Tuesday, February 16, 2010

CANIS CANTANKEROUS

CANIS CANTANKEROUS: Having spent two years (and four days) at this daily, frothy-foamy hydrophobic-hysteria we’ve come to appreciate that people are entitled to their own opinions but they’re not entitled to their own facts.

That’s been pounded into our brain over and over as we’ve observed “the Kaua`i way of doing things” inexpertly performed by our various and sundry county entities- ones who are intent on not just reinventing the wheel but doing so to produce a square one derived through the limited self-interest of the individuals involved in the decision-making

The archetype of this warped behavior has been a Board of Ethics (BOE) made up of the ethically-challenged, carving out exemptions to conflict-of-interest laws for their own conflicts-of-interest with logic only the truly mentally-challenged could appreciated.

We’ve written extensively on the Kaua`i County Charter- section 20.02(d)- while a stream of dedicated citizens bang their heads against the wall and still the board continues to try to “carve out exceptions”, the latest for (run-to-the-dictionary) “eleemosynary” (it means charitable) activities.

But while we have felt like we were screaming in outer space someone in higher places was seemingly listening and today, in covering the latest machinations of the BOE, local newspaper reporter Mike Levine presented sections of a State Ethics Commission letter sent to him by State Senator Les Ihara that makes you wonder what these BOE dolts and their amateurish lawyers have been doing for the last year.

It states plainly what we’ve been writing in literally dozens of articles over the past two years- there is a purpose in the law that forbids county officials from appearing on behalf of private interests before county boards, commissions and agencies and it doesn’t matter what kind of cockamamie excuse you have for doing so... even if you are “doing good work”.

Levine writes:

In March 2003, the Hawai`i State Ethics Commission told Sen. Les Ihara (D-Kapahulu, Kaimuki, Palolo) that serving even as an uncompensated director of a non-profit corporation does create a “financial interest” because the Hawai`i Revised Statutes define that term to include directorship in a “business,” and define business to include a corporation, whether operated for profit or not.

“The term ‘financial interest’ pertains, of course, to having an actual monetary interest in a business, and so forth, but also includes situations where one is not receiving actual compensation or monetary gain, but the ‘interest’ in the matter is so strong as to reasonably have a possible effect upon one’s decision-making as a state official,” states the letter, provided unsolicited by Ihara to The Garden Island. It also identifies fiduciary responsibilities and the potential for a lawsuit as financial interests not generally considered by the general public.

“While such service may appear to be merely the providing of volunteer services as a good citizen, in reality, under the law, there are substantial and real financial interests that a member of the board of directors of a non-profit corporation has, whether the individual is compensated or not,” the letter concludes.

Though the state Ethics Commission is not really a controlling authority in that they rule on the activities of state officials, you’d think as a political subdivision of the state the county would take a hint- or at least check with the grownups on how they do it

The fact is that 20.02(d) is a direct challenge to the crony-crammed board and commission system that is populated by a politically connected cadre of corrupt colleagues, carefully chosen by Carvalho’s contemptuous cabal, concentrating on conniving and circumventing conventional codes of conduct.

The fact is that this “interpretive” rule is only needed for those who want to interpret the rule out of existence- it presupposes that they’re entitled to allow their opinions to drive the facts.

And when it comes to county governance that IS the Kaua`i way.

1 comment:

Maria said...

"The fact is that 20.02(d) is a direct challenge to the crony-crammed board and commission system that is populated by a politically connected cadre of corrupt colleagues, carefully chosen by Carvalho’s contemptuous cabal, concentrating on conniving and circumventing conventional codes of conduct."

connected cadre
corrupt colleagues
carefully chosen
contemptuous cabal
i could go on and on.....nice work!