Sunday, May 4, 2008


DOGGED PERSISTANCE: A few weeks ago we pointed out the convoluted Rube Goldberg-esque nature of the proposed charter amendment supposedly designed to put the decision making for resort accommodations in the hands of the Council instead of the Planning Commission (PC)

Saturday’s newspaper column from Walter Lewis showed just how clueless he and his minions continue to be in circulating his latest “Charter Amendment.”

Putting aside the milt-faceted problems with the details that we derailed - regarding its basis on an advisory document, the placement of a whole new administrative permitting office in the legislative branch and dozens of problems with other words and concepts in the already circulated petition- the same thing could also be done by putting an Initiative on the ballot to change the actual current ordinance (law).

But Lewis leaves out this tidbit of reality and continue to lead the mindless conga line for a Charter amendment like the process is mom and apple pie, never mentioning initiative and referendum much less its far superior applicability here.

He even goes as far as to criticize a councilmember who tried to point out the silliness of putting the regulation in the Charter by saying she just wants to control the lawmaking process which would not usually be the case with an initiatives, if it’s clear and well written.

Oh- do we have initiative and referendum on Kaua`i? You’d never know it reading Walter’s column.

The promoters say that premise for the whole amendment is that the Planning Commission shouldn’t be making these decisions because they are not elected. So if you put the decision making in an elected body’s hands those decisions will be more accountable.

Well, duh- so way not elected the Planning Commission?... as slow and smart growth advocates have been saying since at least 1986, the first time electing the PC failed to make it on the ballot.

Although we’ve talked to everyone involved with the effort for this effort none have addressed even one of the problems we raised almost a month ago.

The amendment, as written, is like one of those 80’s teen movies that start with the kid’s alarm clock setting off a series of levers and ropes that dress, clean and feed him automatically. And he end up wearing a dress, brushing his teeth with deodorant and eating cardboard and still missing the bus.

Actually the solution is to get up three minutes earlier but it’s amusing watching the convolutions.


Anonymous said...

Andy, how do we start a campaign for the Planning Comm. to be elected? Is it a Charter thing? I liked Bruce Pleas suggestion to have a mayoral runoff for the general election instead of the current set up says the candidate w/ greater than 50% in the primary wins outright, no runoff needed. Let's put a little thought into it and see if it grows legs.
Happy Boy's Day!,...........jt

Andy Parx said...

Hey Jimmy- The actual amendment shouldn’t be very hard. there is a Planning Department section of the charter that details the appointment of the commissioners. Delete that sentence, state they shall be elected by popular vote and plug in the methodology (seven at large) for electing the Council or even just say “pursuant to” and list the section of the charter on election of council members. Anyone could draw that up very simply.

As far as petitioning, well people are already spending all that energy of the other one. Maybe the Charter Commission might be the place- they get an automatic on getting measures on the ballot- so does the council, although they’ve been reluctant to put any charter measures on the ballot since the Charter Comm is in existence now for 10 years.

Anonymous said...

What do you think about the observation that Kauai doesn't any more politicians? What would the criteria be for candidates? Wouldn't want another level of popularity contest winners to decide the county's planning options, would we? Lots to look at with the proposal but I hear it often enough and last Charter Review had the election of the Planning Director as a finalist before being pared down. It's worth talking about and looking into. thnx for the idea. peace,....jt

Andy Parx said...

Well the dearth of “good” candidates on Kaua`i (and everywhere for that matter) is a problem but a separate one. I don’t know that that’s correct about electing the Director- I would say that is not a good thing simply because you can’t really put qualifications- even the ones there now- for an elected candidate.

And also where do you stop in electing administrative heads? I’d rather see the County Attorney elected – which may be what was proposed last Charter Comm., although I remember being ignored since I couldn’t go to all the meetings when I said that was my “top issue” at the time

But the Commissioners are uneducated and inexperienced now- and selected based on political patronage and ties to the development community. At least we’d have an opportunity to vet them publicly for months in an election for the commissioners.

So then are we getting out of the realm of talking about how to make a democratic electoral system work and seeking to replace elections? Perhaps the benevolent despot- the philosopher-king? I’m not a big fan of Platonic discourse.