Wednesday, December 30, 2009


CHOPPED LIVER?: In the two newspaper city of Honolulu bloggers like Ian Lind and the King of the Rats Larry Geller often refer to a two newspaper mornings when what the news is depends on what paper you read.

Lately, with the addition of editors/reporters Mike Levine and Nathan Eagle, when those two paper moments involve the local Kaua`i newspaper, the local version usually shows a lot more enterprise that the O`ahu take.

But the reporting skills of the dynamic duo far outshine their human resources proficiency as evidenced by their recent hiring of “the worst journalist in the world” or at least the island- Paul Curtis to cover the police and courts beat.

Put it all together and you have drop-in, malihini, part-time, Honolulu Advertiser correspondent Diana Leone answering the $64,000 question that Curtis ignores in dueling reports on the fact that the state will not fight an Advertiser records request to release at least the settlement amount- if not the settlement particulars- the state must pay in the Ka Loko Dam tragedy settlement.

The question left burning after reading Curtis’s report is “what about Kaua`i County?” which was, if anything, not just negligent like the state but apparently complicit in covering up some of the grading and grubbing violations of the fiendish Jimmy Pflueger.

While Curtis- under a patently false headline of State settlement in Ka Loko suit unsealed (it hasn’t been unsealed yet but will be soon)- fails to even mention anything about the county settlement- which is equally subject to state open records laws- Leone reports that in addition to the record request for the state settlement,

The (Advertiser) also demanded that Kaua`i County, the only other public entity involved in the settlement, reveal its promised payment amount, but the county has not yet done so. Kaua`i County Attorney Al Castillo didn't respond to a request for comment yesterday.

Once the state information is obtained, The Advertiser will revisit asking Kaua`i County to make its payment amount public, said Advertiser attorney Jeff Portnoy.

The state and county shares should never have been sealed, Portnoy said.

But what neither discussed is why the records requests apparently failed to include anything asking for any information on findings or admissions of culpability on the part of either the state or county.

Anyone following the case will remember that, although the state was supposed- and failed- to inspect the dam, much of the law that was flouted by Pflueger was that of the county’s grubbing and grading ordinance, one that had been recently strengthened after Pflueger’s previous crimes in Pila`a and Ka Loko.

People have also have heard the allegations that the county, in the persons of Mayor Maryann Kusaka and her Department of Public Works personnel- Wally Kudo, Cesar Portugal and then-DPW chief and current Planning Director Ian Costa- actively protected Pflueger when Kusaka directed the three to back off on any investigation and enforcement.

And whether Kusaka indeed directed them as a member of the DPW has sworn, their negligence and reluctance to investigate is a matter of record in testimony before the county council prior to the dam break.

It would be interesting to see what if anything was stipulated in this settlement but for some reason the myopic corporate press is apparently only interested in reporting the bottom line, not getting down to the matter of responsibility.

That might take a little work in explaining the whole story, something a he-said-she-said, one-day–story, mainstream press has no interest in doing.

Don’t count on there being anyone who will reveal the criminal culpability or prosecute those involved at either the state or county level. The dollar amount will have to intimate culpability and the truth will be left to speculation.

No one tried to say a thing
When they carried him out in jest
Except of course, the little neighbor boy
Who carried him to rest
And he just walked along alone
With his guilt so well concealed
And muttered underneath his breath
"Nothing is revealed"

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


PARADISE LOST: We don’t do this often but it’s a slow news time as far as county government is concerned so we were thumbing through some off island blogs today and came across a series of posts from prolific Big Island blogger Damon Tucker containing family pictures and narratives of Yap in Micronesia from 1965-7.

As Tucker’s intro says,

In 1961, my mother, Su Rowe Tucker, moved to Pahala, on the Big Island where her father and mother (My Grandparents) Dr. P.E. (Ted) Rowe and Elizabeth (Betty) Rowe were the Physician/Surgeon for the private Pahala Hospital run by C. Brewer Corp.

In 1965, Dr. Rowe (my grandfather) was hired for two years by the US Federal Government to run the Yap Hospital from 1965 to 1967. In 1966, my mom and my two uncles, Bob and Mike Rowe, went to visit them in Yap.

The posts evoke mixed feelings showing an indigenous culture and a Michener-like juxtaposition with the fish-out-of-water westerners.

It’s a simple lifestyle that a short 40-plus years ago was apparently reminiscent of Hawai`i in the late 18th and early 19th century and it’s hard not to feel both wistful and angry that neither exists anymore today.

Part I: Introduction
Part II: Who
Part III: Moms Tale of Arrival
Part IV: A Yapese Party
Part V: The Homes and Structures of Yap
Part VI: Quotes from the Diary (Part A) – “I managed to get away from Antonio…“
Part VII: Quotest from the Diary (Part B) - “… Now our soda is out of the refrigerator and the baby is in it.”

Monday, December 28, 2009


CHASING THE WHITE RABBIT: It’s anyone’s guess what participants will show up at the January meeting of the Board of Ethics (BOE). Certainly Rolf Bieber won’t be sitting on the inside of the rail but more importantly, the results of the meeting may depend on which deputy county attorney shows up- Mona Clarke who showed some signs of honest lawyering in her last appearance or Mauna Kea Trask who has proved adept at wielded the kings sword of evasion and deceit.

But the one person we know will be there is Horace Stoessel whose pen-knife wielding on the subject of charter section 20.02(d) is zeroing in on a death by a thousand cuts through his bulldog tenacity at stabbing away at Trask’s and his mentor County Attorney Al Castillo’s rapiers of jabberwocky.

Here’s Sir Stoessel’s latest parry in anticipation of January’s joust. Meet ya on the other side.


TO: Kaua`i County Board of Ethics
FROM: Horace Stoessel
SUBJECT: The Primacy of the Charter Over the County Code
DATE: 12/28/09

I ask that this communication be placed on the January agenda of the Board of Ethics.

I believe it is essential for the Board of Ethics to ensure that its members are in agreement about the primacy of the Charter over the County Code , and specifically the primacy of 20.02D over 3-1.7, lest the confusion and conflict of the last two years be repeated in the future.

The confusion and conflict are rooted in two unsupportable assumptions.
First, the assumption that 20.02D is applicable only to the extent allowed by the three subsections of 3-1.7. Second, the broader assumption that the County Code is equal, or even superior, in authority to the Charter and can be used to limit or disregard charter provisions.

Both assumptions contradict the basic principles that ordinances are subordinate to charter provisions and that ordinances may only supplement charter provisions, not limit or preempt them.

It will be useful to review the point at which the two assumptions came into play. Upon receiving a request for an advisory opinion from Charter Commissioner Jonathan Chun in February 2008 as to whether he could appear as a private attorney before other County agencies on behalf of his clients, the board asked the county attorney for an opinion regarding the scope of 20.02D and 3-1.7(c), (d) and (e).

Instead of answering the board’s question directly, the legal opinion first misinterpreted the question to mean “whether these provisions of the Code have the effect of modifying the language” of 20.02D (emphasis added). It then offered the following inconclusive advice: “In conclusion, it is this office’s opinion that provisions in Section 3-1.7 of the Code serve to articulate and elaborate on the intent of the Code of Ethics, and they must be read in conjunction with the Charter provisions. In other words, Section 20.02D may not be read in a vacuum.”

Since the County Code is subordinate to the Charter it would have been more accurate to conclude that 3-1.7 cannot be read in a vacuum.

To determine the scope of these provisions means to delineate their applicability. The board already knew that Chun’s actions were not prohibited by the three subsections of 3-1.7 because it had issued an advisory opinion based solely on 3-1.7 just two months earlier in a comparable case, so it was looking for an answer about the applicability of 20.02D.

The short answer to the board’s question is that the three subsections of 3-1.7 differ in scope from each other, that all of them contain limitations on their applicability, and that all are narrower in scope than 20.02D, which expresses no limitations on its applicability. Therefore, reading the provisions in conjunction with each other leads to the conclusion that 3-1.7 was inapplicable in the Chun case and that 20.02D prohibited his appearing in behalf of his clients before county agencies.

The board overlooked the fact that the county attorney had not answered its question. It obviously accepted the attorney’s unfounded claim that 3-1.7 can modify the language of 20.02D. It then made a leap from the attorney’s conclusion that it must read the provisions in conjunction with each other to its own conclusion that Chun could continue representing his clients before other agencies. The net effect was that the board reached its conclusion by reading 3-1.7 in a vacuum.

Although the County Code links 3-1.7 to Charter 20.01, not to 20.02D, there is no harm in treating the three subsections of 3-1.7 as complementary to 20.02D. Harm comes when the subsections are utilized to restrict the applicability of 20.02D, and that is what happened in the Chun case.

The cure for two years of confusion and conflict is for the board to keep clearly in mind the primacy of the Charter over the County Code .

ADDENDUM: The second opinion received by the board begins and ends with language similar to the language of the first opinion. However, it differs in arguing that a “strict construction” reading of 20.02D would lead to absurd results. It does not claim or try to prove that basing a response to Jonathan Chun’s request for an advisory opinion on 20.02D would be an absurd result.

As we reported previously, case law in no uncertain terms states that if an interpretation of a provision yields “absurd results” it is the interpretation, not the statute, that must be discarded. But nothing goes as given at the BOE where the red queen has declared “execution first, trial later” and men on the chessboard are constantly getting up and telling you where to go.


And in case you didn’t notice, another piece of the November chessboard is in place with Mel Rapozo’s announcement that, with open offices galore and ego-addled councilmembers eager to play musical chairs in no short supply, he will be taking the politically safe road this fall by running for county council, ending speculation that his notorious reach-exceeding grasp would cause him to seek higher office again.

We are ecstatic that, in fact, we will have Mel to kick around again but even happier that, for all his foibles, we may see someone on the council willing to occasionally mention the naked emperor and we can’t wait to see him move the personnel department and bike path scandals back on the council’s front burner.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


SNIFFIN’ IT OUT: For the neophyte, reading the county charter is a MEGO (my eyes glaze over) experience. But once the committed nitpicker reads it and then attends or even just watches council and/or board and commission meetings for a while it can be cause for a lightbulb-going-on flashback.

So it was that our friend Rob Abrew- who has exposed quite a few irregularities recently- came across a passage that may be applicable, especially of late.

Here’s his testimony to the council regarding the slew of board and commission nominees they have been asked to confirm lately.

Aloha Council Members

Today we are here to review the Mayors selected applicants to become members of various Boards and Commissions of the County of Kauai. Many of the applicants before you, you all ready know as friends, business associates and fine citizens of the County of Kauai. This process is not about judging these fine citizens as members of the community, but do these recommend appointments follow the process as stated in The County of Kauai Charter as approved by the citizens.

Section 23.02 Boards and Commissions

This section of the Charter lets us know how the Mayor appoints the applicants and how the Council approves this appointment.

In my opinion only two items would be need to reviewed by the Council in order for the applicant to be approved.

These two requirements would be :

23.02 D Each commissioner shall be, at the time of his appointment, a duly qualified resident elector of the county.

It is my understanding that the applicant tells us this on the form submitted to you for review

23.02 E No more than a bare majority of the members of any board or commission shall belong to the same political party.

It is also my understanding that the application asks the applicant if they are a member of a political party.

In C2009-393 received in the County Clerk's office on 12/04/2009 from the Mayor via John Isobe,

Executive Assistant, asks for the Council's favorable consideration and conformation of the following appointments to various Boards and Commissions. At the end of the communication Mr. Isobe states that the application forms are attached.

I believe the application would give the Council some of the information needed to assure that the applicant meets the requirements that the Charter asks for but, the communication does not give the Council the information as need in 23.02 E ….the political make up of the various Board or Commission.

If the applicant in their application tells the Council they are a member of a political party, how would the Council know, if they approve the applicant they would not violate section 23.02 E of the charter.?

I have looked for a public document that shows the public the political make up of the various Boards and Commissions. I have not found any document here today that would give the Council and the public the information needed to approve an applicant that tells us they are a member of a political party. Please request all the information needed to move the applicants forward in a timely matter.

Many discussions in the public lately has been about the way our county government functions and how separation of powers are necessary. The issue before you today is a perfect example of how a check and balance form of government works.

Mahalo for you time

Rob Abrew

Abrew was instrumental in instigating the recent compliance with the law by Isobe and the Board of Ethics in releasing the public disclosure statements filed by prospective B&C members. The release of them was actuated through a filing by reporter Mike Levine who has posted them as they are received at the web site of the local newspaper.

As some may know, membership in a political party in Hawai`i is strictly the province of the party itself and very few people actually join parties by “signing a card”. So not only was the information hard or impossible to obtain in the past but the chances that “a bare majority” of a board or commission would come from one party was probably slim or none.

But last year when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were battling it out for the Democratic nomination for president the Democratic Party signed up tens of thousands of new members statewide, with membership being a prerequisite for voting in their “primary”- which was actually just a poorly conducted internal party function not affiliated with the state elections.

We don’t have the information yet but it should be interesting to see whether any of the boards and commissions have more than a bare majority that are members of the newly expanded Democratic party.

One of the problems might be verifying with the party whether they are or are not actually members. There’s no law that we know of that they must disclose their list. But since supplying false information on the application is a criminal offense we would expect- even if we wouldn’t assume- the applicants to be truthful.

We’ll keep you up on Abrew’s latest quest. But knowing the administration’s response to these kinds of things- we can only imagine what kind of naked dodge the county attorney might come up with in defining “bare majority”- we expect it to be anything but a walk in the park.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


STRAW MAN STRONG MAN: The great talking-past-each-other debate on the “proposed” county manager (CM) system between retired former Judge Al “let ‘em go” Laureta and county watchdog Glenn “hope springs eternal” Mickens continued in the letters to the editor column of the local newspaper today with “Yogi” Mickens “it’s better because it’s better” response to Alfred E. Laureta’s “what, me worry?” demand to know “what’s broken” in Kaua`i county government.

As we’ve said before while we aren’t exactly on the CM conga line we certainly can articulate what the some of the problems are and have done so especially in the past month or so albeit in a cursory manner.

We hope to try to get into some more detail as to what doesn’t work and what kind of specific changes to the charter would be appropriate to address those impediments to good governance over the next few weeks.

But another letter today, this one from Democratic party leader Linda Estes, brings up an issue that has been bandied about although, from Estes letter, it apparently is largely misunderstood.

Everyone we’ve heard speak on the matter contends that Kaua`i has a “strong mayor” system. But Estes makes an argument that in fact:

Kaua`i has a weak mayor form of government because the mayor cannot appoint several of the department heads. Civil Service, Police, Fire, Water, Planning and Liquor are critical departments in county government and the mayor, at this time, cannot appoint the people to head those departments. If he cannot appoint them, how can he hold them responsible for the operation of their departments?

The proposal to put those departments under the direct authority of the mayor should be on the 2010 ballot. Then, if it passes, the people of Kaua`i can decide at a later date if they prefer a county manager or a strong mayor form of government.

First of all the term “strong mayor” derives from what the mayor’s powers are as opposed to those of the county council’s- the traditional balance of power between legislative and administrative branches of government.

The strongest parts of the mayor’s powers on Kaua`i stem from the total ban on any interference by the council in administrative matters enshrined in our charter.

The only way the council can compel the mayor or his/her appointees to appear and answer questions is under one provision that requires the council to launch an official investigation to do so. Otherwise, as we detailed recently, the administration can refuse to even explain how it plans to spend- or in fact did spend- the money the council appropriated or acted upon a piece of legislation passed by the council.

That’s why you see the words “requests the presence of the administration to discuss...” on council agendas.

Another strength of our administrative branch is the power to appoint almost every single member of the administration- except for the county attorney and those that, as Estes points out, are appointed by a board or commission - without confirmation by the council.

Here too the mayor, as most all administrators do, naturally has more power than the council since he selected the members of those boards and commissions (B&Cs) for the most part and the council can only disapprove them. As a matter of fact the council cannot even remove them without the mayor asking that they be removed.

There are some B&Cs where the mayor and council each appoint three members each and those members select one more. But, illustratively, it should be remembered that the original charter did not have this provision and it only arose because of the strength of the mayor... it’s an example of how the original charter was designed to provide for an extremely strong mayor.

There are other provisions that strengthen the mayor’s power as opposed to those of the council but essentially the mayor has a thumb on the balance of power everywhere except for appropriating money or passing ordinances.

Even there there is diminished accountability and, as we’ve seen, administrative rules promulgated by the administration sometimes carve out loopholes in ordinances that are less than specific- some that actually conflict with the law- leaving the council the option of liking it or lumping it... or suing the administration in court, as happened in the “constitutional” budget crisis during the Yukimura administration

The six departments that Estes cites are the exceptions and were set up that way because those specific departments it was thought would be the most subject to political interference and members of the public should be entrusted to make the hiring and firing decisions- with the “check” on their power being that they are appointed and confirmed by elected officials.

But few can argue that that system has worked well. What has happened in practice is that because the department heads have no set terms after which they must face re-approval or renewal of their contracts it becomes almost impossible for a board to remove them.

As a matter of fact there is no procedure for removal of the appointee in the administrative rules any of board with appointment power.

With the staggered three year terms and a two term limits for B&C members after a while few of any of those who appointed the department heads are on the current board and the employee becomes the boss and in fact mentors the members and advises them when they meet.

As a matter of fact, some members have no idea that they are empowered to remove the department head if they want to. And most wouldn’t know how to do it if they did.

Estes suggests that putting them under the mayoral appointment system would solve that problem. But then we’re right back where we started with politics playing a large part in the hire, no council approval and of course a lack of continuity when administrations change- which, when these appointing B&Cs were originally set up, could have been every two years.

But rather than throw out the baby with the bathwater a few fixes might be in order.

The first is a set term for board-appointed department heads. A charter provision calling for a standard contract length- say three years although it could be otherwise- along with a template for a required re-evaluation and re-hire protocol would go a long way to re-imbue the members with a sense that they are indeed in charge.

A charter provision could be somewhat detailed or leave the fleshing out to an ordnance and administrative rules. But right now there is no standard and these department heads become entrenched serving for decades without so much as an opportunity for their appointing authority to really look at their job performance without appearing to be “making waves” or “rocking the boat”- something that, on Kaua`i almost insures they will not be serving on B&C’s very long as the recent Rolf Bieber episode so clearly demonstrates.

Other than the police department we can’t think of a B&C that ever removed a sitting department head... or even attempted to do so. And technically the police commission didn’t do that either, causing the political free for all surrounding Chief KC Lum’s “removal” (he actually retired).

But the contention that Kaua`i has a weak mayor system and that strengthening it is the answer is to cherry pick one “exception that proves the rule” and use it to define the whole system rather than taking a broad perspective when examining the charter and how it plays out in reality.

A charter amendment calling for all mayoral appointments to be confirmed by the council would go a long way toward equalizing the balance of power along with a modification of the strict no-interference clause. Many jurisdictions allow for subpoena power for the legislative branch without launching a formal investigation- and in fact legislative approval of all department heads is the norm across the country.

As we’ve said before, with a requirement for a certain educational and experiential standard and council approval the current charter provision for the Administrative Assistant (AA) could become the very “county manager” that proponents seek. Perhaps the addition of an independent panel that would submit of list of possible hires would be a wise addition to the process of selection of the AA.

We’ll try to get into more specific problems with the charter and possible fixes over the next month or so but suffice to say that the same ends that the CM proponents seek could be accomplished through narrower targeted amendments to the structure expressed in the charter without scaring the b’jeezus out of a citizenry that may be adverse to a “rewrite” of the charter” and/or “eliminating the mayor”- both things that amount to “experiments” and rightly make voters apprehensive.


We’ll be playing with our new chew toys and a bit intermittent over the next two week. If we’re not here, we’re there- so there, hear?

Monday, December 21, 2009


INDECISIVE DREAMIN’: We’re not skilled in dream interpretation but you don’t have to be to figure out the one we had last night right after watching the administration and their consultants’ presentation to the council on the “proposed” new dump location in the middle of the island’s most productive ag land in Kalaheo.

In it, we were having coffee with Mayor Bernard Carvalho and, as he blathered on about what a great mayor he was and how, as he said in his last campaign, “it’s all about leadership”, we stopped hearing him speak and suddenly focused on his moving mouth.

And slowly beyond the gums, over the teeth and through the tonsils and adenoids there it was- the slowly emerging image of Beth Tokioka spinning a silk purse out of a sows ear.

OK not really... but it coulda happened.

For those who haven’t watched the meeting yet, what stood out was the amazing backtracking and finally actual denial- done through the mouth of County Engineer Donald Fujimoto- that the “Umi” site had actually been “selected” by the mayor.

This bit of convoluted 180 could only have come from Tokioka in a desperate attempt to quell the outrage that’s built since Carvalho put his stamp of approval on his task force’s site selection, even touting how he had “done it” where other mayors had failed.

Now that the shibai has hit the fan everyone is running for cover, including Bernard who apparently just “supported the recommendation of his task force” but wasn’t really “selecting” anything... in fact. all the other potential sites are still in play.

That came after, upon council questioning, the consultant admitted that

1) They didn’t really know what was going to be effected or usurped at each potential site due to existing uses- all they did was check the tax maps and zoning.

2) No one even asked the land owners what the availability of their property was and

3) The fact that coffee was growing on the Kalaheo site was not part of the information considered in the “scoring” of each site in their supposed “double-blind” site selection process, one purportedly used to avoid any “NIMBY”- “not in my backyard”- conclusions.

But that “double blind” methodology was a complete joke according to one of the participants we spoke to who said that the members would have had to be total idiots to not know what they were scoring and in fact all of them scored the site(s) in the areas they represented the lowest.

In addition of course, as we could have predicted, their report began with the “fact” that no matter how much reuse, recycling and “transshipment” we will need a new landfill.

But as usual the “why” was conveniently skipped.

So, to get out the old baseball bat and deceased equine, they now have moved from totally ignoring the option of shipping out all the crap we ship in, to acknowledging the possibility but claiming they’ve invented some new kind of opala that can’t be “transshipped” to one of those readily available mainland dumps that are just begging for our discards.

In doing so they’ve moved from “why” we can’t ship it out- especially now that “cost” is not a good answer since Honolulu is doing it for less than it’s costing us per ton now- to “what” exactly is that substance that can’t be shipped out?

Watching the session one can’t help but do what councilmembers did- see a string of those little dollar signs with wings flying away as they listed all the hidden costs of just siting a new landfill, much less opening, running and closing one.

Yet for all the council’s concerns, none of them questioned the consultant’s brief “because I said so” premise for why we need a new dump at all, essentially saying that even with a good zero waste, Max-3R program the shipment of the last few drops to the mainland is impossible for some unstated reason and we still need to dig a hole somewhere and bury all the crap we bring in.

If you buy that, well, we have a bike path to sell ya.

Friday, December 18, 2009



(PNN) -- They say Diogenes’ search for an honest man came up empty because there aren’t any.

Board of Ethics member Rolf Bieber found that out in spades this week. After a year of trying to bring some ethical standards to county government he was unceremoniously dumped from the Board of Ethics (BOE) by Mayor Bernard Carvalho with little or no explanation.

Bieber say that Carvalho cryptically told him via telephone that his application for a full BOE term wouldn’t be approved and when he asked why Carvalho responded with one word: “balance”

“I asked for clarification” Bieber told us in a telephone interview this morning. “Afterall, I feel like I am the balance.”

Bieber has a Monday morning appointment to get further clarification noting Carvalho also claimed “it’s not me”.

But Bieber thinks it’s pretty apparent why his service was rejected- his attempts to get others on the BOE, to enforce county charter provision 20.02(d) which prohibits county officials from appearing on behalf of private interests before county agencies, board and/or commissions- including some who have engaged in such activities

Bieber filed complaints against BOE members Mark Hubbard and Judy Lenthall who had appeared on behalf of Kauai Action and Planning Alliance and the Food Bank respectively, hat in hand, asking for money before the county council saying he felt like that was part of the job of a BOE member.

“I took an oath of office and I honored that oath. Mark and Judy were breaking the law so what was I supposed to do?” Bieber asks.

“If I have to get fired for dong my job under this administration maybe I need to run for office again next November so they can’t fire me.”

Bieber ran unsuccessfully for mayor against Carvalho in the 2008 “special” election after the death of Mayor Bryan Baptiste.

Bieber addressed the supposed “chilling effect” enforcing the charter would have on finding people to fill the volunteer slots on the many B&Cs, as cited by Board and Commissions (B&Cs) Administrator John Isobe and others.

Bieber says that “the concept that they can’t find people to fill these boards and commissions is a myth and I’m a prime example of that.

“People were aware I wanted to continue the work on the BOE. In November I had reapplied at the Boards and Commissions office for BOE and I made public statements that I was seeking a second term.

“Here we have a person who wants to serve, who has no conflicts, who’s being rejected by the administration. They’re saying they can’t find folks without conflicts of interest and I’m one who doesn’t and who wants to continue to serve and they’re rejecting me.”

One of the most controversial issues was what Bieber and fellow BOE member Paul Weil as a "fatally flawed" advisory opinion from current County Attorney Al Castillo and his Deputy Mauna Kea Trask that, despite the fact that it was "advisory" Castillo claimed was binding on the board.

The opinion would use the “Code of Ethic” ordinance to redefine 20.02(d) virtually out of existence, violating supremacy of law principles.

So why does Bieber think he was rejected, to be replaced with another county insider, former Deputy County Attorney Warren Perry who many believe to have been one of the prime behind-the-scenes movers in the firing of ex- Police Chief KC Lum- due to a BOE decision- and the installation of his brother, KPD Chief Darryl Perry, who was “runner-up” when Lum was appointed chief?

“All I can come up with is that they’re afraid and angry because I didn’t drink the Kool-aid.” he says.

Bieber does say though that he is genuinely thankful for his original appointment that came after his endorsement of Carvalho in the waning days of last years election after Bieber was eliminated in the first round.

“I appreciate the opportunity and there’s a lot of work left to be done. I want to continue it but for some reason they don’t want me to.”

As to what specifically he sees as problematic Bieber says “there’s a certain quality of openness that’s missing among many who serve on board and commissions”.
He cites an example of how, when a county worker he knows appeared before the board he felt compelled to disclose his friendship. But when BOE member Lei Fuller, who serves on the YWCA Board, heard Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho’s testimony before the BOE about a budget rearrangements in her department that would be a windfall for the “Y” she failed to note any conflict or even feel any need to disclose any potential or even appearance of a conflict of interest.

“That’s what I’m trying to bring to the BOE- a higher standard of ethics than we have now” he says.

“Hubbard doesn’t even believe in the concept of appearance of a conflict of interest- it’s another example of my ethical standard verses those of some of the other board members”.

Bieber did note that he thinks that, at least partially through his efforts, fellow BOE member Lenthall has apparently seen how the law applies to her and has not sought another term on the BOE so she can continue her work at the Food Bank without any ethical problems.

“I hope that if nothing else I’ve been able to raise these issues and maybe in the future appointments of those with obvious conflicts will be a thing of the past.”

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


A LEG UP ON THE BONEHEADS: Joan Conrow’s blog has been the go to place for all things bike-path boardwalk-on-Wailua-Beach lately. But one click away from her most recent thoughtful reporting and opinion is a shit-storm of racism, white privilege and outright genocidal blather from a group of trolls we pretty much banished last year.

Joan’s whip and chair approach has tolerated a group of anonymous “I think that” commenters- hilarious in it’s not-so-oxy moronic content- that have gravitated to her site and caused most sane readers who want to stay that way to avoid clicking that comment button lest they boil their own blood.

But not Ann Punohu who has recently started up her Punohu’s Politics, Environment and Culture Blog and made the mistake of visiting Joan’s repository of wretched rhetoric.

Never one to back away from a good fight over cultural slights, Ann has posted a series of responses to some of the worst examples of why the word “haole” is often preceded by a certain adjective and awarded her Racist Residents Of The Year Award for 2009 to a couple of malahini morons.

“Al and Judy” actually said:

We certainly haven't come to Hawaii for the "culture". We hate Hawaiian music, food, cultural (pagan) practices, etc.

We love the ocean, air, tropical environment.

We've come here for years and now own property on a couple of islands. I'll make a bleedin' fortune in the next development boom with one of them.

Wouldn't mind if it looked like Malibu Beach, though.

Ann’s hilarious response was:

OK, It is official. Racists have landed on Kaua`i. And I don't mean the garden variety racist, I mean the full blown I am so proud of myself white supremacist racist

These people own property, and like the path on the beach. And they HATE Hawaiian history, or so they say.

Joan has a slight uku infestation on her blog. A group of "anonymous" posters who just like to yank everyone's chain.

Some of the posts were so ludicrous I really did think they were jokes.

Apparently though, these people are serious. And serious racists. They certainly tried to cook me over an open fire. Didn't work though. I give em right back...

Apparently Romper Room was in session over there, and the kids were throwing spitballs at the teacher, me.

I was just trying to stuff a little knowledge into their apparently racist heads, but they were so full of hot air there was no more room between their ears.

The question that must be asked in light of the divisiveness of the issue is a political one- why on earth would Mayor Bernard Carvalho risk his all-but-given reelection next year with two “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it” recent decisions, guaranteed to not just make people think twice before voting for him but to actually lose votes without any apparent political gain.

The decision to put the new landfill on arguably the most profitable in-use ag land on the island was bad enough but at least there it’s a matter of fulfilling a campaign promise and could even be seen by some to be a courageous decision that has been avoided by mayors and councils since Uncle Tony Kunimura’s days.

So why the boardwalk on the beach?

First of all we have to remember a key fact- one that the “multi use path” proponents would like to forget. In order to fulfill the requirements for initial $40 million in federal funds the path has to be primarily “for transportation, not recreation”.

It’s apparent by now that there is only one factor that matters in that determination and it seemingly has nothing to do with what anyone in government says about the path in selling it to the citizenry.

To be for transportation the path has to go from point “A”, just north of Kealia, to point “B” in Nawiliwili in a contiguous manner with no “breaks” .

People say “well why not go mauka as the path already does by going through the Safeway/Foodland parking lot and extend that “canal route” portion all the way past Coco Palms and simply re-cross the highway at the Wailua Homesteads traffic light rather than the Wailua Houselots light”?

Seemingly that wouldn’t be a problem and a decision by Carvalho to do so would be a politically wise one considering this is one of those “I’ll never vote for him again because of this” issues.

So what’s the catch? Well once the ins and outs as the path winds and wends it’s way through Kapa`a are settled there’s the matter of what happens to it at it’s current terminus at the Kamalani Bridge at the end of Lydgate Park when it currently loops back on itself.

Few were apparently paying attention to the future plans when the administration first made it’s proposal for a boardwalk on the beach, not on Wailua Beach but to get past the Wailua Golf Course.

It seemed that the alternatives were all bad ones when the administration went before the council a few years back to present the initial alternatives for the golf course section.

For anyone who hasn’t been down there the golf course goes right up to the beach where the greenery and grass ends and there’s a drop off onto the thin section of beach.

One proposal was to run the path along the edge of the grass. But that would be a lawsuit waiting to happen as soon as an errant golf ball hit one of those on the path. One solution proposed was to put up a 10 foot high fence but of course one of the most attractive things about the course that at one time won national honors is that you can see the ocean as you play and lose your ball in the ocean if you’re not careful.

That’s when the words “boardwalk on the beach” were first mentioned although the idea appeared ludicrous due to the continuous natural erosion of that strip of beach and land and the coming raise in sea levels that threaten coastlines all over the world.

Nonetheless that was when the “temporary” boardwalk, one that can be removed when a storm is threatening or if erosion catches up with the construction became the favored solutions despite concerns raised before the council by experts on coastal erosion about after more permanent sections were already completed, along with predictions of maybe a 10 year span of life before they become inundated.

The “it can be removed” part of the boardwalk concept is actually part of the EA no matter how apparently silly it sounds.

People opposing the boardwalk have missed a valuable argument in the fact that the “stakes” that are dug over the ‘iwi will not just be dug once and left there but could conceivably be taken up and put back on a semi-regular basis, especially if the waves themselves remove them

So the Wailua boardwalk is actually a test- one on a much wider section of beach- that, once it has been approved and laid will serve as a precedent when it comes to getting the path past the golf course.... and on down the coast where the topography is much the same and where the cost and difficulty of obtaining the land won’t be the impediment it appears to be now.

(By the way- does anyone know the status of a Conservation District Use Permit and/or DLNR approval?)

People are so focused on the cultural desecration involved that no one is even questioning the absurd engineering and environmental concept of putting a boardwalk on a beach that’s regularly inundated by the ocean..

Seems Bernard is apparently willing to take his lumps on this so he doesn’t have to answer for not completing the path.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


LICKING WHERE ONLY THEY CAN: There aren’t a lot of legislators looking forward to next year, especially those who prepare an annual budget. Even those who fund administrative programs on a biennial basis are going to be rehashing the already hashed now that projected plummeting revenues have plunged beyond the predictions.

But here on Kaua`i when it comes to what the home viewer will and will not see it’s probably going to be another year in the dark when comes to the budget machinations the council will perform next spring.

Although last year for the first time the local newspaper’s Mike Levine attended and reported upon the highlights of the budget sessions, the cable-casting of these meetings- where the rubber meets the road and councilmembers must show their hands as to their funding priorities- has not itself been a budget priority.

As far as we can tell this year will be no different and you can bet that the excuse will be “the budget crunch” in terms of both the televising of this year’s sessions and the funding of those in 2011.

How convenient. The most contentious and telling council function- the one where they will inevitably disappoint many who expect funding and outrage others by funding questionable line times- will be done if not behind closed doors at least before draped cameras.

Funny how there’s no money for televising the budget sessions but there’s plenty for those self promotional, vote-grabbing, grin and grip, who’s your daddy and mommy, “council certificates”.

You see it every meeting- all of a sudden business stops and a gaggle of people fill the chambers while the council fawns over them, laughing and questioning them as to their accomplishments.

And when the tiddlywinks team wins third place in Honolulu it’s really a circus with each kid coming up listing not just their parents and siblings but their cousins and their uncles and their aunties.

And not only are these “awards” televised but their are fully captioned- at a cost of more than $200 an hour last time we were able to verify the amount.

At an average of about an hour per council meeting- sometimes, like last week, it’s over an hour, sometimes less- and 50 meetings a year that comes out to at least 50 hours- just enough to televise all the budget sessions.

Now no one is saying that the council should suspend giving out their certificates- even though sometimes it pushes the meeting over eight hours causing massive overtime for staff... a fact that the council uses to justify the recent shift in the scheduling of their meetings to 9 a.m. from the former 1:30 p.m. time slot, insuring people will be less likely to attend and testify.

But using taxpayer money to televise them and then using the lack of funds as an excuse to nix televising the budget sessions is a crass and ludicrous abuse of discretion that serves councilmembers at the expense of the public’s right to know what the council is doing with their money.

The purpose of televising the meetings is to allow the public to see the council at work, not an incumbency protection program designed to garner publicity and the votes of friends and families as well as the participants themselves.

So next time you see one of those certificates being presented just remember- there’s your budget sessions. And remember when, as expected, due to declining assessments the council resorts to raising the property tax rate to pay for all the stuff they stuffed into the budget, instead of watching them do it we were forced to watch the council make kissy-face with Mr. Pupule’s third-grade Christmas pageant participants.

Monday, December 14, 2009


TIME FLIES: We’ve been perhaps hyper-critical of Police Chief Darryl Perry’s administration and haven’t had many kind words for the local newspaper’s KPD-beat reporter Paul Curtis who’s served more like a stenographer for Perry’s PR efforts than a reporter.

But Curtis’ Sunday’s entry is almost as baffling as the amazing revelation regarding what most thought were the ongoing, concerted efforts focusing on one of Perry’s stated “top priorities” upon taking office.

After “burying the lede” with six paragraphs and 157 words evoking an image of the entire department scurrying for no-place-in-particular if “a terrorist attack, gas leak or act of nature” were to hit the new KPD headquarters, Curtis talks about the status of Perry’s accreditation efforts.

At the top of the list (of goals) is departmental accreditation, something Perry has been talking about since he became the county’s seventh police chief in October 2007.

Oh, good- let’s see where we are.

“It’s going to take years,” he said of the process. He is advocating appointment of a full-time accreditation manager to guide the department down the rigorous road to accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

That manager would also be responsible for attaining periodical re-accreditation, he said. KPD is the state’s only county police department lacking CALEA accreditation.

Well, we knew it was a long process. Apparently we are already at the stage where we need a manager for completing the process.

The appointing of the manager will need to happen as phase one of the department’s accreditation process begins, as he or she will liaison with CALEA, he said.

Huh? Phase 1? Begins? Yes folks, “as phase 1... begins”. Two years later we find out there have been approximately zero efforts toward accreditation and the chief is just now proposing to fund a full time position.

As Curtis then reports, now 11 paragraphs into his piece and five on the subject of accreditation:

Phase one includes contacting CALEA, assessing KPD, establishing a timeline for accreditation completion, and determining roadblocks and obstacles to successful accreditation, according to the single-page 2010 KPD goals list.

You’ve gotta be freakin’ kidding. Contacting them?

Let us be of assistance.

According to CALEA’s “Getting Started and Enrollment” section- which at least Curtis, if not Perry has apparently visited:

Agencies can obtain information, view/print fee schedules and required documents, or purchase any CALEA Publication, including the CALEA Accreditation Compliance Express (CACE) software, directly from the CALEA website or by contacting CALEA (800-368-3757).

We presume they have computers and telephones. Now they have the web site and number to call. And there’s a handy-dandy list of “suggestions... for agencies interested in finding out more about the Law Enforcement Accreditation Program”... two years late being better than never.

Purchase a copy of the Standards for Law Enforcement Agencies and carefully review and compare the CALEA Standards to your existing written directives. By doing this you should be able to determine: 1. what additions or changes will need to be made to policies and procedures; 2. how long this might take; and 3. what additional costs will be involved to include in budget.

Download the CALEA Accreditation Compliance Express (CACE) Help File. The CACE Program provides an agency with a powerful tool in completing the steps necessary to achieve accredited status and serves as a valuable assistant in the overall management of the accreditation process. Click here to begin the download process.

And maybe instead of sending commissioners to attending those mainland pep talks about how to fight against sick people receiving their medical marijuana they might just spend some money to send someone to:

Attend a CALEA Conference. Who should attend? Key council members; managers; mayor; law enforcement entity CEO; command staff; or designated accreditation manager. You will receive the training needed to begin the process and to successfully complete your accreditation goals; network with other public safety personnel and gain insight into the program; and consult with other CALEA Agencies for “flagship examples.”

Or they could just

Arrange to visit with a nearby CALEA Accredited Agency to view accreditation files and written directives.

Attend and/or join the local PAC (Police Accreditation Coalition), if available to you. This is another resource for information and accreditation process training. Click
here to check on a PAC in your area.

Among the goals of accreditation, according to the web site and Curtis’ article are to “establish fair and nondiscriminatory personnel practices”. Given the millions paid in attorney fees and awards in discrimination lawsuits over the years it seems incredible that we’re only now getting started on accreditation.

And given the state of community relations after the publication of “KPD Blue” perhaps another stated purpose of “increas(ing) community and staff confidence in the agency” accreditation might be demand a little more immediacy.

One of the first things a student learns in journalism school is “how to write a lead”- or lede in the written lingo. It’s supposed to be the most important “news” in your “story” in 25 words or less.

A real reporter might have written story with a lede that evoked a headline of “Chief’s says accreditation process still not begun”. The fact that Perry could depend on Curtis to cryptically bury the bad news- and try to portray it as “good news” in the middle of an otherwise ho-hum article- speaks volumes.

What Curtis is doing at a newspaper that has moved so far is so short a time with two real newspeople- Mike Levine and Nathan Eagle- in charge, combined with the news that the accreditation process hasn’t begun after two more years has us once again asking “can’t anyone here play this game?”

Friday, December 11, 2009


CONTROL OF ALT- DO NOT DELETE: Yesterday’s “alternative reality” regarding “lap dancer” Monica Alves’ conviction and incarceration for the murder of Kimberly Washington Cohen elicited a few emails ranging in response from “ah, I knew it all the time” all the way to “you’re nuts- and irresponsible to boot Parx”.

But the one from KPD Blue author Anthony Sommer- who covered the trial from start to finish as the then Honolulu Star Bulletin Kaua`i Bureau Chief- needs to be put on the record.

Tony wrote:

As you know, you passed this information on to me about a month ago and, while I'm very dubious, anything is possible (if not probable) on Kauai and if the claim is true it would make a good article or addition to the book.

I covered the murder trial of Monica Alves and Mitch Peralto from start to finish.

Never once did she claim she was in police custody at the time of the abduction or at the time of Kimberly Washington's subsequent (she was alive when they put her in the car, according to the witnesses) death by suffocation.

That would have been the perfect alibi and easy to prove because the KPD does keep records (getting to see them is another matter).

But it never was raised.

She, of course, had a right to refuse to testify (and she didn't) but her attorney could have called police officers who arrested her and released her and produced records of her arrest and release.

In fact, the prosecutor has a duty to provide the defense attorney that information even if it isn't requested. I've known the prosecutor in that case for about 25 years (he used to practice in Phoenix before he moved to Kauai) and he is a very ethical fellow. He certainly knew he was required to turn over any evidence that would help the defense.

Never happened. The issue of Alves being in custody at the time simply was not raised.

Nor has it been raised on appeal (seems like a good basis for an "ineffective assistance of counsel" argument if it is true).

I gave you permission to pass along my email address to whoever Rob is. Even if he doesn't have it, I live in Phoenix (as is noted in the book) and I have a listed phone number (always have had).

If Rob can come up with some records (booking slips are public record and KPD actually produces them on request) or the statements or even names of KPD officers who arrested her, there may be something worth looking into here.

But, if not, I don't give any credibility to an unsubstantiated claim from an anonymous source.

The normal ebb and flow of the political tides on Kauai are bizarre enough without having to play "What if?"


Honolulu Advertiser government correspondent Derrick DePledge had an interesting take today on the “announcement”- or lack threrof- that OIP Director Paul Tsukiyama has left his post.

But Derrick had more to say about the New World Order and Tsukiyama’s resignation.

He wrote:

Not only do we have local bloggers who hate the Mainstream Media, now national bloggers, who hate the Mainstream Media even more deeply, are branching out into our territory.

The Post & Email, a Connecticut-based Web site which
describes itself as “a new media initiative of American patriots,” was apparently the first to report that Paul Tsukiyama has left as director of the state Office of Information Practices.

Really? We couldn’t help but comment on that saying:

Actually in a roundabout way Mike Levine of The Garden Island first reported it last week by mentioning the "acting director "Kathy Takase" in an article about our infamous ES-177. I've been putting off reporting on it myself being busy with another more local topic this week.

And I'm not anti MSM- just extremely critical of the lazy lack of enterprise journalism and "he said she said" reporting without good followup,,, present company excluded of course Derrick

Tsukiyama’s departure could very well have something to do with the Hawai`i Supreme court decision regarding the case of County of Kaua`i vs. OIP where the county sued the OIP over an order to release minutes of an executive session a few years back.

The OIP claimed that the regulatory scheme set out by the legislature- and stated in the legislative committee report on the UIPA- says that the OIP has final say over release of records specifically to avoid having agencies suing each other all the time.

The 5th circuit found that the releasable parts were "irretrievably intertwined" with the attorney client privileged part and therefore ruled against OIP and the ICA and SC agreed without much comment.

This leaves the OIP even more of a “toothless tiger” than ever- their “opinions” on record requests under the UIPA (HRS 92F) as well as sunshine law (HRS 92 Sect 1) issues are now subject to suits by the involved agencies in circuit court and, according to the Levine article, Takase said the OIP will therefore not issue any more formal opinions and presumably serve only an advisory role in the future.

Tsukiyama fought hard through staff attorney Jennifer Z. Brooks to protect our sunshine and open records laws and would have led what is now a useless entity if he stayed on. I wouldn’t head an agency like that either.

Only the legislature can change this but I don’t see them addressing that what with all those important issues like denying civil rights and slashing social services and education budgets while making sure tax credits and other corporate welfare programs remain in place.


And finally Joan Conrow attended the planning commission meeting Tuesday where they inexplicably refused to enforce the permit condition that requires that the burial council approve a burial plan in able for Joe Brescia’s to build his already built Naue monstrosity and has good write-ups in both her blog and an article in The Hawaii Independent.

Although we’re loathe to enter the fray in the comment column today we just had to say:

I’ve never seem the planning commission revoke a permit because the one of the conditions weren’t met, which is supposed to be what they are there for- to make and enforce conditions. Instead they extend or ignore them. Look at Coco Palms.

Remember the 30 years it took to get the Safeway bridge- and then the county “settled” so they could build their precious “coastal” bike path through the Safeway/Foodland parking lot and back across the busiest intersection on the island.

Where were all you “no bike path on he beach” protesters then? Maybe if you had woken up to what a sham the sleight-of-hand segmented EA process was when these other travesties were in their infancy instead of selfishly supporting and praising your dog path it might not have come to this- but I digress.

Brescia did not meet the condition that he get approval from the burial council, whatever the law is currently. flawed or not. That’s why Watanabe said “proceed at your own risk”. That’s why the petition was even able to be heard by the commission. The matter was entirely discretionary on the part of the commission and if they can’t enforce “reasonable” conditions- especially one as basic as burial council approval- then why have one. Ian and Imai could just rubber stamp them without the commission for all the enforcement they do.

If you wear the kings uniform you carry the king’s sword. Jimmy has discovered that. If they were really upset over the decision they were “forced” into they would fire Ian, which is their kuleana according to the charter. Instead they are King Bernard’s lackeys and do his bidding to keep the prestige of their appointments... truly a disgusting way to “serve”.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


ALTERNATIVE REALITY: Monica Alves, the “lap dancer” we mentioned yesterday in providing a brief synopsis of the “concerted conspiratorial effort” to remove former Police Chief KC Lum was, as anyone who has read Chapter 3 of KPD Blue knows, later arrested and convicted of killing her niece Kimberly Washington Cohen.

The only version of “facts” that we’ve ever encountered are the official ones as author Anthony Sommer detailed in his Kaua`i best-selling book that we serialized here (see left rail) last year.

Until recently.

According to Sommer, after she was molested at the station house:

Alves sued the KPD and the county for sexual harassment and received a $250,000 settlement, a measure of how desperately Kauai County wanted (and still always wants) to avoid a potentially humiliating public civil trial.

Most of the money Alves was paid by Kauai County went up her nose and into her arms in the form of drug purchases.

The settlement contained a confidentiality agreement that was insisted on by Kauai County and that was totally illegal. Settlements paid by tax dollars are supposed to be public record.

But, there is much in Kauai County that is supposed to be public that Kauai County government keeps secret. And no one, certainly not the Hawaii news media, challenges Kauai County in court.

Shortly afterward, Alves and her husband Mitch Peralto were convicted of the brutal torture and murder of Alves’ niece, a KPD drug informant.

Four adults at the house where the victim was being held witnessed the couple beat, bind and gag Kimberly Washington Cohen, 23, and drive off with her in their car on July 11, 1997. The witnesses did nothing.

It was only later, when the owner returned home, that the police were called.

Apparently, Alves knew Washington Cohen was a confidential informant (although KPD records showed she never provided them any useful information) and believed she had tipped off the police. KPD vice officers had stopped Alves and searched her for drugs.

While beating Washington Cohen, Alves tried to seal her lips shut with fingernail glue, telling her, according to a witness, “You’re never going to be able to talk again.”

The four witnesses watched Alves and Peralto bind Washington Cohen’s arms, ankles and breasts, gag her mouth so tightly “her face was deformed,” duct-tape a blanket over her head and torso and drag her struggling into the back seat of their car and drive away.

The next day, police found the woman’s body in a shallow grave less than a mile from the house where she had been beaten. The cause of death was suffocation.

Alves, sobbing when she heard the guilty verdict, and Peralto were convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.

If Monica Alves, from her prison cell, is aware of all the twisted turns KPD has taken ever since her arrest for lap dancing, she must be laughing at all of them.

That’s the official version. But last month on November 22 an unknown reader using the name “Rob” left a comment on Chapter 3 that, after careful consideration, we’ve decided to bring forth so our readers will see it.

It should be stressed that we have no idea if what (s)he says is true. As a matter of fact we have no reason to believe it is. However knowing Kaua`i and the state of the police department and judiciary- in terms of both things we’ve reported and things we cannot yet report because we’re still trying to sort out and confirm the “facts” in the allegations- it’s entirely within the realm of possibility and, all things considered, we equally have no reason to believe it’s false.

The three comments by “Rob” are followed by another anonymous comment from someone who calls him or herself “jake lee” and is addressed to “Rob”.

Again- the allegations contained in the comments below are fully unconfirmed and are the allegations of - for all intents and purposes- an anonymous reader and should not be taken as fact, only as an allegation that might be another version of Alves’ saga.


Rob said...

Since I have gotten to know Monica Alves personally by meeting her in prison, I have become thouroghly (sic) convinced by her testimony and the huge amount of Police evidence that she is and was totally inocent (sic) of the murder of Kimberly.

That the police had the larger hand in the matter and that witnesses were bribed and/or threatend (sic) by the Kauai police for their testimonies.

Monica was in police custody before, during and after the murder occured (sic).

Police informants were in the house at the time of Monica's confrontation with Kimberly. They did nothing.

Monica had already left the house before Kimberly was abducted

Did the Police set the whole murder up to retaliate against Monica for winning her lawsuit against them for raping her?

Why were witnesses rewarded with money and a Harley Davidson motorcycle for their testimonies?
November 22, 2009 9:16 AM

Rob said...
Monica said to the Police when she was arrested "Why don't you arrest her too? She's the one who started the fight!" Monica did not know that Kimberly was abducted! or even missing when the police arrested Monica at her hotel. The car was taken in for evidence and thouroughly (sic) searched only to find absolutely no evidence of Kimberly's being in that car. Who was set up by whom?

November 22, 2009 9:59 AM

Rob said...
Coroners reports show timeline to coincide with Monica's incarceration time. It also show no evidence of glue substances as witnesses claim. Who set up Whom? Witnesses recieved (sic) rewards.
November 22, 2009 10:02 AM

jake lee said...
Hey Rob, i have known monica since 2000, and i know that she's locked up in pikeville ky. because i have been there. i also know that she is in for murder and kidnapping, originally without parole, and now with the courts blessing, with the chance of parole. the bottom line is, she wont get parole for at least 30 years from the time of incarceration, which means 2028! let her go my friend, let her go.

December 9, 2009 12:31 AM

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


A “CONCERTED CONSPIRATORIAL EFFORT”?: A few years back the Kaua`i County Council finally discovered the best way to manipulate the dialogue before the cameras during what some of them call “the show” by taking required testimony on agenda items before and only before their discussions and then, if it’s embarrassing, finding a way to deflect it- often by answering a different question or addressing a different topic than the testimony raised.

Never was that more in evidence than at the last council meeting when the subject of former Kaua`i Police Department (KPD) Chief KC Lum’s lawsuit against the county was addressed.

Council watchdog Glen Mickens had the temerity to state that the persecution and dismissal of Lum was a “concerted conspiratorial effort” which, as the local newspaper’s Michael Levine reported, was met with vehement denials by two of the Minotaur’s gate keepers, Councilmembers Darryl Kaneshiro and Jay Furfaro, and the bone-gnasher himself Chair Kaipo Asing.

But what those who read the article or watched the cablecast of the meeting might have missed was the slight of hand on the council’s part in addressing, not the agenda item detailing an appropriation to fight the Lum lawsuit- which was struck down again in federal court at the 9th circuit level days before, apparently unbeknownst to the council at the time- but the separate somewhat related case of ES-177 which was “won” by the county weeks ago in Hawai`i Supreme Court.

The smoke and mirrors, hocus-pocus was because the charge of there having been a “concerted conspiratorial effort” to get rid of Lum would be difficult if not impossible to deny by anyone who really followed the saga from start to finish.

The first thing about the 9th Circuit decision that should be noted is that they did not rule that there was no conspiracy to get rid of Lum in general, just that it wasn’t race based.

As reported in another article- this one on the 9th Circuit decision itself- the court specifically said:

Lum and attorney Clayton Ikei failed to show former county Finance Department Director Michael Tresler acted with conspiracy based on racial bias when Tresler canceled Lum’s employment agreement (emphasis added)

The second important thing was that the decision was based on the “fact” that former Police Commission Chair Michael Ching showed bias in the hiring of Lum, based on a Board of Ethics (BOE) case that was enforced by the county council after a BOE “trial” of Ching which was held behind closed doors at Ching's behest.

It should be noted that fellow Police Commissioner Carol Furtado was brought up on the same charges of favoritism but chose a public hearing of her case resulting in an acquittal, most observers believe, because it was held in the open.

But looking at the whole sad story it would have been truly absurd for the council to claim that there was no concerted conspiratorial effort in Lum’s firing.

Let’s remember how it happened concerning at least two pertinent events.

The whole business started when former Councilperson and former KPD Officer Mel Rapozo came onto the council along with now Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, both of whom held a grudge against Lum for events in their past.

Rapozo had been in the room during the infamous “lap dancer” molestation incident and Lum was the lieutenant on duty that night. When Officer Darla Abbatiello- who later sued and won a suit for harassment against the department and county- burst into Lum’s office and told him what was happening down the hall, Lum had no choice but to report the incident- something Rapozo and others to this day claim resulted in the firing of the “three good officer” who molested the “lap dancer” and the resignation of Rapozo who, supposedly, “just” stood by watching and laughing.

Iseri’s grudge came from a party she was hosting at Lydgate Park pavilion where the level of noise and boisterousness was such that a complaint was filed and Lum was the responding officer. A drunken Iseri, then a deputy prosecutor, confronted Lum when he came a second time to tell her to break it up and she always held a grudge based on the incident according to multiple sources.

Then came ES-177 and, according to an OIP letter to County Clerk Peter Nakamura during the back and forth about releasing the minutes, Rapozo went off on the whole department, especially Lum, detailing what he saw as injustices.

Rapozo obviously thought no one would ever know what he said since no executive session minutes had ever been released by the council- a fact still true today. Since it would have been embarrassing to the newly elected Rapozo had the minutes been released Chair Asing took the opportunity to try to corral the “maverick” Rapozo and hang the ES content over his head, assuring compliance with Asing's wishes and machinations over the next two council terms whenever Rapozo’s enthusiasm got in the way or “rocked the boat” as Asing is fond of saying.

It was in fact Asing who filed the charges with the BOE against Lum, at first on council letterhead and then, when he realized the whole council had never approved such a charge and that it would have indeed been an ethics violation to use his office to file the complaint against Ching, he said he made a “mistake” and said he was filing as a private citizen.

But the real heart of the conspiracy occurred at the mayor-appointed, council-confirmed BOE. The Ching case was heard by a retired Maui judge in secret and the secret report was given to the BOE. But while the report the BOE released to the council seemed to indicate that Ching had indeed used his position to secure a special privilege for Lum that wasn’t what the full report indicated.

Citizen activist Richard Stauber came before the council during the council’s session held to approve the BOE report and had a copy of the full report in which the judge essentially said that nothing untoward had happened and actually exonerated Ching although he did allow the county attorney’s office to write up the summery judgment which is what the council considered without officially seeing the whole report.

Saying a “little bird dropped (the full document) in my widow” Stauber tried to present it to the council as part of his testimony. But the council, perhaps fully aware of the content and not wanting the full report to become part of the public record, actually not only refused to accept the document and but when Stauber placed it on their table they instructed staff to physically give it back to Stauber.

Though the document was presented to the then council-beat reporter for the local newspaper Lester Chang- whose writing skills bordered on incompetence and who was widely known for his kow-towing to Asing and his penchant for trying to please the council- he refused to report on or even mention the additional data making sure that the general public never heard about the full report.

Finally a reluctant Mayor Bryan Baptiste, who originally really wanted the whole thing to just go away but later came to see which way the wind was blowing, joined the conspiracy apparently instructing Finance Director Michael Tressler- who was reward with a cushy. do-nothing vice-presidency at a big local land owner Grove Farm- to terminate Lum’s contract, resulting in Lum’s retirement because if he had allow himself to be “fired” as chief it could have resulted in him losing his seniority and thus pension.

Many other little oddities occurred during the time, mostly related to Police Commissioner Leon Gonsalves’ “hop sing” letter.

That bled over into the Lum persecution which also involved supporters of current Police Chief Darryl Perry including his brother, prominent attorney Warren Perry, and the leadership of the police union SHOPPO along with others in the administration who had begun to understand that their support of Lum might lead to consequences such as when another officer was disciplined for circulating a petition supporting Lum.

Soon the silence in support of Lum was deafening and no one was left to say boo when he was canned.

We certainly haven’t covered all the elements of the conspiracy here. To find out more details, if you’ve never read former Honolulu Star Bulletin Kaua`i Bureau Chief Anthony Sommer’s book KPD Blue (see left rail) it’s about time you did. And if any of the names or terms seem unfamiliar you can cut and paste them into the search box at the top of the page to see our past coverage.

What’s perhaps most galling about last Wednesday’s council “show” was the little conspiracy in the room and the way councilmembers browbeat and intimidated Mickens because, although he sat through the whole debacle along with Sommer and PNN, he might not always be as quick with his wits and as ready for confrontation as we might be had we been there and been given the opportunity to say what we’ve said here.

So pick on someone your own size Kaipo, Jay and Darryl. Anytime, any place we’d be not just glad but elated to debate any or all of you on the topic of the “concerted conspiratorial effort”. No?- well your silence is deafening, especially given your treatment of other who may be less articulate when they appear before you and your avoidance of people who can verbally hold their own.

We feel that Lum made a mistake in trying to make the whole case about racial/ethnic discrimination rather than a general wrongful termination. We also feel like his attorney Clayton Ikei didn’t serve him well in the various courts. Since it’s doubtful Lum has the money to continue the fight it seems that the county’s victory at the three-judge-panel level of the federal 9th Circuit will stand.

To claim there was no conspiracy in general to reverse the hiring of Lum- who would have been approved by the commission even without Ching's vote- unfortunately serves as a lesson to those who might enter the Minotaur’s labyrinth- have your wits about you and sword drawn even when the dark is as dark as can be, lest you serve as grist for the bonemill.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


GOING ROGUER: Although we are pretty obsessive about keeping up with local and statewide news reports- not as much for the content but for what kind of pabulum we’re being fed- we do miss things.

But we’re pretty sure that the 2010 plans of Linda “Stepford Wife” Lingle isn’t among them.

She’s been rumored to be movin' on up to the east side of the country in the event the Democrats continue to screw up their unscrew-up-able 2008 mandate to end the war and reverse the constitution shredding and her Republicans take over once again. It would be understandable if she skips town taut suite in ’10 considering what all but the most knee-jerk of partisan GOPers know to be a corruption-plagued comically inept administration-by-press-conference.

But there are those who think she will yet challenge Sen. Dan Inouye who’s up for rubber-stamping next November or even try to fill the seat Congressperson Neil Abercrombie is vacating to run for her term-limited office.

That’s why it’s strange that apparently no one in the horse-race obsessed corporate press seemed to notice a Lingle-penned column that ran in our local Kauai paper this weekend.

After a few paragraphs of self promotional blather Lingle writes quite unequivocally “I want the people of Hawai`i to know that I will not be seeking another elected office in 2010”.

Now it’s understandable in that when 99% of readers saw the headline “Continuing the Journey” and the byline in the newspaper or read the “tease” on-line saying “(f)or the past seven years, it has been my honor and privilege to serve as Governor of our great State of Hawai`i”, they rolled their eyes and went on to the next story.

No one wants to read the usual kind of self congratulatory crap, revisionist history or politically-tone-deaf proposals that she is famous for- probably not even the local editors who took a “plop it in the newshole” approach to the copy.

It’s a well-worn political PR tactic to go to the smallest 'burb in the constituency for a “soft” announcement of somewhat embarrassing news and the expected “well she couldn’t win a race for dogcatcher these days” response could well have motivated Lingle to keep the news a bit spongy.

Unless we missed it in the Honolulu papers expect to see her announcement that she’s going fully lame-duck to permeate the MSM pretty soon.

Either way, the news we won’t have Ding-A-Lingle to kick around anymore can’t come a moment too soon.

Monday, December 7, 2009


R-E-S-P-E-C-T: The “old boys club” on Kaua`i is certainly not the province of a single gender anymore. The phrase is merely an anachronistic remnant of he days when only boys would and could be boys.

Today, regardless of gender, any jerkwad who has the self-initiative to step forward and “wrestle with the pigs” for a few years- developing a reputation for being willing to do and say just about anything to defend the privilege of the higher-ups by deflecting and absorbing the not-so-outrageous slings and arrows of public outrage at their future cronies' corruption- can live the dream of a becoming a “made man”- or woman... a mid-level “untouchable” as activist Ray Chuan used to call them.

But that doesn’t mean that they or their benefactors don’t still live in the dark ages when it comes to the on-the-job treatment of women- especially those that don’t respect the system that protects the protected and spits out dissidence.

A year ago this week we reported on the lawsuit of “Kaua`i Bus” driver Kathleen M. Ah Quin who has sued the Kaua`i Transpiration Agency- specifically, Executive on Transportation Janine Rapozo- for what appears to be a pervasive hostile atmosphere toward women at the agency.

As we wrote at the time:

Just as appalling as the actual discrimination is the fact the lawsuit was filed only because a year went by after Ah Quin’s filing of Hawai`i Civil Rights Commission (HCRC) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaints without any attempt by the county to respond or even attempt to investigate the charges.

Then in April we reported on the case of former long time Deputy County Attorney Margaret (Hanson) Sueoka who has filed an EEOC complaint that has so far has resulted in the county attorney’s securing of $50,000 from the council to defend the charge. Her case remains under seal with the county apparently having responded to the EEOC case, unlike when Ah Quin’s case was ignored.

But the county still apparently hasn’t learned to respond to EEOC cases before they become lawsuits- where the specific details are publicly made available- and they apparently still haven’t learned much about responding to on-the-job sexual harassment claims or doing anything to stop them before they begin... much less disciplining the harassers.

These cases and others over the years however pale in comparison to the case of Kristan C. Hirakawa who, in a lawsuit filed in US District Court, alleges that even though she had won her 2001 EEOC case against the county while working for, surprise-surprise the Kaua`i Police Department (KPD), when the county, as required by the settlement, “reassigned” her to the Liquor Commission, she was further harassed at her new job.

The original filing had apparently never seen the light of reporting because EEOC complaints are considered confidential under federal law and are therefore exempt from the state’s sunshine and open records laws. The EEOC does however issue “Right to Sue” letters giving “permission” for a suit to arise from the complaint if the defendant doesn’t “settle” during the EEOC phase as it appears happened in Hirakawa’s current case.

According to the lawsuit filed through her attorneys, former state Attorney General Margery S. Bronster and local attorney Daniel G. Hempey:

(p)reviously, in approximately 2001, Plaintiff was employed as a dispatcher for the Kauai Police Department when she was sexually harassed by a co-worker. Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). As a result of the previous case, Plaintiff suffered serious physiological injury due to the sexual harassment, improper response to her legitimate complaint and loss of privacy that was inflicted on her while working in the Kauai Police Department. The matter settled without admitting fault.

Defendant County of Kauai agreed to identify and assist Plaintiff with obtaining another County job as a result of settlement negotiations in the previous case. Ultimately, Plaintiff obtained employment at the Kauai County Liquor Commission.

But that didn’t stop her new supervisor, Dexter Shimatsu, from continuing the typical cycle of sexual harassment followed by retaliation for whistle-blowing or the county’s, not just indifference but, apparently active aiding and abetting of Shimatsu’s actions

According to the suit,

(Hirakawa’s) situation within the Kauai County Liquor Commission remained relentless as the discrimination and harassment increased to the point of disabling her with severe emotional distress. Per doctor's orders, she has stopped working as a result, and remains unable to work in her County job due to the Defendant's failure and/or refusal to properly address the discrimination, harassment and retaliation she has suffered in the workplace.

We could characterize or pick and edit only the highlights of the sordid details but, with no space limitation and the fact that the allegations in the suit paint such a good portrait of Shimatsu and the county’s specific alleged actions- including the county attorney’s office’s alleged failure to investigate the EEOC claim and their decisions to rather fight it without any inquiry- we will print the pertinent section of the “Predicate Facts” contained in the suit.


Predicate Facts 9-36

The County of Kauai, obviously aware of Plaintiffs previous case and emotional condition, placed her in a workplace with a known sexual harasser as a co-worker and a supervisor with no prior training in sexual harassment law. On information and belief, the County of Kauai has consistently failed to meet its legal obligations to identify and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

Upon relocation to the Kauai County Liquor Commission, Plaintiff was immediately subject to offensive conduct on the basis of her sex. Her supervisor, Dexter Shimatsu, made sarcastic comments about sexual harassment to Plaintiff, often alluding to her history of having made a sexual harassment complaint. Shimatsu complained to Plaintiff that he had to order all of the posters [of scantily clad women] removed from the workplace because the "County made me hire you."'

During the course of her employment Plaintiff was often the subject of ridicule, sexual innuendo, sexual emails and insults from her supervisor. Shimatsu called her holistic medical practitioner a "witch doctor", and wrote an email to her saying: Use your common sense...I think you'll stay healthy...Oh yeah, and sleep with your clothes on. You could catch a cold, the flu and get pregnant without your clothes on...all bad ailments.

Shimatsu's demeaning conduct continued. After Plaintiff entered her baby into a contest (which she did not win), Shimatsu left a newspaper clipping of the winning baby in her mail bin where all her co-workers could see it. Above the picture of the winning mother and baby Shimatsu wrote a note saying: I really think the baby won because the mother was cute. With that in mind, you really need to do something about your baby can win. Your baby did her part by being cute... it's now up to you.

In May 2007, Shimatsu called Plaintiff into his office to tell her he heard from someone that her boyfriend was getting deployed to the Middle East. He stated, "You should buy your boyfriend a lot of condoms because there are a lot of prostitutes where he'll be stationed." He followed up in an email saying he doesn't think there are really prostitutes there.

At work the sexual harassment was incessant. Shimatsu continued degrading Plaintiff calling her such names as "tonta," meaning slow, dumb or stupid, and "shibai." Shimatsu made insolent comments about Plaintiff when she made a mistake but did not treat her co-workers rudely.

When she requested vacation time to care for her four month-old baby, Shimatsu responded in a memo stating: Your request for Vac/ Ct...was approved after much discussion...Lady, you give me a headache... always asking for special treatment as a female. I kind of feel its sexual harassment and should look into it. I think that's the only way I'm going to get rid of this nasty headache...what you think?

Plaintiff noted that other employees were not subject to insolent comments when asking for time off.

On another occasion, Shimatsu emailed to Plaintiff a photo of an attractive female dressed only in a tiny, diamond studded bikini. Shimatsu typed "You Wish" on the email before sending the email to Plaintiff from his work computer.

Plaintiff was unable to be in such a virulent environment where working meant being in constant dialogue with the perpetrator. She took leave on a disability claim. She sought medical help and counseling because of the harassment and discrimination at the Kauai County Liquor Commission. Under direction of Plaintiffs medical providers, she was not allowed to resume working while the harasser remained there or until the situation had been corrected.

In June of 2007, Plaintiff reported the sexual harassment to the County and sought disability leave from work.

The County did not pay on Plaintiffs disabilities claim and did not separate her from Shimatsu.

The County has failed to properly respond to or address the alleged sexual harassment complaint raised by Plaintiff.

The County broke its own County policy on sexual harassment as promised to Plaintiff and other County employees in a number of respects. First, the County promises that complaints of sexual harassment will be investigated within two weeks time. No timely investigation was done in Plaintiff's case. Secondly, County policy promises that the findings and results of an investigation into a complaint of sexual harassment will be made available to the complainant. The results of any investigation into sexual harassment have still not been made available to Plaintiff. And thirdly, County policy promises that corrective action will be taken when a County employee suffers from sexual harassment. On information and belief, no such corrective action has been taken.

Upon information and belief, the County's policy on sexual harassment in the workplace was intended to comply with applicable law.

Furthermore, the County ignored State and Federal law regarding the matter being pursued. The County instead protected the accused, her supervisor Shimatsu, offering no remedial action to Plaintiff and failing to conduct even a basic investigation for several months.

In many cases, County policy directs employees to report allegations of sexual harassment to the Office of the County Attorney to ensure, among other things, that the County acts in compliance with State and Federal law. However, in this case, the Office of the County Attorney chose to arbitrarily dispute Plaintiff's claim without adequate investigation and contrary to State and Federal law.

Upon information and belief, the County used a woman with no prior training or experience in sexual harassment investigations to perform the investigation of Plaintiffs complaint of sexual harassment.

A few months later, Plaintiff, through counsel, asked the Office of the County Attorney if she could have the results of its investigation(s) in Plaintiff's report of sexual harassment. The request was made pursuant to Haw. Rev. Stat. Ch. 92F et seq. (The Hawaii Public Records Act), but the Office of the County Attorney failed and/or refused to provide the results of the investigation to Plaintiff's attorney.

In August 2007, the County contacted Plaintiff and informed her that an interview was forthcoming, but it wasn't until September 14, 2007 when Ann Wooten, the chosen investigator, interviewed Plaintiff.

On information and belief, the County never asked Shimatsu if the Plaintiffs allegations against him were true.

The investigation was only performed after Plaintiff's disability pay had expired. The County left Plaintiff, a single mother of two, in a precarious financial position because of the delay in investigating her complaint and the lack of corrective action taken.

Plaintiff remains unable to resume working in direct contact with the same supervisor. Her accumulated losses approximate $50,000.00 even after mitigating wages lost by securing lower-paying employment. Her new position pays significantly less than her employment with the County.

The aforesaid events have changed the course of Plaintiff's life and career.

Plaintiff has complied with the administrative procedural requirements for maintaining a civil action for discrimination on the basis of sex and for retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Plaintiff filed the aforesaid charges with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions, and the EEOC has made a determination of cause to believe that the alleged sexual harassment occurred.

On November 13, 2008 the EEOC found that "The Commission's investigation determined that there is reasonable cause to believe that Charging Party was subjected to sexual harassment because of her sex, female."

Thereafter the EEOC issued a "Right to Sue" letter and Plaintiff, and timely filed this action with 90 days of issuance of her Right to Sue letter, issued on March 3, 2009.

At all relevant times herein, the acts of the County were undertaken within the course and scope of Plaintiff's employment.