Friday, June 25, 2010


WHERE NEVER IS HEARD A DISCOURAGING WORD: When we reported on April 7 that Mayor Bernard Carvalho said he would announce the siting of the new landfill by April 15th according to some- or by “the end of the month” according to the county’s spokesperson- we weren’t too surprised when the deadline came and went without comment by the administration.

It’s been impossible to find out what’s happening in hizzonah’s super-secret world since apparently his selection of the Kalaheo “Umi” site- one that sits smack in the middle of the coffee plantation- was received dead-on-arrival.

We reported that, to the surprise of many, a large number of people in Kekaha including prominent community leaders were actually, if not in favor of, at least resigned to, having the “new” site nearby the current one.

That’s what makes Carvalho’s statements last night on PBS’ Island Insights regarding the new siting even more perplexing and eyebrow raising than they would normally be.

After claiming that the Umi site was, so to speak, dumped in his lap when he came into office- an odd contention considering he made the announcement and took credit for making the long delayed decision at the time- he told of a new super-secret and faceless cabal that is re-reviewing the options.

“We collectively brought a whole team together to see how we’re going to do this” he told host Dan Boylan who asked a question from “Carol on the Westside” regarding when he would make a decision.

Who this “team” consists of is unknown but as anyone who has followed Carvalho’s tenure in county government knows, forming secret decision-making committees has been his modus operandi since his days as Community Assistance Director when he did the same for a few projects including the then nescient bike path.

But there were surprises a plenty from Carvalho last night.

He also said that the “team” was now talking about siting not just a landfill but what he called a “resource recovery park”.

Though he didn’t really explain it fully except to say it would include “education... composting (and) greenwaste”- features of the current and proposed landfills all along- it is presumed that it would include the materials recovery facility (MRF).

In the county’s typical cart-before-the-horse “fire, ready, aim” fashion the MRF will not be built before the new curbside recycling program goes into effect in September leaving the carefully separated recyclables without a destination for sorting, evoking visions of Honolulu’s long delayed trash-shipping bundles stacked up somewhere on Kaua`i awaiting disposition.

And, showing that we’re really no closer to a decision than we were in April- or even in April of 2008 when Mayor Bryan Baptiste was still alive- he announced two things.

First was that “what we really need is a willing land owner (and) a willing community”- something that has actually plagued the new landfill siting process for around two decades showing we’re no closer than we were in the ’90’s.

Then came the stunner. Despite the willingness of Kekaha to accept the new site- as long as the number of dollars contributed to the “community benefit program” currently designed to bribe them into not complaining over the existing landfill was increased- it may not get sited there afterall... despite what Carvalho said to many last April.

He told Boylan that he was seeking “a centrally located area hopefully where this park concept can benefit the island”.

Those who have followed the process lo these many years will remember that the only “centrally located” site designated in past consultant studies is in Kapaia where the decision to site it there in the 90’s blew up in Mayor Maryanne Kusaka’s face when the nearby Hanama`ulu resident claimed “environmental discrimination” based on the then-new power plant also sited in Kapaia plus the predominantly Filipino ethnic makeup of the town.

The upshot seems to be that since Carvalho apparently is facing no serious opposition to reelection this November the massive solid waste problems that have plagued the island since, well, seemingly forever, are now back on the back burner- a place they will remain for, most likely, another four years while we build Mt. Kekaha to the sky, probably spending the time begging the state Department of Health for another “expansion”.

Oh- and Carvalho also said he now favors reviving the interisland ferry concept but this time with “resonating positive energy- forget the negative energy”, describing his vision of a united island community with everyone dancing happily on the conga line to automotive invasion of our roads parks and facilities.

Keep dreamin’- We got ya positive energy right hea, B’nard.

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