The day began with mynahs loudly squabbling, but their beef was quickly settled by a downpour that silenced all the birds. And as I snuggled back under the covers in the delicious chill of a spring morning, I thought, ahhh, nothing like rain to coax my newly planted seeds into germination.
Judge Lisa Ginoza — the former Superferry lawyer appointed to the Intermediate Court of Appeals by Superferry supporter Linda Lingle — apparently didn't need any coaxing to recuse herself from an upcoming hearing over the use of Kingdom of Atooi badges during protests against the big boat. As you may recall, Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe ordered the cops to return Kingdom badges to Dayne Gonsalves and Robert Pa, but county Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho is appealing that ruling.
Yes, I know it's hard to believe, but we are now in year five of adjudicating these misdemeanor offenses. I really don't mean to harp on Shay, but the badge case is yet another example of how she is using her office to wage a vendetta at the taxpayer's expense. This time, it's on behalf of her pal Roy Asher, assistant chief at KPD. As I noted back in July 2011, Dayne and Rob are the only two people arrested during the 2007 protests who are still facing charges, and it's because they refuse to capitulate on the badge issue.
But maybe this issue will go all the way to the Hawaii Supreme Court. Regardless of how you might feel about Dayne, Rob or the Kingdom, the core issue here is whether the state will allow kanaka maoli to pursue the nation-building efforts afforded them under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that President Obama signed.
Another issue that went all the way to the state Supreme Court, with little practical result, addressed the problem of wealthy coastal landowners deliberately encroaching onto public beaches with intentionally planted vegetation.
Turns out Southern California has the same problem. Except, as the LA Times reported yesterday, except government officials there are actually and actively working to reverse the trend.
The Coastal Commission is authorized to levy fines of $15,000 per day on homeowners who don't rip out there vegetation and irrigation. What's more, city officials in Newport Beach actually erected “public welcome” signs.
"I insisted on those signs being up because I think it's intimidating to the public to see a lawn and a lawn chair and not realize that that's still the public's land," City Manager Dave Kiff said. "And the public has a right to throw a picnic blanket on it and have a picnic."
Wow. Can you imagine officials here taking that kind of pro-public stance?
Or as Charles Lester, executive director of the California Coastal Commission, noted:
"So it requires vigilance, monitoring and action to protect the public's space," he said. "There's always an inherent tension between private and public space on the shoreline."
U no dat. Except here we're just tense because private interests are steadily stealing our public beaches with impunity.
Meanwhile, KIUC officials are trying to steal their way into our hearts with a “trust us” guest editorial that appeared in yesterday's paper. Though signed by all nine board members, I'm assuming it was penned by Jim Kelly, the former editorial page editor for the former Honolulu Advertiser who is the new communications manager for our utility.
I did have to giggle a bit at the complaint about how even the utility's name was garbled in one article printed by The Garden Island. Unfortunately, that's par for the course at TGI. And besides, it seems a small price to pay for the paper otherwise publishing so many KIUC press releases verbatim.
While it's true that people talk a lot of shit about KIUC, and some of it isn't true, it's too easy to blame the blogs, letters to the editor and radio shows for the brown fog of distortion that swirls around the utility. KIUC has put out plenty of its own bullshit, like the one-sided campaign materials in the FERC-hydro election, and the way it tried to make the fight about hydro, when it was really about process.
One can only hope that with a newsman like Jim in the communications office we'll see less gloss and more honest dialogue and timely information.