Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Musings: Noticeable

A day off — or more accurately, hours off in a day — and Koko and I are heading to the water, dodging cars on the bumpy back roads, traveling through rain, the mountains gray, mysterious looking. But it’s blue on the horizon, where we’re going, with waters that are white-tipped, roughened by a wind swell.

At the beach, into the clear greenness of the sea, iwa cruising high, over the land, nene flying low, directly overhead, squall forming on the horizon, blowing north, missing us, another forming and not, and so drenching us, but I don't mind because I am wet already.

Returning home, I run a roadside gauntlet of tiny home-made wooden figures painted in fluorescent yellow-orange and warning, in bold black letters, KIDS AT PLAY and SLOW 4 KIDS and so I do and in the process notice that I am noticing them, and am aware that I don’t always, even though they’re relatively new to that spot, and glaring.

A number of things have caught my attention recently, caused me to slow down and take notice , like the troubling piece in Time Magazine about how the cops are starting to go after people who videotape them:

Even if these cases do not hold up in court, the police can do a lot of damage just by threatening to arrest and prosecute people. "We see a fair amount of intimidation - police saying, 'You can't do that. It's illegal,'" says Christopher Calabrese, a lawyer with the ACLU's Washington office. It discourages people from filming, he says, even when they have the right to film.

And disturbing accounts of the way the U.S. government and others are stepping up attacks on Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange. Larry Geller has a good wrap up at Disappeared News, while Democracy Now! broadcast an interview with Assange, in which he responded to calls that the American government should hunt him down by any means:

What [Marc] Thiessen is saying is that US forces would enter European territory without—illegally and conduct an illegal act, like they did in Italy, kidnapping some al-Qaeda. But disturbing to me is to see these references to deal with journalists that were previously done to al-Qaeda.

A friend noticed an article on a new study showing that high fructose corn syrup helps feed cancer cells. Pepsi (or almost any processed food), anyone?

And I took note of a thoughtful New Yorker piece that exposed a lot of the scaremongering about illegal immigration for exactly what it is.

I also noticed a lot of stuff while writing yesterday’s post on the Kauapea capers of Justin and Michele Hughes, like how often the same names pop up in accounts of land misdoings on Kauai, and how long it takes to finally bring an enforcement action to the Board of Land and Natural Resources, and the kind of utter bullshit that’s fed to the enforcement officers, and what manini fines violators get, especially in light of the tremendous value gained, and how people always think that developers just do what they want and pay the fines, but in reality, they just do what they want and fight the fines.

All the while I kept recalling the words that a local friend spoke more than two decades ago in explaining why he had such disdain for people like the Hugheses: “They take up space, use up resources and move on.” To which I might add, and really fuck things up while they’re at it.

Which leads us to the vacation rental ordinance, Bill 2364 which today was sent over to the mayor, who has 10 days to act. Meanwhile, signatures are being added to an on-line petition urging him to veto. Will he? I’ve had some folks say he wants this bill, and others say he wants to distance himself from it. Time will tell.

I did notice a lot of local names on the petition, and that’s a good thing, because in Kauai politics, just in case you haven’t noticed, the opinion of 10 haoles carries the same weight as one local.


Anonymous said...

Thank you again Joan for saying so eloquently what most of us are feeling.

Donʻt mean to nitpik but doesnʻt the voice of 1 haole equal the voices of 10 locals? Cause judging from the bullshit going on local people can come out in numbers and still get ignored. Bernard needs to recognize the numbers: thereʻs more locals and if he sides with these outsider freaks he may even start losing his formerly solid local base.
But...relection should not be the only reason Bernard should stand up for what is right.

Anonymous said...

For Bernard, it is ALL about re-election. Just look at his actions over that past few months. Not much for the people of Kauai. He will learn a valuable lesson real soon.

Anonymous said...

I read your interview today in Honolulu Weekly with Kumu Kehaualani Kekua and would love to come in contact with her to share something I found and how. I am a Hula dancer too here on Oahu. You can email me at: or forward this address to her please.
Mahalo for good article!

Anonymous said...

You are so right Joan! Keep on writing!

We really should by-pass the County Council & Mayor & put the ag-vacation rental issue to the people's vote in a Referendum.

The local government kow-tows to money & the courts are too slow. We've seen this patter over and over again. Remember Nukoli'i?


Anonymous said...

So we can look forward to the newsf;ash


Anonymous said...

The link you provided for the online petition doesn't work. Correct URL is:

Keep up the good work, Joan!

Anonymous said...

you rock Jane!

Anonymous said...

The weight of the voice depends on the weight of the wallet. Considering the access that the rich have to politicians and the media locally and nationally and it's no wonder that the little people are screwed.

irk said...

You think American cops are troubling when you video them?
Check out what a cop in Sweden did on video:

Wahine Warrior said...

We just got information last night, that th4 Mayor is about to approve the TVR bill. In a letter that he is going to release to the public, he states that the bill "will not create any new TVR's." This flies in the face of rulings very clearly stated that TVR's were illegal. Further, the state law says "no overnight accommodations." There are other legal opinions as well. The county will more then likely be sued, both from the general public and any TVR owners that do not get their permits by some miracle through this new bill.

It almost ensures, that even though this bill seems strict, and seems to make it impossible, the bill does not allow inspections, and many other loopholes such as "topography and grade." Therefore, the bill has been written to accommodate a certain amount of businesses, 77 to be exact and will hurt other legitimate businesses from legitimate farming to businesses within the VDA. I beleive that all businesses within the VDA businesses may very likely band together to sue the county over this bill.

So thats a heads up, people. We will be gathering at 8:30 am at the Mayors Office to oppose the signing of this bill. Mahalo please join us there. Bring a sign. And your signed petitions and letters.

In the meantime, call and email the Mayors office over the weekend.