Monday, August 30, 2010


EIGHTY SEVEN STRIKES AND YOU’RE STILL NOT OUT: You’d think that after battling against the recent gutting of the transient vacation rental ordinance, Council Chair Kaipo Asing and his right hand man- or left hand as it goes at the table- Derek Kawakami would be champing at the bit to finally close some of the biggest loopholes in Kaua`i agricultural land use law.

Maybe so... if you just arrived from Mars yesterday and had missed the Gordian knot of hypocrisy and deceit that has dominated their actions and along with those of fellow gatekeepers of the Minotaur’s labyrinth, Councilmembers Darryl Kaneshiro and Dickie Chang, for the past almost two years.

So when the four of them voted down three “no brainer” bills to stop some of the biggest abuses of ag land on “first reading” you only had to look at who introduced them to figure out why.

Councilmember Tim Bynum’s bills would have:

- stopped the semi secretive way vast tracts of ag land have been chopped into tiny little pieces by requiring a public hearing before the planning commission for all ag land subdivisions;

- limited the size of “farm dwellings” to 2500 feet without planning commission approval and;

- lowered the “density”- the number of acres per farm dwelling- on ag land to the standards used on the other neighbor islands.

But what was almost astonishing was that neither Bynum or Kawahara- nor anyone from the public- said anything about Kaneshiro’s hysterical, fist-pounding, emotionally high-pitched tirade about how the bill would personally effect him due to his ownership and/or control of vast tracts of agricultural lands where he runs his ranching operations, complaining how the bills would limit his ability to subdivide his own ag lands for housing for his children, grandchildren and presumably the generations a-comin’.

Presumably they all had temporary amnesia as to a recent county charter amendment to the “Code of Ethics” under section 20,04B: Disclosure, which says that:

(a)ny elected official... who possesses or acquires such interest as might reasonably tend to create a conflict with his duties or authority... in any matter pending before him shall make full disclosure of the conflict of interest and shall not participate in said matter.

What the heck was Kaneshiro doing even speaking on the subject much less literally screaming about how the bills would directly effect him?

That charter does however list the penalties for violations of the code under 20.04C, Penalties.

(1) Any violation of any of the provisions of this section shall, at the option of the director of finance, render forfeit and void the contract, work, business, sale or transaction affected.

(2) Any violation of any of the provisions of this section shall constitute cause for fine, suspension or removal from office or employment.

Presumably that means it would take action by the Director of Finance to nullify the vote to receive the three bills. Good luck with that, especially because it would take an action from the moribund, sycophantic Board of Ethics (BOE) to get him to do it..

It’s hard to say what the bigger outrage is- a first ever (that we can recall, and that goes back almost 30 years) “receipt” of a bill for first reading due to objectionable content or the fact that Kaneshiro was not only permitted to speak on the subject but to cast the deciding vote, with one Councilmember, Jay Furfaro (a supposed member of Bynum and Kawahara’s minority faction) absent and not voting.

Maybe it was the way Kawakami tried to turn it into a flag waving “protect the American Dream” matter to allow people to build huge mansions and subdivide their land while failing to mention that the bills dealt with agricultural lands

Maybe it was the way Asing seemed to have a deer-in-the-headlights look in his eyes saying absolutely nothing while his henchmen made a farce of his recent strenuous defense of preservation of agricultural lands, even to the point of forbidding farm worker housing with a bazillion restrictions.

Maybe it was, as usual, Chang's clueless political lockstep with the majority and inability to think for himself .

Maybe it was the attempt by Asing to try to blame it all on the “county attorney’s concerns” about the bills only to have the CA call bullsh*t on him by saying that he would have concerns about ALL land use bills.

No, the biggest outrage of all is that these three measures to protect what’s left of our agricultural lands are dead for the immediate future.

1 comment:

Andy Parx said...

(posted by request)

Thank you Andy, for your ever clear, blow by blow, of the injustice. Thanks for illuminating the plain old personal interest corruption that is going on and the paralysis of these men to do anything to preserve the Ag land for Ag use. We need preservation and promotion of small organic farms. It's happening all over the US, farmers or owners of farmland want to change the laws so they can build houses or residential zoned land for their family or houses to sell for profit and Mega Food Corporations are smiling about it. This short sighted thinking of land owners is compounded by the mono cropping corporate food conglomerates profit role in this. Wake up everyone, watch "Eating" “Food Inc.” read "Fast Food Nation" hold on to your Ag land, hold on! Stay engaged in the production of your food and where it comes from. Corporate food companies are only interested in profit. Our dependency on mega mono cropping of vegetables and grain is a death trap. People are dying of obesity, cancer, heart disease, because of their overconsumption of non nutritious food i.e. greed. We are losing focus of the importance of diversified plant based nutritious food production (small organic farms). I understand the desire to sell ones land and leave the profit to one’s family but it is greedy and self serving! Ag land is Ag land, stop crying about it and embrace it for what it is. Grow organic foods that save lives, find your profit in compassion for all, and the earth. Have you noticed how many vacant mansions are around? The real tragedy/irony is that though it may not currently be valued monetarily, this Ag land is the most valuable land we have. We need to invite organic farmers in and learn to restore lands nutrients and grow the most nutritious food. We are the Garden Isle not The Garden Lab, Wake up, you can't eat a 5 bedroom house! If this greed and desperate exploitation continues and we refuse to value this Ag land as it is, instead pursuing experimental corporate mono cropping and an island full of mansions, having no foresight, we will regret this, as will our children and grand children. Grow natural foods! Open a produce based grocery market on the Westside! Teach your children to engage with organic food production. Feed yourselves and us all! Vote accordingly!

Karin Medigovich Dameron

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