We saw it coming, or at least, I did: a thick bank of clouds, fronted by a gray fringe, that was headed south when Koko and I were returning from our walk this morning. The sky turned white and then I could hear the rain coming, drumming and pounding as it swept over the trees, falling straight and hard, each drop visible, backlit by the sun. We were quickly wet, and so we kept going, me with my head up, enjoying the spectacle, Koko with her head down, because she’s not so crazy about water.
And then it departed, drifting toward Haupu and maybe Poipu, and we were left with wet fur and soaked clothes, respectively, and a vibrant double rainbow arching over the pastures and cinder cones.
It’s Friday, a good day for a wrap-up, so here goes…..
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a sexual discrimination suit against one of PMRF’s contractors, ITT Corp. on behalf of Kauai resident Melissa Pacheco and a male co-worker who opposed the harassment. Melissa blazed a trail as the first female firefighter out at the missile range, which prompted me to write a story about her for Kauai People three years ago this month. The clip archive died with The Advertiser, so I pulled this from my own files:
“When I first started, a lot of the guys were not very nice,” says Pacheco, who was hired on at PMRF in March 1995. “There have been a lot of ups and downs and adjustments, especially for the men, but for me, too.”
Initially, the firehouse had no women’s quarters, so she had to bunk with a dozen men.
Harassment, usually dished out by the same group of men, continues to be a mainstay of her job, but Pacheco can hold her own. “I’m a scrapper. If I know I’m 100 percent right, I’m not afraid to tangle. But there’s been a lot of stuff I’ve just let go. I have to pick my battles.”
Both PMRF and ITT gave Melissa a lot of heat for speaking out in that article. It’s been a tough road for her, but I’m glad the EEOC has taken her case.
In a surprising turn of events, former Mayor and Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura testified in opposition to the bill that would allow vacation rentals (TVRs) on ag land. The Council has again deferred a vote on the matter.
It’s unfortunate that in covering this story TGI reporter Léo Azambuja continues to rely so heavily on Councilman Tim Bynum, who introduced the measure. Today’s article is especially egregious, offering only Tim’s glossy take on things.
What I found most amusing was Tim’s comment that he had made the bill “clearer and a little tougher,” in part by introducing an amendment that the planning department “may physically inspect” the TVR before issuing it a non-conforming use certificate. Whoa, yeah, you’re really getting tough there, Tim.
The amendment makes it clear that the department’s staff may inspect a TVR if they feel it’s necessary. The criteria for a possible inspection, however, will be up to the department, said Bynum.
“We try to write laws that allow people to do their job, not dictate every aspect,” he said.
Yes, Tim, that would be great in an ideal world. Unfortunately, this is Kauai, and the planning department under Ian Costa needs clear direction, not more ambiguous leeway.
In a further cementing of the already tight bond between the University of Hawaii and biotech firms, Monsanto has established
In case you haven’t heard, the ACLU and Lamda are preparing to sue over Gov. Lingle’s veto of the civil unions bill. According to its press release:
“We’re obviously disappointed that Governor Lingle has, once again, used her power to deny the people of Hawai`i their civil rights” said Laurie Temple, Staff Attorney for the ACLU. “Luckily for the people of Hawai`i, however, our constitution prevents discrimination based on sexual orientation. If the Governor won’t honor her oath to uphold the constitution, the courts will.”
Meanwhile, a U.S. District Court judge has ruled that a federal ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional:
Judge Joseph Tauro in Boston ruled in favor of gay couples' rights in two separate challenges to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, arguing that the law interferes with the right of states to define marriage.
And in a further cementing of the already tight bond between the University of Hawaii and biotech firms, Monsanto has established a $100,000 scholarship fund bearing its name at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources for students who will study plant biotechnology and biological engineering. According to the press release:
“Hawai‘i is the gateway to the future of worldwide agriculture, and we want to support and encourage as many local students who are interested in pursuing an exciting and meaningful career in agriculture,” said Fred Perlak, vice president of research and business operations for Monsanto Hawai‘i.
Looks like the gateway will be dead and brown, the result of repeated applications of Monsanto’s Roundup….
Friday, July 9, 2010
Musings: Friday FYI
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Sexual harassment is a real problem on Kauai, whose employers remains somewhere in the 1940's on the topic. The case must be quite egregious for the EEOC to take it on. It is actually pretty unusual for the EEOC to come out and make a finding of "cause" and it is more unusual for the EEOC to then take on the case as a lawsuit.
What is the specific harassment alleged in the lawsuit?
JoAnn Yukimura did not have a change of heart. She helped draft Bill 2204, which was a predecessor to Bill 2364. In that bill, she was the one who successfully pushed to leave TVRs in ag lands out of the picture.
Joan, your information is wrong, and I have seen you write this before. If you look in retrospect, you'll find that JoAnn has always been against the bill that Tim Bynum has introduced.
That said, I would guess the reason the reporter quoted Tim Bynum throughout the article probably has to do with the fact that it was who Bynum introduced the bill. Accountability is always a good thing, especially in an election year.
But yes, I agree it would make the story better with if it had more quotes. I'm just glad that it was printed anyway, though, so we can know what's going on, and give accountability to those who are making decisions for us.
The reporter only talked to Tim, cause he wasn't there. He was there earlier in the day, but he was long gone by the time the agenda item came up.
And to clarify, the existing TVR bill says the planning dept shall inspect... so Tim Bynam is definately weakening the bill by making it optional.
Usual Tim doubletalk. His psychology degree serving him well for this position...
Read the bill, don't listen to Tim doing the administrations bidding.
To Anonynmous July 9, 2010 10:57 AM:
Who are you kidding? Have you not been watching this fiasco unfold? Joann has always been a supporter of the Bynum bill. What have you been watching? JoAnn, do not run for cover now that it is becoming clear that it is an illegal bill. Don't try to make it appear that you now oppose the bill. You supported the bill from its inception. If you don't believe me, ask Tim himself. It was so obvious that he was very upset at your change of heart. Maybe Jay and Lani will have a change of heart too. By the way, did JoAnn have a dream?
You are terribly mistaken. JoAnn supported the TVR legalization, and I believe as some sort of compromise. But that was years ago. The bill that Bynum introduced, trying to legalize TVRs in ag land, was never supported by JoAnn. She was in the council meeting, on day 1, opposing the bill. Buddy, you've been sleeping on this one.
Maybe she had a dream like Kawakami.
Joann supported the Furfaro version of the bill. In fact, Furfaro introduced it for Joann. That bill attempts to legalize TVRs on ag land too. Right?
Her bill called for status quo agreements until the important ag land study. Tim's bill calls for special permits.
How can we believe a word tim or the county say about this bill? Tim lies about making the bill stronger, says no inspections were required, he's so on it he says, he's adding inspections... but for all who can read, the existing ordinance says, planning SHALL inspect. So if tim is lying about something so black and white, you can be sure the rest of what he is saying on this bill is a crock of you know what. And it takes away public participation, how's that for mr. open government.
No matter how you slice it, Tim and Joann attempt to allow TVRs on ag land. Both of them are trying to allow an illegal use. They took an oath to uphold the law. Maybe that oath didn't include Chapter 205.
Every since I can remember, realtors, owners, vacation rental agencies, residents....knew darned well that TVRs were ILLEGAL on ag. land. True, some had them anyway, knowing they were illegal, but nonetheless they chose to run them under the radar. Now their attorneys have found a gray area, where the law can be manipulated and "interpreted" to say they ARE legal. Of course these people see a loophole, and want their past illegal acts to now be regarded as legal. TO BE REWARDED WITH PERMITS FOR THEIR PAST UNLAWFUL BEHAVIOR.
Boy, that's f---ed up!
There is no gray area. It is illegal. Plain and simple. They have created a perception that there is a gray area. What is surprising is that they have successfully convinced all but two council members (Asing and Kawakami) that there is a gray area. More surprising is how they have convinced the County's legal team of the same. This is embarrassing to say the least.
No doubt corruption. That is obvious. The question is how much did it take.
Carry me a river. It is all about supporting a population of county workers with taxes from those TVRs.
Otherwise the unemployed would pilage those with jobs and resources. This is what we will have going forward government extoration to keep the unemplyable in control.
so corruption is the norm here?
This is America. Why should it be different here?
Anonymous July 11, 2010 8:34 AM said...
"This is America. Why should it be different here?"
You haven't been here long, have ya?
Corruption the norm here? I've been here for 10 years now, coming from Chicago. This place makes Chicago seem like the most up-and-up place in the universe.
I don't have a problem with it. I understand it and, therefore, can profit by it.
that whole meeting and day in those council chambers was one of those days where u feel drained, lost, and totally devoid of all hope. Where it just makes u want to hang up your activist hat and go home and take a big nap. Which is exactly what I did.
I was so brain dead at the end of that meeting, I really am not sure, after years of going to these things I may ever return.
It was one of those "Aha!" moments, when u say: this is a total crock of u know what, I am wasting my time, nothing I ever say will ever make a difference, I should just go home, and prepare for the end of Kauai as we know it.
And I think that anyone that was there for that particular long day of meetings, would feel exactly the same way.
Wahine Warrior, I totally get what you are saying. But you must know that wearing us down is part of their plan. At least you know one thing ~ you are fighting the good fight and you are not alone. Keep your chin up and keep speaking out. We may not be able to be there with you physically, but believe me, we are here.
I was so brain dead at the end of that meeting
You were pretty brain dead when you were speaking at the meeting, too.
5:09 - Yeah, like we don't already know what you think.....
"You haven't been here long, have ya?"
Does five decades count?
"I've been here for 10 years now, coming from Chicago. This place makes Chicago seem like the most up-and-up place in the universe."
That's saying a lot, considering
Daley, Blagojevich, Washington, etc. The difference is here, they don't get caught on tape.
The difference is here, they don't get caught on tape.
How do you know it just hasn't been publicly exposed? Like our small time money grubbing leaders are so smart, they won't get caught...
It's not their intelligence, it's just that law enforcement doesn't have the resources to go after corruption unless it involves selling a US Senate seat or something a little more spectacular than the mayor getting paid to fix a grading violation.
or something a little more spectacular than the mayor getting paid to fix a grading violation.Yet that resulted in the sad and untimely death of 7 lovely people... that paid off grading violation resulted in those 7 deaths
I heard one of 'em was kinda homely...
"that paid off grading violation resulted in those 7 deaths"
You're right. The results were tragic and shouldn't be trivialized. I'm sorry if that offended you.
"I heard one of 'em was kinda homely..."
I sincerely hope someone found my comment truly offensive.
I like that.
I was so brain dead at the end of that meeting
You were pretty brain dead when you were speaking at the meeting, too.
July 11, 2010 5:09 PM
to anony-mousey makau'u moa person. Yeah, you must be right I was brain dead when I was speaking . But please, feel ever so free to introduce yourself to me out there in the real world, and shake my hand, and express those sentiments right to my face.
Be assured, I will greatly appreciate your astute observations, and complement you on your so obvious great intelligence, and lively brain, especially when you are up there talking.
Do you even go to meetings, or do you just troll around Joans blog?
Because after all, as you say, I am brain dead.
In fact, I have no idea how I even got up this morning, or made it to the keyboard!.
I may be brain dead, but at least I am not embarassed by who or what I am.
But then I attribute that to being brain dead.
I would rather be brain dead, then a live brain firing off in all the wrong directions. At least if my brain is dead, I can't hurt anyone with it. But w9th a brain like yours, its a lethal weapon of ignorance and stupidity.
You should have your ever so lively brain registered as a WMD.
ps. Remind me to invite you to our next ohana pa'ina, so I can introduce you as the makau'u moa who thinks I am brain dead. I think we would really enjoy your company.
How much do you charge for a half hour stand up comedy routine, anyways?
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