Thursday, October 9, 2014

Musings: Pander Makes Perfect

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.


Anonymous said...

Water issues are too important to leave to the state. The state works hand -in-hand with the large corporations and their interests often trump local interests. These issues should be controlled locally by the ahupua'a, the traditional Hawaiian way.

Anonymous said...

I do hope Mel and Ross will ask the council to start an investigation into the fake agriculture agreements known as farm dwelling agreements and how many people signed them and then violated the agreement. That is where all the now high value agriculture lands were gentrified under the guise of agriculture use. The council later approved the bogus farms for resort use. Now follow that trail and we will find substantial loss of not only revenue for the county but the best farm lands and soils on Kauai.
Tim should go.

Anonymous said...

The first three properties were discovered because Bynum was trying to validate the chemical companies claims of what they contribute to the county financially. The first three looked at were all deficient. He has since identified a total of 40 properties that should be looked at for deficiencies but the administration says that they will not look at any of them until after Dec. 17, despite the requests by Bynum, Hooser, and Yukimura (at least maybe others?) to look at it now to define the issue. This has been asked for over a year. While it may be framed as a political stunt, this has been an issue since before candidacies were even announced. The letter in May was to establish that it had been asked about and no action taken. It was not the first notice to the administration.

Anonymous said...

Nadine said part of the Adminstration's action plan by Dec. 17 is to define the scope of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Nadine only wants to look at the three Grove Farm properties before Dec. 17. In my opinion it would be more equitable to look at more than one landowner as suggested by several council members. We are only talking about 40, not hundreds of dedications. Even if they picked say three more at random it would help with fairness.

Anonymous said...

The real issue with Ag Dedications is when you have Real Estate Agents like Kyno listing 118 acres of Ag dedicated land for $17M and touting the low annual tax bill of a couple hundred $.
Lets not focus on the companies that actually farm but write some meaningful legislation that prevents the people that farm for taxes as a way to land bank and speculate.

Anonymous said...

Nadine's credibility is an A+ with me. If she says the Administrations action plan will be ready to evaluate the problem on December 17th then so be it. At least it won't be subjected to political assassination by a few council members.

Anonymous said...

9:15. You'll have to change state law first.

Anonymous said...

Bynum is a parasitic, power mad nut case.

Anonymous said...

The State maintains control over water, for one reason. The State founders knew that an island could be taken over by whack jobs, IE Hooser, Bynum, Chock, Yukimura and Jay.

I have only voted in 23 elections on Kauai, but I find more anger in this Council race than I have ever seen before.
We got Bynum- who throws shit around when he don't get his way and sues the County, even tho' he did HAVE an illegal rental. I think he really wanted to get up close and personal with Shay, but she rejected him.
We got da HOOS- A former carpet cleaner, Real estate salesman and Land developer, who gets busted for not paying his taxes. And now lies his big fat pants off regarding GMO and taxes.
We got Jay- A former real good boss and level headed Hotel manager who has transformed into a soft, limp-wristed anti-Ag guy who has forgotten the working person. Jay is a real disappointment, ask any local business owner.
We got JoAnn- the developer of Anini Ag CPRs, who has in her over 30 years in leadership chipped away at all development (except her husband's many developments) with the end result being, the Local Housing market is nil. She is a sweet little old lady, but it is time for her to go.
We got Chock- Who never did anything in his life except brown nose Hooser, Bynum and Jay Furfaro (not fragrant, but effective) and in midnight magic, becomes a Council member. A pathetic lapdog of the Hooser/Bynum couple. Not one brain cell.

All 5 of these council peeps believe in higher taxes, restricting Agriculture, restricting property rights and they gave Timmy Bynum $290,000 to put in his pocket.
A quintet, all who have forgotten the working man, the kapuna and especially, how to fix a road.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, Joan you are right on a lot of points. First the grading and grubbing law was not being enforced by anyone, and also why are we talking about process now i thought we already hashed that out. i still think the reso is a good idea, because we don't know who the admin is going to be in the future or the council, so at least get the county side solid, hope that the admin can flush out who owes rollbacks.

Amazing thing to me was Arryl's name showing up on doc's on the screen which the public couldn't see because no video, and other names as well.

Then, Grove Farm getting up and admitting that they would need to pay a rollback on at least one property. That was flabbergasting to me (I know that's a word cuz I looked it up.)

Problem is, there was some very tense moments with Castillo and Bynum, but what I saw was Mason did a great thing, and wouldn't let the meeting continue at all until everyone decided to play nice. He stood his ground, and many commented on how great that was. So don't sell Mason down the river yet. He is getting a spine, and starting to stand on his own two feet.

Not having the video I think was good for them, and the general public not seeing the public doc's and the names on them was interesting. I was thinking Arryl would be nervous but maybe not.

However I gotta say i was incredibly and wonderfully impressed with the way that Nadine handled herself. She is utterly amazing, and I truly admire and respect her. I think she could make a great mayor. She spoke clearly calmly and reasonably and actually made the admin sound great. I also think it's great the admin admitted there was an issue and launched an investigation, but I still don't think having a reso is overkill or a bad idea.

The water meeting today which I attended, was Dr Adam Asquith and Kapua Sproat, who is born and raised here, and part Hawaiian, and from an extremely well known Ohana, famous for growing great Papaya, and making Waipa what it is today.

Dr Adam Asquith is giving farmers a way to return to the land and farm in Kealia. Great people, and a great presentation, and it will be continued, with the USGS being invited, and the issues are water, as in all of the water and water issues on the island.

The dairy and spring situation were mentioned but the focus was much broader.

It was a nice meeting, councilmembers behaved, and Nadine represented the admin and did a great job.

Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with the chem companies (or any other renter) of land from a landowner/landlord.
The County assesses the valuation of the parcel and the amount of the property tax to be paid.
The landowner is responsible for paying property taxes to the County.
The renter (depending on the lease agreement, usually a pass-through) pays their portion of the property tax to the landlord.
Looking at the public records for the three parcels TB referenced, the property taxes have been paid in full.
One would make the assumption that the tenant has paid the landowner.
So, where is the pilikia??
Is it in the assessment? Then this is a County issue....not the landowner....or the tenant.
Still funny that GH & TB choose a landowner to publicly bash, who happens to employ someone who happened to place third in the primary election balloting....AND right before election.
No coincidence there

Anonymous said...

How many agriculture lands are now used for TVR's because of Bynam? And what kine taxes do they pay? What about back taxes for all the years of bullshit? What about violation of the farm dwelling agreements? Now there may be oodles of money owed to the county. And better yet, end the friggin free gift given to the violators, and don't allow our best agriculture lands to be used as resort lands because Bynam wanted to gift his many rich friends.

Anonymous said...

Nothins funny about the council right now

Anonymous said...

Farmland is dependent on good soils. The most productive soils are in Kilauea. Too bad, the farm lands are now used for TVR's. Under Bynam and the council's approval, the best farm soils were turned to resort. Justice demands they be audited for compliance with the farm dwelling agreements that were signed.

Anonymous said...

Give it a rest people Almost everyhouse on Kauai has building code and or use violations Except Princeville and Poipu Kai. Numerous other violations of the law are ignored .

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't Bynum's taxes be rolled back also? For the period that he illegally rented out his house? I think so.