I feel a little sorry for Maui, having a chemtrail believer and anti-GMO campaigner leading its fight against the rat lungworm virus.
I'm talking about its state health officer, Dr. Lorrin Pang. He's been a bit distracted in recent years, which may help explain why he failed to recognize or head off a real and serious health threat on his island.
Still, as one friend observed upon seeing a news photo of him picking through leaves in search of the semi slugs that spread the disease, “Finally they have Lorrin Pang doing something productive.”
It's also been interesting to see some of the anti-pesticide folks avidly embrace poison — sales of rat traps and slug bait are booming — once they feel threatened by a pest.
In following up on last week's water forum on Kauai, the truly telling part came when panelists were asked whether they condemned or condoned last October's vandalism at the Blue Hole diversion last October. Adam Asquith, Kui Palama and Hope Kallai didn't consider it vandalism at all; indeed, they felt it was justified.
While I respect Kui for the well-researched work he's done to uphold traditional Hawaiian rights, which included a prolonged (and ultimately successful) court case following his 2011 arrest for hunting pig on Gay & Robinson land, Adam more typically incites others to do the dirty work rather than risk a run in with the law himself. As for Hope, why was she even on that panel? How is she qualified to be talking about Kauai water issues?
In any case, those who condone the vandalism of a fully permitted water diversion that serves a public utility's hydro plants are standing on shaky moral and legal ground. One, KIUC customers will foot the bill for the damage. Two, the vandalism was poorly executed and ineffective in achieving its goal, though it did dump debris into the stream. Three, it was stupid, especially since the state and KIUC are already working to establish flow standards for that stream and revise the diversion so it doesn't take 100 percent of the stream during low-flow periods.
|Rubble dumped in stream from vandalism.
In other words, a solution based in law and science was already in the works before vandals got into the act. Moral of the story? Educate yourself before jumping to conclusions and taking matters into your own hands. And it's always wrong for people who should know better — Adam and Don Heacock — to use misinformation to provoke others to do something foolish.
Speaking of doing something foolish, the state Legislature is still considering HB 2, which would allow the construction of tiny homes on agricultural lands. As written, the bill currently applies only to Hawaii Island, but it sets a terrible precedent for allowing the proliferation of housing — and sub-standard housing, at that — on ag land. The bill is set for a conference committee hearing today, where hopefully it will be put to death.
Rep. Cindy Evans, who introduced the measure, deserves an F grade for promoting a really stupid approach to her island's housing shortage. As a leader, she should be finding solutions to the housing problem, not allowing non-farmers to profit by building shoddy shacks on their ag parcels. Talk about a cop out.
Continuing on the “something foolish” track, the Lege is also considering two bills that would allow online brokers, like Airbnb and VRBO, to collect taxes for the state. Problem is, only one would require operators to prove they are in compliance with county laws, while the other allows owners to self-certify.
Now, why would the Lege want to undermine the hard work of county planning departments, which are already struggling to enforce the existing vacation rental ordinances?
Speaking of which, Kauai County recently scored an enforcement victory when Judge Kathleen Watanabe found the county acted properly in shutting down Rene Campos' illegal TVR in Kilauea. Though attorney Jonathan Chun argued the conversion of a guest house to a TVR was “grandfathered,” the judge didn't buy it. Planning Director Mike Dahilig praised the action, using strong language in a a county press release:
“I would like to acknowledge our legal team in defending our enforcement actions to stop those wishing to cheat our land use laws because they are tempted by the large sums of money these vacation rentals can yield. Illegal vacation rentals like these take valuable housing out of the long-term housing market for our local residents, and is precisely why our vacation rental laws need to be respected.”
And finally, Joni Kamiya managed to win over one of the activists protesting her participation in the Honolulu March for Science on Saturday. Turns out he didn't actually know what he was talking about, and like so many other misinformed activists, wrongly equates Monsanto with all things GMO.
Education is a wonderful thing, so long as a mind is open enough to accept it.