You would think that after 20 years as a non-starter, a really dumb idea would go away. To be clear, the dumb idea I am talking about is to incinerate materials discarded by people unable or unwilling to recycle, while “20 years as a non-starter” refers to the past 10 iterations of county council deliberations during which the really dumb idea of previous mention has been brought to a vote and voted down. . . again and again.
The latest attempt to make dumb seem smart when it comes to taking stuff we don’t want any more and mixing it all up so nobody wants it any more then trucking it all around the island in hopes of finding an “away” to put it can be found on YouTube, starring none other than our mayor, Silly Billy. I just finished watching his presentation before the county council (recorded February 4 by District 2 County Council candidate, Kerri Marks ) regarding his plans to acquire a waste reduction technology for East Hawaii’s downstream discards and I was astounded by how it went. The proportion of jokes, schmooze and misleading remarks to usable information was alarming and the council’s reaction was, well, exactly what you’d expect from people who’d been funned with, schmoozed and misled.
They were all for whatever Kenoi wanted, with Councilor Gregor Ilagan going the extra mile (I am not making this up) by pledging to make as much trash as he could to support the mayor. Yah.
To be fair, it took a lot of misleading to get the more thoughtful members of the council to go along with Kenoi’s grab on behalf of the burn-baby-burners for what’s left over when the county’s recycling programs fail. He warmed them all up by joking about the ridiculous notion of conducting an independent analysis of what he ends up proposing. Study the costs and benefits? No way, roared Kenoi. How ridiculous, chimed the council. Ha! Ha! Ha! Then he promised he was open to all ideas. Then he promised his plan would in no way impact ongoing recycling efforts. Yah, right.
While many of us suspected the council was being misled at the time, the actual solicitation for waste-to-energy technologies (deceptively titled an “RFP for a Waste Reduction Facility”) and its results has since proven this beyond a reasonable (Ilagan standards notwithstanding) doubt. Kenoi’s RFP #3044 was nothing more than a shout out for a massive incinerator – the dumb idea of now-twice previous mention. As you read this, three incineration proposals are vying for the honor of being rubber-stamped by our council.
Watch the mayor’s presentation through the eyes of someone immune to his charms (count me as one of the proud, the few, the brave who can make this claim) and you will realize he is asking your representatives to approve the largest single capital improvement project the county has undertaken to date without analyzing the costs and benefits. Take my word for it, he says. If you do, I’ll give you a hug.
Last I checked, there were a few councilors who have regained their senses after this close encounter with the silly kind, but we need a majority to (once again) put to rest the dumb idea of burning precious resources. Saturday, August 9th is the Primary and, with non-partisan elections, this could be your only chance to vote for a candidate with the right perspective on this critical issue. Ask where the candidates stand on incineration and vote for a sustainable future.