Thursday, July 31, 2008


NO, NO- IT’S A JUST WHISKERLESS BARKING CAT: When Larry Geller posted a story about an article from the BYM Marine & Maritime News Wednesday on Hawai`i Superferry (HSf) maker Austal’s final Joint High Speed Vessel proposal to the US Navy he sure didn’t think he’d wind up on the obituary page of the Honolulu Advertiser today

The profoundly exaggerated news of Larry’s demise notwithstanding, his original post pressed others in the local alternative press into action with a lot more details coming from the “owner” of the USS Superferry story Joan Conrow to come up with some expanded coverage, quite obviously spurring a story in this morning’s Advertiser.

They are all a must read. And they all detail how military use of the Superferry is indeed- despite HSf’s past attempts to hide and deny it- moving along quite nicely thank you with a new ramp designed for military use being included in the new “under contraction” HSf and the possible retrofitting of one on the ferry currently in use.

But the real news came from Maui Professor Dick Mayer who did a little digging and provided this from an article today in the Mobile (Alabama) Press-Register. about hometown’s Austal’s prospects for landing the Navy contract to build 10 and maybe more of the military vessels based on the same design as the HSf vessels

The article states:

"We have the trained workforce ready today, we have the facilities available today to support construction, and we have already built a vessel of very similar design right here in Mobile," he said, referring the Hawaii Superferry.

Austal was one of three bidders awarded a design contract in January, and company officials said that they anticipate a contract award before year's end.

But that’s followed by what may be the punch line to the whole HSf joke.

The Mobile shipbuilder also said Wednesday that it had won new work to provide "additional features and equipment on the second Hawaii Superferry to facilitate its use by the military."

Part of a $190-million, two-ship contract, the vessel is being built for Hawaii Superferry Inc. The first superferry is in service in Hawaii, but the company's plan to run an inter-island ferry service has been plagued by environmental protests, and company officials could be positioning the vessel for sale to a third party. (emphasis added)

Browning said he met recently with Thomas Fargo, a retired U.S. Navy admiral who is Hawaii Superferry's chief executive, and there was "no mention" of plans to sell the second vessel.

"However, the national defense features we are adding to HSF 2 would enable the vessel to be chartered to the military if they so desired," Browning said.

Well this drove Conrow up a wall. In today’s post she says:

Now I don’t mind if HSF 2, or even the Alakai, for that matter, is made into a military ship, although it bothers me that the HSF spent so much money lobbying in an effort to get us taxpayers to pick up the tab. But I’m a fan of full disclosure, and when Hawaii Superferry came to town, asking for all sorts of state help and public acceptance for what is proving to be a rather dubious commercial enterprise, I think they should have been totally up front about their military aspirations.

Then we all could have weighed the issue more carefully, and asked such probing questions as whether HSF really is committed to the state for the long haul, or if we’ll be left holding the bag for those expensive harbor improvements, tugboat operations and litigation — and have no alternative form of transportation to show for it.

And then there’s still the unanswered question of why Gov. Lingle went out on such a limb to ensure the Superferry sailed. Surely it wasn’t just the replica of the Alakai she received from top Superferry investor John Lehman, who bequeathed a similar gift on that other key ferry skid-greaser, House Speaker Calvin Say, within months of the special legislative session being convened. (Sen. President Colleen Hamabusa, on the other hand, got only a framed photograph.)

But slow by slow, it seems the truth is being revealed, and perhaps one day the full tale will be told. Somehow, though, I don't think it will be The Advertiser that breaks the story.

In the grifter and carnie world they say the best “mark” is a fellow con artist. Think. the movie, The Sting”.

And it’s now become apparent that we’ve been the perfect suckers.

Lingle, Say, Hamabusa and most of the gullible public took it all at face value when we heard we were going to be magnanimously gifted with an interisland ferry. Thoughts were of a “free lunch” that wouldn’t cost the state taxpayers a nickel in the long run.

But it’s beginning to become painfully obvious that “we was tooken” and former Navy Secretary and 9/11 Commission member Lehman and his military-contractor breakfast club at Lockheed never really planned to help Hawai`i with a new form of inter-island transportation but rather just to demonstrate the prototype ship for his and Austal’s military boondoggle.

So if you were going to pull off this scam to get the Hawai`i pols and taxpayers to support this demonstration project but not lose your shirt in your cockamamie money-losing business plan, you’d have to not only wind up selling the boat to the military once it served it’s purpose but make sure people wouldn’t lynch you when it’s all over.

How? Maybe by intentionally going forward with a bad business, making bad business decisions and purposefully getting people to oppose it to insure the boat would eventually have be sold (to the military) without people even knowing they were conned because they blame themselves- and protesters or environmentalists- for the demise of their “free lunch”.... the best kind of scam of all.

The most superlatively run cons have a partnerships where one of the scammers is also scamming the others because they’re too busy conning others to realize they’re being taken.

Ever wonder why an obvious idiot like Garibaldi was put in charge? Garibaldi thought he was going to con everyone else into actually accepting the ferry, be a hero and make a lot of money. Lingle thought she was going to con everyone to put a higher-office feather in her admiral's cap

Everyone involved was out to con someone into something for their personal enrichment, whether monetary or otherwise including many of the “regular people” who thought they were getting insanely cheap transportation or a way to steal and smuggle back neighbor island resources or at least exploit them on the cheap.

That explains why they tried to deny any military use at first when no one- as Joan said to light our bulb- would have really cared if it was indeed a ferry project for Hawai`i and also a demonstration of the catamaran design for military purposes.

Normally you’d think they’d promote it. Why would they hide it?

Well maybe, if their plan all along was really to leave us high and dry so to speak, they were afraid people would look back and see the real purpose once they were “forced” to sell HSf’s boats to the military.

We in the islands - even those who support HSf- keep asking ourselves how these guys could be so stupid as to their business plan, their machinations with the state, the EIS debacle, the “in-your-face, Supreme Court” attitude that caused the Kaua`i protests to swell, all the PR blunders, starting service in the winter-swell season and other idiocies?

The most rabid Superferry proponent even asks “how could these people be so stupid.”

The answer is they weren’t and aren’t.. Nobody is that stupid. They always had this as their real plan.

How do we know- The same way the bunko squad does- when you use that as a premise, everything else falls into place and makes perfect sense.

You don’t even have to connect any dots but rather think about what makes all this “make sense”. Then you see the real reason they tried to deny, cover-up and hush up the military connection until the uproar in the alternative press got so loud the newspapers had to cover it..

But let us know if you still don’t believe this- we may have a bridge to the neighbor islands to sell you. Maybe you can sail your ferry under it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


CASPER’S BEST FRIEND: Yeah we know- we’ve become way too hung up on this election filing deadline dance and the fallout in Honolulu but how can you ignore the idiocy of public officials when they respond to the revelations with pompous, self-serving and self-congratulatory blatherings like those in Chief Elections Officer Kevin Cronin’s statement on all of the sundry snafus.

Who’s to blame for it all? According to Cronin it’s apparently Derrick’s and our fault for telling people about it.

These cases should not be tried and decided in the newspapers and other media. Isn’t this our democratic system? Shouldn’t it be allowed to work? But because they have chosen to present snippets to the public and reached a decision including casting aspersions on the Office of Elections whose dedicated staff is working extremely hard to prepare for the 2008 elections under very difficult circumstances, the current atmosphere obliges me to comment before it is necessary under the law.

But perhaps the most absurd of all of Cronin’s responses Derrick DePledge reproduced today in his on-line-only Honolulu Advertiser “The Notebook” blog today entitled “De Facto”, was this alleged explaining of why Cronin didn’t register to vote before taking his job in February as the law requires.

After he got done blaming the press for covering the story, in order to exonerate his staff he went on to defend himself in the following truly baffling manner:

Until I registered to vote, I served as what the law calls a “de facto” official. A “de facto” official is one who in good faith may perform the duties of office without jeopardy to any decisions made. No one informed me otherwise. There is no question I was a citizen of the United States, older than 18 and a resident of Hawaii. All of that paperwork had been completed.

What remained to remove the “de facto” status was to complete an application to become a registered voter in Hawaii. Unfortunately, this was one of several personal items which remained on my to-do list and that working 6-7 days a week kept getting moved to the next day as I worried about getting a voting machine system secured for the state and to begin election preparations in what is expected to bring to the polls an unusually large number of voters. When the caller/reporter asked about my status, I left the office immediately to go to Honolulu Hale to register to vote.

And then, in one of those “don’t you have anything better to worry about- whadda you lookin’ at” statements he says:

To experience the attention and anger among many people over my voter registration status surprised me, especially when our beautiful state has so many more compelling issues like education, health care, and transportation, among others.

But what the heck is a “de facto” government official anyway? We suppose Cronin’s definition was the one in the dictionary that says it means “existing in fact, whether with lawful authority or not”.

In other words. “because I said so”.

Thanks mom.

And don’t forget this guy is the one whose job description includes interpreting the election law.

So under the Cronin doctrine of de facto governance we just can’t wait to see all the de facto voters- exactly how many votes does a de facto voter get? Easy- Cronin will obviously get to decide that, arbitrarily and capriciously, under his “lawful or not authority.”

Maybe this is a preview of Cronin’s defense in the ES&S lawsuit over why he picked the more-than-double-the-cost Hart election-tallying company. It’s quite obviously a de facto contract- not necessarily a legal one but just the same, legal just because Cronin says so.

Why this may be just the ticket for the State administration. Attorney General Mark Bennett and Governor Linda Lingle have become extremely adept at appropriating the nonsensical rantings of underlings and county officials as their own justifications for lawlessness- why not this one.

Any day now we expect Bennett to write one of those bizarre yet secret opinions allowing Lingle to declare herself, the De Facto Governor, enabling her to dictate to the legislature, override the courts and maybe declare herself The De Facto Queen.

It seems to be a trend in public service these days. It’s a new brand authority -“Ghost Governance”- whereby officials have absolutely none of sloppy muss and fuss of democracy and lawful responsibilities of employment... just all the power...

Just make sure you’re not qualified for the job and then when challenged say “well I was just ‘sort of’ in charge so I can do whatever I want because I am not really here at all... unless I want to be.”

The only question left is whether Cronin is collecting a real paycheck or a de facto one.
Wait- gotta run... we hear the white knight counting backwards.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


LEGAL BEAGLES OR BRAINLESS BUFFOONS? It appears from last week’s discussion by the Kaua`i County Council- as accurately portrayed in today’s local paper - that councilmembers have made the leap from being merely ludicrous to absolutely insane when it comes to withholding County Attorney opinions on public policy matters.

If, as Mel Rapozo is quoted as saying, “Kaua`i is unique” it’s because councilmembers apparently think they aren’t subject to state law.

Because the Sunshine Law - which requires open meetings be the norm - specifically bans the discussion of public policy behind closed doors and does not make an exception for the “attorney-client” loophole the council has used to hide the basis for enacting legislation.

Sunshine laws are based on the premise that bodies of elected and appointed officials are different from other organizations and businesses. They are not subject to the same laws that allow for privacy of information because, in dealing with public policy, they are seen as representatives of the people and those people have a right to watch and comment upon their official actions.

For anyone who hasn’t read the Declaration of policy and intent contained in HRS chapter 92, here it is:

In a democracy, the people are vested with the ultimate decision-making power. Governmental agencies exist to aid the people in the formation and conduct of public policy. Opening up the governmental processes to public scrutiny and participation is the only viable and reasonable method of protecting the public's interest. Therefore, the legislature declares that it is the policy of this State that the formation and conduct of public policy - the discussions, deliberations, decisions, and action of governmental agencies - shall be conducted as openly as possible. To implement this policy the legislature declares that:
(1) It is the intent of this part to protect the people's right to know;
(2) The provisions requiring open meetings shall be liberally construed; and
(3) The provisions providing for exceptions to the open meeting requirements shall be strictly construed against closed meetings.

Note that the law was enacted to cover the “formation and conduct of public policy”.

And note that it doesn’t recognize- or even mention the “attorney-client privilege” that others enjoy but limits “boards” to discussing in closed session only that what is specifically exempted from open meetings requirements.

The Sunshine Law contains a section, 92-5(a), that details those eight specific reasons a meeting may be held in secret. And discussion of attorney-client privileged material is not among the defined things they may do behind closed doors.

HRS 92-5(a)4 does allow them to “consult with the board's attorney on questions and issues pertaining to the board's powers, duties, privileges, immunities, and liabilities”;

But 92-5(b) specifically says that

In no instance shall the board make a decision or deliberate toward a decision in an executive meeting on matters not directly related to the purposes specified in subsection (a).

Pretty damn clear, eh? But it even says:

No chance meeting, permitted interaction, or electronic communication shall be used to circumvent the spirit or requirements of this part to make a decision or to deliberate toward a decision upon a matter over which the board has supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power.

As we reported in June that second sentence has recently been adjudicated in Right to Know Committee v. City Council City and County of Honolulu to mean that they can’t use any “serial” method such as circulating paperwork from one to another to avoid the requirement they keep public policy deliberations and decisions completely available to the public.

Paperwork? Like maybe a County Attorney’s opinion?

But judging by the conversation last Wednesday we don’t need no stinkin’ Sunshine laws on Kaua`i. The council will decide when they want to tell us what deliberations they want us in on and guess what- there are none, if they can get away with it.

The attorney-client privilege is specifically not a part of their “privileges” in the law but you wouldn’t know it from the way the council has not just used it to keep the public policy opinions from the public but, in absurd bit of through the looking glass nonsense, has gone into secret executive sessions to discuss the public policy contained in those opinions- opinions that they requested in the first place.

Therefore any public policy question- especially ones that they don’t want to have done in the light of day for fear of the political repercussions- can be submitted for a CA “opinion” and then forever remain in the council’s black hole of executive sessions

If the effect of keeping a County Attorney’s opinion from public eyes is allowing public policy to be conducted in secret what part of that equation can be changed to make the law whole?

Yeah, We thought so too. Don’t all talk at once, councilmembers.

By the council’s reasoning we can assume the whole Sunshine law is invalid as long as they ask the County Attorney about whatever they want to hide from the public.

The problem is that the council says they are such idiots that they cannot distinguish actual litigation from potential litigation.

In theory every action- every law they enact, every resolution they consider, every expenditure they approve- is subject to litigation. But in actuality there are lawsuits, and there is public policy.

You know lawsuits by their tell-tale stamp from the courts establishing that they have been filed. You know the public policy by the fact that you are discussing it to provide for the legitimate functions of passing laws and the like.

The problem for the council is that when the policy and intent of open meetings laws is implemented it forbids the discussion of public policy without the public being fully informed.

And their solution is to consider every part of public policy a potential lawsuit.

The word legal comes from the word law. And so every “law” has a “legal” component by definition. And that’s exactly what the council has used as their premise in these matters since early this decade.

So does that mean that everything the Council does is covered by the exemption 92(a)4 which reads

A board may hold a meeting closed to the public... (t)o consult with the board's attorney on questions and issues pertaining to the board's powers, duties, privileges, immunities, and liabilities;

Do the councilmembers think that discussing their “powers, duties, privileges, immunities, and liabilities” with an attorney is the same as actually exercising them?

Apparently so.

The question is if the Council decides state laws don’t apply to them and no one takes them to court does the public outcry make a sound?

Apparently not.

Monday, July 28, 2008


THE BITE ISN’T BLEEDING MUCH AND AW, HE’S SO CUTE: We’ve got a buddy who never tires of asking us, in referring to our apparent obsession with Kaua`i politics, “So, you still got your nose in the cesspool?”.

And apparently it was all for naught when for a few days we took on the absurd machinations of the “City and County” only to hear “so now you’ve got your nose in a bigger cesspool”

Perhaps our fascination with our leader’s excrement is because of this penchant of much of the citizenry to excuse our government officials with the basketball cliché of “no blood, no foul” when confronted with the a level of lawlessness that is apparently ok unless our personal ox is actually killed, not merely gored.

Yesterday we got an email from a usually astute observer who said it didn’t matter who exactly was being replaced in the Honolulu Hale filing deadline fiasco we focused on over the past few days because they had already chosen a replacement candidate.

And today, in an appropriately entitled piece “Phew, Somebody Forgot to Flush” former Honolulu Star Bulletin Editor and current Advertiser blogger Dave Shapiro detailed some of the story- without shedding any new light- regarding the events Tuesday and since.

But instead of squeezing off a bit of his usual righteous indignation he ended his piece by saying

But let’s be real: What are the chances that Democratic patronage workers are going to tell the House Democratic majority leader who is supported by the Democratic mayor of Honolulu that he can’t run.

Then today, in another plop in the potty, Honolulu Advertiser reporter and blogger Derrick DePledge detailed the latest flouting of the law, this time by the state’s Chief Elections Officer Kevin Cronin.

It appears Cronin didn’t bother to - and wasn’t apparently bothered by the fact that he failed to- fulfill the requirements for his job by failing to register to vote when he came here from Wisconsin in February.

When, after a tip, DePledge asked Cronin if he was indeed “a registered voter of the State” as the law states he must be, Cronin reportedly replied “It was one of those things that I never got around to doing, Thank you for reminding me.”

You would expect the outrage would be gushing like an open artery not only at the lawless arrogance and stupidity but the fact that Cronin- who was ultimately responsible for the Tuesday screw ups- is being sued over his awarding of a contract to a Hart Election Systems that bid $41 million to count our votes instead of a $19 million ES&S bid and apparently he made the decision knowing he didn’t validly hold the job... a point we expect ES&S to raise in court.

Cronin reportedly has had prior associations with Hart and ESS was the preferred contractor under former Chief Elections Office Dwayne Yoshina who was replaced, many observers say, due to partisan-based political maneuverings by the current administration.

But among the comments in DePledge’s blog was one that voices the who cares mantra with clarity

First “Bryan” expressed the requisite minimal indignation by saying:

Never got around to doing, what a load of crock!!... This tells us 1 of 2 things, either Cronin is hiding something (maybe his resident status back in Wisconisin) or he is just too stupid to understand the law. Either one dosn’t look good for us voters.

But “Jane” was seemingly unfazed saying:

Isn’t it a requirement by the State of Hawaii for new employees to sign a Declaration of Residency? I had to. If Cronin did this, the whole issues is much ado about nothing. Maybe he was waiting to find permanent residency, maybe... other election issues took precedent- expand your mind Bryon and don’t be so pessimistic.. the failing of Hawaiian schools-now that is something to be concerned about.

The fact is that if Cronin was not a registered voter until now, he could not have legally held the job. And if he never legally held the job he could not have legally and officially made the decisions attributed to him. All actions done in his capacity as Chief Elections Officer should be null and void.

What is it that rouses the rabble when hearing someone stuffed a boar’s head in the toilet amongst the graffiti in the brand-new, always-filthy, county bathrooms in Kealia but keeps us ho-humming it all when everyone from the president to the three pig-headed law-breakers running for Kaua`i Mayor take a dump on our law books?

It’s bad enough when they actually pull off their crimes and no one cares. But the worst may be when an official’s illegal actions don’t accomplish the deed-most-foul they had in mind and so people think it’s time to “move on”.

If I’m doing 80 in a school zone I don’t get to “move on” just because I didn’t hit a kid. If I try to rob a bank and don’t get any money the FBI won’t send me along my merry way..

Are we still so ingrained with plantation mentality that we allow our mucky mucks to do whatever they want as long as their corrupt attempts use their office to gain advantage fail?

Don’t answer Ralphie-boy- Norton can’t hear you down here in the sewer.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


EVERY DOG THINKS HE HAS HIS DAY: Well it looked bad for the home team yesterday when we spewed hydrophobic froth and foam over the Honolulu County Clerk regarding “replacing” Chrystn Eads on the ballot for the 24th state House district race

As our “correction” stated we read only a “breaking news” piece and failed to read regular edition version of the story by the Honolulu Advertiser’s Derrick DePledge regarding the musical chairs fiasco originally caused by Ann Kobayashi’s run for mayor of Honolulu, which we also cited tangentially this week.

Unlike the “breaking news” piece we cited, the “regular newspaper” version of DePledge’s story stated in so many words and unequivocally that the “replacement” candidate- who, as we heard today, is Isaac Choy- was to replace Rep. Kirk Caldwell due to his “withdrawal” from his House race.

Although Caldwell he had previously filed for re-election to his 24th district seat he also filed to take Kobayashi’s now open seat on the Honolulu Council to avoid giving former Honolulu Councilperson Duke Bainum a “free ride” in November.

The problem is that apparently he never officially and in writing withdrew from his House race before filing to run for council.

But strangely that “regular” article is apparently no longer in the Advertiser archives today and has been replaced with one updated yesterday evening that is similar to the original “breaking news” piece in not making it crystal clear if it was Caldwell or Eads that was being “replaced”.

Clear as mud? Not yet? Good. Because adding to the ambiguity is that the “breaking news” piece we cited was timelined at 8:36 a.m. Saturday, well after the Advertiser- and presumably the regular news article- went to press.

Oh, and one more slap to the face in this Chinatown “she’s my sister, she’s my daughter, she’s my sister, she’s my daughter” routine: DePledge did assure us in an email after we posted yesterday morning that it was indeed his understanding that it was Caldwell that was being replaced, not Eads.

Unambiguously and unequivocally unclear yet?

Wait. Because unfortunately we also didn’t turn to the other Honolulu newspaper before penning our correction, and evidently they didn’t get the same memo that DePledge did.

Star-Bulletin’s political reporter Richard Borreca seems to tell us that indeed the replacement was for Eads who, according to the clerk that first accepted her petition twenty minutes after the deadline, didn’t get her papers filed in time.

We finally did get to read yesterday’s Star-Bulletin’s “breaking news” after Doug White at Poinography linked to it and our piece early yesterday evening and said, as we did, that the replacement was for Eads.

Here’s the pertinent part of the take from DePledge in today’s ’Tiser:

The state Office of Elections informed the party on Friday that it had until yesterday afternoon to pick a replacement for Caldwell. The elections office determined that Chrystn Eads, an aide to Mayor Mufi Hannemann, had not properly completed her paperwork when she tried to file for Caldwell's seat before the Tuesday deadline.

It’s pretty clear that DePledge thinks that the clerk says that the one being replaced is Caldwell. He apparently tells us that although the Clerk’s rejection of Eads’ paperwork was for Caldwell’s 24th district House seat, it was Caldwell’s withdrawal that allowed the party to pick a replacement, not Eads’

But Borreca seemingly says the opposite in today’s paper as he did yesterday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. in that Star-Bulletin “breaking news” story. Today, as yesterday, he maintains that:

...State Democratic party members picked Choy to fill the vacancy left when state elections officials ruled that Chrystn Eads was not a valid candidate for office in the 24th state House district of Manoa.

Party officials started meeting Friday afternoon after getting word from Kevin Cronin, chief elections officer, that Eads, an assistant to Mayor Mufi Hannemann, did not have enough signatures on her nomination petition by the required deadline.

Cronin said in a notice to the party that Caldwell withdrew his candidacy for the state House on July 23.

"These events create a vacancy for the state House seat," Cronin said in a letter to the Democrats.

Cronin failed to return phone calls to the Star-Bulletin asking for comment....

Now Borreca might be seen to be dancing around and not being sure himself when he says Choy was picked “to fill the vacancy left when state elections officials ruled that Chrystn Eads was not a valid candidate”. Still, it doesn’t leave much more wiggle room than DePledge did in his differing take.

But the real kicker is that, if the Eads saga was not absurd enough, the replacement of Caldwell is also apparently another shell game..

The actual state law says:

In case of death, withdrawal, or disqualification of any party candidate after filing, the vacancy so caused may be filled by the party. The party shall be notified by the chief election officer or the clerk in the case of a county office immediately after the death, withdrawal, or disqualification.

But state law also prohibits someone from running for two offices at the same time.

There’s a whole brouhaha over when Caldwell actually withdrew from his house race because he supposedly gave a “verbal” withdrawal on Tuesday- as he filed his incomplete paperwork for Council before the 4:30 p.m. deadline- but didn’t put it in writing until Wed. morning the 23rd - as Cronin corroborates according to all reports.

The allegedly “illegal” final signature- by a staff member in the Clerk’s office after the deadline- on Caldwell’s Council filing aside, he couldn’t have filed legally for Council until he first withdrew from his 24th district House race... a contest he had legally filed for previous to last week. That would have made the Democratic Party’s naming a of replacement out of the question because the law says “withdrawal... after filing” (emphasis added) triggers allowing for a replacement.

Caldwell is quoted everywhere as saying his official withdrawal letter did not get sent until after the deadline. If that’s so his filing for Council would have been invalid and presumably the Clerk’s office cannot accept an invalid filing.

Oh and one more potential “twist”- local races in Hawai`i are non-partisan and state law is silent on exactly how a “withdrawn” candidate’s party might be determined in the event something like this happens in the future in a local election.

And guess what- that “event” might actually have occurred on Kaua`i as Councilperson Mel Rapozo withdrew from his previously filed council race to run for Mayor but it isn’t clear how, when or even if he did so.

Hawai`i Republicans’ heads are spinning over this one as one would expect and you can actually hear the gnashing teeth and see the steam-emanating ears as you read Republican House Rep. Lynn Flannigan’s op-ed piece on it all in today’s Star-Bulletin.

Therefore we think we apologize for getting it wrong, then right, then wrong, then right again, wrong again and right again. And we seek forgiveness from anyone who was additionally confused by relying on our bewilderment based on everyone else’s uncertainty... or for today’s continued confusion, confarnit.

Maybe we can take solace in the fact that no one seems to know how to play this game..

There’s an old journalism school joke about rookie reporter Finnegan. He comes back from covering a town council meeting and hands his editor a detailed 1500 word chronology about how the new bridge that had been previously cut from the budget was revived at the beginning of the 12 hour meeting but was killed hours later. Then miraculously, after massive public testimony in support, it was passed at the very end of the meeting.

The editor, citing the standard need for a brevity in news writing, tells the cub correspondent to cut it down. After another hour of work Finnegan comes back with a 700 word piece and the editor sends him back to cut more. He comes back later with a 300 word piece and the editor sends him back for an even shorter rewrite.

Finnegan finally comes back with his last version which reads:

“On again, off again, on again- Finnegan.”

Finnegan had it easy....

Saturday, July 26, 2008


A SCHNAUZER IS A SCHNAUZER IS A SCHNAUZER: We were going to leave it alone- after all we don’t live in Honolulu and don’t even know who the heck Chrystn Eads is other than “an aide to Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann” much less where exactly the 24th House district is.

We were happy just to have the legislature rid of an obstructionist party hack and go-fer like House Majority Leader Kirk Caldwell, whose resignation was a well placed cog in Tuesday’s vaudevillian amateur hour.

Yes, we enjoyed laughing about the dance of the headless chickens that apparently was staged at 4:30 filing deadline when Eads was allowed to submit her paperwork at ten-to-five, even though the deadline is apparently pretty strict, according to state law.

But now for another kick in the face we find out in this morning’s Honolulu Advertiser’s “breaking news” that another wrinkle- heck, let’s call it a bend, fold, spindle and mutilation- has been added and apparently Eads “was told yesterday that her paperwork was voided because it was incomplete.” according to the article.

And- get this- even though there was no actual official “filing” since it was “voided”, the County Clerk is apparently going to allow “the party's House District 24 council (to) name (a) replacement, although others believe it will come from top party officials and insiders.”

In case anyone was wondering the law, according to the article says "in cases of withdrawal, death or disqualification of a party candidate after filing, the vacancy may be filled by the party. The party must notify the chief elections officer 72 hours after the vacancy occurs.”

So let’s get this straight. They are saying that she didn’t get in her papers in time so there was no official filing. Yet the Democratic Party is going to be allowed to name a “replacement” because she was disqualified after filing. But if indeed she legally “filed” – a prerequisite for a “replacement” how is she being disqualified?

Talk about having your cake and eating it too. It’s like being kicked out of a club you’re not a member of.

Actually we’d been considering the case for a couple of days and it seems that if the procedures do not allow for a looser deadline based on the fact that she was there 40 minutes before the deadline but could not get her papers until a few minutes before the cut-off time, there’s something wrong- something inherently exploitable by anyone bent on taking advantage of it..

If indeed this strict policy is in effect then it leaves it wide open for allowing the Clerk and/or the Clerk’s office’s employees a wide latitude for- ahem, shall we say- “directed incompetence”.

Seems like they’re actually allowed- heck, maybe encouraged- to screw someone they don’t want to see on the ballot if they’re coming in at the last minute.

How? Well like by having no one at the counter. “Sorry we’re all out to lunch- be back at 4:31” Or like by taking their sweet little time serving someone else filing papers. Or by notifying another candidate for the office who has already filed and letting dozens of his or her supporters jam the office with requests for some of the other multiple services the Clerk’s office provides.

When one goes to vote on election day and gets there just at the closing deadline, if there is a line the doors close behind them, not in their face. It prevents any potential mischief or shenanigans

But apparently, according to their policy it’s ok for the Clerk to play these little games.

While no one in the press has suggested this was the case with Eads, who knows? Those in attendance- and seemingly it was practically a media luncheon according to multitudinous accounts- haven’t been especially forthcoming with their observations as to exactly why it too almost 40 minutes to “serve” Eads.

With all the press and observers you’d think someone would have brought this up, especially if indeed there was any intentional delays preventing her from filing on time.

Whatever happens from here, the way the situation played out makes the label of Keystone Kops that’s been thrown about in the Honolulu press quite charitable.


Correction: It appears we interpreted the vagaries of the “breaking news” without reading the published article. Apparently what was reported was that the given reason for the “party replacement was not Eads’ non-filing, but Caldwell’s supposed withdrawal- although there are similar problems there too. We regret the error.

Friday, July 25, 2008


YOU GOT A PERMIT FOR THAT BONE?: Well it’s only taken the State a few years but it appears that Honolulu Star Bulletin reporter Tom Finnegan has uncovered the existence of a secret investigative grand jury that may actually pursue criminal charged against convicted land-rapist and alleged murderer Jimmy Pflueger.

The article also says that former Mayor Marianne Kusaka may finally get her come-uppance and share a cell with Pflueger if he lives long enough to land in one, especially given his penchant for spending the family fortune on attorneys.

Kusaka could face obstruction charges if not conspiracy for her role in allegedly stopping county workers from stopping Pflueger’s illegal activities.

But it remains to be seen, not as much how many people the grand jury calls, but who they hear from since they may not know many who might have valuable information

Because there are at least a few “friends of Jimmy” out there who saw Pflueger in action when he created his “water-skiing lakes” and one “acquaintance” spoke to us a few years back.

Our source, who has asked we not use his or her name for fear of retaliation, told us that Pflueger regularly regaled both our source and disgraced former Kaua`i business honcho Gary Baldwin with how he had turned all reservoirs in the area on his land into lakes for water skiing during the 90’s- all without any permits.

Both Baldwin and Pflueger were in the auto business and our source suggested that others in the rent-a car and car sales business were friendly with Pflueger and might also be able to provide information under subpoena.

The source told us that during a social visit with Pflueger bulldozers and land moving equipment were ubiquitous on Pflueger’s properties.

And our source reported that Pflueger bragged about how he had been busy over the years moving land to raise the level of his “water-skiing lakes” to allow for better rides- and even took them to see the activity.

Is Baldwin- who was known to be a prime go-between for Kusaka and Pflueger and who has paid his dues for a con-job before he came to Kaua`i and now reportedly lives in the northwest- going to be called by the grand jury?

We don’t know but would strongly suggest they find out what he knows.

Pflueger’s responsibility for the Pila`a mudslide, where a storm washed down a mountain on the Marvin Family’s beach kuleana land after Pflueger illegally grubbed and graded a mountain creating a new road, was extensively documented in hours, days and weeks of community and government official’s testimony before the County Council early in the decade.

That resulted in the largest EPA fine in history for among other things killing the reef at Pila`a beach.

Parenthetically, it also led to a new grubbing and grading ordinance that has never been “activated”. Despite Department of Public Works (DPW) guarantees that they would set a short timetable for creating administrative rules to implement the ordinance they never have.

But included in those hearings and viewings of what became know as the “Developer’s Gone Wild” videos were details of illegal activity throughout Pflueger’s lands..

A review of the tapes and transcripts of the meetings would certainly provide the grand jury with a plethora of evidence of Pflueger’s habit of re-designing the land and reservoirs without any engineering plans or permits.

Although Kusaka has reportedly been called to testify we wonder how many DPW employees with knowledge of Pflueger’s illegal activities- the ones who apparently did “get the memo” from Kusaka telling them not to investigate but didn’t tell the authorities about it- will be called to tell what they know and when they knew it under oath.

Many of the statements by Kusaka allies in the DPW such as county engineer Caesar Portugal and others like Wally Kudo and Ian Costa came after pointed questions by then Council member Gary Hooser and are damning to say the least.

Throughout the months of testimony they repeatedly attempted to make excuses for why they hadn’t shut down Pflueger’s apparent and apparently illegal operations.

Despite testimony of violations that had been seen and even photographed they failed to even charge Pflueger with obvious violations of the county’s grubbing and grading ordinance which requires engineering studies and permitting in order to do the kind and scope of work Pflueger was doing.

Hooser and dozens in the public were incredulous with their “he won’t give us permissions to look” excuse to the point where it would have neared comedy if it wasn’t tragic- such as when the suggestion was made that they go up in a helicopter for a look and they responded “oh- that’s a good idea”.

Or like when it was suggested they did have the right to inspect properties with probable cause to believe violations had occurred their response was “oh we never do that” despite the fact that inspectors of all stripes commonly enter properties after going through the proper procedures during every council meeting for many months.

And, oh - all this happened before the Ka Loko dam break.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


THEY CALL ME A DOG WHEN I’M DOWN: For decades Kaua`i suffered from an inferiority complex when it comes to recognition of the ability of our politicians and business leaders to run a pervasively corrupt system of governance.

Oh we knew WE were good at promulgating done deals and kickback schemes while feigning incompetence but far from our shores recognition was hard to come by.

Not that we don’t have people that are excellently crooked. But they go about exploiting-if not breaking- the law and lining their pockets with a bit of a free pass for a certain brand of amateurism that can only stand in an apathetic beaten-down populace like ours.

So imagine our pride in recent times when our Ethics Board became a wholly owned subsidiary of the county council, administration and big land-owning developers, shrugging off blatant violations by all three with a “What Me Worry?” shrug of Grove Farm’s Mark “Alfred E”. Hubbard’s shoulders.

And our self-worth as a world-class kleptocracy was certainly boosted when our own Council’s scheme to keep public policy decisions out of the public eye- by shoving County Attorney opinions down their pants and using attorney client provisions to hide everything else - was appropriated and implemented by the Unified Command of Governor Linda “Admiral” Lingle and His Fraudulency Attorney General Mark Bennett, who perfected the Kaua`i initiated shell game.

And we knew it was another ostrich plume in our featherbedded cap when Kaipo “the Duke” Asing somehow manipulated and ignored enough laws to actually serve as Mayor and Council Chair at the same time, paternalistically passing legislation so he could sign it as Mayor.

And yesterday in the Kaua`i Council Chambers, after the last strains of “All Around the Mulberry Bush” were played and the Musical Chairs extravaganza wound down with a new Chair being installed, we were dazzlingly impressed with the political mischief-making skills of mayoral candidates Mel Rapozo.

Mel reportedly grabbed a “done deal” bill to turn the coastal bike path into the Westminster Kennel Club, stealing it out from under bill-supporting Parks and Rec Committee Chair Tim Bynum by taking the Committee Chair itself away and parking his okole in it where he can now guide the bill to a certain death.

But alas we were again shown to be the bumpkins we are when compared to the machinations of various and sundry office seekers in Honolulu who, when the music stopped, apparently pulled out their own folding chairs and a new set of rules in order to stay in the game.

Begging the question when it’s 4:30 in Honolulu, what time is it in Honolulu Hale?

In case anyone has not been following the improbable chain of events on Tuesday in the County Clerk’s office in Honolulu, a last day decision by a councilwoman to run against the mayor this fall spurred the state house majority leader to seek her council seat and give up his legislative slot. That caused an aide to the mayor to run down 40 minutes before the deadline to file to run for the legislator’s seat only to find a line so long she couldn’t get the papers until 4:25.

So when the office doors were locked at 4:30 she wasn’t back with her 15 signatures.

And when the majority leader’s petition was verified it was one signature short.

Should they count? Should they be left in the cold? What to do- what to do?.

Who ya gonna call? The corporation council? The attorney general?

No, call the head of the Democratic Party. Shockingly he advised them to take the petition from the late filer at 10 to five and to allow a member of the clerk’s staff to provide the 15th signature for the insufficient petition so the two Democrats could run.

OK- you guys win... for now. But watch out- we’ll be back. No matter who’s elected here in November we have, if not indictments, convictions that our new mayor and council will be up to the task of uplifting our “Separate Hackdom” once again and reestablishing our title as the renowned, world-class sewer of unbridled avarice and arrogance... still the worst little politicians money can buy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


RUNNING WITH THE PACK: In a head-scratchier of a final slate of candidates for Kaua`i a record 22 candidates will vie for the seven County Council seats but no one decided to challenge any of our State Legislators.

The members of the new record number club, topping the previous high of 21, will square off on September 20 with 14 likely to advance to a final showdown on November 4.

But why candidates chose to give Roland Sagum, Jimmy Tokioka and Mina Morita a free ride is perhaps a matter of a combination of the sudden openings on the council combined with the self-delusion that most have that they can get past the “primary” or win a seat on the general.

The answer to “what were you thinking” is often “I wasn’t”.

Why no one came to run against Mina Morita is understandable. She’s one of the best the best things Kaua`i has to offer in the officeholder department and is wildly popular.

But the fact that the much reviled Tokioka and the developer’s friend Sagum didn’t spur at least one of the council aspirants to challenge them is puzzling since anything can happen in a race that pits only two opponents. So many people are so ready to vote for “anybody but” Tokioka and to a lesser degree Sagum that an opponent would have been starting off with 20-25% of the vote.

But even 22 choices might not be enough to unseat the entrenched or stop the sleazebags and developer from maintaining the “same old-same-old” as Joan Conrow gloomily prophesized this morning.

She runs down the list and comes to the conclusion it going to be “same as it ever was-same as it ever was” with all the Talking Heads yakking about “changing demographics” on Kaua`i being just so much wishful thinking.

It’s the same talk we’ve heard in every election even going back to 1986 when a long list of progressive candidates like Dr. Jack Lindgren and Mina Morita were thought to have a chance due to an aging and dying population of plantation-mentality-addled lackeys, the coming of age of the baby boomers and an influx of mainlanders.

Yet with an extremely rare “exception that proves the rule” such as Gary Hooser it’s been heightened expectations in July and severe dejection in November.

We’ve all fallen for the high of optimism that leads to the crash of harsh reality too many times to believe that the incumbents will have any problems and that the open slots will be filled by the next generation of “entitled-by birth” private-interest sycophants and power-mongers like Derrick Kawakami and George Thronas Jr., another rich political skein.

Perhaps the most dismaying thing may be that all of the public interest candidates are getting a late start with a few exceptions for those who have run losing campaigns in the past.

One thing any political operative on Kaua`i will routinely tell prospective candidates when listing the harsh realities of campaigning here is that in order to go from obscure to elected you need to start the day AFTER the election.

Start at one end of the island and knock on every door- preferably with a gift- until you get to the other end. And then after you lose your first election, do it all over again.

Then if you run a good campaign you might get elected.

And who the heck is that committed?. Many of the best people- those who genuinely want to represent the community’s interest and shove the corporate interests to the wayside - do it half heartedly and fatalistically.

And those representing the entrenched old boys and girls network have the zeal of self enrichment and career enhancement, not to mention the edge in raising money when people find out they are for sale..

Still anything can happen in a wide open race like this. A little hard work never hurt anyone’s vote totals.

Unlike recent years, there are multiple excellent candidates and if all the people who complain abut local politics and governance find their favorite and work their butts off canvassing, sign holding and fundraising for them... well, stranger things have happened.

Below is a list of all the council candidates with their contact information. We’ve given some details about a few of the good candidates- as well as the maybes and a few of the more disgusting entries- in the last week or so and will be refining our own list based on their words deeds and actions as they come to light over the next two months.

We especially would welcome candidates who feel they were unfairly represented or disrespected in this column to call us and try to change our mind. We can only go on the information that’s out there and more information can always change the situation.

We urge everyone to at least call the applicants and have an in depth conversation about where they stand on the issues and to gauge how they will serve the public interest and in fact fight for us against the entrenched cabal.

And maybe even get off your butt and do a little campaigning instead of spending the next two years complaining.

Though we really like Lani Kawahara, Bruce Pleas, , and Ken Taylor and will no doubt be supporting their candidacies, here’s our list of those who at least deserve attention. Give them a call- we’re sure they’ll be glad to hear from you.

Dickie P (Wala`au) Chang, Jay Furfaro, John R Hoff,. Harry K Kaneakua,. Jr., Daryl W Kaneshiro, Lani T Kawahara,. Christobel K Kealoha,. Les P Kipukai Kualii,. Rhoda L. Libre, Scott F. Miljares, Linda Pasadava, Bruce J. Pleas, Kenneth R. Taylor,

And don’t forget to attend and/or watch on TV the Eco Roundtable candidate forum on Aug 5 at the convention Hall at 5:30.

Now Meet our full slate of dunking booth contestants.

1) Ron Agor, 3728 Nawiliwili Rd. Lihue 96766 (808) 651-5764
2) Bill (Kaipo) Asing, 4113 Palau Mahu St. Lihue 96766 (808) 245-4555
3) Bob Bartolo, 5060 Nonou Rd. Kapaa 96746 (808) 639-8080
4) Tim Bynum, 5935 Kololia Pl. Kapaa 96746 (808) 822-1652
5) Bob Cariffe, 4279 Kailewa St. Lihue 96766 (808) 635-3398
6) Dickie (Wala`au) Chang, P.O. Box 3944 Lihue 96766 (808) 635-8800
7) Jay Furfaro, P.O. Box 223224 Princeville 96720 (808) 652-1550
8) John R Hoff,. P.O. Box 547 Lawai 96765 (332) 974-9745
9) Harry K Kaneakua,. Jr. P.O. Box 3066 Lihue 96766 (808) 647-0172
10) Daryl W Kaneshiro,. 4135-A Noho Rd. Koloa 96756 (808) 651-6906
11) Lani T Kawahara,. P.O. Box 1565 Kapaa 96746 (808) 652-6741
12) Derek S.K Kawakami,. 5077 Kawaihau Rd. Kapaa 96746 (808) 822-7489
13) Christobel K Kealoha,. P.O. Box 3942 Lihue 96766 (808) 245-9944
14) Ronald Kouchi, 3391 Eono St. Lihue 96766 (808) 639-2724
15) Kipukai Les P Kualii,. 4210 Rice St., #A2 Lihue 96766 (808) 212-9192
16) Rhoda L. Libre, P.O. Box 246 Kaumakani 96747 (808) 645-1210
17) Nancy A. McMahon, 5532 Tapa St. Koloa 96756 (808) 639-6695
18) Scott F. Miljares, P.O. Box 1222 Kilauea 96754 (808) 652-7113
19) Linda Pasadava, P.O. Box 600 Kilauea 96754
20) Bruce J. Pleas, P.O. Box 721 Waimea 96752 (808) 639-2850
21) Kenneth R. Taylor, 1720a Makaleha Pl. Kapaa 96746 (808) 823-8527
22) George S. Thronas, , Jr. P.O. Box 246 Kapaa 96746 (808) 651-6419

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


IN THE GATES: A fourth Mayoral candidate filed papers to run yesterday but we’ll be damned if anyone knows who he is.

Rolf H Bieber of Malie Rd in Kapa`a pulled and submitted his papers yesterday to run in the special election to fill the shoes of the late Mayor Bryan Baptiste but despite a cursory search and a few phone calls we’ve come up blank on anything about him other than that there is a Rolf and a son Rolf II and they have a long mainland genealogy.

But the surprise is that sometime between Saturday afternoon and Monday Darryl Kaneshiro changed his mind about running for council... maybe.

He took out his papers Monday but didn’t file them, leaving us to ponder for a few more hours what his presence in the race would do to the chances of others.

And it’s now official- Scott Mijares of Kilauea is in the council race after filing him papers on Monday.

And saving the best news for last, community activist and advocate Linda Saloka-Pasadava also of Kilauea is thinking of throwing her hat into the ring.

As President of the Kilauea Neighborhood Association Pasadava, as she goes by, was an instrumental party to the suit that brought a multi million dollar judgment against alleged murderer Jimmy Pflueger (come on- sue us Jimmy... pretty please?) in the Ka Loko dam break and is active in other public interest matters such as fighting to insure and secure public access during expansion plans for Kilauea Point Wildlife refuge.

She also ran for a seat on the KIUC Board in 2006 but didn’t finish in the money.

Based on nothing but speculation, one wonders whether the DLNR’s recent imposition of fees for ministers performing beach weddings has spurred Pasadava to seek office since it appears she “is a state licensed non denominational minister who has been uniting couples for over 12 years (and) she offers non-denominational and Christian ceremonies” at beaches around the island according to her web site “Just a Minister on Kaua`i”, which for some reason has a block on being able to copy information.

Hopefully that doesn’t signal a willingness to keep information from public view if she takes office.

Linda is just the kind of candidate Kaua`i needs- someone who has been active in the community and knows the issues and works for the public interest.

Her experience as KNA President shows that she’s the kind of person not just dedicated to community well-being and interests but someone who can bring people together- and get elected to arguably the most active and successful neighborhood association on Kaua`i.

We certainly hope she gets their papers in today, adding another name to the apparent good public interest governance slate.

Same goes for Darryl Kaneshiro whom we have supported in the past due to his penchant for honest and open discussion of the issues and his rare ability – in a politician at least- to be “convincible” when the facts warrant it.

And Mel Rapozo still hasn’t filed for mayor.

Today at 4:30 is the filing deadline but we’re not sure how quickly the final filings will be reported. If it’s not timely we’ll surely have a wrap on the beginning of what promises to be one of the most lively campaign seasons on Kaua`i in a long time.

Monday, July 21, 2008


DIGGIN’ IN THE DIRT: People who come to Kaua`i and spend 10 seconds looking over our political issues have to pick their jaws off the ground at our lack of recycling efforts.

People here shrug off porcine practices and procedures that were banned in almost every mainland jurisdiction and most developed nations many years ago- practices that would get you arrested in many places.

But on Kaua`i. when it comes to the most basic of all local government responsibilities- getting rid of the trash- even lip service to curbside recycling and sorting facilities is rare and only provided tangentially in a conversation about putting a new dump in someone’s backyard.

Even Honolulu- certainly no model city for it’s handling of solid waste- has curbside pickup and separation of some recyclables as detailed in a couple of articles in today’s Star Bulletin.

But Kaua`i is basically a toxic waste dump waiting to be discovered. For years old poisons and contaminants were routinely dumped into the ground by residents and businesses alike, mostly within shouting distance of streams and the ocean.

One example is our potential Superfund cleanup site under the funky, old, diesel-burning, biggest-pollutant-spewing-on-the-island, `Ele`ele power plant.

Though it’s now an open secret after we reported upon it a few years ago we have leaders who actually take the pride in ownership of this monstrosity that sits above a lake of petrochemicals and heavy metals... one “we” bought along with “our” electric company “co-op” purchase a few years back.

But the worst of all is the traditional dumping of toxic waste because there’s nothing else to do with it. We all remember in the 70’s when the biggest car battery recycler in Kapa`a dumped the acid on the ground about 100 yards from the beach.

The county will comply with part of federal law by telling you not to throw certain things like batteries and compact fluorescent bulbs in the trash but their answer to “where should I bring them” is reminiscent of the action plan contained in Henry and Liza’s “Hole in the Bucket” predicament.

Very occasionally and irregularly the county will pick a few hours about once a year and tell people to bring some of the toxic trash they’ve been presumably storing safely somewhere away from the kids all year. But the announcements are anything but robust especially compared to any self promotion by the administration and council in their weekly taxpayer supported TV blab fests.

So imagine our delight upon reading an item in the local paper last week announcing that the magnanimous people at county funded solid waste contractor Waste Management (WM), "ha(ve) recently launched an online service — — that allows consumers to recycle compact fluorescent lamps and batteries."

First reporter Rachel Gehrlein plops in a piece of PR from WM

“Waste Management is providing solutions to help kama`aina responsibly handle their household universal waste,” Joe Whalen, general manager for Waste Management of Hawai`i, said in a statement. “Communities across Hawai`i are becoming increasingly aware of the 2012 deadline for the use of CFLs and the need to properly dispose of CFLs, batteries and other electronic waste.”

Thanks for the corporate drivel.

But then the announcement we’ve all been waiting for:

To recycle the CFLs, prepaid-postage kits can be ordered online and delivered to the customer’s home. The kits can be used for the storage of discarded batteries and CFLs until ready to be recycled. Once the kit is full, it can be sent from the customer’s home or the U.S. Post Office.

The article goes on to promote the wonders of the program and, although we asked around and couldn’t find anyone whose compact fluorescent bulbs have ever “burned out”, now we can theoretically throw them away some day... as soon as we save up 15 of them.

OK- at least it’s something. We still have no place to throw away chemicals, paints and other household toxics but at least we don’t have to store up years worth of batteries so they’ll leak all over the place by the time we have a place to get rid of them

The problem is Rachel obviously had better things to do by kissing corporate butt rather than actually checking out the ThinkGreenFormHome Web site because-have your credit cards ready- any attempt to get one of the boxes will be met with a $14.95 price tag and an “add to cart” button for your recycling pleasure.

Same goes for a box for your batteries. And there’s no way to find out how much postage will be paid for or how big the battery box is before you buy it.

But wait- the CFL box it does come with a “Mercury VaporLok bag”. Why that wouldn’t be and ordinary zip-loc bag would it?

Are we supposed to ignore the fact that the whole box and postage for the “15, ten-watt CFLs.” – pay no attention to the fact that 2-3 ounce CFL’s that give off the equivalent of a 60 watt light bulb are at least 13 watts- might amount to five bucks or so... 10 bucks tops with the “one price” post office boxes..

Let’s see which is worse- a county which makes solid waste and meaningful recycling an issue to be discussed only, and only discussed, in even-numbered years during a two month period before elections, a company that scams people who want to keep toxins out of the land fill or a newspaper reporter who falls for the company’s scam and does a fluff piece on the rip-off without checking it out or providing information that’s a mouse click away... hmmmm... let’s get out that Kaua`i Bozometer...

Sunday, July 20, 2008


BRINGING IN THE PAPER: A rare Sunday release of candidate election filing information today dishes three new courses for our electoral dining pleasure in the form of a pig, a ham and for desert, a smart cookie.

The porker that officially filed for council Thursday is rip-snorting Ron Agor whom we mentioned the other day. He’ll try to replace the Republican rats who fled the Council ship like Jay Furfaro and Jimmy Tokioka with a true Bushie believer and unswerving member of Linda Lingle’s “unified command”.

We don’t even have to wait for the candidates’ debates and voter guides to know how disastrous Agor’s election would be but we’ll detail his black little heart’s desires as the September 20 primary elections approach.

The ham, as also profiled in today’s local newspaper is the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet, local Wala`au celeb Dickie Chang. But we’re sorry to report that beneath that glad handing veneer is a guy who apparently never met a developer hotel or tourism industry project he didn’t like.

Today’s interview reveals some eyebrow raising details such as his god-like devotion to our dearly departed babooze-in-charge Bryan Baptiste.

And, in a time where our practically sole economic dependence on the tourism industry’s plunging visitor numbers is bringing about a horrific scenario for our working families and where our 30 years of political sweeping of economic diversification under the rug, Dickie just seems blind to that.

He speaks of his 30 years working in the visitor industry which he has approached with uncommon zeal. But we hope that when he says

Tourism is a critical part of the economy, he said, noting the pinch residents felt by the departure of two cruise ships.

“In reality, that’s what keeps the engine ticking,”

He recognizes that as meaning we have to move away from that dependence in an era of exponentially higher air fares and cruise ships, not that we have to keep throwing good money after bad.

And another concern might be this statement::

But (Chang) also has plans to take care of those who are unable to attend the weekly meetings to provide input on bills.

Many residents feel more comfortable talking story one on one, he said.

“I would be a messenger ... a voice for the majority,” Chang said.

Hoo boy. Either Dickie doesn’t know or doesn’t care that those types of sentiments and words are almost identical to those originally used by now State House Representative Jimmy Tokioka when he was on the council, allowing him to disregard people who actually took the time and energy to come and testify on matters before the Council.

Many saw in Tokioka’s words and deeds at the time in this area as a not-so-thinly-veiled racist attack on what he was overheard to say were “all the haoles who show up” at Council meetings and how he would rather “go out and talk to the local people”.

If nothing else the sentiment allows politicians to have another excuse to ignore public input they might not agree with and make up some “silent majority” to justify their often repressive and regressive ideas and projects.

Say it ain’t so Dickie. We know you’re new to politics and government but if you’re going to use terminology that speaks volumes to the politically savvy on Kaua`i, you’d better read up on the glossary.

But in all of this muck and mire a diamond has appeared in the form of Kaua`i Librarian Lani Kawahara- not to be confused with the despicable former County Attorney Lani Nakazawa.

The good Lani served as the volunteer coordinator for State Senator Gary Hooser’s bid for Congress in 2006 and is doing the same this year for his so far uncontested bid for reelection. She has also worked as a legislative aide in his Senate office.

She would be the freshest of all breaths of air in this election should she win a Council seat. We urge anyone who wants good governance and accountability and genuine smarts to grab a sign and make sure she stands out above the fray in the next two months.

From there we turn a trio of same-old-crap candidates we failed to profile the other day, one of whom has filed and two whom we hope lose their papers if they are planning on turning them in by the Tuesday deadline.

The filer is business biggie and Chamber of Commerce and Kapa`a Business Association hack Bob Bartolo. Just what we need- another anything for a buck settler who owns three businesses and supports all the rest in their quest to make sure government serves the bosses and their private interests rather than the public interests of the working stiffs..

Then there’s Thomas Leighton former owner of Two Wheels motorcycle who, with his ex-wife Ann, was one of the beneficiaries of recent construction of the huge resort monstrosity across the street from Safeway.

He and his buddies are among those referred to when the council and mayors bemoan past lack of “use it or lose it” provisions.

That allowed Leighton and his developer cronies to sit on resort zoning for 25 some odd years and then develop their hotel without proper infrastructure in place, adding to those more recently permitted visitor destinations to make the mess we all grumble about every day.

When you sit in Kapa`a traffic thank Tom Leighton.

Then there’s Nancy McMahon, the Kaua`i State Archeologist who has been mostly responsible for the recent plethora of desecrations of Hawaiian burial sites on Kaua`i, especially those in Waipouli and Wainiha.

She was recently cited in a letter from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to her Department of Land and Natural Resources bosses for lying to both the burial council and the Kaua`i Planning Commission regarding the law and the protection of “iwi kupuna”.

Here’s some of what Juan Wilson uncovered about her this past January when researching a project where burials had been found.

The archaeologist they are using yet again is, Nancy McMahon, who has been caught up in a law suit regarding her work with the State Historic Provision Division and the Burial Council.

"Nancy McMahon who was running a website advertising a 4x4 tour of ancient cultural sites as a side business, charging passengers of her excursion $150. On the website it says "Turn the clock back a thousand years on our Hummer expedition into Kauai's ancient rain forests. You will see historical sites; xperience the unforgettable feel of a rain forest, view spectacular waterfalls and secluded pools. See the lush tropical jungles the way ancient Hawaiians did."

Some of these sites she gives tours on can only be accessed with use of 4x4 Hummer, off road vehicle.

Her business venture was exposed through a series of online blogs that began criticizing her work with the burial council and SHPD. Other allegations arose with other defendants including state workers, which the plaintiff says had pushed through reports to speed developments in getting past through the burial council and into the planning commission.

We urge anyone considering supporting McMahon to read Juan’s report in full.

And Mel Rapozo still hasn’t filed his papers for Mayor.

And a little birdie told us that it is unlikely that one of our favorites, long time and now fill- in Councilmember Darryl Kaneshiro will not be running for Council He, along with the dozens of people who would actually approach politics with real public service in mind rather than power and money mongering, says “why bother”.

That’s why one thing is for sure- we will get the government we deserve this year if we once again can’t tell private interest promoters from public interest servers.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


THE LABRADOR’S LABYRINTH: We now have a new administration on Kaua`i and though it was probably illegal for once and future Council Chair and current fleeting Mayor Kaipo Asing to delay taking office there is one thing that there’s no disputing if you read the Kaua`i County charter.

Kaua`i was without a Mayor for the 11 days between when Asing was “appointed” mayor and the day he took his oath of office.

While Administrative Assistant Gary Heu legally took office after the death of Mayor Bryan Baptiste, the Charter is clear on one thing- he ceased to be mayor when Asing was selected, no matter when Asing thinks he took office.

Section 7.06 of the Kaua`i County Charter states:

(I)n case of a vacancy in the office of the mayor, until a new mayor is appointed or elected, the administrative assistant shall act as mayor.

As we harped upon a few weeks back Asing and the County Attorney he carries around in his pocket gave some mumbo jumbo about the resignation from the council and swearing-in allowing him to apparently be both Council Chair and Mayor.

The charter makes it quite apparent that the new appointee becomes mayor upon the selection or “appointment” by the council but it does not state this in so many words

So of course when Kaipo “so sue me” Asing and his fellow Minotaur “Judge”- County Attorney Matthew Pyun saw that they could make up some cockamamie excuse to hold onto power long enough to allow Asing to pass legislation as a Council member and then sign it as mayor, they punched a hole in the wall, called it a loophole and dragged the county through it.

Apparently, according to Pyun’s First Deputy Harrison Kawate the Charter doesn’t count because “general practice” calls for something different than that which is described under the actual law.

The only excuse they didn’t use is that the Charter didn’t specifically require him to ask “mother may I’ before he took his baby steps between appointment and ceremonial inauguration before taking the giant one from the council chambers across the street into the dark recesses of the Round Building.

We did however hear a rumor that the decision was based on the lack a “Simon Says” provision in the Charter.

Even assuming this perversion of justice in the name of paternalism- Kaipo’s singular obsession- is legal or even moot now that the deed is done, the Charter is extremely clear that Hue ceased to be Mayor when Asing was appointed not when the appointee took office. It says “the administrative assistant shall act as mayor... until a new mayor is appointed”.

Unless Webster’s and our understanding of the word “until” is inaccurate the concept creates a timeline when something ceases to be true- in this case Hue’s `okole’s placement in the mayor’s seat.

So what? “What” is that any action by Heu during those 11 days is null and void for official purposes. And anyone effected by any official documents he might have signed may now consider them to be invalid.

The traditional secrecy and incompetence of the administration on Kaua`i may prevent us from ever finding out what official actions were taken in the last 11 days of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Heu administration but we will be reporting on our request for the information.

We’ll leave you with the apparent anthem of Kaua`i County Government

The Minotaur Song
by the Incredible String Band

Straight from the shoulder
I think like a soldier
I know what's right and what's wrong
He knows what's right and what's wrong.

I'm the original discriminating buffalo man
And I'll do what's wrong as long as I can
He'll do what's wrong as long as he can

I live in a labyrinth under the sea
Down in the dark as dark as can be
I like the dark as dark as can be
He likes the dark as dark as can be

I'll even attack you or eat you whole
Down in the dark my bone mills roll
Porridge for my porridge bowl
Porridge for his porridge bowl

I'm strong as the earth from which I'm born
He's strong as the earth from which he's born
I can't dream well because of my horns
He can't dream well because of his horns


I'm strong as the earth from which I'm born
He's strong as the earth from which he's born
I can't dream well because of my horns
He can't dream well because of his horns

A minotaur gets very sore
His features they are such a bore
His habits are predicta-bull
Aggressively relia-bull, bull, bull

I'm strong as the earth from which I'm born
He's strong as the earth from which he's born
I can't dream well because of my horns
He can't dream well because of his horns

I'm the original discriminating buffalo man
And I'll do what's wrong as long as I can
He'll do what's wrong as long as he can

Friday, July 18, 2008


IN THE HUNT: As we sit back in our rose pink Cadillac and make our bet on this Kentucky Derby Day we noticed that the number of horses is expanding so fast that they may have to use those auxiliary gates to get them all into the race.

As of yesterday, 27 people have “pulled paper” for the council race although only 10 have bellied up to the pre-race mint julep bar.

And, although the mayor’s race is still only a potential three way affair so far, candidate Mel Rapozo has still not filed his papers although he has withdrawn the council papers that he filed last Feb. 22. JoAnn Yukimura also pulled papers for council but has filed for mayor.

That leaves 15 people who have until Tuesday at 4:30 to find a gate and get ready for the announcer to yell “and they’re off.”

Those definitely in the race include a name new to the list but certainly not new to running for office on Kaua`i, John Hoff who made it official on Wed. He joins the following who are going to be on the ballot unless they withdraw.

Asing, William (Kaipo) U
Bartolo, Robert A
Bynum, Tim L
Cariffe, Bob A
Furfaro, Joseph J
Kawakami, Derek S K
Kealoha, Christobel K
Kualii, Kipukai Les
Kouchi, Ronald D
Kualii, Kipukai Les P

So far hacks, apparently ass-sordid good old boys, incumbents and nut cases dominate. But in a promising development a lot of new names and faces have appeared on the list this week and are pondering spending at least their Wednesday’s in county government hell.

Going down the list the first name that stands out is Kekaha’s Bruce Pleas. He has finally decided to avoid the three ring circus of the mayoral race and will try this time again to seek the council spot that’s eluded him in the past. Getting Bruce on the county council would shake up this county something fierce. We’ve known Bruce for years and Bruce knows county government, unlike many of the “elect me even though I don’t know an ordinance from an administrative rule and wouldn’t know the Charter from the County code.” crowd.

The newcomers who are ready to brave the battle to come include Ken Taylor who has spent most of the last few years actually in the council chambers and probably knows more about how the county does and doesn’t work than anyone. Ken would be a tenacious reformer no doubt and his demands for open and transparent government may be something that strikes fear in the secretive and complacent incumbents' black little hearts.

Also new to office seeking but not new to politics is Lani Kawahara who has worked a few campaigns and political battles and from our contact with her would provide a breath of fresh air and make a welcome addition to the Council table

Then there’s Mr. Superferry Boycott, John Cragg, also known as John Tyler to those who relied on his skills in organizing the movement. We don’t know much about his other politics yet but his energy and push for accountability and transparency put him a lot closer to the pole position than many of the wishy-washies.

Another Superferry organizer is Scott Mijares. Mijares is a community radio KKCR programmer who, despite his generally conservative views is pretty thoughtful and independent and from our conversations, seems to be someone who would hold fellow legislators to a high standard of governance.

And there’s our old pal Wala`au TV star Dickie Chang who once again will seek the council seat he came close to about a decade back. If it’s a popularity contest Dickie could be a shoo-in although we’re not too sure what his politics are

There’s also perennial candidate Rhoda Libre who has been active in the Westside watershed organization.

And Officer Joe Kaauwai who came up with the Hanama`ulu traffic fix a few years back will try again.

With any of them you could do worse.

But there are definitely some real dreary wanna-be’s starting off with Republican Party hack and DLNR appointee Ron Agor, although he has also taken out papers to bang his head against the wall by running against wildly popular State Representative Mina Morita.

The rest are assorted good old boys, hacks and unknowns- at least to us- but there may be a diamond in there somewhere- we’ll be working to find out as the election draws nearer. They are:

Carvalho, Manuel
Defries, Arthur K
Kaneakua, Harry K
Leighton, Thomas C
Mcmahon, Nancy A
Thronas, George S

For anyone seeking to find out more about anyone running we list the all the Kaua`i County candidates and their contact info below. You can keep up with the latest filings at

(We’re not sure how this list will format but the information after each name correlates to the “field” described in caps above the list)



AGOR, RONALD 3728 Nawiliwili Rd. Lihue 96766 (808) 651-5764 7/17/2008
ASING, WILLIAM U 4113 Palau Mahu St. Lihue 96766 (808) 245-4555 6/30/2008 7/1/2008
BARTOLO, ROBERT A 5060 Nonou Rd. Kapaa 96746 (808) 639-8080 7/11/2008 7/17/2008
BYNUM, TIM L 5935 Kololia Pl. Kapaa 96746 (808) 822-1652 2/1/2008 5/30/2008
CARIFFE, BOB A 4279 Kailewa St. Lihue 96766 (808) 635-3398 2/6/2008 4/8/2008
CARVALHO, MANUEL L 6393A Ahele Dr. Kapaa 96746 (808) 823-9103 7/15/2008
CHANG, DICK S P.O. Box 3944 Lihue 96766 (808) 635-8800 7/14/2008
CRAGG, JOHN T P.O. Box 76 Anahol 96703 (808) 635-7062 7/17/2008
DEFRIES, ARTHUR K P.O. Box 42 Anahola 96703 (808) 822-5868 6/23/2008 FURFARO, JOSEPH J P.O. Box 223224 Princeville 96720 (808) 652-1550 6/25/2008 6/26/2008
HOFF, JOHN R P.O. Box 547 Lawai 96765 (332) 974-9745 6/3/2008 7/16/2008
KAAUWAI, JOSEPH H P.O. Box 623 Anahola 96703 (808) 652-0732 4/29/2008
KANEAKUA, HARRY K P.O. Box 3066 Lihue 96766 (808) 647-0172 7/7/2008 KAWAHARA, LANI T P.O. Box 1565 Kapaa 96746 (808) 652-6741 7/11/2008 KAWAKAMI, DEREK S K 5077 Kawaihau Rd. Kapaa 96746 (808) 822-7489 2/1/2008 5/2/2008
KEALOHA, CHRISTOBEL K P.O. Box 3942 Lihue 96766 (808) 245-9944 4/3/2008 4/21/2008
KOUCHI, RONALD D 3391 Eono St. Lihue 96766 (808) 639-2724 6/26/2008 7/15/2008
KUALII, KIPUKAI LES P 4210 Rice St., #A2 Lihue 96766 (808) 212-9192 2/1/2008 2/8/2008
LEIGHTON, THOMAS C 6664 Kuamoo Rd. Kapaa 96746 (808) 639-6552 3/10/2008
LIBRE, RHODA L P.O. Box 246 Kaumakani 96747 (808) 645-1210 7/14/2008 MCMAHON, NANCY A 5532 Tapa St. Koloa 96756 (808) 639-6695 7/17/2008
MIJARES, SCOTT F P.O. Box 1222 Kilauea 96754 (808) 652-7113 7/17/2008
PLEAS, BRUCE J P.O. Box 721 Waimea 96752 (808) 639-2850 7/14/2008
TAYLOR, KENNETH R 1720A Makaleha (NS) Pl. Kapaa 96746 (808) 823-8527 7/15/2008
THRONAS, GEORGE S P.O. Box 246 Kapaa 96746 (808) 651-6419 7/14/2008


CARVALHO, BERNARD P 4650 Mailihuna Rd. Kapaa 96746 (808) 635-7489 7/8/2008 7/8/2008
RAPOZO, MELVIN F 3236 Inouye St. Lihue 96766 (808) 245-3539 7/7/2008
YUKIMURA, JOANN A 2749 Kapena St. Lihue 96766 (808) 245-2617 7/11/2008 7/14/2008


ISERI-CARVALHO, SHAYLENE C 6539 Kawaihau Rd. Kapaa 96746 (808) 651-8134 2/5/2008 5/16/2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008


KEEPING THE NOSE TO THE GROUND: The actions of the County Clerk of Honolulu regarding the potential rejection of the anti-rail petition initiative is undergoing scrutiny that apparently only reporting bloggers can give it.

Today Doug White at Poinography did what the corporate reporters seem incapable of doing- reading the Honolulu Charter rather than just asking the two know-nothings from two “sides” what they think the law actually says while Doug actually looked it up.

Citing the Honolulu Charter, Doug quite rightly sees that it is the discretion of the Clerk that will determine whether the measure can go on the ballot in November, based on complicated wording regarding “special elections” vs. “general elections” in the charter and in the petition itself.

Ian Lind cites Doug’s work and notes that the petition itself refers to the “special election” only in the introduction, not in the text of the initiative itself.

We won’t rehash all the intricacies that they cover very well but both seem to accept the fact that the balloting must be done either through a “special” electron OR a general election.

The fact appears to be that there is nothing in either state law or apparently in the Honolulu Charter that prohibits a “special election” from being held in conjunction with- and at the same time as- a “general election”.

As a matter of fact that is exactly what the County Clerk has done on Kaua`i by proclaiming that Kaua`i will hold a “special election” for the open mayoral position following the death of Mayor Bryan Baptiste and will hold one “in conjunction with” the general election this November 4.

No one seems sure whether or not the Honolulu County Clerk will use his discretion to put the matter on the ballot on November 4.

But if it’s a matter of not doing it because somehow the interpretation of the petition itself is that it can only be done in a “special election” nothing apparently bans having both kinds of elections on the same day.

And of course if people are going to argue against voting on the petition based on the cost of holding an election just for the ballot issue after the November general election it would stand to reason that the Clerk can make that issue moot by holding both the same day.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


A NEW TWIST TO ROLLING OVER: One of our favorite news blogs, Honolulu Advertiser reporter Derrick DePledge’s “Notebook” is back reporting news that for some reason doesn’t rate an article in the paper.

Today his blog contains the original reporting that Ed Case will not be running against Maize Hirono for the 2nd Congressional District seat and that State Senate President Colleen Hamabusa has not, as had been rumored, signed the anti-rail petition.

The reason we bring it up is that the current unusually fierce local conversation about just what the journalistic ethics say about Doug Carlson’s paid blogging has now morphed into conversation about the nature of blogging itself

One of the contentions seems to be that a blog has to be one thing or another. And those things break down into whether a “blog” can report news or whether somehow whatever it contains it’s just opinion.

And if it is the latter why should “bloggers” have rights of journalists as expressed in the recently passed shield law, allowing reporters to withhold the names of sources.

Even Joan Conrow who prompted much of the discussion by touching on the subject said:

(M)y blog is my personal opinion. It is not journalism. I try to uphold certain journalistic standards, such as accuracy and honoring off the record requests, and sometimes there's original reporting. But it not journalism. It's a blog. And the two, as I noted in Monday's post, are very different.

But wait Joan- you're selling yourself short. Is your blog “just” personal opinion? In the very column that spurred her to say this, Joan reported on the situation in Guatemala and pointed to some excellent coverage of it.

So, as we’d like to think we do, Joan mixes opinion with true reporting and good journalism -sometimes “original reporting” as they call it- as do Derrick, Ian Lind, Hunter Bishop, Larry Geller and even Doug “I’m just a blogger” White. They all do not just review and analyze news items that have peaked their interest but do original reporting in their daily columns.

And that reporting is often the most informative in the islands, even when they express their opinions too.

In the short six months we’ve been “blogging” we’ve “broken” news using the standard ethics and reporting skills taught in journalism schools and done enough news analysis and secondary reporting that we know there is information being disseminated- the very definition of newswriting.

The term “blog” has it’s own connotations but are they ones that define the medium? Does the use of “blogger” software define the content by using a definition of something that in many ways defies definition due to the plethora of its uses?.

No. Like the value of any technology we can only define it by looking at what it is and what it can be, not by a preconceived set of realties and possibilities based on and derived from the last technology.

What’s beginning to emerge among professional journalists and non-professionals who have developed good journalism skills, both corporate and alternative, is a style of news reporting that often reports the item and comments on it, much like but freer than the old standard “news analysis” format.

The opinions may be as out front and outrageous as our little corner of the blogosphere or it can be as understated as Derrick's where he will mix the news he is reporting with a little good natured humor. Or they can be like Joan's where the opinions are strong but the news reporting is evident one day and the reverse the next..

What they all have in common is the reporting. And while it is more challenging to the reader to try to separate the reporting from the opinions in some cases, the best blogs are the ones that make apparent in style and content presentation which is which.

In a good “journalistic blog” there is little or no conflation between the facts and opinions. We’ve attempted to try to make sure that all “news” we report, whether original or regurgitated and compiled, is self evident as news just as the opinion part is quite obviously our take on the subject.

Mixing news and opinion is even a mainstay of standard journalism. When we read news analysis pieces in the corporate and alternative press we don’t consider them to be “just” the opinion of the writer.

Why should doing it on line make it any less of a journalistic endeavor?

After reading Joan’s entry on the subject on Monday a few times we have to disagree, if we are understanding her correctly. As long as the journalistic standards are there- the subject matter being accurate and the proper context being given and the myriad other things that, as Joan says, go into reporting news- why should the use of software that is designed for the “blogger” define the content as opinion from the outset?

New media changes reporting styles as Marshall McLuhan famous proclamation “the media is the message” implies. And so, just as when mass printing of broadsheets came along it created it’s own style of headlines, multiple stories and all the other things that have developed into today’s standard newspaper, just as when television came along it brought with it a format that has it’s own way of singing the song of the news, independent, on-line news writing is developing it’s own style.

We may be in the infancy of the platform but that may be all the more reason not to restrict it with inapplicable formats of the last medium

That doesn’t mean intentionally reporting false information or taking the news that is reported out of context or violating people’s privacy or any of the other absolutes that reporters learn. It just means that expressing an opinion along with the news is a valuable commodity as long as it’s clear as a bell which is which.

That puts the onus on the reader- where it essentially is in any news reporting venture- to do two things. First is to verify that the newswriter is giving factual information and is a reliable news source and second to be able to see when the column goes from factual presentation to opinion.

And making that clear is the responsibility of the “blogger”

There is a new news song being sung in communicating what events have occurred to a mass audience or at least a new tone and timbre to an old ditty. That doesn’t mean the new standards violate the tenets of good journalism. It just means that journalism is evolving along the lines people say they want when they criticize the corporate media for not allowing for a much deeper understanding and more context in the news.

The internet trolls don’t get this. They criticize the opinions un-factual and disagree with the factual material. Critical reading isn’t their strong point.

But no one writes for the trolls. For the critical akamai writer and reader blogs can be a more contextualized way of news reporting. And for discerning the biases of both reader and writer.

The era of the “myth of objectivity” of the press is over and may it rest in peace. It was a post war concocted con job to sell newspapers to a more aware and more dubious public to begin with.

Despite the subjectivity of the decisions of what and where to present as news, reporters and editors have maintained that they were striving for 100% objectivity. And now 60 years later those who move up the corporate career ladder actually maintain that, unlike we normal humans, they have no opinions of their own.

Perhaps in the future people will be criticizing reporters who don’t give their opinions on the news they are reporting because only by understanding the psyche of the reporter can we know the context and biases of why they are reporting on their subject and the prominence in their publication in which it is presented.

That’s a bias that is always going to be there due to the nature of the beast- the physical limitations of communicating via technologic means. News reporting always contains innumerable subjective processes that all the journalistic standards in the world won’t change.

And so maybe we should be embracing the news “plus opinion” format as one that suits the human condition rather than denying it.

Perhaps the “New Journalism” Tom Wolfe and Hunter Thompson envisioned 40 years ago was just waiting for the right medium to reach fruition.

Offering opinion about the news we report doesn’t degrade the quality nor the accuracy of that news that’s reported. And it doesn’t mean a “blog” that contains opinions can’t be the pinnacle of news reporting.

In fact, it may be the future of good journalism.