Rain came in the night, bringing its marvelous restorative powers, and by morning it had departed, leaving a sky shot through with pastel hues of yellow, pink, orange and crowned by Venus, appearing as a small silver ball in the east when the dogs and I went walking.
Checking the mailbox, and finding the usual MidWeek, I thought, if we can opt out of smart meters, why not MidWeek and The Garden Island's plastic bag of trash, both of which arrive unwanted and unbidden?
The Guv plans to opt out of signing 19 bills — including a measure allowing transient vacation rentals (TVRs) on agricultural land that was supported by every single one of our legislators. The fact that the Lege had to amend state law to permit such a use proves it was never previously legal under state law, even though slick-talking lawyers convinced the mayor and certain Councilmembers otherwise.
And the fact that the Guv is vetoing Senate Bill 234 because it does not adequately define the minimal ag activity required for true "ag tourism" proves the law our Council passed is a similar piece of crap, because it doesn't spell that out, either.
But never mind. It served its real purpose: allowing people like Michele Hughes to sell “34+ immaculate acres overlooking Secret Beach” for “the highest price achieved for an oceanfront land parcel in the past 5 years.” The deal includes her two recently permitted TVRs, which are billed as being “surrounded by manicured lawns and tropical gardens,” with a nary a word about the fake farm she bullshitted through Planning.
Oh, and the buyers also get a perpetual pedestrian access to Kauapea Beach, thanks to the illegal, but after-the-fact-permitted, trail that was supposedly made to maintain the landscaping. Do you suppose they might let us use it to get to third beach, since our former Mayor Kusaka gave up our public access there?
Anyway, now that they're rolling in the kala, maybe Michele and the Realtors who copped the fat commissions — Debra Blachowiak, Paul Kyno and Roni Marley — will kick down a little sumpin for the campaign chests. Remember who loves ya, baby!
We know Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho never opts out of a chance to travel on the county's dime, but don't you think it's just a little teeny tiny bit of a stretch that she attended the Hawaii State Association of Counties meeting on the Big Island last week — even though she hasn't been a legislator for three and a half years now? I mean, check out the program for Thursday and Friday. Do you see anything that even remotely pertains to the OPA?
I'm also still hearing grumblings about Mayor Bernard Carvalho's six-day trip to Los Angeles for “The Descendants” promotional event during the Oscars in late February. Two things seem to irk: that he went right after suspending the police chief, when the acting chief wasn't on island, either, and that Kauai Visitors Bureau picked up the tab for his expenses. (He paid for his wife.)
And where did KVB get the money for this promotional event, including the mayor's travel expenses? Ummm, its grant from Kauai County.
"Is that an ethics violation?" a reader wanted to know. A gift that should have been approved by the County Council before it was accepted? A gift that the mayor should disclose on his tax return?
I don't know the answer to any of those questions, but I'm curious.
Just as I'm curious as to why the National Marine Fisheries Service has utterly opted out of its legal requirement to protect the Hawaiian population of false killer whales even though its numbers are estimated at just 170 and the longline fishing fleet is killing it at rates three times higher than the population can sustain. As a result, the Natural Resources Defense Council has sued to have it placed on the Endangered Species List and Earthjustice just filed suit to force NMFS to implement a take-reduction plan approved by conservations, fishermen and scientists.
Come to think of it, I actually can give an explanation for the federal agency dragging its feet as yet another species slides toward extinction. All you have to do is consider the incredible lobbying power of Wespac and this comment from NMFS regional administrator Michael Tosatto:
“The measures being proposed require careful analysis, particularly as they may impose additional compliance costs on the fishing industry, including gear reconfiguration and possible area closures.”
So you might just want to opt out next time you're tempted to buy one of those bags of frozen mahimahi or what have you at Costco. Look on the package. If they're caught by longliners, those fillets come with a side order of shark fins and drowned or mangled false killer whales, turtles, albatrosses and other sea birds.
|Hawaiian false killer whale — "by-catch" dying for your dinner.|