Tuesday, April 28, 2009

KIBBLES AND BITS

KIBBLES AND BITS: The push to revive HB 444, establishing civil unions, is on with three, count ‘em three, emails from activists arriving with petitions under Senate Rule 67, not in our usual yahoo email account but in the gotwindmills(at)gmail inbox listed only at the bottom of our “right rail”, showing the work that’s going into the effort.

One link was for a sheet you can print out and circulate and another is for signing it electronically.

The petitions got some play from Honolulu Advertiser capitol reporter Derrick DePledge, not in an article but in his blog. which contained a link to the electronic petition web site.

But the scrupulously “objective” DePledge didn’t count on the electronic fingerprints the internet often provides because the link he provided was apparently lifted from the site after he personally signed it with “Signed by: D. DePledge [Your address]” at the bottom of the linked page and a note saying “If you are not D. DePledge, click here” where the sign-in portion appears.

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It seems like follow-up Tuesday and although it was stated over and over at last Wednesday’s council meeting that there would be a written plan available “by tomorrow” (last Thursday) for flushing a million county dollars down the rat-hole of Kaua`i tourism “marketing”- as we described last Friday- a request for the supposedly detailed strategy at council services yesterday elicited some scratched heads and only a re-regurgitation of the one-page appropriation bill

So far no one seems to care, even those who need the services that will be cut in next year’s budget. Perhaps it’s because those that whine about government spending are commonly the self-same types who populate the board rooms at the hotel plantations, whose bottom line is all that will benefit most from the corporate welfare.

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We still have not received our promised “expedited" rejection of our request for the particulars of apparently fired deputy County Attorney Margaret Sueoka’s discrimination suit against the county allowing us to file with the state to declare the public interest in the case more important than Sueoka’s privacy.

But we were struck that, unless you were a reader of our news article last week or the agenda for last Wednesday’s meeting, her name would not be known to you.

Seems that when the agenda item was read aloud to appropriate the $50,000 to fight the EEOC charge, along with another for an executive session where the real decision to spend it was made, the name of the litigant was glaringly omitted, depriving the home viewing public the specificity that the sunshine law requires of the agenda items themselves if not the public reading of them.

We’ve heard through sources- although we still cannot confirm it through new County Attorney Al Castillo, who apparently was the one who fired Sueoka since she was still working for the county attorney’s office until he came on board- that our speculation that Sueoka was canned for her past work and a “difference in philosophy” and not due to her gender, race or any other “protected class” status, was pretty much right on target. We’ll keep you informed.

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We certainly don’t have an exclusive beat in uncovering county corruption although it might seem so when perusing the “all fluff all the time pages” local newspaper.

If you haven’t seen it take a gander at Joan Conrow’s bombshell as an adjunct to a Kaua`i People piece she wrote on Uncle Bernard Mahuiki, the trash-master at the Hanalei Transfer station.

Unfit for the local paper’s wholly owned freebie, mid-week advertising-throwaway, Joan relegated the real news to her Kaua`i Eclectic blog where she wrote in prose so disarmingly charming and folksy you might have missed the significance of what you were reading

( Mahuiki) said he was given a list of guys — cronies of county bosses — who shouldn’t be asked for their pre-paid tickets to dump commercial waste because they were getting freebies. In that case, he told them, I won't ask for anyone’s tickets. Oh, you can’t do that, he was told. I can and I will, he replied. Either everybody pays or nobody pays.Folks often think that really big money changes hands in back room deals and friendly favors. But a lot of times, it’s pretty manini, like $10 or $20 bucks a day in waived dumping charges. Still, as Uncle Bernard noted, that does add up over time.

Just how much info does the FBI need for it’s investigation we reported last December?

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Finally check out right-wing, yet strangely also sometimes intelligently written Big Island blogger Aaron Stene and his post regarding our defense of State Rep. Joe Bertram’s fear of the “thought police” taking over by prosecuting “imaginary crimes” where alleged on-line child predators are prosecuted for soliciting, not actual children but, cops posing as children.

Stene calls our defense “disgusting” and as we predicted tries to paint the issue as one of Bertram- and us- being pro-child molesting instead of one of punishing people for their thoughts and ignoring the substitution of expedient yet unconstitutional measures in supplanting the good yet difficult police work that identification and surveillance would entail... as do others who commented on the piece.

Stene asks “Andy, I guess you haven't seen Chris Hansen's To Catch a Predator.” Yes we have, speaking of disgusting....

There’s nothing wrong with surveiling a suspect when probable cause exists to think they will commit an actual crime and doing so until he or she actually attempts one. But there is in entrapping that individual. The only thing disgusting is the thought that some- be they sick or otherwise- don’t deserve and in fact have the same rights as everyone else.

It isn’t just child predators, drug dealers and terrorists that are caught in these new laws that the current anti-civil rights US. Supreme Court claims trump your rights in the name of providing for the catch-all safety and welfare of the nation.

Lately protest groups and activists have been caught up in roundups of those who have committed no crime but have thought about committing non-violent civil disobedience such as occurred during the Republican Convention last summer.

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Well, go Rangers... and take the Knicks with you.

4 comments:

Doug said...

Heh.

Early this morning I left a comment at DDP's blog congratulating him for signing the e-petition and explaining (as you also discovered) that the link in his post included "auto-fill" information, but someone (DDP, I assume) deleted my comment and the link remains the same. Maybe his employers are cool with a working journalist signing petitions and then writing a story about, maybe not. I dunno.

FWIW, I signed it, too, and I hope everyone who reads this will, too.

Andy Parx said...

For the record Derrick says it came to him already filled out- and he says he never has anything to do with the comments- I had one that would not go through with a long URL in it last week. It sat “awaiting moderation” for a week.

It’s a very organized and hard working campaign... unusually so- I got four personalized emails (one after press time to my yahoo account) and none were already filled out. Did anyone else get these?... were yours filled out for you already?

I didn’t sign before I posted the link because I was afraid the link I put in the piece might somehow change so the example wouldn’t make sense.

Joan said...

Funny, mine wasn't all filled out or signed.

Better be careful, Derrick. You wouldn't want someone ratting you out to the editors as a political activist.

As for Uncle Bernard, as I reported later in my blog, the county retaliated for his candor by forcing him to end the "junk yard kanikapila" held at the transfer station each Tuesday.

As an attorney friend noted: "This county runs on revenge."

Katy Rose said...

Thanks, Andy, for standing up for civil liberties as usual. On that note, maybe you'd like to write something about the proposed changes at DOE concerning drug-sniffing dogs and other incursions of privacy.

Is the real threat on campus the dime bag in someone's locker? Or is it, maybe, the knucklehead in army fatigues barking orders to the JROTC class?