Monday, February 9, 2015

Musings: Monday's Mullings

It's Monday, and I've been mulling a few odds and ends....

Like how sad it is that Kauai's community radio station, KKCR, has degenerated to the point where I heard a local reference it the other day as "Kauai Caucasian Crank Radio."

And then there was this email from a faithful reader:

In the past month, I don't think I have ever in my life felt the disgust toward our county officials and what our island has become. Just trying to get to the beach to go fishing nowadays is so hard to do. I can only imagine how my grandfather feels trying to go fishing. Seeing the immense changes and total loss of local culture to the rich and "entitled” disturbs daily. Then to think, I'll never ever be able to afford a mortgage in today's market. In a sick way, I hope for a hurricane every year in the hopes that it'll chase a good lot of these "kama-ee-na" folk back to where they came from. Have you noticed the influx in out of state plates on Kauai recently??

Yes, friends in the construction industry say business is picking up as the recently arrived wealthy tear down perfectly good houses to replace them with something far more grand and erect brand new places along the coast.
But don't worry. The luxury Realtors at Hawaii Life believe in the trickle down theory. Why, Neal Norman and Matt Beall contributed $450 between them to send Ohana O Kauai members Dustin Barca, Fern “Anuenue” Rosenstiel and other unregistered anti-GMO lobbyists to testify on anti-ag legislation at the state Capitol. Matt even added this quote to his contribution

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

Mmm, you mean like the way Ohana O Kauai stands by doing nothing as Neal occupies the public beach with sandbags to armor his multi-million-dollar house in Haena? Yup, they're still there, washing into the ocean, impeding access, though they were authorized under an emergency temporary permit for one-year's use — way back in 1997.
As further “proof” that the anti-GMO movement is a local, grassroots gig —NOT! — an organizer with the Connecticut-based Citizens For GMO Labeling just happened to be cruising the Big Island last week, peddling his services to help sway a Hawaii County Council vote that allowed two mainland-based advocacy groups, Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice, to assume control of its anti-GMO litigation.

The Kauai County Council, meanwhile, has been cleaning house, formally filing items that have been deferred so long they're now obsolete. Perusing the agenda items the past couple weeks has been a trip down political memory lane: former Mayor Maryanne Kusaka's new car, conflict of interest among Councilmembers, Lihue airport runway extension, an old dog barking ordinance, adolescent treatment center in Hanapepe. And this one:

12.W 2002-18 (*) Communication (11/15/2002) from Council Chair Ron Kouchi, submitting a resolution supporting labeling efforts for genetically modified foods. (See also CR-EDIR 2015-02; the Economic Development & Intergovernmental Relations Committee recommended W 2002-1 8 be received for the record.)

My, how things change....

Also on Wednesday's Council agenda is a public hearing on Councilman Gary Hooser's anti-fireplace/anti-burning bill, which would allow folks to hassle people when they make imu, smoke meat, hibachi, etc. It's titled “relating to declaring a public nuisance,” which is a pretty accurate description of Gary, too. It's actually kind of good this BS bill has gone to a public hearing. That way, Gary will get an earful from unhappy locals, which hopefully will show him just how out of touch he is with the community he purports to represent.

Meanwhile, Council Chair Mel Rapozo has introduced a bill that authorizes the Office of the County Auditor to execute a four-year contract with a CPA to audit county funds and accounts. As I reported last week, the auditor's office has been dead in the water for two years now, what with its only CPA, Ron Rawls, driven out by retaliatory management practices and Auditor Ernie Pasion out on medical leave the past seven months while he sues the county.

Yet just like clockwork, Glenn Mickens has one of his regular letters to the editor inexplicably praising Ernie and actually using the dysfunctional auditor's office to justify his oft-repeated call for a county manager system. As the old saying goes, “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”

And Mike “never say die” Sheehan continues to bleed the county fighting the court-upheld condemnation of his Hanalei boatyard property, with the County Attorney's office seeking another $25,000 to defend against his unceasing litigation. Come on, Mike. Can't you think of something better to do with your bucks than burn the taxpayers?


Anonymous said...

KKCR may be out of touch, but they play some good music in the afternoon.
Hopefully, the locals will show up on the anti-Imu law. If some bruddahs show up li' dat, Gary may get the idea that what a whack-a-doo he is.
Where have all da bruddahs gone? Used ta be, that any full blown BS proposal would get at least a visit from "representatives" of the hunters, surfers, fisherman, bikers etc. Somehow a few words would be spoken and a message of "hands off the locals" was heard. There was no door these former Primo warriors (now peaceful citizens with a legacy) couldn't get thru.
C'mon Kane, C'mon might be the last. Step up to the Council meeting and let the Huli-Huli continue. This Council meeting should be a real weenie roast. All Huli-Huli could be illegal under Gary's goofy bill.

Anonymous said...

@8:33 AM I think everyone has become disenchanted with politics. -Especially after this last year...

Anonymous said...

Norman's sandbags are disgusting. He's learned it works to pay off the activists so they don't come after him.

Anonymous said...

I've been wanting to write re: the fireplace bill because - full disclosure - I am friends with the MacDonalds. I also have coached and reffed soccer with the MacDonalds and our children have grown up together. They have always been involved with the community and are not complainers.
I have been at the MacDonald house when the neighbors are using their fireplace and it's like being in a house on fire with all of the smoke which comes in - even with their windows closed. Lori and Neil have gone to the ER many times and Lori been diagnosed with suffering from smoke inhalation! That's a problem. One of their mo'opuna has been sent to Kapiolani because of the effects of the smoke. That's a problem. I understand nearby neighbors have developed bronchial illnesses as a result of continued exposure. That, too, is a problem.
The MacDonalds and nearby neighbors only began to seek help addressing the problem when the smoke began to impact their health. They are not the only ones who have been bothered by the neighbor's fireplace, but they have maybe been the most vocal because of the health problems they are suffering and because they have sought help to address this problem for TEN years!
I grew up with a fireplace and the smoke always went UP. That's NOT the case with this fireplace. I've suggested that perhaps the fireplace was built incorrectly and sought information on who built it and if it was properly inspected as it was added on to the house after purchase. County records show it was inspected and passed.
I know the MacDonalds and other nearby neighbors wish they could have resolved this through mediation. They also wish the issue could have been resolved with the help of the DOH. They wish the neighbor with the offending fireplace would have taken their collective offer to replace the wood-burning fireplace with an electric or gas fireplace.
I know they are not interested in outlawing hibachis, outdoor cooking, imu cooking, etc., but they ARE interested in being able to be in their home and not be sickened or suffer from smoke inhalation. I don't think that's asking for too much. They sought legislative help only when they felt they had exhausted all other avenues. There are concerns, to be sure, with the way the bill is currently written, and those issues need to be addressed. But, what other choice do neighbors have? It's unrealistic to suggest they all sell and move.
Pat Hunter-Williams

Bronson Kaahui said...

Does Mike Sheehan have any relation to Mark Sheehan of SHAKA?

Anonymous said...

Pat Hunter-Williams- Thank you for your well written comments. Compassion could prevail, but.
The fact is Da Hoos' bill does make imus, pelehu, hulihuli, garden spraying, steam-cleaning, lawn mowing etc. illegal if a neighbor feels it is dangerous to their health.
That is the bugaboo. A conundrum. How will the police enforce? Who is the arbiter? The McDonalds do indeed have a problem. But now their problem has metamorphosed into being every citizen's problem.
The smoke may not be fair to the McDonalds, but for Da Hoos to put a bill on the table that can change the very lifestyle of most of Kauai's people is ridiculous.
The Council should shelve the entire bill.
After the smoke and mirrors are cleaned up, we can see that this is just a mealy-mouthed Hooser attempt to take a stab at Big Ag and weed control.
Dump the bill.
Do not even try to amend it to fit one lone chimney in Kauai Gardens....oops, isn't that where Da HooS' BFF Tim "Jackpot" Bynum lives? Scratch the surface and who knows what is exposed. Maybe Bynum is using Da Hoos to carry on his crybaby agendas. Inquiring minds want to know.

Anonymous said...

Screw the idea of a county manager, screw everything Hooser stands forth, and I hate that radio station. Bunch of cranks.

Anonymous said...

This unrelenting trashing of Hooser disgusts me. Get a life whoever the a..hole is who can't stop!

Anonymous said...

commenting on 11:11 AMs post.

Actually being an activist for some is like creating a job for oneself. If you're loud, persistent and beat your own drum enough, one of two things happens. You create an image of being the neighborhood "go to guy" who people need to consult or pay money to get the "go to guys'" support. or the activist is given a job or some form of compensation to keep the activist's mouth shut.

Anonymous said...

Gary may not be perfect (Are any of us? Not me!) But at least he is making an effort to help the MacDonalds. He is showing compassion for their suffering. I notice the vitriol aimed at him because the bill may be flawed. I also notice very little compassion for the MacDonalds. Same thing happened on the westside. So many neighbors next to the Waimea river were suffering and nobody cared. More than 10years of frustration and lives made miserable by the neighboring seed company refusing to cooperate and resolve the problem (and what did mayors and council members do during those years to help?). The result- a bill which was not perfect in an attempt to help those locals and a resulting lawsuit by the companies. If the companies had been good neighbors from the beginning, none of this would ever have happened. Go ahead, place the blame on the thousands of people who find such behavior disgusting. Place the blame on people like Gary who at least is making an effort to help them. It is so refreshing to Pat-Hunter Williams comment. Here is a person with real compassion. Thank you for sharing. How wonderful if people would stop complaining about and vilifying Gary and begin showing compassion for people like the MacDonalds and all those families and children who have suffered so much on the westside. Compassion results in lokahi. Vitriol and hatred can only create division in our islandwide community. Instead of focusing on Gary, go and visit and talk story with the MacDonalds. Joan, perhaps as a reporter, you could interview the MacDonalds and even their neighbor- get the real scoop direct from their mouths and then maybe some ideas on how to solve the problem? We need more solutions and less attacking and complaining.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous (3:19 p.m.)
Appreciate your response...however, the bill, as I understand it, doesn't allow for a neighbor who just "feels it is dangerous to their health". I believe the person must provide proof from a medical professional to substantiate the claim. It is not just the MacDonalds who have this problem. Other nearby neighbors have been negatively effected as well.
In addition, the MacDonald grandchildren have been seriously effected and they live in another neighborhood. This is not a case of one loan chimney.
I don't think Gary Hooser's intent was to "change the very lifestyle of most of Kauai's people" and what he first proposed was put aside at the recommendation of the County Attorney - whom I believe is the one who suggested using the Maui bill as a model.
This has nothing to do with "Big Ag and weed control" and I have no idea where Tim Bynum lives.
There HAS to be something that someone can do to assist these people. If the DOH won't step in, what other recourse do they have? I believe far better to refine the bill to address a very real problem than "dump the bill".
Pat Hunter-Williams

Anonymous said...

@ 6:31 - yes, a perfect example of the "neighborhood go to guy" is Mr. Klayton Kubo. Mr. Moke Action himself, making big body at the capitol last week.

Joan Conrow said...

Pat, I appreciate your concern for the McDonalds. However, as KPD, KFD and OPA testified, the problem should be addressed through mediation or civil litigation not a criminal statute that is written to benefit just a few people.
As Prosecutor Kollar noted, it is easy to get a letter from a doctor but much harder to prove causation and intent in a criminal proceeding The burden of proof is lower in a civil action. That's why Waimea residents are suing Pioneer over dust, not pesticide exposure.
Gary may have had good intentions to help the McDonalds but this bill could inadvertently harm many others and has serious enforcement issues. He and others make the assumption DOH isn't doing anything, but they responded to dozens of complaints, inspected his chimney and made recommendations on fuel use. This bill essentially criminalizes his fireplace and his outdoor cooking as the McDonalds apparently also complained about his hibachi. That's why people are justly concerned about it impacting cooking fires.

Joan Conrow said...

Neighbors inform me that the man burns plastic and other chemical trash in his fireplace, which is definitely not cool and should be stopped. But still, it's the kuleana of the DOH, and pressure needs to be exerted on that agency to enforce, rather than practice what some have described as "ethnic favoritism."

Anonymous said...

yeah 11:04. we have a couple of these clowns on our side of the island too. kiss up to the money, hell with the people.