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Sunday, April 24, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Saturday, April 23, 2022

Kehau Kalani, of Pāhala, honored O'ahu, as its princess, with Page Jennifer Carruthers, and Outriders Nahua Guilloz and Kahau Gomes in the Merrie Monarch Parade on Saturday. Photo by Kai Kalani

KAʻŪ PANIOLO AND OTHER FOLKS JOINED THE MERRIE MONARCH PARADE in Hilo on Saturday, including Kehau Kalani, of Pāhala, reining as Princess of O'ahu, with her Page Jennifer Carruthers, of Mark Twain. Also accompanying were Outriders Nahua Guilloz and Kahau Gomes, with the cleanup crew following, comprised of Meleana Faumuina, Hilina'i Faumuina and Xian Solis-Kalani. Lori Lee Lorenzo and Ikaika Grace, of Pāhala, paraded with Hawai'i Horse Owners Association. 
Ikaika Grace and Lori Lee Lorenzo represented Kaʻū
 riding with Hawai'i Horse Owners Association.
      Jovena Moses, of Pāhala, paraded with Hui Malama, dancing and handing out fans. The organization brings health counseling and care to Kaʻū and beyond.
     Bernie Freitas, of Pāhala, was a judge in the parade.
      Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park sponsored a walking group, including some paraders dressed as endangered species.
    The county Department of Environmental Management and its Deputy Director Brenda Iokepa-Moses, of Pāhala, sent a huge vehicle totally draped in greenery and flowers, reminiscent of the the last cane truck that carried cane to the sugar mill in Pāhala as it was shutting down in 1996.
    Department of Water Supply and the Fire Department traveled the parade route, along with the County Band and Kamehameha School marching band, Mayor Mitch Roth and Kaʻū's representative in Congress, Kai Kahele and his family.
    Johnny Lum Ho, the late renowned kumu hula, who spent much time in Kaʻū visiting the villages, was honored with a float by his halau. The Okinawa Taiko group which comes to Kaʻū for the Floating Lantern Celebration, brought its rhythms to the parade.
Okinawan Taiko drumming group, which has performed at the annual Floating Lantern Celebration put on by
Kaʻū Rural Health Community Association, gave its rhythms to the Merrie Monarch Festival Parade on Saturday.
 Photo by Brenda Iokepa-Moses
      Many Kaʻū folk took in the the arts and crafts of the annual event and some were provided tickets to the hula presentations in the evenings. It was the first live competition in three years, with limited seating for the the families and halau, sponsors and a few others. It was also the most technologically sophisticated of Merrie Monarch competitions to date for the public, with a live television broadcast and live-stream plus uploading of videos of performances shortly after they finished. Archived footage and still photos are online for everyone to see. See the reusults there and in the Sunday Kaʻū News Briefs. See www.merriemonarch.com
Department of Water Supply supports preservation 
of precious water resources and recognition at
the Merrie Monarch Parade. Photo from Merrie Monarc
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DOES BANNING VACATION RENTALS HELP CREATE AFFORDABLE HOUSING? Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i issued an opinion statement on Satuday, saying it won't work, refuting the claim that about vacation rentals "removing housing stock from our neighborhoods," saying this conclusion "really goes astray." Grassroot CEO Kelii Akina writes that "it is important to focus on the fact that a ban on short-term vacation rentals will do nothing to Hawai'i's — housing crisis, but rather will cause grave economic harm to many Hawaii residents."
    He pointed to an episode of Hawai'i Together on ThinkTech Hawai'i earlier this year, when he interviewed owners of vacation rentals who spoke about how this bill would make it impossible for them to afford their homes and could force them to leave Hawai'i.
The county Department of Environmental Management, which oversees recycling, sewage, garbage, junk vehicles and more,
 put together this monster float for Merrie Monarch parade. Photo by Brenda Iokepa-Moses

Brenda Iokepa-Moses, of Pāhala, center, leads a crew to promote county
Department of Environmental Management, putting together a large float
 for Merrie Monarch Parade. Photo/ Dept. Environmental Management
   He also said he finds it suspicious that heavy support for legislation banning vacation rentals in all but resort zoned properties, "comes from the tourism industry, whose fortunes were slammed over the past two years by the loss of visitors due to the coronavirus lockdowns." He points to industry leaders have touted the concerns about the effect of vacation rentals on neighborhoods and housing costs. "But given that they were supporting regulation to eliminate their competition, it's troubling that such arguments were taken at face value, especially when there is little evidence to back them up."
    Grassroot contends that research on how vacation rental bans affect housing costs is nebulous at best.  
    "There are nationwide studies suggesting that vacation rentals may drive up costs, but there are also studies like the one done by Santa Barbara City and County."
The late Johnny Lum Ho honored in the Merrie
Monarch Parade. Photo by Brenda Iokepa-Moses
    In 2016, Santa Barbara was considering a ban similar to the one just passed in Honolulu, but found that the impact of short-term rentals on the long-term housing supply was "negligible, far less than presumed."
Akina said, "We don't have to depend on mainland studies. We can look at our own experience. Though owners of vacation rentals often explain that their homes would not qualify as affordable housing or long-term rentals, Kaua'i, Maui and the Big Island have all enacted some type of ban on vacation rentals. O'ahu tightened the screws in 2019. Yet, housing prices still went up. Even when vacation rental usage declined during the lockdowns, it didn't result in a significant drop in housing costs," said Akina.
    "The sad reality is that, once again, Hawai'i policymakers are falling for easy answers. How nice it would be if something quick and simple like an 'empty homes' tax or a vacation rental ban could solve the housing crisis. But those aren't real answers. What we need are policies that will encourage homebuilding."
    Akina mentioned in his column last week that "UHERO is my new housing policy hero. . We know that one of the biggest reasons for Hawai'i's high cost of housing is its regulatory barriers to homebuilding. The counties have played a large part in creating those barriers. Now, they need to start the tough work of dismantling them.
    "Instead of a ban on vacation rentals, which is not going to bring down the cost of housing in our state, our lawmakers should be spending their time enacting policies that have been shown to work, like the Tokyo Model of 'light touch' density."
    He said, "Hawai'i's housing crisis is the result of decades of misguided policy, and it could take nearly as long to fix. That is why we must work together now to identify and implement tried-and-true strategies that will provide us with the affordable housing we so desperately need."

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/.See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/03/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcan

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park parades family and endangered species characters at Merrie Monarch.
Photo from Merrie Monarch

EARTH DAY IS THE VOLCANO WATCH FOCUS in this week's column written by USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists and affiliates. It talks about the endangered silverswords found in Ka'u and on Maui. It encourages actions to take, long term, to commit to the Earth Day goals and to understand the
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park Fire Department
truck rolls through Merrie Monarch Parade.
Photo from Merrie Monarch
influence of volcanoes on the planet.:
     Participating in Earth Day (https://www.earthday.org/take-action-now/) can be as simple as remembering to turn off the light when you leave a room or as involved as advocating for legislative change. Many people use Earth Day as an opportunity to educate themselves on their own personal carbon footprint (https://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/).     But have you ever thought about how natural events influence environmental change?
    For example, you probably won’t see any thriving vegetation immediately following a volcanic eruption. Depending on the scale of the eruption, the surrounding flora and fauna have probably been devastated by some combination of ash, volcanic gas, lava, or lahars.
    The resulting landscape seems inhospitable at first, but over time the volcanic deposits break down and release nutrients on which plants thrive. On the windward and wet east side of the Island of Hawai‘i, the substantial rainfall drives faster rates of plant growth, meaning the region can go from a barren and young lava flow to a thriving rainforest in under 150 years!
Office of Hawaiian Affairs leaders join the parade. Photo from Merrie Monarch
    Volcanic influence isn’t limited to the nearby ground surface. Ash plumes from large explosive eruptions can temporarily block out the sun, turning the clearest day into the darkest night. The darkness can last from hours to days, or until most of the ash particles make their way back down to Earth’s surface. However, the smallest particles remain suspended high in the atmosphere, carried by wind currents for thousands of kilometers or miles.
    You can think of these particles as trillions of tiny mirrors reflecting solar radiation back into space. Sulfur dioxide, a volcanic gas, combines with water droplets in the atmosphere and blocks solar radiation in the same way.
    Large volcanic eruptions can block so much solar radiation in this way that they briefly impact the climate. The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa in Indonesia, one of the largest eruptions in recent history, plunged the region into total darkness for two and a half days and lowered global temperature for five years. An even larger eruption from Mount Tambora in 1815 resulted in “the year without summer” across Europe and North America.
    However, global cooling brought on by volcanic eruptions is only temporary and isn’t a solution to the current climate change crisis our planet is currently experiencing.

Kaʻū's member in Congress Kai Kahele with his family and supporters
in the Merrie Monarch Parade. Photo from Merrie Monarch
    Volcanoes also regularly emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but it is unlikely that we would notice any significant rise in global temperatures due to a single volcanic eruption. For that, we’d have to look back millions of years to volcanic events like those that created the Siberian Traps.
    These were large-scale eruptions that spanned millions of years and spewed enormous amounts of lava across Siberia. The resulting lava flows are known as flood basalts. They are made up of numerous and extensive lava flows stacked on one another. Flood basalt flows are very fluid and travelled very far from their source vents. The Siberian Traps eruption caused the largest identified mass extinction event on Earth. Emissions of volcanic gases were a major contribution to the extinction event, but the magma also ignited huge underground coal deposits that released vast amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases. Sound familiar?
    Today, human activities annually produce more than 100 times the greenhouse gas emissions than global volcanism (
    This Earth Day season, whether you are admiring the eruption glow from Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kīlauea or just remembering to turn off the light when you leave a room, we hope you take a moment to appreciate planet Earth.
Haleakalā Silversword growing on the edge of Haleakalā Crater (approximately 410–530 years post-eruption). Photo by Paul Krushelnycky b) Fireweed growing on the slopes of Mount St. Helens (five years post-eruption). Photo by Lyn Topinka c) A blooming ‘ōhi‘a tree growing on what used to be the Kīlauea Iki lava lake (56 years post-eruption). Photo by Nate Yuen

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