Tuesday, May 12, 2009


AND SO THE POOR DOG HAD NONE: Our three part series on the Unethical Culture of some members of the Kaua`i Board of Ethics (BOE) detailed the cases of three members of that board who have and continue to violate the plain reading of the county charter’s Code of Ethics which prohibits members of boards and commissions from appearing on behalf of private interests before other boards and commissions, including the county council.

As we concluded. what was missing was that, in order to get the ball rolling to force them to either remove themselves from office or quit representing private interests was an actual complaint filed with the BOE.

So over the weekend, Rolf Bieber felt responsible as a BOE member to take matters into his own hands and file three complaints- two against his fellow BOE members Mark Hubbard and Judy Lenthall and one against attorney Lorna Nishimitsu who sits on the Cost Control Commission.

Bieber, who ran for mayor last fall, told us it wasn’t anything personal and that he respects the three immensely but that the board needed to move forward on the matter because, as it stands there was no enforcement whatsoever of the provision based on BOE decisions in other cases last and earlier this year.

His notarized complaints include the transcripts from the three county council meetings where the three represented private interests- Hubbard for the Kaua`i Action and Planning Alliance, Lenthall for the Kaua`i Food Bank and Nishimitsu for Kikia`ola Land Corporation.

Although none of them would comment for our series, that wasn’t the case when reporter for the local newspaper Michael Levine contacted them for comment on his story today regarding Bieber’s complaints.

And if anyone thought that perhaps Hubbard- the former Chair and now Vice Chair of the BOE- was in need of professional mental health after reading his ramblings in our article his comments to Levine certainly approximate the classic response of a paranoid schizophrenic.

There are apparently at least two Mark Hubbard’s existing nowhere but in Hubbard’s own mind depending on what covers the head that contains the various Hubbard’s.

In classic gibberish Hubbard told Levine:

“The way I read it (Section 20.02(D)) is very simple. When I was sitting there in front of the County Council, the hat I wore was Kaua`i Planning and Action Alliance. I made no representation, I was not considered, not looked upon as vice chair of Ethics. It had nothing to do with Ethics even though I am on that board.

“I didn’t appear as the Ethics person, I appeared as the treasurer of Kaua`i Planning and Action Alliance,” Hubbard said. “The Board of Ethics person wasn’t around. The treasurer of Kaua`i Planning and Action Alliance was around. Yes, it happens to be the same person.”

Hats? What awesome powers do bonnets bestow? They apparently give the wearer the ability to change identity like some kind of incognito emissary in a spy movie attempting to bamboozle his enemies.

Perhaps Hubbard has a secret collection of headwear that allows him to change personas whenever he chooses, much like Superman’s glasses can convince Lois Lane he’s actually mild mannered reporter Clark Kent.

One possible explanation is that it’s the good Mark Hubbard that selflessly appears on behalf of KPPA and his evil twin that sits on the BOE.

But we can only hope Hubbard guards his chapeau collection well lest they fall into the hands of those who do us harm. Imagine the problems it would pose for the courts if the criminal element could avoid prosecution by simply making the right choice at the haberdashers.

Good thing we can trust Hubbard not to abuse his Superhero status...uh he does belong to the Legion of Justice doesn’t he?... or does he simply have a hat for that.

He must have had Tom Terrific’s magic thinking cap to come up with what Levine reported he said next

Asked about the potential for the appearance of a conflict of interest if council members were to one day have to answer to the Board of Ethics, Hubbard said “there’s no such thing.”

“When people talk about the appearance of conflict of interest, to me, that has nothing to do with the Board of Ethics,” he said. “Is there a conflict of interest or isn’t there? There’s no such thing as appearance."

No such thing? Good thing the news hasn’t reached Kaua`i Mark because there 943,000 results for “appearance of a conflict of interest” at Google including the one at Wikipedia which starts off it’s “conflict of interest” entry by saying

A conflict of interest occurs when an individual or organization... has an interest that might compromise their reliability.

A conflict of interest exists even if no improper act results from it, and can create an appearance of impropriety that can undermine confidence in the conflicted individual or organization.

Ask yourself what you would do if appointed for a body that oversees ethics and deals with conflicts of interest. Would you not review what an appearance of conflict of interest actually is before you said it doesn’t exist?

Not our pal Mark- get this final gobbledy-gook

“There is no conflict because I went and asked the council for something. Their choice is to say yes or no. ... I could feel good about that, or bad about that, and I could act. I have some authority, I have a vote on the Board of Ethics. ... (but) I didn’t have a financial interest (in KPAA). That’s the charter and the county regs — it has to be financial.”

No financial interest? KPPA is one of the Kaua`i government’s favorite recipients of their largess, to be distributed to others for various planning projects at PPPA’s pleasure... quite the powerful position.

As a matter of fact, Levine’s article reports, Hubbard’s appearance was quite successful since an extra $14,500 appears in the supplemental budget that came after his “appearance on behalf of” KPPA.

The article also notes that Executive Director Lenthall got $20,000 more in the supplemental budget after her appearance on behalf of the Food Bank.

Lenthall for her part still clings to the inability to distinguish between a personal and private interest telling Levine:

Lenthall said it was unfair to her as an unpaid volunteer that she be expected to give up rights guaranteed to private citizens, citing as an example her right to appeal a property tax assessment, and said the language as currently written could discourage volunteers from helping the county, something she does “out of the goodness of my heart.”

What Lenthall fails to recognize is that it has nothing to do with the “goodness of her heart” and whether she wants to “help the county”. 99.9% of the residents of Kaua`i have and will never come before a board or commission asking for money or tangible considerations. The fact that a small handful of those who do populate these boards and commissions reflect the inherent moral bankruptcy and corrupt mindset of those who feed at the government trough is no coincident born of necessity.

The insinuation that Hubbard is not Hubbard at certain times or that there are multiple Hubbard’s stretches credulity to the breaking point, especially with the quasi-judicial nature of the BOE.

In any other judicial proceeding just the fact that a judge or juror even knows the defendant is cause for them to be excused from the proceedings.

The fact that Hubbard has ruled on the ethics complaints filed against member of the county council in the past makes his claim that he should be permitted to solicit funds from them the construction of an unethical if not criminal mind and one certainly not suited to sit on any county body much less the ethics board.

What are we- a bunch of freakin' idiots? You can certainly check off a big fat “yes” when it comes to what Hubbard and Lenthall think.

No comments: