Saturday, March 31, 2012

Musings: Ugly Arrogance

Everything was white and silver and gray, except the driftwood-littered tawny beach, when Koko, Paele and I went walking this morning. The trades were brisk, leaning heavily on the wind-stunted ironwoods  and whipping the sea into disorganized waves that broke every which way.

The sun itself was obscured by clouds, but still, its light shone through through a pukalani, beaming broad gray shafts into the place where the horizon meets the shimmery sea.

As Gov. Abercrombie meets opposition to his attempts to wield more power and push development throughout the state, he's begun to display an ugly arrogance, attacking the environmental and Native Hawaiian constituency that helped him get elected.

In recent days, the guv has come out swinging against the two groups. At a Thursday meeting of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, he derided kanaka maoli who are exercising their rights under federal law to consult on the Big Island's Queen Kaahumanu highway project:

“It’s being delayed by what I’m told are Native Hawaiian organizations,” he said, adding he asked which organizations. “It’s somebody self-designating and getting some standing. That’s something we’ve got to move past.”

Such “self-designating” organizations, he said, grab on to cultural protections and environmental protections and seek standing to prevent action in areas they decided they needed cultural activities “discovered six minutes ago.” Those people shouldn’t get standing and should be thrown out of court, he added.
Wow. So much for cultural sensitivity and encouraging public participation. Guess the guv wants the kanaka to sit down, shut up and join his version of state-sponsored self-determination, as outlined by the Hawaiian Roll Commission he appointed.
He was similarly dismissive of environmentalists, denigrating those who are opposed to SB 755 as “professional naysayers” with a “tendency for apocalyptic statements.”
I think those of us committed to the concept of malama aina have good reason to be concerned about a bill that would allow the guv to exempt state projects from any environmental review. It would also immunize him from judicial challenges from the public and allow DLNR and airport projects to be exempt from coastal regulations.
Unfortunately, all of our elected representatives — Sen. Ron Kouchi and Reps. Derek Kawakami, Dee Morikawa and Jimmy Tokioka — voted for the bill. In other words, they're willing to throw environmental and cultural concerns under the bus and bypass public review in order to suck up to the guv and green-light development. Way to go, guys!
We already saw what happened when Linda Lingle illegally assumed such power and exempted the Superferry from environmental review. Amazingly, she's still trying to make like what she did was right. On her Senate campaign web site, she claims:
The Hawaii Supreme Court’s Superferry decision was a major  departure from well-established law that Governor Lingle and the Legislature relied upon in funding and carrying out infrastructure upgrades for the Superferry’s operation.
It's really amazing to read her positive spin on what is undoubtably the biggest boondoggle of her tenure, costing the state millions of dollars and fomenting considerable public strife.
But then, politicians never really do see their actions clearly, which is why they continue to sell the wai, kai, aina and people down the river while claiming they're serving the public good. And in Abercrombie's case, getting downright nasty in the process.


Anonymous said...

I dunno - but there do seem to be a lot of "Nations" that consist of one or two or five people - and they seem to suddenly appear in response to some development. Even Henry Noa is has been heard complaining about how these "Nations of One" are de-powering the larger sovereignty movement. It is one thing to be a sovereign person, and another to belong to a sovereign nation. As to the latter, there is OHA, Bumpy and Noa's RHG - that show promise ... not a lot more credible groups than them.....So on some level the Gov. has a point, if some never seen before guys shows up and tries to stop a project based on his newly declared sovereignty.

On the other hand, the power grab of trying to allow the the Gov. to evade environmental review is a shameless disrespect of institutional checks and balances - and all of our endangered species.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Hawaiian people, let them figure out who is pono and who is not.

For us it is obvious big money is more important than the environment. Our politicians Dee, Derek, Ron and Tokioka want to be career politicians and will do what is popular.

Abercrombie.....he needs to be retired from politics. Perhaps doing community service amongst the Hawaiian people would be something he could get enlightened about.

Dr Shibai

Anonymous said...

Whoops, I guess I was a sleep. Is Duke now governor? Or did Neil become a Republican?

Anonymous said...

Jimmy and Derek are both going to follow the Speaker whereever he may lead them. Jimmy gets the perks and Derek is too new and too timid to stand up against the Speakers boys (and girls) who are leading the charge against the environment. At least Dee voted "with reservations" and joined a whole bunch of other House members to oppose these bad enviro Bills. But Jimmy and Derek are silent and hoping no one will notice. It's a shame. The North Shore Representative used to be the leader on these types of issues. Derik is out of his league and would rather be supporting the Chamber of Commerce. And Jimmy, he would rather being playing golf with the Marriott guys, or the Sheraton guys, or the Hilton guys - doesn't really matter to him.

Anonymous said...

It is so sad that we are always forced to have the lowest form of intelligence in representatives in place to make critical decisions for so many peoplesʻ lives.

We never wanted Ron Kouchi in the first place, heʻs there by default.

We never did want Tokioka, he cheated on principles and switched parties to be the bend over little whore he is AND always will be.

Derek another one, I could never have an ounce of respect for this personʻs credibility...papaʻs boy, fulfilling papaʻs dream (he even went on an ego-driven weight loss regimen before he got elected to look good in his new suits).

I mean, come on, these people are the dregs.
Just poor character.

Dee Morikawa has been quite silent but Iʻve seen her name come up attached to some promising and positive legislation. I have a close eye on her.

Anonymous said...

None of them are very intelligent or savvy.

Anonymous said...

"these people are the dregs"

Yes, but look around......not just local politics, but those who are running our country now....and those fighting on the side lines to run for president....fighting amongst themselves like starving dogs fighting over a steak dinner.

Anonymous said...

Abercombie is a huge disappointment. He used to be anti-war. Now he's anti-environment and anti-Hawaiian.

Anonymous said...

Your right. Kawakami isn't cut out for this. The guy has too much aloha. He should stick to the private sector. He can help more local people that way. Government is going to the malahini environmentalists. They took the land, they took aloha, overthrew the queen even though they didn't know her, suppressed Ikaika And the kupuna broke the Ohana .... But they couldn't take the mana.....the silent majority is not an urban legend.

Anonymous said...

Government sure as shit ain't going to the environmentalists. That's an urban legend.