POSTED: 28 FEBRUARY 2008 - 7:30am HST

Agricultural subdivision moratorium fails to pass

image above: Chairman Mao visit to Guangdong Country

Agland Bill killed despite unanimous community support
by Keone Kealoha on 27 February 2008 on

The Ag Moratorium Bill was killed at Wednesday's Council meeting. Council Member Rapozo made the motion "to receive" with Kouchi seconding (vote tally below).

Huge Public Turnout
Every person that testified during the public comment period was in support of the temporary moratorium bill. A council member later stated that there were 100 testimonies received in favor of the bill and only 1 was against. I don't think that included the additional 30 or so in-person and written testimonies submitted during the public comment portion of the meeting, but regardless, the numbers were significant.

Those that offered in-person testimony supporting the bill included:
The Mayor
Roy Oyama on behalf of the Kaua`i Farm Bureau
Diane Zachary on behalf of Kaua`i Planning & Action Alliance
Carl Imperato on behalf of the Sierra Club
Andrea Brower/Keone Kealoha on behalf of Malama Kaua`i

And at least 10 other community members representing themselves & their `ohana

Reasons Given for Opposing the Bill
And as council members repeated the reasons why they could not support the bill they were also identifying all the things that the could simply submit as amendments. And whether it was the Mayor who needed to submit a better bill to the council or the council that should have created a better bill by amendment, it was the `aina and the public who came out on the short end of that exchange.
A few of the opposition reasons are listed here, the first four of which could have been amendments:

Not enough legal review
No "nexus" was provided
No "reasonable" end date
Needed scientific data to justify a moratorium

Without ag sub-divisions, CPRs would increase and become a problem (CPRs are already a problem and are already and option. If anything, it would restrict density by removing one of the components that provide more of it.

*As a side note, the Mayor was asked to do more about enforcement of inappropriate uses on ag lands. While that is an important effort and one that should be pursued, let's not make that a basis for not considering this bill, especially with the level of public support that was shown.

Trying to Keep the Bill Alive
The three options available were [1]move to receive (kill), [2]move to accept (approve) or [3]move to defer (study more). In an attempt to keep the bill alive, a motion was made to defer by Council Member Bynum, to have more time to discuss it by putting it on the council agenda in two weeks. If the Council would have voted in favor to defer that would have allowed for the extra time to answer all of the questions that were raised in today's meeting. However, rather than keep the bill alive to try and sort out the unknowns, it was not deferred in a 5-2 vote.
The votes to defer were:

NO Asing
YES Bynum
NO Furfaro
NO Iseri-Carvalho
NO Kouchi
NO Rapozo
YES Yukimura

The Eulogy
After some discussion, the motion to receive (kill) was voted on. Those votes were:

NO Asing
NO Bynum
YES Furfaro
YES Iseri-Carvalho
YES Kouchi
YES Rapozo
NO Yukimura

The moratorium died by a vote of 4-3.

Knowing the public had a "100 to 1" ratio of testimony in favor of the bill it was hard to watch the councilors move to receive and basically cut the people out of that decision. In my opinion, a move to defer and gain more clarity on the questions raised before moving to take such an important issue off the table would have been the most appropriate and respectful action. This is a huge issue that will define Kaua`i for decades to come. To take it off the table was doing a disservice to the will of the vast majority.

So where do we go from here? We move forward on all fronts open to us as citizens and residents to be responsible stewards of the `aina. It is persistence in numbers, it is finding common approaches, it is being insatiable for creative solutions that we'll figure out the route that works. Perhaps encouraging the Mayor to resubmit a more fleshed out bill couldn't hurt either.

We encourage you to visit and post your comments on the homepage blog version of this email. Please share your thoughts on how you feel we should move ahead with more responsible management of ag lands.

see also:
Island Breath: Agland Subdivision Bill

TGI Article #10 The Mayor's Moratorium 8/9/07