Tuesday, March 10, 2009

SHOCKED-SHOCKED... AND SHOCKED AGAIN

SHOCKED-SHOCKED... AND SHOCKED AGAIN: The Kaua`i Island Utility Coop (KIUC) election ballot is in members’ hands and Ben Sullivan is the only candidate worth a damn, as any number of local civic groups will tell you.

But while some are asking voters not to screw themselves by voting for any of the others- six power seeking pieces of crap such as perennial-candidate-for everything JoAnn Georgi who wants to build nuclear plants on the island- most fail to alert voters to the Kaua`i tradition of “plunking”- voting only for the one candidate you really want even if there are many slots to fill.

But before we started to kvetch about it we figured we’d better find out exactly how many slots are being filled this time since we don’t have a ballot in-hand.

Check the local newspaper? A lot of coverage of the candidates but no mention of how many slots are to be filled.

We don’t expect much from the local paper so we were sure all the information we could ever want would be prominently displayed at the KIUC web site, especially a sample ballot.

Guess again. Not only isn’t there a sample ballot anywhere at the web site, there’s no list at all on the main page or virtually any information at all regarding the election except buried in a “press release” where we find out there are indeed three slots open

Only under Press Releases, underneath the latest release entitled 2009 Board of Directors Election Candidates - 2/11/09 which does not contain the number of openings, is there a button for KIUC Nominating Committee Selects Candidates - 1/16/09 – containing the number of openings.

But we only started this search after receiving a phone call this weekend from someone who depends on us to let her know what’s going on with elections and who are the “good” candidates.

After we told her to vote only for Ben, she posed a question that really threw us for a loop asking “and what about the two by-law amendments?”

By-law amendments? Are you kidding? We’d like to think we’re pretty well informed scouring the local paper and blogs, talking to people on the phone and receiving emails from just about every advocacy and civic group on the island. Yet not a one we’ve seen has mentioned that there were going to be by-law changes proposed.

You wouldn’t know it either if you went to the KIUC web site. Only by the same hit and miss process of clicking on every button that we used to find the candidate information could we find information on the amendments... under a mysteriously labeled button saying Resolution 01-09 of the Board of Directors of KIUC.

There we found a long convoluted resolution in which, if you bother to scroll down through all sorts of whereas’s and herebys, you’ll get to this but of legalese that raises all sorts of questions

That the President and CEO is hereby authorized and directed to submit
said proposed amendments to the Association's Bylaws to a vote of the Membership on a Ballot substantially in the form of Exhibit "B", and to cause the exact text of the proposed amendments as set out in Exhibit "A" to be printed in the Voters Guide for the election, and cause a Exhibit "A" to be posted in prominent places on the premises of the Association and on the Association's internet website, and to otherwise publicize said changes as appropriate
(emphasis added).

This little ditty was so prominently posted that it took us an hour to find it and another one to translate the legalese.

The two page resolution with the above blurb at the very end, was followed not by the actual changes to the bylaws, stated in a brief and succinct manner but with the changes occasionally interspersed throughout an 18 page document- aka Exhibit “A”- which contains the full text of all the bylaws.

At the very bottom of the 21 pages pdf document is an “explanation” of the changes, which actually are pretty innocuous, one seemingly a housekeeping measure and another that redefines what a “quorum” is for voting purposes to make sure that measures pass only when a “majority of the entire voting membership of the Board” votes yes rather than the current system where “half” is sufficient.

While rooting around in the KIUC muck-site we also found the minutes from the nominating committee which was headed by Carol Bain, former head of the League of Women Voters who was elected on a platform of bringing more transparency to the board.

We found that only three of the four people who had applied to be nominated by the nominating committee were approved with Patrick “Pat” Gegen failing for some reason to make the grade. We say “for some reason” because there is nothing in the minutes to indicate why exactly Gegen was rejected.

We hate to conjecture (ok we love it) but it could be because Gegen is not a part of the old boy network that, another press release tell us, was quite well represented on the nominating committee where at least two of the four “non-directors” that were appointed were tenured members of the corrupt revolving-door cabal that runs between the county government and the private sector.

One is the infamous Cesar Portugal former County Engineer whose sister’s plumbing company was seemly exempt from regulations during his tenure and who was, as head of Pubic Works Department, MaryAnn Kusaka’s chief apologist during the grubbing and grading scandals of the late ‘90’s and early ‘00’s and was implicated in Kusaka’s “protection” of accused murderer Jimmy Pflueger from inquiry into the violations that led to the deaths of seven people in the Ka Loko Dam break.

The other is Mike Tresler, the former head of the Department of Finance and current VP in charge of schmoozing the county at land baron Grove Farm. Tresler was complicit in firing of former chief of Police KC Lum when he apparently illegally attempted to cancel his contract during the conspiratorial witchhunt, as detailed in the book KPD Blue.

As usual with KIUC since it’s inception, despite lip service to transparent and democratic governance the board of KIUC has consistently shown itself to be just another cog in labyrinth of the Minotaurs characterized by the plantation mentality and cozy corruption that maintains Kaua`i as “A Separate Kingdom”.

1 comment:

Katy Rose said...

I couldn't make heads or tails of the proposed bylaws. I left them blank and voted only for Sullivan. I hope there's not some obscure rule that invalidates my ballot because I didn't vote on everything!