Wednesday, October 21, 2009


‘TWERN’T SHE: Carol Ann Davis wants to make one thing perfectly clear- she was not the one who provided Walter Lewis with a nine page opinion “letter” from Deputy County Attorney Mauna Kea Trask to the charter review commission (CRC) regarding the county manager proposal.

“I’d swear on a stack of bibles it wasn’t me” she told us in a telephone interview yesterday, despite the veiled implication in Lewis’ two part column in the local newspaper last weekend that it came from her

Davis, as a member of the CRC did receive the letter at a meeting of the CRC but said she cannot discuss specifics. She did say that it read like "a lesson in Poly Sci 101" not a legal opinion, something she said she told the commission in open session.

She said she tried to have the letter released but was thwarted by the rest of the commission.

For Davis or anyone to release the letter could be a misdemeanor in violation of Charter Section 20.02B.

Our column last Friday also alleged that the true “writer” of the proposed amendment originally submitted to the CRC by then- CRC member, Davis’ late husband, Walter Briant. was indeed Lewis not Briant and Lewis claimed.

By way of explanation regarding the question of who “wrote” the draft, although according to Davis, Briant was the one who actually went through the county charter by hand and changed all the references to “mayor” to “county manager” (CM) and Davis was the one who typed it up in the proper format, we stand by our statement that according to Briant and another Kaua`i `Ohana member familiar with the process it was Lewis that conceived of and in that sense “wrote”- meaning “authored” rather than scribed”- the draft by instructing Briant precisely what to pen.

Davis admits that the draft was ridiculously inadequate in that all it did was eliminate all references to the post of mayor and substitute the words “county manager”, leaving other details unaddressed.

As far as Lewis is concerned he has refused to speak to the issues on the record writing to us that:

I value my privacy... My personal role is not relevant.

A number of your statements were inaccurate. I expect that you may already know some of them. If you wish, though, I will provide a few corrections and comments for your private information if you will agree to refrain from any publication or distribution of them without my permission.

Though normally we speak to many people “off the record” in this case due to past dealings with Lewis we have chosen to tell him that if he has any corrections of fact and wishes to have them noted in this space we would be glad to check them out and if verified we will publish a correction.

We respect Lewis’ right to publish – and in fact encourage in publishing- factual information contained in the letter while refusing to state who gave it to him. The question of whatever Lewis is a journalist aside, journalists are protected by the new Hawai`i Shield Law which protects them from revealing anonymous sources

Lewis has apparently refused to tell anyone how he obtained the letter including his editor at the local newspaper which published his column.

Upon our inquiry Editor Michael Levine said he did check with the county attorney’s office and

While I don’t love the fact that our columnist is quoting a letter that we haven’t gotten our hands on yet, I do have every reason to believe that it exists and that it says what he says it does. I’ve just gotten off the phone with someone in the Office of the County Attorney who tells me there are no major factual inaccuracies in the column to speak of and that their reading of it was that it was comprised mostly of opinion and not of fact.

And on a final somewhat related note, a comment on Friday’s post took issue with our characterization of the `"Ohana" property tax charter amendment passed “by a huge margin”, saying that blank votes are counted as no votes. While that is true for state constitutional amendments due to the “majority of (total) ballots cast” language in the constitution, our charter provides for yes vs. no vote be counted for a majority in local charter amendments.

In the future if we deem inaccuracies of consequence to be the intentional result of sniping and trolling we will delete the post rather than just ignore the troll as we do now. We don’t care if you want to show everyone what an jerk-wad ass-wipe you are or attack our integrity or hygiene. But we will not allow directed misinformation to appear in this space.

For the record we correct all errors of fact when verified as such. If in the future you see a comment making a claim of error and don’t see a correction it means we stand by our original reporting.


Eleanor said...

You know Andy, you write a fine article and then you spoil your credibility by juvenile name calling. It really isn't necessary. I read your articles for the valuable alternative views you provide but then you discredit yourself. It is counterproductive.

Andy Parx said...

Well Eleanor one person’s “name calling” is someone else’s apt description. Recently I heard the same complaint regarding my favorite contemporary political scribes Matt Taibi so I feel in good company. Actually I think we have way too much polite restrained debate on this island and those “apt descriptions” are my way of cutting through all that.