Monday, July 19, 2010

ONLY HALF BULL?

ONLY HALF BULL?: Deep in the darkest recesses of the Minotaur’s labyrinth when the light of day threatens to expose all, his minions scurry to defend the perimeters at every parry of the knights of illumination.

And last Wednesday, the news that that of death of the Minotaur was premature being still unknown, his minotaur-in-waiting performed his own dance of darkness as if to prove his worthiness to ascend to the throne

Council Chair Kaipo Asing indeed filed to run for another term last Thursday despite statements in 2008 that this term would be his last.

His filing came on the heels of another slaying of the oft promised and always delayed on-line, live streaming of meetings and posting of video and agenda-related documents.

The six month deferment was accomplished through the complicity of his always rely-a-bull 3-D’s who were joined by the clueless would-be king, Jay Furfaro, whose continued confusion over how the sunshine law actually works gave the excuse for essentially the defeat of another attempt by Councilpersons Tim Bynum and Lani Kawahara to get everyone to move off the dime and “git ’r done”

And though the local paper not only ran an article but an editorial each was, as usual, equally clueless as to the back story and Furfaro’s apparently inability to understand the basics of the state’s open meetings “sunshine” laws.

Furfaro’s confusion goes back to December of 2008 when we filed a complaint with the Office of Information Practices (OIP) after he was caught Red-Handed sending a letter to fellow councilpersons not just describing the then-new original bill calling for “non-enforcement agreements” for vacation rentals on ag land, but soliciting their support which is forbidden under any and all circumstances by law.

OIP opened a case, as we reported in Jan. of 2009 but rather than admit his blatant violation of the law Furfaro has been fighting it ever since, even somehow spending, as he said Wednesday, $1700 to do so.

The law is actually very simple. Pay attention Jay.

Councilmembers cannot discuss any matter either on an agenda or that might be on a future agenda with more than one other councilmember. And even then they cannot solicit or commit to a vote.

And, they can’t get around that by “serial one-on-one communications” or by going through a third party to do so.

The correct way to introduce anything they want to discuss is to put it on the agenda as either a communication or a bill or resolution. Otherwise it is forbidden to discuss it with more than one other member.

Once it is on the agenda the way to discuss it is to wait for the item to come up on the agenda and then say and do anything you want including introducing or even “floating” amendments to a bill.

But somehow Furfaro remains obstinate in his refusal to learn these simple procedures as evidenced by the fact that at this very meeting, during this very agenda item where he brought up his confusion in order to ask for the deferral, he referred to a 19 page letter he had sent to the Civil Service Commission regarding his thoughts on county furloughs- which the council has set for December discussion- and actually sent a copy of that letter to the rest of the council without putting it on the agenda.

All he would have had to do was send a communication with the 19 page letter to the council, have it placed on the agenda and it would have been legal. But as if to re-iterate his inability to understand a simple concept that all other council, boards and commissions in the state seem to have no trouble understanding, he just distributed it to councilmembers by placing it in their mailboxes.

Furfaro has even devised another attempted by-pass of the law lately calling for the “floating” of amendments to a bill at one committee meeting to be taken up at the next one but making them available only to the councilmembers and not to the public, according to discussion at Wednesday’s meeting.

Just as absurd were some of the other excuses used to delay implementation of the system- for which the contract has been signed and apparently all the protests have now been resolved.

What the resolution calls for in the posting of all the accompanying paperwork for all agenda items- not just the actual communications, bills and resolutions but the background documents pertaining to the item.

Right now “hard copies”- on paper- of all those are available to the public at council services as soon as the agenda is officially filed. And copies of each are made for councilpersons as part of their “packet” which they also receive when the agenda is filed.

According to sources at council services the copying machine there isn’t just some $39.99 Wal Mart special. It’s a fancy schmancy piece of work that not only makes copies but makes digital copies of each and can, with the push of a button can- drum roll please- even post them on line automatically.

But you would think that they needed a Manhattan project to figure out how to post them and then have to hire three more employees to push that bottom from the way Furfaro, Asing and Councilpersons Dickie Chang, Darryl Kaneshiro and Derrick Kawakami jumped at the chance to defer posting the documents- via the system which IT Division Chief Erik Knutzen told us a year and a half ago was ready to go- until they resolve the “county furloughs” issue and meet with staff to figure out how to push the button.... something they’ve had four years to do.

But there are no buttons at door to the labyrinth and distribution of information remains for now on a need-to-know basis.

1 comment:

Brad Parsons said...

You are right, Andy, nothing is as it seems in those chambers.