Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Musings: Opt Out

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.


Anonymous said...

It had nothing to do with OPA but Mel was there

Anonymous said...

Is it illegal to rent a house on AG land long-term too? Do any exceptions to the zoning laws allow for long-term rentals on AG? It is commerce.

Anonymous said...

AG land is supposed to provide food for our island where over 80% of food is imported from somewhere else.

TVR's on Ag land should be illegal. We should not trade our food growing land for playgrounds for millionaires and billionaires!

Anonymous said...

long term rentals are differnet from short term rentals.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the Mayor have to approve the cost to travel and per diem for the traveller? How did Shay slide that by him? Shayme on the Mayor too.

Anonymous said...

Hughes auction above Secret Beach went for 12 million for all 3 parcels, bought by one un-named man. Hughes wanted at least 18 million for the three. Bruce Laymon, lessee of Waioli Corporation, was landscaper for Hughes at Secret Beach. The unpermitted trail was built by him. Why isn;t DLNR issuing fine of $15,000. per day for it?

Anonymous said...

DLNR did fine the Hughes, two years ago...

Anonymous said...

Under the ag land law, long term rentals are no different than short term rentals are no different than owner -occupied. if it's in conjunction with farming, its allowed. If it's not in conjunction with farming it's not allowed. If you own your own house on ag land and do not use it as a farm house, you are illegal.

Anonymous said...

Than why is there vacation rentals on AG land if it is that plain and simple.

Vacation Rentals on AG lands on Kauai are like Kauai Unsolved Murders, many people are in on it and paid very well to look the other way.

Anonymous said...

Remember Amber Jackson 10k reward for the capture and conviction of all who is involved on this covered up murder.

If the PA was in on this, the FEDS needs to make an example of her and her cohorts. Per 06/26 Amber Jackson TGI comments

Lauren Kagawa's murder investigation was botched by some high ranking officials. Per 06/26 Amber Jackson TGI comments

Waterboarding is legal to interrogate home grownterrorists Kauai terrorists

Anonymous said...

Were we the only County who paid for its Prosecutor to attend that HSAC conference?

Anonymous said...

Did she actually GO to the conference? Did we taxpayers foot the bill for her mini vacation?