GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME: Kaua`i is no place for environmental and kanaka maoli activists who find themselves with no other option but to sue to stop ill-advised projects that find officials all to eager to flout laws and rules in order to accommodate their degradation.
The exceptions that prove the rule- that local attorneys will never take pro bono cases because they are too busy getting rich representing various and sundry land rapists- have been the firm of Dan Hempey and Greg Meyers and, although they operate out of Honolulu, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC) headed by Alan Murakami and, of late, former Sierra Club attorney David Kimo Frankel.
It’s no secret they’re up to their `okole in potential suits so when they take one in the public interest it isn’t in order to represent the interests of a person who is acting as plaintiff but for the wider community that has a stake in the matter and has invested their interests in the plaintiff.
But for every Nani Rogers- whose financial plight as a result of a suit brought on her behalf by Murakami, Frankel and the NHLC, which she detailed yesterday in this space- there’s apparently a Waldeen K. Palmeira who, if the report in the local paper today is accurate, has fired the same team because she had not “received adequate representation” in the matter of the `iwi kupuna (ancestral bones) along the Wailua Beach road widening project.
Though she wouldn’t comment further and we have no knowledge of why she did it we can confidently ask “what in the f—kin’ hell are you thinkin’ lady?”.
No matter what the reason, to think that this is her case and not the community’s takes a lot of gall. The fact that they took the case had little or nothing to do with her and everything to do with making sure the project went through the necessary steps in following the environmental and cultural protection laws of the state and county.
We can only guess at why she’s done this- most likely she had no freakin’ idea how to go about approaching the legal system to stop the project from avoiding the necessary steps, like the EA/EIS (environmental assessment/environmental impact statement) process which only requires that impacts are “mitigated” while she wanted the project stopped permanently with some kind of magical injunction.
It’s not like we haven’t seen that happen before. But if you’re going to play on the king’s field you kick the king’s ball and play by the king’s rules. If you want to go the “sovereign” route in court, fine but do it with consistency up and down the line and accept the consequences. Don’t get everyone dressed up in the king’s uniforms, hire the referees and then try to take the ball and go home... because it ain’t your ball.
The point is that when you act as plaintiff and use our precious resources- in this case two of the best in the “business” of protecting environmental and cultural justice- it’s ain’t about you. Get over yourself Waldeen.