The east was a curtain of gold and Waialeale was clear and blushing lavender, with the light and cloud shadows creating the effect of a bowl on her flat face, when the dogs and I went out walking on the finest morning I've seen in quite some time, though I shivered a bit, since it was only 68 degrees. My sister, cooking through triple digit temps in the Midwest, wasn't amused when we talked the other evening and I told her I was wearing slippers — and not the rubber kind.
Some folks camping in Kalalau this past weekend weren't amused by the Navy's international RIMPAC war games, what with the audible explosions and the beach literally shaking beneath their feet. So much for the designation of a “wilderness park.” A young family camping at Polihale on Saturday, when RIMPAC was sinking those two ships, reported a large pod of dolphins unusually close to shore. And a friend told me he saw a submarine off Kikiaola harbor yesterday “and that's not something you see every day.”
But we could be seeing it a lot more if the Navy gets its way and ramps up training in Hawaii. Though the mainstream media is all rah-rah about RIMPAC, plenty of people are upset about these deadly games. Check out the Kohola Leo website for some ideas on what you can do about it.
And what can people do about the 20-foot-wide public easement at the old Hanalei Plantation Resort, which remains blocked, despite repeated assurances from the developer, Ohana Hanalei LLC, that the access has always been open?
Maybe it's time for the Hanalei Bay Coalition to lodge a complaint with the planning department, which has the ability to levy civil fines of $10,000 per day.
I had asked Justin Kollar, who is running for prosecutor, what he would do about protecting public access, and he sent me this strong response:
If elected, I will work with our County and State legislators, as well as other governmental stakeholders (Planning, DLNR, etc) to make it a crime to intentionally or knowingly obstruct a legal public beach access, and I will, whenever appropriate, prosecute those offenses. I will also work to make sure landowners understand their obligations to allow access, and assist whenever possible indigenous or other people who seek to exercise their rights to access what should be and what must be public space.
I am committed to ensuring the rights of all Hawaiians and all citizens are protected when it comes to access issues. Our Supreme Court has been nothing but clear in demanding that access be protected and I will honor that imperative.
Meanwhile, Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho has been caught in a lie. During the May 15 budget hearing, Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura made a motion to change the program assistant position held by Lianne Parangao back to its original status as a victim witness counselor, at the same salary of $55,000 annually. “This is just another way of removing POHAKU from the Prosecuting Attorney's budget,” JoAnn said.
Shay resisted the proposal vigorously, saying she needed Lianne in that position. In response to queries by Councilman Mel Rapozo, Shay maintained “our program assistant does not only handle POHAKU.” Upon questioning by Councilwoman Nadine Nakamura, Shay claimed, “Our program assistant does not only do POHAKU but all the diversionary programs. She reviews all the applications and people who want to participate.”
But what Shay didn't tell the Council was the OPA actually had no functioning diversionary programs. Just a few hours prior to the Council meeting, she had sent an email to her staff saying:
“We are making operational changes to all our diversionary programs. Henceforth, no one is permitted to make any referrals to Teen Court, Drug Court, Jail Diversion and Pohaku until further notice. This policy shall be strictly enforced.”
So what was Lianne doing, besides running Shay's campaign? And now Lianne is off to another well-paying job, reportedly in the judiciary.
Finally, I'm not sure what DLNR expects people to do about the dog attacks on North Shore albatrosses, seeing as how they were discovered on June 22, but no press release came out until July 13 and The Garden Island didn't run it until today. Meanwhile, nearly all the chicks have fledged and the parents are long gone.
Unfortunately, the newspaper's account of dangers facing these seabirds left out some key info, like the way some people have been trying to attract the birds to nest on private property, where they are most vulnerable, and how PMRF was dumping juvenile albatrosses collected from the base onto these private lands, rather than the Kilauea Refuge.
The Navy also loves to tout its “innovative solution to a daunting problem,” which amounts to collecting all the viable albatross eggs laid at PMRF and placing them in the nests of surrogate parents at the refuge and private North Shore lands. Since the birds return to their birthplace when they are ready to nest, the idea is that eventually, no birds will nest on the base if none are allowed to hatch. The program was quite successful when federal wildlife biologist Brenda Zaun was managing it at the Kilauea refuge, and she reported a 71% percent hatch rate for the swapped out eggs for 2009. This most recent season, it was down to a dismal 20% hatch rate. But the Navy still pats itself on the back.
The article quotes Kauai state wildlife manager Thomas Kaiakapu as saying, "Volunteers and landowners are trusted individuals who know not to disturb the nesting birds." Well, some are, and some aren't. I personally have made reports about volunteers engaging in totally inappropriate behavior with nesting birds and fledglings, including shoving a tiny camera into the nest of a new hatchling, group tours of colonies as the birds were hatching and sleepovers in nesting colonies.
As a result, the state and the feds are supposedly developing protocols for how volunteers should interact with the birds on private lands. Unfortunately, the federal biologist who was working on it has taken another job, though she promised to develop a draft before she left. I can only hope this project doesn't fall through the cracks, because an increasing number of wealthy retirees with North Shore estates are keen to have birds nest on their land. As one of the truly responsible volunteers, Cathy Granholm, so astutely notes: “It’s a status symbol."