Kauai opponents of the Public Land Development Corp. (PLDC) have been up in arms ever since Mayor Bernard Carvalho revealed that he seeks amendments to that very bad law, rather than its full repeal, as the Council has proposed.
They'll be staging a sit-in/sing-in outside the mayor's office between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. today in hopes of pressuring him into changing his stance. Some students from Kanuikapono are also planning to attend and share their chants and manao.
While Bernard is a minor player in this issue — the battle is going to be fought at the state Legislature, so the heat should be turned up high on Kouchi, Kawakami, Tokioka and Morikawa, all of whom breezed back into office, despite supporting the bill — it never hurts to hold the mayor's feet to the fire.
Because you know he's being lobbied heavily by the developers and construction industry that helped finance his 2010 election. We're talking $5,000 from the Ironworkers Local 625, $4,000 from the Hawaii Operating Engineers Industry, $4,000 from the Plumbers & Pipefitters PAC, two grand each from the Hawaii Laborers and Masons PACs, $1,800 from the ILWU, $2,000 from the IBEW, $2,000 from the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers PAC, $1,300 from the Carpenters and Joiners union and $4,000 from A&B.
As I sat through Tuesday night's meeting on Pierre Omidyar's development plans for the Hanalei River ridge, and listened to the Planning Commission meeting on the Kealia “ag subdivision,” I was reminded anew of the intense distrust and cynicism that people have for the land use process. They already feel shut out, overridden, blown off, ignored. Is it any surprise that the PLDC is seen as a total nose-thumbing, a way to ace out all that pesky public participation once and for all?
Meanwhile, even the Star-Advertiser came out with an editorial saying the PLDC should wait to adopt its rules until after the Legislature convenes. It's a bold stance for that paper, considering that PLDC Board member Duane Kurisu is a director of Oahu Publications, which publishes the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Midweek.
And I was thinking, how clever, to create a five-member PLDC Board that is essentially immune to political pressure and totally unaccountable to the public, seeing as how it is comprised entirely of bureaucrats and a man who embodies big business. Conflict just slides off them like bacon grease on a hot skillet, because really, why would they give a shit what the people think?
In international news, the U.S. is blaming Hamas for the conflict in Gaza —
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday: "There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel."
— while conveniently forgetting the incredible violence we have employed against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan — and continue to wage with our drone attacks in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, a chilling report from Reuters outlines how the war in Afghanistan is creating “a generation of people mentally damaged by their exposure to incessant conflict.”
Psychologists working there [Kabul hospital] say children who have known nothing but fighting since the U.S.-led overthrow of the Taliban government more than a decade ago are especially vulnerable.
"The generation born after 2001 when the international community entered Afghanistan might be 10, 11 year olds now, and I've been seeing 11 year olds and 10 year olds nowadays who are presenting with so many mental health problems: nightmares, depression, anxiety, incontinence," said Mohammad Zaman Rajabi, clinical psychology advisor at the hospital.
The fear of suicide bomb attacks, roadside bombs, and the overall level of violence in Afghanistan - of which civilians bear the brunt, with the number killed rising in 2011 for the fifth straight year to more than 3,000, according to the United Nations - can lead to anxiety, panic and obsession.
"The physical aspects of war (last) for a limited time, but the psychological aspects of the war extend for many years. Day by day the mental health problems caused by the war are increasing," said consultant psychiatrist Said Najib Jawed.
Just as socially damaging is the risk of a generation for whom violence has become the norm.
"One of the examples I always give is that when you talk to an Afghan boy, you can easily get into a physical fight because they just wait for it, they don't know any other ways of dealing with a problem than fighting," Rajabi said.
"All these things will lead to a generation of people who are not very healthy mentally, and this will affect everything in the country: education, relationships, families, generally the development of the country."
Ah, yes. War. The gift that keeps on giving.