Monday, February 14, 2011

Musings: Beach Fight

It was hard to tell, what with all the drops sloughing off the trees, whether the rain had actually stopped, but Koko and I decided to venture out nonetheless this morning. The day was just starting to arrive via a pale spot in the east and two rivers ran silver along either side of the road. A gust of chilly north wind caused me to shiver, despite my fleece vest.

But I’m not complaining. I love this cool, wet weather, especially when it’s interspersed, as it was yesterday, with sunny skies and glassy windward water broken by big surf with rainbow-infused spray blowing off the back of the waves.

I took advantage of a similar break in the heavy rain to drop by Lepeuli (Larsen’s) Beach on my way back from the North Shore late one recent afternoon, and happened to encounter rancher Bruce Laymon chatting in the parking lot with Thomas Ka`iukapu, the state wildlife manager, who had been called out to check on the albatross that nest there.

I asked Bruce if he was still planning to run a fence along the posts that had been erected parallel to the walkway that leads to the public trailhead, and thus block off the so-called lateral access that runs through the nonprofit Waioli Corp. land that he leases for his cattle. He is, and when I inquired as to whether he thought the fence might be breached or vandalized, he replied that if it were, it would be very clear to the police that people were engaged in trespassing and criminal property damage.

Then Bruce proceeded to tell me of the many encounters he’s had — including one just prior to my arrival — with some of the regular beachgoers who are opposed to his fencing plan. The most recent apparently involved a video camera and a guy getting in his face and an exchange of angry words and other ugliness that I was glad I had not witnessed, because who wants to see that kind of drama when you’re going to the beach?

He told me of how he’d been threatened and insulted and the subject of falsehoods printed in the local newspaper, and people had called the cops on him and were continually reporting him to the state and county about alleged contrived offenses. Then he got into how one woman was throwing trash his crew had picked up back into the bushes and a group of naked men had approached his son to ask if he feared them and how other beachgoers tried to antagonize his crew in hopes of provoking a fight, so now he never sent any of his workers down there alone, or without a camera.

He said the FBI had even come to his house after hearing complaints that he was a racist and had been engaged in unspecified hate crimes, but the agents were surprised to learn not only that Bruce’s father is a haole, but haoles even come to his house. Indeed, two showed up while the agents were there.

Now Bruce is not an especially sympathetic character, and by no stretch of the imagination could be termed an ambassador of aloha, but as he recounted some of what has gone down this past year, and given what I know about the complexities of the situation and the distortions, if not outright deceptions, perpetrated by some of those opposed to his fencing project, I couldn’t help but think, good grief, how can we bring an end to this hostility?

Bruce was wrapping up what had turned into a rather lengthy rant/vent when two friends of mine drove up, local boys, both Hawaiians, who had come to do a little fishing, seeing as how the conditions were so good.

They didn’t know Bruce, but they knew about the conflict over the fence and felt it overblown, because, as they said, we still will have access and anyway, they said, they had no problem making it a little bit harder for folks to get down to the beach, seeing as how it was often dangerous and the site of many drownings and a place where monk seals like to lie on the sand.

Besides, one noted, “Sometimes get so many people down there, it’s hard for even fish.”

Lest anyone forget, as I knew from previous research and as Thomas, during a brief pause in Bruce’s diatribe, had pointed out, Waioli initially gave the county access across its land from Koolau Road in response to a request from fishermen who wanted a shorter route to the beach and reef, which is prized for both its fishing and limu.

So perhaps it's a just a little bit ironic that the fishermen are now disturbed by the growing crowds of people, whose numbers unfortunately seem to have increased since the cry went out to "protect and save" this wild beach.

My friends and I were about to venture down the trail when another guy I know came up from the beach, carrying a bag filled with plastic flotsam and jetsam he’d collected, and he asked if I’d heard what had gone down earlier, and I said I had, and he shook his head and said that it was a personal thing now for Bruce; he no longer cared about the land, he just wanted to have things his way.

And I couldn’t help but wonder if the same couldn’t also be said for those who oppose him because what they really want, and what all the talk about protecting the resources serves so righteously to obscure, is to continue walking down to the beach in the most convenient and effortless way.


Anonymous said...

Everybody who comes here wants to raise the drawbridge after they get in.

Anonymous said...

February 14, 2011 11:03 AM

cute, but this has nothing to do with Waioli or Laymon - both were here long before you.

Joan - good - glad you can visualize private property rights.

Anonymous said...

cute, but this has nothing to do with Waioli or Laymon - both were here long before you.

It has to do with people who come here and then don't want the beaches to get any more crowded or the traffic to get any worse or anything that originally attracted them to change to accommodate other newcomers.

Anonymous said...

yup, nothing to do with the undeveloped agricultural land at Larsen's.

Anonymous said...

There are so few places on Kauai that are isolated and pristine anymore. It's really sad.

Richard Spacer said...

Seems like Bruce Laymon has got to you as well, Ms. Conrow.

The reason the public has the right to access the ala loa trail THROUGH Waioli Corporation land because under the Highways Act of 1892, passed during the reign of Queen Lililoukalani, all roads, trails, etc, at that time were guaranteed to be public forever. The trail through Lepeuli existed in 1892. There are official maps from 1878 clearly showing the trail. There is Native Hawaiian testimony. Waioli Corporation is crying foul becasue they do not like that 1892 law that Lililoukalani had the wisdom to install as she saw the changes coming, and how arrogant haole landowners would keep Hawaiians off the land. A court case on the Big Island concerning an ala loa there was resolved with maps and Native Hawaiian testimony. It is not a private property issue. That is PR spin from Waioli and Laymon becasue they do not want the public to know about the Highways Act of 1892. Google it, see for yourselves.

The same is true in next door Kaakaaniu, owned by Patricia Hanwright. DLNR's Curt Cottrell in 2007 sent her a letter essentially saying to get ready and let them in, as the state claims a coastal trail through there. Patricia Hanwright won't budge. The same stubborness as Waioli. Waioli and Patricia Hanwright are united in denying this trail exists. I have discussed this on KKCR.

The FBI investigated because the KPD has a long history of racism against Caucasians and activists feel little to no vaule will come from filing complaints against Bruce Laymon's hate speech with KPD. How coincidental was the Caucasian guys were at Laymon's home at the time of the FBI visit. Was the FBI visit scheduled in advance or did they make a surprise visit? Do you honestly think the macho he-man local boy police officer would do anything about a gay, lesbian or naturist being attacked? Whether his father is or is not Caucasian or anything else is irrelevant. Bruce Laymon's behavior stands on its own. Bruce Laymon on March 6 told Colorado beachgoer Dennis Bosio at 9:30 am that next week he was going to have 50 Hawaiians down at Larsen's and RUN the f****** haoles out. At 11:30 am the same day he told me he would have 100 Hawaiians there and said he was "taking back the beach." Whatever that is supposed to mean. Exactly HOW are the whites going to be "RUN" out of a PUBLIC beach? With guns, knives, machetes, spearguns, pit bulls?? Mr. Bosio made a notarized statement of the incident and this document is in the posession of the activists, DLNR, KPD, and attorney Colin Yost. It is publically accesible. It clearly documents Bruce Laymon's desire to drive white people out of Larsen's Beach. That means he is a bigot.

The Conservation District Use Permit (now void) granted to Bruce Laymon stated there would be no driving accross Waioli property to access the beach, unless it is NOAA or emergency vehicles. This is violated almost weekly by Filipino and Hawaiian associates of Bruce Laymon including Sherwood Iida who use Schoolhouse Road to set up camps, leave unattended fishing poles, and generally harass beachgoers. Funny how Bruce Laymon leaves that bit out.

Richard Spacer said...

Richard Spacer, Part 2.

The steep, un-maintained easement trail to the beach the Hawaiians mention is just that, an EASEMENT. We do not own it, Waioli does. If you read the easement document, and I assume you did because you were at county council July 7, 2010 when it was introduced, you would know Waioli reserves the right to erect walls or fencing on it. Waioli Attorney Don Wilson's theatrical on-camera denials notwithstanding, the legal document language reserves the right of Waioli to close it off.

Multiple times I have asked county spokesperson Mary Daubert to ask public works when they are going to maintain the county right-of-way trail we obtained in 1979 and the easment trail. I never get an answer as to when, and no improvement has been made to either trail in over a year. My latest request was referred to the county attorney. Why does Kauai County need to ask their lawyer before weed-whacking trails?

This "cattle ranching" project has little to do with cattle; it is all about keeping people away from Larsen's Beach that Bruce Laymon objects to. Who are those people? Bruce Laymon, Robert Schleck and Patricia Hanwright confidante and neighbor Steve Frailey have told us many times in public conversations, including October 16, 2009 at Larsen's. They use the euphemistic term "illegal behavior" to describe them. On January 19, 2011 a young lady who lives near the beach was attempting to use the gradual, lateral trail and was stopped by Bruce Laymon, busy installing 2 fence posts. She asked him who he was to stop her. He said he was the landowner. That is a fallacy. He is a lessee. She asked him WHY he was fencing. Bruce Laymon told her the fence is to keep campers, nudes, and gays from getting to the beach. In 2011 can you believe such bigoted speech is being uttered!? Campers on Waioli land is one thing. Gays and naturists on a public beach have legal protections and this hate speech against both groups is criminal and leaves Bruce Laymon and Waioli Corporation vulnerable to civil litigation. Being gay or lesbian in Hawaii is not illegal. Neither is topfree or nude sunbathing if you are not intending to affront of alarm (offend) someone on a NON-state park beach. A unanimous state supreme court ruling in 2000 settled this issue once and for all. A group called Kauai Naturists has been formed in response to recent events to document harassment of naturists, disseminate correct information, and to make certain this hate speech stops.

Anonymous said...

Interesting back and forth here... three sides to every story...

You might enjoy this...

Anonymous said...

The alaloa is an ancient trail that needs to be preserved in perpetuity. Since Waioli Corp is an outstanding corp, why don't they make a conservation easement where the alaloa is? Comeon Waioli, that is the right thing to do

Joan Conrow said...

Richard, I edited down your Part 3 comment because it included some personal comments about people that I did not think appropriate to publish and a lot of hearsay and unsubstantiated allegations about Waioli. But here's your final paragraph (with the note that I did not use the word "insanity, but "hostility":)

Ms. Conrow, you ask how to stop the "insanity". How to stop it is for the pro-access board members (there ARE pro-access members) to dump Robert Schleck, Bruce Laymon, and the anti-access trustees on the board NOW. Deed to the public in perpetuity and irrevocably the gradual trail from the Kaakaaniu line to the Waipake line. It is time for Waioli Corporation to say "aloha" instead of "kapu".

Anonymous said...

FYI Richard - Donkey's Beach was the 'traditional' nudist beach, not Larsen's but you haven't been here long enough to know that...

Anonymous said...

What is it about certain old fat hairy white guys that compels them to want to expose their penises?

Personally, I have no problem with outlawing penis exposing on public beaches.

Anonymous said...

February 15, 2011 8:20 AM

I believe unwanted exposure is illegal but let's ask the Naturalist, who is not Hawaiian, and has no PASH rights.

Anonymous said...

Throw the fence up!!
The traditional trail is well mauka.

Anonymous said...

February 15, 2011 12:50 PM

as evidenced by historical records...but lets listen to the naturalist. He seems to know what he's talking about...

Anonymous said...

February 14, 2011 8:28 PM

so you want to file a class action suit against a reportedly racist rancher?

Keep us posted on that one.

Anonymous said...

"Personally, I have no problem with outlawing penis exposing on public beaches."


§707-734 Indecent exposure. (1) A person commits the offense of indecent exposure if, the person intentionally exposes the person's genitals to a person to whom the person is not married under circumstances in which the actor's conduct is likely to cause affront.

(2) Indecent exposure is a petty misdemeanor. [L 1986, c 314, pt of §57; am L 1991, c 214, §2]

§712-1217 Open lewdness. (1) A person commits the offense of open lewdness if in a public place the person does any lewd act which is likely to be observed by others who would be affronted or alarmed.

(2) Open lewdness is a petty misdemeanor. [L 1972, c 9, pt of §1; gen ch 1993]

Anonymous said...

hate speech is not illegal.

Dawson said...

"What is it about certain old fat hairy white guys that compels them to want to expose their penises?"

Research suggests it's a repressed behavior pattern, triggered by watching reruns of "Gidget Goes Hawaiian."

Anonymous said...

"There are so few places on Kauai that are isolated and pristine anymore. It's really sad."

I agree. Desecration is rampant. Whatever happened to "Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono"?

Anonymous said...

Desecration is rampant.

Only if you think man-made buildings are "desecration." They're not, of course. You just prefer "untouched." That's your choice. You're welcome to your opinion. But calling it "desecration" doesn't make it anything more than your personal opinion.

Anonymous said...

Dear Joan,

I believe Richard Spacer's research that Queen Lili'uokalani deeded the circumnavigating alaloa trail to public use by law, far proceding Waioli's claiming it is private property. But like Superferry bullying its way, so do Waioli and Laymon on this.

Yes, that trail could be officially deeded by Waioli for conservation, or releasing their claim that it is their private property, or Bruce could erect well known catle fences which still allow public access. And this would all be a non- issue.

Instead, what fuels this by my own personal witnessing, is anti-nude fundamentalism and harassment of me, not where someone enters the beach.

Lastly, it's not a convenience factor to me, but also a safest path for all. And from a lifeguard's perspective, the one marginally usable county trail would end nearest the beach's most dangerous rip current (several deaths there) for unsuspecting tourists....isn't that a great blood on your hands trade off for moral righteousness?

Joan, take another look.

Anonymous said...

dangeous beach, no lifeguards, the problem was the illegal camping and lack of toilets (SMELLY) -

Are naturalists a protect class? I don't think so - but take it personally, seems like you already do.

Anonymous said...

You people complaining about the property owner or leese; shame on you! Where do you live? Do you let people cross to your land,trash it,naturist(Stay in your yard and go naked) why does it have to be at a public/State beach are you exhibitionist? cattle needs to be corraled,Vandalism is not Aloha! Why don't you beach goer's take care of the trail(Original)to the beach.....too lazy? I fish there and see naturist violating the law about Monk seals! Carrying their baby into the ocean just a few feet from where the Monk seal is resting. Is this irresposibility accident waiting to happen and when it does ,is it the monk seals fault? Wkae up beach goer's and use the right access and keep your clothes on and keep the beaches clean and respect the Monk seal.Fix the trail why always the state or property owner's have to do this for your convenience! No Tresspassing! Private Property...Liability is the issue !Soon you'll want a lifegaurd stand there and restrooms ; like Donkey Beach.