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.

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