Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Musings: Points of View, Part II

I like the night, especially the last part of it, when the world is so still and silent, Venus and Jupiter glowing like celestial lighthouses in a sea comprising Triangle, Makalii, Orion and other assorted stars and constellations. It feels like a time when the world is ruled by forces other than humans, who all too soon will get up, though not necessarily rise, and resume their “civilizing” influences upon the planet.

In yesterday's post, I discussed some of the disheartened points of view that have been expressed about both the governor's meeting and the myriad civil legal troubles facing the county prosecutor. The latter prompted one reader to comment, in part:

The people filing the complaints (both EEOC and civil) had the courage to stand up to intimidation, and to take a step to force compliance.... Shooting the messenger is not the solution, and sticking one's head in the sand isn't, either. It's possible that the offenders really do not see the problem with their thinking or behavior...and that's scary. This isn't about "preserving the local culture." It's about being civilized.

And I was struck, because I've been hearing similar words uttered by folks who were greatly disturbed by the way some people behaved at last week's heated meeting with the Governor and his Cabinet.

The loss of civility really upset me,” said one man who walked out when people started shouting from the audience. “There was a complete disregard for those of us who wanted to hear what the Governor and his representatives were saying.”

They might as well send in the brownshirts,” was another observation. “It's a form of violence to shout like that. It's intimidation, pure and simple.”

It was the haoles, and that doesn't help racial relations,” I was told. “Don't they have any idea how they're coming across? Local people just do not feel comfortable with that kind of behavior.”

They were yelling at people who are bureaucrats, not decision-makers,” someone else said. “Why shoot the messenger?”

I felt sorry for our local elected officials,” remarked another. “They lose face with the governor when this happens, and he might not come back again.”

I was trying to see, and they kept holding up these little pink signs in front of my face. It was really annoying. If they want to hold sign, why can't they stand on the side of the room, instead of blocking your view?”

Where do we go from here?” asked one man. “Is this the end of civil discourse?”

Folks weren't split on the key issue — opposition to the Public Land Development Corp. — but on tactics, behavior. This observation pretty much summed it up: “It seems like people at that meeting fell into one of two camps: 'I guess we showed them,' and 'I was embarrassed for Kauai.'”

So what is the best way to convey the frustration and dismay that many feel over the PLDC, aptly dubbed “grand theft aina” in one Facebook graphic? It's an issue that has tapped many of the same sentiments that helped derail the Superferry: fears of environmental degradation, loss of home rule, excluding public participation, privatizing public resources for profit. All of which is pretty much SOP for “civilized” homo sapiens in industrialized societies, when you stop and think about it......

Councilmen KipuKai Kualii and Mel Rapazo, perhaps sensing a way to improve images tarnished by their close affiliation with Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, perhaps motivated by a desire to do the right thing, have moved quickly to the political forefront of this issue.

Mel spoke forcefully at the governor's meeting, first expressing his support for the PLDC, then his concerns that its powers could be misused to develop timeshares and hotels, to the detriment of the island. Using the governor's example of building a hotel at Kokee as the kind of far-fetched scenario that wouldn't happen – though it was previously proposed when the DLNR was managed by Laura Thielen, now an outspoken opponent of the PLDC — Mel noted that while neither he nor the governor would be around forever, the law would continue on.

It takes away the county's oversight in zoning and planning,” Mel said. “The zoning and permitting is circumvented.”

Damn straight. If anybody's gonna be circumventing the county's zoning and permitting, it's gonna be our own guys. Cause ya know, they're expert at it.... And why should all those juicy political plums be doled out by a five-member board on Oahu when our own Council and Planning Commission could benefit?

Sorry, cynicism got a hold of me for a minute. I actually do think it's great that Mel has a proposal on tomorrow's Council agenda, which calls for adopting a bill that amends Act 55 to ensure that PLDC projects do comply with County land use plans, policies and ordinances. The bill would be included in the Hawaii State Association of Counties legislative packet for the 2013 session.

I also commend KipuKai, who is taking a different approach. He's introduced a resolution that urges the state Legislature to repeal Act 55 in its entirety, because it could lead to “uncontrolled development in violation of” county codes and ordinances, and it favors for-profit development of public lands over uses like parks, which do not generate any revenues.

The Hawaii County Council's planning committee last week unanimously approved a similar resolution.

Regardless of which approach is taken by the Kauai County Council, any final action lies with our legislators — Dee Morikawa, Jimmy Tokioka, Derek Kawakami and Ron Kouchi — all of whom voted for the bill that became Act 55. Unless they're prepared to reverse their votes, and lobby other lawmakers to go along, ain't gonna be no changes in the PLDC, no matter how much testimony the Council receives, or how many boos the governor gets.

Which brings me to something else I heard, that Derek was feeling hurt because of the opposition to the PLDC, and the underlying sentiment that he would vote for something that could harm Kauai. Derek, buddy, you need to buck up. I and others like you personally, but let's not forget that you were literally handed Rep. Mina Morita's seat when she stepped down. Some of us can still remember how Mina was a voice in the wilderness, decrying the dirty politics that led to the legislature circumventing environmental laws to let the Superferry run. You shouldn't be too surprised to learn that we're disappointed to see her replacement choose to go with the legislative flow on an issue of this magntitude.


Anonymous said...

Derek totally missed the pulse of his constituents. Like Mel on the plastic bag ban.
But .... he's unopposed.
Derek actually made an impassioned speech FOR Act 55! He spoke in direct contradiction to Gary Hooser.

I too like Derek, but he ought to own this one, admit its a mistake, and introduce legislation to amend or curtail or kill this bad law.

Anonymous said...

This was orchestrated to the "T". To bad we, the people, were unaware of this ACT by our legislators, if we knew that something of this magnitude was coming down the pipe early enough, and knew the position of our elected officials, I would be able to say with great certainty, anyone else who would have ran against any one of them, would put them out on their ears. The bottom line is, we're stuck with these bozos for the next couple of years! Yikes- I fear...

Elaine Albertson said...

I do understand the "it was the haoles" yelling comments and embarrassing the locals, but even this is an enlightening item. Lifetime residents are acculturated to be a quiet presence, ie., "The Thumper Principle." On its face, this is perhaps an admirable quality (although behavioral scientists generally believe the Thumper Principle to be a problem). However, the power brokers (who are, for the most part, also lifetime residents) know this, and use it to steamroll their interests over the people. The level of frustration is growing rapidly, no matter what your cultural identity. People of all colors and philosophies are fed up with being treated like chattel, bled dry just to have a place to live, and being told that if they speak up...whether it's in print or by verbal sparring...that they're some sort of foreign traitor.

That, bluntly, is crap. Human nature is that bullies will continue to bully until they are forced to stop...and it doesn't matter what color, ethnicity, or religion they may claim.

The governor and others at the table at the meeting essentially brought it on themselves, and cannot slough the blame off onto "transplants."

Anonymous said...

Agree with last comment. LOTS of frustration everywhere. Booing is OK--- audiences have done it for centuries to show approval or disapproval of a show. Shouting to drown out people who try to speak is bullying. Let's stop the bullies w/o becoming bullies.

Anonymous said...

I attended the Gov's mtg and it was not just "the haoles" who yelled out. Are we back into racism again? Nonetheless, afraid I have to fall into the "embarrassed for Kauai" camp. The sign holders who blocked people's views should have passed out repeal 55 papers all along the back wall. More effective maybe.

Anonymous said...

When the public is given a short meeting that has lots of different issues, and the public does not have time to speak, the calling out to show displeasure is really all we have. The gov showed he had no respect for Kauai and the rest of the islands by signing this, so i think he was treated the way he treated us, rudely.

What is the proper way to show your feelings when you've been royally screwed?

Anonymous said...

Dearest Derek,
Joan got it right, we expect you to represent your constituents like Mina did, not just join the rat pack.

Anonymous said...

Worth checking this out... Very interesting:


Anonymous said...

yeah Kauai has a bad reputation accross the state, stemming from the SuperFerry. embarassing and counter productive, and as far as the local politicians taking a stance, all it amounts to is blah, blah, blah (vote for me plz)

Anonymous said...

I found the crowd at that meeting pretty civil. Little was mentioned of abercrombieʻs outright rudeness to a council member. And the reason he was whisked away and allotted a short time is because of his temper. Did you know that? His fuse is like clockwork. Ever wonder why he loses so many people?

To whoever is complaining about a few well deserved boos and a few little 8X11 fliers has a serious mental disorder.

Excuse me for a second here: What the fuk did you wuss assholes expect at a PLDC hearing? An illegal corporation poised to do the final rip and tear of the Hawaiiansʻ remaining assets, which by the way, you have your comfy asses parked on.

PLEASE do not start with the bogus cultural sensitivity that the locals donʻt like that behavior and it was all haoles because (and I say this because I am pretty sure the commenter was a haole) you donʻt really care too much that your house got built on a Hawaiianʻs land do you?

Your stink is so bad I can smell it through the internet.

As to this PLDC business MANY politicians are coming out against it BECAUSE they see the overwhelming numbers of voters THAT HATE IT.

Uh Duh.

When the legislature rolls around, if they can find a way to get it back in...they will! That includes these mamby-pamby council members. Fakes. Kualii too. All of you know why youʻre doing it: Votes.

Derek, you are a grocer. That is the field you ought to stay in BUT the way the economy is going a gov job would seal it up nice, huh.

Anonymous said...

I like how these meetings as with other public hearings, are designed for as little public input as possible whether it is limiting testimony to 3 mins. or setting a time limit for the meeting itself or writing questions on cards and hoping it will get picked by the governor's spokesperson. On key, Donalyn Dela Cruz abruptly ended the meeting with people still standing in line to speak. And yes I noticed the look the guv gave Joann Yukimura, tow the party line Joann, whatza matta you? I mean if you truly love Kaua'i, than hear us out, be accountable. Address the audience member who called you out on "its all about land and assets". Dispel the accusation, unless of course its true and thats why Donalyn shut the meeting down so you wouldn't have to answer. Safely hurried out of the room by your security so you wouldn't have to deal with the frustration of the people. Some people get caught up in the moment and say things without thinking. That's what is annoying. If you're going to say something, make the most impact with your choice of words. Otherwise you're just noice in the background and probably pissing off the person next to you. I think big signs lined up along the back wall makes more of an impact. They should've let people raise their hands and ask questions instead of censoring to make sure the questions are "legit". Another way of stemming the tide of opposition.

Anonymous said...

The squeaky wheel gets the oil......

Sitting around being nice, while the 1% is trying to take over Hawaiian lands for the profit of the rich is a sin.... Nice does not work any more.

We have to voice loudly our complaints because those in power only listen to the big money people and we have to scare them to listen to the people.

If Abner Crumby would sit and listen, take the anger and concern like a MAN..people would not have been so angry.

Dr Shibai

Anonymous said...

Having to listen to some of you nuts for three minutes is far enough. Way far enough.

Anonymous said...

That should be long enough.

Anonymous said...

8:54, You donʻt sound too literate anyway so I would imagine that the short attention span of your teeny little brain would be a few bursts of a second at the most.

Anonymous said...

With regard to todays Garden Island article: OPA releases Bynum case recordings. This recording is another example of the unethical behavior of the OPA. The Attorney General appointed Richard Minatoya to the case. After investigation, Mr. Minatoya concluded there was no credible evidence with which to proceed and all charges were dismissed with prejudice. Minatoya turned over evidence including the tape that Jake secretly recorded in the Planning Department. This recording should have been turned over as evidence to Bynum's attorney before the start of the trial.
Mr. Minatoya turned over evidence that Ms. IseriCarvalho obtained from her own investigator. This withholding of exculpatory evidence is both an ethical and legal violation.

Anonymous said...

Not saying "be nice". Saying to sound intelligent when you speak otherwise you loose credibility.

Anonymous said...

You meant to type "lose credibility", right?

Anonymous said...

What gives people the right to disrupt a meeting when others are there to listen? If people want to yell obscenities or slogans, go to the governor's office or the state building.