Thursday, May 29, 2008

IF WE PUT WHISKERS ON HIM HE’LL BE A CAT

IF WE PUT WHISKERS ON HIM HE’LL BE A CAT: We’ve used a lot of bandwidth ridiculing the proposed Charter amendment seeking to use a convoluted scheme to limit the insane visitor accommodation expansion on Kaua`i and stop the Planning Commission from having the authority to just leave the gate open.

While the goal is great we’ve used words like "designed by Rube Goldberg" and "a nightmare of implementation" and "insanely structured” to describe the well-intentioned spanner-in-the-works measure.

But upon reading that the “stop me before I approve again” Commission is poised to plop yet another sprawling condo and commercial complex smack in the middle of the worst intersection in Po`ipu- the poster boy for lack of infrastructure on the island- may have just been enough to change our minds.

Nothing can change our mind about the fact that the ballot measure is something that would cost millions, throw the county government into a nightmare of compliance, and in the end be ineffectual- nor that it might be the hardest way to accomplish the goal.

Our problem has been that we were looking at it from the perspective that anything changing the structure of government should be done via responsible, well-planned and specific measures designed to elicit the desired result when actually the opposite may be true.

We’ve spent years suggesting things like simply electing the Planning Commission or laws to restrict growth to sane levels with proper infrastructure in place before zoning of project approval... all to no avail. Even when passed most measures are either ignored or designed so Max Graham and Walton Hong can turn them on their heads to actually perpetuate the opposite of the original intent to occur and flourish.

So now it apparently time- it’s The Year of the Monkey Wrenchers.

We need to drag out the most absurd of ridiculous proposals, put them on the ballot, pass them and let the bozos we elect sort it out. The worse the better.

Too many hotels?- change the CZO to require they be made of cardboard and sit on their sides.

Dumb decision makers? Let’s require that elected officials have no more than a sixth grade education and make the inauguration ceremony into a lobotomy session.

Too much liability? Require bubble wrapping of all tourist as they disembark the plane (ooo- and think of all those jobs).

Traffic too much? Require every tenth car on the road go directly to the junk yard in Puhi for crushing. Or just remove all the signs and traffic lights and let the insurance companies sort it out.

Overpopulation- Require birth control pills be put in our water... or perhaps keep the people in the cars when you crush them.

Homeless problem? Use the County offices to house people. (they apparently aren’t using them for anything important anyway). Or require the Planning Commissioners take them in.

Governmental process not working? Assign all the Council functions to the Planning Commission, all the planning functions to the Council and keep the prohibitions against interference between administrative and legislative branches, ensuring nothing will – or can- ever happen in government

Actually this last one might have the most merit of all. As obtuse, ridiculous and unenforceable as it is, that’s all the better. We’ll have the County so busy trying to deal with all this they won’t have time to approve or disapprove of anything.

Then we won’t have to worry about secret County Attorney opinions- there won’t be any because they’ll be spending all their time sorting out the messes we cause at the ballot box.

And don’t feel left out all you activists. We re-born “bad governance” advocates can’t do it alone. If you’ve been able to design these ineffective, unenforceable, deck-chair-shifting proposals without even trying you can certainly do better- or worse as the case may be- if you put your minds to it.

Perhaps we’ve been a bit too concerned with seeking a responsible and responsive community-based structure for the County based on changes that would actually accomplish something.

How foolish of us It’s all too clear now. Bring on the petition and pen. Invest in bubble wrap futures now Charley. Perhaps now there can be enough madness to the method that we can bring the whole shebang to a screeching halt.

Then we can be what all the developers and their minions and sycophants call us anyway. We are: The People Against Everything.. and we mean everything....

...got matches?

13 comments:

charley foster said...

Interesting that Louie Abrams and the community association supports approval. Recall they are the monkey podders.

Katy Rose said...

Not all that interesting when you consider how dead set they were against doing anything effective to actually save the trees.

They're money guys - what do you expect?

charley foster said...

Exactly. So what was all the tree stuff about, really?

Katy Rose said...

I'm just an observer from the sidelines because I wasn't involved directly in the monkey-pod-tree protests, so I may be way off base, but this is what I picked up from talking to various people involved:

Some people came to it with an understanding about the bigger picture of inappropriate development and a lack of prioritization of community will in favor of lining the pockets of developers. They were ready to engage in civil disobedience, including tree-sits, to not only protect those particular trees but to take a stand in a larger debate over development on Kaua'i.

Others, with direct and indirect financial stakes in real estate and development, cared mostly about the scenery, and did not see the tree debate as anything more than a conflict over some particular old trees and some shady parking spots. They actively discouraged the use of any tactics beyond holding candles, singing kumbaya and a little bit of paper shuffling. It didn't work, obviously.

Those who saw the bigger picture really dropped the ball by not standing up to the do-nothing-to-upset-the-applecart set, but most folks like to be polite and so maybe they decided it wasn't worth losing a friend over this struggle.

I'd like to hear from some people who were involved about what worked, what didn't, etc.

Anonymous said...

You left out the few that were stirring up trouble in order to be paid as "community liaisons". Pay me, no protests. Same folk admitted they had no real issue with the development but had bad blood with the land owner over decades old disputes.

Katy Rose said...

Oh, that's messed up. I think we call those types "rats."

Anonymous said...

Andy,

You write very well but your message always tends to be presented in an offensive way. Is that just your sense of humor coming out?
Are you okay with people criticizing you in the same way you criticize others?
I think you have some good things to say but can never finish your writings because of the way they are delivered.

What are your thoughts on controlling development on the island and what are you prepared to do to move them along through the system?

Scott M

Anonymous said...

Andy, "...bubble wrapping of all tourists..." and "...perhaps keep the people in the cars when you crush them." are great gut busting satirical concepts. Does this mean you are now supporting the charter amendment, and that you'll be gathering signatures? Maybe we should start a new group called "People for Governmental Gridlock". PGG. "PIG". With national and state offices. You could be our CEO.
I got the matches, where did Bear leave the KoolAid?

Anonymous said...

The only trouble with this plan is no one is following this particular pied piper.

You can bamboozle people with tax cuts but for the rest, they can't be bothered.

Katy Rose said...

I'm glad that Andy has an iconic style. Wouldn't it be kind of a drag if we all used the same voice? Andy also makes a distinction between scathing criticism of public officials and regular citizens. As far as I can tell, he doesn't level his laser beams on private citizens. If one has chosen to be a public official, one should be willing to be criticized publicly.

Anyway, Andy, keep it up.

Andy Parx said...

Scott- I've detailed the more serious alternative proposals in the columns I linked to like: electing the planning commission and/or using an initiative to do directly what the amendment seeks to do- get the council to change the law.

But the best solution is for all the activists to show up for council meetings.

Funny- when I’m serious and propose all sorts of rational alternative comment trend toward the glib and comic. when I poke fun at it all people ask for serious answers.

Anonymous said...

"Andy also makes a distinction between scathing criticism of public officials and regular citizens. As far as I can tell, he doesn't level his laser beams on private citizens."

Not true. He's just as caustic going after regular citizens who write letters to the editor.

Andy Parx said...

I know I shouldn’t really comment on these kinds of self-apparent things but...

By sending a letters to the editor it confers upon the writer a degree of public exposure and I will comment on the specific letter as appropriate. If it’s a single letter I generally don’t even mention the letter writer’s name. If the letter writer has a history through their letters that confers upon them a bit more of a “public figure” status I will use the appropriate level of discourse and even libel protection for their level of “fame”.