Saturday, February 28, 2009
By Anthony Sommer
Abbatiello, Darla….5, 175
Alves, Monica….1, 3, 6, 9, 15, 19, 23, 61, 179, 181
American Society of Travel Agents….34
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)….50, 98, 101
Asing, Bill “Kaipo”….141, 142, 212, 214
Baptiste, Bryan….17, 37, 43, 44, 92, 107, 109, 110, 111,
118, 122, 126, 129, 131, 137, 142, 162, 169, 184, 190, 199,
200, 204, 218, 219, 230
Bissell, Lisa….71, 72
Blake, Hartwell….114, 157
B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League (ADL)….23
Ching, Mike….146, 183, 192, 204
Chuan, Ray….143, 183
Cummings, Mamo….132, 136
Donkey Beach….36, 38
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)….147
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)….32
Feldhacker, Bill….10, 11
Fern Grotto State Park….129, 130, 131, 132, 136
Filipino….22, 95, 184
Freitas, George….12, 15, 36, 37, 55, 75, 83, 93, 94, 95, 107,
169, 192, 217
Fujita, Cal….37, 55
Furtado, Carol….192, 201
Gabriel, Nelson….83, 86, 88
Gonsalves, Leon….180, 182, 192, 218, 219
Goynes, Elizabeth….89, 99
Green waste….127, 128
Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)….134, 135
Heu, Gary….124, 204, 211
Hicks, Fania….2, 10
Hoike….48, 49, 50, 52
Homeless….71, 121, 120, 123, 125
Honolulu Police Department (HPD)….2, 70
Hop Sing….181, 182, 183
Hughes, Justin….35, 36, 38, 39
Hughes, Michele….35, 36, 38, 39
Hurricane Iniki….31, 129
Ihu, Willie….171, 179
Ikei, Clayton….156, 165, 187, 211
Ka Loko Dam….128
Kapaa High School….160, 217
Kauai Chamber of Commerce….123, 132, 133, 135
Kauai County….15, 17, 18, 21, 25, 26, 27, 29, 32, 35, 41
Kauai County Attorney’s Office (County
Attorney)….100, 53, 57
Kauai County Council (County Council,
Council)….16, 41, 42, 47, 52, 133
Kauai Economic Planning and Development
Kauai Ethics Board….148, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 201,
202, 203, 204
Kauai Fire Department….56
Kauai Food Bank….47
Kauai High School….61, 218
Kauai Nursery and Landscaping….127, 128
Kauai Planning Commission….35
Kauai Police Commission….16, 56
Kauai Police Department (KPD)….1, 37, 57, 70, 74
Kaui, Scott….205, 206, 221
Kealia Kai….34, 35, 36, 39
Ko, John….96, 99, 104, 154
Kouchi, Ron….109, 110, 142, 144
Kunimura, Tony….29, 30, 31
Kusaka, Maryanne….21, 22, 29, 30, 31, 35, 37, 38, 83, 88,
91, 95, 99, 101, 104, 107, 131, 142, 162, 166, 193, 225
Lap dancing….1, 15, 17, 19, 171, 175, 179, 197,
Lau, Kelly….10, 11, 12, 80
Liddle, Damon “Dove”….172
Liddle, Truston Heart….172, 173
Little Joe….182, 183, 184, 219
Lingle, Linda….46, 49, 112, 144, 190
Lizama, Tiffani….47, 117
Lopez, Dominador….207, 208
Lopez, Jovencio….207, 208
Lum, K.C…..164, 171, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 185, 187,
191, 192, 194, 195, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204,
211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 217, 218
M achado, Randy….5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 23, 24,
80, 171, 175, 179, 209
Masuoka, George….11, 12, 25, 26, 83, 103, 139, 157,
McCloskey, Thomas….34, 36, 39
McConnell, E. John….194, 203
Mendiola, Damien….205, 206
Mollway, Susan….101, 102
Morris, Mel….79, 84, 88, 95, 99, 101, 104, 154, 155, 157
Mullins, Bob….31, 32, 111
Okagawa, Jensen….2, 3
Olivas, Michael….207, 208
Nakamura, Peter….144, 145
N akazawa, Lani….112, 113, 114, 115, 136, 138, 150,
151, 191, 199
Na Pali Coast….48
National Public Radio….22
Native Hawaiian….21, 49, 71, 100, 130, 223
Navy League….32, 111
Nawai, David….161, 162
Nishek, Lelan….127, 128, 133
Pa, Stanton….57, 181, 183
Pacific Missile Range Facility ….31, 90, 165
Pakala Point Beach….73
Peralto, Mitch….18, 19
Perry, Darryl….163, 180, 218
Pflueger, Jimmy….39, 40, 41, 46
Polihale State Park….71
Ponce, Bryson….194, 195
Princeville….112, 120, 132
Property tax….34, 126, 137
Rapozo, Mel….6, 8, 15, 16, 181, 197, 198, 200, 201,
Rezentes, Wally Sr…..32, 35
Rezentes, Wally Jr…..32
Richie, Carl Irvine….1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 23
Schaefer, Elaine….65, 66
Seto, Alvin….84, 95, 154, 156, 165, 187
Smith, Walter II “Freckles”….131
State Attorney General….137, 144, 147
State Disability and Communications Access Board….
State Office of Information Practices (OIP)….144
State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers
State Parks Division….132, 134
Tehada, Jimmy….30, 31
The Garden Island….24, 44, 62, 66, 108, 115, 207, 213
Thronas, Mary….21, 22, 23
Tokashiki, Jackie….153, 154, 155, 156, 165, 187
Tokioka, Beth….43, 44, 48, 57, 118, 133
Tokioka, Jimmy….43, 214
US Department of Labor….56
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)….40
U.S. Justice Department….51
Villanueva, Alfredo….1, 2, 3
Venneman, Ron….182, 183, 202, 203, 217
Washington Cohen, Kimberly….18, 19
Wilhelm, Dede….56, 57, 157
Yagihara, Scott….192, 193, 198, 199
Yukimura, JoAnn….30, 45, 93, 112, 145
Friday, February 27, 2009
“I was the one directly targeted by this directive” says Aaron Stene of the Kona Blog in a comment left on yesterday’s column on the subject.
"The troubling aspect of this debacle” he wrote “is the fact the directive seems to be still in effect. I have had a hard time talking to DPW and the county council ever since this directive was released.”
But according to a Big Island source the derivation of the ban may go back to a rather innocuous video posted by Dave Corrigan of the Big Island Video News last August and is apparently related to the controversy over the expansion of the new Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.and Stene’s campaign in support of it in the face of local and kanaka maoli oppostion.
The video shows the repaving of the “Saddle Road” across the Big Island and is also controversial because opponents of the telescope say it is being done not for the pubic but to enable not just the expansion. of the observatory on what Hawaiians consider sacred land but extensive miliary operations in the area.
That video was followed by a post by Stene in Septembers and many more since arguing with opponents but giving them a platform at his popular blog to oppose the project and claim “a military connection to the science going on on Mauna Kea” and that. “the road is mostly used by contractors and not the general public” among other objections.
According to our source, author of the policy DPW spokeswoman Noelani Whittington was still concerned enough about the original video and apparently the discussion on Stene’s blog to still be bringing it up in conversations in December
Though the connection to the ban may or may not be true, Stene thinks it’s far from over.
In a post yesterday he wrote
“(I)t makes me wonder if Noelani and the DPW had a hidden agenda here.... (I)t seemed this directive was targeted mostly at me. I had by far interfaced with the DPW more often than Damon (Tucker) and David (Corrigan)”.
Those are the other two whose blogs were singled out by Whittington when she banned department personnel from interacting with blogger/journalists on the island.
He continued saying:
On a related note, she tried calling me yesterday and tried to kiss my ass by acting all apologetic for doing this. I tried to remain civil even though it was very hard to do so on my part. However I refused to accept her apology for her actions....
There is one more troubling aspect of this debacle. I've had a hard talking to DPW, county council ever since this directive was released. Thus it seems in my case I highly doubt this directive has been withdrawn.
But the saddle road may not be the only controversial project Whittington apparently didn’t want publicly debated. Stene concludes by saying
Lastly, it seems there is a lack of communication between the HDOT and DHHL to minimize the impact of the Waimea bypass, according to this WHT article. If there was better communication the concerns of the DHHL homesteaders would’ve been addressed years ago. Thus this much needed highway wouldn’t be delayed once again
As to Tucker his response to the article was a lot more defensive after Whittington’s slight of his and other reporter/bloggers’ professionalism, as was reported in the Hawai`i Tribune Herald article yesterday that broke the story by obtaining Whittington’s six page policy written policy.
In his Open Letter to Department of Public Works Spokeswoman Noelani Whittington, Tucker wrote
Ms. Whittington, thank you for insulting Aaron, Dave and Myself with your little knowledge of our backgrounds in today’s article written by Jason Armstrong in the Tribune Herald....
I guess you just assume some of us lack experience because we blog in a blogging format and not in the traditional news sense?
Here is just a little of my Experience… Sorry I got out of the field more then a decade ago and switched to Education:
1 Year Advertising Manager on Mainland1 Year Lay-Out Editor (Hilo)2 Years Reporting (Mainland/Hilo)1 Year Writing Press Releases for the State Legislature...
I myself have never asked DPW for any information. Any information that I have found on them… was already published. I don’t have some “Deep Throat” working for me at your office lady… get a grip!
I know you don’t know who I am… but had it not been for my father-in-law telling me that you are an OK person (and yes you do know him)… You would have ended up on my Smuck list.
Unlike Kaua`i the Big Island is awash with on-line reporting and general information blogs with no less than a dozen people with varying degrees of reporting experience from Kona to Hilo posting tons of information and opinion on everything from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Kaua`i on the other hand is, with a few notable exceptions, practically devoid of blogs with original news and political commentary and reporting which, when combined with a sycophantic local newspaper that rarely if ever rocks the boat, may explain why the county can get away with their unwritten rules of non-engagement and their tight-fisted hold on what is, by law, public information.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Getting a phone call returned or an email answered by any departmental employees here is an exercise in futility and even a query made to Mary Daubert, the unusually cooperative county Public Information Office, will many times elicit the equivalent of a “no comment” at the administration’s behest.
That goes double for “council services” where the elusive County Clerk Peter Nakamura routinely blocks his staff from releasing public yet sensitive information and whom you literally have to grab in the hall to talk to.
And if you’re a private citizen- phew, forget it. At the end of each phone line is someone to refer you to someone who will refer you to someone else who will eventually refer you back to the one who originally answered the phone who will put you on hold until you just give up.
Because the lip-buttoning is so pervasive and has gone on for so long, no one has to tell anyone else not to talk to anyone about anything... much less put the policy in writing.
But someone on the Big Island forgot to consult the Kaua`i stonewalling pros recently when a six page document landed on the desk of the Hawai`i Tribune Herald “direct(ing) DPW employees to stop filming attempts, not to talk about cause or fault, and to withhold information from so-called ‘citizen journalists’” the paper reported today.
The paper reports that:
The county Department of Public Works has rescinded a recently implemented media policy that sheltered employees from public scrutiny, denied reporters access to road projects and blackballed Internet bloggers...
The policy specifically instructed DPW employees not to give out information to bloggers Aaron Stene (The Kona Blog) and Damon Tucker (Damon Tucker's Weblog) and Dave Corrigan of Big Island Videonews.com.The report says that policy was written up by DPW spokeswoman Noelani Whittington who at first denied its existence before being read some of the smoking-gun document.
When contacted yesterday apparently in anticipation of being revealed as a liar, in a classic response to being caught red handed told the reporter,
"I wasn't denying anything on it. I just didn't know what you were referring to," Whittington said in a follow-up interview Wednesday.
Whittington said she might have been very busy when first interviewed occurred Feb. 19.
"Sometimes it takes me a minute to focus," she said.
But one of the stranger aspects of the whole debacle is that the new Hawai`i County public relations specialist under new Mayor Billy Kenoi is Hunter Bishop a former reporter who was dumped from the Tribune-Herald staff- essentially for union organizing activity- and then started popular local news and politics blog.
Bishop, who has removed the blog where he served as a thinly disguised political hit man for Kenoi by going after progressive candidate Angel Pilago, was shocked-shocked when he was contacted by the paper saying "(t)here is no question this is not an acceptable media policy."
"It is not in effect. We do not support this policy," he’s quoted as saying. "As far as I know, there are no other media policies in the county, but I can't say that for sure,"
But the report says he added "We are working on a new general media policy for all departments mainly as a result of seeing this,....It will treat bloggers like any other media or member of the public,"The article says that:
There was no incident that prompted the policy, but rather a desire to differentiate "new media" from traditional reporters and concern by some employees that they had been filmed for a TV newscast, Whittington said.
The incident we reported on twice last December and January where blogger Tucker was harassed by a Big Island police officer for taking a picture of her in public was not cited in the article. Tucker was photographing and reporting on handicapped parking facilities at the Pahoa post office at the time of the incident.
PNN would request that Kaua`i County provide any documents regarding media policy but we’re laughing too hard at the concept of getting an answer much less the information.
Correction: The measure we mentioned yesterday to lift the ban on mainland contributions in the 2010 governor’s race is not part of bill HB 539 but rather is in a separate bill set for hearing in the house finance committee today
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
And in the legislature while thousands are distracted by the civil unions bill the other measure we mentioned yesterday- the one to open the flood gates to corporate cash for politicians- has received little if any attention..
The Sierra Club finally woke up to this sleight of hand, sending out an appeal to it’s members this morning to contact legislators to try to kill off the outrageous attempt to open the spigot of corporate cash via House Bill HB 539.
Citing a Feb 22 Honolulu Star-Bulletin Editorial they told members that
With all of the recent attention on “clean” elections, ethics, and money in politics, HB 539 is a huge step in the wrong direction.
and asked they write and say to their reps
What does campaign finance reform have to do with Hawaii’s environment? Plenty! When campaign contributions influence how elected leaders vote on environmental policy, the environment usually loses. Many of the largest campaign contributors in Hawai`i have a significant impact on the environment, such as the utilities, oil companies, and developers. That’s why I am opposed to HB 539, which would allow corporations to give an unlimited amount of money to Political Action Committees.
But the biggest bombshell was Dave Shapiro’s column in today’s Honolulu Advertiser where he referred to House Judiciary Committee Chair Jon Riki Karamatu as “Cal Kawamoto Jr.”
For those who don’t remember Kawamoto he was the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee who was charged with all sorts of fundraising and financial mischief and was the reason that “CleanElections” reforms died in the legislature for almost a decade until he was dumped by voters fed up with his self-serving paternalism.
The column contains the best brief description of the specifics of history and dangers of the bill we’ve read yet saying the Bill would:
increase the limit on corporate PAC contributions from $1,000 to $25,000 per election, but ended up approving unlimited corporate donations...
Legislative leaders claim their passage of the $1,000 limit on corporations in 2005 was inadvertent, but reformers like Sen. Les Ihara say that alleged mistake was "the most significant campaign reform legislation in the last two decades."
The bill would also repeal the ban on out-of-state contributions, some say to allow Congressman Neil Abercrombie to fill his war chest for his reported run for governor in 2010.
Shapiro then describes Karamatsu’s rational as “outrageous reasoning”. and describes his “rambling lecture to Barbara Polk of Americans for Democratic Action Hawai`i.”
Lawmakers usually defend special-interest campaign donations by piously citing the free-speech rights of the special interests.
But Karamatsu defended legislators' rights to collect more corporate money — and for uses other than campaigning.
Karamatsu said, "The costs (are) rising. I mean all of us here know what it is like ... it costs thousands of dollars to just do mailings. Those costs have gone up extraordinarily."
Nonsense. Campaign spending is already too high. A study of the 2006 election by the Campaign Spending Commission found that winning House candidates spent a hefty average of $40,000 and winning Senate candidates spent $80,000.
The big bucks are easy for incumbents to raise from special interests and a major barrier to challengers — a big part of the reason 40 percent of incumbent legislators ran unopposed in 2008 and most of the rest had only token opposition.
Such lack of accountability at the polls is exactly why legislators feel free to enrich themselves with impunity by taking 36-percent pay raises while the rest of the community sucks it up, and pursuing more corporate cash that will make it even harder for challengers to take them on.
Karamatsu said legislators need more corporate money so they can donate more to their political parties and district charities....
Karamatsu invoked fond memories of discredited former Sen. Cal Kawamoto, who was cited by the Campaign Spending Commission for buying votes with charitable donations, among other violations, and then tried to pass legislation limiting the commission's oversight of legislators.
"You guys put pressures ... on how much we can give to nonprofits. If not, we get busted like Cal Kawamoto," Karamatsu griped. "Every time we're getting sex-abuse fundraising letter and domestic violence fundraising letter ... He helped all these kids, and he got blasted for it. You're tying our hands on what we can do here."
The “outrageous” part of all this is that is it a rationale for the insanely corrupt practice of in Hawai`i where pols are allowed to collect campaign contributions and then turn around and give unlimited amounts to “community groups”- especially those that get out the vote for them.
This Chicago-style, practice of out-and-out vote buying was the reason Kawamoto was dumped and it again raises the question of what the ditzy Karamatsu is doing in the Judiciary Chair, especially in light of some of the bizarre pseudo new-age/Buddhist religious rambling at his blog where he also complained about being strong-armed by Honolulu Prosecutor Peter Carlisle earlier in the session before removing the post after it drew a lot of attention in various blogs..
HB 539 Draft 1 was passed out of Karamatsu’s committee and is up for second and third reading after tomorrow’s five day recess and before the Match 12 “crossover” of bills to and from the senate.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The legislature is in session and no good idea is too good to be tortured into a bizarro-world semblance of its original virtue.
Sometimes it’s because troglodytic pitchfork and torch-wielding bumpkins, whipped into a frenzy, descend on the decision makers- as they are doing as we write- because they don’t want to let others be as or more miserable than they are in their abusive and loveless marriages where they abuse their children by sending them to church to learn how to hate.
But most of the time it’s those “leaders” who sell the rest of us down the river by compromising away what both they and their followers wanted in the first place, selling us a “diamonelle” and calling it a gem..
Even though we spent yesterday ridiculing the bible-thumping bigots, we have to remember that the civil union bill HB 444 is already a mockery of the civil rights that those who support it really envisioned.
Before the red-shirted, wide-eyed handful of dogmatic hypocrites descended on the capitol we had already lost the battle because those who would protect the rights of same-gender couples had already given up on the true equality that only a repeal of the legislature’s ban on equal marriage rights for all can provide.
Now mind you we don’t really understand the need people have for obtaining paperwork to prove they love someone else- it’s a remnant of medieval society that really has no place in the 21st century.
If the government is going to grant licenses for anything the only important thing is that they be subject to equal protection under the law. Yet our own progressive leaders have already given up before we began by telling the rest of us to sit down shut up and support their poor substitution for social justice.
But this isn’t the only issue that’s had it’s heart torn out by our supposed allies.
A bloggers’ battle royal is brewing over Ian Lind’s usual bent toward losing the battle before it has begun- especially on issues like campaign finance reform- after Disappeared News’ Larry Geller dared to expose the shibai Lind has been promoting lately supporting a series of bills that would actually cause a flood of corporate money to fill politician coffers by repealing restrictions that are in place now.
The “that is better than this and we’ll never get that so we should settle for something else” pap has been a theme of Lind’s on this and many other issues for years but never more than in his apparent longstanding opposition to meaningful public financing of elections.
Recently he’s even not just been campaigning against fully eliminating corporate contributions to political campaigns he’s actually supporting a bill to increase corporate cash
Lind, the self professed progressive who actually headed Common Cause Hawai`i in the early 80’s, has somehow become a leading voice in whittling away at reforms before they even get started by accepting unacceptable compromises.
He’s been keeping up a cockamamie thread for over a year now about how the pilot program of full public financing of elections on the Big Island violates a somewhat unrelated U.S. Supreme Court ruling even after we pointed out the differences between the Big Island law and those that were struck down.
(The ones struck down all restrict the amounts non-participants can collect while the local measure only increases the amount publicly financed participants get based on what the others collect)
We finally gave up on challenging him- as we did last year- when he reinstated his bafflingly devoid-of-reality rant again recently but when Geller sort of called him out- without even mentioning his name or blog- Lind apparently blew a gasket.
Geller reiterated his stance today which somehow didn’t rise to Lind’s snooty Honolulu-kama`aina-family standards or bow to his usual mainstream corporate journalism embrace.
He attacked Geller for writing a “diatribe” that “abandoned any pretense of thoughtful analysis of campaign finance issues and instead waded into a swamp of name calling and crudely overstated political stereotypes.”
What the heck Lind is referring to is anyone’s guess. Geller’s original piece is well researched and simply rightly ridicules those in the legislature who want to pad their campaign coffers and increase corporate influence.
Lind’s personal and passive-aggressive attack on Geller was the only thing in all of it that could be called name calling but is typical of the lack of depth he exhibits every day, usually substituting a quick google search for substance and analysis.
Geller, as usual, beat us to the punch in his articulation of what kind of crap the legislature is pulling, calling it their “own stimulus bill” but apparently the somewhat prissy and proper Lind has some weird kind of axe to grind that causes him to be one of those who lose our battles before they commence.
And besides- if Ian’s characterization of Larry’s piece were accurate we’d be the first to complain...name calling, diatribes are our kuleana.
Another well known compromiser of rights- as usual the rights of the very people it purports to represent- the Office of Hawaiian affairs was also torn another new one today by Dave Shapiro
In his blog he asks what the heck OHA is doing supporting bills that are held out to stop the state’s “ceded land” grab but actually do so by acknowledging the very principle of ownership-by theft by giving the legislature the right to approve, by a 2/3 margin, the sale of the lands
Another bit of bitter baloney is how the anti-GMO groups have joined those with this kind of unfathomable need to abandon-the-war-to-fight-a-skirmish by dropping efforts to ban frankenfoods- or even restrict or label them- but rather jumping on the bandwagon to ban only GMO taro.
That leaves active measures in the legislature- like the bills that would not just protect corporate interests in despoiling what we eat but even possibly ban the counties from prohibiting them as some have contemplated- orphans that could stealthily slip through to passage.
We have met the enemy and he is, if not us certainly a close approximation.
Monday, February 23, 2009
There’s a certain brand of brainlessness that pervades America today and apparently has ever since old Tom’s words challenged the privilege of the rich, the white and especially, the hypocritically pious.
The current privilege has deep roots in the sordid historically-destined, manifest-degeneracy only a “christain nation” can muster.
On Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the stolen (ceded) lands case and nod in self-important agreement that portends yet another ruling that says theft is ok as long as you steal it from brown people and “heathens”.
But before that, tomorrow the church-addled will go before a Hawai`i State Senate Judicial Committee to wring their bloody hands and try to kill a “civil unions” bill (HB 444) that is already a watered down, slap-in-the-face of full civil rights for same gender couples.
Now you would think that it might be hard to find people who find the prospect of the former to be horrifying yet join the virulently devout in spreading their diseased precepts.
And you would be wrong.
This morning we received an email from one of the most rabid defenders of Kanaka Maoli rights with a subject line saying “Today: Urge the Hawaii Senate NOT to Pass Civil Unions”.
Our jaw dropped further upon reading the appeal that said
If the thought of homosexual men being allowed to adopt babies and children sends a shiver up your spine; use this sample form.
The ridiculous juxtaposition of the salutation and the message aside we had to agree that it is spine-chilling to think that this kind of moronic and frenzied fear-mongering from people who hold a book of fairy tales in reverence is actually being circulated
But despite the fact that we could “feel the hate” jump off the page the letter goes on to say
This is not a declaration against homosexuality, it is about placing priorities.
Methinks the lady doth protest too much.
All hope of rationality disappears after that as the solicitously salacious epistle goes on to say.
You must what (sic) is more important: To approve a civil union for the sake of individuals to profess their affection for each other. (Which, in asking for, is selfish and reckless disregard for the consequences) or, To open the door to endangerment of children who are incapable of protecting themselves against clever, dangerous legislation. STOPPING THIS UNNECESSARY AND STUPID BILL IS FOR THE INNOCENT CHILDREN OF THE WORLD.
“Selfish and reckless disregard for the consequences”- seems we’ve heard Lingle, Bennett and Conklin use those words to describe the demands of Hawaiian kanaka.
Wait- it gets worse. Here’s a “sample letter” you’re urged send to legislators:
This bill would extend full relationship protections and benefits afforded to a lawful union of a man and a woman. Further, it provides gay and lesbian couples with equal provisions under the law such as ADOPTION OF BABIES AND CHILDREN
Ah- all pretense is gone, eh Gertrude?
But look out- here’s comes the kind of blithering blabber and sanctimoniously scurrilous screed only the truly “religulous” can muster
It is just and appropriate to extend more protections to BABIES AND CHILDREN THAN TO SATISFY AN UNNECESSARY AND UNUSUAL SELFISH DEMAND that will do more harm to the majority of the general public, specifically innocent, unknowing children.
Yeah you know church-going, opposite-gender couples have done such a great job of child rearing to date and not teaching their kids how to be good six-day-a-week, drunken, ice-addled adulterous spouse abusers, that we have no overflowing jails or rehab facilities and child protective service workers sit and file their nails and read the paper all day because they have such light case loads.
Also, private employers will be required to offer health benefits to same-sex couples.
This bill is a SUBVERSION of the Equal Rights Protections. You must ENSURE THAT BABIES AND CHILDREN HAVE RIGHTS PERIOD! Passing this will DENY the protections for babies and children and their equal rights.
Yeah- they deserve the right to be raised by two abusive, impotent, closeted members of different genders who hate each other enough to devote their lives to making each other miserable.
But- you knew it was coming- the author finally couldn’t control it any more.
Would you be comfortable knowing a young boy of someone you knew (or didn’t know) was adopted by two male pedophiles????? BECAUSE YOU VOTED YES? Possibly for the baby pedophile market that can bring thousands and thousands of dollars for a child. Please be aware of an Organized League of Pedophiles that are wealthy and powerful reaching all the way to the top in this government.
Oh- you mean the catholic church?
It all begs the question- “what do you say to the truly delusional?”.
The problem is that this tactic of whipping up an emotional and contagious frenzy is a real winner in this country.
It creates a stench of bigotry and a hallucinatory fantasy world that the already faith -addled are uniquely suited for, as we in these islands found out 10 years ago and Californians finally got a whiff of last November.
And really it’s going to be more of the same on Wednesday when the true believers in the divinely approved genocide of manifest destiny will once again argue that, silly rabbit, rights are for white christians.
It’s the same world view, perverted by indoctrination and faith, that can ignore both acknowledged theft and the depraved nature of their own “lifestyle” while criticizing others for larceny and degeneracy
It’s the same eyes that can deny species evolution and embrace a 6000 year geologic history of the earth - the same minds that think babies are born to virgins, the same ears that that listen to and buy stories of people who live 900 years or live for days inside a fish, the same mental deficiency that believe they will live after they die, and the same “guts” that hate and kill for the veneration of their vision and version of an invisible guy who lives in the clouds- that can dehumanize others for their own avaricious gluttony..
It’s especially hard when you find out that people who you once presumed weren’t total imbeciles stand naked without their social justice garb..
Though Paine’s “Age of Reason” was published over 200 years ago apparently it could take another 200 for us to see as he did how truly debauched and corrupting the combination of nationalism and religion he spoke of can be.
It sure ain’t gonna happen this week even if the pathetic substitute for full civil rights in HB 444 should be enacted. But if you feel like trying you can email testimony to JGOtestimony@Capitol.Hawaii.gov with “Testimony to JGO for Feb 24 9 a.m. hearing on H.B. 444, HD1 Relating to Civil Unions” in the subject line.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
A Decade of Racism, Sexism, and Political Corruption in (and all around)The Kauai Police Department
by Anthony Sommer
Copyright © 2008 Anthony Sommer
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 1-4392-0346- 6
Visit www.booksurge.com to order additional copies.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: .........1
The Lap Dancer
Chapter 2:.......... 5
Chapter 3: ......15
Chapter 4: ...... 21
Chapter 5: .......29
Chapter 6: .......59
Chapter 7: ...... 63
Chapter 8: .......67
The Serial Killer
Chapter 9: ......81
Officer Nelson Gabriel
Chapter 10: ..89
Chapter 11: ....105
A New Mayor
Chapter 12: ....115
Chapter 13: ....139
Chapter 14: .....151
A Stampede to the Courthouse
Part I: Jackie Tokashiki versus KPD
Chapter 15: .....157
A Stampede to the Courthouse
Part II: Mark Begley versus KPD
Chapter 16: .....163
A Stampede to the Courthouse
Part III: Alvin Seto versus KPD
Chapter 17: ....167
Former Police Chief George Freitas
Chapter 18: .....169
The Short Reign of Acting Chief Willie Ihu
Chapter 19: ......173
A Stampede to the Courthouse
Part IV: Darla Abbatiello versus KPD
Chapter 20: .....177
Chapter 21: .....187
The Ethics Board and Michael Ching
Chapter 22: ......195
Tail Gunner Mel
Chapter 23: ......203
KPD Time Bomb
Chapter 24: .......209
The Return of K.C. Lum
Chapter 25: .......215
After the Purge is Over
Chapter 26: .......219
What Boddah You?
About the Author...... 233
Friday, February 20, 2009
But the response, which comes not from Furfaro but from Kaua`i County Clerk Peter Nakamura, contains only a limited, equivocal “denial” of their distribution and then goes on to include an “assuming for argument sake (it did happen)” section referring to a seemingly inapplicable “unpublished” OIP memorandum opinion given in January.
Nakamura’s letter to OIP Attorney Jennifer Z Brooks is reproduced in full at the end of this article.
The allegations detailed by PNN last December arose after Furfaro- or someone- apparently forwarded a bill- originally drawn up by outgoing councilperson JoAnn Yukimura- to local real estate agent Ronnie Margolis who posted it on his blog along with a cover letter from Furfaro addressed to the councilmembers at the time, asking for their support for the measure.
If it was sent to and received by the councilmembers it would appear to be a blatant violation of the state Sunshine law which, with few but detailed “executive session” exceptions, broadly bans councilmembers from discussing most matters outside of a duly agendaed meeting and strictly forbids soliciting support for a measure, as we detailed in December.
In mid-January the OIP sent a letter to Furfaro asking for an explanation as to the contention that “ the distribution of a letter from you dated November 28, 2008, which was sent to all Kauai County Councilmembers violated part I of chapter 92, Hawaii Revised Statutes (the “Sunshine Law”)”.
Nakamura’s reply letter begins with a lengthy and for the most part irrelevant discussion of the circumstances preceding any purported distribution of Furfaro’s letter, explaining it’s origins with Yukimura and Furfaro’s interactions with Chair Kaipo Asing- who took over the chair from Furfaro when the new council took office on Dec. 1- in unsuccessfully trying to get it on the council’s agenda in December.
Nakamura then denies that the letter was sent but limits that denial to distribution “on or about November 28”.
Nakamura wrote that
(T)he draft November 28, 2008 letter was never finalized and signed by Vice Chair Furfaro during the time frame alleged and, more importantly for Sunshine Law purposes, never distributed to other Councilmembers on or about November 28, 2008. Because the letter was not transmitted, there was no attempt to solicit other Councilmembers' votes regarding the subject matter of the letter outside of a duly noticed meeting. Consequently, no violation of part I of chapter 92, H.R.S. including, but not limited to, Haw. Rev. Stat. §92-2.5, occurred.
The emphasis on the word “never” is in the original despite the fact that it was qualified two different ways, once by saying “on or about November 28, 2008” and the second time by saying it was “never finalized... during the time frame alleged”.
Nakamura also denied that any “series of private one-on-one discussions” of the matter occurred but also qualifies that with a “since...then” clause, saying:
“Further, since the draft transmittal letter and proposed draft bill was not circulated in the manner alleged, there was also no series of private one-on-one discussions (i.e., serial communications) on the matter, as was the subject of OIP Opinion Letter No. 05-15.”
Mr. Nakamura’s letter doesn’t preclude the fact that the letter could have been sent to councilmembers after or before Nov 28 nor does it say unequivocally that it was never sent to the addressed councilmembers (other than the Chair for purpose of it being placed on the agenda).
But perhaps the strangest part of the letter is a section that seems to essentially say “he didn’t do it but if he did do it, it was allowed”
“Even assuming, for the sake of argument, that Vice Chair Furfaro had circulated the draft letter and bill to other Councilmembers in advance of a duly noticed meeting on the matter, a recent OIP memorandum opinion to the Council strongly suggests that the advance circulation of such documents is permissible as long as there is no discussion of or voting on the proposed ordinance amendments outside of a duly noticed meeting on the matter. (See enclosed OIP Memorandum Opinion dated January 14, 2009 re: Sufficiency of Agenda and Circulation of Proposed Amendments, #S RFO-G 09-6).”
The problem with that is that the “January 14 memorandum opinion” has nothing to do with non-agendaed item circulation nor soliciting support from other councilmembers for the bill.
Rather it was written in response to a September question asked of OIP by Councilperson Tim Bynum regarding amendments to a bill already agendaed and their discussion before they are officially on the table and their circulation in light of the bill’s stated purpose. It characterizes Bynum’s request by saying:
Requester seeks an opinion on whether the agenda language for the Kauai County Council's ("Council") September 16, 2008, meeting would have allowed the Council to discuss amendments to a bill, and secondly, whether proposed versions of the bill could be circulated before the Council meeting.
It’s “Opinion” section states that:
1) The Council's agenda for its September 16, 2008, meeting did not adequately describe Bill no. 2274, Draft 1, and all of its amendments. Although two areas of amendment were anticipated and listed on the agenda, the agenda should have listed all the major topic areas to be amended.
Proposed amendments to Bill no. 2274, Draft 1, could have been circulated among board members before the meeting as long as there was no discussion of or voting on the proposed versions before the meeting.
2) Proposed amendments to Bill no. 2274, Draft 1, could have been circulated among board members before the meeting as long as there was no discussion of or voting on the proposed versions before the meeting.
Nowhere does it deal with the situation in the OIP’s investigation of the matter at hand where not only was a bill which was not yet on the agenda being allegedly transmitted to sitting councilpersons but it was sent along with a cover letter soliciting support for the measure
If indeed the bill and letter were never- and we mean never- distributed to anyone other than the chair before it finally appeared on the agenda in mid January (when it was referred to the Planning Department) then it would behoove both Furfaro and Nakamura to state that unequivocally rather than qualifying the answer by saying it never happened “on or about Nov. 28” and through the use of other such evasive language.
If that is the case then it would seem that, despite the fact that the cover letter was addressed to sitting council members and did solicit a vote, it was never sent nor received in any manner at any time and so the complaint would seem to be moot.
But many questions remain such as why exactly Nakamura felt the need to include the “if he did do it” section at all if Furfaro didn’t send it- especially given the “misdirection” of the irrelevant OIP citation.
It should be noted that the letter solicited support for the measure which, if sent and received would be a violation of the law no matter when it occurred, even after the bill was introduced.
Evasive answers notoriously indicate there’s much more to the story and we urge the OIP to further investigate and obtain a full, blanket, unequivocal denial that the letter was ever sent to councilmembers by Mr. Furfaro and confirmation from those to whom the letter was addressed that it was not received..
Furfaro’s original cover letter at issue appears in full at the bottom of our December post.
Dear Ms. Brooks:
This responds to your January 13, 2009 letter to Kauai. County Council Vice Chair Jay Furfaro ("Vice Chair Furfaro") regarding the matter above.'
Your letter stated that the Office of Information Practices ("OIP") had received a complaint from Mr. Andy Parks asking whether the distribution of a letter dated November 28, 2008 from Vice Chair Furfaro to all Kauai. County Councilmembers violated part I of chapter 92, Hawaii Revised Statutes ("H.R.S."). In this regard, a copy of Mr. Parks' complaint was enclosed with your letter.
Your letter further asked the Kauai. County Council ("Council") to respond to Mr. Parks' complaint, and to set forth the Council's position on the matter and any other information the Council deems relevant to its position.
Turning to the complaint, Vice Chair Furfaro indicates that the November 28, 2008 letter was merely a draft of a transmittal letter regarding a bill proposing amendments to Kauai County Ordinance No. 864 (relating to transient vacation rentals).
The proposed draft bill was prepared by former-Councilmember JoAnn A. Yukimura; however, her term as Councilmember expired before the opportunity arose for the proposed draft bill to be introduced. 2 Notwithstanding her departure from office, Vice Chair Furfaro desired to continue to pursue the introduction of this proposed draft bill.
1 For your information, on December 1, 2008, Bill "Kaipo" Asing succeeded Mr. Furfaro as Chair of the Kaua`i County Council for its 2008 – 2010 term.
2 Ms. Yukimura's term as Councilmember ended on December 1, 2008; she was not re-elected to the Council as she instead unsuccessfully ran for the Office of Mayor in the 2008 General Election.
In the course of the draft bill's preparation during the 2006-2008 Council term, though, former-Councilmember Yukimura may have been in possession of a digital document file of the proposed bill and draft transmittal letter. As evidenced by Mr. Parks' complaint, members of the public then somehow obtained a digital copy of the draft transmittal letter and proposed draft bill.
Following through on his desire to introduce the proposed draft bill, Vice Chair Furfaro asked that the proposed draft bill prepared by former-Councilmember Yukimura be introduced at the Council's December 17, 2008 meeting, which was after the 2008-2010 Council term had commenced on December 1, 2008. However, in a December 11, 2008 memorandum, Kaua`i County Council Chair Bill "Kaipo" Asing ("Council Chair Asing") informed Vice Chair Furfaro that the bill would not be placed on the 2008-2010 Council's December 17, 2008 meeting agenda because of the volume of outstanding matters that were then pending before the Council, and suggested that the proposed draft bill instead be placed on the 2008-2010 Council's January 14, 2009 meeting agenda. 3 A copy of Council Chair Asing's December 11, 2008 memorandum to the Vice Chair is enclosed in this regard.
Because the bill was not approved for placement on the Council's December 17, 2008 meeting agenda, the draft November 28, 2008 letter was never finalized and signed by Vice Chair Furfaro during the time frame alleged and, more importantly for Sunshine Law purposes, never distributed to other Councilmembers on or about November 28, 2008.4 Because the letter was not transmitted, there was no attempt to solicit other Councilmembers' votes regarding the subject matter of the letter outside of a duly noticed meeting. Consequently, no violation of part I of chapter 92, H.R.S. including, but not limited to, Haw. Rev. Stat. §92-2.5, occurred.
Further, since the draft transmittal letter and proposed draft bill was not circulated in the manner alleged, there was also no series of private one-on-one discussions (i.e., serial communications) on the matter, as was the subject of OIP Opinion Letter No. 05-15.
Even assuming, for the sake of argument, that Vice Chair Furfaro had circulated the draft letter and bill to other Councilmembers in advance of a duly noticed meeting on the matter, a recent OIP memorandum opinion to the Council strongly suggests that the advance circulation of such documents is permissible as long as there is no discussion of or voting on the proposed ordinance amendments outside of a duly noticed meeting on the matter. (See enclosed OIP Memorandum Opinion dated January 14, 2009 re: Sufficiency of Agenda and Circulation of Proposed Amendments, #S RFO-G 09-6).
3 In keeping with the Council's procedure and protocol regarding the introduction of such proposed draft bills for Council consideration, the bill (and by extension its accompanying transmittal letter) first required approval of the Council Chair before being placed on the Council's meeting agenda.
4 As mentioned, the Council Chair did review the draft November 28, 2008 letter, but only as a function of the Council's standing practice of determining whether it and the accompanying draft bill should be approved for inclusion on the Council's December 17, 2008 meeting agenda.
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the allegations contained in Mr. Parks' complaint to your office. Should you have any questions, or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact me through the Council Services Division, Office of the Kaua`i County Clerk.
Peter A Nakamura
Kaua`i County Clerk
Thursday, February 19, 2009
The book, which we are proud to have serialized since September, has lifted a shroud for the thousands on Kaua`i who bought the book or read it at “ ....got windmills?”.
It’s unfortunate that not one Kaua`i official, past or present, elected or appointed. has even acknowledged much less tried to deal with any of the systemic problems- in both the Kaua`i Police Department and county government in general- that persist and some say have worsened since Sommer left Kaua`i.
“Tony” as everyone calls him lives a comfortable retirement in Arizona these days after receiving a big bag of cash to just go away and after he refused to report on Kaua`i as an “isn’t it cute the way they do it like corrupt third world countries” story.
Sommer says he hasn’t really gotten a lot of phone calls despite the fact that his number Phoenix is listed. But he does say he’s overwhelmed by the Borders sales numbers and had to laugh about them in light of the story of how the store- the only large bookseller on Kaua`i after they drove the rest of them out of business- originally wasn’t going to carry the book.
Borders didn’t stock the book until PNN wrote about widespread allegations on Kaua`i that the book was being censored and that Borders was being threatened by KPD officials to keep it off the shelves.
But it seems from the recent sales numbers that it really didn’t matter to Sommer financially that he allowed us to help him tell the story “on line” for free.
Sommer said that having people on Kauai know the true story was far more important to him said than making and money from the book.
“I just want the true story to be told” he said then and now.
The only problem the way we see it is that apparently the whole “we can’t carry KPD Blue at Borders” line was a way to gouge Sommer on the per-book royalty he receives.
The amount Sommer gets from each book sold at Borders is small fraction of what he gets from each Amazon.com purchase- about a buck-and-change on each Borders sale.
This weekend and the next we will post first KPD Blue’s Table of Contents- which we probably should have done originally- and then the index. We will include the “pages” as they were designated in the physical book with the TOC so that when we post the index in two weeks readers can find the chapter for each subject in the index.
We will be leaving up the archive at “gw?”. All we ask in return is that each reader on Kaua`i do at least one thing to help clean up county government on Kaua`i by actively taking on one aspect of the opaque paternalistic patronage system that has made our county’s government a laughing stock.
That system may provide endless material for a rabble-rousing activist reporter but it can’t be good for anyone who has to live under the Kaua`i county government’s corrupt reign.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
But somehow that’s a pretty appropriate conundrum for the Kaua`i public access outlet Ho`ike Community TV where, until we called today, they hadn’t received any calls regarding the fact that they’d been off the air since last week.
Some might think it’s because no one noticed but when it comes to Ho`ike it’s just that no one bothered because they knew they would be simply wasting their time complaining.
We spent a three day weekend vainly searching for last Wednesday’s county council meeting which for some reason obviously related to incompetence is usually shown for the first time on Friday nights- an unchanged remnant from the days when council meetings were held on Thursdays
Today, after much badgering for information on the stated “technical problems” the most we could get was that they are attempting to get things going again through their technical people- who just happen to be in Texas- and that they will play both last week’s and this weeks meetings when- or if- they ever fix it.
In their usual tight lipped way they refused to say exactly what the problem was, when it might be fixed or whether the last council meeting would even be cablecast more than once- or whether there would be any kind of announcement of it’s scheduling.
They refused to notify us when it does get on so that we could notify others.
The saga of ineptitude at Ho`ike has begged for exposure for many years, even since we abandoned our Parxist Conspiracy Newsmagazine program after seven years when we were assaulted by a 500 pound employee for trying to tape a public Ho`ike Board of Directors meeting and banned from the premises.
Most other access advocates and producers have simply given up on getting any original programming produced or even on the air other than the usual fare of religious programming and ads for non-profits organizations.
The board was taken over by the evangelical church in the 90’s and the public was shut out of public access governance, as we covered in news stories at the time.
While the access organization on Maui, Akaku, is widely acclaimed feeds their programming on-line and is as high tech, open and accessible as any in the country- all on a budget similar to Ho`ike- access on Kaua`i is virtually unused, many say by design.
While the rest of the video world has gone digital, Ho`ike still reportedly routinely rejects material on DVDs and requires antiquated VHS tapes to be submitted if one wants to get their self produced program on the air.
And don’t try to ask why because the general manage J Robertson is widely known as a totally unreachable figure who, if you do somehow get through to him by accident, will lie to your face until you catch him at it... and sometimes even afterward.
So why does this poster child for ineptitude continue to be the ones that tape- and we mean tape- the council meetings?
Well guess what- the council and administration like it that way just fine thank you since it’s much less likely that you’ll get to see the council meetings if they are either unavailable when they are supposed to be on (as they often are), scheduled at different arbitrarily selected and unannounced-in-advance times or otherwise stale by the time they get on the air.
Council meeting should and could- with the flip of a switch and at zero cost- be streamed live on-line and even cablecast live according to testimony routinely given at council meetings for years by Professor Ed Coll, an information technology specialist at Kaua`i Community College, as well as other producers and technically adept videographers .
But while promises are made by the council yearly to get it together nothing ever happens. Not only won’t they act, they are content to allow the administration to actually oversee the Ho`ike contract to produce tapes of the meetings- a contract that was awarded when it was written specifically for them.
Even though the state sunshine law requires that recordings of meetings be maintained as public records and the council is required to maintain their own records, the recordings of the meetings are the kuleana of the mayor’s office and to actually get copies of them one has to go to- you guessed it- Ho`ike.
And if the lack of public outrage- as evidenced by the fact that no one even complained that the meeting hadn’t aired at its scheduled times until we called today- is any indication things will stay the way they are for some time to come.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
STIMULATE THIS: It doesn’t take a comedian to come up with “shovel-ready” punchlines.
And it doesn’t take an especially sharp type of farm implement to uncover the bovine byproduct we’re being spoon-fed in the steam-shovel load of money being dished out to the state and local governments across the county to supposedly “create jobs”.
Because although you haven’t really heard it said much by anyone in D.C. and won’t hear it from all the county’s governors and mayors, the whole “public works project” aspect of the “stimulus” bill- being ceremonially signed as we write- won’t produce one “job” that wasn’t there already.
Thanks to the new Stimulus Watch web site there’s an actual statewide list of the local Hawai`i projects and if Kauai County is any example the registry is simply an inventory of already funded projects, leaving the money to go to wish-list, nice-to-have but don’t need-to-have local undertakings.
The shell game is the same as the one being played by the “winning” banks that used the money they got in the $700 billion TARP bailout to buy up the “losing” banks that didn’t get bailout money- like when Wells Fargo that purchased Wachovia- all so they could still pay huge executive bonuses and keep their shareholders’ pockets “shovel ready”.
The line that “we didn’t use THAT money” to buy the other bank and for all the other stuff they shouldn’t be doing is about as credible as the old joke about the guy in Las Vegas who asks a stranger for twenty bucks for food.
“No” says the stranger “you’ll just gamble it away”,
“No I won’t” says the beggar, ”I got gamblin’ money”.
According to stimulus watch, Kaua`i is asking for $102,384,000 for projects on a list of 27 undertakings, all of which have either been funded in previous years’ operating and capital improvement budgets or are on the list of projects that are to be paid for by money from the recent and upcoming bond floats..
Although the stimulus watch’s FAQ section doesn’t say anything about why the order of projects listed are presented that way, topping the Kaua`i list is, absurdly enough, $3,800,000 for the “Lydgate-Kapaa Bike Path and Associated Facility (Kamalani Pavilion) Repair”.(the links go to a page where you can “vote” on whether you think it’s a “critical” project and comment).
gw? and local newspaper readers won’t have to ask what the problems are with this one. The “bike path” -or should we say “dog path”- boondoggle has run out of the “free money” (read federal transportation money that put us at the bottom of the list for future highway funding at the time and so delaying a fix for Kapa`a traffic gridlock), as the funding was claimed to be at the time.
But here we have money for “repairs” to the path and “linear park” that was just completed a couple of years ago.
The next is a real emergency- $2,500,000 for the Aliomanu Emergency Road Repair- the place on the road to Anini where the road is about to be, and already is in places, falling into the ocean due to natural erosion
But of course it is still a controversial fix because it is a “shoreline hardening” project and although the county can claim it’s an “emergency repair” and get around Army Corps of Engineers' permitting requirements it’s not as clear how that would apply if federal funds are involved.
Also the project is being done instead of moving the road inland- a much more permanent “fix” that has been discussed but would be much more costly.
Then there’s one that has really peaked the interest of council watchdog Glenn Mickens- $2.5 million for Islandwide County Road Resurfacing Projects. Though it’s not clear what this refers to it is apparently not more money to repave the roads the right way or more often but rather represents the regular yearly road resurfacing budget.
The way we do it on Kauai`- as opposed to the right way the rest of the country uses- is a prime example of our penny-wise, pound-foolish county budgeting. We repave our roads in a substandard way so that they last half as long and require exponentially more money to maintain down the road (pun intended) as we reported on last March
Sometime in the near future we’ll run Mickens' response to this after he spent the last 15 years trying to convince the council it’s being not just stupid in it’s paving methodology or corrupt in repaving the road the mayor lives on every single year, but blind to- or perhaps complicit in- a scam where it’s apparently being shorted by the contractors who delivers the asphalt.
But this is a perfect example of what we’re talking about. All this does is free up $2.5 million dollars in the county budget so that the council can go behind the semi-closed doors of the non-televised budget process to potentially spend it on pet projects.
Skipping around there’s an already funded:
-$660,000 for an Emergency Reinforcement of Opaekaa Bridge and Puuopae Bridge,
-$12 million for the Waimea Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion,
-$9 million for the Kekaha Landfill Lateral Expansion,
-$5 million for the New Kealia Fire Station,
-$3 million for Bus Fleet Expansion and
-1 million for Bus Fleet Replacements- and a bunch of others,
all of which have been funded already in either the recent or an upcoming bond float or in recent or this year’s capital improvement budgets.
And of course there’s one that if the council has a say will probably be tops on their list-$5 million for the Historic County Building Restoration and Renovation, the subject of the apparently illegal executive session we reported on yesterday..
There’s actually not much wrong with most of these and the rest of the county projects- they are all, with a couple of notable exceptions, things the county should and needs to provide its people.
And most likely, in the context of the plummeting property values a’comin’, the money to do them will simply not be there unless the real property tax rate is jacked up to maintain the actual revenue the county has been used to receiving and taken advantage of during the land speculation boom.
The scam here is that it’s all being sold as a quasi project-specific money bill from congress to “create jobs” through some kind of massive public works project.
Rather than look at each individual project and have the local jurisdictions decide on specific projects that might not otherwise be funded (as the bill was originally intended) the sheeple in their typical media-fed fish-hook-in-the-side-of-the-mouth way rebelled against what we were told was “pork-pork-pork-pork-pork” in the form of “earmarks-earmarks-earmarks-earmarks-earmarks” every time we clicked from news channel to news channel.
That made for a “no pork- no earmarks” bill where the projects couldn’t be designated in the bill specifically and given only for needed but potentially unfunded – and dare we say it “green”- infrastructural ventures, but in lump sums for the local pols to divvy up for whatever they chose by robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Because of course, we got gamblin’ money.
If Kaua`i is any example the lack of a positive-integer to indicate the number of jobs actually created- in that they wouldn’t be there without the “stimulus bill”- then once again, everyone of us should be asking ourselves “what am I- a freakin’ idiot?”.
Monday, February 16, 2009
It would also be nice if we could believe Santa Claus will drop everything we ever wanted down the chimney, the tooth fairy will leave a big sack of cash under our pillows or that a new president will change the fundamental way American government functions under corporate rule.
And so another week, another case of the obvious contempt for the law by the Minotaurs in the bowels of that den of iniquity known as the Council Chambers.
This time it’s in the form of a case- S-INVES-P 09-6- accepted for investigation by the Office of Information Practices (OIP). It was filed after a particularly absurd little dance performed after the Feb. 4 council committee meetings were over.
In a “complaint” letter to OIP- or “request” for investigation as they prefer we call them- Glenn Mickens describes what happened after the last committee gavel fell that day.
From: Glenn Mickens
Subject: Sunshine Law Violation
Date: February 9, 2009 2:49:41 PM HST
Attention: Mr. Paul Tsukiyama, Director
Dear Mr. Tsukiyama:
I spoke to Cindy of your office this morning about what appeared to be a violation of the sunshine law by the Kauai County Council. She advised that she thought I had a legitimate complaint and requested that I submit it in writing to you. The situation was as follows:
On February 4, 2009 the Council held a committee meeting that lasted from 9 am to about 11 am. The meeting agenda was brief consisting of only three items and no executive meeting was noticed.
When the Council meeting was adjourned members of the public left the chambers where the meeting was held. Three members of the public, including me, remained in the hallway adjacent to the chambers. The shade in the window of the meeting room was pulled down and the door to the chamber was locked as is done for executive meetings. Six of the council members remained in the chambers along with one member of the County administration.
When I asked an assistant county clerk about what was occurring he said, "They are discussing the renovation of the offices in the County building."
I am filing this complaint because it seems to me that the public was wrongfully excluded from hearing the discussions held and no notice was given about them.
The sunshine law requires that all meeting- even executive sessions- be fully described and placed on an agenda six days before the meeting.
Within a few days Mickens received an email from OIP staff attorney Jennifer Z. Brooks that stated.
The Office of Information Practices has opened the above referenced file relating to a request for an investigation regarding the Kaua`i County Council under the Sunshine law part I of Chapter 92. Hawaii Revised Statutes
Ms Brooks also enclosed a letter asking the council essentially “what the %*$#”
The Honorable Bill “Kaipo” Asing
Kauai County Council
4396 Rice street
Lihue HI 96766
Re: Request for investigation (S-INVES-P 09-6)
The OIP has received a request from Mr. Glenn Mickens that this office investigate whether the executive session held by the Kauai County Council (the “Council”) on its February 4th meeting violated part I of Chapter 92 of HRS. A Copy of Mr. Micken’s request is enclosed for your information.
We ask for your assistance in our review of this request. Please provide us with a detailed explanation, including any relevant legal citations setting forth the council position on this matter and any other information you deem relevant to this inquiry. Please provide us with a transcript of this meeting if available or in absence of a transcript the minutes of the meeting. We request the Council provide this response to OIP no later than ten business days from receipt of this letter.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this matter please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned attorney
Jennifer Z Brooks
What will come of this though is anyone’s guess because the under-funded, under-staffed and overworked OIP has been loath to hand down official opinions recently and only did so twice last year- the lowest number ever..
When Honolulu blogger Ian Lind asked why in a post a week or so back he actually got an answer from OIP Director Paul Tsukiyama.
According to Lind:
Tsukiyama says his office actually authored 45 written opinions during 2008, up from a total of 39 the previous year.
He says the difference is accounted for by 43 “informal” or memorandum opinions which are neither published nor circulated.
(Tsukiyama wrote) These opinions are deemed to be of more limited guidance because they address issues that have already been more fully addressed in formal opinions, or because their factual basis limits their general applicability. These opinions enerally (sic) provide elss (sic) detailed legal discussion.
Tsukiyama says that “in the face of diminishing resources” to deal with its longstanding backlog,
(Tsukiyama wrote) OIP has elected to address more cases by way of informal (unpublished) opinions, summary dispositions, and by written and verbal corresponence (sic) as opposed to formal published opinions.
During 2008, only 4.4 percent of OIP’s written opinions were published, while 95.6 percent fell in that information and unpublished category.
But the problem with these “informal” opinions is that they are usually even more “advisory” in nature than the usual formal opinions since they are not fully legally researched and handed down.
And guess which “separate kingdom” legislative body takes full advantage of this?
A review of the OIP’s official opinions shows they are presented with a specific question of law and definitive “yes” or “no” answer.
But the informal ones are written as letters that generally discuss and “advise” rather than answer the question raised
This led to an informal opinion on the infamous 3.07(e) provision that Kaua`i voters were tricked into removing from our county charter last November. It contained wording of the ballot giving the impression that to vote “yes” would require the council to adhere to the state sunshine law when it actually removed a provision that limited executive sessions on Kaua`i to matters involving “claims”.
But when OIP finally addressed the matter they sent a lawyerly well-crafted letter that actually avoided the issue by writing it so it could be interpreted in two different ways. It stressed that the sunshine law must always be followed and separately said it had no jurisdiction over the charter provision. since it only deals with “Part I of HRS Chapter 92”, aka the sunshine law. It indicated that only the Kaua`i county attorney- or the 5th Circuit Court if someone were to bring suit- can opine on 3.07(e)
This allowed the council to claim vindication by reading it to have said that the OIP opines that as far as they’re concerned 3.07(e) doesn’t apply to the sunshine law and therefore, since the council must follow the sunshine law, 3.07(e) didn’t need to be followed.
That led to a bizarre little vignette at a recent council meeting where some councilmembers tried to clarify it all verbally with the deputy county attorney who refused to opine asking them to “put it in writing” and repeating like a mantra that “the agenda item as posted is legal”- including the reference to 3.07(e) which remains on executive session agendas even after the “claims only” section was removed by voters.
Recently the OIP opened an investigation into a complaint PNN brought. against councilmember Jay Furfaro for seeking to discuss- and solicit votes for- a piece of then un-introduced and un-agendaed legislation.
The 10 days for the response in the Furfaro case is long past and we still haven’t heard from OIP so today we requested an update.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
By Anthony Sommer
About the Author
Tony Sommer worked as a daily newspaper reporter on Kauai for eight years, most of that time as The Honolulu Star-Bulletin’s entire Kauai bureau.
He holds a bachelor’s degree with a major in journalism and a minor in political science from Central Michigan University (1967) and a master’s degree in journalism and political science from Ohio University (1968).
Before moving to Hawaii, he spent 25 years as a reporter for The Phoenix Gazette, the city’s afternoon daily newspaper, specializing in state government and legal issues. He covered the administrations of six Arizona governors, the Arizona Legislature and the Arizona Supreme Court.
He also worked three years as The Gazette’s investigative reporter covering Charles Keating and the largest savings and loan swindle in American history.
He was the Gazette’s Phoenix City Hall reporter twice, covering the administrations of two different mayors in the nation’s fifth largest city.
Tony also has extensive experience as a police officer and administrator, an unusual background for a journalist and one which allowed him a unique perspective on the Kauai Police Department.
Commissioned in 1967 in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps, he left active duty in 1972 as a captain.
Among his active duty assignments, he was the Military Police Station commander at Fort Carson, Colo., for more than a year and deputy provost marshal (police chief) of the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) for a year and a half.
He remained in the active Army Reserve as a Military Police officer for another 23 years, retiring in 1995 as a lieutenant colonel. Among his reserve assignments, he commanded a battalion-level Military Police unit and was an instructor at the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College.
Tony retired from daily news reporting in 2005 and returned to Phoenix where he now writes on whatever interests him.
Friday, February 13, 2009
And if the amount of supporting testimony is any indication Punohu, the bill’s chief and original proponent, has certainly stuck a nerve with not just HUD recipients and the community in general but even elected officials from our local council all the way to congress.
Hawai`i US Congressmember Neil Abercrombie’s joined Kaua`i Councilmembers Lani Kawahara, Dickie Chang and Derek Kawakami and Tim Bynum in submitting written testimony and former Kaua`i Mayor and Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura made the trip over to Honolulu with Punohu’s daughter and a friend in tow to give her testimony in person.
In addition testimony in support was received from such diverse groups as
-The Hawai`i Civil Rights Commission
-The Institute for Human Services
- Kaua`i Agency on Elderly Affairs (Ludvina K. Takahasi)
-The Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i (Jennifer La’a, Fair Housing Program Manager)
-Malama Kaua`i (Andrea Brower, Project Manager and Keone Kealoha, Executive Director and
-The Kaua`i Food Bank, Inc, (Wendi Rusaw Food Stamp Outreach Coordinator)
The only negative testimonies were from Chad K. Taniguchi of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority who said they prefer the apparently failed policy of “negotiating” with landlords, Coral Wong Pietsch, Chair of the Hawai`i Civil Rights Commission which worried that they would have to enforce the law and, predictably, the O`ahu chapter of the National Association of Residential Property managers who apparently would like to continue their discriminatory practices.
In addition testimony was received from
-Lani Rae Suiso Garcia
-Trisha Kehaulani Watson
-R. E. Flora
-Shanarae Kaulananapuaikaikamaolino Donovan
and of course Anne Punohu for the Kauai Fair Housing Law Coalition
We’ll try to find out more about how the hearing went and what to expect next week but today we’re going to present and excerpt some of today’s testimony.
Testimony of U.S. Representative Neil Abercrombie
I am writing in support of SB 456. relating to "source of income' discrimination.
It's no secret that we have a housing crisis in Hawaii. Property values remain high making the average working family--even with two salaries--unable to afford a median-priced home. Homeless estimates in our state start at 15,000 people, but may increase under a newer definition of "homeless" that can include two, three or more families who are forced to live in the same house.
At the same time, landlords are closing their doors to individuals and families that qualify for government assistance programs, like Section 8 or Housing Choice vouchers. From January to March 2008, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated that only 710/. of Housing Choice Vouchers were being utilized. Many families who had Section 8 vouchers either couldn't find or were denied qualified housing and remained in crowded or unacceptable living conditions.
To protect the civil liberties of everyone seeking decent shelter and a place to call home, legislation to add "source of income" protection to our fair housing laws is vital. SB456 will help to provide improved access to housing for many individuals like seniors collecting social security; single parents receiving child support; veterans being paid for military service; and individuals with a chronic disease getting government assistance. SB456 is an equitable and just step in the effort to increase housing availability and improve our fair housing laws.
I urge Chair Baker, Vice-Chair Ige and the members of the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee to support 8B456 and the enforcement of fair housing practices for all. Mahalo for your time and consideration.
Testimony of former Kaua`i Mayor and Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura
Chair Baker and Members of the Committee,
Thank you for this opportunity to testify.
I speak in favor of SB 456. I want to thank Senator Hooser who introduced this bill and Annie Punohu for initiating this effort. Annie is a courageous and passionate single mother of two beautiful girls. She has been homeless herself in the past and knows first hand what it is like to struggle against discrimination. Annie Punohu is not able to be here today, but representing her is her lovely soon-to-be 17-year old daughter, Kaulana, who will be testifying. Kaulana is a participant in the Leadership Kaua`i youth program. Also testifying from Kaua`i is Pua Vidinha. We feel very privileged to be able to speak before you.
Last month, we all celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. A week after Dr. King was tragically assassinated in 1968, the Fair Housing Act was passed by Congress as a way to honor and advance Dr. King’s agenda for freedom and equality.
Today, over forty years later, we still struggle to make Dr. King’s dream a realty. Against the reality of his time, he saw people finding decent housing and living in good neighborhoods no matter what their race, source of legal income, sex or age.
SB 456 would help move us in this direction.
Let us be clear what SB 456 does and doesn’t do.
SB 456 prohibits discrimination against renters based on source of legal income. In all likelihood, the greatest impact of this bill will be to stop overt discrimination. Covert discrimination will be harder to detect, prove or stop, though if enough proof is amassed, it will be possible. But stopping overt discrimination itself will have benefits! It will set the tone. It will make clear to all what is not acceptable. It will at least allow HUD voucher holders to go through the process of applying, which in and For example, it prohibits a landlord or realtor from refusing to accept applications for rental units based on categories of income—such as HUD vouchers, social security or SSI payments, etc. It will prevent landlords and realtors from advertising rentals with outright prohibitions against HUD voucher applicants, which essentially stops them from even applying. It will also prevent some landlords who don’t understand what HUD is, from stating in their ads that they won’t accept HUD voucher applications, simply because “that’s what other landlords are doing.” of itself, could help the landlord see an applicant as an individual rather than a stereotype. Apparently, in states where a law similar to SB 456 is in place, HUD voucher holders seem to have a better rate of finding housing.
What SB 456 does not do is to dictate that a landlord must rent to a certain HUD voucher holder.
In other states, where there are laws similar to SB 456 in place, overt discrimination is clearly reduced. This bill will not solve all problems of housing discrimination, but it will help to create a more even playing field for renters—especially those in the lower incomes who have struggled to find decent housing and who sometimes become the homeless.
It will not prohibit landlords from refusing to rent to individual
applicants based on past performance, bad references, bad payment records. Please see section 4 of Bill 456 on page 10, which allows a landlord to make an evaluation of a potential renter’s ability to pay and stability.
It is Time to Stop Overt Discrimination against Certain Legal Sources of Income
It is clear that we need this law on Kaua`i. A survey of classified ads in the local paper, The Garden Island shows that overt discrimination against HUD voucher holders is significant. While some argue that the slowing economy will make such a law unnecessary because we are moving toward a “renters” market, the slow economy is also creating more people with financial, and consequently, housing problems. So the problem of accessing affordable housing remains even in the slow economy.
Furthermore, the “down” economy will not last forever. We are all familiar with the “boom and bust” cycles that occur in Hawai`i’s economy periodically, and we must be prepared for the return of the terrible affordable housing stresses that we recently experienced over the past 5-6 years of a boom economy.
HUD voucher holders are not the only ones who will be protected. Elderly, who are growing in proportion to population, and the disabled will also be protected against landlords who discriminate against limited income sources such as social security or SSI.
Please pass this law which will prohibit, and which has been shown to effectively prevent, overt discrimination based on income categories such as HUD vouchers. It will increase the chances for law-abiding, sincere, often hard-working families and single people to access affordable housing in Hawai`i.
Testimony Of Kaua`i councilmember Lani Kawahara (with similar testimony from Councilmembers Tim Bynum, Dickie Chang and Derek Kawakami)
Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony on S.B. No. 456 relating to discrimination in real property transactions based on lawful sources of income. My testimony is submitted as an individual Kaua`i County Councilmember.
The purpose of this bill is to prohibit discrimination based on a lawful source of income in real estate transactions, including advertisements of available rental units. Currently, the State of Hawai`i does not prohibit discrimination in its advertisements of real estate based on a lawful source of income.
I support the concept of prohibiting discrimination in real estate transactions and advertising and feel that people with any lawful source of income should be given the opportunity to apply for housing. It is unfair that people who participate in government assistance programs are not allowed a chance to apply for rentals because of discrimination in classified ads. Many people who participate in government assistance programs already suffer economic hardships that make it difficult to acquire affordable housing and they should not have to endure additional challenges in trying to provide for themselves and their families.
For the reasons stated above, I support S.B. No. 456 in concept and humbly request your further consideration of this measure.
Testimony of Mr. John Constantino, Single Parent and Displaced Homemaker Coordinator, Kaua`i Community College, Bridge to Hope Coordinator, Assistant Professor in Counseling and Advising, Kaua`i Fair Housing Law Coalition
I am in support of SB456, and HB 1274 that would prohibit landlords from discriminating against potential tenants based on the source of their income. As a counselor and coordinator to Single Parents and Displaced Homemakers, I have seen my fair share of students who have faced discrimination and humiliation.
Decent housing is a fundamental right. The protection of the human dignity of every person and the right to a decent home require both individual action and structural policies and practices. Our concern is not simply for houses or programs but for the people who inhabit these dwellings or are affected by these programs. The statistics are not simply numbers or points on a graph; they are individual human tragedies.
Governor Linda Lingle has estimated that as many as 15,000 people may be homeless in our state. According to a recent national study, in regards to housing discrimination faced by Asians and Pacific Islanders, the discrimination rates held at 37% percent, the same rate as for African Americans. The statistics in large part came from the State of Hawai`i. HUD Choice Voucher lists are currently closed on O`ahu, due to not enough people moving off the lists to make way for new people to sign up. Reports have been stated that up to 60% percent of individuals who obtained HUD Choice Vouchers were unable to use them. Not because they suddenly found a rental on their own, or came into a lot of money but because they simply could not find a rental that, in many cases would accept HUD Choice Vouchers.
These households are real families experiencing the tragedies of homelessness or inadequate housing. The households are made up of parents and children, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews. Each is affected by their family’s difficulty in affording an adequate place to live. Adults worry about how to pay utility, clothing, and food bills when the great majority of their income goes toward rent. When they can’t pay their rent, they strategize on moving between hotels, friends’ sofas, and shelters. Children suffer from exposure to unsafe and unstable living conditions.
I believe that one of government’s primary responsibilities is to ensure that the most basic needs of its people are met. In the United States, our federal government does this, in part, through the Section 8 Rental Choice Voucher Program. Hawaii serves the housing needs of its lowest‐income residents through the State’s Rental Allowance Program. However, though a family may be successful in accessing assistance through Section 8, or some other program, in most parts of Hawaii, they face yet another hurdle in their search for housing. Hawaii residents receiving housing assistance are often discriminated against in their search for housing. It is common to see newspaper or internet ads that contain the words, “No Section 8.” It is more common for low‐income Hawaii residents to hear this refrain when they inquire into available housing. Such discrimination is also faced by people who base their income, in part or in total, on disability assistance, cash assistance, child support, or alimony. To anyone who encounters it, the discrimination is frustrating and demoralizing. Individuals and families having the lawful means to rent or buy housing should not be denied that housing based on where those means come from. Those with the income, credit-worthiness, and other applicable credentials to rent or buy – the single mom depending on child-support payments, the low‐income family depending on a Section 8 voucher, the man depending on disability assistance, the elderly couple depending on a pension – none should be denied the opportunity to rent or buy because their incomes don’t come entirely from a job.
Recognizing housing as a fundamental human right, and also the severe hardships – including discrimination – low‐income Hawaii residents face in finding housing they can afford, I respectfully ask that you give SB456 a favorable report.
Testimony of Sam Goldberg, 5th Grade Student in the class of teacher Suzanne Messinger, Kula Elementary, Kilauea, Hawaii with similar 6th Grader Marina Mireles and 5th Grader Jordan Grainger
Aloha, my name is Sam Goldberg. I am fifth grader at Kula Elementary in Kilauea, Kauai. My class, my teacher and I would like to express our support for Senate Bill 456.
A couple months ago, Suzanne took our class to the Eco-Roundtable in Lihue. It was there, that we met a motivated woman who taught us the difference between equal and unequal housing. We also learned a lot about HUD. We hope that Senate Bill 456 will guarantee that people who qualify for HUD are not discriminated against when they try to rent a house on Kauai.
During the past two months our teacher has been helping us to learn more about discrimination, human rights prejudice and segregation in our inquiry unit called “Fair Play for All.” When studying the history of prejudice in America from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, I was mortified by the hateful and unfair treatment of people in our country. People like Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King, Jr., have shown us that change is possible and all people should be treated equally.
When I learned that some families on our island who have lower incomes then others are not able to rent a house as easy as a family with more money, I became angry and confused. How could this discrimination still be happening today? We found out that there are people who work hard, but because they received HUD could not find a house to rent. We think all people on Kauai should have an equal opportunity to rent a house as long as they work hard and pay their bills.
I am writing to you because I believe in this issue. Suzanne inspires us to try to do something about what we believe in. She says, kids have important ideas and strong voices and we should take action when we feel frustrated. I, Sammy, believe in Senate Bill 456. I strongly feel that all people on Kauai are equal and should be treated fairly. If someone who gets HUD is able to pay rent, they should be able to rent a house just as easy as someone who does not. I am so thankful for my home here in Kilauea. I want to live in a place where all people are treated equally and there is no prejudice. Please try to stop this discrimination. Please listen to what I am saying, because it truly means a lot to me.
Testimony of Shanarae Kaulananapuaikaikamaolino Donovan Age 17
Aloha. My name is Shanarae Kaulananapuaikaikamaolino Donovan, and I am the daughter of Anne Punohu, who started the Kauai Fair Housing Law Coalition Kauai, and I am here to testify on her behalf, and also to represent the children's side of this issue. I will be 17 in a few days, and I will be able to vote for the first time in the next election in Hawaii. As a future voter, and a child who has been homeless before, I can tell you that it is very hard to see our parents when they try to get a place to live, and cant because people say no. If you have a HUD Voucher, it takes a long time to get one. At first your parents can be very exited to go out and find a rental. Maybe they will find a house with a yard, and maybe the kids can have their own rooms. Maybe there will be a nice kitchen where you can cook your food, and a bathroom with a nice, hot shower. Those are the things you think about when you are homeless and a kid. You are not thinking about how you can damage the house, you think about how you can fix it up nice.
All your parents can think about is us kids being safe, and your mom, being able to sleep finally because she doesn't have to keep one eye open all the time, because when you are homeless your parents will never sleep so they can protect you. Its also easier to keep your job, because you can stay cleaner and get more rest and eat better. So, after you are all exited, your parents are all exited, reality sets in. Your parents start to make phone calls and look in the newspaper. Sometimes you help them. And then you see the ads that say: NO HUD. Your parents make phone calls, and start to hear all of the excuses over the phone, some are not very nice. Some people tell our parents they don't rent to HUD, because HUD people will trash their house, or they don't want kids there, or they just don't want HUD people there, or their house is not going to pass a HUD inspection. After awhile, everyone starts to get sad, and cranky, and stressed out. Soon, our parents know their time to find a rental will run out. Soon, they will lose the voucher, and we will have to stay homeless even longer. Sometimes kids have a real hard time being homeless, but our parents are the ones that have it even harder, because they are trying so hard, but they cant find places to rent. I think that is wrong. I think its morally wrong, and I think its against human rights. Everyone has the right to a decent, safe house to live in, even if you are poor, even if you are disabled, even if you need help to pay for your rent, even if you may not be perfect. People who have places for rent, should not be able to discriminate against people just because sometimes help is needed to pay for the rent. Think about all of the children who you are turning away. Think of all those great people you didn't even give a chance to apply for your rental. Most of us kids, who have been homeless have really great parents, they try really hard and do their best. But everything is so expensive. I am born and raised here, and I feel that people that are from here should not have to leave, so that other people can move here and get the rentals because they don't need help. They get to live inside, while the rest of us have to live outside, just because we don't matter or count as much as they do. We are not as good as them.
I think that is very wrong. My mom, and my sister and I have a place to live. But lots of other people don't. That’s because they cant find anywhere they can afford. If they get help so that they can get a place, they should have a chance to get it. Its not right to have it legal that you don't even have to give them a chance.
That’s why my mom asked Senator Hooser if he would be willing to write a bill to stop this, and he did.
In the house, Representatives Mina Morita, Representatives Har, Herkes, Chang, Cabanilla and Tokioka introduced a mirror bill in the house called HB1274. My mom made phone calls and emails to everyone and got people to send in testimony. Joann Yukimura paid for me to come today, and my Auntie Pua is here too. There are a lot of people who support this bill.
Our new President, Barack Obama, said this about equal rights, and civil rights. He said:
The teenagers and college students who left their homes to march in the streets of Birmingham and Montgomery; the mothers who walked instead of taking the bus after a long day of doing somebody else's laundry and cleaning somebody else's kitchen – they didn't brave fire hoses and Billy clubs so that their grandchildren and their greatgrandchildren would still wonder at the beginning of the 21st century whether their vote would be counted; whether their civil rights would be protected by their government; whether justice would be equal and opportunity would be theirs.... We have more work to do."
-- Barack Obama, Speech at Howard University, September 28, 2007