Tuesday, March 24, 2015

HEWA- HOTEL OWNER AND MANAGER KIMO KEAWE SLATED TO FILL "ENVIRONMENTAL" SLOT ON KAUA`I PLANNING COMMISSION.

Everyone complains about the recent rampant over-development in the Kapa`a "Coconut Coast" corridor on Kaua`i with at least three new resorts already in the pipeline, all approved in willy-nilly fashion by the Kaua`i Planning Commission (PC)... with more slated for approval soon.

And tomorrow (Wednesday 3/25) at 8:30 a.m. people can try to do something about it.

On the Kaua`i County Council agenda is a nomination which, long-time observers say, will likely make things worse.

The nominee is Kimo M. Keawe, a resort and hotel owner who has spent his entire life in management in the resort industry. But the crazy part is that, if approved, he would fill one of two legally-mandated "Environmental" slots on the commission- an area in which Keawe apparently has no experience or credentials.

His "interview" with the council will take place at 8:30 a.m. with the vote scheduled to come up later in the day.

Keawe retired late last year after what the local Kaua`i newspaper described in January as "a four-decade legacy in resort management starting with Coco Palms in the 1970s." The paper said that "over the years he managed and owned several more, including the Hotel Molokai, before serving as manager of The Cliffs at Princeville for the past 14 years.

The environment never came up in the "talk story" interview with the closest description being that he is "an outdoorsman and spent all my off time hunting and fishing."


He is a huge proponent of time shares penning an article in "Time Share Today" in May 2013 entitled "The Cliffs at Princeville- A Self Managed Success Story."

In the 90's Kaua`i Kaua`i voters approved a County Charter Amendment that called for the seven Planning Commission slots to be filled by two each from the environmental, business and labor communities with one position remaining "at-large." But the amendment didn't specify how that requirement would be enforced or even define those three terms. And the council and the commission has failed to pass legislation or rules to give any guidance.


This has allowed people like Keawe- with absolutely no credentials as an environmentalist- to fill those slots.

If you're one of those who complains about the planning commission's recent decisions- especially the approval of Coco Palms and other new resorts in the traffic nightmare of the Kapa`a corridor- show up tomorrow at the council meeting at the historic county building in Lihu`e and ask the council to enforce the charter and reject Keawe. And ask Mayor Bernard Carvalho to nominate a real environmentalist to the commission. Or you can email testimony to counciltestimony@kauai,gov with the subject line "Oppose Keawe nomination for Environmental Planning Co9mmission slot."


The meeting will be live streamed.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

WITH A STRAIGHT FACE

In "The Liar's Paradox" episode of the TV program Star Trek Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock use logic to kill the android by telling it that "everything 'Harry' says is a lie" after which "Harry" tells the android "I am lying."


Smoke begins coming out of the robot's ears as he says "You say you are lying, but if everything you say is a lie, then you are telling the truth, but you cannot tell the truth because everything you say is a lie, but you lie... You tell the truth but you cannot for you lie... illogical! Illogical! Please explain! You are human. Only humans can explain their behavior! Please explain!"


That's sort of how most of us feel when hearing that the international chemical companies in Hawai`i are okay with "voluntarily disclosing" the dates, locations and types of highly toxic "Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs)" they use in their open-air, biotech experiments but oppose a bill under consideration in the state legislature that would make mandatory the disclosure of that information.


Although they also oppose establishing buffer zones and other health and safety related measures- including allowing the counties to effectively regulate them after the well-documented failures of the state's Departments of Health and Agriculture to do so- let's just focus in on disclosure.


Now what possible reason could there be for their opposition to establishing a law requiring them to do what they claim they are already doing out of the goodness of their black little hearts?


Well in today's local Kaua`i newspaper Paul Oshiro, spokesman for Alexander and Baldwin condescendingly said that "(b)y imposing these mandatory pesticide disclosure requirements without accompanying public education on federal and state pesticide oversight and regulation, this may result in an increase in the number of inquiries, complaints, and non-science based comments and concerns.”


Education? It's been over 60 years since Rachael Carson published the book "Silent Spring," which, according to Wikipedia was "an environmental science book (that) documented the detrimental effects on the environment—particularly on birds—of the indiscriminate use of pesticides. Carson accused the chemical industry of spreading disinformation and public officials of accepting industry claims unquestioningly."


Apparently there are still people who do actually need education. But it's not we androids.


Let's suppose the legislature in all their wisdom decided that "voluntarily disclosing" that you have a valid drivers' license and registration in your possession is all you need when you get pulled over and asked to produce them.


"Oh, s'okay," Keone Bulai tells the officer. "I no like hand 'em ovah. No huhu- I get 'em already."


"Alright- be on your way. The law says that's enough for me," says the officer. "I'm sure glad the legislature made producing documentation voluntary because otherwise it could result in an increase in the number of inquiries, complaints, and non-science based comments and concerns."


So why would Keone refuse to produce his papers but be okay volunteering the information that he has them? Well, it might be because he knows his rights and is simply exercising them because he can. And we don't want to cast aspersions of Mr Bulai's character but his status as a constitutional scholar aside, the only other reason we can think of is because HE IS LYING THROUGH HIS TEETH.


And they wonder why many think the chemical companies are shall we say, being something less than truthful under the voluntary "Good Neighbor" program originally designed to provide political cover to Kaua`i Mayor Bernard Carvalho and the island's contingent of state legislators in their opposition to passage of a local Kaua`i ordinance that established mandatory disclosure (and buffer zones) until it was vetoed by the mayor, overridden by the council and then struck down by a federal judge.


The stream coming out of our ears is, like the android presented with the Liar's Paradox, the result of being unable to process claims like "pesticides are safe," "we always follow the law," "no one is getting sick or injured" and, our favorite, "it's just science you Luddite."


The truth is that it doesn't take a scientist to understand that RUPs are chemicals that are so dangerous that they are not available without special federal licensing and are to be used only after reading, understanding (often by people for whom English is, at best, a second language) and complying with a virtual book-length set of instructions for their use. Or to understand that those directions include a zero tolerance for the pesticides escaping the boundaries of the property upon which they are sprayed- some bordering on schools, hospitals, homes and waterways- in areas where high-speed, swirling winds can pick up without warning.


It certainly doesn't take a scientist to notice the smoke coming out of our ears or for us to know when we're being lied to.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

THERE'S GOOD SCIENCE AND THERE'S BAD SCIENCE... AND THEN THERE'S ENRIGHT SCIENCE.


RE: My piece the other day about the comparisons between statements made by the con man played by Dan Aykroyd on SNL and those of Ag Dept. head Scott Enright in testimony at the buffer zone public hearing at the legislature Thursday.




At the hearing Enright cited that infamous half-assed DOH "study" which tried to say that the amounts of especially toxic Restricted Use Pesticides found in stream bed sediment and other places downwind of the chemical companies open-air pesticide experiments, were safe. The study actually said that the levels were "within acceptable limits" to which someone on Facebook commented that "there are no acceptable amounts of pesticides."




I felt compelled to answer that that's not strictly true, saying:




"Well maybe, although if there were truly one molecule in an ocean of water I wouldn't obsess over it. The problem is that when you find any amounts- even a molecule- in stream sediment as the DOH's so-called "study" did, it is an indicator of there having been massive amounts nearby- enough so that there a presence left where ongoing diffusion has been and is taking place.




Even if you accept that there is an amount that is "acceptable" in a glass of drinking water (usually expressed in "X" parts per million or even billion) it is bad science to presume that that amount is applicable to finding remnant amounts in a nearby stream bed.




In other words if you drink a glass of straight undiluted poison you'll die on the spot. But if you take one drop of that concentrated poison and dilute it in a million gallons of clean water- and keep putting one drop of the new solution in another million gallons of clean water a few times- eventually the resultant mixture would probably be pretty much innocuous... just like having a stream running continuously over the bed.




But that doesn't mean that somewhere, right nearby in that "original source" glass of straight poison that promulgated the eventually "innocuous" solution, there isn't some really toxic stuff.

Friday, February 13, 2015

DO YOU SMELL THAT?


Despite the seriousness of the subject of Thursday's State Senate hearing on establishing buffer zones for the use of Restricted Use Pesticides (RUP), the almost comic routine by international chemical cartel mouthpieces and second banana Scott Enright, the head of the Department of Agriculture, had many guffawing at the benign "nothing to see here- go back to your pesticide-laden homes" portrayal of some of the most toxic substances on the face of the earth.




It was reminiscent of the classic Dan Aykroyd "Bag o' Glass" Saturday Night Live sketch from the 70's where Aykroyd plays Erwin Mainway, President of Mainway Toys.




Using many of the same ploys that poison-purveyors like Syngenta, Dow and of course Monsanto use to get convince us we're just a bunch of hysterical nut cases, Aykroyd does his con-man best to try to convince "Consumer Probe" host Candice Bergen that what she calls his "so-called harmless playthings"- playthings like Pretty Peggy Ear Piercing Set, Mr. Skin Grafter, General Tron's Secret Police Confession Kit Doggie Dentist and Teddy Bear Chainsaw- are nothing to worry about.




And of the Bag of Glass- a big plastic bag full of, yes, shards of broken glass- Mainway scoffs at the dangers like Enright et. al. defending the use of deadly chemicals adjacent to schools, hospitals, homes in towns like Waimea on Kaua`i.




Ask yourself if this type of folderol sound familiar? As Aykroyd tells Curtain:




"Yeah, well, look - you know, the average kid, he picks up, you know, broken glass anywhere, you know? The beach, the street, garbage cans, parking lots, all over the place in any big city. We're just packaging what the kids want! I mean, it's a creative toy, you know? If you hold this up, you know, you see colors, every color of the rainbow! I mean, it teaches him about light refraction, you know? Prisms, and that stuff! You know what I mean?"




Yeah- it's all just science- whaddaya some kinda Luddite?




"Look, we put a label on every bag that says, 'Kid! Be careful - broken glass!' I mean, we sell a lot of products in the "Bag O'" line.. like Bag O' Glass, Bag O' Nails, Bag O' Bugs, Bag O' Vipers, Bag O' Sulfuric Acid. They're decent toys, you know what I mean?"




Just like RUPs- it's all right there on the label. Everything is safe as long as it's on the label.




There's also action figure Johnny Switchblade Adventure Punk which Aykroyd dismisses by saying "So Barbie takes a knife or Ken gets cut every once in a while. I mean there's no harm in it as far as I can see," later demonstrating the dangers choking on a runaway Nerf Ball.




Finally when Bergen presents him with Alphabet Blocks as an example of a safe toy Aykroyd screams "C'mon, this is harmless? Alright, okay, you call this harmless? [holds block in hand] I mean.. [plays with block and fakes injury] Aagghh!! I got a splinter in here, look at that! This is wood! This is unsanded wood, it's rough!"




Kind of reminds one of industry PR flacks who, with a straight face, try to convince legislators that the REAL problem isn't the literally tons of RUPs blowing all over town but rather the home gardener who uses a few tablespoons of non-RUP Round-up a couple of times a year.




Just like kids want those toys we're told people want pesticides- even in the DNA of their corn, soy beans and glow-in-the-dark goldfish. And hey- what's a few perfectly innocuous pesticides among play-friends?




Just like Mr. Mainway dismisses the dangers of his products, what does it matter if people's homes are coated with neuro-toxins or if they get a giant whiff of them when the winds suddenly pick up. As long as we don't have brown spots on our papayas who cares what happens to a few brown people. We're too busy feeding the world to worry about that.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

JE SUIS CHARLIE? NOT SO FAST CORPORATE MEDIA



Ironic isn't nearly a strong enough term for how corporate pundits use solemn tones in tearful defense of "free speech" when condemning the assassination of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, all while actually censoring their work by refusing to re-publish the actual images (much less with translations).




Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi approached that kind of critique yesterday after he delved into a tangential comparison with the AP's archiving of an image of Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ," which Matt describes as "a set piece of a crucifix submerged in the artist's own urine, caused Serrano to receive death threats back in the day."




But unusually for Taibbi he approaches but missed the mark in his tome.


Here's the Associated Press' lame excuse for condemning the gun-assisted censorship out of one side of their mouths while essentially censoring the cartoons out of the other:




"We’ve taken the view that we don’t want to publish hate speech or spectacles that offend, provoke or intimidate, or anything that desecrates religious symbols or angers people along religious or ethnic lines...We don’t feel that’s useful."



What a pile of horsesh*t.



The reality is that "without fear or favor"- at least in the case of the former- is anything but in play here. It's actually a matter of a lack of any semblance of the courage that presenting the background necessary to understand the "news" would entail. After all, isn't "in depth reporting" what they all claim they strive to do?



Now no one is saying that Brian Williams and Wolf Blitzer need to put their lives on the line and surround themselves with armed bodyguards in order to protect free speech. Fear, if not outright cowardice, is a perfectly acceptable excuse here. But don't give us some gobbledygook about propriety as you present the nightly infotaining celebrity blood-letting which you laughingly call the news.



If The NY times- which issued a similar convoluted "explanation" today- is scared to reproduce these cartoons and inform people as to what exactly these raving religious lunatics had their panties in a bunch over, just say so. But don't hide behind some sort of moralistic doubletalk all the while claiming to stand in solidarity with the people who really have the courage to satirize those who so richly deserve it.




Thursday, December 25, 2014

THE GENTILES' BIG DAY

We were nothing if not assimilationist Jews. After all, as my mother's brother Uncle Jerry was keen to point out, after ridding himself of the distinctly Hebraic "Paschkes" surname in favor of the blander American-cheese "Parks" moniker upon immigration, my father proceeded to name us kids Andrew and Kathryn- an apostle and a Russian Czarina.


So Christmas trees and stockings hung on the bureau with care were de rigueur yearly fare. Uncle Jerry would come down from the Bronx and he and my mother would "sneak" a fresh ham with the admonishment "don't tell Grandma."


When Grandma did visit during the Yule season she would stick her head into the living room, look at the tree and mutter streams of "oy gevalt" and "a shonda, a shonda- DAT'S vhat it is" under her breath (but at the same time loud enough so everyone in the next apartment could hear it) throughout the day. Every Christmas morning after the wrapping paper covered the floor Uncle Jerry would crack that it "looks like Santa Claus threw up in here."


I was apparently a born investigative reporter because at the age of three my source (my best friend Barry's four-year-old brother) had informed me as to the "Santa Scam." So I decided that this year I was going to catch my parents in the act of posing as Mr Claus, sneaking into my bedroom and filling my stocking with all manner of American consumer crap- crap without which I couldn't live.


Being the original "toothpicks under my eyes" kid I thought staying up and staking out the stockings would be a breeze. I wasn't sure whether I was going to jump out from under the covers and yell "Gotcha" because I apparently was also clever enough to know that if I blew their cover, next year all said crap might not "magically" appear.


Using my trusty wristwatch and the light beam from the street lights outside my window on FDR Drive, every half hour I'd go and check the stocking. 11:00... nothing. 11:30... nothing. Midnight... nothing.


Finally it was 1 a.m. and I KNEW I had remained vigilant. Yet miraculously it was FULL. The thought that I'd actually fallen asleep was anathema to my budding Sherlockian persona but while I wasn't stupid enough to think a fat man in a red suit had actually stopped by my and every other kid's home, there was, for the next couple of years, always that nagging sort of "but what if" agnosticism.


So when it was my daughter Jessica's turn we had the tree, the presents, the stocking and the whole schmear. Same with my grandson Tony. Why not- why scar them with being the only kid that didn't get to have a tree in the house with all the accouterments?


Flash forward to December 2000. My parents- at this point my dad and step mother- are permanently ensconced in Florida where, I believe by law, all old New York Jews must go upon retirement. Many had escaped the Nazi concentration camps only to find themselves in pre-fabricated rows of alphanumerically-delineated barracks, surrounded by guard shacks and barbed wire fences. Go figure.


And, my step mother is dying because she "didn't want to bother anybody" about the colon cancer that had been growing in her belly for who-knows-how-long.


So there we all are: me, Jessica, Tony. my sister Kathy and my dad and trying to give Tony, who was four, Christmas in the Heart of Jewville- Century Village in W. Palm Beach.


My step-mother Sylvia was pretty much comatose 23 hours a day but her lucid moments consisted of doing a reprise of my Grandma- opening an eye, looking around at where Santa had upchucked, mumbling "oy gevalt" before dropping back into unconsciousness.


Now Florida has quite the Home Hospice operation where they come into your home and help with, as the end nears, whatever level of palliative care the, shall we say "pre-deceased" requires. By Christmas eve 250-plus pound Sylvia's had deteriorate to the point where ambulatory bathroom trips were out of the question. So of course we let hospice know that we required the promised "next level of care."


Now of course the Hospice employees were not the little old Jews of Century Village but were the local Floridian gentiles- for the most part black women. And somehow we hadn't gotten the message that it was Christmas and no one was going to show up.


And when I asked around, all the old Century Village Jews could say was "Vell, vhadda ya expect- it's 'The Gentiles' Big Day.'"


That night this little couplet wrote itself:


'Twas the Night before Christmas and all through the joy
Not a gentile was working not even a shabbos goy.
The Jews were all snuggled in their self-made camps
Ordering Chinese food and lighting eight lamps....


Happy "Big Day" all you gentiles out there.

Friday, December 5, 2014

SWEEPING NEW KAUA`I COUNCIL RULE CHANGES IMBUE RAPOZO WITH KINGLY POWERS




(PNN) In a move by new Chair Mel Rapozo that removes the rights of councilmember to introduce legislation, move bills out of committee to a final vote by the full council, initiate workshops and even cuts the amount of time allotted for them to speak on measures on the agenda by half, the new Kaua`i County Council majority rammed through wholesale changes to longstanding rules at Monday's usually inaugural meeting of the Kaua`i County Council.


The rights of the public were also severely curtailed by cutting the mandatory length for public testimony in half, removing the right to petition the council, severely restricting exchanges between councilmembers and testifiers and forcing the public to one again wait for hours to testify.


The County Charter requires adoption of the rules at the usually pro-forma first meeting which turned into a protracted, almost four hour long losing battle to protect the rights of councilmembers and the public after Rapozo attempted to sneak new rules past due consideration by the council by circulating them unformatted, without using the standard "Ramseyer" format that shows changes to legislation. That way a quick glance made those reading them think there were no changes at all.


A PNN article on Saturday which detailed a small handful of the proposed changes apparently alarmed Councilmember Gary Hooser who then "shared" the article on Facebook. That spurred an email from Rapozo sent only to those who had contacted him after seeing the article, attempting unsuccessfully to play down and in fact misrepresent the changes. That email itself was followed by a detailed point-by-point Facebook post refuting Rapozo's email from Hooser who was outraged over the not just the rules themselves but the attempt to dupe the council into adopting changes.


Among the changes is one previously unreported provision that would allow committees and their chairs to prevent the full council from taking a final vote on a bill or resolution by holding the bill in committee permanently, thus killing it.


While giving chairs this kind of power is common at the federal and state level it is rarely part of the rules for local jurisdictions. Kaua`i is the first county in Hawai`i to pass a rule like this, although Hawai`i Island briefly considered and quickly rejected a similar measure this week after their chair attempted a similar secret maneuver.


According to Roberts Rules of Order which governs parliamentary procedure, only the full body can determine the ultimate fate of any measure with a majority or more (depending on the type of measure) of the full body carrying the outcome. But under the Rule-a-la-Rapozo a "receipt for the record" or in fact any vote other than approval by a five-voting-member committee of the seven member council would cause the measure to remain in committee until the chair allows it to come up again- conceivably not at all. That would allow three votes- or even less depending on how many are in attendance for the vote- to essentially kill a bill or resolution.


The new rules also:


-Cut the time the public is given by law to testify on an agenda item from a total of six to three minutes. It would leave granting a second three minutes to the discretion of the chair, replacing the old four additional minutes under the chair's purview. It's interesting to note that when the matter came up for discussion Councilmember Kipukai Kuali`i showed how even he- a member of the new majority who was the most vocal about how it was "disrespectful" to challenge the new rules- insisted this was not true, personally attacking Hooser over his contention that it was. It took an insistence from Hooser that the record reflect the truth for Kuali`i- obviously worried enough about how his performance would look to the electorate to later apologize and claim he was not attacking Hooser personally- to acknowledge his error demonstrating definitively that he hadn't understood or possibly even read one of the most glaring changes. The "total of six minutes" rule had been in effect on Kaua`i for decades;


-Removed the right of councilmember to have proposed legislation- or any matter- placed on the council agenda within 120 days of submittal. This provision was added a couple of years back after Rapozo's stated "mentor," former Chair Kaipo Asing, abused the requirement requiring the council chair to "initial" matters in order for them to appear on the agenda. to block legislation he disfavored from ever appearing on the agenda;


-Eliminate the right of members to hold "workshops" unless the matter is on the council agenda. Workshops are used to gather facts, input from experts. members of the administration and the community to contribute to the preparation of legislation without violating the state Sunshine Law which requires six-day notice and public testimony whenever a majority of the council gathers to deal with actual or projected council business;


-Cut from 10 to five minutes the time councilmembers may speak on an agenda item without permission from the chair;


-Eliminated the right of citizens to petition the council to consider legislation;


-Eliminated a recent rule change that had allowed members of the public to testify on any single agenda item for three minutes at the very beginning of a meeting rather than having to sit around all day- sometimes into the night- in order to testify, thus forcing them to, once again, take a full day off to speak their mind rather than just an hour or so at 9 a.m.


Rapozo claimed many of the substantive changes were merely "housekeeping" measures and that all were done with intent of "expediency (and) efficiency" and as "cost saving" measures, even suggesting much of the council's proceeding- apparently including public and council input- were "a waste of time (and) money" presenting an unsubstantiated a figure of $250 an hour to record, caption and web-cast meetings.


For the record, at one point during the meeting Rapozo personally chided PNN Publisher, Editor and Chief Correspondent Andy Parx by name over what he thought he had read in PNN's first (Saturday 11/29) article on the rules. Rapozo mockingly claimed that Parx wrote that a rule regarding "intemperate" or "abusive" language was new. However a critical-reading of the paragraph shows that the reference to "new" was made regarding the section on "Public Testimony" in which the passage is contained, not the passage itself. PNN welcomes a retraction and apology from Rapozo considering how adverse he is to litigation.


The meeting began with a... ah screw this "news" format- the rest calls for a lot less "just the facts ma’am" and a lot more Rabid Reporter bombast.


The power grab by "King Louis-Mel "I am the County" XIV, The "Blotting out the Sun(shine) King" started with a "hurry up and just pass the damn rules" push during the usually pre-fake-swearing-in snooze-fest where the gaggle of governance takes the actual oath of office while the audience swears a different kind of under-their-breath-oath. That is usually punctuated by selection of the new chair, vice chair, clerk and deputy and finally pretty much the same old rules as the last term are adopted. At least that's been the case for the at least the last 25-plus years with any substantive rule changes taking place at regular meetings throughout the term.


As the clocked ticked down to the official unofficial hour assigned to re-perform the swearing-in ceremonially in the auditorium next door approached, the new council majority became panicked when it became apparent that the minority were not happy about the elimination of their and the public's rights as Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura announced she had prepared nine amendments for the most egregious of the measures to consolidate MachiaMelli's powers.


" Hurry... only a few minutes to go" shouted dumber-than-the-usual-bear Ross "Boo-Boo" Kagawa to Yogi the Chair as the clock ticked down. "Let's just pass them and be done with it" said perennial also ran, first-time-actually-elected Rapozo-sycophant Kipukai Kuali`i who seemed outraged-to-tears (if that's possible) that someone would challenge the rights of Il Douche-A, to run roughshod over the minority.


It was only when, with mere minutes to go, Yukimura shouted "Move to amend" and a split-second later Hooser said "second" that the lap-dancer-fondling chair thought better of not recognizing the motion at the almost-didn't-happen delayed-on-line-streaming of the event and they all proceeded next door for the banal fake-coronation and insipid oratories from Hizzonah and Ghengis Mel, saving the fireworks for after the show.


Despite the opposition from the majority- which includes a long-sought seat for big Kaua`i landowner Grove Farm in the form of Silver-Spoon-Fed legacy "Missing-D," Arryl Kaneshiro (whose election, many say, was due to confusion with his father, long-serving ex-Councilmember, Darryl)- Yukimura charged on with her amendments with "seconds" from Hooser and loose support from the other member of the progressive minority Mason Chock who, with Yukimura, voted for the final rules with only Hooser voting in opposition.


The worst of the worst of the really offensive "how dare you challenge The Prince" rhetoric came from Kuali`i who had gotten the votes of many progressives in the last election despite his demonstrated support for the Rapozo, Asing and former councilmember and disgraced former County Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho.


Iseri and Kuali`i were accused of colluding to throw Victim-Witness Program monies to Kualii's employer, the YWCA, with Iseri firing the V-V program employees she had just hired (causing a wrongful termination EEOC filing which the county settled) in the prosecutors office... where the program had always been housed since its inception.


This, say council-watchers guaranteed Kualii's allegiance to the Iseri/Rapozo alliance during the often bitter battles over Asing's secretive and paternalistic reign as Chair after having served nobly for years as the champion of the people in the '80's '90's and early '00's.


Of the nine amendments only one passed and that with an amendment to the amendment. But that was was perhaps the most perplexing of all because the "new" rule was the same as the old rule housed in that previously mentioned section on Public Hearings.


The council rules certainly did need some actual housekeeping measures including use of archaic language, anachronistic provisions and misogynist phrasings. But one of the most glaring had always been that there was no section regarding the rules for Public Testimony. Those rules had always been housed under "Public Hearings" which are required by charter but separate from common public testimony which is required on every agenda item at every meeting by the Hawai`i State Sunshine (open meetings) Law. The Public Hearing rules have always been treated as applying to both.


Apparently when staff pointed this out to Benito Rapozo he decided to use the opportunity to make the council train run on time.


The one and only provision that differed was that during actual Public Hearings, the council has been restricted from asking questions and having exchanges with those testifying. It had always been pretty strictly adhered to until recently when, although former Chair Jay Furfaro would often remind councilmembers of the rule, he in fact was a little lackadaisical about enforcing it.


Yet here was an amendment from Yukimura apparently seeking to allow it that during Public Hearings. Now it should be pointed out that at this juncture that although the council appeared to be working from, if not a formal Ramseyer copy of the new rules at least one that indicated changes, still neither has not been made available to the public.


And as a matter of fact one of those "housekeeping" rules made it even harder to know what the heck is going on at meetings by allowing the chair to dispense with the actual verbal reading of measures. We've tried for years to get them to read actual amendments when they're introduced- or at least before they are passed- to no avail.


Parenthetically, as a matter of fact- and we should have anticipated this- council service is traditionally about as fast as a molasses-surfing turtle when it comes to getting things posted on the county web site. Yet the new rules were posted so fast it made our head do an Exorcist and now the old rules are apparently lost to the ages.


Not so parenthetically, in some ways we were sympathetic to the impetus (if not the lack of thought) behind a few of what can only be called the new"Yukimura Rules."


There isn't one person we know who hasn't rolled their eyes and even walked out of the room asking those remaining to "let me know when she's done" after sitting through one of her interminable "thinking out loud" sessions, usually during Q&A with someone testifying. The smirks when councilmembers made veiled references to it during the debate were not as veiled as the references themselves.


So back to the actual amendment that apparently amended nothing, Yukimura's amendment seemed to seek to allow exchanges during Pubic Hearings. That would have been a change from what we remember the old rules said:


"Public hearings are held to receive testimony from the public. Councilmembers shall reserve their opinions, questions, and arguments for the appropriate Council or Committee meeting."


So after much wrangling and Yukimura's pleas that members be able to "clarify" what those speaking at Public Hearings were saying, the following was added:


";except that Councilmembers may ask clarifying questions that enable the Council to better understand the point or position of the speaker."


And THAT passed unanimously. Big whoop. It's probably the one change we would have opposed.


The afternoon session session began with His Melness attempting to run down the list of changes, often mumbling "housekeeping changes made by staff"- until it turned out they weren't- or otherwise glossing over or misrepresenting them. Then Yukimura's amendments rejected at breakneck speed, with the the Greek Chorus responding to Sophoclapozo's "I wont abuse my power" with a refrain of "No he won't abuse his power" followed by some HMS Pinafore-like


What Never?
No Never
What Never?
Well... hardly every
Hardly ever abuses Ruuuules.


Hardly ever sick at Council meetings? We suspect that for the next two year the response will be "yes always."