Wednesday, September 30, 2009


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

Then again it might not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


BARKING IN THE DARK: Joan Conrow’s recent interview with Kaua`i Police Department (KPD) Chief Darryl Perry in the Hawai`i Independent begins with Perry’s depiction of what he found when he took office saying:

When Police Chief Darryl Perry started work on Kauai two years ago, he was startled to find that his office lacked not only transition reports, but even such rudimentary supplies as a pencil and stapler.

“I wondered what else I would find if the basics were missing,” Perry recalled during a KKCR radio interview that I conducted with him on Thursday afternoon.

He soon discovered that much more was missing from the long-troubled department, including an internal affairs division, certain records, modern policies, good morale, and leadership. The force had some 30 vacant positions, and no disciplinary action had been taken against officers for the previous three years, resulting in a backlog of about 20 cases.

Whether this is due to ignorance of what happened before he took office along with a lack of comprehension of the laws governing the police commission and department or is the result of a selective memory is a matter only Perry himself can clarify.

But it’s essential that light be shed on some of the misconceptions and misperceptions that might result from reading the veiled passive aggressive allegations.

Let’s start with the complaint regarding processing of complaints.

There has been a fundamental problem of ambiguity and lack of clarity with the processing of complaints on Kaua`i since the county charter was adopted.

The relevant charter provisions read:

Section 11.03. General Powers of the Commission. The police
commission shall:

C. Receive, consider and investigate charges brought by the public against the conduct of the department or any of its members and submit a written report of its findings to the chief of police within ninety days.

Section 11.06. Discipline and Removal. The dismissal, suspension, or demotion of any police officer or employee in the police department shall be under procedures set forth by civil service laws and regulations.

There is nothing further stated in the charter as to what happens then. The problem has been that the HAR (Hawai`i Administrative Rules) are not of much help either. As a matter of fact they call for complaints to be filed with either the commission or the chief, according to a long standing commission complaint, causing no small confusion in tracking complaints.

Does the charter’s wording preclude an internal affairs division? After all if the commission is supposed to “(r)eceive, consider and investigate charges” what does an IA do? And what happens after the chief receives the report? And who is to do the investigation for the commission? It would seem to indicate an independent investigation is required conducted by the commission, not the department.

In practice the commission has received a small budget to hire investigators but that money has come up short of what is needed year after year with finding the most cost effective method of hiring investigators taking up an inordinate amount of commission time and energy in recent years.

One of the first police commission meetings PNN attended was when Mayor Maryanne Kusaka, apparently illegally interfering with the commission’s function, attempted to remove Chief George Freitas on her own by directing his secretary to seize his badge and gun under trumped up charges, all but a minor one of which- that his girlfriend rode in his police car- were determined by the commission to be unfounded.

According to the charter, the only function the Mayor serves regarding the KPD is to nominate the commissioners, who are confirmed by the county council.

At that meeting amidst the confusion and political machinations- under a county attorney, Hartwell Blake, who simply refused to recognize the charter and allowed the mayor to interfere with the commission and department in any manner she pleased- there was an agenda item that was deferred and did not show up on the agenda again for the next few years while the commission’s time was dominated with the proceedings regarding Freitas.

The item was to initiate review leading to new administrative rules as concerned complaints. To this day the commission operates under the rules they had found to be wanting for years before that meeting.

Once Freitas retired- with a huge “settlement” buyout in exchange for his dropping of a open-and-shut-case lawsuit against the county – the commission’s job number one was the search for a new chief. Through a series of interim chiefs the issues of administrative rules and insufficient money for investigators- and therefore the complaints themselves- took a backseat until it finally reappeared on the agenda again right after the appointment of Chief KC Lum.

But of course at that point all hell broke loose again with a new round of politically motivated charges against not just Lum but the chair and vice chair of the commission, all of whose time was consumed fighting the trumped up charges of two councilpersons- Mel Rapozo and Shaylene Iseri Carvalho- who held personal grudges against Lum.

Eventually Council Chair Kaipo Asing, in order to keep the support of the two for his now infamous iron fisted rule of the council, filed the complaint against Lum... at first officially on council letterhead appearing to speak for the whole council until complaints against Asing were filed when he claimed he just made a mistake by using county letterhead.

For the next two years the political shenanigans and charges dominated the commission meetings, interrupted and compounded by the “Hop Sing” episode where commissioner Leon Gonsalves’ email by using the racial slur was revealed spurring public pressure that caused then-Mayor Brian Baptiste to ask the council to remove Gonsalves.

When the council finally put the matter on the agenda under pressure from the police union leadership and others- including Perry’s brother Warren and many other of Perry’s supporters, including Gonsalves who also stated how he “could throw up” seeing Lum sworn in after Perry had lost out to Lum for the top cop job- the council refused to remove Gonsalves claiming it was “just his way of talking”.

Despite the blatant ethnic slur- Lum is of Chinese descent as was the Hop Sing character, a servant on the TV show Bonanza- Gonsalves was excused because he apparently had slurred many others with ethnic nicknames, as did others at the department, so somehow it didn’t matter because, as Asing and other councilmembers said, it was just “local culture”.

Amidst all that, the commission- by then the go to body to receive and investigate complaints- was in such constant turmoil and operating with bitter cross-table personal animosities, it made all other work, especially processing complaints, almost impossible.

And while all this was going on, the department’s chief financial officer took sick and went on leave with cancer right after Lum took office. This caused a constant lack of up to date accounting, compounding the longstanding deficiencies in the reporting system that kept reports from the financial officer up to three months behind causing the "actuals" of the last three months of the fiscal year to be unavailable until the year was over.

Since the department had been anywhere from 30 to 45 officer short for many years overtime pay was out of control. But rather than increase the line item for overtime the council expected Lum to cover all the shifts with the money appropriated for regular salary- something that, of course could never cover the higher overtime pay rate.

Lum was forced to scrimp and save in order to put enough officers on the streets- a policy the council and mayor, not to mention the community, insisted upon- without going over budget.

Despite this- and the fact that a final report from the finance director found he was not over budget- he was excoriated by the council for going over his budget when the real problem was apparently an accounting one caused by the absence of the long time financial officer.

That may explain why there were seemingly insufficient pencils and staplers with the money going to overtime salaries.

It would have been surprising- given all the political in-fighting, the major upheavals in removing two chiefs, the appointments of multiple interim chiefs, the procedural problems with complaint processing, the lack of a financial officer and all the other items detailed in Anthony Sommer’s book KPD Blue (which Perry recently seeming admitted was factual in saying “the days of KPD Blue are ‘over’”) – if anything else on the commission agenda was moving forward, including processing of complaints under unclear rules.

Pointing fingers is easy. Examining precisely what happened- especially when you’ve been in denial about it- is a little bit harder.

Friday, September 25, 2009


THUNK: Our drive to Waimea yesterday was spent behind a raw sugar delivery truck on its way back from a Nawiliwili drop-off, spewing noxious diesel exhaust until it turned off into one of the soon to be abandoned cane fields of Gay and Robinson.

As we drove through the cross hatching of soon to be harvested and already barren fields destined for abandonment it was hard not to imagine what the next 10 years will reap if the paths of the rest of the abandoned cane fields from Kilauea to Kalaheo is the same for the G&R- massive runoff for the next few years, fouling reefs with chemically poisoned dirt as each heavy downpour washes away what’s left of top soil in waves of gooky mud.

It’s hard to cry about the last cane harvest on the island. All the good stuff of plantation life- idealized as it is ignoring the near slave-like conditions, plantation mentality and environmental degradation- hasn’t really existed for about 50 years now.

But for once, if we do it right, the aftermath doesn’t have to include the deposit of millions of cubic feet of soil in the ocean or leave ugly scarred land left to be a massive breeding ground for the spread of the invasive species that will accumulate if nothing is done now to stop it.

It’s time to put Keith Robinson’s title of “Mr. Environmentalist” to the acid test. Tinkering with native species is nice- for him. But if he really cares he’ll be remediating the land and restoring it as closely as possible to the condition his family found it in 120 years ago by nurturing a program growing and planting those native species he’s been propagating for years, stabilizing the land and letting it breath for a generation until it becomes living soil once again.

And then of course instead of turning it over to the frankenfood industry developing diversified ag-only, non residential lots to supply the food -and energy- the island needs in anticipation of the increasingly likely post-peak-oil day when “da boat no mo’ come”.

Perhaps he’ll even return the water to the streams and rivers from which it was stolen as the irrigation systems were put in place and restoring the native ecosystems that existed before G&R tore up the place for King Cane.

No laugh, eh. It could happen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


UNCHAINED MELODY OR SAME OLD TUNE?: The old saw regarding lies, damnable lies and statistics got a workout today as the Honolulu Star- Bulletin reported that Hawaii’s tax burden ranks 24th in the US.

That’s the statistic.

As for the lie - a classic “big” one that, if repeated often enough becomes fact- despite this fact, we’ve become all too used to being bombarded by greedy, rip-off, big-business-bastards who boast that Hawai`i is “the most taxed state in the country” or “the worst business atmosphere” or some such bloviation.

The information that we’re actually somewhere in the middle of the pack was actually reported last week in an article in the Pacific Business Journal.

But PBJ reports that actually, in many ways, we’re among the best. It says:

Hawaii ranked near the top for corporate taxes (10th) and sales taxes (11th) and was considered among the best for unemployment insurance taxes (12th) and property taxes (8th). Hawaii was near the bottom for individual income taxes (44th).

The one area that taxes were “near the bottom”- as a matter of fact the only one we weren’t among the best- was income tax. But we have to look to the S-B article to get the explanation of why.

It isn’t until the last sentence of their take that we find out:

Hawaii and Oregon now have the highest (income) tax rates in the nation, 11 percent, with Hawaii's kicking in when income exceeds $200,000.

So it really isn’t even some kind of across the board income tax that’s bad, it’s only the progressive increase that was passed last year by the legislature asking those who make more to pay more that has caused the whole “drop”- a drop that keeps us near the middle and of course, in no way even “one of the worst” much less the worst.

As a matter of fact, unreported by either paper- we’re one of the least taxed overall.

But that didn’t stop former councilperson- and now blogger while he awaits the November 2010 election- Mel Rapozo from whining about how badly business people are treated even though corporate taxes remain in among the 10 best.

Though some of his complaint centers around the proposed 1000% increase (yes you read right) in unemployment tax he finally shows how he’s been taken in by the big lie and shows how it’s become a damnable lie in confusing poor Mel.

Mel cites the PBN story but still says:

Small business gets it again. This is one of the reasons why Hawaii is known as a "business unfriendly" state....

It is simply not fair to keep laying it on small businesses. We are having a tough enough time keeping our doors open. Small business is the backbone of the American economy. Let's help them for once. Let's help bail out small businesses, who struggle on a daily basis. We don't have private jets and multi-million dollar salaries. We work hard in our respective businesses and try to hang on to our employees. Stop the assault on small business. Please!!

Is Mel one of those making over $200,000? Actually the legislation was for those making over $250,000 as we recall. Even if he is, he’s complaining about the business or “corporate” tax which as we said is really comparatively low.

But Mel is one of those who has been taken in by the big lie and can’t seem to read the statistics correctly due to the blind spot created by the damnable lie- that is perpetuated by the business media in Hawai`i in not pointing out the big lie or properly analyzing the numbers that belie the lie they prefer to proffer.

While the state worker unions have been suggesting that an excise tax increase- the most regressive of all taxations- would solve the fiscal problems of the state without laying off or furloughing state employees they would be well served- even at this late date- to look at the low corporate tax for revenue enhancement.

But first they would have to get out of bed with management and controvert the big lie. Good luck with that.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


FIRST BITE: “Only you” as our editor often says “could spend a ‘rousingly entertaining’ morning poring over documents” as we did today, in this case some from the Office of Information Practices (OIP) web site.

But a phone call last night from a similarly inclined individual hipped us to a new section in which those new “informal opinions” have finally been posted.

For those who might have missed the reason why the OIP has only had two formal opinions in 2008 and two so far in 2009, the OIP’s Annual Report - 2008 says

One of OIP’s priorities this past year has been to decrease its longstanding backlog of pending requests for written advisory opinions. OIP elected to address more cases by way of informal (unpublished) opinions, and by written and verbal correspondence as opposed to formal published opinions. OIP has been successful in increasing the number of case dispositions despite having to devote significant staff effort to pending appellate litigation in the past fiscal year.

Anyone who is looking for those informal opinions can now find them on-line.

And one particular one may have a major effect on how the Kaua`i Board of Ethics (BOE) conducts its business.

As we’ve reported before the BOE has been quite stingy with the public disclosure forms that all major county personnel and board and commission members are required to complete. Their policy has been to keep them from the public if not permanently at least until they have a chance to go over them and actually purge them of anything that might be construed to be a violation of the “code of ethics”- something many considered to be a corrupt practice since the disclosures are supposed to publicly reveal any ”problems” with the private interests of the filer as they intersect with the person’s duties on behalf of the county.

Still to this day, although the local newspaper’s Michael Levine has successfully gotten them to release recently submitted disclosure forms he’s only gotten as they are reviewed by the BOE.

In UIPA Memo 09-6 regarding “Candidate's Financial Disclosure Statements”:

An attorney asked whether a financial disclosure statement filed with the Maui County Board of Ethics (“Board”) by a candidate for Maui County elective office (“candidate financial disclosure statement”) is open to public inspection under part II of the UIPA before the Board has met to discuss it.

OIP concluded that a candidate financial disclosure statement is open to public inspection at the time it is filed. The statement is maintained by the Board from the time it is filed, and a candidate for Maui County elective office does not have a significant privacy interest in the information contained therein. Thus, the Board has no basis to deny public access to the candidate financial disclosure statement.

This would seem to settle the matter of whether the BOE has any jurisdiction whatsoever over the actual content of the forms other than advisory and indicates that the public has a right to the fully unredacted version of the disclosure form as originally filed by the individual.

Monday, September 21, 2009


OH WHAT SMALL TEETH YOU HAVE GRANDMAMA: We had our say in Saturday’s local newspaper when reporter Michael Levine asked us what we thought of the appointment of long time Deputy County Clerk Ernie Pasion to the newly created position of county auditor.

As Levine wrote:

(S)ome have said the veteran of county government will have difficulty asserting his independence when it comes to reviewing the performance of people he has worked with in the past.“The idea was to hire somebody totally independent from outside the county,” said Kaua`i government watchdog and blogger Andy Parx in a phone interview Friday, adding that Pasion was the “ultimate insider” and that his appointment was “a huge disappointment.”

“This guy has been a political appointee of the council for 12 years. That’s the only reason he has the job,” Parx said. “I don’t see that he’ll do anything except exactly what the council tells him to do. That’s exactly what he’s done for 12 years, and he serves at their pleasure.”

The article and the Sunday editorial further point to many of the issues we raised with appointment of a long time council sycophant to, for the most part, investigate the actions of county administrative departments.

Perhaps the placement of the auditor position under council services is a fatal flaw- one that the council could not have missed when drafting the measure. But then the position was never designed to investigate the council, even though it could have been.

Our discussion with Levine spurred us to relate the story of how we got to the point where the council put the charter measure on the ballot last November in the first place.

The new county auditor position is not just something that came up recently. Indeed it goes back almost 10 years to the grubbing and grading Pflueger/McCloskey scandal and the year-plus long series of “Developers Gone Wild” oral and video presentations to the council, as the item was continually deferred and so kept on the agenda meeting after meeting.

At that time the council tried to initiate an investigation of the Department of Public Works (DPW) under charter section 3.17- the only allowable “interference” by the council into administrative affairs.

But although people were demanding the investigation the council’s appetite for confrontation was low and when Gary Hooser moved to the state senate the investigation's main proponent was gone. And with a new Mayor- Democrat Bryan Batiste- the democratic council didn’t feel up to investigating the then-past administration of Mayor Maryanne Kusaka.

So instead they bickered over setting up procedures for the investigation after having appropriated a half a million dollars to investigate just a small section of the massive DPW- a move destined to examine select trees but not the forest.

Finally when Mel Rapozo came onto the council, despite his campaign promises to push the investigation he instead pushed for an investigation of the Kaua`i Police Department (KPD) where the past officer had been allowed to quit after his involvement with the lap dancer episode, as detailed in the book KPD Blue (see right rail for the serialization of the book).

After Rapozo allegedly “went off” in the infamous ES-177 and the council and its chair Kaipo Asing decided to fight release of the potential embarrassing content of the meeting, Rapozo suddenly dropped his calls to continue the DPW investigation... an investigation that Asing, who had exposed many of the misdeeds of DPW, had little taste for, calling the suspect DPW personnel “my good friends” at every available opportunity.

While the council switched its attention to the KPD investigating instead of pulling the trigger on the DPW investigation, the public clamor for a DPW investigation continued so the council then appropriated money for a position of a county auditor under council services control and then spent two years doing nothing- seemingly incapable of appointing one.

Finally instead of just appointing an auditor the council decided to kick the can down the road once more by putting the idea of an auditor on the ballot as a charter amendment despite the fact that they had already created the position internally.

At any point during this debacle Pasion could have used his alleged skills to step in and get it done. But that would have taken the political independence that his new job requires.

The position of any performance or “management auditor”- quite different from a financial auditor which is the job of the independent firms that do that every year as the charter requires- is usually filled by someone independent of either the administrative or the legislative branch, not an insider who has developed political relationships with the legislators and the department heads and civil service personnel that may compromise his or her impartiality.

The model people are most familiar with in Hawai`i is state auditor Marion Higa whose scathing analyses of various state departments and programs has shed the light that neither the Legislative Reference Bureau in the legislature or the administration’s ombudsman or other accountability mechanisms within the administration can do since they are generally too enmeshed in the daily machination of government to get a clear view... or more importantly criticize when criticism is due.

The job does not entail simply giving the subject of investigation a pass when the people or entities being investigated object by say “we’re doing the best we can” and present a laundry list of excuses- as they usually do.

Time will certainly tell whether Pasion has the skills for the job- his background is apparently not in management auditing but rather financial audits.

But even if he has the skills or magically obtains them it is doubtful that he can muster the political guts it takes to cut to the chase and issue a biting report about those who his boss Asing still calls “my good friends”- the same ones he declined to investigate when he was mayor last year despite him many “presentations” exposing administration wrongdoing.

Ernie is a nice guy and knows all the players and is pals with all of them. But this position calls for the exact opposite.

The fact is Ernie could have been assisting the council all these past 12 years in investigating and auditing the performance of various administration entitles but has done the opposite- schmoozing and making excuses for their inaction or even corruption- has to put up red flags regarding his appointment.

Some say to give him a chance and obviously we don’t have a choice. But we would have to be idiots to think he can do the job and not think that when the time is up it will not inform the story we’ve told here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


CAN’T YOU SHUT THAT DOG UP?: Police Commissioner Tom Iannucci’s letter to the editor in Sunday’s local paper shows once again why many believe he is a disgrace to KPD and the commission.

As we’ve seen over and over in his writings and statements, excuses and attacks are his MO when it comes to responding to citizen’s concerns. Rather than acknowledge these concerns, try to mitigate the problem and work toward an understanding on all sides, he consistently exacerbates the situation, ignoring the actual complaint by hurling red herrings and belittling the person with unwarranted personal attacks.

Rather than deal professionally with citizen’s criticisms, like a drunk in a barroom fight he ratchets up the rhetoric with fighting words.

And this is a guy who is supposed to represent the public as a liaison with the department- one of those who adjudicates official complaints. If this is also his attitude toward complaints when the commission goes behind closed door how can the public have any confidence of impartiality and due diligence when many of these complaints are “not sustained”?

It’s a good thing most of our fine Kaua`i officers on the beat respond to calls as the “peace officers” we expect them to be and when confronted with macho kooks like Iannucci they take things down a notch, cooling things off rather than throwing gasoline on the fire.

It’s time for Iannucci to resign- or if not, be removed- and to stop setting the worst of examples for the department. Until he does, Chief Perry’s statement that “the days of KPD Blue are behind us” will ring hollow whether they actually are or not.

Friday, September 18, 2009


IT’S NOT A TURD- IT’S OUR LIVELIHOOD: It’s been nothing short of nauseating to watch the way the western-settler, fat-cat, gentlemen-farmers have screwed any chance of an agriculturally successful future and thus rural island culture for the island by spewing their sense of false entitlement in front of the council and planning commission as they whine and snivel that they should be allowed to violate the state law banning vacation rentals on ag land.

Yet who can blame them for taking advantage of scofflaws like Councilperson Jay Furfaro who introduced the bill to somehow make the illegal legal and once-and-we-hope-not-future Councilperson JoAnn Yukimura who drew up the bill?

We still haven’t seen the cablecast of this week’s disgusting installment of “Screw the Public” (aka Furfaro’s Council Planning Committee meeting) due to the usual Ho`ike incompetence and catch-22 runaround – somehow apparently the captioning wasn’t done at the meeting and is being done now by Ho`ike although the only one who can say exactly what the heck is going on and when it might be on is the always out-of-the-office and incommunicado J Robertson... who in the middle of this mess took Friday off and is, as usual, unreachable until Monday, if then.

But thus far no one that we’ve caught at any meeting considering the bill – either at the planning commission or council- has mentioned that state law- HRS 205- specifically bans overnight accommodations for tourism related ag activities, which former Councilperson Mel Rapozo pointed out and later, at our urging, posted on his new “Straight From the Spleen- er, Heart” blog that replaces his now deleted Kaua`i Politics entry that disappeared after he lost the mayoral election in 2008.

It reads in pertinent part:

(b) Within agricultural districts, uses compatible to the activities described in section 205‑2 as determined by the commission shall be permitted; provided that accessory agricultural uses and services described in sections 205‑2 and 205‑4.5 may be further defined by each county by zoning ordinance. Each county shall adopt ordinances setting forth procedures and requirements, including provisions for enforcement, penalties, and administrative oversight, for the review and permitting of agricultural tourism uses and activities as an accessory use on a working farm, or farming operation as defined in section 165‑2; provided that agricultural tourism activities shall not be permissible in the absence of a bona fide farming operation. Ordinances shall include but not be limited to:...

(2) Requirements and restrictions for accessory facilities connected with the farming operation, including gift shops and restaurants; provided that overnight accommodations shall not be permitted;

That’s why the bill originally called for “non-enforcement agreements” even though the bill didn’t mention what was not being enforced in an hilarious-if-it-weren’t-so-asinine provision that had to be changed because the lobbyists and lawyers couldn’t ask for it without doubling over with laughter.

It’s hard to say who the worst jerkwad- or wads- in all this is/are. But when you look at the ag VCR owners who testify it’s hard not to start by blaming them for their own so-called predicament.

After flying in from LA on their magic wallets and cutting up most of the non-subdividable prime ag lots for their luxury homes driving prices for ag land beyond all farming business viability, they now are all suddenly “po' workin’ folk” who regurgitate-on-cue this “oh pity me- and in this bad economy no less- I’ll lose my land if I can’t have my illegal vacation rental- nooo oooone ever toooold meeeee” and similar drivel that just makes you want to scream.

Apparently if you have been illegally running, oh let’s say a drug ring and the cops failed to bust you then we need to let you keep up your trade because it feeds your family or some other irrelevant bullshit.

Next thing you know we’ll be grandfathering in all those who have been breaking into tourist’s cars – we have certainly not been enforcing that law either as the guy who, it was reported this week, has been arrested 74 times and is still on the loose can testify.

But worse is that we haven’t even heard a peep out of any councilperson challenging these chuckleheads as they file before them and blame everyone but themselves after they bought their land presumably with the required full disclosure so knowing full well what the rules were.

Of course the same goes for some of the requests for farm worker housing- or some who even want to put their own house on land they bought on the cheap precisely because it came without any “density” to build a house- and even the ones who, like Councilperson Tim Bynum, live on an “ag condo” so have apparently been violating the law requiring houses on ag land to be “farm dwellings” and so presumably have some nexus to a farming operation other than a mango tree in the yard.

Actually before any of these bills, as the law cited above says, what the county needs to do is to enact an ag tourism bill although even then state law specifically bans overnight accommodations in any ag tourism venture.

But instead of fulfilling that state mandate we’re the first to identify “unimportant” ag lands so we can sell of the rest of our agricultural capability to the next California cretin.

Oh and of course there’s plenty of blame left over for the local newspaper which so far has yet to quote HRS 205’s provision banning overnight tourist accommodations on ag land in the half dozen articles on the bill.

And in case anyone forgets, ALL TVRs outside the designated Visitor Destination Areas, no matter what the zoning, are and always were (since 1976) illegal no matter what Yukimura said and did in trying to make the existing ones legal by grandfathering them in rather than redoubling enforcement efforts.

But then of course the county is noted if not famously persistent for fixing what they don’t like under state law or our charter with an illegal ordinance as in the case we cited Wednesday.

Finally all this couldn’t be done without the complicity of the Planning Commission and Planning Director Ian Costa- along with his hand picked staff of sycophants- whose incompetence and out-and-out corruption has been well documented in this and other spaces.

But apparently this bill trying to make the illegal legal is sailing right along because the last person to blame- all the members of the public- have sat on their thumbs and let the stream of asshole gentleman farmers trying to cash in on the stumblebums in county government, to dominate testimony on the bill.

With once again apologies to Casey Stengle, can’t anyone here play this game?

Thursday, September 17, 2009


LIFE’S A BEACH... WITHOUT A BIKE PATH: Juan Wilson at Island Breath has posted what appears to the genuine, long-awaited but as yet unreleased OHA testimony opposing plans to put the bike path on Wailua Beach- a potential game changer according to many.

It says in part:

OHA would recommend that any proposed pedestrian or bicycle path stay off of and away from the sacred sands of Wailua, and that any such project occur in a more mauka alignment, towards an existing cane haul road. We are cognizant that subsurface cultural features, including human burial sites, could and do exist all throughout the Wailua area, including a more mauka alignment, but the coastal area is truly a living phenomenon and the accretion, shifting and erosion of the beach at Wailua, along with its sacred designation, truly warrants the preservation of the open space there now unencumbered by man made structures, no matter how seemingly ephemeral.

OHA understands that Federal Stimulus monies may be available for some of the transportation improvements planned for Wailua and that portions of this project as well as other related projects may qualify. It is our hope that our comments and recommendations are seen in the light of making difficult decisions on behalf of a wide and diverse beneficiary base, but always in the spirit of Aloha and aloha aina. Economic Stimulus is truly important in this time of difficulty. We also believe that spiritual stimulus is equally important as well and the wellbeing of a populace can be measured in many different ways.

In Summary, the Wailua area of Kaua`i is a truly unique and sacred traditional Cultural landscape where important parts of precontact Hawaiian history Occurred. It also remains a very special and sacred wahi kupuna which serves to inspire our modem Native Hawaiian community and Cultural practitioners as well as assist in the reconnection of the opio, the youth, with both the aina and with their kupuna kahiko. We ask that the utmost care and sensitivity be afforded this wahi kapu during the planned improvements from planning all the way through implementation.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


ROOTING OUT THE RUBBISH: Although the article in today’s local paper announcing that Mayor Bernard Carvalho will be supporting- and presumably signing- the bill banning plastic grocery bags set for council approval next Wednesday, it doesn’t mention what anyone following the bill knows... that this is a major flip flop for hizzonah.

But anyone who thinks that this is some kind of decision resulting from a studied change of heart borne of a concern over the environmental degradation caused by these scurrilous sacks either isn’t paying attention or is on the mayor’s payroll.

Reporter Michael Levine, who penned today’s story, can be excused if he missed Coco Zickos’ story last May before the bill was introduced where she wrote

(A)t Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s office, the administration says it remains concerned about the environment but seems to favor incentivizing the behavior as opposed to banning the sale of plastic bags.

“The mayor has no immediate plans to introduce legislation banning plastic bags, however, efforts like that of some Kaua`i retail outlets to incentivize the use of reusable grocery bags via discounts or rebates is a great first step in reducing the number of plastic bags on Kaua`i,” said Beth Tokioka, the mayor’s executive assistant, in an e-mail Wednesday.

Carvalho has publicly remained silent on his intentions, although PNN has heard from two different advocates for the bill who were told by him that he opposed the bill and did not intend to sign it.

The “letter” to the council that Levine cited came not in a press release from county spokesperson Mary Daubert but in an email from Carvalho’s mouthpiece and chief political advisor Tokioka who distributed the announcement of the Mayor’s new stance yesterday afternoon in a "reply all" response to a widely distributed email containing an article from local activist Ken Taylor.

The letter was actually a copy of “testimony” sent to the council and doesn’t mention the Carvalho’s former apparent opposition to the ban nor does it of course offer an explanation or any of Carvalho’s thinking on why he changed his mind at the last minute- or more precisely, in a way, after the last minute since the council was poised to pass the bill last Wednesday until testimony from the Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Merchants of Hawai`i opposing the bill caused a deferral for two weeks in order to “consider” the testimony from potential big campaign contributors.

As an aside, we’ve got to say that in 30 years of council watching we’ve never seen any council defer a bill just prior to “second reading” to consider the testimony from an individual community member asking them to reconsider a vote they were about to take.

Well, so what? Well, let us fill in Carvalho’s assessment of his - or should we say Tokioka’s- options... politically that is.

The delay was simply a “consideration” for the all powerful CofC, but not because anyone on the council was going to be changing their mind and voting against the bill two weeks hence.

To do so would be political suicide, as has become apparent during the month or so the bill has been before the council with virtually no testimony opposing it and an island-wide- or more precisely world wide- movement to end the era of plastic grocery bags.

Indeed, as they say, the whole world is watching due to the huge plastic bag patch in the Pacific Ocean, right on our doorstep.

At one point Tokioka- er, Carvalho- must have thought he could garner the votes to sustain a veto. But when it became apparent that all six councilmembers hearing the bill- with Derek “Mr. Big Save” Kawakami recusing himself- were going to vote for the bill Tokioka rightly saw the potential political fallout in November of 2010 and the opportunity that an overridden veto would present to Carvalho’s opponents.

On Kaua`i where people generally want to see the mayor and council working together to address issues, any veto would be a blot on the record of a mayor. Indeed there hasn’t been one that we can recall in the last decade or so.

And an override would stick out like a sore thumb and be not just a meaningless gesture but a meaningful one to his detractors.

Carvalho will certainly be challenged next year and needs to make sure he doesn’t hand any potential opponents- especially ones with superior environmental credentials and endorsements- an issue that would resonate with the powerful environmental protection constituency.

He also can’t afford to be seen as favoring the Chamber of Commerce position among the same constituency that would see it as kow-towing to the fat cats that will no doubt fill his campaign coffers. He can’t hide many of his contributions this time like he did last election when he used the sudden election- and his lack of any past contributions- as well as the laws allowing late filing to delay revealing many of his contributors until after the election was over.

While some may be duped into thinking that this was something that came from a concern for environment on Carvalho’s part they would do well to look at the politics involved and figure out what the real reason is for Carvalho’s 180.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


DOGGIE DADA: Much has been written in the past two days about the “new” county attorney’s opinion regarding the county charter’s section 20.02(d) that prohibits any “officer of employee of the county (from) appear(ing) in behalf of private interests before any county board, commission or agency.”.

Two articles in the local paper (one linking to a pdf copy of the opinion) and an editorial laid out many of the absurdities of trying to say that, because reading the law in one somewhat absurd interpretation could lead to absurd results- like preventing someone from getting a water meter or a driver’s license- the whole law should not be enforced.

Then there’s the letter to the editor from Horace Stoessel who analyzes the opinion further and delineates the problems with the opinion. And of course blogger and attorney Charley Foster also got straight to the point once again.

We won’t rehash what they said. But though each is spot on as to what they do present, each fails to look at what the opinion, penned by Deputy County Attorney Mauna Kea Trask, actually says, especially regarding what if anything is new about it as compared to one penned over a year ago.

Of course as the newspaper article points out the opinion is still “fatally flawed” in trying to allow the county ordinance to be read “with” the charter even though the ordinance, which conflicts with the charter, must adhere to the charter not override it. In addition just because the ordinance covers some situations of conflict-of-interest doesn’t mean it covers all of them, another apparent contention.

We say apparent because the opinion goes into great detail about what the ordinance says but then abruptly ends without attempting to show it’s relationship to the charter or the conclusion.

In fact, as Stoessel writes, the ordinance never mentioned 20.02 much less provision "d" and rather only deals with 20.01.

Trask is apparently either an incredibly bad attorney or is disingenuously trying to support a forgone conclusion by presenting a wordy opinion that says nothing directly related to the matter at hand, selectively picking and choosing citations to twist the law to it.

The fatal flaw is contained early in the opinion when Trask cites HRS §1-16 which states that "laws in pari materia, or upon the same subject matter, shall be construed with reference to each other. What is clear in one statute may be called in aid to explain what is doubtful in another."

The problem with that is that under other provisions he conveniently omits, it applies under the supremacy doctrine- flowing from federal to state to local and giving constitutional documents supremacy over legislation at each level- which means that laws of the same jurisdictional level must be read together but when one law trumps another the lower law is null and void. In other words charter provisions must be read equally together but when comparing a charter provision to a county ordinance the charter always rules if they conflict.

But the one “new” citation when compared to the prior opinion is an actual HRS (state law) provision that deals with the oft cited circumstance of alleged “absurd results” of applying a law in a strict construction manner.

Trask writes that:

HRS §1-15 states, "Where the words of a law are ambiguous:
(1) The meaning of the ambiguous words may be sought by examining the context, with which the ambiguous words, phrases, and sentences may be compared, in order to ascertain their true meaning.
(2) The reason and spirit of the law, and the cause which induced the legislature to enact it, may be considered to discover its true meaning.
(3) Every construction which leads to an absurdity shall be rejected."

The key is number three. Even though he tries to define “public interest” to be the opposite of private interest rather than personal interest- a matter we went into in depth in previous posts- even under his interpretation the law simply says that any time any constriction of a law yields an absurd result that specific result of that specific application is to be discarded.

So if the law were to prohibit one from getting a driver’s license the law simply does not apply in that specific circumstance.

This finally undermines the arguments of some on the board- specifically Mark Hubbard, Lei Fuller and to some extent Judy Lenthall- that because there might be absurd results in some contrived situations the whole law should be discarded including the blatant potential conflicts-of-interest violations that the law was designed to eliminate.

That should at least, if nothing else, end the raising of the red herring of the “absurd results”- the one Hubbard has clung to saying that because he could be denied a building permit he should be allowed to violate the law by appearing before county entities on behalf of a private interest.

While that solves one big impediment to enforcement of the charter it does leave one big question. Even though normal rational people would be able to tell these absurd results from those that are not absurd the three BOE members listed above have all been in violation of the real not-so-absurd provisions and so have been reluctant to essentially rule against themselves by fairly judging the applicability.

One of the contentions has been that non-profit 501(c)3 organizations should not be included because they “do good in the community”, something we have discussed and shown to be bogus in many situations at least according to those who oppose the goals of certain non-profits. For instance the Chamber of Commerce and the Sierra Club might not see the other one as doing good or benefiting the community.

But attorney-blogger Foster points out another reason by saying that non-profits often appear- as in Lenthall’s case as the Executive Director of the Kaua`i Food Bank- to ask for funds. He says that because there are limited funds for non-profits in government coffers, the “favor” of one non-profit over another is exactly what the charter provision envisions and is one of the main reasons it is included.

At this point unless the three obstructionist BOE members drop their silly self-interested positions and stop blocking enforcement, they are themselves guilty of another provision in the same charter section that prohibits using their positions to gain favor or grant special privileges for themselves or others.

The only problem there is, as we stated before, the BOE is the entity that is designated to hear any complaint like that. And presumably they would be the ones to determine what is and isn’t an absurd result of application.

As we said before as long as they, as a quasi judicial county entity, keep obstructing justice the courts may be the only resort for the community.

Monday, September 14, 2009


BITING THE METER READER: We normally try to scour all of the available resources regarding an issue before we open our fat trap but we must be missing something about the “rate hike” being requested by our Kaua`i Island Utility Co-op (KIUC).

Now don’t get us wrong- this piece of crap co-op has been a scam since day one and we wouldn’t trust anyone who holds an executive staff position or sits on the board – including the two new “people’s reps” who upon seating have suddenly become silent bookends to the corrupt old boys and girls sitting around the table- any farther than an electrical jolt from an exposed wire would throw them.

But we can’t help but wonder what the real effect of the rate hike will be in terms of our bills.

Let’s start with the oft repeated explanation by the KIUC mucky- mucks- the premise behind the “energy adjustment” portion of our monthly bill.

We’ve been told over and over that the actual “base rates” were set more than a decade ago and that in the intervening time the price of oil has skyrocketed so that the “energy adjustment” is simply the difference between the actual cost to provide electricity every month and the amount that “base rate” – one that was established by the PUC would yield.

Fine. But then explain why it matters if that base rate is increased, in terms of the net effect on our bills.

Doesn’t the amount of the energy adjustment go down the same amount the rate goes up?

Presumably the price of oil is not going down and in fact the rate being requested will still result in an "energy adjustment” every month because even the new rate is set below the market rate for fossil fuel.

And presumably, even if the price of oil dipped below the amount the new rate would provide we would then have a negative energy adjustment that month as, we understand, the PUC rate rules provide for.

So what’s the difference if KIUC raises it’s basic rate? Our actual bill shouldn’t be effected at all.

Now of course the “trust issue” and how that plays into it is another matter- perhaps there’s some kind of loophole in the law that negates these premises and conclusions. As we said we often either find out about some provision after we’ve “completed” our research on a subject or, more often, the level of corruption is so high on Kaua`i that KIUC will just flout the law and end up charging us more no matter what the law says.

Of course the request for a rate increase itself should raise our suspicions just because we have to ask why KIUC would be so intent on raising the basic rates if they aren’t going to be colleting more.. as they claim they will be.

But if someone who is fighting hard on our behalf before the PUC to keep the rates where they are- or someone at KIUC who is fighting supposedly to increase their revenues- can explain what the fight is about, we’re all ears.


Note- No, we haven’t shirked examining the latest dust up at the Board of Ethics and the new County Attorney’s opinion. We’re still “shouldering” some severe discomfort and so are still limiting the length of these posts but we’ll try to cover the latest tomorrow or soon thereafter.

Friday, September 11, 2009


A DEAFER EAR: A month ago today we detailed the latest in the sad story of KKCR, the so-called “community and supposedly non-commercial” radio station in Princeville and the completion of the takeover by the LA music industry that began in the mid 90’s- as PNN detailed in a Parxist Conspiracy TV newsmagazine episode in 1999- with the appointment of a long-time music industry insider as general manager last year.

We included updates of our investigative report PNN Investigative Report: KKCR- A Study In Brown And White that’s been linked on our right rail since we completed it a year ago April.

Today we received an open letter from former programmer Katy Rose and what she’s found out is about to happen with the slot and program she established, confirming much of what we wrote on August 11. We reproduce it in full below.
To recap- essentially, with the possible exception of Rose and her partner Jimmy Trujillo, local public affairs programming has remained bare bones over the years with a rotating series of white KKCR clique members and long time “insiders” who can be trusted to produce ill-informed pap, solely in two, one-and-a-half hour slots a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Those are the times reserved for general local public affairs programming and the rest is music, although Trujillo has sought to add on one more day a week with varied success due to the imposition of the same onerous requirements that apply to music programmers.

We detailed how local people have been systematically excluded over the years and how and why only an expansion of public affairs slots and a concerted effort to recruit experienced and talented public affairs programmers- something there is no shortage of on the island- could serve the needs of the community beyond the current virtually all music programming.

We exposed how most local people have given up on trying to overcome the “club” atmosphere at the station and how, despite the need for local public affairs programming those who might serve they need are forced to compete for slots with the slew of “vanity radio” music programmers.

As we said only by first opening up and reserving more local public affair programming slots and actively recruiting local people- and not forcing them to go through the backbiting, ass-kissing process that music programmers go though to secure their slots- would anyone bother to try to break the barrier.

We even provided a member of the KKCR Public Advisory Committee with a long list of possible and suggested programmers- people who currently write and speak on local issues who are articulate and well informed and would probably be able to make the time to inform the public. But, as we said when we submitted the list, not if they were treated as if they were seeking one of those “personality” music programs slots as they are called on the mainland at Pacifica Radio where they do separate out the processes for recruiting music and public affairs programmers

After that we were approached by one board member who first chided us for being “negative” and too critical last month and then, oblivious to what we wrote, demanded the list and essentially asked if these people were willing to go through the same process and volunteer requirements as music programmers- failing to recognize that that very attitude was what was keeping these people from KKCR’s airwaves despite the lip-service KKCR pays in acknowledging the severe need for local public affairs programming.

Anyway all this typing has us clutching at our shoulder so here’s Katy’s letter open letter. It should serve as a reminder of why as we said last time:

If at this point KKCR opens up a bunch of slots and gets down on their knees and begs them to produce programming, we’ll get down on ours and salute the flying pigs.


An Open Letter (from Katy Rose) To My Friends And Allies:

Kaua`i Community Radio management is choosing a replacement host for the program I helped produce until my recent move, and they are leaning toward the appointment of a KKCR insider who holds distinctly Rightist views. I think it is important to preserve the program for a thoughtful Leftist perspective, and to cultivate new voices for the airwaves. I want to explain why I believe that, and ask you to help ensure that it happens.

As you know, my time at KKCR was fractious. Two years ago, an alliance of former and current programmers, community advisory board members, and concerned Kaua`i citizens joined forces to protest what we identified as a systemic problem of racial exclusion at KKCR and to organize a grassroots push for a more democratic, inclusive, vibrant, and relevant community radio station.

We stridently challenged the institutionalized racism that we had identified, and helped to educate the broader community about the nature of systems of oppression that keep valuable resources like media access out of the hands of local working-class people, dissident thinkers, and Kanaka Maoli on Kaua`i.

In our work, we developed a comprehensive set of demands that we presented to KKCR, and we organized significant turn-out for public meetings in which community members voiced their concern about the direction of the station. In an important but not central victory, this grass-roots alliance was able to pressure the station to re-instate programmers who had been suspended during the struggle, including myself and my former co-producer Jimmy Trujillo, and Kanaka Maoli sovereignty activist Kaiulani Huff.

My aim as a volunteer producer at KKCR was to develop an intellectually challenging public-affairs program which explored in depth the theory and practice of radical and progressive social movements. I felt it was important to provide an alternative to the generally unplanned, unprepared, anything-goes, directionless programming that was the norm for afternoon public affairs programs at KKCR.

I also felt that although some programmers at KKCR might identify themselves as “liberal” or “progressive,” the spectrum of Left thinking extends beyond these reformist trends and it is very rare to hear that reflected in any media at all, let alone community radio.

To that end, I spent significant time reading, researching, and preparing for interviews with a range of critical social actors from a variety of Leftist tendencies and struggles. Among the many important topics we covered were anti-racism; the role of non-Native allies in Native peoples’ struggles; the scholarly work of Kanaka Maoli and local-Asian academics critiquing colonialism; demilitarization organizing in Hawaii; the struggles of workers, including Hawaii’s public workers and the workers employed by Superferry-builder Austal-USA in Alabama; the LGBTQ movement; direct action; anarchism and socialism; state suppression of peoples’ movements, and more.

I was primarily concerned with exploring autonomous grass-roots struggle, rather than political-party activism or reformist appeals to politicians and legislators. It was critically important to me to prioritize the voices of women, people of color, youth, Native people, queer people, and workers. Some people call this “giving a voice to the voiceless,” but I totally disagree with this framing. We have voices! We just need more ears out there to hear them!

One of the obstacles to opening up KKCR to under-represented voices and demographics in our community is that the “in-crowd” tends to know very few people outside of their circle. So, chances are, they’ll pick someone they already know to fill an empty spot on the air, rather than doing the difficult and uncomfortable work (for some) of meeting the people where they’re at.

So, I am asking you to consider being a community radio programmer, or to encourage someone else you know to become one. It sounds intimidating. I know. I had never done it before and I had to learn everything from square one. I also felt that I was “putting myself out there” in a way that felt awkward at first. But when I thought about it as community service, and realized that it really wasn’t about showing off or having my ego stroked, I was able to let go of a lot of my fear and hesitation.

In my opinion, the last thing KKCR needs is another public-affairs time slot to be filled by someone who is already hosting another program, espouses mainstream, conservative opinions already well-represented in commercial and community radio alike, and who is already a KKCR “insider.” We fought to expand KKCR, not contract it.

But the reality is that KKCR is not going to come to us – we have to go to KKCR. A few years ago, I was encouraged by two close comrades to step up and apply for an open time slot, which I did, despite all my doubts.

Now I’m encouraging you to do the same. I’ll be honest with you: you will probably run into obstacles thrown in your path. You will most certainly have to deal with some bullshit. But I think that community radio is important enough – particularly in this time of rapid social change – to fight for.

Save KKCR – for the people!

Toward freedom,


Happy 9-11 everyone. Don’t forget to send a card. (What, too soon?)

Thursday, September 10, 2009


ABSURDLY GOOD: Last week we got an email from a friend who we greatly admire and respect who does many good things for the community- including undertaking a leadership role in a non profit endeavor that works on environmental projects.

Sometimes this person represents the group before the council and planning commission but also serves on a county board.

And, to our dismay, (s)he defended this dual role because (s)he believes that, despite the notorious charter section 20,02(d) that forbids such a combination of activity it would be an “absurd result” if the law were to be enforced because (s)he was “doing good things for the community”.

So it was with great amusement that we read that Mattie Yoshioka, CEO of the Kaua`i Economic Development Board (KEDB) said exactly the same thing when, as the local newspaper’s Michael Levine reported this week, she was told by the Board of Ethics (BOE) that, despite many ruling to the contrary recently- including two favoring similarly conflicted BOE members- she and she alone would be in violation if she continued to serve on the Charter Review Commission and continue to testify before the council for KEDB.

If there was ever someone who the law was made for it would be Yoshioka and KEDB.

For the uninformed, Yoshioka was arguably one of, if not the first “old girls” in the “old boys club”, serving in any number of positions under former Mayor Maryanne Kusaka and later Mayor Bryan Baptiste before parlaying her insider status into a job for KEDB.

KEDB for its part has been a relentless pro-development and sometimes shady operation started by the now disgraced and convicted Gary Baldwin who used “the board” to serve his and the business interests of his cronies such as former PMRF Commander Bob Mullins, enabling many to line their pockets with government dollars.

As reported by PNN in the 90’s on our Parxist Conspiracy TV newsmagazine, Baldwin and Mullins- who was Kusaka’s Administrative Assistant at the time- arranged to steal federal, hurricane-related, economic development money then-destined to revitalize Hanapepe and use it instead to build the West Kaua`i High Tech Center in Waimea which serves to provide office space to defense contractors doing business at the PMRF, the Navy base in Mana.

Mullins then quit the Kusaka administration, joined “the board” and got a job heading up defense contractor Textron’s Kaua`i operations and promptly moved into one of the offices the money paid for.

That was just one of many KEBD shenanigans designed to pad the bank accounts of various private interests, investors, developers and assorted greedy bastards using county money to do it.

And Baldwin also served on the Planning Commission in blatant violation of 200.02(d)

Although Baldwin fled the island after his shady past was reveled and was then convicted of defrauding a doctor on the mainland before he ever came to Kaua`i, his creation KEDB has continued to serve in a similar manner under a series of directors including now Yoshioka

We’re sure that Yoshioka- just like our friend- really believes that she does “good” for the island but we’re just as sure that each would think what the other does many times interferes with the good they are doing.

And that’s the point in this whole business of ignoring the charter provision. Even if a “good for the island” standard was adopted- which would certainly be unconstitutionally vague if enacted- who is the arbiter of “good” as blogger Charley Foster asked Tuesday in an excellent analysis of the law and the lack of enforcement.

And that’s why the law is there- it even handedly makes sure that no one can use their influence as a county official to further their own idea of good. because to do otherwise would lead to the “absurd result” we have today of a small handful of revolving-door, well- connected old boys and girls enriching themselves and their cronies by serving both the public and private sector.

It’s a positive development for the BOE to finally tell someone “no”. Now the question is whether they will revisit their recent decision regarding a few others- and even delve into the dozens of those whose disclosure forms reveal similar conflicts.

We’re not holding our breath for a BOE that serves as the Minotaur’s gatekeepers to suddenly stop doing what’s wrong as long as they can.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


THE AXE AIN’T ALL THAT’S TOO DULL: Don’t you just love the tone deaf way the county does things. Last week a press release announced that:

The latest edition of the “Kaua`i Recycling Guide” is now available free of charge at all public libraries, HI-5 bottle redemption centers, Kaua`i Resource Center, and the mayor’s office.

Individuals and groups can also contact the County Recycling Office for copies of the recycling guide

Now the next thing you would expect to read is where to get this valuable information on line- after all, we are talking about keeping trash out of the landfill.

But such intuitive leaps of thought are something Kaua`i county apparently needs to hire a consultant to figure out. A search of the county web site shows no such booklet exists. Instead, the release continues:

“I encourage everyone to pick up a free copy of the Kaua`i Recycling Guide for comprehensive information on the 3Rs and composting,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. “If we all do our part to minimize waste and maximize resource recovery, it will help preserve landfill space and conserve our natural resources and energy.”...

The 22-page recycling guide highlights all local waste diversion opportunities with detailed information on how to reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost through a variety of county programs as well as other options.

So in order to “minimize waste and maximize resource recovery, (and) help preserve landfill space and conserve our natural resources and energy” we’re killing who knows how many trees and spending who knows how many taxpayer bucks to print up a bunch of presumably quality 22 page brochures (if it’s on plain white paper we’ll eat one) that people will pick up and possibly read before throwing it in the rubbish where it will no doubt become grist for the landfill.

And if people do keep them we can just imagine conversations that will no doubt ensue.

“Honey, can we recycle this piece of crap we don’t need or want anymore”

“I don’t know, check that recycling guide we picked up six months ago”

“Where is it”

“Oh- It must be here somewhere in this mess- don’t you have it”

“Oh I thought you had it”

“I think we recycled it”

The release doesn’t not say whether the brochures themselves are even recyclable- much less made from recycled materials- since on Kaua`i there actually are paper goods that are not recyclable... along with all sorts of other things you’d normally be able to recycle anywhere else like all plastics 1-7 and steel cans... which is the reason we need such a pamphlet so people will know what recyclables they can throw in the landfill.

There’s a hole in Kekaha dear Liza dear Liza

Can’t anyone here play this game?

Monday, September 7, 2009


SLICK ‘N’ SICK: One of the benefits of temporarily losing all but a tortured ability to type is that it’s freed up lot’s of reading time.

Today we perused the latest entry by Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone, the premier writer of political discourse of our times.

In Sick and Wrong: How Washington is Screwing Up Health Care Reform- and Why It May Take a Revolt To Fix It he details the five ways Obama and the congressional Democrats took the long sought single payer solution to the insurance-company-scam heath care and turned it into “more dogshit”.

After detailing all the excruciating machination he sums it up saying:

To recap, here's what ended up happening with health care. First, they gave away single-payer before a single gavel had fallen, apparently as a bargaining chip to the very insurers mostly responsible for creating the crisis in the first place. Then they watered down the public option so as to make it almost meaningless, while simultaneously beefing up the individual mandate, which would force millions of people now uninsured to buy a product that is no longer certain to be either cheaper or more likely to prevent them from going bankrupt. The bill won't make drugs cheaper, and it might make paperwork for doctors even more unwieldy and complex than it is now. In fact, the various reform measures suck so badly that PhRMA, the notorious mouthpiece for the pharmaceutical industry which last year spent more than $20 million lobbying against health care reform, is now gratefully spending more than seven times that much on a marketing campaign to help the president get what he wants.

Don’t miss the details- if you don’t have one already it’ll give you a pre-existing condition.

Friday, September 4, 2009


DA KINDEST CUT: We’ve often said that, what with the cretinous clotch of county and corporate crooks, clods and cronies on Kaua`i, we could do this column with one hand tied behind our back.

But when the rotator cuff hit the knife for a long overdue repair this past Tuesday the surgical saw proved too much for that old saw leaving us with a southpaw’s nightmare of right-hand-only typing for this, our 500th post.

We’re hoping to be bilaterally hunting and pecking soon.

Meanwhile you can now entertain yourself with a DVD copy of Anne Keala Kelly’s film NOHO HEWA: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai`i, which won the Best Documentary award at the last Hawaii International Film Festival

The incredibly powerful piece- which we had the pleasure of seeing at KCC earlier this year- has been a labor of love for Kelly for many years now. It’s available at You can contact Keala at nohohewa (at)