Thursday, July 29, 2010

Of TVR's, Farm Worker Housing, and other strange tales of Kaua'i

HERE IS THE ULTIMATE AGRICULTURAL LAND TVR-GOES FOR up to  TEN THOUSAND BUCKS A NIGHT. yep. Should these guys get a permit under the new TVR Bill? Evern if these people are the nicest people in the world, still this isn't right. Honestly. Come on, people. If you have this much money, then you have the money to do farming RIGHT. Big operation. Lots of empolyees, read: FARM WORKERS. NICE accomodations for your farm laborers. big contracts with major food companies. Hydroponics. If your landscape plants work well, then you can grow crops on your land. When they purchased this land, it was zoned ag. No excuses. Lease out the land. Something. Anything. Build yourself a nice home. OK, whatever. BUT NOT THIS!! THIS IS A PLANNED USE, ie they bought it with the intention of using it for THIS, and not ag. That's my problem with it. Plus, the name is absolute GIBBERISH. "Palama Huna Hale?" Huh? No such thing as huna. New age garbage. Palama? As in 

Palama 1

Definition: A membrane extending between the toes of a bird, and uniting them more or less closely together. , which is NOT a Hawaiian word. Or is a Hindi word of some sort? Or is it named after the district of Palama in Honolulu?  get the picture yet? Gibberish.

And here it is: The luxury vacation rental on the north shore, that goes for 10,500 dollars a WEEK! Oh yeas, we NEED this on Kaua'i! Absolutely! This is the future of Kaua'i! This will make us all propepsrous. Hey don't be hatin cuz I can get a house for vacationin and you can't!! take a look at this abomination, here at:, Yeah, here, take our land, and make 10,500 bucks a week off it. Enjoy. Yeah. Sure. Aloha Spirit, brah!

Here is their availability calender. They seem prety booked up. Lets count the money shall we? From now, until November, so far this year looks like they will be making 80 grand. Of course that doesn't include the first part of the year. I would say probably when the bookings are all down and all of the dough has been counted pretty cose to a cool million, since the potential is 40-50 thousand a month.

You might be surprised at what you see on this "availability calender".  Is this property on "ag land". Probably not. BUT is this a TVR outside of the VDA? Forget that. Is it just morally and ethically wrong? My ohana is from this area. They dont charge 10,500 dollars a week to live there. In fact many of my ohana regularly took in people with no place to stay and never charged them anything. Some of them grew up to be real estate agents in Hanalei. Think about that. The surrounding properties in this area actually are inhabited by some very poor and humble poeple, who would offer you the shirt of their backs, a hot meal and a spot on their counches. Just think about that for a second. And then you wonder just why some of us fight against these things. ALoha spirit my a$$

For my take on yesterdays meetings, PLEASE SCROLL DOWN HERE:

Well, it was a very long day, (and night) at the council chambers. If you ever want to know what going through a marathon ride of emotions, ranging from mental exhaustion, elation, fear, anger, indignation, happiness, hopefullness, forgiveness, and every other emotion there is just go to one of these meetings. You will be physically and mentally exhausted afterwards, trust me. I know I was. I wonder why I do this. I must be a glutton for punishment, a complete idiot, or completely insane, or all three. Frankly after waking up this morning with a Council Meeting Hangover, commonly known as a CMH, in council-speak, I think I am all three most definatly.

IT was really Kauai political theatre at its best. In its strange incubatorial world of nether reality we live encased in this bubble of a hub engrossed in influencing each other both on and off camera, a nd as usual, the audience area serves as the hub for the "shadow council", as we cut our deals amung ourselves, try to influence our opponents into common sense and out of their own opinions and self interests, and other strange alternative reality activities.

Our audience area is a strange sea of flotsom and jetsom, punctuated by a few leaky rowboats, and Cruise ships all maneuvering and banging heads in the same salty water of acidic verbal discourse thinly disguised by politeness while gritting your teeth from the inside.

Occasionally, councilmemebers attempot to swim into our turbulent waters and navigate through our lines of communication often, I am sure regretting their attempt to do so without water wings, or a good inflatable. We, for our part, are like Sirens, calling from the rocks to cajole our helpless victims into the water, to swim the dangerous currents that are the Citizen Gallery while the beleagered staff actually tries to keep everyone happy.

Another great sideshow is the Bull Pen of attornies which is always fun to watch if the rhetoric at the mike on either side of the bar gets a little boring. Whispering, postulating, getting up and down, getting their turns at the mike, which they relish almost as much as we do. We really can't complain, as we are all part of the same theatre group, and everyone has their parts down to a "t". We also do our share of getting up, and down, grabbing mysterious peices of paper scribble down as much as the attornies to, in a beautiful ballet of futility at times. But we have learned the ploys, the plays, the eye contacts, hand signals. When you have been in this Theatre of Fools long enough, you learn well.

It is always facinating as the camera gets turned off, and the breaks go through we exoplode, or implode into a cackling sea of hens where we really spark up the charm, or the ploys, or acts of sheer desperation. When the cameras go on again, at least 7 new alliances have been made, and 126 new deals have been struck. All within a blink of an eye. Its real Twighlight Zone stuff. Facinating to participate in.

So it was yesterday,the play played itself out, with calls for recusals, and the bringing up of infamous blog posts, and a litany of people claiming they can't farm and the only way to save themselves was by having TVR's. Then there were rthe assurances that the issue would be looked at sternly by the planning commission. Then there was the presentation that frankly pissed me the hell off. I do not beleive that anyone who has to so ostentatiousely show off there wealth does not have an emotional compensation problem.

The strangest thing to me was that we were all sort of in a dream trance there. Some internalized among each other. Those of us who were rowing the leaky little row boats in the seas of contention knew that we could not plead our case to change the outcome. It was a done deal. Frankly I was already into the "kill em with kindness " mode, and shook the hands of the ones who were seen as the biggest abusers and problems in the TVR's issue. Why? I wanted to see them as human beings. To look into their eyes.  To dfind out what makes them tick. To see how to work on these poeple. TO get them to see the other side.  Wel,l, I am sure its a pipe dream. But idiots and fools always hope for impossible thijngs. Maybe I don't have the spine of steel I like to think I have. Maybe I like to think that anyone can see reason somehow. THe onwe thing I did get to say is that how can you expect me, from my lowest rung to come here and support you on the highest rung when I myself have no support from you? WHere is my motivation! Is that selfigsh and heartless? Perhaps. But then remember this is a play, theatre, a dance.

ANd then the curtain falls. Reality sets in. There are repercussions to two bnills that passed yesterday. Tvr's on Ag lands. The opportunity for "fairness" and to "plead their case", and to have "due porocess". The problem is the people of Kauai do not feel like they have any of those things. The perception is that there is coprruption, back door deals, all sorts of things going on and that the poeple will always lose. That there is no hope. That it is over for Kauai.

Then, we got the farm worker housing bill. For me, that was a victory. Because it was caused by the housing crunch caused by the very same TVR situations. Those that claimed to be doing ag would now have to prove it. What better way, then to need farm worker housing. What better testament to the fact that all of these rich peoples mansions have caused homelessness, a lack of housing, and the very need to build housing for their help. Look at Kukuiula they have to have housing for their middle management earning a decent living wage because their is no housing. Look at the homeless issue. Neglecting to build housing for the minimum wage earners has caused an absolute nightmare.

What better situatioln for the massahs on the hill. Now they will need to build housing for their slaves as they work the feilds. People who will never be able to afford their own land or own their own house, or aI dare say every have their own TVR, because now there will be no more. Now, these people will have a monopoly on the TVR market. Is that fair? Due Process? Equitable? Becasue local farmers followed the law, weren't greedy, and  didnd't build themselves a ten bedroom mansioin and charge 50 thousand dollars for a one week stay there, we should somehow be sympathetic, empathetic, and helpful to them. Why?  Will they be gifting the little laborers any land? Permanent housing? Nope. Because the farm worker housing bill does not allow for that. All of the housing-is temporary. Therefore showing the confidence in the farmers. Which is pretty much zero. If the council had beleived these were really farmers? They would have made the housing poermanent. But it is temporary in anticipation of the inevitable flipping of properties, or the IAL, which I can assure you will be downgrading almost all of these lands out of ag, thus making all of this a huge moot point.

FOr me, as for nmmany others we now know that the IAL process will be the biggest loophole possible for these people. It will be willy nilly happily downgrading perfectly salvageable and usable farm lands, by making the ludicruous claim that only plus 4 and 3 land should be considered important. Lesser soils should be downgraded. Don't beleive me? Just wait, until after the next 20 meetings they have. The criteria and rules they are to go by will convuolute the process and confuse those on the board, as it is meant to do. That is the first step. NEver allow complete copmprehensioin of anything. If people do actually start to comprehend these bills, then it needs to be ammended, the rules changed, or something thrown in there to slow down the process. This is what I have learned from the theatre that is Council Chambers. Expect the same with the IAL bill. It will take our of ag those lands where a lot of those mansions are sitting, trust me. Forever. Even if those lands could have been ammended, and planted. Is this sustainable? Is this what is known aws food security? Is this what a beautiful and countrified Kauai looks like? Or am I a bitter old jealous fool, just a ranting old middle aged woman who has failed to be prosperous and should now be seen as the laughingstock pathetic idiot desperately grasping at anything to shoot poisonous venom at those who have done much better then I have? Why don't I bow down? Why don't I aquiesce with some grace and dignity? Why must I parade myself and make a fool of myself defending the rights of the impoverished and diesenfranchised? Why can't I just shut up and resist the urge to attend these meetings, and put in my worthless two cents, while other people fdar more important then me must wait there turn! Why, ideed. WHy indeed.

For the massahs on the hill, the problem has come home to roost and nest, and fester. Now lets see if we can separate the theatre and the reality and come to some pergatory of normalicy and some sense of fairness and justice. Is it or will it ever be possible on this little unique island of Kauai?

And while the homeless can't find a home, and the public housing residents live in fdear that even though they have followed all the rules and paid their rents they may be tossed out onto the street to house the homeless that are currently on the street becasue we have not cared about providing housing for those who need to work for the rich, and the rich and wealthy have won the due process to stay in their homes and continue their american dream, while we struggle to prevent a nightmare form happening, the world continues to turn and Kauai right along with it. Will we spin into each other, and see each other for what we are? Will we be able to look into each others eyes and make a theraputic break through?

I for one am willing to keep trying. I have not put down my armour yet. I wil continue to try. I still have hope.

Do You?

gotta go. Pumpkin crunch is ready.


  1. So how'd the vote come out on Farm worker housing?

  2. The vote was 6=1, with Uncle Kaipo voting no.
    and aloha Brad! great to see your post!

  3. 融會貫通的智慧,永遠不會被遺忘。..................................................

  4. Well, you're the first to report it Anne. Even TGI still has not reported it the day after. They only reported on TVR's on Ag land today.

  5. Well, I am very surprised that nothing has been said about the passage of the Farm Worker Housing Bill. I do not quite understand everyone not paying as much attention to this bill as the TVR bill, since the two are entwined so closly.

    WOw. this may be my first scoop ever!! Mahalo Brad!

  6. It was reported in todays garden island. AS well as the now famous "Tongan Penny incident".

    By the way, I actually got one of those pennies. I have it in a secured area under a secret codeword. "Pumpkin crunch."


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"The battlegrounds of idiots are the playgrounds of geniuses"-Anne Punohu