The Scorpio moon will be full when it rises at 7:07 p.m., though it was already showing its brilliance last night when it managed to escape the clouds that brought the rain that drenched my garden, priming it for planting.
I've been a little more focused on bees than gardening lately, though of course the two go together. I got the scary kine chicken skin last night when I attended a talk by state apiarist Danielle Downey and heard her say pollinators — bees, bats, butterflies — are declining all over the world. And that spells trouble for fruits, veggies, seeds and nuts.
It's unclear exactly why their populations are dropping, but signs point to the usual suspects: selfish, stupid, greedy humans.
Speaking of which, the folks at Syngenta are beginning construction of a giant poison facility in Kekaha, a building large enough for its big sprayers to drive right in and get loaded up with toxic chemicals. That gives you a hint about the volume of pesticides and herbicides they're using — substances that ultimately end up in our soil, rivers and sea.
Pioneer, on the other hand, continues to try and polish its tarnished image, most recently with a heavily-publicized donation to the Kauai Independent Food Bank. Amazing how The Garden Island can always find room for a KIFB puff piece — this is the fifth in 10 days — while so many important stories go unreported.
To its credit, The Garden Island made a good effort on its second-day coverage of “rice-cooker gate," with the reporter calling Special Prosecutor Richard Minatoya for comments on why he dropped the misdemeanor charges that Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho had filed against Councilman Tim Bynum.
I wondered if former planning director Ian Costa and planning inspector Sheilah Miyake, both witnesses in the case, had an attorney present when Minatoya interviewed them. I'll never forget the way Deputy County Attorney Maunakea Trask asked Judge Kathleen Watanabe if he could stand beside the two when they testified in the hearing to recuse the prosecutor. Kids testifying in heinous abuse cases don't even get to hold a teddybear, yet Ian and Sheilah wanted Maunakea to hold their hands.
Nor will I forget the classic response from Tim's attorney, Dan Hempey, who said he couldn't see the need “unless they're gonna be confessing to a crime up there.” That quote came to mind when Shay said she couldn't talk to the County Council about POHAKU unless she had an attorney present.
What the paper didn't make clear was what Minatoya meant when he said the case “wouldn't survive the suppression,” nor did it elaborate on his key statement:
The compliance inspections were in violation of regulations, according to Minatoya. It came down to whether there was valid permission for the compliance check.
To get the gist of what's behind all that, you've got to read the motion to suppress that Hempey filed on March 13. In it, he asked the court to suppress evidence gathered during warrantless searches both by planning inspectors and the person — still unnamed, though not truly anonymous — who made the initial complaint against Tim.
It lays out the sickening scenario of how Shay got her lackeys in planning to do her dirty work of compiling a case against Tim, even though Ian had already told her that it did not appear any laws had been broken.
Though someone — likely either Sheilah or inspector Patrick Henriques — claimed in comments yesterday that no one peeked in Tim's window, the motion states that to see the rice cooker and fridge, a person would have to enter a gate into a fenced back yard, go up a ramp past bedroom windows to the back of the house and across the lanai. Sure sounds like trespassing.
Further, Patrick acknowledged that he “made up excuses” and “so-called” questions in an attempt to gain Tim's consent for a second inspection, using evidence gained while peeping without a warrant.
When you read the motion, you can see why Dan took the case: he was justifiably upset about government intrusion into the private lives of citizens.
And if you read the motion to dismiss that he filed the same day, you'll understand why he was challenging as “vague and overbroad” the county's definition of a kitchen to be “a room used or intended or designed to be used for cooking and preparing food.”
As he notes, “Does this include boiling water? Spreading peanut butter on bread? Microwaving pre-prepared food? Reheating food that has already been prepared and “cooked” at a restaurant? Pouring rice from a bag and covering it in water?”
He contends the vagueness of the statute “invites arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement,” which is the crux of the matter here.
It's obvious that Shaylene trumped up a case against Tim — a case that cost the taxpayers a lot of money, diverted the prosecutor's attention away from other more serious crimes and made it clear she is abusing the power of her office to execute personal vendettas.
The only question now is whether Shay, like the seed companies that cover their dirty deeds with public relations stunts, will be allowed to get away with it.