It kind of rings hollow to hear Councilman Tim Bynum squawking about ag land violations when he previously signed a document claiming his ag land house was a farm dwelling when it wasn't.
Yes, Tim himself falsified ag land paperwork, though he later claimed he didn't know, he just signed what was put before him, and ultimately sold the house.
Yet we're supposed to believe he's genuinely outraged to learn that the county's ag dedication program seems to be in disarray. You mean, like the TVR permitting system? Gee, what a shocking surprise.
And we're also supposed to believe it was just a “coincidence” that out of 1,900 ag dedicated properties in Kauai County, Tim chose to scrutinize just three leased by biotech firms. Curious, how he completely ignored any of the ag TVRs that he pushed to approve and gentleman's estates, where abuse is rampant.
What's more, we're supposed to believe that Tim and Councilman Gary Hooser want to keep alive a resolution calling for a Council investigation “just to continue the discussion” when it's such an obvious effort to pander to the anti-GMO crowd and bash both biotech and the mayor at another Council meeting before the election.
I mean, just look at the timing. Tim and Gary introduced the resolution because they didn't believe the Administration was acting quickly enough, even though the mayor responded to Tim's May 28 letter on July 16 with a full plan of action.
County Managing Director Nadine Nakamura told the Council yesterday that an investigation into the three properties is already under way, with an initial report due on Nov. 17 and a final report scheduled for Dec. 17. The Administration also will be looking into “bigger policy and operational issues,” including whether any laws need to be changed, she said.
But Tim, making it clear that he believes his own re-election is in doubt, asked Nadine, “Do you know what seven members would still be here on Dec. 17?” To which she evenly replied, “No, I have no idea.”
It also rang hollow when both Tim and Gary expressed outrage at the notion that the county operates on a complaint basis when it comes to grubbing and grading, and doesn't have the manpower to routinely inspect all ag operations to ensure compliance with the ordinance.
“It's the law and it should be enforced,” Gary sniffed.
Uh, yeah, but let's not forget Gary was the one who dismissed my concerns about Bill 2491 enforcement with the cavalier comment, “It doesn't matter if it's enforced. All that matters is getting it passed.” And let's not forget Tim eliminated inspections from the TVR law, which led to numerous enforcement problems that are still being sorted out.
Plus, as Nadine noted, the county has 1,900 ag dedicated parcels “with a half percent of property taxes funding this. We have to see what the cost is to enforce the law.”
Even though the Council obviously wasn't going to approve the resolution, that didn't stop them from burning two hours talking about the process that might govern such an investigation — a meaningless discussion they plan to continue in two weeks. Sadly, Councilmembers JoAnn Yukimura and Mason Chock went along.
And that's where I lost a little more respect for Mason. Though he ventured that a two-week deferral probably wasn't needed, because the Council could always bring another resolution if the mayor's investigation stalled out, he quickly backed down in the face of Gary and Tim's opposition. I've always liked Mason, and wish I could support him, but he needs to emerge from the shadow of Tim and Gary. Especially because they do not have his interests or political future at heart.
Then there was the moment where Tim tossed his papers in the air after he was interrupted for a second time by County Attorney Al Castillo. Silly drama, anyone? Well, at least this time he didn't throw a pencil…
I have no doubt the county's ag dedication program is messed up, perhaps on par with the TVR permits. Why would anyone think inefficiencies and ineptitudes were limited to just planning and building? Still, the mayor did respond properly by launching an investigation when Tim brought forth his concerns. Why not let that process play out and take it from there?
If the Council is keen to exercise its investigative powers, perhaps it should start with the guys who are taping their sessions. Once again, they screwed up the live feed for hours. And believe me, nothing is more excruciating than following a Council meeting by reading captions. Except, perhaps, actually being there.
One can only hope they similarly bungle the filming of today's eastside “water workshop” so as to deprive Gary of yet another pandering opportunity. Yes, he's on tap to discuss water issues raised by an obscure “community group,” Hui Ho’opulapula Na Wai o Puna, and venture again into an arena solidly under state control. It seems the Council's kuleana is just too small for Gary.