For decades, the public fought against developer-generated and wildly unsustainable growth that was drowning North and South Kona. In the early 2000s, residents turned anger into action, creating a land use plan based on Smart Growth principles. For North and South Kona, this meant passage of the Kona Community Development Plan (KCDP) — an award-winning land use plan made law to change the paradigm of unplanned growth. Inexcusably, the public’s hands have remained tied to a process that saps their energy and good will — with no results. Would the Roth administration prioritize and follow the KCDP as promised, or sideline it to death? That question was answered recently with the administration’s indefinite suspension of all county-organized CDP Action Committee meetings.
During last year’s disastrous Mana Road fire, a lack of timely, accurate and complete information led to confusion and fear for those of us in the path of that fire in Waikoloa. Compounding the problem was inaccurate information about the condition of the emergency evacuation route on social media that contributed to massive gridlock on the only paved road out of the community (gridlock resulted in numerous deaths in Paradise, CA, during the 2018 Camp Fire).
Hawaii has a reputation as a notoriously difficult place to start a business. Kicking out astronomy won’t help. There are several impediments, some unavoidable, some hard to fix and some just plain stupid. Isolation is the unavoidable one. Some 2,600 miles of ocean makes obtaining supplies more difficult. The cost per ton mile is low but the cost and delay of removing cargo from the truck or train and securing it on a ship then transferring it to another truck can be significant. If the cargo is bound for a “bruddah” island, that is other than Oahu, repeat. Neighbor island sounds to me like we’re not part of the state. Same thing with deliveries between the “sistah” islands, and the Capitol, you can’t just drive over and drop something off.
House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan gave me hope in our nation and the chances of democracy surviving around the world; and this isn’t Pelosi’s first China-bucking rodeo. In 1989, she stood with brave, pro-democracy protesters who were being barbarically gunned down by the Chinese government at Tiananmen Square.
In 2018 Zendo Kern, the then-paid consultant for the developers of “Royal Vistas,” made a pitch to homeowners in Kona Vistas, the subdivision adjacent to his proposed project. He attempted to “sell the idea” by covering up the damage that his firm would do to an entire ecosystem, by grubbing the land of all trees and vegetation, so he and his partners could build 450 high-density, high-rise housing units in a flood plain.
I grew up on cowboy Westerns, “The Lone Ranger,” “The Cisco Kid,” “Gunsmoke,” “Wyatt Earp,” “Paladin,” “Maverick,” in many ways there seemed to be only one immutable law of the old West. Never shoot anyone in the back, that was a worse sin than lynching. The goodies could shoot a gun out of the baddies hand. In the cowboy movies, almost everyone had a six shooter, and we kept track of how many they had left. In contemporary action movies it’s hard, was that a .357 with 5, a 1911 with 8, or a nine-millimeter with 17 or more. Now in the movies everyone has automatic weapons that seem to never run out, even if it’s World War II. The old .45 Tommy Gun of prohibition gangster movies had a 100 round ammunition and a firing rate of up to 1,300 a minute! No one but the mafia could afford that much ammo. It did not often hit where it was aimed, but knocked down anything it hit. Even in the prohibition movies shooting in the back was disgraceful, but the FBI did it.