Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Zuckerberg's Quiet Title Actions: Reality vs Shibai

To hear media, pandering politicians and posers tell it, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is kicking kanaka off their land and out of their homes, forever severing their connection to the aina and their culture.

In reality, the eight quiet title actions he has filed directly affect just one person — Russell Andrade — and he's apparently OK with it all. Which he's going to tell CBS News in an interview today.

Yes, Russell is the one and only person living on, working or otherwise using kuleana land within the 700 acres Zuckerberg bought at Pilaa-Waipake. And his brother Carlos, who actually holds the deed to that kuleana, has joined Zuckerberg as a plaintiff to clarify ownership of the dozen or so kuleana parcels within the holdings.

Perhaps 90 percent of the people connected to these parcels aren't even aware they have an interest — which in many cases is a fractional ownership shared with many others — and none but Russell and Carlos have an active connection to the land.

Not that you'd know it from headlines like “Zuckerberg wants to pay native Hawaiians to get the f off his 700-acre estate.”

Or from people who really should know better, like UH law professor Kapua Sproat, who spouted her indignant rhetoric in a sensationalized, slanted article by Jon Letman and Julia Wong in The Guardian:

“This is the face of neocolonialism. Even though a forced sale may not physically displace people, it’s the last nail in the coffin of separating us from the land. For us, as Native Hawaiians, the land is an ancestor. It’s a grandparent. You just don’t sell your grandmother.”

Oh, get real, Kapua. Plenty of Hawaiians have happily sold their land. And who are you to be telling Carlos what he should do with his?
Sadly, Council Chair Mel Rapozo also displayed his ignorance of the issue in a Facebook post:

This is NOT the aloha spirit. This is NOT being a good neighbor. He has another option. Relocating these kuleanas so that the families won't lose their lands, to a location that will allow these families the continued use of their lands would be a much better and pono action. This should be the discussion, not hiring high priced lawyers to "legally" TAKE these lands from our local Hawaiian families. Just my non-legal opinion.

Except, Mel, there are no uses to continue. And some of the kuleana aren't even owned by local Hawaiian families. As council chair, we don't expect you to offer a legal opinion — just an informed one. 

Letman and Wong also trotted out Ing — or at least, his press release — frothing and foaming from Maui. In classic pandering fashion, Ing plans to introduce a bill that would require mediation in quiet title actions. Like that's going to address the root issue or tidy up the law.

They also got Kauai Councilman Mason Chock to whine about how expensive it is to live on Kauai — as he meanwhile works to destroy agriculture that is holding the line against more gentrification.

Letman and Wong then used innuedo from Sproat and Hope Kallai to imply that Zuckerberg may try to prevent “fisher folk and practitioners” from using the public beach below his property. Come on, you two. You both know that is total bullshit, and not one person has been blocked.

And Hope, you, Mason, Richard Spacer and Gary Hooser bear responsibility for blocking a deal that would have provided public access from Koolau road to the beach, through land that Zuckerberg later bought, because you didn't think it was good enough. So Hope, don't be crying now about access, or wondering why Zuckerberg and his agents won't meet with you when you've been nothing but a lying, scheming pain in the ass.

But the greatest idiocy comes from Dustin Barca, who is apparently the only Hawaii source — notice I did not say Hawaiian, because he isn't — that Surfer magazine has. Which is why it so often reports total nonsense – even while taking a shot at “fake news.” Uh, hello, guys. Look in the mirror.

Anyway, the magazine quotes Dustin as if he's sharing facts instead of bubbles:

And what’s crazy is, this is turning families against each other. One of my uncles, he lives on the land, and there’s no way he’s selling his property. He lives in a little motorhome, like his own little ranch, where he rides his old-school motorbikes and shoots his guns. And here comes a guy trying to buy him out, essentially saying “Get the f–k out of here.” My uncle was like, “Brah, f–k you. My land’s priceless.”

But his brother, Carlos Andrade, is working with Zuckerberg to try to get families to take the buyout. So it’s a lot deeper than just the surface, because these families are being torn apart over money. It’s f–ked up.

Uh, too bad Dustin didn't talk to Russell, who doesn't even own the land and gets along great with the Zuckerberg team, before he started blabbing bullshit to Surfer. But then, when has Dustin ever cared about accuracy?

Surfer then asks: So what’s being planned there to push back against Zuckerberg? 

To which Dustin replies:

Right now, everyone’s just getting riled up. The beach down there is called Pila’a. I’m working on starting an Occupy Pila’a, where we get everyone to go down and camp on the beach there for a month. That beach is a public piece of land. They don’t own it. We’re all figuring out what we can do in response to this.

Oh, yeah, that's such a great idea. Have a bunch of clueless people occupy a pristine beach, shitting and pissing everywhere, leaving their trash and camping illegally. And for what purpose, exactly? I mean, other than giving Dustin another platform to make big body and garner publicity.

So funny, to hear Dustin talking stink about rich newcomers when his failed mayoral campaign was financed by them, and the people who sell them land. Guess it's all good so long as his palm is being greased.

I don't really give a damn about Mark Zuckerberg. He's rich enough to work his will and clean up his own image.

But as always, it irks me to see stupid people pandering, posing, demonizing, jumping to conclusions and rendering judgment when they don't know WTF they're talking about. 


Anonymous said...

Great clarification of the issues, Joan. Mahalo!

Unknown said...

Here, here.

Anonymous said...

Mark Zuckerberg is a POS snot nosed George Soros clone in the making, but he does deserve not to be lied about...

Anonymous said...

F#%k yeah Joan!

You are on fire.

Love it.

Anonymous said...

Joan, Could you please explain to us readers what "quiet title" is? And how it will be of benefit to all of the people who have a vested interest in the land?

Anonymous said...

So glad you were able to pull Hooser into this one also Joan. Good Job. Why did you leave out JoAnn?

Anonymous said...

Some questions for you, Joan. Is it true that under Hawaiian kingdom law, kuleana lands are granted in perpetuity? And does Mr.Zuckerberg actually have "clear title" to the land? If so, how was such title obtained legally according to both Hawaiian Kingdom law and US law?

Anonymous said...

Joan, you may not give a rip about Zuckerberg, and you may not be getting paid by Monsanto, but your blogging certainly benefits the 1%, regardless.

Anonymous said...

look it up yourself, 10:11am....lazy ass!

Joan Conrow said...

@10:11 I'm not an attorney, so hopefully lawyers with that expertise will weigh in if I mess up, but quiet title is a process used to establish legal title to land that typically was first acquired in the 19th century, then passed down to heirs of the original owner, often without documentation such as wills and deeds. This can result in multiple owners, usually with fractional and undocumented interests, creating a "noisy" title. The process of determining the legal owners is known as "quieting" the title. It's expensive and time-consuming to ferret out the owners, so the title is often left "noisy" until a person with the money and interest to quiet it — typically because they want to acquire it — gets involved. In the best case, legal owners get money they likely otherwise wouldn't. In the worst case, folks lose their land because they either are unaware of the quiet title action, or unable to respond.

@10:29 What are you, Hooser's image manager? Not sure what else would explain your fixation with pointing out every single reference made to him in any post, other than you're obsessed with the guy (or are him, posting anonymously)!

@10:37 I'm not a land use attorney, so I can't answer those questions.

@10:40 I'll choose truth over lies any day. But it speaks volumes that you'd choose a lie just to stick it to the 1%. Bet you're also screaming bloody murder about Trump's "alternative facts."

Anonymous said...

Just pointing out your obsession, not mine. Your sickness not mine.

Joan Conrow said...

But you're the one who notices and always comments on it — to the exclusion of anything else, even when it's two words in an 900-word piece. Sounds like an obsession and/or fixation to me.

Anonymous said...

Joan, Perhaps you could interview a knowledgeable land use attorney, preferably one who understands Kingdom law as well as US law, about 10:37's questions? Such an interview would provide great knowledge to us all, and help to clarify and educate us about the real issues brought up in today's blog.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:58am...call Native Hawaiian Legal Corp (NHLC) or go to their website. they do a lot of quiet title and related work. don't be lazy and do work yourself!

Anonymous said...

10:37 AM said, "Is it true that under Hawaiian kingdom law, kuleana lands are granted in perpetuity?"

Yes, but the owner has the right to sell it to someone else. Further, a single fractional owner can initiate a partition action in order to get their own little piece, or if the parcel is too small to subdivide, petition the court to sell it and spit the proceeds amongst all the fractional owners. This process was made much more time-consuming and expensive with the new law that took effect this month. Now, the original petitioner in a partition action may not buy out the other owners. This effects all owners, Hawaiian or not. so while it might make it more difficult for a Z-man to initiate it, it also makes it difficult for Hawaiian families to deal with their kuleana that is owned by numerous family members. More often than not, Hawaiians in this predicament just stop paying the taxes (Who's going to collect from 60+ people every 6 mos.?) and allow it to got to County auction.

§ -8 Cotenant buyout. (a) If any cotenant requested partition by sale, after the determination of value under section -7, the special master shall send notice to the parties that any cotenant except a cotenant that requested partition by sale may buy the interest of any cotenant that requested partition by sale.

This is why Zuckerberg's attorneys urged him to file his actions this past December as the new law took effect January 1st.

Anonymous said...

Z could just have paid any back taxes and not offered any compensation to heirs...if they were unaware of their ownership, they weren't taking care of taxes.
It would be nice if a safe beach access were provided instead of rough spoken guards on ATVS informing beach goers that they were on private land and they better get off NOW!

Anonymous said...

@1:02- Joan is a reporter and experienced at investigating issues. Of course, any of us can do our own research. But then that research will not be read by many people. Reporters are much more easily able to do such research with their experience and connections. Since Joan is the author of today's blog, it is perfectly OK to ask her to do more research on the issue and share with her readers. She is more capable of doing a good job of this than many of her readers such as myself. By the way, are you the same poster as 10:46? Mahalo, Joan, for answering 10:11's question. Hopefully, you will also consider 11:58's request.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:35pm...OMG...yes, I'm the same....you don't have to wait for her to write something...I'll be nice, here's the link:


Anonymous said...

Here is a video with locals who have a shared in interest in some land that Mr. Zuckerberg is interested in controlling. We need to pay attention to those in Hawai'i who have ancestral connections to this land. This is just one video- there are more from others who have been directly affected by Mr. Zuckerbergs actions. Search out these videos for a more accurate overview of what is actually happening. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTTQ5PYgrX0 <

Joan Conrow said...

It wasn't clear that all these women in the video actually do have an interest in any of the parcels. If they do, they'll have their chance to hash it out. But in any case, whenever I see Kaiulani posting a video or involved in something I immediately question its credibility.

Anonymous said...

Well, the general manager of a TV news duopoly proclaimed today that Z has "turned the Hawaiian community against him" and that "many families and their many supporters are prepared to fiercely protect their inheritance."
So it must be true. Right? I mean, TV news wouldn't broadcast claims when they don't know what the fuck they're talking about, just to incite drama, perpetuate "fierce" stereotypes, and maybe posture for a possible run for governor. Right? just well-intentioned blowhardiardy making nother comical "Local Connection" performance?

Anonymous said...

Joan: FYI - They did say that they were all descendants of Manuel Rapozo in that one video.

Anonymous said...

@5:24, Good video. Mahalo to Kaiulani for posting it. That was an interview by CBS to be broadcast tomorrow, I hear. And those women are lineal descendants of Pila'a Kaua'i. Seems quite credible to me.

Anonymous said...

Another good ol boy slave trying to help the GOBAG families get $$$$$$$$ and the rest of the island to suffer. These house slaves trying to appease the wealthy and divide the community are like wolves dressed in sheep clothing.

Report: Airbnb does not impact Kauai housing market
Says many people rent out homes on ‘irregular basis’

3 images
Courtesy of Peters Communications

Cynthia Wang

Jenna Carpenter - The Garden Island | Posted 33 minutes ago

HONOLULU — The vacation rental website, Airbnb, has no major impact on the Kauai housing market.

That’s according to a recently released Airbnb and Hawaii Housing study, which determined that Kauai bookings on Airbnb represented 2.4 percent of the island’s housing inventory.

“I looked at the housing aspect, like the listing type, location, number of rooms, then the usage (frequency, how long) and compared that against the housing stock on island,” said Paul Richard “Ricky” Cassiday, who completed the study and is a researcher who specializes in analyzing residential real estate market.

To help with the analysis, Airbnb gave Cassiday zip code-level listing and booking data for the state of Hawaii for a 12-month period ending Oct. 1, 2016, according to a press release. Those numbers were compared with other housing data, including that of the U.S. Census Bureau, City and County of Honolulu, the state Bureau of Conveyances, the Realtor’s Multiple Listing Service and the Craigslist listing database.

On Kauai, there were 739 home listings advertised on Airbnb from October 2015 to October 2016. Of that number, 87 percent of the listings were booked for less than half the year. And 65 percent of the people who listed their homes on Airbnb used the website on an irregular basis.

According to the study, 97 Kauai rentals on Airbnb were booked for more than 180 days, making up 0.32 percent of the housing stock and 13 percent of listings.

Cassiday said he was most surprised to see a high number of people who rented their homes on an irregular basis.

“My original thought being that once you were doing this as a business that you would pursue it all the time, but the opposite was true. People did it when they wanted to,” he said.

That’s a figure Ka‘aina Hull, deputy planning director, also found interesting.

“That means to say that a lot of the transient vacation rentals aren’t operating year-round on Airbnb,” he said. “Which is why it’s hard to say how many TVRs are on the island because anyone with a single-family dwelling can, at one point or another, put it on Airbnb.”

Hull said similar house rental sites would have to be in the mix to get a complete picture of the impact of TVRs.

Housing bill to be reviewed
The Garden Island | Posted 32 minutes ago

Housing bill to be reviewed

KAPAA — The Wailua-Kapaa Neighborhood Association will host a meeting Saturday to discuss an affordable housing bill.

The County Council recently reviewed Draft Bill 2627, which would allow for an additional rental unit on residentially zoned properties in the Lihue District.

Ka‘aina Hull, deputy planning director, will discuss the draft bill during a meeting at the Kapaa Public Library at 2 p.m.

Anonymous said...

Just because people are descendants doesn't mean they're heirs.

Anonymous said...

Self serving Airbnb article. Of course every house rented on Airbnb takes away a long term housing prospect.

Anonymous said...

Its unfortunate that politicians, local dimwits, etc. have jumped in on this without ever taking the concept a step further, or even had experience in trying to resolve ownership issues of a kuleana. I get it that kuleana=Hawaiian lands=Hawaiian rights should be preserved=another mainland haole taking advantage of the poor dumb Hawaiians in a legal process not many really understand, or better yet, have never dealt with.

I like the concept of those who never KNEW they were an owner/heir of the land....which means they've never paid the real property taxes over the years, and neither has anyone in their ohana because THEY didn't know, or it was way too much already, because back taxes is a cumulative deal where you can't claim ignorance. Sure the land was in the family, but you sure can't use it/develop it because of factors like: you can't get 75% authorization from ALL the other heirs/owners that have a share of your piece of the pie in order to develop or use it; you can't afford to provide the utilities like electrical and water to it because of the prohibitive cost of extending those systems; there isn't sufficient area to provide a State approved wastewater system on it because its too small, etc. And that's just for starters.

Too bad all those yahoos have never had to deal with that web of impossibility. And the longer it goes on, the more heirs are added (since people like to reproduce, right?) The legal fees for someone such as the Andrade's to quiet title just the lands they own is cost prohibitive, period.

But, everyone has an opinion....

Anonymous said...

Please take a few moments of your time to write to Jody Lowe and tell her why this would be a bad decision for the residents of Kauai.

USPS mulls closing Lihue post office
Jan 25, 2017 06:19 AM
LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The U.S. Postal Service is considering closing the Lihue post office on Kauai, but the public still has the opportunity to weigh in on the decision.

Officials posted a sign at the location on Rice Street, saying the building is no longer necessary for postal operations.

This location is the only one in town. The next closest post offices would be in Kapaa or Koloa.

The public has until Feb. 8 to submit comments to:

Jody Lowe, Real Estate Specialist
USPS Facilities Office
PO Box 27497
Greensboro, NC 27498-1103

Anonymous said...

These greedy bitches!!!!!!! It should be the whole entire island or nothing. We all know who is to profit in the so called regulated areas for additional dwellings and it's about their families collecting obscene amounts in rent so they can go Las Vegas every year and waste it on gambling or go to their little local brewery "where everybody knows their names" (big shot wanna be's).

Joan Conrow said...

Here's the link to the CBS News story.

I'm not sure what is funniest -- the uber pandering Rep. Kaniela Ing flying over from Maui and then talking about "our island," the news anchors' comparison to "The Descendants" or the claim that a 3x3 piece of land is "priceless."

Hey, maybe Z will sell and it can be developed as gentleman's estates, as originally planned, instead.


Anonymous said...

8:11 I'll do you one better. Jody Lowe's phone number is (336) 605-3529. I think he's poked his finger in a real hornet's nest on attempting to close and sell the Lihue Post Office.

Anonymous said...

Here is today's article from GI interviewing some of the same women who appear in 5:24's video. These women appear to have a valid claim to some of the land, since it is kuleana land. Quiet title violates their right to the land, which was granted "in perpetuity". "In perpetuity" means forever. They say they want to keep the land, and do not want any money from Mr. Zuckerberg. Seems like Mr. Zuckerberg may back out of his "quiet title" attempt, according to news sources.

Anonymous said...

@8:49PM: Yes, they do say they are descendants of Manuel Rapozo. @5:38AM: Since the women in the video are direct descendants of Mr. Rapozo, that does indeed make them heirs to the land, along with all other descendants. Because the land is kuleana land. So Mr. Rapozo's land belongs to all of his descendants and all of his descendants are heirs. The selling of kuleana land is illegal. And these heirs say they have no desire to sell at all. Kuleana lands which have been sold or disposed of illegally in Hawai'i should be returned to the rightful heirs. That is the pono thing to do. @8:08AM: Taxing kuleana land is also illegal. Since the land cannot be sold, its monetary value cannot be determined, thus no taxation is possible. So it appears that the "quiet title" process is also illegal and not pono.

Anonymous said...

Here's the Blowhardiardy performance.

Anonymous said...

"Based on feedback from the local community, we are reconsidering the quiet title process and discussing how to move forward,” Zuckerberg said, in a statement Tuesday. “We want to make sure we are following a process that protects the interests of property owners, respects the traditions of native Hawaiians, and preserves the environment. We love Kauai. We want to be good members of the community and preserve the land for generations to come.”

Zuckerberg is doing the 1% Kauai Backpeddle Shuffle just like the Erricos did right off the island when they realized nobody gives a ... about their money.

Anonymous said...

Everybody cares about his $. that's the only reason this got attention

Anonymous said...

Kuleana land can be sold. Anyone who says otherwise is lying or ignorant. Read the report of the board of commissioners to quiet land titles from around 1855. I totally support keeping Hawaiian land in Hawaiian hands but you can only do that if you know your history. As a Hawaiian I went through all the hate and struggle and believed the lies for years. Only now that I've put that on the side and really do the research can I really help both myself and the nation.

Anonymous said...

10:26 If the kuleanas cannot be sold and shouldn't be taxed, then they shouldn't be mortgaged; thus, building a house and living there is probably not feasible for most Hawaiian families. Many kuleanas are also no longer owned by their original heirs, so there is no longer any blood ties to these properties. Since they were sold by the former heirs, these kuleanas should be bought back since those heirs really had no right to sell them, correct? Interesting parallel universe you are living in. What about commutations to the Hawaiian monarchs? That was the old form of taxation. Shouldn't they pay something or is everything free like in Bernie Sanders' vision of America?

Anonymous said...

And where is OHA on this? They need to step up because they can


Anonymous said...

He's getting attention because he thought his sleaze bag rich man way was going to get him his way @12:22 just like the Erricos in Hanalei. Instead, it's going to get him run off the island just like the Erricos.

Anonymous said...

Fake news is a weapon of the left as much as it is of the right. Kauai's leftist goons thrive on fake news just as Trump's alt-right goons do. We are truly living in a post-fact world. Ing=Trump.

Anonymous said...

@12:38 As a commenter who said kuleana land cannot be sold, I want to say mahalo nui for your comment. It helps me to understand the importance for doing more research for factual truth. I agree with you- the truth is necessary to build a strong nation. Again, mahalo for leading me in that direction.

Anonymous said...

You missed the press conference. It's called alternative facts.

Anonymous said...

If you wanna see the holy-than thou NS Arseholes really git their panties in a bunch...........have Mr Z take the kuleanas and move the building rights to the edge of his property, by the wall.....make 10 0r 12 small lots, put in elec water etc and let the heirs figure it out.
He would get a contiguous piece. If he put the homesites by the access the kuleans owners would git a beach access and Mr Z's security team can have an easier job.
Remember, the Big Z is one of the most important people in the world. Controls most news and most social networking. He is a big deal and has a security force next to none.
But if the Z moved some lots and built some homes...these hi-nosed know-it-alls from Moloaa and north will make a whine that will be shriller than the shriek of all the women's or Fistee's marches combined. They don't like the Z, but they really hate houses on their private li'l Koolau Road.
Plus it would cost him less in the long run and make great PR. Some of these kuleanas are in piss poor locations. Flood, steep like that.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps 90 percent of the people connected to these parcels aren't even aware they have an interest — which in many cases is a fractional ownership shared with many others — and none but Russell and Carlos have an active connection to the land."

Having an "interest" means having an "active connection"... do you even understand property rights? I know it is a white man invention but if you are going to use our terminology at least understand how the basic logic works.

Joan Conrow said...

By active connection, I was referencing active use, which was made quite clear by the context.

But you're welcome to get into rhetorical hair-splitting if it makes you feel superior.

John Kauai said...

When the Post office on Rice street is closed, there will be a customer service office opened at the airport.

I don't see any reason to keep Rice Street open, especially considering the traffic problems it causes.

Anonymous said...

Most of the Rice St traffic comes from other sources that use the same entrances (there are many businesses in there). What this WILL do is slow down traffic on and off Kapule Highway which is already stop and go during commute time.

Anonymous said...

If Mr. Zuckerberg could just build 200 or 300 affordable homes so no have to drive from Lihue for work, I would welcome him.

Anonymous said...

The claim that kuleana lands cannot be sold, mortgaged, or don't pay taxes is utterly uninformed bull. Those who say it are ignorant of Hawaiian law and do more harm to Hawaiians by their misinformation. Educate yourself before you spew and embarrass yourself in front of the majority of us who know better. You only hurt the ignorant who are trying to know the truth.

Cabra Marron said...

Exactly. Everyone buying land in Hawaii needs to be aware that when Hawaii is back in the control of the Lawful Hawaiian Government (which will happen soon, since international pressure is mounting for the US to de-occupy), all the post-overthrow titles will be meaningless.