Tuesday, August 26, 2008

SIDESTEPPING THE POO PILE

SIDESTEPPING THE POO PILE: In what can only be called a bizarre move mayoral candidate Bernard Carvalho “has requested a leave of absence from his position pending the outcome of the upcoming elections” according to a county press release.

This comes on the heels of the approval of the “Dog Path” bills in council committee last week and in anticipation of passage this Wednesday at the full council meeting.

Last week the main council debate was about how Parks and Recreation Department head Carvalho was designated to design, implement and administrate a “trail period” to see if dog walking on the dog, er bike, er multi-use, path will harass everyone but the dog owners as many claim

The most important part of that was to be how Carvalho would set up the bill’s convoluted and somewhat wacky rules including having dog walker visibly “wear” the “collection receptacles” for dog poop and then deposit the full ones in nose level receptacles.

Nathan Eagle’s article in the local paper on the contentious final committee session is pretty complete and describes how the council put the onus on Carvalho to design the criteria for what a successful 18 month “trial period” would look like and require that he and his Department observe, record and enforce the laundry list of restrictions on dog walker and the dogs themselves.

Eagle described the results of the meeting saying

The proposed legislation, as it currently stands, would create an 18-month trial period for people to walk their dogs on the county’s Eastside shared-use path on a roughly two-mile stretch from Lihi Park to the picnic shelter nearest Kealia bridge.

It was amended to require the handler to be in command and control of the dog at all times, have no more than two dogs under his control, leave if the dog gets aggressive, visibly carry the necessary instruments required for the removal and disposal of dog feces, pick up and dispose of any and all feces left by the dog, have the dog wear a current dog license tag and use a leash no more than 6 feet in length.

The bill also calls for the county Parks and Recreation Department and a stakeholder committee to develop measurable objectives so the success or failure of the trial period may be determined.

The “stakeholders committee” is one secretly set up and secretly run by Carvalho and, by his admission after a question from a councilmember, contains no one from the general public nor of course any of them opposed to dogs on the path.

But Eagle goes on to describe how the whole thing sits on Carvalho’s broad shoulders.

Carvalho said his department would need 90 to 120 days to pull all the pieces together to be ready to implement the legislation.

He said there are issues relating to the hiring of three new park rangers for enforcement, union concerns regarding hitting dog feces when mowing along the path, signage, maintenance schedules and finalizing with the county attorney a liability-related document pet owners would have to sign when they apply for dog licenses.

“I want to make sure everything is in place before we get this thing moving,” Carvalho said.Carvalho and his department- especially park workers who need to clean up the place- have been understandably opposed to having dogs on the path.

In fact Carvalho was the one who apparently made dogs on the path “illegal” in the first place with an insular decision to call the bike path a “lineal park”.

That supposedly made dogs on the path automatically illegal but was done without the official approval either from the council or through an administrative rule-making process as required by law.

This is in keeping with Carvalho’s secrecy management style and in keeping with that of his mentor, the late mayor Bryan Baptiste and whose penchant for closed-door decision-making was legendary.

Carvalho has taken all things bike path upon himself and organized his private “task force” consisting of a bunch of county insiders and departmental mucky-mucks who have held illegal unannounced and un-agendaed meetings to make decisions about the path.

At the meeting councilmembers grilled Carvalho about how long he needed to set up the criteria, which some councilmembers wanted contained in the bill.

Again, according to Eagle

Bynum questioned the timing, calling the 90 to 120 days “excessive.”

Kouchi said he was hoping the department could be ready in a time frame closer to 60 days. This way the bill could be implemented by November before a newly elected mayor takes office, he said.

“The reality is this is not going to be the most important issue the new mayor is going to have on their plate,” Kouchi said. “If it’s going to be 120 days ... it’s going to be passed on to somebody else.”

Despite what looked almost like he was about to have a conniption fits by mayoral candidate Councilperson Mel Rapozo over the matter even though he and sole prosecutor candidate Shaylene Iseri Carvalho opposed the bills, they advanced with B. Carvalho’s assurance that, although he didn’t like it, he would comply with whatever the law provided for.

(Parenthetically Rapozo also unintentionally pointed out a blatant violation of the sunshine law. during the meeting.

At one point Carvalho was adamant that he needed the 120 days to set up the “trial run”. Then all of a sudden out of the blue, Parks Council Committee Chair Tim Bynum- who introduced the bill and has been it’s chief proponent- called for a “10 minute recess”.

When they came back Rapozo told of what happened during the break describing the gaggle of intimidating council people surrounding Carvalho and trying to arm twist him into saying he could do it more quickly than the 120 days.

The Sunshine Law of Hawai`i strictly outlaws this type of public policy discussion among more than two councilpersons but apparently the secrecy of the Asing reign as council chair continues under the new council regime.)

So after carefully making himself indispensable, Carvalho has now announced that chewing gum and walking at the same time is too much for his pitiful pia mater and so, unlike the other two major candidates, he will take a “leave of absence” from his public service job because obviously administering Parks and Recreation and running for mayor at the same time would be much harder than running while being a council person.

And what the heck is this “leave of absence” business anyway? Only the dismal acumen of Carvalho could come up with this one.

Note that Carvalho isn’t resigning which would make sense since the only two things that can happen is that he will either win or lose the election.

If he wins he’ll be Mayor, not head of the Parks Department. And if he loses he will be out of a job as well with all department heads resigning in a new administration unless they are possibly re-hired by the new mayor.

Either way he’s out of a job Dec 1. But until then he presumably will still be collecting his handsome almost $100,000 a year salary for not working while he campaigns for mayor.

This shows how deep the still waters of Carvalho’s cranial capacity run and probably indicates his future management style should he be elected

When the going gets tough- as it will in the Parks and Recreation Dept. after the dog bills become law tomorrow- Carvalho ditches the process and resulting task upon which he’s insinuated himself and thereby for which he’s made himself indispensable..

All the while still on the government payroll enabling him to have us pay him so he can further litter the island with his obscenely-innumerable yard signs in a redux of Baptiste’s oft-criticized 2000 campaign tactic of plastering the roads with a plethora of posters.

What a public servant.

Now someone else will have to take over making the crucial decisions on the implementation of the new ordinances and the dozens of other responsibilities Carvalho has taken on in forming and designing the administration of a new department created specifically for him to have a good government job.

Because, after all he’s a football hero and so is entitled to whatever he wants whether or not he’s qualified, capable of or deserves it.

We don’t know what he was thinking last Wed at the meeting as opposed to what he was thinking the following Monday. The answer is, most likely he wasn’t.

Perhaps his management style if elected Mayor will be to cross your fingers when you speak and when all else fails, if the job gets too tough take a leave of absence and dump the problems you created in someone else’s lap.

Come to think if it, hasn’t that’s been the MO for the last two administrations? Obviously Carvalho has learned bungling deceit at the feet of the masters.

We can only look forward to more foibles in the next two years than during the last 6 if not 14.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

leave of absence? c'mon, give us a break. BC is showing why a vote for him is a vote for the status quo. BC could'nt lead this county, leash or no leash!

Joan said...

Andy, did it mention whether it was a paid leave of absence?

Anonymous said...

You should moderate only Joan's comments.

Andy Parx said...

Nope- sure didn't say Joan. I probably shouldn't assume it was paid. I'll drop a note and ask. I assumed he would have said if it was unpaid because a politician would think to say so. But Bernard is pretty much an amateur.