Daily Archives: May 2, 2008

A Feline Friday Update: The rat’s tale is over for now, and another Friday gallery

By popular request–at least two people have asked–here is an update on yesterday’s early morning rat.

A photo can say a lot. So check out this photo, then scroll down for information on the important things to notice.

Ms. Wally


1) Gray cat waiting patiently. That’s Ms. Wally. Not exactly a portrait of the hunter at high alert. But looks can be deceiving.

2) Object on far right swathed in plastic. That’s our television protected by its manufacturer’s original issue plastic packing bag, now doing duty as official cat pee protector while said television is not in use.

We have lost several televisions to the infamous “piss of death”. Now vulnerable electronics sport defensive covers.

3) On upper left, notice that the heavy sliding glass door to the deck is in an open position. Unfortunately, it was closed about an hour ago when large rat made a break from behind or under the television stand. Rats are apparently not innately aware of glass doors, as this rat made a direct run for the door and then jumped for freedom. Unfortunately, the glass door was closed, rat fell with a thud, and barely made it back under the television stand ahead of Ms. Wallly, who was startled from a light sleep and still made it across the room in near record time.

Wally vigiled there for quite a while before finally getting bored and climbing into my lap as I write. I am leaving the door open for the rest of the day, hoping that rat makes another run for it while other cats are absent or loafing.

Update: 3:05 p.m. Friday. After several hours, the rat emerged out from under the television, climbed up the plastic cover to the top, then jumped and took cover behind stacks of CDs on a shelf behind the television. I trapped it with a few additional CDs stacked on top, then tried to figure out how to get it out. I finally got a big towel and slowly removed  CDs one at a time until I could get a grip on its tail, then its body. Once I had a good hold, I pulled it out, took it down the stairs into the yard, and let it go. Last seen, it was running towards the big four acres next door that’s just wild territory.

Whew. At least it’s not going to be in an unknown location in the house for another night.

Saga over.

Still Ms. Wally

This is Ms. Wally with her mysterious/menacing look.

Just click on her picture for a more of our Friday cats.

Friday…All pau at the capitol, ag future of Galbraith Wahiawa lands in doubt despite bill’s passage

Like other legislative staff hired to work during the session, I had to turn in my badge and office key yesterday even before the final work was done. I didn’t wait for the finale, figuring I would catch up with the news later. I packed up files and assorted stuff that accumulated on my desk during the past four months and headed home at the end of the afternoon. All pau for another year.

While both House and Senate were giving final approval to HB 2293 CD2, which among other things authorizes the state to protect the 2,000 acres of agricultural land in Wahiawa owned by the George Galbraith Estate, the Bank of Hawaii, which serves as trustee for the estate, was on a different tack.

The move to protect this prime ag land was supported this year by a diverse set of organiziations, including the Agribusiness Development Corporation, Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, Trust for Public Lands, Kamehameha Schools, Wahiawa Community and Business Association, ILWU, Local 142, HPC Foods, Ltd., and others.

There’s substantial community concern about the possible loss of this significant agricultural property triggered by Bank of Hawaii efforts to sell the property as part of the termination and dissolution of the Galbraith Estate. One deal fell through at the end of 2007 and since that time, in legislative testimony, in reports to estate beneficiaries, and in response to questions from other potential bidders, the bank’s trust officer has repeatedly said that the land would be going back on the market and all interested parties would have another chance to bid.

In January 2008, Bank of Hawaii representative Josie Bidgood presented testimony to the House Committee on Water, Land, Ocean Resources, and Hawaiian Affairs:

The Trust has continued to market the property. First, discussions are being held with parties which submitted unsolicited expressions of interest after learning that the first round of offers had concluded. In addition, the trustee has issued requests for proposals to several real estate brokerage firms, and anticipates selecting a listing broker aroundmid February.

What Bidgood failed to mention here was that at least one unsuccessful bidder in the first round, the Trust for Public Lands, had notified the bank that they were prepared to submit another offer.

Lea Hong, Hawaii director of the Trust for Public Lands, said she had spoken with Bidgood about her organization’s readiness to submit another bid. Hong said Bidgood repeatedly assured her that once the property was listed for sale, all bidders would have an opportunity to step in.

But in the final weeks of the session, Bidgood privately informed legislators that a contract had been signed to sell the Galbraith land without considering other offers.

And the deal doesn’t appear to improve prospects for preservation of the area in agricultural use.

In an e-mail Wednesday to Wahiawa area legislators, Sen. Robert Bunda and Rep. Marcus Oshiro, Canadian real estate developer Dennis Blain, owner of Nokaoi Development LLC appears to present himself as the new owner of the Galbraith land.

In the e-mail, Blain says that he “conducted a market study into the salability of the lands and the price that could be generated through the marketing and sale of 30 acre farms.”

“The response that I received was tremendous with virtually every parcel being spoken for,” Blain wrote.

An appraiser put the value of the land at $252,000 per acre for 5-acre parcels, which are allowed under the current Ag-1 zoning, according to Blain.

The e-mail refers to “third party contracts that I currently have for the sale of these lands….”

Clearly, at these prices, Blain is aiming for pseudo-agricultural country estates rather than real farming.

Although circumspect, the e-mail appears to make clear that Blain is not talking about agriculture.

Farming is seemingly becoming feasibly more difficult in the State of Hawaii. Restricting these alnds will substantially reduce their value with the limited possibilities, and will cause me and my company substantial financial loss. I believe it woudl be extremely unfair if these restrictions were targeting 100 percent of one property owner’s lands.

In the end, Blain offers to sell the land to the state at “a reduce price of $68,000,000 or $32,300 per acre” in an unspecified partnership that would end up giving the state ownership of Lake Wilson. The e-mail doesn’t make clear whether this proposed deal would in turn allow his company to proceed with development plans for the rest of the Galbraith lands.

Nokaoi Development LLC‘s web site says it is currently developing seven properties on Maui.