Tuesday, September 30, 2008


BARKS AGAINST THE EMPIRE: Last week we sniffed around the reported supposed stunning decrease in spoiled ballots during the Sept 20 election and for the first time were able to throw dimwitted Elections Bureau Chief Kevin Cronin a potential bone for having possibly done something right during the months running up to the balloting,

But it’s becoming clearer that, as we suspected, in all likelihood it was only through manipulation of the statistics and reports and the ways the ballots were treated and in fact counted after balloting took place that the decrease in over-votes and spoiled ballots could make sense.

First, in a follow-up to his original analysis of the raw numbers claimed by the Election Bureau Honolulu, Advertiser political reporter and blogger Derrick DePledge attempted yesterday to explain the massive decrease he originally reported.

First thing he discovered was evidence that the voters were confused by having to check an extra box to designate a party, as many feared would happen going in. He wrote .

Many folks simply do not believe the results reported by the state Office of Elections given past patterns.

(One precinct worker said he collected at least 50 ballots where voters had screwed up before voting correctly, which showed that the ballot design was confusing even though the end products were successfully cast — and presumably counted — ballots.)

Then he goes on to quote Democratic Party activist and long-time voting observer extraordinaire Bart Dame in addressing the problems predicted by many, including himself.

Bart Dame, a Democratic activist and election observer, has identified the most curious aspect of the results. Why so many votes for the obscure Independent Party?

The results showed 1,305 votes at the precinct level and 754 absentee votes for the Independent Party for 2,059 votes overall.

Shaun Stenshol, the Independent candidate in the 2nd Congressional District, received 967 votes and had 291 blank votes for 1,258 overall.

That leaves a gap of 801 Independent Party votes.

These 801 voters could have picked the Independent Party and then skipped the partisan races, voting only in the non-partisan races, such as the mayoral campaigns. Some, however, could have picked the Independent Party because they think of themselves as independents and then tried to vote for Democratic or Republican candidates, spoiling their absentee ballots or overriding or giving up in frustration when the voting machines at the precincts flagged their errors.

Dame would like to see a more complete breakdown of the Independent Party vote to determine exactly what happened.

There were also the 2,074 voters who picked the non-partisan ballot option. These could be voters who were only interested in the mayoral, city council or school board races or — worse — thought they had to pick the non-partisan ballot to vote in non-partisan races and spoiled their votes for partisan candidates.

But that doesn’t seem like it could have influenced the dramatic decrease. But that’s because DePledge only told part of Dame’s story.

In the comments on the blog post Dame wrote:

I would present the math a little different in discussing the Independent Party vote:

2059 voters statewide selected the IP Ballot.

As you wrote, “Shaun Stenshol, the Independent candidate in the 2nd Congressional District, received 967 votes and had 291 blank votes for 1,258 overall.”

Those 1258 votes tell us the number of 2nd CD voters who selected the IP ballot. Therefore, there were 801 voters in the First CD who took an IP ballot, even though there were NO IP candidates for them to vote for.

If we review the voting patterns for minor political parties in the last few Hawaii elections, voters who select “third party” ballot have consistently voted in the 90% plus range for at least one of the party’s candidates.

With the previous, ES&S system, voters were not presented party ballot lines when there were no candidates available for them to vote for. The Hart ballot was designed in such a way that made this mistake possible. It is possible that 801 First CD voters consciously chose the IP ballot as a means of making a statement against the present “two party duopoly,” which dominates our current system. Or they may have been confused and picked the IP ballot because they view themselves as “independent” voters, not understanding the IP is a party– one created to put Ralph Nader on Hawaii’s ballot for the General Election.

An advantage of the Hart optical scan system is its ability to allow for an easy review of images made of the paper ballots as they were scanned and the votes tallied. I suggest the Office of Elections should conduct a review of the ballots cast by voters who selected both the “Independent Party” and “Non-Partisan” ballots. Not to change any vote totals, but in a forensic examination of the voting process to determine the scope of possible voter error, or faulty ballot design. We have the evidence available. Let’s check the data and improve the system for the next election.

Of course, as many remember, Cronin was cut a new one by an administrative hearings officer for picking the Hart InterCivic voting system and cancelling all but this year’s contract, keeping it because it was too late to change it. He also secretly designed the new ballot without checking with anyone as required by law.

But that wasn’t enough for blogger Doug White at Poinography (with a sub-title we’re jealous of- Adhocracy in Action) who dug a little deeper, also with the help of Dane.

White wrote

I was flummoxed by this paragraph in a recent Advertiser story:

“Rex Quidilla, of the Office of Elections, said voters who picked a party had their votes for that party’s candidates counted at precincts even if they tried to cross over and vote for another party’s candidates in certain races. He also said that votes cast in nonpartisan races — such as the mayoral campaigns — were counted even when voters spoiled their ballots in partisan races.”

Then after citing our report on the dearth of required administrative rules White said.

The existing rule §2-51-1 defines a spoiled ballots as “a ballot marked incorrectly by the voter, is misprinted, is illegibly printed, or contains some other defect,” but, beyond that definition, the rules only mention spoiled ballots insofar as to describe what becomes of such ballots if they are discovered before being cast. However, if spoiled ballots were discovered later (as seems to be the case this year), there were (and still are) no rules to explain how a spoiled ballot is to be tallied or, to put first things first, if portions of a spoiled ballot may be tallied by somehow inferring or divining the voter “intent.” In the past it would seem that spoiled ballots were discarded altogether, but that’s only my best assumption.

The so-called “salvaging” of votes by the Office of Elections, however well-intentioned, is clearly open to perceptions of manipulation. As Bart Dame put it so well
last month, “I am NOT saying the OoE staff, or the employees of the voting machine vendors (in this case, Hart-InterCivic) are crooks. I want a system with enough safeguards where they COULD be crooks and it would have no impact due to the safeguards we put into place and the technologies used.”

Dane’s commentary from before the election is rather long but seemingly accurate in predicting may of the problems so far in this year’s elections. .

And in a comment Dane, who witnessed the way the procedures were apparently made up as they went along, on election night, de-flummoxed White by delving further into the matter saying:

(I)f a voter marked they wanted to vote in the Republican primary and cast some votes for Republican candidates, but then voted for a Democratic (or Green or Libertarian) candidate elsewhere on the ballot, the votes cast for the explicitly chosen party (Republican, in this example) would be counted. The votes for candidates from the other parties would be ignored. In previous primary elections, votes cast for candidates from multiple parties would invalidate the entire partisan portion of the ballot.
The next sentence in the Hon-Ad paragraph:

“He also said that votes cast in nonpartisan races — such as the mayoral campaigns — were counted even when voters spoiled their ballots in partisan races.”

Even with the “Select a Party” question reducing the number of spoiled ballots, it is still possible to do so. For example, if a voter selects TWO parties. Or if a voter fails to select any party, then proceeds to cast votes for candidates from multiple parties. Under those rather limited circumstances, the partisan portion of the ballot would be invalidated for reasons of “multi-party voting.”.

But then the heart of the matter was revealed:

Regarding the “vote salvaging operation”: I had raised concerns prior to the election whether such an effort might not be bending the Office of Election’s hard and fast insistence that we are not a “voter intent” state. They have that position for exactly the concern you raise. When human beings try to determine a voter’s intent by ambiguous markings, the results are easily distorted by bias. My understanding is there were 997 ballots cast where the voter had failed, or perhaps refused, to pick a party. These ballots were kicked out by the machines and handed over to a bi-partisan group of election observers. The job of the observers was to determine if votes were cast within a single party’s primary. If they were, they were regarded as properly cast and were counted. Where a voter cast votes in the primary of more than one party, the partisan portion of the ballot was judged “spoiled,” though the non-partisan votes were still counted.

I can agree this may seem a bit “ad hoc.” I had attempted to get straight answers from the Office of Elections prior to the vote on how they would handle such ballots. I was reassured they would be treated in this way, only to see public statements from election officials which gave contrary information.

But I believe the “vote salvage operation” was handled objectively and with the support of the election observers.

Although I am trying to reassure you on these particular points, I still have serious concerns about the conduct of elections in Hawaii, particularly with the secretive procurement process for choosing a voting system and the weak audit standards for verifying the electronic vote.

And as to our supposition from last week that there was more vigilance and insistence on taking another ballot for people who spoiled optical scan ballots causing the machine to spit them out, another comment at Poinography said

Having worked the polls standing at the optical scanner, I can tell you one of the most common errors people made was to pick a single party to vote in but fail to actually color in the box next to that party in the box hidden over on the lower right. Dumb, dumb dumb ballot design.

If a person only voted in one party, it’s not hard to discern which party they wished to vote in. The machine kicks them out as spoiled anyway. I’m going to guess these “salvaged” votes came from the mailed in absentee ballots with this sort of error. Other errors, you’d have to be guessing which is bogus.

Luckily on Kauai, no partisan race had more than one candidate so the entire party primary exercise was silly in the first place

And, as we reported before the election, the paper ballots apparently will never be seen again because, we learned during a conversation with Dame on the Malama Kaua`i Radio program the day before the election, the legally required “audit” we excoriated for being insufficient was even more deficient that we thought.

The audit, it appears
1) done only in one race,
2) done only in 10% of the precincts of that race
3) done only on ballots cast on election day (no absentee or walk-in)
4) done only on election night before the results are announced
5) done only on O`ahu so are done only for O`ahu ballots

Since there was no statewide race this year it’s not clear what race was “audited” this way, if any.

This means no local Kaua`i races are ever audited and the Kaua`i and neighbor island precincts weren’t even used in the one statewide race that was examined by hand because it was done while the paper ballots were still on Kaua`i.

And as we reported the paper ballots are never touched again on neighbor islands once they are cast.

Those who think a “paper trail” makes a difference can take those paper ballots and, like the state elections bureau does, stick them where the sun doesn’t shine.

Because they will never see the light of day again once the results are announced... and one must prove to a judge they contain evidence of actual (not just suspected) fraud in order to ever examine them..

Welcome to governance in Hawai`i- the new home of the Star Chamber mentality where the Minotaur’s Labyrinth rules supreme.

Monday, September 29, 2008


PAVLOVIAN PUTZES: Despite all the Obamamania on Kaua`i, PNN is sticking with our favorite presidential ticket- the Green Party’s Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente.

Voting one’s conscience is hard sometimes. It takes many years of practice just to get accustomed to it but most who stay at it eventually find it hard to do otherwise.

He’s gonna win. We knew- and bet good money- last year that if he survives he’ll be president on January 20. It’s not what he says, it’s how he says it.

He’s got “it”- that thing where, like Bill Clinton before him, it doesn’t matter what he says you have to admit “wow, he’s good”... an inside joke here at the headquarters of the vast international tentacles of PNN.

But in he end Obama is just another war-mongering, insurance-industry-run heath care loving, Wall Street wallowing, oil-drilling politician..

And here in Hawai`i he’s a cinch to get double if not triple the votes of his unworthy opponent.

But McKinney actually speaks to the core of all the issue all Democrats idealize and work toward.

Any progressive voter reading her positions on war, health care, civil rights, accountability and transparency in government, free trade, re-regulation, and even impeachment would jump to support a candidate who holds most of those precepts- especially when compared with Obama’s- and especially in a blind test of affinity.

And unlike Obama, McKinney actually fought for all these things in her six years in congress.

Most of the wide-eyed Obama supporters- and especially the ex-Kuncinich supporters- who reads her positions and compares them with Obama’s will most likely agree more with her.

That’s because they are the things that the majority of people want, all else being equal.

But instead, as always in the Americkan corporate sorry excuse for democracy, there’s no choice and people once again will settle for less... or more likely nothing at all.

Voting your conscience is an acquired skill. It takes personal political will to a break from all the media fed the indoctrination.

It takes courage to ignore the constantly recurring “big lies”. We’ve actually heard people tell us that the two-party system is in the Constitution, so that creating the concept of “spoiling elections” is their reaction to the duopolistically spoiled electoral system.

But if you’re going to vote for McKinney-Clemente- or for that matter Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzales or if you’re a wing nut, Bob Barr- just because in Hawai`i the electoral college lets you do so without consequences, why bother..

Conditional conscience and situational scruples in voting won’t cut it.. In order to start to break that addiction to picking the “least worst”, meaningless gestures that don’t take principles in the first place don’t count.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

KPD Blue: Chapter 8 : The Serial Kiler


By Anthony Sommer

Chapter 8 : The Serial Kiler

In the spring and summer of 2000 on Kauai’s west side, three white women were stabbed and sexually assaulted. Two died. The third was left for dead and so severely injured that it took her three hours to crawl to a telephone only a few yards away and call for help.

It was the first time in recorded history that Kauai had a serial killer on the island.

KPD detectives quickly identified a prime suspect but insisted they could never gather enough evidence to arrest or charge him.

The suspect’s brother was a veteran KPD officer. Property crime and assaults are common but murder is very rare on Kauai. Until the series of killings of women on the west side, there had not been a homicide on Kauai for almost three years.

No detectives on the KPD are designated or trained to investigate murder.

The fact is, in every area of police work, the KPD lacks sophistication in both training and experience.

The KPD runs its own police academy. Many states have a central police academy, usually run by the state police, to provide uniform training to officers from rural departments, but not Hawaii. The popular television series “Hawaii Five-0” is about a state police force that never existed.

The Honolulu Police Department has offered to train “neighbor island” police officers for a set price but Kauai has chosen to remain the “Separate Kingdom” in its police department as in all things governmental.

The primary purpose of the KPD Police Academy is to train new officers in the cultural and political aspects of police work on Kauai, not in law enforcement skills.

The instructors at the KPD Police Academy all are KPD officers. “The blind leading the blind” is an apt description: Poorly trained, unskilled officers teaching raw recruits. The KPD does send its officers to off-island training courses but there is no guarantee they will attend the classes.

For example, a group of officers recently sent to Maui to be trained in narcotics investigation didn’t show up for a single class. They treated the trip as a taxpayer-funded vacation and drinking binge.

So when a major crime occurs on Kauai and there are no obvious suspects, the handling of the cases by the KPD is somewhat less than the stuff of great detective fiction. If a suspect is a friend or a relative of any KPD officer, the investigation becomes even more like the farcical plot of an Inspector Clouseau movie.

The West Side of Kauai is the most traditional area of the island. It is on the leeward, or kona in Hawaiian, side. Mount Waialeale, termed the spot with the most rainfall on the planet, blocks the trade winds carrying in moisture from the sea to the northeast.

The West side is dry, dusty (red dust from the volcanic soil) and in the summer very hot.

One of two remaining sugar plantations (the other is on Maui) in Hawaii grips the west side of Kauai firmly in the past.

Life is simple. Communities are strong. Native Hawaiians gather salt from an ancient lava field near the surf line. Even the students at Waimea High School are polite to their elders.

On April 7, 2000, the battered body of Lisa Bissell, 38, was found in a roadside ditch near Polihale State Park on Kauai’s west side. Polihale is one of Hawaii’s most spectacular beaches connected to the rest of Kauai by a web of haul cane roads winding through old sugar cane fields.

Bissell technically lived in Hanapepe where she had a post office box but she was considered a harmless and homeless street person frequently seen in many different towns on the West Shore.

Some of Bissell’s belongings were found in a street in Waimea, indicating she had been abducted there. She was raped, beaten, stabbed. Police said the cause of her death was that her throat had been cut.

Police found an abandoned, bloodstained car. Their theory was Lisa Bissell was killed in one location and her body dumped at Polihale.

On May 22, 2000, a 52-year-old haole woman was beaten and stabbed in the yard of a remote Kekaha beach home where she was house-sitting.

The woman never has been identified in the media, although she was well known on Kauai.

Late one night, a year and a half after she was attacked, she called a newspaper reporter at home and gave the only interview she ever has given. A mutual friend convinced her the reporter was trustworthy.

The woman said she was working in the yard of a home she was maintaining for an absentee owner. The house was isolated and right on the beach on the west end of Kekaha. She said a man walked up to her and said, “My name is John and I’m homeless.”

She suggested he go to a house down the beach where the owners often let transients camp on their property. She turned and went back to work. The man picked her up from behind and took her behind the house where he beat her, breaking one of her arms.

She said he pulled out a knife and stabbed her in the chest but the blade hit her sternum and was bent. The man cursed and threw the knife into some bushes.

She said she believes the only reason her throat was not cut like the two victims who died was that the knife was bent and discarded.

Afterward, she went to the mainland and lived with her family while she recovered.

Months later, KPD flew her to Oahu—not Kauai—where she was shown a lineup. She was able to eliminate two of the men in the lineup but her retinas were detached when she
was beaten and her eyesight never was fully restored. She was not able to pick a suspect from the remaining men. The third victim was found on Aug. 30, 2000, at her camp site near Pakala Point Beach, a popular surfing spot. She was identified as Daren Singer, 43, of Paia, Maui. Paia is a hippie community, much given to alternative lifestyles.

Like the others, she had been sexually assaulted and stabbed. Police said her face was beaten beyond recognition and her throat had been cut.

In each of the three investigations, the first patrol officers on the scene thoroughly contaminated the crime scene by tramping all over any tracks and touching physical evidence.

One of the first things taught in most police academies is that the primary duty of a uniformed officer arriving at a crime scene is to secure the area and protect the evidence so the police technicians will be dealing with an uncontaminated crime scene.

That class apparently is not taught at the KPD Police Academy.

A forensic team flown over from the Honolulu Police Department had almost nothing to work with. DNA evidence, at best, proved “inconclusive.”

The KPD had a contract with a mainland lab to conduct DNA testing of evidence. But they went with a lowest bidder that was taking several months to provide results.

It isn’t as though the KPD detectives didn’t care. If anything, they cared too much. The problem was lack of skills and training and resources.

“One of my biggest concerns when I took this job was the possibility of a serial criminal, a murderer, or a rapist and whether we were equipped to deal with that,” said KPD Chief of detectives Lt. Bill Ching, a second-generation Kauai police officer.

“I’ve seen the resources and manpower serial crimes require and the record-keeping alone is a gigantic task.” Ching’s newspaper interview was in itself remarkable. KPD officers in general are not open with the press. Not just because they’re cops but also because they’re local, and locals don’t often share their feelings with haole reporters.

The disappointment of West Side residents in their police department had become both obvious and acute. West Side women repeatedly came into Ching’s office and yelled at him for not solving the crimes. Others kept calling him and asking when it would be safe to take walks alone again.

Ching, who has lived his entire life on the West Side, said he and his 10 detectives were taking their inability to arrest anyone very personally. The detectives worked themselves to states of near exhaustion, and many couldn’t sleep when they did go home.

“It’s hard to step back when some of the people involved are people you’ve known all your life,” Ching noted. Chief George Freitas attempted to take some of the load off of Ching by forbidding Ching to attend public meetings on the west side with his friends and neighbors. Freitas said he would conduct the meetings.

Ching went to the meetings anyway.

“I told the chief that I didn’t want anyone else to have to answer the questions that I was supposed to answer andI went.

“Those community meetings are hard. I reminded people that this is real life, not a television series and nothing is going to be solved in the next hour.

“I had to exercise a lot of control so I didn’t give anyindication I believed the case was going to be solved in the next day or two, or any indication I believed the case is never going to be solved.

For similar reasons, Ching said he had taken to avoiding friends who are not police officers because they invariably asked him about the investigation.

“It’s really hard because I can’t say anything.” Ching said he was conducting regular debriefings both with his detectives and west side patrolmen that were as much therapy as police business.

“The first thing I do is let them expose their emotions— good feelings, negative feelings—I let them get it all out. Then we debrief the case itself.

“With these cases I keep reminding them we did everything right. We did everything we were supposed to do. But the waiting for a break is stressful.

“I have two young kids, both in elementary school, and I have to make sure I don’t go home and take out my frustrations on them or my wife,

“I was born on the West Side,” Ching said. “My mom had 17 brothers and sisters, so I have a lot of relatives holding me accountable for what we were doing. And I have a lot of detectives from the West Side. It’s very stressful.”

Despite beefed up police patrols and even police horse patrols (with borrowed horses; the KPD doesn’t own any) on the beaches, women on Kauai were thoroughly terrified. KPD and the island’s only gun store were deluged with telephone calls from frightened women wanting to buy pepper spray for self defense.

Pepper spray was the weapon the women wanted most but they couldn’t get it.

Kauai was the only county in Hawaii to require a permit to carry pepper spray and the ordnance covering it was passed by the County Council at the request of KPD to keep it out of the hands of criminals.

No store on the island stocked pepper spray and the police permit required to carry it required a 14-day waiting period for a criminal background check—the same requirement to buy a handgun.

“A lot of husbands and boyfriends are calling for their wives and significant others,” said Emily Fabro, who processed permits for the KPD.

“Personally, I think most women would be better off carrying pepper spray than the short-barrel shotguns they’ve been buying,” said Mike Rosa, co-owner of The Hunting Shop of Kauai.

There is no waiting period on Kauai for purchasing a shotgun. In light of the permit requirement for pepper spray, the logic appears a bit flawed.

Rosa said he didn’t carry pepper spray because of the permit requirement and the fact that it has a very short shelf life.

The only other permitted licensed pepper spray dealers were two Kauai police officers who also were licensed gun dealers and they didn’t stock it either.

It was a federal violation to ship pepper spray on an airline without declaring it, which appears to be exactly what many Kauaians did.

A thriving black market for the spray developed on Kauai and the demand was met by supplies smuggled in from the other counties where no permit was required.

On Kauai’s West Side, where the assaults took place, the three attacks were not something that some women would talk openly about.

“But it’s always behind our heads, especially if we go to the beaches or out of the way places, parks,” said a woman convenience store clerk in Kekaha. “We stay in groups and use the buddy system.”

None of the women ever worked alone without a male co-worker present in the store, which is open evenings, she said.

Billi Smith, the popular and charismatic principal of Kekaha Elementary School on Kauai’s West Side, said the school’s students had many questions and she and her teachers didn’t duck any of them.

Men who lived on the West Side were pondering it, too.

“When I’m working it doesn’t cross my mind,” said a Kauai firefighter.

“But when I go home and sit down and think about it, it really bothers me.

“Somewhere on this small island is someone who is very capable of very violent attacks on women and it’s probably someone many of us see every day.”

In early September, KPD detectives rounded up all 70 registered sex offenders on the island. They said they didn’t find any suspects but, of course, they had.

On Sept. 12, 2000, the KPD announced it had arrested a convicted rapist on a parole violation. The man’s name and mug shot were released through the mayor’s office.

The press release was almost instantly followed by another insisting the parole violator was in no way a suspect in the west side attacks and his only crime was violating the conditions of his parole.

The KPD was so vehement in pointing out that the man was not the serial killer, every editor in the state bought it. Except for one Honolulu television station, which used his name and broadcast his picture, all the “news executives” were frightened by the KPD’s threat of libel suits.

The next day, the KPD, through the mayor’s office criticized the lone television station that identified the arrested man for “irresponsible reporting.”

The television station was correct. It was the KPD that was lying. And the mayor’s office knew it but lying to the press was pretty much standard operating procedure. Next, Inspector Mel Morris, head of the investigations bureau, began dragging a red herring claiming, “KPD has not ruled out the possibility that there may be more than one person responsible.”

He said the man arrested is “unrelated to any of these cases. Any impression that might have been given that these cases are close to being solved is flat-out wrong.”

The arrested man was, of course, KPD’s primary, in fact only, suspect and (off the record, of course) they were certain he was the killer but they couldn’t prove it.

His name was Waldorf “Wally” Wilson, and his name and picture were all over the west side on anonymously printed flyers.

But the Honolulu media executives would not publish his name until two years later—and then only because Wilson filed a lawsuit against KPD, a newspaper and a magazine.

Wilson was convicted in 1983 of a brutal rape on Oahu. He was paroled on Jan. 9, 1999 and in January 2000 moved to Kauai. The attacks began three months later.

Wally Wilson’s brother was a KPD officer, Buddy Wilson, a long-time member of the Vice Squad known for his somewhat less than subtle tactics in investigating narcotics cases.

(Once again the circle that began with the Randy Machado trial looped back. Kelly Lau was a witness for Machado at his trial. Lau indicated quite clearly she was a confidential informant working for Buddy Wilson.)

All the while, KPD insisted Wally Wilson was not a suspect. For the next two years, the KPD engaged in tactics that Wally Wilson later claimed in his lawsuit violated his Constitutional rights.

But he was kept off the streets without ever actually being charged with any crime.

And there were no more attacks.

According to Wally Wilson’s lawsuit, KPD “coerced” him into taking a polygraph test on Sept. 12, 2000 and then “strongly pressured” the Hawaii Parole Authority to revoke Wilson’s parole. The results of the polygraph test were not given in the lawsuit.

A judge ultimately threw out Wilson’s lawsuit but by then KPD’s tactics were pretty obvious, as was its complete inability (or unwillingness) to bring criminal charges against him involving the three attacks.

Initially, Wilson’s parole was rescinded because he had been in contact with a woman on Kauai that his parole conditions specifically directed him to avoid. The revocation lasted until Feb. 28, 2002, when he was set free. On June 15, 2002, Wilson was again sent back to prison for violating his parole by failing a polygraph test.

To this day, KPD never has stated Wilson was a suspect at all in the West Side attacks. Yet every time he was released, his parole was violated on one technicality or another, and he was sent back to prison.

The problem is, Wilson has now “maxed out,” served the full term for his earlier conviction, and is back on the street. Since he no longer is on parole, he can’t be hauled in for parole violations.

The case of the one and only serial killer in Kauai’s history remains unsolved.

c2008 Anthony Sommer

Friday, September 26, 2008


DOWN TO THE BONE: As a group Americans are too dumb to live.

And this week many have proven it by swallowing the supposed fact that there’s some kind of so-called financial crisis- one that anyone who didn’t cause it needs to care about..

The media bombards us with talking suits whipping up a frenzy proclaiming that “something” horribly horrendous is going to happen unless we pay some extortion money to keep those who stole our money from keeping it.

What exactly is that “something”? Well you could read all 700 billion articles written in the last week or so and never find out. It is apparently like a Hitchcock movie where the dread is more terrorizing if you don’t know exactly what it is.

So while most are exclaiming a wide eyed “haaa-laaa” we’re proclaiming “nanny-nanny-boo-boo”.

As in, “we told you so”- your morally bankrupt economic system has reached it’s inevitable terminus and now it’s financially bankrupt too..

It’s the last gasp of the dying capitalist system that has ripped us off for years. And now that the chickens are roosting we’re being asked to support an end game that allows the 5% of the people who own 95% of the money to finish scooping up the last $700 billion of it.

Actually the 5%- now closer to 1%- already “own” more than 100% because this economic miracle is based on the fact that you’ve already borrowed twice as much as you could ever hope to pay off. So not only are you broke but you’re in debt up your eyeballs to the self-same giants that stole your cow and gave you magic beans.

Well fee-fie-fo-fum- we smell the blood of gluttonous scum.

Do you think this is the last $700 billion- a figure that they admit they just made up because it sounds like a lot- and then everything will be hunky dory?.

They actually get on TV and call it their “house of cards”. It’s like they said “uh-oh it’s the end of the line for us- how much can we scam them for before they wake up?”.

This is not a crisis unless you’re a greedy little pig who pissed on those who actually produced the products that you stole.

Well the pissed on better get pissed off before we’re all piss poor.

If you care whether all stocks and bonds and banks and (especially) insurance companies are worthless tomorrow well guess what- that makes you one of them... and the amount you will lose is in precise proportion to your greediness.

How democratic- it’s not a calamity, it’s poetic and economic justice. If you reap what you have sown retribution will be in the exact amount of you combined stupidity and avarice.

The “invertors” are the people who cause this and they deserve to lose the gamble they took- even according to their own economic rules.

There’s some restructuring coming and it won’t be pretty no matter what we do. If we sink more good money after bad it will only be worse when that house of cards becomes an un-stacked deck again

It’s about time... and we should be celebrating the fact that the final collapse of make-believe wealth is here at last.

This is no crisis- it’s the end of this absurd economic system that robs the poor and feeds the rich.

The “solution” is to let those a-holes who gambled and lost to join us in the breadline they were planning for us all along..

Where do you think the money the gamblers have came from? Your pocket.

Do you think it’s a coincidence that as the rich got richer we’ve gone from having one person working at one job to support one family at the beginning of the easy credit era in the 50’s to now having two people working three jobs to do the same?

Hear that sound on the TV and in the paper? It’s the reverberation of the parasites’ dirty work on Wall Street and their sycophants on Capitol Hill whipping up a media frenzy because they’re broke. It’s the Alexander the (Financial) Great crying because he has no more money left to conquer.

It’s the actual the sound of the death throws of the capitalist system makes. It’s finally reached the end of the line because there’s no more money for them to steal from you.

Not only did they steal the sweat of your brow and siphon off profit as private enterprise and entrepreneurship has always done but whatever you had left was spent paying off the interest on stuff that was in the dump by the time you paid it off.

Over the past 60 years that’s caused you to borrow more and more and give them a bigger chunk of the sweat of your brow, finally snowballing into a system where there wasn’t enough money left in working people’s hands to pay back the fat cats.

They have finally realized the actual producers of goods and services can never pay them back the money they forced us to borrow in order to just provide food and shelter for our families.

So they want to force us to borrow a “final” $700 billion which should be just enough to prop up the failed system long enough to distract us from lynching those who have all the monopoly money while they convert their paper assets into tangibles, leaving the suckers who bought the worthless paper to pay it off..

And those suckers would be us, the taxpayers, if this scam they’re pulling in D.C. comes to fruition.

The theory of surplus value has finally run it’s course. That equation says that if rich people are skimming profit and usury from the workers who create the products of value, those workers can never possibly have enough money to purchase the goods they make.

But the American – and now world wide- capitalist system needs an unlimited supply of money to keep running. The only problem is that now there’s no more blood left in the stone.

It isn’t a calamity for most of us- we’ll go to work tomorrow and produce something. It’s only a crisis for those who have been stealing from us all these years.

Americans though appear too stupid to realize that nothing will happen if we just let the whole system collapse of it’s own weight except to those who deserve it- in the exact amount of their involvement in the theft.

You don’t have to be a commie to know it it’s not a catastrophe- it’s the culmination of the experiment that is modern American capitalism.

You asked for it- you got it.


Thursday, September 25, 2008


CHASING A DUCK: Following-up on yesterday’s article about Bernard Carvalho’s ducking of the scheduled and now cancelled local-newspaper-sponsored debate tonight, we were able to learn today that Carvalho has a meeting scheduled tonight at his campaign headquarters according to a reliable source who saw it in his open date book.

When we asked we were able to confirm with Carvalho’s campaign manager Leonard Rapozo that there is an “executive committee” meeting scheduled for tonight- and every Thursday night- at campaign HQ.

Rapozo continued to stonewall us by refusing to answer whether in fact Carvalho will even be at the meeting tonight or whether that was the “event” that had been “previously scheduled”, causing his refusal to debate his opponent in the mayor’s race, Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura.

He did say that Carvalho will be attending “another event” but refused to say what and where that event was..

Rapozo also refused to confirm or deny the Honolulu location of Carvalho’s “event” tonight that was reported in the newspaper.

Rapozo did say that they received the invitation to the canceled debate on September 17, eight days before the day the debate was scheduled but would not answer further questions about the cancellation or provide any details regarding the nature or location of tonight’s “previously scheduled event”.

When asked if Carvalho would debate Yukimura at all, Rapozo said that they would be participating in a Chamber of Commerce event on October 23 although the format for that event is unclear at this time.

This morning’s Lihu`e Business Association “public forum” in Lihu`e at Duke's Kalapaki was not scheduled to be a debate or even a conversation between the two candidate and, as we reported yesterday, was not even going to have both candidates in the same room.

Carvalho’s opponent Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura did not respond to an email request for comment by press time although according to sources within the campaign but not authorized to speak on the campaign’s behalf she would welcome a chance to debate on the issues and is disappointed in the debate’s cancellation..

TGI newspaper did not respond to an email this morning asking for the date they sent the invitations or whether they will attempt to reschedule the only purportedly impartial forum/debate scheduled before the Nov. 4 mayoral election.


OUR BOWL RUNNETH OVER: We and a slew of others have severely criticized the way the Office of Elections and specifically it’s Chief Kevin Cronin conducted business this year- many times, on many matters.

But today the Honolulu Advertiser’s government reporter Derrick DePledge reported an absolutely stunning decrease in the reported number of ballots spoiled due to multi-party votes in Saturday’s primaries.

He reports:

Despite fears of voter confusion over a new ballot design, the number of ballots spoiled in Saturday's primary because voters chose candidates from more than one political party was a record low.

The state Office of Elections reported that just 257 ballots — 89 at the precinct level and 168 absentee ballots — were spoiled because of multiparty voting, out of 246,220 ballots cast. The number was minuscule considering that 5,231 ballots were invalidated by multiparty voting in the 2006 primary and 9,561 ballots were ruined in the 2004 primary

Wow. We went and checked the numbers because they seemed way too low to be true and sure enough, that’s what the official results reveal.

The changes to this year’s ballots were under fire when they were printed before anyone saw them, especially the candidates and political parties, as required by law.

In the past voters merely were instructed to vote for only one party’s candidates in the partisan elections for state offices. But this year, in an attempt to reduce the number of voters who voted in more than one party’s primary, they had to check a box indicating their party preference.

One change to explain the difference was buried deep in the article and was pretty much unexplained but DePledge reported that

The Office of Elections also assigned two teams to sort through an estimated 1,000 absentee ballots in which voters failed to select a party. Cronin said staff examined the individual absentee ballots and counted the ones where it was apparent the voter favored one party.

Whether that was done in prior elections was not mentioned in the article but that kind of activity has never been reported in past elections

But even so that would still to explain the difference.

One difference could be the training of those who stand by the tabulating machines for the paper ballots. In the past the old machine did reject ballots that had votes for more than one party and the people were told they could either go get a new ballot or just let it go as is.

Whether there was increased vigilance and/or more prodding of people whose ballots were rejected by the machine to re-vote this year isn’t known at this time but is a possibility.

The reason for this lack of information as to the rules is because there aren’t any rules delineating procedures, which is the subject of a Maui lawsuit on which we reported earlier this election season.

But this certainly calls for further investigation by the Elections Bureau and poll-watchers because as anyone who studies numbers knows anomalies like this can be indicative of serious problems even if the numbers are a supposedly “positive” development.

Any cashier will tell you it doesn’t matter if you have too much or too little in the register, it’s wrong either way.

We smell some other explanation here but for now will just have to accept the numbers and look for other information. We welcome anyone’s observations or theories.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


SUCKIN’ UP TO ST. BERNARD: Mayor candidate Bernard Carvalho has effectively ducked a debate with his opponent JoAnn Yukimura that was supposed to take place tomorrow (Thursday) night.

But perplexingly the sponsor of the event, The Garden Island (TGI) newspaper, hid the announcement halfway through an interview with Carvalho in Tuesday’s paper and then said they were canceling it. rather than stating that Carvalho had refused the invitation to the event announced more than three weeks ago.

Reporter Michael Levine spent six paragraphs detailing Carvalho’s pro-forma ducking of substantive questions but in the seventh he relates the fact that

Carvalho will be attending meetings in Honolulu and unable to attend Thursday’s now-canceled political forum sponsored by The Garden Island, but said he remains open to future debates against (his opponent Councilperson JoAnn) Yukimura.

But despite the fact that Carvalho said he could or would not attend, TGI Editor Adam Harju told us that “(w)e canceled as a debate with one participant would not be in the best interest of the community”.

Reached for comment Carvalho’s campaign manager Leonard Rapozo told PNN that despite numerous articles in the newspaper beginning September 1 “they never contacted us” about the TGI forum.

Rapozo said that Carvalho ”had already scheduled something” for that day although he refused to say what or where the “event” was, when the “event” had been scheduled and whether or not they had read the announcements in the newspaper.

When asked specifically Rapozo would not confirm or deny TGI’s claim Carvalho would be at a “meeting in Honolulu”..

Harju however says that “all four candidates were invited” but has declined to provide other details.

The original newspaper announcement of the forum was published Sept 1 in TGI and read:

TGI to host political forums Sept. 25, Oct. 16

by The Garden Island

Posted: Sunday, Aug 31, 2008 - 09:56:46 pm HST

The Garden Island will host political forums for Kaua‘i’s mayoral candidates on Sept. 25 and for County Council candidates on Oct. 16 at the Kaua‘i Veterans Center on Kapule Highway.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. The forum starts at 6:30 p.m.

Light pupu and refreshments will be served at the free events.Invitations to candidates are forthcoming.

Yukimura was in county council session today and unavailable for comment according to a campaign spokesperson.

However in an even more perplexing development the Yukimura campaign said that

Both candidates will be at Duke's Kalapaki tomorrow (Thursday) at 7:30am at the Lihu`e Business Association public forum.

Although PNN has not been able to confirm it, it has been rumored all day at the council meeting that the event will not be a debate and as a matter of fact the two candidate will not even be in the same room.

Why exactly TGI buried the story then parsed their words and spun the situation by saying that they cancelled rather than saying that Carvalho refused to attend- apparently refusing at the last minute and after Saturday’s election- is not clear.

What is clear though is that Carvalho’s excuse for ducking the debate doesn’t pass the smell or laugh test, especially considering the dearth of substance in his campaign so far, which focuses solely on “leadership” and “working with the community” rather than addressing his specific plans and programs for dealing with the issues.

It’s not surprising that TGI wouldn’t report the news without tilt so as not to antagonize a campaign with a $140,000 war chest, a sizable chunk of which will be spent on newspaper advertising between now and November 4

Reached for comment former mayoral candidate Rolf Bieber who was eliminated Saturday after garnering a healthy 4% of the vote said that he had cancelled a meeting with Carvalho and Rapozo scheduled for the day after the debate saying that, especially in light of Carvalho’s refusal to debate “I can’t support anyone yet”.

Bieber said he has been approached by both campaigns for their support but wants to hear more before he considers lending support or endorsement. He said that a plethora of calls from Rapozo began Saturday night even before all the results were in but after it became apparent Carvalho would not get the 50% of the vote needed to avoid a runoff with Yukimura.

Yukimura for her part approached him while both were “mahalo” sign-waiving on Sunday asking him simply if he would support her.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


OF GREAT DANES AND CHIHUAHUAS: Our continuing serialization of Tony Sommer’s book KPD Blue this weekend elicited a comment purportedly by one KPD officer that is worthy of note. Even if it is not from an officer it certainly mirrors some of the comments we’ve heard from officers we’ve spoken to recently as well as those we’ve known for many years

Calling him or herself “One” the writer said in part

I've read the book and Tony is, for the most part, spot on. I have a few issues about some of it. I don't think he went far enough to allow readers knowledge that there are cops in K.P.D. who are well trained and competent. We do have them, a lot of them.

There were parts of the book where Tony does sound like someone harping over the sting of racism. I don't believe it's so much that as much as a problem of being an outsider from the decrepit circle of Kauai old timers. A lot of us locals, (Outer Island,) have felt the slap of discrimination. Not racial, but discrimination none the less.

Tony's right on most of it but wrong on some. Right about the Mayors office in the last decade. Wrong On Chief Perry. He's a great man and there is promise here.

Tony would probably be surprised at just how much a lot of us agree with most of his view points....

What ever you all do, don't cover all of us in blue with the same blanket of putrid disgust that you reserve for most of those cast of characters in Tony's book. Believe it or not, the vast majority of the people in the department are good, solid Americans who care deeply about the community, the whole community, not just the local ethnic blend, everyone.

Journalist Joan Conrow of KauaiEclectic, who has every reason in the world to be critical of some at KPD after her wrongful arrest for covering a news story agreed and was glad to hear someone from the department say so.

She wrote

Good to hear from someone clad in blue, especially that "the vast majority of the people in the department are good, solid Americans who care deeply about the community, the whole community, not just the local ethnic blend, everyone."

I feel better already. :)

And we couldn’t agree more with both. Individually almost all of the officers we know are among some of the best cops around.

It’s a really hard if not impossible job of balancing protection of people’s rights and providing for the security of those being protected and served.

And the best thing we can do to aid those who do that job well is to expose those who don’t do the job the right way so that the ones who do can force the others to either reform or resign.

More than anything else what is called for is professionalism.

We have political prisoners right here on Kaua`i. And they were abused in the process of their arrests.

We have cultural practitioners non-violently performing civil disobedience to stop their ancestors from being encased in concrete and somehow KPD can’t be happy just putting them trough the court system. Instead they treat the like they’re violent ice-heads for a petty misdemeanor simple trespassing charge.

Let’s not forget the facts of just this most recent incident here.

The Naue protesters showed up at the graveyard and said “we are here- come and arrest us”. They spent all day trying to get arrested and were refused. The police were there taking pictures and refused to arrest them there so the protesters left at sundown.

Then, after the chief’s announcement in the papers that they would be getting warrants for their arrest, it was asked that they or their attorneys be contacted so they could turn themselves in if they were charged.

But instead someone obtained a secret warrant and KPD officers handcuffed and arrested them at their homes at 5 p.m. on a Friday night, a tactic usually employed to try to make sure someone has to spend the whole night- or in this case the weekend- in jail.

How this is not pure and utter harassment escapes us.

Then they charged a sympathetic reporter who was covering the story for being there reporting it.

The cops are swarming around the seven guys locked together. Three members of the press are there and none are told to stay away by anyone... not the owner, not the cops and certainly not the iwi kupuna who really “own” that property.

Then the sympathetic journalist writes the best article in the state about what happened and she alone is summoned, locked in a room with three officers and interrogated.

But instead of allowing the intended intimidation, she writes about the intimidation and so they try to arrest her too.

It’s hard to imagine how all this happens without the chief’s prior knowledge but apparently it did because he quashes the warrant when he is informed by her lawyer.

Somehow this is allowed to happen. Not because all the guys on the force are bad cops but because they most likely turn a blind eye to the abuses and intentional harassment.

And this is not the only case this year where KPD officers abused their position by using unnecessary force in arresting a non-violent Hawaiian practitioner who was performing civil disobedience.

If there was political pressure from above did it say “and go in and harass them when you arrest them- as a matter of fact, go after that reporter too”?.

Maybe. We may never know but more than likely, not. If there were politicians “putting on the pressure” they more than likely told them they wanted them charged and brought to court.

It may not have been up to KPD to determine whether or not they were arrested but it was KPD that was responsible for how they are processed.

When the mayor or other mucky-mucks get arrested for stealing millions or some other fraud and corruption they don’t drag them down to the station house in handcuffs, They let their lawyers know and they turn themselves in.

But when people perform non-violent civil disobedience to stop the desecration of a graveyard they’re considered hardened criminals to be grabbed off the street..

Yes, most of the officers at KPD are among the best cops we’ve ever seen anywhere. We need to create an atmosphere where they can come forward and ensure that those who are not doing their job professionally don’t taint the rest.

This kind of abuse during essentially political arrests doesn’t happen without the implicit blind eye of those professional officers.

And if this kind of harassment is standard operating procedure at KPD there is systemically something wrong. And if there’s something systemically wrong it starts with leadership.

In this case the chief may not be part of the problem but the honeymoon is over and it’s time for him to be part of the solution.

Monday, September 22, 2008



Saturday’s election results were anything but surprising although you wouldn’t know it from listening to the shocked malahinis and young progressives who, like their past brethren, learned a lesson that many of us are slow to learn- Kaua`i is an extremely conservative community when it comes to change.

Amidst all the talk of “new demographics”- the same talk we’ve heard for 40 years- most of the predictions of change a’comin’ are wishful thinking.

Though we hit the bulls-eye in our Wednesday prediction of the percentages of all four candidates in the mayor’s race, the council race wasn’t much of a shock either with one notable pleasant exception- Lani Kawahara’s encouraging 8th place showing.

The Kapa`a librarian and political protégé of Kauai State Senator Gary Hooser is the one bright spots in the council results for those searching for an alternative to the entrenched machine and their younger wannabes.

Her platform statements on transportation, sustainability, infrastructure improvements, environmental protection, growth management, alternative energy, economic diversification, ag lands ad open spaces, beach and trail access, and solid waste and recycling all provide detailed solutions no other candidates can come close to.

But Kawahara will have to fight her way into a mix of five incumbents and two new big-money, old-boy-connected, pro-unbridled-development, anti-sustainability candidates, Derik Kawakami and Dickie Chang.

Although she is positioned only a thousand votes out of 7th place and 1200 votes more than the 9th place candidate, Kawahara is also only 1200 votes out of third place.

Her biggest difficulty will be that she is without the big money support of the super-wealthy Kawakami, the media megaphone of ambiguous TV personality Chang- the personification pro-big-business over-development- or the incumbents’ weekly promotional video known as the cablecast of the council meetings

Generally progressives across the state took a bath Saturday, especially on the neighbor islands.

In the Big Island vote although Councilperson Angel Pilago made the cut in their mayoral race he has a 22% margin to make up when he squares off against old- boy, first-time candidate Administrative Assistant Billy Kanoi.

He’s got a long way and a much tougher fight than Councilperson JoAnn Yukimura will have against a similar foe in Bernard Carvalho.

Yukimura seems primed to pick up a huge chunk of loser Mel Rapozo’s 25% since much of it was an anti-Baptiste vote and therefore anti self-proclaimed, heir-apparent Carvalho.

Rapozo was arguably Baptiste’s biggest critic and it’s hard to imagine any but the fully uninformed voters or those who voted for Rapozo through family or community ties voting for Carvalho, who may have approached his peak vote in the primaries.

But on the Big Island Pilago barely beat out third place finisher former State Rep Lorraine Inouye, a well connected female-old-boy seeking her old mayoral chair. And Big Island polls show Kanoi picking up 40% of Inouye’s vote..

Even long time Puna Green Bob Jacobson lost to a pro-development adversary. With Pilago gone Big Island journalist and political blogger Hunter Bishop calls it the “dissolv(ing of)... the current five-member Sierra Club majority” that passed a ban on plastic grocery bags and put a measure on the ballot to make marijuana the lowest priority for HPD enforcement while rejecting federal pot eradication funding

We can forget about a plastic bag ban or any sustainability and environmental protection measures passing if Kawakami makes the November cut on Kaua`i

As the son of former state representatives (yes, both of them) Richard and Bertha Kawakami and owner and GM of Big Save Markets he hasn’t met development that he doesn’t like especially when it benefits Big Save

And, although for some reason he seems reluctant to mention his lineage the old boy network knows exactly who he is even if the voters don’t. .

We know it won’t be him that’s crying after we heard his radio ad proclaiming how he has nothing to offer but his “blood sweat and tears”..

“D-E-R-I-K and Derik is so lame-o”- as many mis-phrase his advertising slogan song- is the dim-bulb of the Kawakami dynasty but given the support for nothing-upstairs candidates like Carvalho it’s obvious that the electorate self-identifies with that

Some might think- and we’re among them- that the starkness of the presence of the worst of the worst land pimps and hotel whores in the top seven is related to a perception of bad economic times ahead.

On Kaua`i, those whose economic fortunes rise and fall with the numbers of visitors are seeing 20-30% declines in their paychecks, especially if they work by the piece or for tips or commission.

Fear is a great motivator and when it comes down to the level of food and shelter people will respond by ditching concerns about lifestyle, environmental protection and future sustainability in favor of the lower echelon of Maslow’s hierarchy needs.

Fear drives out calls for change- when fear is the chief motivating factor incumbents are happy. And top five finishes for the five “incumbents” indicates that may well be the case here.

But though that make explain the extent of rejection of the new ideas of more progressive candidates something one retired pillar of the community said to us Saturday night has the ring of truth that all those hope-mongers need to hear- something we’ve been fighting against hearing again and again each election for many decades.

“Did you ever think that maybe people are happy with things the way they are?” he said.

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how, but things could be worse. Lani Kawahara could have come in lower than Republican stalwart Ron Agor.

Kawahara’s supporters have their work cut out for them. A thousand votes is a lot to make up and the turnout on Kaua`i was the highest in the state at 46%, similar to general election turnouts in the recent past and even if it hasn’t peaked no higher turnout alone will make up for that margin.

If Kaua`i fails to put Lani over the top we won’t just be losing two years of service of an extremely bright and akamai, controlled growth advocate but won’t have any voice on the council to combat the money-driven developers who will own all seven councilmembers.

One voice may not be able to stop the full mainland-ization of Kaua`i that many call inevitable. But it’s always better to have a foot in the door than have it shut, locked and barred trying to kick it down.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

KPD Blue Chapters 6 & 7

KPD Blue

by Anthony Sommer

Chapter 6 : Lisa Fisher

After being bludgeoned by the police union and local politicians in his first attempt at imposing discipline in the Monica Alves case, KPD Chief Freitas flinched quite visibly when it next came to dealing with sexual harassment. Freitas’s actions hardly reflected a profile in courage.

When a woman KPD officer was sexually abused by male KPD officers at a KPD station, Freitas punished the victim instead of the perpetrators.

As of last count, KPD has five women officers. That’s 3.6 percent of the total force of 140 sworn officers.

The national average for all police departments is 15 percent women, according to Police Chief Magazine. In Albuquerque, N.M. and Tucson, Ariz., women officers comprise one-third of the force and in San Jose, Calif., half of the city’s police officers are women.

One of the reasons the KPD receives so few applications from women is because of what happened to Lisa Fisher.

Fisher, a Kauai High School alum who grew up dreaming only of being a Kauai police officer, resigned in 1997 because of what she termed “a hostile work environment.”

In a lawsuit she filed the following year, Fisher claimed her supervisor at the KPD Hanalei Substation on Kauai’s north shore, Sgt. Cecil Baliaris, had repeatedly made suggestions about her body and his genitals, leading other officers to do the same.

Ultimately, Fisher alleged, Officer Michael Kiyabu grabbed her breasts in the police station in front of the other officers.

When she filed a complaint with Freitas, she was taken off the road and given a desk job.

The charges never were investigated, her lawsuit claimed. Although her lawsuit never went to trial, it’s quite obvious Fisher was correct.

In 2000, Kauai County paid $425,000 to Fisher to settle the case, not counting the considerable but undisclosed amount it cost the county attorney to hire outside counsel to help the county lose the case.

It was the highest settlement in Kauai history, by far eclipsing Monica Aves’s $250,000 settlement and pushing the taxpayer’s tab for KPD misconduct even higher.

It also was the first time a woman Kauai County employee ever had sued the county for sexual harassment and discrimination.

It is instructive to note that, even before she won her settlement, Fisher moved permanently to the mainland. She saw no future for herself on the Garden Island.

“As far as I know, no one was ever disciplined in this case,” said Richard Wilson, Fisher’s Kauai-born Honolulu lawyer.

A lack of oversight that permits questionable racial and gender attitudes is compounded, Wilson asserted, by Kauai’s detachment from the rest of Hawaii.

“Kauai is 560 square miles of island located 100 miles from any outside authority,” he said. “Kauai is very much the ‘Separate Kingdom’ it prides itself on, just as its police force is the best example.”


Chapter 7 : Elaine Schaefer
In another highly-publicized case involving a woman victim, Freitas again sat on his hands while his department did nothing.

Freitas’s role as a reformer and his credibility was being rapidly diminished by his own inaction in blatantly obvious cases of police discrimination.

Elaine Schaefer was not a Kauai cop but she was a cop. She was a white retired Oakland police sergeant who had moved to Kauai.

Oakland is a tough town and Schaefer was a tough cop. But the sexist and racist culture within the KPD was even tougher.

One day in May 2000, Schaefer was riding her horse on a secluded North Shore trail with a spectacular view of the open ocean that stretches all the way to Alaska.

Three pit bulls attacked the horse. Schaefer was thrown, and the terrified riderless horse plunged over a cliff and was killed.

Another white woman saw the attack on Schaefer and her horse and spotted a local man who had been hunting with the dogs. Wild pig hunting with dogs is popular with Kauai locals.

As the man ran past her carrying a rifle, he told the witness, “I’m not going to take the blame for this.”

The witness provided a KPD artist a description that was turned into a sketch that was published in the Garden Island newspaper.

The KPD was flooded with phone calls from north shore residents, all naming the same individual.

The police report categorized the attack—which should have been written up as reckless endangerment and criminal property damage—as a leash law violation, a petty misdemeanor.

The suspect—who apparently had killed the dogs and hidden their bodies—never was arrested.

There never was a lineup so the witness could try to identify the suspect in person while her memory was fresh.

Eventually, the witness moved back to the mainland.

Three months after the incident, the KPD mailed a driver’s license photo of the suspect to the witness. She was unable to pick him out of the photo lineup.

In September 2000, Detective Lt. Glenn Morita, who had been assigned to investigate the case, called Schaefer and told her he had done all he could do and the case was closed. No one would be charged.

Also in September 2000, Detective Lt. Glenn Morita was named “Officer of the Month” by the Kauai Police Commission.

“The minute the sketch of the suspect appeared in the newspaper, everyone on the North Shore knew exactly who it was, but he hasn’t been arrested and probably never will be,” said a third-generation resident of Kauai.

“Here’s a local guy with very close ties to the Kauai Police Department. The victim is a haole from the mainland. That’s how it is with KPD. That’s how it is on Kauai.”

Friday, September 19, 2008


(Coming this weekend- Chapters 6 and 7 of KPD Blue)

STILL IN THE DOG HOUSE?: Our prognosticating post on Wednesday has kicked up a hornets nest of disagreement and more importantly uncovered a constituency we might have ignored.

We said

(T)his Saturday’s Special Mayoral Election appears to be a two way race between Bernard Carvalho ad JoAnn Yukimura for first place with Mel Rapozo trailing badly according to the PNN’s coconut-wireless totally-not-based-on-anything-but-a-hunch poll.

Our guess is that Carvalho will come in with about 40% with Yukimura coming in at about 35%, Rapozo around 20% and Rolf Bieber pulling in about 5%....

Yukimura... has received a boost in recent days and weeks as more and more local grassroots and community organizations have endorsed her.The question is if she can turn out the vote, especially the “I’m not voting for any of those creeps” crowd.Her spurt has seemingly whip-sawed her past Rapozo as many of her disappointed old friends and supporters found nowhere else to go if they hope to dislodge denizens of the recesses of the county-insiders’ bunker.

But in talking to folks since then we realize now we forgot one essential factor- among the “I’m not voting for any of those creeps” crowd there is a significant “especially JoAnn” constituency.

As always, history is an important indicator of how thing will probably go tomorrow.

In 2002 Ron Kouchi and Bryan Baptiste squared off for mayor. Kouchi had been much reviled by many for years for having never met development he didn’t like, especially hotels and resorts.

And he had been on and later in charge of the council when it was busy approving most of the re-zonings that are now the bane of residents as they are constructed all a once without the infrastructure to support them.

But in ’02 Kouchi not only admitted he had done all this but claimed to be a reborn smart growth and controlled development advocate. His “mea culpa” pulled in many of those who had despised him for years and in fact he depended on their votes.

Kouchi courted them using slow-growth slogans stolen directly from ex-mayor Yukimura’s 1988 campaign when she trounced the establishment pro-development Mayor “Uncle” Tony Kunimura during the campaign that malahini- who didn’t know the candidates and history- referred to as the “vote for the ‘-imura’ of your choice” election.

Baptiste ran a lackluster campaign on ’02 and had hardly a word to say on any of the issues, preferring to run a “he’s one of us” campaign with his “leadership from the heart” slogan... an axiom completed by many with “only because he doesn’t have a brain”..

With a growing “settler” constituency who would vote based on the issues rather than community ties Kouchi seemed to be headed for a victory with his new-found, almost religious, conversion

But he- and we- forgot about the “there is no way in hell I’d ever vote for Ron Kouchi” vote.

We kept hearing it throughout the campaign from those who remembered all too well the literally hundreds of 6-1 council votes with Kouchi and the old boys (and a girl or two along the way) pushing through any project that came before them leaving poor Kaipo Asing in a minority of one in almost every vote.

But we didn’t believe it. Surely they would come to their senses since Bryan was such a obnoxious boob, recent eulogies notwithstanding. (What? Too soon?)

But of course Ron didn’t win and, well, guess what? We’re hearing the same about JoAnn.

Though you would think that with her endorsements and the way Rapozo’s stock has fallen recently she was going to pick up enough votes for second place and a place in the November runoff .

But her negatives, like Kouchi’s, may just be too high.

Many still remember how she pissed off just about everybody on one thing or another during her six years as mayor, something we got an earful of in the past three days.

And even some of her former supporters have gotten thoroughly disgusted with how she’s gotten chummy with developers and given away the store lately to the point that they have also vowed never to vote for her again.

The council election is not the mayoral election. Despite her high vote totals in the last two council elections- which paled in comparison to her traditional first place totals before she became mayor- everyone gets seven votes.

And when the candidates say “save one vote for me” it isn’t just a quaint Kauai-ism. It’s the way you get elected here

Kaipo Asing found that out we he ran in 1998 against then Mayor Marianne Kusaka, The day after his last minute filing we overheard two Democratic Party bosses talking (down by the copy store, hint hint) about how the election was his based on his first place finish in every election since 1988.

But Asing stunningly didn’t even make the primary cut, revising the thinking of every councilperson considering the mayor’s seat ever since.

Perhaps Yukimura didn’t take notice because she was living in Honolulu at the time. And perhaps she didn’t get the significance of Kouchi’s loss in ’02.

In these days of duopolisitc, diminished, almost non-existent democracy and the usual choices between tweedledum and tweedledumber it may not be as important to be liked as it is to not be disliked.

If the un-scientific poll in the local paper is any indication Yukimura will be enjoying at least a two year vacation from public service with nothing but time to think about it all..

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


DO YOU SMELL THAT?: We’re just back from voting and it was every bit the appalling experience we thought it would be- and then some.

First off, early voting this year on Kaua`i is being conducted in a construction zone having moved from the Historic County Building– where people were told to come- to the “Annex” next door where the newly and apparently hastily readied basement room reeked of fresh paint- not just an OSHA violation for the workers but a nauseating experience for all involved.

But what the heck- you have to be dizzy in the first place to vote for most of those on the ballot this year- what’s a little huffing on the way into the voting booth?

Then we were handed a paper ballot shunning the electronic machine, as if it really matters. We and others were not told of the new procedure of having to check the little box picking a party instead of just voting in one party’s primary.

The new check box is there for no particular reason other than our new idiotic State Elections Chief Kevin "King" Cronin decreed it- without checking with anyone as was required by law.

And, in another bit of stupidity that could have been solved if he had bothered to follow the law and let someone check his new ballot, although the instructions still say to fill in the oval completely, there are no ovals or even circles next to each name but rectangles, insuring not just more confusion but using twice as much effort and ink to mark the ballot this year.

Cheesehead Cronin obviously decide that too many people had finally figured out the color-coded method over the last 10 years it’s been in use so he’d change it to insure another 10 years of confusion and ruined and invalid ballots.

Then- surprise number 17 gazillion this year- instead of, as has been the practice in the past, leaving off the names of those unchallenged in their party's partisan primaries for those running for state or federal office, they were included this time for no particular reason... probably because that’s the way they do it in Wisconsin.

Studies show that the worst years for mistakes in balloting occur when the balloting methods change- whether changing from things like punch cards to optical scans to using new instructions and ways to mark the ballots.

And so you’d think any schmuck who runs elections knows the best way to insure people understand the ballot is to not change the methodology from election to election unless you really have to..

But Cronin obviously isn’t just any ordinary schmuck- he got a unique, arrogant schmuck-osity about him as we’ve detailed over the past few months.

The worst part is that we aren’t alone in thinking that no matter what we did, there was a good chance that our vote will not be counted because no one is checking the infamous “paper trail” that is supposed to reassure everyone that the result will reflect the vote.

Everyone assumes that some kind of paper record- such as the printer contained in the electronic machines or the ones that we mark in ink and feed into the optical scan counting machine- are an assurance of lack of fraud because they can be counted later after the machines are done doing their “magic”.

But,. as we reported yesterday- and as is listed as a bone of contention in the lawsuit filed by Maui voting observer Bob Babson- the “paper trail” is rarely if ever seen again once the voter leaves the booth.

Because, as Babson’s attorney Lance Collins told us,. trying to see them again is an exercise in futility.

We were surprised to find out yesterday that electronic transmission to Honolulu of the vote with no one on-site verifying the totals had been the case for years and was not, as widely reported by the mainstream media and so by us, a new arbitrary invention of Cronin’s..

But when we asked Collins about it he added the following

I don't know how its been done on Kauai but tabulation has occurred previously on Maui then sent to Honolulu (without telling anyone on Maui what the results are) and then the results are sent back from Honolulu. This is what made Bob Babson initially suspicious in 2006.

Because the Maui final count was not made available before the tabulator was hooked up to the internet/telephone, there would be no way to verify that tampering had not occurred unless you manually recounted all the ballots (except the absentee ballots are never audited-recounted in the first place). However, there are no recounts unless a candidate or 30 voters have concrete evidence that there was fraud or error and that the fraud/error changed the result.

A very high standard for very low election security.

In other words the only way the “paper” is ever seen again - or even a first time- is if 30 people can prove there was something wrong with the totals. And that, if that’s true it would have changed the winner

Many people think it’s futile to vote because good people don’t become candidates- almost by definition- and many can’t even get on the ballot in many states.

And if they do manage to run, only those with lots of money from dubious sources – as well as those who don’t just represent but actually ARE the special interests- can get the media recognition to tell people they are “viable” or “ electable”.

But the with the privatized elections systems used in every state these days- which results in the proprietary nature of the counting software- and other ridiculously convoluted rules for ever actually checking the results, the supposed confidence-building “paper trails” do nothing to negate, and in fact facilitate, the opportunities for election fraud. .

So, that said, don’t forget to vote Saturday kiddies... It’s apparently a sucker’s game but it’s probably the only “right” you have left.


AND DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME: As detailed here twice recently- as well as in other Hawai`i blogs and even (gasp) to some extent in the mainstream press- it appears that vote totals this Saturday will not even be recorded much less counted at the precincts or anywhere else on the neighbor islands.

A lawsuit on Maui has been filed but judges have been consistently ruling against anything that will change this year’s un-official, official election procedures no matter how arbitrary and capricious... although the case is on appeal.

And so, as has been ubiquitously reported, one potential screwup-waiting-to-happen is that the votes will go directly via phone lines from the electronic voting equipment “cards” to the State Capitol for counting without even being recorded first, leaving room for all sorts of mischief.

But PNN has learned today that Kaua`i votes haven’t been tabulated or even recorded on island in the last 10 years and have rather been electronically transmitted to Honolulu for tabulation and first release.

In answer to PNN’s queries as to whether, as usual, the county would hand out the totals to the gaggle of reporters and campaign operatives that usually gathers at the county building on election eve, Deputy County Clerk Ernie Passion said they haven’t done the tabulations here at least since he got here in 1998.

Rather they’ve let the machines send them to Honolulu where they were electronically shipped back here and printed out for the gathered.

This doesn’t mean they ever had the required Chapter 91 Administrative Rules for the procedures, as attorney Lance Collins states in the Maui lawsuit. It just means they’ve been doing it illegally for a long time now.

Those who want to be among the very first to get the vote totals on Saturday can click here and bookmark the site. Then on Saturday around 7 p.m. you can go there and keep hitting “refresh” to get the up to the minute results.

And speaking of telling people where to go, this Saturday’s Special Mayoral Election appears to be a two way race between Bernard Carvalho ad JoAnn Yukimura for first place with Mel Rapozo trailing badly according to the PNN’s coconut-wireless totally-not-based-on-anything-but-a-hunch poll.

Our guess is that Carvalho will come in with about 40% with Yukimura coming in at about 35%, Rapozo around 20% and Rolf Bieber pulling in about 5%.

It doesn’t take a genius to see where most of the old boy support is because Carvalho’s first campaign spending report is in and he leads the cash race collecting a whopping $132 562.41 from July 8 through September 5 of which he still has $46,877. 36

And his list of contributors contains the names of virtually every Kaua`i county department head and a slew of county employees indicating that the old boys know who will put shoyu on their rice.

Click on the contributors list for an eyeful especially the fact that the identification of the people giving him money for the most part is sorely lacking... not that the others have any more details.

Carvalho has taken the Rose Garden approach so far and seemingly successfully when you look at his list of supporters which includes many Democratic Party stalwarts that supported Yukimura 20 years ago as well as the big business biggies that Ron Kouchi drew in his losing campaign against Bryan Baptiste in 2002.

With Baptiste’s Republican machine still in place and working side by side with the entrenched Democratic operatives Carvalho will be hard to beat and a low turnout Saturday could even put him over the required 50% needed to avoid the November runoff.

Yukimura’s report indicates the campaign is struggling financially but has received a boost in recent days and weeks as more and more local grassroots and community organizations have endorsed her.

The question is if she can turn out the vote,, especially the “I’m not voting for any of those creeps” crowd.

Her spurt has seemingly whip-sawed her past Rapozo as many of her disappointed old friends and supporters found nowhere else to go if they hope to dislodge denizens of the recesses of the county-insiders’ bunker.

But she is in serious money trouble if she keeps Carvalho under a majority with a slightly negative case flow after somehow spending $73,616.65 already.

Yukimura’s list of contributors from 7/17- 9/5 – like Carvalho’s and Rapozo’s 7/16- 9/4 list have a dearth of the required employer and industry information the campaign filing laws require if possible.

But for those who recognize the names the trends are pretty indicative of Rapozo and Carvalho’s old boy network support vs. Yukimura’s comparatively grassroots support

The bright spot money-wise for Yukimura might be that the listed donations were received before the Sept. 4 filing deadline which preceded many of the endorsements from the likes of the Sierra Club, the Kaua`i Museletter and even surprisingly enough PNN. And many of her contributors have not “maxed out” at the $2000 limit as many of Carvalho’s developer,. government and real estate contributors.

As to Rapozo’s filing Rapozo he’s sitting flush having collected 67,106.45 with 27,460.24 in cash left.

The question is, what is he saving it for.

He’s been hurt by various factors including the Yukimura surge and the publication of the book KPD Blue where voters were reminded- or in some cases first informed- of his involvement in the infamous “lap dancing at the station house” incident in 1995 which led to Rapozo’s ousting from the Kaua`i Police Department.

As a frequent administration critic Rapozo has relied on his image as a fighter and crusader to clean up county government and this strikes at his core. It’s what has distinguished him from both Carvalho who IS the embodiment of the Batiste reign and Yukimura whose compromising “no talk stink” persona has emerged in her six-year-council-seat stint and political comeback after being ousted from the mayor’s seat in 1994.

But when all is said and done Rapozo probably lost the election with his high profile blogging fight against the “dog path”.

By the time he came to his senses and stopped his blog not only had he lost votes but, because Carvalho was the administration official who actually banned the dogs on the bike path, the hurt was doubled because all his votes went to Yukimura who was careful not to get too involved in the issue too much except in her typical “make everyone happy” manner.

For many dog enthusiasts this is a one issue election now and they didn’t just turn to Yukimura but did so, well, enthusiastically.

And in the final analysis since Rapozo and Yukimura are essentially sharing the anti Baptiste/anti-Carvalho vote, JoAnn is picking up virtually every vote he loses. That may even be enough to push her into a virtual tie with Carvalho assuming Rapozo’s support is, as it appears, in free fall.

We urge anyone undecided to click on and check out the list of contributors for each candidate if you want to know who the candidate “represents”. It’s far more informative than things like the local newspaper’s regurgitation of old articles, fluff questions, useless information and splashy advertising that tried to pass itself off as an voters’ election guide this past Sunday.

All in all it’s been quite a boring race with all four candidates’ platitudes and stump-rhetoric replacing hard stands on the issue. That and a distinct lack of the usual sign-stealing charges smear campaigns and the like is disappointing to any political junkie.

But if it turns out as we predict there should be a pretty good two-way race to November 4.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


HARDENED BONEHEADS: It’s nani-nani-boo-boo time for us today as the Naue cemetery desecration case came to fruition in court yesterday.

As we reported first by delineating a letter from OHA on July 10, the shenanigans of developer Joe Brescia and his henchwoman Nancy “Igor” McMahon violated various provisions of rules and laws.

As Joan Conrow said this morning in referring to the property rights nutsos who have been defending and singing the praises of Brescia and McMahon::

“OK, get out your chili pepper water, your A-1 sauce or your other favorite condiment. Because it’s time to eat some crow — and not the Alala kine, since it’s almost extinct.

Although the ruling was vintage, archetypical Judge Kathleen Wantanabe in it’s equivocations in favor of bureaucratic deference, the ruling confirmed that the desecration of the cemetery at Naue was never legal even according to the administrative procedures much less the state law and constitution.

Because she was a typical gutless government attorney throughout her career, by predilection it seems it never occurred to Judge Wantanabe that she could strike down the “ad rules” that she instead said should be changed legislatively in part because they violate the laws and constitutional provisions.

The ruling is well reported by others today so we won’t detail it here but we can’t wait for the spectacle of next Kaua`i Burial Council meeting, which if they’re smart they’ll hold at the convention hall or stadium.

And of course we anticipate quite the crowd at the planning commission whose discussion of the legitimacy of the construction permits has been on hold pending the ruling that invalidates an essential component- a valid burial plan..

And we’re pretty sure there are prohibitive odds against State Archeologist Nancy McMahon coming in anywhere but last in this Saturday’s council election after the full blame for the mess was deposited at her doorstep.

The only question left is whether her negligence and malfeasance rose to a level that she doesn’t have any immunity against a lawsuit by all sides.

Perhaps we’ll see a civil case with plaintiffs Jeff Chandler and Joe Brescia vs. respondent Nancy McMahon in the near future. Only a complete twit like McMahon could bring those two together on something.

But even though the desecration and destruction is essentially halted for now- though in a typical Wantanabe-istic non-ruling ruling- what strikes us through all of this is the antiseptic way the press, even our friend Joan (although just quoting Wantanabe), has fallen into a pattern of describing the actual desecratory construction last month.

Here’s some snippets from Joan’s post.

Wantanbe also said that doesn’t mean he was authorized to start pouring his foundation, effectively capping some seven iwi in concrete so he could erect pilings for his house...

“While the burials were preserved, they were not authorized according to law and it could be argued that construction of jackets constitutes alteration,” Watanabe said...

The Council could take any number of steps, she said, such as having the jackets taken off the iwi and removing the seven burials that are now under the house and reinterring them elsewhere.

Blogger Charley Foster, who despite his protestations has decidedly sided with the developer, used the words “after jackets and footings were already poured” in a comment although that can be expected.

But here’s a description from the article in the local paper today:

...a Burial Treatment Plan featuring vertical buffers for the house and protective concrete jackets for the iwi.

“Capping some seven iwi in concrete”? “Construction of jackets”? “Having the jackets taken off the iwi”? “Vertical buffers for the house and protective concrete jackets for the iwi”.?

What is with these antiseptic descriptions?. What Brescia apparently did was dig a freakin’ hole and pour concrete all over the bones- “coincidentally” right where they were pouring the concrete for the concrete foundation poles.

They all make it sound like anything but what it is.

There are no stupid “jackets”. Nothing was “capped”. And there were no “preservation measures”.

If we were to suggest the Arizona Memorial be “preserved” by slathering it in concrete we’d be strung up by the short and curlies.

At least malahini Advertiser reporter Diana Leong put the words "concrete jackets" and "buffer" in quotes in her piece this morning.

The news stories made clear that there was no order to stop but the proviso was that construction could continue only as long as there’s “no irreparable damage to the burials”

No one is pointing out the obvious- there was already irreparable harm because the way it’s described with “caps” and “jackets” and “buffers” and “pilings” it doesn’t let people know that they just poured cement over the bones.

This is a certainly a new idea in physical anthropology. Why we could “preserve” all artifacts forever by throwing them in a pit and sealing them in cement. Mayan ruins? Dinosaur bones? George Washington’s wooden teeth? Seal ‘um all in concrete. .

Since McMahon is going to be out of a job we may well be looking forward to the new Joe Brescia Memorial School of Wacko Anthropology... built of concrete.

And as for Brescia, well no one can say he hasn’t cemented relations between north shore developers and Kanaka community.