Tuesday, October 21, 2008

FROM THE DOG’S MOUTH/ AIN’T THAT DOG DEAD YET?

FROM THE DOG’S MOUTH: “Everybody knows me as ‘Mr. Wala`au’”.

That’s what county council candidate Dickie Chang told PNN in an exclusive interview this morning in discussing why his name appears on the November ballot with the “trademarked” name of his business listed as a nickname.

The television host of the Wala`au television program said “it’s just like ‘Kaipo’ Asing“

“He’s Bill ‘Kaipo’ Asing. I’m Dickie ‘Wala`au’ Chang. All the kids call me Wala`au” he said in defending why he included it on the ballot.

Chang said “it wasn’t my idea- I wasn’t the one who said how to put my name on the ballot”, although he declined to say who did.

“I just filled out all the papers they told me to” at the elections office, he said.

Administrative Rules (HAR) §2-52-4 say that:

If a candidate seeks to have a name other than the candidate's legal name, its commonly recognized equivalent, or maiden name, appear on the ballot, the candidate, at the time of filing nomination papers shall also file a notarized affidavit in which the candidate attests to the fact that the name to appear on the ballot is the name by which the candidate is most commonly known throughout the district from which the candidate seeks election.

Slogans shall not be printed on the ballot.

And when told of the rule Chang asserted that is exactly what his listing does- list the nickname by which he is most commonly known on the island.

“I never thought it was wrong” Chang said via telephone saying he “can’t remember” being told of the specifics of the law.

“I signed and notarized whatever they told me to” he said.

As to what exactly he signed and notarized we still, as we reported yesterday, cannot get an answer out of County Clerk Peter Nakamura who again was “not in his office” whenever we called again today.

We did leave a detailed message with Nakamura’s council services staff requesting inspection and/or a copy of any sworn notarized affidavit Chang filed pertaining to the listing of his name on the ballot.

The head of Kaua`i elections, Deputy County Clerk Ernie Pasion who would normally handle such requests, has referred PNN and others who have inquired to his boss Nakamura.

Chang says wherever he goes people call him “Wala`au” so he never thought twice about it being not just the name of his business but his nickname as well, adding that he commonly refers to himself as “Mr. Wala`au” on his long-running, popular, local television program.

PNN has received inquires from more than a dozen people over the past two months as to the ballot listing, of whom three told us they had made inquires with the county but had been either ignored or rebuffed with unreturned phone calls.

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AIN’T THAT DOG DEAD YET?: And since that horse “no stay make already yet” we were again astonished that after yesterday’s excoriation of Juan Wilson’s “no critical reading necessary” bungling of his endorsement of a charter amendment to ease conflict of interest recusal rules in county government, he has not just refused to read it correctly but found another way to mis-read it.
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In a posting yesterday at his Island Breath web site he writes

COUNTY PROPOSAL NO. 4
RELATING TO DISCLOSURE OF INTEREST
Shall an elected or appointed officer or employee, or member of a board or commission not be allowed to participate in matters pending before them where the member or any member of his immediate family has a personal financial interest?


Island Breath recommendation-- Vote YES

This is a simple conflict of interest issue that has been deceptively worded to require a YES vote to be against conflicts of interest.

As we tried to tell Wilson, the law as it appears now- and as is listed in the “material to be deleted” at the county’s web site– already requires subject individuals to “not be allowed to participate in matters pending before them”

The underlining of “not” was Wilson’s emphasis, not the county’s but apparently indicates that he thinks this is a trick wording, making it some kind of double negative.

But in fact the “trick” is that the description contained in the question is one that perfectly depicts the current law.

As we detailed in a column last Wed.- where you can read both the portions of the charter to be deleted and added as well as our complete analysis- during the 2006 election the charter was changed to require that a conflict of interest would required conflicted individuals to recuse themselves from discussing and voting upon the matter in question.

The current proposal keeps the recusal provisions but seeks to water that down by circumscribing a limited set of what constitutes a conflict- proposing to change the definition that has been in the Charter since it’s inception.

The definitions never bothered councilpersons in the past since all they had to do was “declare” a conflict of interest and then do nothing about it. Not only that but the de facto method of doing that was to simply send a “communication” to the council “informing” them of the conflict..

But those were not “communications for approval” but to “inform” the council. This meant that when the communication regarding the potential conflict came up for discussion at the council meetings the communications were “received for the record” along with a weekly laundry list of “communications for receipt” and rarely if ever read aloud for the TV viewing public.

But once the new law required non-participation, all of a sudden it was “too severe” as councilpersons discussed and agreed upon unanimously this past summer.

Though the new law keeps the recusal provisions it restricts conflicts to those who are certain officers of a company or organization and restricts subject family members to only certain ones and not others.

This means that under current law, for instance, a councilperson’s sister-in-law who works as a manager at Grove Farm would not cause a conflict under the proposed law if Grove Farm were applying for some resort zoning or some other slurp at the county trough. Her positions in both the family and the business would exclude her from causing a potential conflict of interest under the proposed charter amendment.

And for the record although, as we said yesterday, Walter Lewis’ column on this charter amendment said it “seem(s) to offer (a) reasonable reform” he also said “I do not have any firm recommendations as to the proposal... relating to disclosure of interests” which we did not report. We regret any confusion this might have caused.

5 comments:

Ace Harbinger said...

I have never referred to him - or addressed him - as "wala'au". I have always known him as Dickie. I'll bet that is the name on his real property tax bill. And his Social Security card.

It warms the heart, though, to know that Dickie just filled out the forms they told him to. That ought to be enough to qualify him for Council.

- A.H.

nunya said...

Walaʻau=talk story=the name of the show=always was.

And the guy that just fills in the blanks where heʻs told is Dickie Chang=the guy that does the Walaʻau show.

I think Peter piper should do his job now because itʻs going to come up if Dickie Chang gets elected. It will be much worse for the delinquent county officials when they have to answer why the issue was not addressed.

I didnʻt know being a councilmember would be so easy...just sign and do what the other guys tell you.

Darn, should have run for office.

If the conflict of interest rule already stands, then why is Aiu always sitting in on Planning Commission hearings that his sister attends in the interest of the developments she works for?

hale.nanakai said...

What the hell kind of experience or credentials does Dickie "Wala'au" Chang have to govern our island??

nunya said...

By all estimates, that would be the question of the decade !

MauiBrad said...

I just voted absentee. The ballot wasn't too bad, even the last long Charter Amendment. Then again, it helped to know what I was voting on before going in there. One of those Charter Amendments is a double negative, though. Had to reread that one.

Happy about my votes for Bruce Pleas, JoAnn Yukimura, and Barack Obama.

Aloha, Brad