Sunday, November 22, 2009

No Landfills in Kalaheo-In Fact-No Landfills Period!

OK, so we all went and said how we feel at the first Kalaheo meeting to test just how mad we actually were about the dump being in our neighborhood, and in the middle of Kauai Coffee. Well DUH. Then a "DOH" ala Simpson style.

Come on, people. Kauaians are battle hardened EXPERTS at this already. We know the score. We also know just how to deal with it. Law suits and attorneys. How did we learn this? From the developers we have gone up against for years.

One of the main problems that was revealed in the meeting is that SMS is actually going to write the EIS. This company has a history of working for developers, and writing such flimsy EIS's as to be likened to Swiss cheese. True to my cantankerous self, I actually told the poor beleagered rep this, although I tried to lay it on him gently.

We really must ask ourselves just exactly WHY the EIS is being written by one of the worst firms out there, with the most notorious history for having its EIS's ripped apart by the general population and discounted so many times it can make ones head dizzy.

One of the funniest lines I heard at the meeting was :"Well, we told them that we weren''t here to discuss alternatives to a landfill, so they were just told to rate the landfill sites in a double blind test". Now if that wasn't enough to give you a hearty laugh, the next statement most certainly will:"So, we go t the statistics that say that all the other areas were EJ except for Kalaheo, which doesn't have a real EJ population.". Numbers cited? 1999 census figures. GOTCHA!

EJ. Now what is that? Well that's a neat little law that was written into the 1964 Civil Rights act, after everyone started putting toxic waste dumps, landfills, and nuclear reactors next to low income housing projects and in poor working class neighborhoods. This law prevents these types of uses mostly due to health concerns and racism overtones. It is known as the Environmental Justice Law. It comes from the Feds. Now interestingly, the county is using the tactic long time in use by developers, that of skirting the need for Federal Dollars, thereby circumnavigating important protective laws set forth by the Federal government. In order to cover its back, they looked at potential EJ sites, with outdated census numbers. Figuring none of us were smart enough to catch that little mistake, they went ahead with their "double blind" test, which was really more of a "Blind without the facts" test.

Seems as if that sort of rankled a few Kalaheo residents, who didn't quite understand the law. I love the one guy who got up and said "We are all under priveledged minorities!". He was adorable and also very wrong. But of course when we all agree on an issue, there are bound to be little bumps in the road to unity and the EJ issue just might be the biggest bump. It pricks the conscience of the have not's over the haves. We actually have a better legal standing than they do.

You also gotta love the fact that a developer cried "SUE!", and was removed from the list of potential sites. But an IAL designation wont do it for Kalaheo. Can any one say EJ, Discrimination law suit yet?

OK, so by the time I got up there I was pretty hopping mad. The real reason? Becasue as usual, we were talked down to like kindergarten drop outs as if we were little children that had to have everything explained to us first before we can speak. While whole families who have tired children, and adults exhausted from working all day wait to speak their minds on the issue, we have to listen to people talk about how great their plan is, and how we should just accept it lying down, and see the good of the plan and how well they did.

Absolutely none of us in that room needed to be educated on what the issue was. These meetings are held backwards. Why you might ask? Well, its another tactic to curb dissent amung the people./ The longer we have to listen to them blather on and on and on, the bored the kids get, people get fidgety and some will leave the meeting, which predictably is what happened.

2 hours into the meeting we were given maybe an hour to speak our minds with no time limits. About 20 people got to speak, so we all kept it to about 3 to 5 minutes. While they had had an hour and a half.

Were our questions answered? Of course not. Now the strategy is to go back and somehow come up with an excuse, an outright lie, or gloss over any of our complaints, questions, and anything we caught them outright wrong about. Then they come back at the next meeting in December, and talk at us for another hour and a half hoping to convince us all to be on their side and go along with the project, expecting us to believe whatever they come up with.

Isn't it amazing how they underestimate the people of Kauai? Never ceases to amaze me. We are highly intelligent, and as I said before battle hardened veterans of these tactics. But whats the real reason I'm fuming?

This time, SMS, with all their faulty and misleading EIS strategies are now working for our county government, ie US. Not a developer. US. WE THE PEOPLE. And WE are now the clients. SO, suffice it to say, ripping apart whatever flimsy EIS they come up with will be a sheer pleasure for some of us, and I include myself in that choir, believe you me. Another reason is that this is just so blatent and ludicrous it defies common sense. I believe we should be asking for another company to do the EIS immediately, as we make a vote of no faith in the SMS group. Why should county tax payers money be spent on a company to write an EIS that we can just sue them for and it will never stand up in court?

The other issue is emminent domain. Its a no brainer. As long as A and B holds out, this property will be tied up in court for a very very long time. Years in fact. And believe me, the County will never win in court either. This is a no brainer for any judge. My guess is the gavel would be falling consistantly in favor of A and B. And if that doesn't work, we have the faulty science, numbers, and testing that were used top come up to this conclusion. Thats another law suit. If that doesn't work, we have an Environmental Justice Law suit, with the REAL census numbers, coming out after 2010.

Now, lets start looking at this logically. In 7 years the Kekaha Landfill will have to be capped. Which is a dumb idea, since it has enough methane trapped in there to power a plant for many years, reduce the Mount Kekaha mess. Further, health studies should be done of the residents on the area, and toxic level studies for the 18 most highly toxic chemicals produced by a dump this old be conducted. That of course will lead to some more lawsuits for the county, when people start suing them for causing cancer and other disease rates to skyrocket in the area.

There is No where on Kauai where a landfill makes sense anymore. So, for the next 7 years lets look at real alternatives that make sense, instead of another landfill. Alternatives that will help to bring better jobs to the area and be environmentally sound, and a win win for everyone. Drop the designation for Kalaheo, replace the SMS company with someone who can do a real comprehensive report, bring in some new companies, use the most current statistics, enable jobs and look for viable alternatives rather than putting us all through this exersise in stupidity. Or else, SMS, get on the ball, put out an EIS with a heavy FONSI, admit you were WRONG and start over. And this time remember who your client is.

And to the Mayor: Love ya big guy. Lets start working on some solutions to the problem, instead of just making like chickens and digging more holes. huh?

Is anyone listening? Lets hope so.

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