Thursday, February 11, 2010

CHOKIN’ ON THOSE BONES:

CHOKIN’ ON THOSE BONES: Today’s follow-up on a for-the-most-part erroneous January 15 article in the local newspaper that has left the community- with the exception of our and Joan Conrow’s readers- thinking that Mayor Bernard Carvalho had acquiesced and removed the bike path from Wailua Beach does one thing.

It answers affirmatively the question of whether Carvalho and his administration has heard the old joke about ascertaining that their lips are moving in order to tell if they are lying.

They seemingly live by the motto “if you don’t speak no one can accuse you of deceit”.

Though the matter has gone from clear as mud to clear as muddy water it’s not as though it wasn’t a valiant effort on the part of ace reporter Mike Levine who seemingly couldn’t get anyone to give him a straight answer and couldn’t even get the protesters to admit they were duped by hizzonah.

Once again the headline is somewhat unclear in saying New path route to straddle shoulder, sand because, as we wrote the Monday following the original article, the definition of the “shoulder” is in question- it the shoulder the paved part or is there a shoulder” that’s on the sand? And what does straddle mean in that context? And what exactly does “straddle” mean in this context?

The lead seems to make it clear at least that:

A concrete multi-use path will still sit on the sand dunes in Wailua even after last month’s compromise moved the proposed route from the county park to the state highway right-of-way, officials recently confirmed.

But the next paragraph is again somewhat baffling:

“Based upon the preliminary plans for the path, the maximum distance from the edge of the current pavement out to the outer edge of the new path will be between four and five feet,” state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Tammy Mori said via e-mail after consulting with Kaua`i District Engineer Ray McCormick.

It would seem to say that part of the path is going to be where the paved shoulder currently sits and go to up to five feet onto the beach. But what the rest of the article says indicates is that no one but Mori would talk to Levine and she might not be too sure of her facts.

That’s followed by a roundabout quote from Building Division Chief Doug Haigh- one that had to be obtained through an email from the county’s public information officer Mary Daubert rather than through a conversation with Haigh himself.

And no wonder- it’s so confused and uninformative, it begs a few follow-up questions, ones which Haigh was of course unavailable to answer.

First he says:

“Along the middle of Wailua Beach, the path will essentially straddle the location of the existing rock wall (to be removed),”

The “middle” of Wailua Beach? The middle of what? And it does not say whether it will be fully on the beach since the rock wall is on the beach, not the paved shoulder.

Another key of the original deception was the use of the word “shoulder” without referring to the paved part so that when they said it was on the shoulder it was actually on the beach sands. When combined with the term “right of way” it seemed to indicate the paved shoulder.

But Haigh’s next statement confirms our suspicion that the use of the term “right of way” was being used by Carvalho and his mouthpiece Beth Tokioka to confuse people.

“The Kuhio Highway right-of-way is approximately four to five feet makai of the rock wall. Some vegetation may be removed and some earth shoulder may need grading.”

That confirms that the right of way extends onto the beach so that statement itself can’t be right either since the “right of way” includes all of the highway. To say the “right-of-way IS approximately four to five feet makai of the rock wall” can’t be true- only that it “extends” to that point.

We pick this apart to show the obvious attempt by county officials to try to cover for Carvalho’s and Tokioka’s attempted bamboozle by using confusing terms and seemingly contradictory statements.

Also note that Mori made her statement “via email after consulting with Kaua`i District Engineer Ray McCormick”. That means McCormick- who when cornered was quoted by participants at the mayors meeting with dissidents on Thursday Jan. 14 as saying the bike path would start where the pavement ends- also apparently wouldn’t take calls or answer Levine’s questions, pushing the question “upstairs” to Mori

What exactly did he tell Mori? And why was it different than what he told people at the meeting? Did Mori get it right? Did she even ask the question Levine wanted answered?

Who knows- we’ve danced this reporter’s dance before and can recognize it when it gets into print. Obviously Levine was stymied at every turn in attempting to get to the truth, as evidenced by the fact that it took him almost a month to get this much.

The mere fact that neither Haigh or McCormick- nor apparently Carvalho- would speak to him directly tells you that all is not as it appears and someone is fudging something.

And to make the whole thing even more confusing there was another paragraph with more of Mori’s statement.

(T)he state Department of Transportation is still planning to widen the road to four lanes. The widening project will add one 11-foot-wide lane to the Lihu`e-bound side of the road and a turn lane for Kuamo`o Road, and all the widening will take place on the mauka side, Mori said. The maximum distance from the existing edge of the pavement to the furthest point of new pavement will be approximately 15 feet. (emphasis added)

The question is of course does that refer to the “existing edge of the pavement” on the mauka side or makai side? To say “all the widening will take place on the mauka side” obviously isn’t true since she already admitted that it will be widened onto the beach.

Don’t forget- Mori is just a spokesperson, not an engineer and apparently has a very loose grasp on what is actually happening.

Well at least the wider community now knows that the bike path was not removed from the beach. But it’s still unclear how much of the beach it will take. Is it four or five feet?... is it 11 feet?.. is it more?

Don’t expect the truth from Carvalho’s lips. When they move they apparently speak only the words of his spinmeister Tokioka , warbling “Together We Can... Hoodwink Them All”.

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We’ll be taking a long weekend- unless something sets our hair on fire we’ll see ya Monday.

5 comments:

Punohu's Politics,Environment and Culture said...

What really gets me, is that obviously that bike path is supposed to be as wide as a highway lane. Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it? We barely afford our motor vehicles as much footage as we will be giving the bikepath.

In fact, in many areas of our island, the highway lanes are certainly far less than that.

What in the world do we need a bikepath as wide as a highway lane for, hmm? Hmm.

Further, they so obviously mean as far as they can possibly go in the makai direction legally without losing a court battle, and as far as they can go legally mauka without losing in court. What this will do is even further encroach on the owners of coco palms, and possibly either force a sale, or force more bargaining chips for the owners, such as they get anything they want.

Condemnation proceedings would be costly and prohibitive. We certainly will not be getting them to sell cheap now. It is coming to my realization that the reason they were given the extension, was the foreseen bargaining chip of the extra footage that would be needed for the highway expansion because of this bikepath expansion, thus being a win win for the developer, and conservative legislators who tend to pull the strings behind the scenes.

It is sad that these sort of obvious maneuverings are believed to fool the public. They don't. Nor do they fool Andy.

I am disapointed to say the least.

Brad Parsons said...

I just wanna say I think Michael Levine wrote a good article.

Maria said...

you know the whole bike path is overated; why not just have wider roads with safe shoulders to ride on. the mayor could be moving on and focus on the real solutions. the budget, solid waste and landfills, improvements to our infrastructure is where he should focus.

Casey said...

Maria, I think the current plan is exactly as you say: placing the path along the road with a barrier between the two. Safe and small impact, since it is located in the existing right of way.

Andy Parx said...

Brad- I never meant to intimate that Mike didn’t do a good job. On the contrary considering the stonewalling, obfuscation and the runaround he received was a Herculean effort to get it as clear as he did.

My point is that the county and state could have said “look here it is- no use of ambiguous terms like “shoulder” or “right of way”- the path portion including the new ‘barrier’ will overlay the current pavement with the path covering X feet of current pavement and extending Y feet onto the sand... beginning here and ending here”. But those ridiculous pictures on the county web site remain the same, and there remains no comprehensive specific description from anyone in authority.