Wednesday, September 30, 2009


DOIN’ THE MATH: We’ve already got our grandson pouncing on one of our “favorite” TV news “teaser” lines- that their next story will reveal “facts” that “may or may not” be true. It’s a close second in entertainment value to much used corollary “ Is it true? The answer might surprise you”

Then again it might not.

So when greeted with a headline in today’s local paper proclaiming that “Council terms could be 4 years” we couldn’t help but see the joke contained therein.

Because we’ve lost track now of how often Kaua`i voters have rejected extending terms for councilmembers but it’s got to be around half a dozen times in the last 30 years.

It’s been an old standby for every charter commission, along with districting which has also been soundly defeated every time no matter how it’s been presented because both are, for good reason, firmly entrenched in the political culture of Kaua`i.

Though we seem to return corrupt incumbents at an inexplicable rate, we at least want to keep them on their toes with two year terms. And we want to vote for all seven because, as a close knit island, we can see the folly and potential boondoggling in pitting one area against another.

But we can look to an article from the previous day to figure out why, despite the rejection of the four year council terms over and over, charter commissions repeatedly try to shove it down our throats.

The shocking resignation of Carol Ann Davis Bryant - as characterized by reporter Michael Levine- is another of those also that would have been better characterized as a “may or may not be” surprise, especially when you look at Davis’s reported explanation.

Picking up where her late husband left off, Carol Ann Davis-Briant championed the county manager system of government for Kaua`i. But on Monday she said her attempts have been stymied, announcing her resignation to shocked colleagues on the Charter Review Commission.

“Since I began serving on the commission, efforts to provide information about the manager system to the commission and to have it actively considered by the commission as a potential proposal for submission to the Kaua`i voters as an amendment to our county charter have been systematically blocked,”...

“I have concluded that I am facing a systematic barrier which is being imposed by the commission, the Office of Boards and Commissions and the county attorney to prevent the consideration of a responsible proposal of a county manager form of government which I feel is supported by many Kaua`i residents,” she said...

She said the government “does not function properly” because four entities — the Kaua`i County Council, the Office of the Mayor, the Office of Boards and Commissions and the Office of the County Attorney — are all vying for control of the island.

Though Bryant may or may not be learning for the first time how those four entities interact to squelch any reform- or for that matter attempts to enforce laws, rules and regulations they don’t like- for most others, including her late husband Walter, it’s another one of those “shocked-shocked to find corruption in our county government... you’re winnings sir” state of affairs.

Those winnings stretch out for two years at present and you have to be blind or equally corrupted not to see who benefits from four year terms for the council- the special interests who financially install their sycophants as well as the sycophants themselves

It certainly isn’t the public which has more reason this year than in any in the recent past to clamor for change after being regaled with tales of schemes-behind-the-scenes fear and loathing through the emperor-has-no-clothes revelations of fed-up council reformers Tim Bynum and Lani Kawahara.

Our council is a bad joke across the island, across the state and even, in some pockets, across the country. The only thing that would compound that is to give them double the time between elections to make double the trouble.

Is there anyone who thinks that giving these self-serving blowhards a four year contract will make them better legislators?

Our advice to the see, hear and speak no evil members of the charter review commission is, “don’t ask”- it’s been asked and answered over and over since Sherman Shiraishi’s father Clinton asked decades ago.

We fear it may or may not be the last time for a while we’ll be insanely asked the same questions expecting a different answer.

No comments: