Saturday, May 22, 2010

Musings: Round and Round

The rain began falling just as we began walking, but since it was merely a sprinkle, and I had an umbrella, we continued, strolling on roadside carpets of green velvet and spent shell ginger blossoms, watching the rain move over the verdant pastures, like a fine lace curtain pulled across the landscape.

Looking mauka, Waialeale and Makaleha were non-existent, while behind us, the Giant was slowly disappearing beneath strands of gray headed south fast.

The rain turned to light mist, then grew heavier and we turned back, to take advantage of a dim dawn, a lullaby of dripping leaves and eaves and the weekend’s openness to enter a second round of sleep.

It seems that many of the stories and issues I cover go multiple rounds, sometimes called without a clear victor, other times concluding in what has obviously been a rigged fight and still other times going on and on, with neither side willing to give up, yet also unable to deliver the knock out blow.

A few of those topics came up on my last radio show, and another — the Path at Wailua — is still being hashed out in my comments section, so I’ll start with that one first, since it even fits into the boxing metaphor of my segue.

A reader raised the question of why there’s such a push to run the Path unbroken across Wailua when the “Spiritually and Hawaiian pono thing” is to avoid further upsets to the area and recreational needs could be met without it. The reader then goes on to answer:

It must run continuous to meet the federal funding grant money that the county is using to build it (and send profits to friendly contractor buddies).

When one understands the mechanism behind the push, one sees the pesky Hawaiian burials won't get in the way of millions of dollars of work and profit promised behind the scenes.

And the Mayor takes the punches in the foreground.

It’s a scenario that plays out repeatedly in Hawaii, which is why we have Joe Brescia’s house atop a cemetery, a Wal-mart atop burials in Honolulu, etc., etc. That’s what comes of worshiping the green paper Akua, to borrow a phrase of OHA’s Kai Markell.

I do so appreciate comments that add something to the discussion and show some understanding of the situation, unlike the dunce who commented on the KIUC indictment:

I see dead animals along the road all the time. However, I don't see them closing all the roads or our state being fined for the "takings".

Ya know, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Try Google Endangered Species Act.

Getting back to the question of why does the county do what it does, Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. attorney David Kimo Frankel shed a bit of light on the Ka`aka`aniu (Larsen’s) Beach access issue. As I reported on April 22, Waioli Corp. offered the county its choice of three access ways to the beach, with the caveat that it had to accept liability for its pick. It chose the middle path, rather than the lateral path, and so now litigation is likely to move forward to retain access to what Hawaiians have identified as an ala loa, or traditional coastal trail.

David said the liability issue raised by the county and Waioli is a “red herring. The state provides protection to landowners who give land for recreational purposes.” He said that Waioli also could give the trail to the state, which already has accepted other sections of this trail, including on the adjacent McCloskey property.

Further, he said, a landowner cannot legally close off access to a trail or road formed prior to 1892, as Waioli apparently already has done by directing its leasee, Bruce Laymon, to discourage people from using that trail.. But as he also noted, and we see all too frequently: “What is the law and what is reality are two different things.”

Anyway, at the recent Land Board meeting on an appeal of the conservation district use permit granted to Bruce for his pasture fencing project, Waioli attorney Don Wilson told the Board that all the paperwork has been drawn up to give the county the middle access. All that’s left, David reported, is for the County Council to approve it.

So is that when the Mayor and Beth Tokioka are planning to finally break the news to the public? Or are they hoping the matter just slips through without people noticing? And why, if liability isn’t an issue, did the county make this particular choice? Shouldn’t we, the people, be included in such decisions?

And finally, another radio guest, Nancy Redfeather of Hawaii SEED, referenced an article in TIME Magazine that delves into the link between environmental substances and disease. We have this tendency, which gets back to our worship of the green paper Akua, to put stuff on the market before we have any idea what it does. GMOs are a perfect example. And now scientists are connecting pesticides, which go hand-in-hand with GMOs, to Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.

The article referenced a study published in “Pediatrics” magazine. According to its abstract:

CONCLUSIONS These findings support the hypothesis that organophosphate exposure, at levels common among US children, may contribute to ADHD prevalence. Prospective studies are needed to establish whether this association is causal.

According to an article on the hardly radical Voice of America website:

Lynn Goldman is with the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in Baltimore. Goldman says the use of pesticides, including organophosphates, is widespread in developing countries, where children are exposed to high levels of pesticides through farming.

"Those kids have much more serious, much more severe, neurological problems," said Goldman. "So, we do see evidence of effects in those populations globally."

Just a little something to think about if you’re living here on “pristine” Kauai, where heavy pesticide-using crops like pineapple and sugar have been widely cultivated and those ever-important because they're income-producing GMO seed crops are still being drenched in the stuff.


Anonymous said...

"the Giant was..."
The Sleeping Giant rests on Nounou Mountain in the Nounou Forest Reserve. The prominent mountain ridge mauka (toward the mountain) from here resembles a giant lying on his back. Kind-hearted in spirit, he appears under several names in a variety of Hawaiian tales that take place in the Wailua area. As “Puni,” he was the defender of the coast. As “Nunui,” he created banana patches as he walked about, depressing the land with his heavy footsteps. Nunui also collected the large stones used to build the Kukui Heiau. The heiau (temple) is still standing on the northeast side of Wailua Bay at Lae‘alakukui (point of the scent of kukui).

Anonymous said...

"offered the county its choice of three access ways to the beach, with the caveat that it had to accept liability for its pick. "

I LOVE when you make stuff and people BELIEVE you. LOVE IT.

Anonymous said...

"he state provides protection to landowners who give land for recreational purposes.”

someone didn't do her own research, again.

Joan Conrow said...

And I've learned to love your frequent failed attempts to discredit me because they're helping me to build compassion, tolerance. patience and a thick skin. So mahalo nui loa and have a great Hawaiian day! :)

Anonymous said...

-- the lady on there was a bush a nutshell, some of the "what is bad for you / people" standards and dynamics (ie, risks of exposures to A, B, or C and how that might be good for you) has not been looked at since the early 1980s. still, most cancer is RE smoking. was an interesting show


Anonymous said...

* that might not be good

Anonymous said...

Joan quoted attorney David Frankel accurately about landowners permitting use of their property for public receational purposes being protected by the state.
Check it out: Hawaii Revised Statue 520:
[§520-1] Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to encourage owners of land to make land and water areas available to the public for recreational purposes by limiting their liability toward persons entering thereon for such purposes. [L 1969, c 186, §1]

Anonymous said...

Please settle this once and for all: What is the Hawaiian definition of a cemetery? What is the legal definition of a cemetery?

The word gets tossed around alot, in this blog, in newspapers across the state, etc.


Kanaka Maoli said...

There was no Hawaiian word for cemetary in pre-contact Hawai`i. in post-contact/missionary times, Pa Ilina was used for a graveyard, cemetary, mausoleum. Pa is fence, wall, or enclosed area. Ilina is a grave, tomb, sepulcher, cemetary, etc. Interesting that the second definition of ilina is legacy, heritage, inheritance, successor.

The idea of a "cemetary" is a post contact western term.

Joan Conrow said...

Mahalo for the explanation, Kanaka Maoli.

Anonymous said...

We western folks like to organize things. Put dead people over ones over here...designated parks and rec areas over there...

Reverence for the memory of the dead isn't absent in western just isn't allowed to stand in the way of what the live folks want.

In Japan, they stack graves and sometimes bury vertically to save space. If things get too crowded, they remove the oldest bones and dispose of them some other way.

Eastern culture...growing population in land-locked environment...

Anonymous said...

Thanks much Kanaka Maoli.