Judge Editorializes On Rail Vote
Wednesday - August 20, 2008
Whoa!! Here’s a big what’s-up-with-this from your MidWeek legal eagle.
Judge Karl Sakamoto told the city to put the rail question on the November ballot.
OK. But then he said: “The voice of the people should not be suffocated by erroneous rulings of the law by its own government.”
Whoa!! again. Judges usually just say yes or no. Sakamoto ventured into what’s called obiter dicta, something not binding, but editorializing and subject to appeal or at least question by his peers, the chief justice and the Judicial Selection Commission - what one might call Bad Karl Karma.
My initial reaction to Kyo-ya Hotel & Resorts’ proposal to install three rock groins to restore the beach fronting the Sheraton Waikiki is, “Uh-uh.”
My second reaction is, “Well, maybe, but only if a panel of ocean experts says that can be done without any substantial change to the entire beach.”
It’s too bad the Sheraton is losing its beach, but that was a known possibility when it and others built on the shoreline and government permitted that plus some earlier groins and walls. So I’d say Kyo-ya has to live with the pig it bought in a poke.
It was terrible that our short-visioned leaders allowed all that Waikiki beachfront construction. All hotels should have been built with their backs up against Kalakaua Avenue and the makai property left for greenery, pedestrian traffic, plenty of free parking for local beachgoers and natural erosion.
Alas, that’s not been the vision much anywhere in Hawaii. Look at the Diamond Head frontage, Lanikai, Kailua-Kona or Honokowai to Mahinahina on West Maui. Seawalls and groins just move the erosion problem somewhere else. There’s a natural process going on. You can put it off for a while in a limited space but you cannot stop it.
The proposed $4 million groin and sand-pumping project will move the erosion stress east toward Moana-Surfrider and west toward Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Will Sheraton lose guests without a big beach? Probably. But that’s Kyo-ya’s inherited problem, and the company should not be permitted to make it ours.
“Let them come to us on their knees, begging us for service.” I’ve made that quote up but it certainly could be the operating strategy of the Hawaii Superferry in the case of Kauai.
HSF’s chief, retired admiral Tom Fargo, is a super-bright fellow steeped in international relations. He’s also leading a company that’s here for the long haul and can easily survive for a long time with service to Maui and, next year, the Big Island, plus some military transport business.
There’s no need to push ferry service on Kauai, which has a surfeit of folks reacting as if the boat would bring in smallpox and missionaries. Our economy may shrink painfully in the next four to six months and Kauai doesn’t have a Waikiki, Lahaina or Kailua-Kona to lure tourists. People won’t be buying expensive airline tickets to go shopping and sightseeing in Lihue.
Kauai will watch all those Oahu people rolling off the ferry in Kahului and Kawaihae with their cars and their produce trucks. They’ll realize they reacted like primitives when they jumped into the harbor to keep the ferry out.
They’ll come to Tom Fargo and say “pretty please.” And Fargo will be gracious and reply, “It will be our pleasure to start service.”
I’m back from 10 days on Maui, and one fun event I recommend for parents with children: a visit to the Surfing Goat Dairy in Lower Kula. It’s a 42-acre business with 128 goats to see up-close and personal. Tom and Eva Kafsack run the place and produce gourmet goat cheeses. With an investment of more than $3.5 million, the Kafsacks have to sell a lot of cheese! They also do farm tours and built a 10-stall barn to board horses.
Kids (the human kind) will love the place.
They’re open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Obviously, when you’ve got such big bucks invested you don’t take much time off. The address is 3651 Omaopio Road and you can download a map at http://www.surfinggoatdairy.com/ma p.html.
Many of you readers know I’m a foodie, and also a chef who’s done the heavy lifting at my house for more than 30 years. I know good and creative food.
The conventional Honolulu wisdom seems to be that Chefs Alan Wong and George Mavrothalassitis are the main contestants in the kitchen. I disagree.
My top picks are Sean Priester at Top of Waikiki, David Hoffman at Epic in Chinatown, and Ben Klein at Mala Ocean Tavern in Lahaina. They are at the cutting edge of Hawaii cuisine.
If you think otherwise, do let me know why.
Saturday, Aug. 16, was National Airborne Day, celebrated at the Oahu Veterans Center in Foster Village. It especially honors those who hold the prestigious Combat Jump Star.
Hey, I’ve got a couple hundred jumps, but no combat, so no star! But that still puts me among the less than 1 percent of the U.S. population who’ve ever jumped out of an airplane. The percentage of those who’ve jumped ready for armed combat on the ground is even more minute.
Is Barack Obama’s leap in life because of his Punahou education? An AP-writer friend of mine argues yes. I say not at all. Obama was a confounded kid of moderate grades and good basketball skills at the Buff ‘n Blue, but his real skills came in college and in the hotpot of Chicago politics.
Punahou was a nice interlude, but I don’t think it meant a damn thing to what he is today or what he’ll be tomorrow. Harvard and the Southside did.
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