Monday, June 11, 2012

Musings: Keep Pushing Back

The dogs and I headed over to the beach just after dawn because I'm addicted to the restorative powers of that early morning shimmer and the feeling of cool water enveloping warm flesh, which clears out cobwebs and sinuses better than coffee and Kleenex. It's such a joy when you can just go to the beach and have fun, without having to worry about an altercation or infringement.

So I wasn't especially sympathetic to the response I got from Michelle Swartman, who represents Ohana Hanalei LLC. That's the company that now owns the old Hanalei Plantation resort land where, as I reported last Friday, Lance Laney was hassled first by a security guard, and then the cops, for using a public access to the beach.

She smarmily blamed the altercation on the guard, saying: “Unfortunately we have not closed the loop with our security. Our concerns for safety of those who walk on the property (especially outside the permitted pedestrian access area) are valid, however we do acknowledge that a pedestrian access exists and an unlocked gate for pedestrians only, is passable. We have informed our security to advise that pedestrian access at their own risk is allowed, strictly to the beach and back.”

She also wrote, “We will deal with this on an individual basis without commenting publicly. We appreciate your cooperation.”

Umm, sorry, Michelle, but I'm not gonna play along with the hush-hush. As I responded to her:

I will be writing a follow up on my blog because there is a great deal of interest with this, and since it is a public access, people have the right to know.

I find it troubling — if not implausible — that you have "not closed the loop" with your security. It seems that training them on the public's use of a valid access would be first and foremost. It's a very serious thing when your guard calls the police on someone who is using a legal access, and that person is threatened with arrest. Lance Laney spent considerable time tracking down information and went through the aggravation of having to deal with police and having his fishing excursion ruined.

Furthermore, as Lance reported, this was not the first incident of this type. How many others have been hassled by the police or made to leave when they have a right to be there? I hope you are following up on those police reports to rectify any harm you may have caused the members of this community.

Because the fact is, once the cops are called in, anything can happen. If you stand up for your rights, the cops might interpret it as resisting arrest, so bang, there's a charge against you. Heck, you could even be Tased or shot. Or maybe the cops run a check and find there's a contempt warrant out for your arrest because you missed one of the endlessly continued appearances associated with some manini “crime,” like driving with a Kingdom of Atooi license. Or maybe you have a little bit of cannabis in your pocket or a throw net that's not registered with the DLNR.

What began as a recreational trip to the beach — or maybe a subsistence excursion to get some fish for your table — suddenly turns into a chance for the cops to scrutinize and detain you, possibly ending in a ride in the back seat of the blue-and-white down to the holding cell in Lihue. Next thing you know, you're caught in the undertow of the criminal justice system. And believe me, this is not a far-fetched scenario.

So you just don't go, because even if you're “legal” — or think you are — who wants to risk a confrontation when you're just trying to go to the fricking beach? Pretty soon, folks stop using the access, and it's mission accomplished for the landowner, who doesn't really want you there.

Face it. If it hadn't been for the push-back from Lance, who said he was inspired by the activism of his wife, Mina Morita, you can bet that people would still be getting turned away from this legal access.  

That's why I loved this comment, left on Friday's post:

It would be appropriate for Lance to now file a police report against the security guard. Impeding someone's lawful access through public property is a crime. With a police report and a nod from the prosecutor such a crime could be prosecuted - sending a very loud message.
The OPA needs to begin protecting access and the environment. When was the last time anyone saw an environmental crime or a deprivation of access prosecuted? This could start with a police report. Let the security guard tell the police where his marching orders came from.

I would be very interested to know where the two candidates for prosecutor stand on this. Would either one of them be willing to criminally prosecute the owners/guard for denying lawful access?
Until law enforcement gets involved - the fight to preserve access is hard, depending on a handful of lawyers and huli chicken sales. Its an election year. Time to pressure candidates on issue like this ! 
So Justin / Shaylene - is this a crime - sending a guard to kick someone out of an easement where he is allowed to be - by law? 
If the guard told the cops its private property - was that a false statement to a police officer?

Yeah, it sure would be nice to see the prosecutor file criminal charges — forget the civil stuff, rich people sue each other all the time, and lawsuits mean nothing to them — against the more affluent members of our society who, in fact, are no different than the smash-and-dash tweakers when it comes to engaging in behavior that degrades our way-of-life. 

Speaking of which, the Navy wants to expand its war game training here in the Islands, and PMRF is one of the star locations. We're already the most militarized fake state in the nation, but that's not enough. They want more. I don't know anyone who has yet managed to plow through the user-unfriendly draft EIS, but they want to use the big noise-producing Osprey helicopters and they want to use more sonar, which even the Navy has recently admitted is more harmful to marine mammals than they previously admitted.

I know it's hard to gird up for the Navy's little dog-and-pony show  — I mean, public open house —  with its constricted format and product fair vibe, staffed by "it's all good" promoters.  But if you can't quite stomach the meeting, set for 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Wilcox School, or make yourself believe that what you say will possibly have any impact, you might want to participate in the anti-war demonstration that will precede it, at 4:15 p.m.


Anonymous said...

Great reporting as usual Joan!

RE:PMRF I went to so many meetings in the past and they just BS and smile and say they are for the community but, do what ever they want that is not in the community's best interest including damaging and polluting the environment.

When Rev Kaleo Paterson took to demonstrating at PMRF, people got arrested.

What also gets me, is that the Navy bigwigs spend a lot a time 'entertaining' themselves and friends.....cigars, booze, and girlfriends, while we cannot get access.

Knowing someone in he Navy who now is working for a defense company...while drunk I was able to get information out of him... more "shit" goes on there than they are letting the public know.

we ARE a military target because of it. And the pollution that is generated there will be here for many generations to come.

Dr Shibai

Anonymous said...

Excellent follow-up Joan. I'm glad you saw right through Michelle's statement. You're absolutely right. They play their intimidation game knowing that most people won't go back because they don't need or want that crap! More of us need to take a stand against this kind of abuse and not let these people deny our right to access. I look forward to your continued follow up on this. Mahalo!

Anonymous said...

I concur w/ all that Dr. Shibai said. Why do you think they pushed so hard for that buffer zone around their facility? They act like they own that entire Mana plain when in fact they lease it for mere dollars, former Crown Lands of the Hawaiian Kingdom. They don't want the public to know what they are doing. Attending meetings is futile I hate to say. Its a done deal and public hearings are a mere formality. Nothing stopped them from desecrating Nohili. I'm sure their ultimate goal would be to takeover land from Polihale to Makaha Ridge. Military is a cancer that is insatiable. Driven by power, money and greed. To protect our corporate government. They are in bed with the GMO seed companies. Like Monsanto and Dupont, the more propaganda put out there, the more they fool the public. Sheeples follow mindlessly.....auwe!

On this national holiday of the Hawaiian Kingdom, I remember the great Hawaiian warrior Pai'ea Kamehameha...imua!

Anonymous said...

A 20-foot easement can accommodste fire trucks why not vehicles? How can they rrquire walking only for disabled?

Anonymous said...

Thats why more people don't claim PASH rights. You right but gotta get arrested to prove it. . Sucks

Anonymous said...

Lance please file a police report asap.

This is what law enforcement is for. Enforcing the law. The law says Lance has access rights, but rent a cop thugs him out of there ...

What do the candidates say? Looks like a simple issue to press the candidates for their positions ... We know they will both prosecute trespassers, but what about these types of cases?

Should those who wrongly deny lawful access be criminally prosecuted too, and for what crime?

Anonymous said...

War is America's business! And the business of America is War! The logic is inescapable: and as Hawaiians and other peoples forced off their lands know America will stop at nothing to bring death to all. And what will America do then? Commit suicide?

KamaKele said...

Wow, they fooled me, I had no idea that easement was there. I can promise I will be going out of my way to use that easement.

Anonymous said...

My, my, such drama. Keep throwing gas on the fire Joan. Look at all the people getting off.

Anonymous said...

I love to see the rats eat each other in the ever-smaller cage called Kauai.

It's a damn "dark comedy" sitcom if ever there was one.

Anonymous said...

The beach is really nice there.

Anonymous said...

I really liked your comment to that woman and as well the comment regarding OPA prosecuting these crimes more often.

I attended one Shayleneʻs public OPA meetings one time and asked why they arenʻt prosecuting crimes like this and instead going after ʻlocal kidsʻ (who btw get blamed for everything and by everyone).

Anyway I got something of a nod or agreement of understanding to my question but nothing concrete and that was a couple years ago.

The thing about prosecuting crimes against the lands and permitting infractions, it is important because all things are relevant: when transplants come over here and dislocate families from their lands just wtf does everyone think is going to happen? Anger for sure. Vandalism cause they donʻt have anything to do, etc. you get my point?
Shaylene should connect these dots. Sheʻs had plenty of time to do this and if she has Iʻd like to here about it more often.

PUBLICIZE IT. GIVE PEOPLE A FEELING OF least once in awhile for Godʻs sake.

Honestly, I donʻt see J.Kollar pulling it off.

Anonymous said...

Before Ohana LLC bought the property I was told by the seller, the former Princeville Development Company, whose representative was a lawyer names Tom Thompson, who I understand replaced Jay Furfaro, the ONLY problem with this parcel was that there was an easement right through the middle of the land that was granted to the general public.

Anonymous said...

I wish Lance would try to access the legal county access at Kauapea (formerly known as Benji Garfinkle's). It has been fenced and landscaped off for almost a decade, only open to chosen few rich and famous.

Also closed off is the county-owned access at Lepeuli (Larsen's Beach). Fenced off by property owners, ignored by the county in favor of new, very steep easement (owned and controlled by Waioli who also "own" the soccerfield in Hanalei).

Why does this community allow 3 public accesses in the Kilauea area to be closed off?

Anonymous said...

Waioli does own the soccer field in Hanalei and is generous enough to allow the county to use it as a park. No need for quotes.

Anonymous said...

They get away with it cuz they can and no one takes them to task. Communities need to galvinize and fight back! These owners have unlimited resources and the rest of us gotta earn a living and do this kind of activism on our free time.

Anonymous said...

Until citizens exercise their rights for these RECORDED easements, those landowners will continue to prevent it.

File LOTS of police reports (when access is denied or even barred) documentation is vital.

Write letters to your Public Access commission, write to the planning commission - these access were conditions of either the subdivision or permits. If the landowner is in violation of a permit, the only way to get action from the planning department is reporting a violation. Make those inspectors take off the high heels and actual work for our tax dollars.

Why can't we report violations online yet? Residents should be able to submit photographs of the land while in violation is occurring and have an inspector sent out.

Anonymous said...

Online reports might work.
Maybe we could ask Lance how it works when a government official or department doesnʻt respond; since heʻs married to a non-responder that works for a rubber stamp commission maybe he could give some insight.

Anonymous said...