ALEXANDER & BALDWIN
One, if by land; two, if by sea!
Sightings from The Catbird Seat
~ o ~
March 23, 2006
Kaua’i dam inspections
reveal ‘red flags’
By Jan TenBruggencatem, Advertiser Kaua’i Bureau
LIHU’E, Kaua’i — Emergency dam inspections have identified “red flags” at two reservoirs on opposite sides of the island, one involving the reservoir with the tallest dam in the state — A&B’s Alexander Dam.
Bob Masuda, deputy director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said neither the Alexander Dam in Kalaheo nor the Twin Reservoir Dam in Kapahi appears to be in any immediate danger of failing….
Masuda said inspections detected two landslides below the Alexander Dam, raising questions about the stability of the area’s geology.
One major landslide is within 140 feet of Alexander’s 113-foot-tall reservoir wall. It appears to be in the area of a spring, he said. The slide appears to predate the recent weeks of heavy rainfall on the island, Masuda said….
The occupants of two homes below the dam as well as workers at a quarry downstream were relocated for two days after the possible problems were identified at Alexander Dam, but have since returned to their homes, said Frank Kiger, president of Alexander & Baldwin subsidiary Kaua’i Coffee Co.
State engineers, supplemented by federal government and other experts, are assessing the condition of the slide area and surrounding region, Masuda said. But Kiger said the “Army Corps of Engineers confirmed that the slide posed no danger to the structural integrity of the dam. The dam was secure.”.
Also at Alexander, the main ditch carrying irrigation water from the reservoir has been blocked by a recent slide, and Masuda said the state has granted A&B emergency authority to clear that slide and repair the ditch to restore water flow….
INITIAL SURVEYS DONE
Four dam inspection teams yesterday completed a preliminary survey of all of Kaua’i’s 54 reservoir dams. They were planning to spend most of today and tomorrow writing reports on each of the reservoirs. The state hopes to go back and conduct a comprehensive study of all the island’s dams, to include soil boring and other tests, Masuda said.
“(The Alexander and Twins Reservoir) dams are the only ones that we have red flags on,” he said. “We’ll be continuing to check and monitor those. Everything else looks OK.”…
Following a tour of the devastated Wailapa Stream area below Kaloko dam, U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka yesterday said he was impressed by “the power of nature and the damage that was done.”. He said his discussions with victims of the flood and with emergency workers display both a strong spirit on the part of residents and a sense of cooperation between different emergency response agencies that could be a national model.
Deputy director of state Civil Defense Ed Teixeira, who accompanied Akaka, said that while dam safety has been a part of statewide emergency planning, he hopes to have new studies conducted that produce maps to identify hazards from catastrophic dam failures statewide….
Also yesterday, U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawai’i, suggested that an outside attorney might be necessary to investigate the dam break and avoid the potential conflict of state Attorney General Mark Bennett examining the role of other state agencies.
The congressman praised Bennett’s abilities as an attorney but said conflicts may arise in determining civil and criminal liability. “As a result I think he’s in a totally untenable position,” Abercrombie said. “How’s he going to investigate his own various departments?“
Lawmakers are moving quickly to approve Gov. Linda Lingle’s $14 million emergency appropriations request but are waiting for the investigation and other answers to emerge before jumping forward with new legislation.
“I think we have to proceed very cautiously,” said state Sen. J. Kalani English, D-6th (E. Maui, Moloka’i, Lana’i), chairman of the Senate Energy, Environmental and International Affairs Committee. “We have to immediately inspect the dams, immediately make sure the infrastructure is safe and take whatever steps we need to ensure that. But, for the long-term, we shouldn’t rush into things.”
He said the dam break has reminded lawmakers they need to properly plan for catastrophic storms.
“Oftentimes we neglect that because it’s out of our sight,” English said.
State Sen. Gary Hooser, D-7th (Kaua’i, Ni’ihau), said much of the response so far has been centered on the people who have lost loved ones or property but would quickly turn to what went wrong.
“What’s going to emerge now is a search for reasons,” Hooser said.
Staff writers Derrick DePledge and Rick Daysog contributed to this report.
< < < FLASHBACK < < <
In lush Hawaii, some see
‘train-wreck scenario’ as early warning of
growing world water crisis
U.S. Water News Online
HANA, Hawaii – On the paradise island of Maui, where some of the world’s heaviest rains pelt lush peaks, scientists say big users squander water so badly that main wells may soon be contaminated by salt.
“They’ll be lucky if they have another five years at this rate,” said William Meyer, who recently retired as the U.S. Geological Survey’s regional director.
“This is a train-wreck scenario.”
Maui, water experts say, is an alarming example of what happens in an isolated microcosm – an island, in this case – as conflicting interests must fight over runoff from rains and dwindling underground reserves.
Although by itself only a dot in the Pacific, Maui is viewed as a revealing laboratory not only for the rest of Hawaii but also the wider world beyond.
“Places like this have no Colorado River to fight over,” Meyer said. “When they realize they’re out of water, it is all of a sudden, and it is too late.”
Already, native Hawaiians who plant their staple taro see streams to dry at a quickening rate because agriculture barons and land developers use their historical rights to divert water. That may be only the beginning.
On volcanic islands, rain that does not run out to sea settles in porous groundwater aquifers, forming what geologists call a lens of fresh water above encroaching salt water.
But, hydrologists say, for each foot of fresh water taken from these subsurface aquifers, forming what geologists call a lens of fresh water above encroaching salt water.
But, hydrologists say, for each foot of fresh water taken from these subsurface aquifers, heavier salt water pushes up 40 feet. As a result, uncontrolled pumping can mean calamity in a hurry.
Hastened by four years of drought, levels have plummeted in Maui’s Lao aquifer, from 18 feet above sea level in 1990 to 10 feet in 2001. That left only 400 feet in the freshwater lens.
Planners say Maui’s population of 150,000 could reach 1 million by 2050 as tourism expands, making hard choices inevitable. A hotel complex or golf course needs a million gallons a day, enough for 10,000 people.
Even now, few people talk about the crisis.
“This is our dirty little secret,” said Lucinne de Naie, a Maui conservationist who tracks supply and demand.
“Everyone needs water so everyone is afraid to criticize the people who control it.”
She said Maui leaders lacked even the political will to determine how much water they had. “With a precious resource, when you are in doubt about something, you don’t do it,” she said.
Experts warn of other impending crises on the islands of Oahu, Kauai and Molokai, where they say aquifers also are emptying faster than rain can recharge them.
The bulk of Maui’s water is collected or pumped by Alexander & Baldwin Inc., a company founded in 1870 by two sons of missionaries. Its elaborate ditch system carries water from wet areas to dry ones.
The company takes 60 billion gallons a year from streams that cross public land, drought or not, paying the state of Hawaii only $160,000 annually, officials say.
Elsewhere, U.S. Geological Survey agents add, A&B pumps underground water from its private wells – millions of gallons daily – that are not reported to anyone.
Much of the water is used to grow sugar cane, which requires a ton of water for every pound of sugar produced and relies heavily on federal price supports.
“Sugar is only a place marker for future developments,” said Jonathan Starr, an outspoken member of Maui County’s water board, who believes the company refuses to share its water rights for fear of losing them.”
“Whoever controls the water has a lock on the economy,” he said.
“Alexander & Baldwin’s vision is that sugar cane will eventually turn into houses.”
While at least 700 people have waited 10 years for water permits so they can build on their land, A&B has developed luxury property with water it controls, he said….
He was able to block one large real estate development by exposing secret plans between land companies and local officials to tap scarce water, but he fears uphill fights in the future.
Starr and a chorus of others angrily protested recently when Gov. Benjamin Cayetano named an A&B vice president, Meredith Ching, to the State Water Commission.
Some legal experts called this a blatant conflict made worse by the fact that two of the other three appointed commissioners also represent big agriculture and the third is a labor leader.
Ching, who supervises community relations at A&B, refused any comment on her appointment. She also declined to answer questions about company water use.
Linda Howe, media relations director, also told The Associated Press she could not comment.
“This is more of a perceived conflict than an actual one,” said Avery Chumbley, a state senator from Maui who also heads a land company that sells water. “I believe in my heart and mind she (Ching) is a person of integrity.”
Alan Murakami, attorney for the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., argues that Ching is bound by law to support A&B’s best interests or risks lawsuits from stockholders.
Even if she recuses herself on Maui decisions, any water commission action sets a precedent for the rest of the state, he said.
Murakami said Meyer had volunteered to serve on the water commission but his nomination was blocked by large commercial interests.
In her first commission meeting, Ching challenged what conservationists praised as a landmark decision to restore diverted agricultural water to two spectacular falls on the island of Hawaii.
William Tam, a Honolulu lawyer who wrote the state water code as deputy attorney general assigned to the commission, calls the appointment an “irreconcilable conflict” that puts authorities in “very difficult circumstances.”
Tam was dismissed from state service in 1997. No official reason was given, but at the time the attorney general criticized him when a judge granted him a delay in a minor trial because of a personal emergency.
Privately, state legislators say he was fired after he spoke out at community meetings for native and individual water rights.
Hawaii has some of America’s most stringent public-trust water laws, but they are badly understood and essentially ignored, Tam said. He blames this partly on official mismanagement and conflicts of interest.
Unlike in the western United States, where water rights were claimed mostly on a first-come, first-served basis, Hawaii follows the New England practice of sharing available water among all users.
In the landmark Waiahole decision in August 2000, the Hawaii Supreme Court upheld the water commission’s power to protect streams, domestic use and traditional rights. But even that has not been sufficient, Tam said.
“Think of 19th century colonialism,” he said, explaining that many relics of old way now define modern practices.
Tam fears court tie-ups as more users battle old entrenched companies and other large interests over water supply. He expects disputes to grow fierce when dwindling freshwater is all committed, forcing reallocation.
Send comments on this article to Editor@uswaternews.com
* * *
Land Use Commission: Is there a freeway in Maui’s future?
By Valerie Monson, The Maui News
After hearing about the way A&B Properties plans to handle increased traffic caused by its proposed light industrial parks near already clogged Dairy Road, a member of the Land Use Commission wondered Friday if it was time fo r Maui to consider a major bypass in the central area instead of sticking in piecemeal streets that never really fix anything.
“On Oahu, we have the H1 and the H2,” said Commissioner Bruce Coppa, referring to the main Honolulu freeways during the second day of hearings at the Wailea Marriot. “Doesn’t the M1 have to come and bypass this whole area?
A&B was presenting its case to reclassify 138 acres – 106 behind Maui Marketplace and 32 behind K-Mart and Costco – from the state agricultural district to urban. The project is the second phase of the Maui Business Park that included Maui Marketplace, but would be twice as large as the first increment….
After rejecting A&B’s water usage estimates because they were too low, the county’s Department of Water Supply was prepared to recommend denial of the project unless the developer finds a new source of groundwater north of Waihee or builds a plant for treating surface water and dedicates it to the county.
A&B officials agreed that there would be no occupancy permits issued until they had met the requirements….
“No water, no occupancy,” acknowledged A&B attorney Benjamin Matsubara….
For more on attorney Benjamin Matsubara, GO TO > > > Claims by Harmon: Letter to the American Arbitration Association; Claim Against Trustee Mary Lou Woo and Steven Guttman, Esq.; Dirty Money, Dirty Politics & Bishop Estate
$ $ $
March 10, 2003
ALEXANDER & BALDWIN INC – FORM 10-K
A&B and its subsidiaries are actively involved in the entire spectrum of land development, including planning, zoning, financing, constructing, purchasing, managing and leasing, and selling and exchanging real property.
… Planning and Zoning
The entitlement process for development of property in Hawaii is both time-consuming and costly, involving numerous State and County regulatory approvals. For example, conversion of an agriculturally-zoned parcel to residential zoning usually requires the following approvals:
– amendment of the County general plan to reflect the desired residential use;
– approval by the State Land Use Commission to reclassify the parcel from the “Agricultural” district to the “Urban” district;
– County approval to rezone the property to the precise residential use desired; and,
– if the parcel is located in the Special Management Area (“SMA”), the granting of an SMA permit by the County.
The entitlement process is complicated by the conditions, restrictions and exactions that are placed on these approvals, including, among others, the construction of infrastructure improvements, payment of impact fees, restrictions on the permitted uses of the land, provision of affordable housing and/or mandatory fee sale of portions of the project.
A&B actively works with regulatory agencies, commissions and legislative bodies at various levels of government to obtain zoning reclassification of land to its highest and best use. A&B designates a parcel as “fully-entitled” or “fully-zoned” when all necessary government land use approvals have been obtained.
As described in more detail below, in 2002, work to obtain entitlements for urban use focused on (i) obtaining Community Plan designations for various A&B lands on Maui, and (ii) obtaining County entitlements for a proposed single-family subdivision and proposed hotel on Maui. The Community Plans serve to guide planning and development activity on Maui. A&B has obtained and continues to seek various urban designations for its undeveloped lands within the four Community Plans where most of its Maui lands are located….
$ $ $
Alexander & Baldwin Officers & Directors
Charles M. Stockholm
Chairman of the Board, Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.; Chairman of the Board, Matson Navigation Company, Inc.
Persident and Chief Executive Officer, Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.; Vice Chairman of the Board, Matson Navigation Company, Inc.
James S. Andrasick
President & Chief Executive Officer, Matson Navigation Company, Inc.
Christopher J. Benjamin
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.
Norbert M. Buelsing
Executive Vice President (Property Management), A&B Properties, Inc.
Meredith J. Ching
Vice President (Government & Community Relations), Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.
Nelson N.S. Chun
Vice President and General Counsel
Matthew J. Cox
Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Matson Navigation Company, Inc.
Robert K. Sasaki
President (Properties), A & B Properties, Inc.
Thomas A. Wellman
Vice President, Treasurer and Controller, Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.
Charles M. Stockholm
Chairman of the Board, Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.; Chairman of the Board, Matson Navigation Company, Inc.; Managing Director, Trust Company of the West (investment management services)
Michael J. Chun
President and Headmaster, The Kamehameha Schools
President and Chief Executive Officer, Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.
Walter A. Dods, Jr.
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, BancWest Corporation; Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, First Hawaiian Bank
Charles G. King
President, King Auto Center; President, King Windward Nissan
Constance H. Lau
President, Chief Executive Officer and Director, American Savings Bank, F.S.B; Trustee, Kamehameha Schools
Maryanna G. Shaw
Jeffrey N. Watanabe
Managing Partner, Watanabe Ing Kawashima & Komeiji LLP (attorneys at law)
~ ~ ~
For more on the issue of WATER RIGHTS FOR THE WEALTHY, GO TO > > > www.the-catbird-seat.net/BlueGold.htm
For more on the PAVING OF HAWAII, GO TO > > > www.the-catbird-seat.net/Developers.htm
To join in the ACTION, GO TO > > > www.hi.sierraclub.org/maui/index.html
For more on MATSON and the DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, GO TO > > >www.the-catbird-seat.net/EricShine.htm
$ $ $
November 16, 2004
A&B plans 150 Wailea homes
By Andrew Gomes, The Honolulu Advertiser
Alexander & Baldwin Inc. yesterday announced plans to jointly develop and sell 150 duplex homes fro around $1 million each at Wailea Resort, the company’s first development on parcels it bought a year ago at the Maui resort.
A&B, which has partnered with Armstrong Builders Ltd. in the effort, joins four other developers adding homes to the largely undeveloped residential component of the South Maui vacation destination.
The A&B/Armstrong team last week received a special management area permit for the project, which it expects to start selling next month followed by construction in mid-2005.
Dubbed Kai Malu, the subdivision on 25 acres is designed to resemble expansive single-family homes…
To date, developers have bought four of 17 parcels that A&B acquired from Japan-based Shinwa Golf Group in October 2003….
See also: Yakuza Doodle Dandies
# # #
MORE TO COME
MEANWHILE, IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE RELATED,
TAX-PAYER SUPPORTED VULTURE NESTS, GO TO…
A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING KAMEHAMEHA’S COURT
AIG: THE UN-AMERICAN INSURANCE GROUP
ALLIED WORLD ASSURANCE
BCCI: THE BANK OF CROOKS & CRIMINALS INTERNATIONAL
BUZZARDS OF PARADISE
BUZZARDS ON THE BAR
THE CHUBB GROUP
CLAIMS BY HARMON
THE CONSUELO ALGER ZOBEL FOUNDATION
THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
DIRTY GOLD IN GOLDMAN SACHS
DIRTY MONEY, DIRTY POLITICS & BISHOP ESTATE
THE FIRING OF EVAN DOBELLE
NEW > THE GRAND (and dirty) KO `OLINA RESORT < NEW
HOW TO PLUCK A BILLIONAIRE
MARSH & McLENNAN: THE MARSH BIRDS
PREDATORS IN PARADISE
RICO IN PARADISE
RONALD REWALD: FLYING HIGH IN HAWAII
CENSORED >>> THE HARMON ARBITRATION <<< CENSORED
SUKAMTO SIA: THE INDONESIAN CONNECTION
THE NESTS OF CB RICHARD ELLIS
THE QUEEN LILIUOKALANI TRUST
THE TORCH OF ERIC SHINE
THE VULTURES IN MAUNAWILI VALLEY
VAMPIRES IN THE CITY
VAMPIRES ON GILLIGAN’S ISLAND
VULTURES IN THE MEADOWS
YAKUZA DOODLE DANDIES
~ ~ ~
MORE OF THE CATBIRD’S FAVORITE LINKS
THE CATBIRD SEAT FORUM
THE CATBIRD SEAT
FAIR USE NOTICE. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Last Update March 23, 2006, by The Catbird