This month, if the weather forces you to spend more time indoors than you originally planned, you might want to consider perusing Olowalu Town LLC’s new and massive environmental impact statement. It’s all online, in its thousand-plus page glory (we posted links to the pdf documents at MauiFeed.com).
The weight of the EIS is fitting for such a project, which as this excerpt from the EIS intro points out, will change the Westside in dramatic ways:
“At final build-out, the Master Plan will consist of approximately 1,500 residential dwelling units to be built concurrent with appropriate infrastructure in phases spread out over a period of approximately 10 years. There will be a wide variety of single-family and multi-family dwelling types, including houses, apartments, townhouses, live-work units, cottages, rural homes and farmsteads, to be offered at a wide range of income levels, including both rental and fee ownership. A substantial portion of the homes are planned for much-needed affordable housing and senior living.”
Of course, project developer Bill Frampton of Frampton & Ward, envisions the Olowalu project as being more about small towns than big construction.
“Olowalu Town has pledged to develop a community where Maui’s residents can afford to live and raise families,” he said in a Mar. 9 press release. “A community that reflects both Maui’s small town values and innovative design concepts. A community where infrastructure is built concurrent with the homes. A community with a strong base of locally owned small businesses providing good jobs. A community that opposes the idea of injection wells and makes protection of our reefs a priority.”
But Mike Foley, who served as Alan Arakawa’s planning department director during his first mayoral administration, isn’t buying it. “Olowalu is a terrible project, contrary to many good planning principles, like build near jobs & schools,” he commented on MauiTime’s Facebook page in regards to the blog post I ran last week on the release of the EIS. “Olowalu also has Maui’s best reef.”
The state Land Use Commission (LUC) will be taking comments on the EIS up to April 21, 2012. For more information, please contact Dan Davidson at the LUC at 808-587-3826.
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THE REPUBLICANS DIE
And so the Republican Party held its primary caucus in Hawaii on Tuesday. And Mitt Romney won! (though Hawaii’s 17 delegates and 17 alternates won’t make up for his humiliating losses in Mississippi and Alabama to that evangelical gay-bashing upstart Rick Santorum. Ron Paul, the darling of the anti-war, anti-Federal Reserve crowd, came in third. That makes Newt Gingrich the biggest loser of the night, since he came in a miserable fourth in Hawaii even though he actually campaigned here last summer (guess that means we won’t be rerunning that kickass Wilder Schmaltz illustration of Gingrich in a thong anytime soon).
As you’ve probably noticed, the Republican Party has changed things up this election, mostly by reworking how delegates were allocated in each primary race or caucus. The result has been a circus only the media could love, in which four candidates battle each other week after week with no clear front runner emerging.
As they do every election, some pundits are speculating that things may be so indecisive in the Republican Party that no candidate finishes the primary circuit with enough delegates to secure the presidential nomination. Long a wet dream of political junkies like myself because of the chaos and corruption they enshrine, so-called “brokered conventions” haven’t been seen in a generation. But the odds are getting better with each week. In fact, according to Mother Jones Washington Editor David Corn, former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele–who pushed for the delegate reallocation rules, in fact–actually WANTS a brokered convention:
“‘I wanted a brokered convention,’ Steele tells me. ‘That was one of my goals.’ Why in the world would a party chairman desire apparent turmoil? To create excitement and shake up the party, Steele explains. So far this year, he has indeed succeeded in one regard: The Republican race remains unsettled. And that’s unsettling many within the party’s upper ranks.”
The best irony here? Corn reported that Romney and his minions pushed hardest for Steele’s reforms because they thought it would make it easy for him to secure the presidential nomination. Now, it seems, those same reforms are helping keep Romney from grabbing the prize he considers his.
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THE MEDIA WINS!
Since we’re talking about politics and conservative candidates, it’s a good time to refer to Ezra Klein’s great essay titled “Our Corrupt Politics: It’s not all money,” which is running in the current issue of The New York Review of Books.
Klein’s research shows that lobbying and lobbyists can be nefarious without ever giving or bribe or engaging in what we now consider to be corrupt behavior, but he also made a thoughtful observation that could spell the death of the moderate views that candidates like Romney supposedly hold dear.
“Conversely, small donors, particularly on the congressional level, tend to be more ideological types,” Klein wrote. “There’s good evidence that legislators who make extreme statements have an easier time fund-raising than those who don’t. When House Republican Joe Wilson shouted ‘You lie!’ during President Obama’s health care address, he raised $2 million in under a week. The thing about the ‘sensible middle’ is that they, quite sensibly, don’t spend all that much of their time following congressional races, or even politics. So politicians looking for small donors need to find the engaged, invested voters who are actually interested in primary campaigns, and those voters are usually so engaged and invested because they have chosen a side, and done so strongly.”
We can see this anecdotally in the current Republican Party orthodoxy. Whereas a generation ago, Republicans seemed to tolerate the scientific basis of climate change, today it has become, in the words of Santorum, a “litmus test” for future Republican candidates: deny that humanity has anything to do with climate change, or face excommunication from the party and denial of contributor dollars. It’s a strategy that will leave just one group happy: media guys like me who delight in pointing out the foolishness of our leaders even as our world decays and crumbles around us.