Monday, April 2, 2012

Musings: Cooperating Nicely, and Not

The longer days are noticeable not just in the additional light bookending each day, but in the speed with which seeds planted at the spring equinox have sprouted into hearty seedlings. The rains, meanwhile, have been cooperating nicely with my garden, arriving just as needed to keep things moist enough to grow but not so wet they rot.

The County Council is cooperating nicely with the police commission, appropriating $10,000 last week so the panel can hire its own attorney. Now the issue of whether the mayor has the power under the County Charter to discipline the police chief or tell him how to manage his own staff is edging toward court.

I'll be curious to see whether senior Circuit Court Judge Randal Valenciano, a former County Councilman, takes the case or punts it to Judge Kathleen Watanabe, a former county attorney. I'm not sure that either judge will provide a satisfactory resolution, but it's all part of the process.

The protracted process of securing funding to hire outside counsel highlights the need to reorganize the county attorney's office so it's not entirely controlled by the mayor and his appointees. There's no way the various commissions, or the County Council, can get objective advice from attorneys whose jobs depend on pleasing the mayor.

It seems to me we need an attorney to advise the Council, another one or two to represent the commissions and some others to work for the administration on various county functions. In that way, these issues can be handled in a more timely manner. And who knows, some of the commissioners might start asking more questions and functioning to their full power, rather than in the narrow realm prescribed for them by the mayor-friendly attorneys.

Moving on to other issues, I've been interested to see that residents of both Molokai and Kailua, on Oahu, are taking a stand on how they want tourism to be managed in their communities.

As The Hawaii Independent reports, Kailua residents are organizing to prohibit commercial activities on beaches in response to a Honolulu City Council bill that would allow tour buses to drop off visitors, as well as the issuance of vendor permits:

Our beach parks should be a place for recreational activities and families. They should not be used for profit.

Meanwhile, as the Molokai Dispatch reports, residents there have come up with guidelines for managing passenger boat activities. They include such novel concepts as:

Fair Exchange of Value and Sharing of Wealth
 1. Rotate the use of existing vendors, such as Vans and Tours.
2. All tours and activities must be escorted by local escorts.
3. Use existing Hotels and legal B&B for overnight stays (no sleeping on Ship).
4. Use existing restaurants and eateries (no eating on the ship).
5. Donate to a Community Fund to be used for environmental/cultural protection and enhancement on Molokai.

Separation of Visitors from Real Estate Sales and Land Taxes 
1. All visitors must attend a 45 minute orientation which includes land issues past and present.

And certain places, such as Mo`omomi, Kaulukukui o Lanikaula, Halawa Valley and Iliiliopae, would be off-limits completely.
Commercial use of public lands and sacred places has long been a sore spot on Kauai, and whereas residents elsewhere are pushing back, we seem to be losing ground. In a previous post, I expressed my displeasure at discovering a photo tour company was taking visitors to some of the few beaches on the windward side that haven't been tainted by commercialism.
The tour owner claimed he was complying with state law, which did not require him to get permits, so I checked with the Kauai Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) office. While the state has clearly defined which forest and interior trails can be used for commercial activities, the beaches are more of a gray area.
As the DOCARE administrator described it, permits are required for weddings, because it's assumed that a section of the beach will be encumbered by the ceremonies for a certain length of time.
But when it comes to tours, that's pretty much open season, because unless a company is there “for two hours or something,” they don't need a permit. When I questioned why, since they're impacting the resources, including the trail, just as they would in the forest, the administrator said he, too, had wondered about the distinction, and had asked the state Attorney General's office for clarification.
The answer given was that so long as the beach was still accessible to the public, commercial tours and activities were OK.
So what about the woman I saw who had set up her table to give an oceanfront massage on a secluded beach? I asked. Is that considered encumbering the beach? And if no permit is required, how do we keep these kinds of resort activities off our public beaches?
His answer: call a DOCARE officer and let him assess the situation.


Anonymous said...

More attorneys? Wrong answer.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Kauai county Council need a corp council, like Maui. Both the admin and the council need their own legal experts.
You are right about the rubba stamping no ask questions, or neva act on the impulse to actually vote against something planning commissioners. They are nothing like commissioners who used to do their own homework, not just do as they are told. Why bother with the fake meetings?
How about Gary Hooser for Mayor?

Anonymous said...

The County of Kauai has already a corp.counsel. The County is a Corporation. The solution is to make this County Legal Office independent from the Mayor and the Council and accountable to the people. In the previous Charter the the County Attorney was elected. I rather would spend some money on the salary of the County Attorney and have him/her elected to a 4 year term, than have two Legal Departments under one roof fighting eachother in court. It is just taxpayers money they would like to burn.

Once upon a time there was Maryann K. who thought she had to choose the Secretary for George F. und that was a expensive road for the taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

10K of our tax money so the judge can say, "This is not for me to decide, the County Council has to clarify it."

Of course, our Council are all so afraid of offending someone that they will procrastinate making any decision till after the election.

So for them, spending 10 large of our money to delay having to actually risk offending someone by being decisive is probably money well spent.

Anonymous said...

Kauai needs to stand together against the tyranny of the GOB. Together We Can! Yes We Can! Good Ol Boyz needs to feel the wrath of the federal judicial system!

Anonymous said...

Gary said he does not want to run for mayor because Carvalho has it in the bag.

Need Mit Romney amounts of money to run against the incumbent.

Dr Shibai

Anonymous said...

Attorneys for the Council? What happens when the seven dwarfs disagree? Do they all get their own personal lawyer funded by taxpayer $$$?

Anonymous said...

The AG actually said that?

"So what about the woman I saw who had set up her table to give an oceanfront massage on a secluded beach?"

That is illegal activity, constitutes vending, conducting business on a public land and NO permits are issued for that sort of thing.

Why does this state/county even have attorneys; they are incredibly daft.

Anonymous said...

If my husband ever came across that bimbo bitch with the table on the beach, her table and customer would have been tossed in the ocean.

Anonymous said...

You know what? That sounds like a good idea > Gary Hooser for Mayor.

Anonymous said...

darryl perry for mayor; gary has sold out to the system. it happens too often. i think DP for mayor would yield some favorable conditions for our government to get it right. then we can evolve to the city manager type.

Anonymous said...

Yes......lets have more police rule@!

Vote for Darryl Perry for Mayor and he can appoint his own goons to the police commission.


Kauai politics: which rotten apple should we pick?

Dr Shibai

Anonymous said...

"If my husband ever came across that bimbo bitch with the table on the beach, her table and customer would have been tossed in the ocean."

Your husband would then go to jail.

KamaKele said...

The whole problem would be resolved if the County Attorney was elected, as opposed to appointed. There really is no good reason for not implementing this immediately and holding a special election.

Anonymous said...

One reason against your proposal is the County Charter.