I'm attending a science writing workshop in Santa Fe, where spring is in full force, giving rise to such marvels as bushes choke with fragrant purple lilac:
One of the participants mentioned he'd bypassed the workshop hotel to stay in lodgings he'd found on Airbnb. He'd taken to using Airbnb whenever he traveled, saying he preferred such accommodations as a way to meet locals.
Is it a legal rental? asked I, ever the kill-joy. He replied that Airbnb has all its own insurance. No, I said, is it a rental that's permitted by the city? It must be, he said, noting that were over 100 listed in Santa Fe, and surely, if they were illegal, the community would be up in arms.
I then offered a brief update of how communities like San Francisco, Aspen, Kauai — in short, pretty much everywhere that tourists like go — were up in arms over Airbnb and its promotion of illegal short-term rentals, but enforcement was tough, and often slow in coming. Meanwhile, the illegal short-term rentals were destroying the long-term rental market and skewing real estate prices.
He didn't look happy. But then, people never are when their illusions are shattered.
Speaking of illusions, I see that Mayor Bernard Carvalho has proclaimed May “Surfrider month.” It's great that they pick up nets and trash from the beaches and reefs. But they go off the rails with their political activities, which are consistently anti-ag: the honey-glyphosate junk science, joining the appeal of the court order overturning 2491/960, opposing the dairy before the EIS is even out, making all sorts of false accusations about how the dairy's grading had polluted Waiopili ditch.
And now they're joining their pals at Earthjustice and Pesticide Action Network in harassing the Agribusiness Development Corp. over its westside water permits. Instead of renewing its National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, ADC is working with the state Department of Health to establish a memorandum of understanding on water quality monitoring. Meanwhile, ADC is continuing to do the same monitoring it did under the NPDES.
But the groups, using their usual inflammatory, half-cocked rhetoric, sent out a press release claiming that ADC had was refusing to sample water in its ditch system, which they characterized as “an open sewer, with no treatment or monitoring, carrying chemicals and other pollution through the towns and into the ocean along the west side.”
Could they possibly get any more over the top? Why is the mayor recognizing and heralding groups that engage in this sort of outright deception and fear-mongering?
Meanwhile, Big Island Democrats used their convention to pass a resolution that calls for a ban on spraying the herbicide glyphosate in public places. Unfortunately, they did not also adopt a resolution requiring all those who voted “yay” to get out there and weed-whack, mow and hand weed. The video of the meeting offers a clear example of Hawaii's changing demographics.
So the alleged monk seal beater is crying now that his bizarre tantrum/outburst has him looking at serious federal charges. I'm hearing that he wants to use a “Hawaiian defense,” as in he's not subject to American laws and protected by traditaional practices. Good luck on that. I don't know of any traditional practices that include beating a monk seal, and we've already seen repeatedly that the courts aren't buying the claim that kanaka aren't subject to American laws.
Say, what ever happened to the “taking” investigation that the feds launched after Dustin Barca was videotaped disturbing a seal at Kee when he launched his canoe and mayoral race? And let's not forget the bad behavior modeled by Terry Lilley: