Friday, May 20, 2016

Musings: Sharp Contrast

I continue to be impressed with the thoughtfulness and common sense displayed by Kauai County Councilman Arryl Kaneshiro. He's also shown he's not afraid to go against the grain.

In recent weeks, he's expressed an unwillingness to legislate every aspect of people's lives and a desire to focus on education rather than criminalization. He accepted the reality of imposing a very small tax increase to help improve the island's rotten roads, rather than pandering to voters in an election year. He's never thrown a pencil, talked beyond his allotted time or created an outburst that prompted a recess.

And he recognizes the pitfalls of a county manager system — especially in the hands of the dysfunctional Council.

Yes, that badly flawed concept is still alive. Even though the Council's own legal analyst, as well as the county attorney, have told them the county manager they wish to control would have to go through the civil service process, the Council refuses to give it up. Now they want the AG to weigh in. Meanwhile, The Garden Island still has not revealed the full scope of this power grab, including longer Council term limits and giving the manager authority over the police and planning commissions.

Arryl stands in refreshingly sharp contrast to his colleagues, some of whom can barely articulate a coherent thought, or are so immersed in their own narcissism that they are incapable of seeing the big picture or the public good. Truly, this is one of the worst Councils I've seen in nearly 30 years of following county politics.

While we're on the topic of incoherent narcissists, I see the annual March Against Monsanto is set for Saturday. I just had to laugh at the way it's billed as “a chance to educate.” Mmm, since when has carrying signs with simplistic slogans and falsehoods been educational?

Similarly deluded is Jeri Di Pietro, president of Hawaii SEED, who said the group's strategy is to increase education and awareness on genetically modified food in general. But how can they do that when they themselves are so woefully — even willfully — misinformed? To wit, Jeri's claim that “they shoot in the foreign DNA randomly. Depending on where that viral promoter of the foreign DNA lands, it can turn on dormant cancer genes.”

WTF? Where do they come up with this stuff?

Not to mention the willingness of some, like Councilman Gary Hooser, to flat out lie: “The high volume of restricted use pesticides necessary for the development and production of both parent seed and the experimental test fields too often drift into neighboring communities and sensitive ecosystems such as streams and nearshore waters.”

Shoots, even tests conducted by the antis themselves don't bear that claim out.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Health has released the scores of applicants who were awarded medical marijuana dispensary licenses. Unfortunately, they have yet to release the scores and rankings of the folks who didn't get it, because they're still in the process of notifying them. Talk about slow. It's been three weeks since they announced the winners.

At any rate, Green Aloha, the Kauai licensee, got the lowest score in the state. Yet another example of Kauai bringing up the rear.

And Politico has an interesting article about the downside of the Colorado legalization: the smell of production and processing facilities, many of which are located in Denver's poorest neighborhoods. The complaints of activists there are not unlike those leveled at the seed industry here:

Mayor Michael Hancock views the neighborhood outcry as unsurprising. City rules required grow operations—which favor warehouse-like structures—to locate in industrial-zoned areas. "Certainly, nobody wants to live under the clouds of those odors everyday," Hancock said, adding that it’s incumbent on the marijuana industry to work with communities to reduce the negative effects of their operations.

In recent weeks, Hancock signed off on an ordinance change that will require businesses seeking new licenses or renewals to submit "good neighbor" outreach plans. And next year, grow operations, which take widely varying approaches to reduce the smells they emit, will have to present odor-control plans to the city.

Elyria-Swansea was among a few neighborhoods identified by the Denver Post early this year as having roughly one marijuana business for every 91 residents—a clustering that intensifies problems like smell, but that also claims precious real estate.

"We have people who have tried to start businesses, and they weren't able to lease the spaces because the marijuana industry came in and could make a higher offer—and do it instantly," said [community activist Candi] CdeBaca. "We've borne the burden of the state and city's growth at the cost of our residents."

What's the old saying? Oh, yeah: one man's meat is another man's poison.

And finally, I ran across this cartoon, which I dedicate to all the folks who bitch and moan when I don't print their comments:


Anonymous said...

Eh, Joan, the anti's will think that you support Arryl despite him being a decent guy, because he works for Grove Farm, and that you're in bed with those chemical using poison companies... But I think you're right.

The main reason people shouldn't smoke in cars is that they keep throwing the butts on the ground outside after they're done. No body uses car ashtrays cause they are just GROSS and STINK when full of butts. But we have littering laws in place that should already address that.

Anonymous said...

Arryl? Supported pay raises for execs. Supported GET increase that affects the poor. Yes, he goes against the grain alright. Against the will of the people. Sorry Joan, I have to disagree with you on this one. He lost my support because of his attachment to the Mayor.

Anonymous said...

Yes, thank goodness Arryl's a voice of reason and I expect we'll have Derek next year to add more sensibility to our County Council.

The front page of TGI today is hilarious, with an article of the National Academies of Science study showing that "GMO's are not behind health woe" next the an article about Saturday's "March Against Monsanto." what is Jerri Di Pietro's scientific background anyway? It's laughable that she feels qualified to review/find error in a study done by the most prestigious scientific group in our country.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Councilman Kaneshiro is a real neath of fresh air. Arryl certainly dispels the negative stereotypes of millennials, and is the only councilperson looking at the tax increase for highways for the right reason. He obviously is aware that the anti-tax sentiment runs deep and wide, particularly that of a regressive, however, he is being the adult in the room in attempting to have an intelligent and substantive discussion, rather than pandering. Maybe perhaps a tax rebate to offset the regressivity of the tax?

Regarding the anti-GMO movement, Miss DiPieto does an excellent job in articulating that she is clueless what she is talking about, and should certainly not be "educating" us. In fact, GMO-Free Kauai contradicts Councilman Hooser's shift of focus away from GMOs to pesticides. The new demagoguery now is all about chronic, low level exposures, zero tolerance, precautionary principle, which is impossible to disprove, and hence the favored tactic for demagogues, whose desire is to sow and fan fears to keep the fevor and donations rolling in.

Make no mistake about it, the failure of the State/County sponsored Joint Fact Finding Committee is a direct result of the JFF being commandeered by individuals with a misplaced sense of social justice, which has done a social injustice to our community. The document verifies the aforementioned shift in focus from GMOs, exclusively to the new mantra of the dangers of chronic, low exposure, zero tolerance, and the precautionary principle. Yet, the executive summary of the data and facts do not support them. Therefore, we shall all gladly support the recommendations, and err on the side of caution (precautionary principle), and do monitoring to the tune of $500K annually, and continue to argue for zero tolerance, as we merrily (or angrily) go about our day with lattes and the like.


Anonymous said...

Having listened to Arryl through various meeting I too have been impressed. Unlike other obnoxious council members (ahem Joann)he seems to be well reasoned, willing to listen and capable of making informed decisions.

Anonymous said...

Arryl supports everything the Mayor wants, good thing or not? Pay raises, GET increases, etc. The question is, is the Mayor doing a good job or not? I say NOT! Can he improve? Absolutely, 2.5 years of improvement can do wonders! Pave more roads, replace 100 year old bridges before they fall like Minnesota, make the bus more efficient with existing resources (i.e. shut down empty bus routes), re-organize vacant positions and downgrade when necessary, choke room for improvement, leave on a good note Big B. Everyone likes you as a person, but as Mayor, you owe it to the public to do more. Everyone (the general public) is paddling the canoe (by paying taxes) but the Mayor is too busy singing. Get to work Big B. In 2.5 years you can sing all day and night.

Anonymous said...

Would be interesting to know who got the contract job to clean the hardy st mess.

It's another friend or relative then this mayor is a crook like Madoff.

Anonymous said...

He's playing his role. He is like his father, only on council to benefit family and friends and rubber stamp the dumb mayors ideas.

Arryl is a good slave to GMO and a good slave for the good ol boys and girls on Kauai.

Good House Slave drinking ice tea and lemonade with the plays toon owners and looking out the window hoping he never becomes a field slave.

Anonymous said...

Arryl is intelligent and doesn't vote in lock-step just for political gain, but rather reasons through each issue at hand. I hate to say it, but the Kauai taxpayers are spoiled. Many rates and fees are still 20+ year behind which puts way too much pressure on real property tax rates to raise the money needed to provide services. Kauai residents get a large homestead exemption and preferential tax rates, so our taxes are way lower than almost anywhere. Revenues have barely grown into the expenses it takes to provide the basic level of services. That leaves nothing for improvements and likely insufficient funding for maintenance. Unions wage increases have severely hamstrung this county.

Arryl seems wise enough to recognize that even the council and all their posturing and pandering could not find substantial budget cuts, which means there simply not much to cut anymore. The budget has only grown at 2.8% per year since 2009, yet employee wages seem to be growing at 4%-5% and constitute the bulk of the expense. Feeding the higher employee wages translates into cuts in maintenance (roads, parks, and facilities), programs, grants, and other social services. The $68 million excess fund balance was used to offset revenue shortage for a number of years. Unless we want a volunteer fire department and/or a lot fewer policemen, the cost of government is not going to go down. Arryl sees the need to address the deferred maintenance for roads, bridges, and parks. It's true no want wants to pay more in taxes, but if the taxes are earmarked for actual improvements and not a slush fund, then the taxes are truly an investment ... an investment in our quality of life. He's got my vote for choosing the difficult but correct decision to do something other than fund a status quo budget by supporting the GET. Too bad many of the others just want to get re-elected to say of the government dole.

Joan Conrow said...

@1:33 And you're a good slave to the same tired rehetoic and worn metaphors.

Anonymous said...

Arryl may be a fresh breath of something, but it ain't about taxes. Granted his endorsement of a GET increase may be good for County workers, but not for the everyday citizen.
If Arryl really wants to be a breath of fresh air, he should immediately declare that he is AGAINST any and all tax increases. The County must come to grips with their spendthrift antics. There is nothing that says the County will wisely spend any money they receive.
The County paradigm is..OK guys we have an extra one million dollars. So we have to hire a hundred thousand a year man to administer the money, an assistant monitor at 75,000. The assistant monitor will need three 50,000 per year men to do the paperwork. Then we will need outside planners to study the issues. We have a great study group that will cost only 300,000. With the balance we can hire engineers to draft plans. Then we need a couple of County attorneys to do the legal stuff.
With the balance of the money we can buy paint to re-stripe Olohena Road.
Since we have an OK for a GET increase and it is still available under State Law for another year, we can go back to Council and get an approval for a higher percentage. Make sure you tell all of the 1500 County Workers to vote for Arryl, he really supports the County worker.
Arryl is a nice guy, but it always wrong to support any tax increase, UNTIL the County shows they can handle money. We are the highest taxed State in the Country.
It is always the Sneaky Petes that try the old "it is only a couple of cups of coffee per day"...most citizens have cut their budgets to the bone. It is time for the Council to cut the budget, not add to it.
Maybe Arryl should pretend that the County was Grove Farm. Guaranz, his allegiance to Grove Farm would demand that no money be spent, that they cut budget. His GF bosses would 86 him in a hot minute if he required them to spend more money than they have in their budget.
The citizen is not a piggy bank.

Anonymous said...

1:41 Kauai County doesn't pay for its schools or half our roads. If you feel you should pay more, feel free to write a check to the County.
Kauai has a bloated government and every extra dollar they get they consume.
“You're FAT - and don't try to sugarcoat it, because you'll just eat that, too.”

Anonymous said...

1:41 Sure sounds like an employee of the Mayor get back to work if you have any.

Anonymous said...

Aloha Joan. We encourage you to publish this important information:

Agrochemical VS the People of Hawaii: June 15th appeals court hearing in Honolulu

The initiative that was taken (and the law that was passed) to protect the community by the County Council on Kauai was one of three distinct initiatives that came to be in response to the chemical “agriculture” industry’s increasingly threatening and destructive presence on Oahu, Kauai, Hawaii, Maui and Molokai. Although each involved different sets of circumstances, laws and constitutional attempts to restrict or control these dangerous practices in different ways, they were all struck down by the same two Federal Judges - through whom the industry sought to assert their power over our communities and our lives.

There are multiple levels of WRONG involved with the industry’s corrupt activities using Federal Authority - which they have spent decades and hundreds of millions of dollars to bend to their political and economic will - to take away firmly established fundamental rights, as defined by our State Constitution.

Within the Federal Justice system there exists degrees of Judicial oversight where decisions by Federal District Court Judges (or magistrates) like Susan Mollway (or Barry Kurren) can be reversed or overturned if they are found to be in “clear error” or an “abuse of discretion”. Both conditions have repeatedly occurred and are at issue here.

What makes this situation particularly interesting and compelling (if it was not enough already) is the fact that even though these three Federal cases went through different courts, at different times (argued by different lawyers and based on different sets of facts and issues in dispute) THEY WILL ALL BE CONSIDERED ON APPEAL, ON THE SAME DAY, BY THE SAME PANEL OF THREE SENIOR JUDGES. This confluence of intimately related factors is truly historic and provides a unique and unprecedented social change opportunity.

Unless the level of judicial corruption has reached the level of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (which on many issues is the most progressive of all the appeals courts in the US) the understanding of what is happening in Hawaii will finally become clear to the empowered Federal Authorities, and EVERY ONE of these horrible misguided decisions will be overturned.

There will be a series events on all of the islands in the weeks and days leading up to the June 15th appeals court hearing in Honolulu. We will bring global attention (on a whole other level) to what has been happening in Hawaii and create a vibrant awakened atmosphere on ALL of the islands - so that when the judges who will be deciding these cases arrive they will know how much this matters to us - the people of Hawaii.

Anonymous said...

5:57 Time for you to move back to the mainland

Anonymous said...

Aloha Joan, another great one. I especially agree on Arryl. Like him, I grew up here. So did my parents and theirs and etc, etc, etc and one more etc. He represents true Kauai values, not those that were 'imported'. He speaks from his heart (even if some of the CAVE people can't handle that). He's not worried about the camera or the 4 normal Council meeting attendees. I also look forward to Mr. Kawakami joining, perhaps Mr. Brun. Hopefully we can bounce a couple of the other low life's off the table, most especially the guy on the left that's not from here. Remember...and then go Vote!!!

PS - hey 4:07, so what if it is...they have rights too!

Anonymous said...

5:57 - wonder what the spread of Vega$ bookies on this?

Anonymous said...

To 5:57:

Who's we? Who's us?
Cause it certainly isn't me! Quit trying to act like you speak for THE PEOPLE.
You don't. Face it, you are in the screaming, foot-stamping, whining, prevaricating, demicrominus minority who think you should get your way because you say so.

"We will bring global attention (on a whole other level) to what has been happening in Hawaii and create a vibrant awakened atmosphere on ALL of the islands - so that when the judges who will be deciding these cases arrive they will know how much this matters to us - the people of Hawaii."

It matters to all of us, you special flower, but judicial decisions are based on law and facts; things your ilk like to ignore.

Anonymous said...

5:57: If you do not have a shrink on retainer, you need to hire one quickly. You have multiple personality flaws- not the least is paranoia about a vast conspiracy against the PEOPLE (you, primarily), delusions of self importance, infallibility, and a sense of self righteousness that make it seem inconceivable that you do not think you are divine and god-like. Green Aloha will not open soon enough for you. Take advantage of it when it does. Meanwhile, let the process take its judicial course without all the nasty hyperventilation.

Anonymous said...

5:57, why the three cases can be heard on the same day? Simple answer is hierarchy of jurisdiction. Federal laws supersede states' laws and state laws supersede county laws. Writers of the ordinances/initiative should have done their homework instead of reacting to mad hysteria spread by outside interests.

Anonymous said...

They've already written the press releases, the first they loose and thus write the judges are corrupt, the second they write for winning, where they write and ask for more money.

Anonymous said...

So true, 8:31 AM!

Anonymous said...

Joan, I don't always agree with you, but on your assessment of Arryl, you are right. He makes tough decisions based on his principles and not politics. I like the fact that he does his homework and does not speak from both sides of his mouth. He is independent, smart and calm at council meetings unlike some of the others on the council. It will be an interesting election.....I hope changes occur on the council.

Anonymous said...

11:15. What's so tough about his decisions, he's a puppet of the mayor? Raise GET, Pay raises for mayors appointees because they may leave, if not??? Bullshit! Where is the independent, wise decisions? Tell me?

Anonymous said...

kaneshiro is a shill for GF. even if he cannot be involved in council deliberations involving GF, he uses his connections to local lowlifes to do the dirty work for him (think "rather have a cow than a haole T shirts" crashing meetings in private homes, anti haole rhetoric against dairy opponents, disrupting the work of a dedicated group of native people putting together a AHA council for south Kauai, etc. this is a guy who wears two faces. one for public consumption and the other to further his own/employer's interest.

Anonymous said...

I think Council Member Kaneshiro has developed a lot over the past few years, as a public servant and as a business land manager. His thinking is methodically done with a long term vision. A style that is unique to long term stability. His intuitor skills set him apart from most council members. Mr Kaneshiro will also continue to advance himself in politics with his calm non threatening demeanor. This is the kind of politician people will migrate to.

Regarding Mr Kaneshiro's employment at Grove Farm. It's just that. If you are employed as a management employee by any company, your loyalty while at work is to your employer, and sometimes even beyond. I worked for a business corporation for 33 years. That's life.

Council Member Kaneshiro, We look forward to seeing you in August and November.

Anonymous said...

Arryl Kaneshiro A politician that's non-narcissistic. How refreshing :)

Anonymous said...

To all you kaneshiro admirers. Your independent thinker, non-narcisstic Council member has just introduced a bill to be taken up by the Council on June 1. If this passes as written, the Kaneshiro plan will allow multifamily structures for rent, to be built in Residential zoning districts where only single family dwellings are currently permitted. Kaneshiro was one of 4 council members who very recently passed a bill (now with the mayor for signature) protecting residential areas from invasion by BnBs and whose main purpose was to preserve residential neighborhoods from becoming overrun with noise, increased foot/car traffic, crowding, sewage disposal problems, domestic water supply, off street parking and more. Gains made by communities across Kauai to preserve and protect living space could be erased. The cumulative impact of allowing single family living areas to be overtaken by permitting uncontrolled multifamily construction/rentals would be disastrous. How about single family residential areas in the tsunami zone? You going to allow multi family rental structures to be built there too; creating a public safety , health and welfare problem of greater proportions than currently exists. Is this an example the of quiet, deliberate, mature thinking Kaneshiro fans and political supporters are bragging about? Read the bill and decide for yourself.

Anonymous said...

yeah, kaneshiro. what about circumventing the law; aka the comprehensive zoning ordinance. you're no leader, jus trying to suck up to yukimura/hooser

Anonymous said...

11:34 why would he suck up to the bottom? Makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

Politicians =s no sense, no conscience, amnesia.

Anonymous said...

rapozo just did. AK follows da leader

Anonymous said...

Kaneshiro was reported to say in a GI article; "You hear all the time when you're out in the public that housing is a critical need" Further on he said "There's only so much the Council can do for housing. If we wanted to, we can take money from the general fund and dump it into housing, but I don't think that's a good use of taxpayers dollars." Oh really? So what IS a good use of tax payers' dollars? Salary increases, Hardy St., Rice St ? Taking money from the General Fund to encourage development of affordable rentals/homes to buy, is exactly what AK and friends should have been doing all along. Housing regular folks can afford is the MOST critical need on Kauai. Most would agree, providing for this need is a damned GOOD use of tax payer dollars.