I arrived late last night in California, and as the plane approached the airport, it struck me that the stars here are on the ground, in the form of countless lights, rather than in the sky. Still, I did see a few glowing up above in the darkness of an eight-lane freeway little traveled at that hour, and driving over the Golden Gate Bridge, which glowed orange in the fog-trapped light, was a chicken skin experience.
Anyway, I'm a little disoriented, so I'll direct you to a few items of note, starting with The Garden Island's coverage of a breakfast meeting with U.S. Senate candidate Linda Lingle, the former guv who so endeared herself to Kauai during the Superferry fiasco. I found this revelation rather intriguing:
She said the national debt has to be brought under control, but PMRF has to be funded. At a time when the federal government is looking at major cuts in the military, PMRF should be preserved, she said. The base sits in a strategic location, brings roughly $50 million to the local economy and employs about 900 people.
PMRF’s location, she said, is crucial for protecting Asian countries in case of war. It affects the entire world, because if the Asian countries can not grow in a peaceful world the global economy will not be able to recover, she added.
Oh, really? PMRF is Asia's police man? And we're supposed to believe that having a base like that here doesn't make our island a target?
While we're on the topic of questionable land uses, I want to point you to an article I wrote for the Honolulu Weekly on the Public Land Development Corp. This new state entity has a lot of power and bears watching. As I report, in part:
Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to approve the Public Land Development Corp. (PLDC), which was billed as a way to generate revenue for the cash-strapped Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) by privatizing state land, buildings and resources.
But Act. 55 “is so far reaching that it opens up opportunities for abuse” and could trigger a development rush similar to the one that followed statehood, says Marti Townsend, executive director of KAHEA, an alliance of Hawaiian and environmental interests.
Leases and the proposed transfer of land and development rights from the state to private entities will have just one hearing before the Board of Land and Natural Resources...
The bill passed with very little public attention, but I wasn't concerned until I watched the video of the legislative briefing held by Sens. Malama Solomon and Donovan Dela Cruz, who spearheaded the bill. They were pretty much licking their chops as they spoke about using the PLDC to create density around high-speed rail stations and spark the development of state harbors, rural areas and geothermal energy. It became clear that they, and likely other lawmakers and their developer cronies, have their pet projects that will be pushed right through.
Another big issue is how these long term leases and land transfers could affect the so-called "ceded lands" that comprise the bulk of the state's holdings.
And finally, if you've got some spare time on Saturday morning, join the Surfrider folks in removing a discared fishing net at Moloaa Bay. I participated in one of their "net patrols" at a favorite beach in Anahola, and found it to be one of the most rewarding conservation activities I'd ever done. It reminded me of just how powerful a group of people can be, and how effective, when they're working together toward a common goal. No meetings, no hierarchy, just action and immediate results.
You can learn more about it by reading the article I posted on forkauaionline.com It's a really cool concept, because the nets that are collected are burned to make electricity on Oahu.