Monday, April 11, 2011

Musings: Keep Believing

The light was in that murky place between darkness and a charcoal dawn when the dogs and I went out walking this still, warm morning. I hadn’t gone too far when I spotted a nice machete lying in the road, so I stuck it in the bushes to pick up upon my return. And I hadn’t gone too far beyond that when I looked up to see a column of towering cumulus marching along the eastern horizon against a backdrop of pearly pink, which turned bright scarlet and then settled down to a soft rose that lingered for a while before fading back to gray.

While change is constant and often rapid in the natural world, it’s different in the realm of man. A reader the other day thanked me for what I write, then asked if I actually believe things will ever change.

Not really. But still, you’ve got to believe, or at the very least, bear witness. Otherwise, it becomes too easy to justify a life of self-indulgence, which is not only boring and superficial, but amoral. And isn’t that largely why we’re in our present predicaments?

Still, sometimes it’s hard to keep believing, like when I saw an email, with graphic photos, that Caren Diamond sent to the Office of Coastal and Conservation Lands back on Feb. 15, 2007 alerting them to the coconut trees being planted with chicken manure on the public beach fronting Pierce Brosnan’s house. And here we are, four years later, with the exact same scenario.

That’s not to ding OCCL, which like the rest of DLNR is ridiculously overworked and underfunded, but to raise the question of why we apparently place so little value on our beaches, especially that one, which is featured prominently in so many tourism promotions.

Still, Councilman Mel Rapozo’s request for an investigation did at least generate a prompt reply — on a Sunday, no less — from Planning Director Michael Dahilig, who promised to send out an inspector this week and also notify OCCL. And in that way I start believing again….

Still, it’s a little hard for even an optimist like me to believe the process to choose Derek Kawakami’s replacement on the County Council will proceed smoothly, with the panel united in its efforts to find the person who will best serve the public. It doesn’t help that Councilmembers will begin deliberations late this afternoon, already bleary after a full day of budget briefings.

It seems a number of people have been calling and emailing the Council offices to express their preference for one person or another, apparently laboring under the misconception that this is a public hearing and their views are being sought. They aren’t. This isn’t about what the people want, but how members can strengthen their own political alliances and undermine those of their adversaries.

Perhaps that explains why a full roster of potential candidates has not been publicly released. Still, I’ve heard various names bandied about — some that can possibly be taken seriously, like Planning Commissioner Jimmy Nishida and Sandra Kato-Klutke, and others, like Kimo Rosen, that can’t.

Most notable is former Chair Kaipo Asing, who has expressed interest, along with KipuKai Kualii, who came in eighth in the last election. Because of that ranking, he’s been pushed by some as “the people’s choice,” prompting one observer to note wryly: “If he was the people’s choice, he would have come in seventh.” Or as another person remarked: “Kaipo would have been eighth if he hadn’t been smeared at the last minute.”

The prospect of appointing Kaipo is bound to meet intense resistance from Councilmembers Tim Bynum and JoAnn Yukimura, so in order to avert a bloodbath, other “blast from the past” appointees may start to look more attractive. I’m specifically talking about Lani Kawahara and Daryl Kaneshiro, both of whom, like Kaipo, were sent off buried in lei and equally flowery and perishable accolades when their terms ended in 2010.

I suppose the Council could bring any of them back, but that’s sort of like getting together with an old boyfriend: yeah, he’s familiar, but there’s a reason why you broke up.

At least Kaipo wanted to get back on the Council, unlike Lani and Daryl, who bowed out.

The question extends beyond who will get the nod to how long it might take for a simple majority of the Council to reach that place. It has 30 days before the decision reverts to the mayor, so no need rush into anything or back anyone into a corner just yet.

Interestingly, when the Honolulu City Council last had to fill a vacancy, it required nominees to vow they would not seek election as a way to avoid giving the appointee an unfair advantage in the next election. What do you suppose is the likelihood a similar requirement will be imposed here?


Anonymous said...

The selection of a replacement council member should be a good amendment to the County Charter. This would eliminate the political wrangling and would not be a time waster. Kualii should be the replacement.

I'm losing all confidence in Michael Dahilig. Not only is he unqualified to fill that post but he is making the worst decisions so far e.g., recommending helicopter landings in pristine forests, & bypassing the General Plan by recommending a special use permit for the Kilauea Pavilion. An entertainment venue seems a completely different use than light industrial in support of Agriculture. So, I am not confident Dahilig will do the proper thing for our beaches. This Punohou grad has big city thinking which is incompatible with the rural nature that we love about Kauai so much.

Anonymous said...

Kaipo may even have come out above bynam if he hadn't smeared him so.And he definately did not deserve to be treated that way after his years of dedication. Still, Tim and Lani seemed to be all about timing, get rid of Kaipo, get rid of Peter. There are a whole lot of county personel that serve the public far less.
But still sure shoud be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Kaua`i blew it's chances with Lani when you ridiculed her for whitleblowing Kaipo's death threats. She wouldn't take your council job on a bet.

Anonymous said...

Lani wasn't the victim of death threats just an overactive imagination.

Cheron18 said...

Re: KIlauea Pavilion

Who is emailing (anonymously) letters from "Preserve Kaua'i's Rural Character".

I don't mind the info but would like to know who's behind it.

Anonymous said...

leave that old b---d Asing home. Enough of his BS already.

Anonymous said...

April 11, 2011 9:36 AM

interesting how those permit requests were submitted and reviewed in the previous administration, but by all means continue to slam the current one. He did sign his name to it.

Anonymous said...

@Cheron18 asked...

Who is..."Preserve Kaua'i's Rural Character"?

From the Kaua'i General Plan Heading of Chapter 5 "Preserving Kauai's Rural Character"

From the Kilauea Town Plan page 1-1: "The legislative intent of the town expansion policy is to control the spread of 'gentlemen's estates' by directing new housing development into urbanized areas and to discourage 'special permit' uses for civic and commercial uses in agricultural zones by providing for expansion of the town's commercial core area."

Anonymous said...

Nice one Anon 5:25 PM. Regarding the application for a Special Use Permit to build a Commercial Amphitheater on Kilauea Ag Land, check this one out. This was not mentioned in Costa's report of last year, and the young Asst. County Atty's and current Planning Director have not mentioned it in public to the Planning Commissioners either:

64 Haw. 265, 639 P.2d 1079

Supreme Court of Hawai'i.
NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD NO. 24 (WAIANAE COAST); Waianae Hawaiian Civic Club; Nanakuli Hawaiian Homestead Association; Mikilua Farm Bureau; Waianae Land Use Concerns Committee, Appellants,
STATE LAND USE COMMISSION, State of Hawaii; Oahu Corporation and City and County of Honolulu Planning Commission, Appellees.

No. 7112.
Jan. 22, 1982.

Five organizations composed of residents brought action in which they challenged the grant of special permit for construction of amusement park on 103 acres of land within agricultural district. The Circuit Court, City and County of Honolulu, Arthur S. K. Fong, J., upheld issuance of permit, and organizations appealed. The Supreme Court, Lum, J., held that proposed use of land for amusement park, which would consist of cultural theme rides, restaurants, fast food shops, retail stores, exhibits, theaters, amphitheater, bank, nurseries, 12 acres of parking, sewage treatment plant and other related support services, was not an “unusual and reasonable use” which would qualify for a special permit...

Oh, yeah! Bring it ON!

Anonymous said...

It's Councilmember Kualii! And thank you, Joan. You and Jan are the best journalist/bloggers on Kauai, a reality check, although some don't agree with what's considered real, but too bad for them. The first post was a hoot. Whoever heard of political wrangling for an elected office in America? And why pick the next person automatically? When you get down to number eight, half the voters didn't pick you and don't their lack of votes matter as much as the votes for? I like this choice, though. I voted for him and I wish him well.

Anonymous said...

Blind faith and "believing" is dangerous.

The Jews believed they were only going to the "showers"

Its time for more action and less believing.

Dr Shibai