 “committed” volunteers surveyed 533 Path users and observed conditions on the Path, even counting every pile (65) of dog poo.

Then there’s the time. Park rangers, animal wardens and volunteers spent more than 1,000 hours over 13 months patrolling that 2.02-mile section of the Path, and it's unknown how much county and Humane Society staff time has been diverted. The Council has devoted countless hours to hashing it out, and it's not done yet. And standing-room only crowds have taken time out of their day to offer testimony on numerous occasions.

All in all, it prompted a friend who works at The Garden Island and I to wonder what Kauai would be like if folks devoted a similar amount of time and energy to the really big issues that affect this island.


Anonymous said...

82 “affordable” rental units at Waipouli, where lease-ups are languishing because the units are, well, unaffordable.

That is completely untrue. Lease-ups are languishing because the lease drafted by the county is unacceptable to lenders.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the same people who are against dogs on the path cock fighting.

Anonymous said...

You can rent a house for the same price as one of the Waipouli units. The market wasn't like that when the units were planned.

Anonymous said...

"support cock fighting"

-go Roland, go Roland! and in that, I mean GO away.

Anonymous said...

I'm against cock fighting on the path.

Anonymous said...

and how is this over-worked Parks dept going to clean and maintain the new 138 acre park? and will people be able to use it since it is a very high security risk area, right next to the airplane runway. Will TSA guards have to check you in? But just the clean-up is a massive project with decades of garbage dumping going on.

Anonymous said...

the path's going to go through there.

Anonymous said...

Really, where is the balance? Too few people to protest one thing, too many show up to testify at the other. Geez, can't we just get 50 people all the time to show up to everything??

People show up when a) they are immediately affected in an adverse manner b) they want to get their names out there and parade or c) malasadas are served.

Anonymous said...

Once again the only guy that made any sense in that whole dog fiasco was Kawakami.

Anonymous said...

Dog lovers are absolutely outraged at Bynum and Kawahara's idiotic move. I don't know why she would not want to move this to the full council even if other council members have amendments. Whenever she tries to run a meeting she is met with either a meltdown or spins out of control And Bynum! That guy is an idiot. To defer his own bill after he admits that he had to wait so long. Genius! Sorry Dog lovers, take another day off of work because now you have an extra meeting to attend. If I were Kawakami I would vote against them next time since they don't seem to want his help. There was so much flip flopping going on. Tim saying he supports it and is ready to move it on but wait let me second the motion to defer. Dickie saying he is ready to support it but wait let me make the motion to defer. The only rock was Kawakami. "I don't like dogs" Ha ha ha, classic! He is running circles around everybody, Fufaro included! And his take on the farm worker housing, absolutely correct. B.M