Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Musings: Grab and Go

While I support the voter initiative process, I can't help but feel it was never intended to advance proposals like the Community Organic Farmlands Initiative.

Still, as one friend observed when discussing the motivations of many in the anti-GMO crowd, it's all about establishing a new world order. We're talking one that is anti-corporate, anti-free trade, anti-global and anti-capitalism, sprinkled liberally with utopianism.
Which leads us to the verbiage — excessive and revisionist as it is — driving this proposed Maui County initiative.

Stuff like this:

As the “Big Five” companies and their successors abandoned agriculture in Maui County over the last thirty years for more profitable ventures, it has become clear that their “land management” practices are not developed for the public good, nor for the long term health, stability and food-security of the community. This clarity is evidenced in the refusal of such landowners to sell their lands to entities working in the public interest. Further evidence consists in their practice of selling to land speculators who then manipulate land use laws to develop luxury “gentlemen estate” farms or highly-priced residential and hotel developments that do not grow food or other sustainable agricultural products. The pervasiveness of such practices has resulted in a serious shortage of agricultural land available for food farming in Maui County. As a consequence of Maui County’s lack of food-production, over 90% of food consumed in Maui County is imported from out of state.

Gee, if they keep talking like that, they're going to lose all their backers who are living on and/or selling those gentleman estates and high-priced residential developments.

But seriously, where did they ever get the idea that there is a “serious shortage of agricultural land available for food farming in Maui County” or anywhere else in Hawaii? The Islands are awash in unused ag land, both public and private. All that's needed are competent, willing farmers, with some financial backing.

The initiative language then morphs into the “we know best” smug rhetoric that really grates, especially on those who have been busting their asses to keep ag alive in Hawaii all these years:

To accomplish the public purpose of wisely conserving, preserving, using and managing agricultural lands in Maui County requires changing present patterns of agricultural land ownership. Changing present patterns of such landownership in Maui County by allowing the County to buy or condemn agricultural land at the request of residents or potential farmer-lessees will help to satisfy the pressing public necessity for a secure, strong and stable agricultural sector and overall economy.

It then calls on Maui County to use eminent domain to snag privately owned land, upon petition by citizens or “landless farmers,” that will then be turned into ag parks. We're talking any land classified as “interim, agricultural, rural, conservation or open space.” The acquisition and parceling out will be administered by the Farm Commons Committee. 

And enforced by the Brown Shirt Brigade.

The initiative calls upon the county to pay the owner fair market value, but makes no mention of where the county is supposed to obtain the dough to finance this massive acquisition process. But why bother with such petty details when you're plotting a grand agricultural renaissance?

In exchange for a 50-year lease, the lessee does have certain responsibilities, such as:

[Keep] premises and improvements thereon in a strictly clean, sanitary and orderly condition; not engage in any activity which may result in soil erosion; or [engage in] any improper or offensive use; utilize best management practices as [sic] all times.

And allow the Committee to come in and check on you and your operations at any time.

I do not anticipate that this will be well-received. Well, except by the starry-eyed with no stake in the current system.

But hey, Viva la revolucion! If you missed it 100 years ago, no worries. It's coming soon, to a ballot near you. 


Allan Parachini said...

I can't help but wonder if there is a concealed link here to the lobby for "industrial hemp" cultivation. It's amazing how much effort seems to be invested in lobbying for industrial hemp farming on a huge scale. On the other hand, you could just call it pot farming.... True, the advocates say it's NOT pot farming, with which I would have no problem. I think what this has all come down to is that the motives of the anti-GMO and associated movements are all so murky that the only prudent course is to be suspicious of all of them.

Anonymous said...

anti-corporate, anti-free trade, anti-global and anti-capitalism.

What's wrong with being against these?

This is what has caused job loss, tax cheats, bailouts, wallstreet banksters, housing market collapse and now inflation, 401K plans to bankrupt, broke the middle class, corporate exec's with multi millions while they fire 25K employees, rise in the cost of living, lower wages, recessions and the many problems we are facing today and in the future.

Historical data shows whenever the top 1% have more than 55% of Americas wealth the economy collapses and many suffer because of this.

Anonymous said...

But are they using their newborn baby as a campaign prop?

Anonymous said...

"Hey! Let's go on a hike!"
"Sorry cannot. I have to work to grow our food."
"But we can pick fruit and fern tops!"
"No you can't. They're all gone already having been picked by hikers who don't grow anything."
"OK, so lets go pick opihi at the beach!"
"No more! The pickers picked them all. All gone."
"Oh crap! This new world is no fun!"
"You said that right!"
"Can I have some food please?"
(No answer)

Anonymous said...

If one reads a little English history on the cause of the disappearance of "the commmons" in feudal times, one can can see that the Farm Commons Committee which memorializes that dead concept has absolutely no clue. (Definition of insanity?) It certainly would take an army of "brown shirts" to force the populace to farm as they envision.

Anonymous said...

Darn it, Joan! It worked so well in Cuba! Look! Even Obama wants to go learn how they achieved such success.

Anonymous said...

You can't grow pot if the fields are full of hemp. They will cross pollinate and it will ruin the pot.

Unknown said...

Thank goodness we finally have what we need to save Maui - an agricultural manifesto written by Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh. Full honey pots and rainbows await us all!

Anonymous said...

Which ethnic group will be brought in to work the fields?

Anonymous said...

Syrian refugees or can borrow the Kauai coffee micro machines.

Anonymous said...

Joan does Kauai not already have a project like this...run by the county.. in Kilauea??? tons of "farmers" there . The last I saw at a council meeting they were cleaning up the area...posting out the plots.. and looking for farmers to farm...............What happened to that??

Anonymous said...

Insane. This is close to YukimuraLand.

Anonymous said...

Two years ago a friend who is deeply involved in this movement had a conversation with me. He was hoping to recruit me to gather signature for the anti-GMO initiative. I listened quietly and nodded regularly. He was talkative and expanded his conversation to include future plans of the group: first was to sue HC&S to stop cane burning. When I mentioned that 40,000 acres currently in seed and sugar would be empty and ripe for subdivision, he replied, "no worries, our plan is to seize the empty land via eminent domain and turn it all into organic farms." So, I can only conclude that this plan is not new but the result of long term planning. It would be easy to joke about it and dismiss it as empty dreaming, only they got the GMO ban passed. And, provided the perfect excuse for A&B to end the sugar operations. I doubt if they can get this passed, but you never know. Eminent domain has only been used where land in one type of use has been taken for a greater public good in another use. Dams, railways, national parks are examples of uses that private farm and ranch land has been put to. It has always been controversial and expensive. I can think of no examples of farm land being seized from a private owner to be used as farm land by someone else. It seems unprecedented. I, too, had thought voter initiative was a good idea; now, I believe it would be a good idea to introduce a voter initiative to end voter initiatives. There are just too many manipulative, power hungry people and too many fools for them to prey upon. Because I live on Maui and own AG land I would like to remain "Anonymous". (just in case these guys prevail they may not stop at corporate land to seize, but go after land owned by their opponents. Historically, that has happened.)

Anonymous said...

Oahu and the Big Island showing Kauai how it's done. Big Island has 3X the population of Kauai and Oahu has 11X the population and they are starting what Kauai should have been doing all along or at least since the TVR Chronicles was posted on this blog.

EXCLUSIVE: Kailua has most illegal vacation rental violations
Keoki Kerr
Feb 23, 2016 06:33 PM

Anonymous said...

7:16 Yes, but unlike Kauai, Honolulu and Big Island are funding a number of enforcement positions to go after the TVRs. What nobody seems to realize is that it costs money to enforce these so-called violations. Money for enforcement staff, money to pay legal expenses for contested case hearings, and money from other taxpayers to balance the budget once these TVRs are reclassified from Vacation Rental to Residential due to the lost revenue they were once paying. If our citizens are serious about wanting to remove illegal TVRs, then they need to be prepared to pony up the dough to fight the fight. Last I heard, our citizens were going to be getting another form of limited property taxes. That's not going to pay for enforcement.

Anonymous said...

That's BS and holding your hand out for more money for county welfare unqualified family and friends is despicable.

All the planning has to do is one at a time but they can't even do that.

So their excuse is we don't have anyone to do the job.

They want more money to do nothing, just like the county to ask a blank check to do nothing.

Anonymous said...

8:30 If the TVR owner appeals then there'll be a contested case hearing that costs the County money ... a minimum $30K per hearing. Planning staff are not attorneys nor can they prepare the case briefs or implement depositions. You are very mistaken if you simply think the Planning department has police powers to forcibly shut these TVRs down. Lining up cases one at a time is very different from shutting down operations and processing these closures through the legal process. Before stating that no additional monies are needed and how easy this can be done, you'd better do your homework. There are several local attorneys lined up ready to defend property owner's rights, whether these TVRs legal or not. And, as previously mentioned, after spending all this time and money to close these illegal TVRs, the bottom line is having a reduced tax base by taxing these "illegals" at lower tax rates. If you cannot see that, then you are blinded by wanting to close the TVRs at all costs.

Anonymous said...

This proposed initiative sounds like the Homeowners Association from Hell. Would they be able to grab an existing farm? The language is so vague that it sounds like they could. And "zoned interim, agricultural, rural, conservation or open space" land - that's probably most of Upcountry Maui (including my rural zoned half acre).
They want to give the government this vast power, yet their poster has chemtrails on it.

Anonymous said...

More than 1 person has to be getting paid off.

Coco project still alive
Redevelopment firm expects loan to close in March

commonsense: On another note. If this property is being prepared for demolition and is in such a dilapidated state, why are tours being conducted and why would anyone want to tour such a disgusting, depressing property? The historical significance of this property has been so overblown and exaggerated and that past plays no part in the present day. It was just a hotel and its' importance ended on September 11, 1992.

If it was meant to be rebuilt and have a good chance of being successful, that would have happened already. Terrible location for a resort nowadays.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016, 12:48 pm

commonsense: You cannot be serious that Planning would consider extending the permit once again! It was extended twice with a definitive deadline and these 'Developers' are no where near even starting demolition. If there happens to be asbestos in these buildings, which is very likely, remediation would need to be done and that would add months to the timeline.

I am losing more and more faith in our government and what their true ambitions and goals are. I don't have the answer for what actually should be done with the property, but I am completely convinced that it should NOT be developed as a resort, especially by the present group. We have been lied to one too many times.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016, 12:24 pm

leaveforflorida: “This commission has spent enough time and this is a mockery of the process for a developer to not meet the conditions,” Vaughan said.

She mentioned the site could be used for other things, like an educational or an outreach center. She said she doesn’t think the current plans are going to work well for the community.

Well it did before Ms. Vaughan!

This is typical of Kauai. Has anyone on the planning board tried to get a house loan with a credit score of 700? Probably would not get it.

This County has a track record of destroying viable businesses. Would you loan $135M to a company when the company is dependent on the frills of a bureaucrat, Mr. Dalihig?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016, 6:56 am

UncleAina: I'm sorry, but you're not a "developer" unless you've got financial backing. These guys said they were ready in October; but that was a lie. They still haven't secured funding for this project - and it's now 6 months later. Their doublespeak sounds like they still don't have the money they tneed and might not ever have it. Wouldn't it make more sense to find real developers with funding already in hand before you green lit this? I doubt these guys are going to do anything besides waste more time.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016, 6:35 am

Anonymous said...

We need to send Karl Berg to check for mind altering chemicals in the water of Upcountry Maui where the Maui komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti is readying an ordinance directing Maui County to establish organic gulags for the delectation of the organic dilettantes at extravagant public expense. Maui will become a regular at the bar of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The first targets for expropriation should be the good Kula ag lands of the rich, famous and realtors. Whole areas of Upcountry can be depopulated of these parasites and they can be sent to organic gulags on confiscated HC&S lands for re-education and re-training as organic farm laborers. Unrepentant fascist One percenters among them could be mulched.