Tuesday, August 31, 2010



(PNN) -- The clear choice for Mayor of Kaua`i is Diana LaBedz and PNN is happy to endorse a candidate whose positions reflect many of the aspirations of the environmental, sustainability and controlled growth community.

Yes we could say we’d vote for a potted plant rather than reinstall the crony-addled incompetent and corrupt administration of Mayor Bernard Carvalho. His reign has been an exercise in perpetuation of the old boy political machine, perfecting the “fire, ready aim” style of his predecessors by filling jobs- even civil service positions- as well as boards and commissions with special interests, political supporters, campaign contributors and other assorted hacks and operatives with no regard for skills or even competence.

But despite her inexperience in the world of politics, in LaBedz we have the opportunity to elect a truly dedicated progressive who has been a decades-long advocate for many of the kinds of changes we seek to grow Kaua`i in a sustainable, environmentally sensitive and socially responsible manner.

LaBedz has pledged to use the current laws to protects our oceans, beaches and reefs, a passion of hers for years. She supports the “zero waste” concept for dealing with our festering solid waste management crisis. She will oppose the growth of the GMO industry and instead support the perpetuation of pesticide-free, organic farming.

She supports passage of a measure similar to the one passed on the Big Island that would make cannabis enforcement the lowest priority for the police and would seek a federal permit to grow industrial hemp offering new industry creating many jobs.

She has pledged to focus on creating opportunities for clean carbon-free energy and opposes an incineration plant.

We always say we wish we had someone to vote for who has these kinds of values. As Diana says, her only “special interest” is “the health of the island, it's people and our planet”. As a matter of fact, she is not soliciting campaign contributions which is certainly a breath of fresh air.

Diana LaBedz has given us a real choice. On September 18 please support Diana LaBedz and make her our next mayor.

(For more information on her positions check out her campaign web site.)

Monday, August 30, 2010


EIGHTY SEVEN STRIKES AND YOU’RE STILL NOT OUT: You’d think that after battling against the recent gutting of the transient vacation rental ordinance, Council Chair Kaipo Asing and his right hand man- or left hand as it goes at the table- Derek Kawakami would be champing at the bit to finally close some of the biggest loopholes in Kaua`i agricultural land use law.

Maybe so... if you just arrived from Mars yesterday and had missed the Gordian knot of hypocrisy and deceit that has dominated their actions and along with those of fellow gatekeepers of the Minotaur’s labyrinth, Councilmembers Darryl Kaneshiro and Dickie Chang, for the past almost two years.

So when the four of them voted down three “no brainer” bills to stop some of the biggest abuses of ag land on “first reading” you only had to look at who introduced them to figure out why.

Councilmember Tim Bynum’s bills would have:

- stopped the semi secretive way vast tracts of ag land have been chopped into tiny little pieces by requiring a public hearing before the planning commission for all ag land subdivisions;

- limited the size of “farm dwellings” to 2500 feet without planning commission approval and;

- lowered the “density”- the number of acres per farm dwelling- on ag land to the standards used on the other neighbor islands.

But what was almost astonishing was that neither Bynum or Kawahara- nor anyone from the public- said anything about Kaneshiro’s hysterical, fist-pounding, emotionally high-pitched tirade about how the bill would personally effect him due to his ownership and/or control of vast tracts of agricultural lands where he runs his ranching operations, complaining how the bills would limit his ability to subdivide his own ag lands for housing for his children, grandchildren and presumably the generations a-comin’.

Presumably they all had temporary amnesia as to a recent county charter amendment to the “Code of Ethics” under section 20,04B: Disclosure, which says that:

(a)ny elected official... who possesses or acquires such interest as might reasonably tend to create a conflict with his duties or authority... in any matter pending before him shall make full disclosure of the conflict of interest and shall not participate in said matter.

What the heck was Kaneshiro doing even speaking on the subject much less literally screaming about how the bills would directly effect him?

That charter does however list the penalties for violations of the code under 20.04C, Penalties.

(1) Any violation of any of the provisions of this section shall, at the option of the director of finance, render forfeit and void the contract, work, business, sale or transaction affected.

(2) Any violation of any of the provisions of this section shall constitute cause for fine, suspension or removal from office or employment.

Presumably that means it would take action by the Director of Finance to nullify the vote to receive the three bills. Good luck with that, especially because it would take an action from the moribund, sycophantic Board of Ethics (BOE) to get him to do it..

It’s hard to say what the bigger outrage is- a first ever (that we can recall, and that goes back almost 30 years) “receipt” of a bill for first reading due to objectionable content or the fact that Kaneshiro was not only permitted to speak on the subject but to cast the deciding vote, with one Councilmember, Jay Furfaro (a supposed member of Bynum and Kawahara’s minority faction) absent and not voting.

Maybe it was the way Kawakami tried to turn it into a flag waving “protect the American Dream” matter to allow people to build huge mansions and subdivide their land while failing to mention that the bills dealt with agricultural lands

Maybe it was the way Asing seemed to have a deer-in-the-headlights look in his eyes saying absolutely nothing while his henchmen made a farce of his recent strenuous defense of preservation of agricultural lands, even to the point of forbidding farm worker housing with a bazillion restrictions.

Maybe it was, as usual, Chang's clueless political lockstep with the majority and inability to think for himself .

Maybe it was the attempt by Asing to try to blame it all on the “county attorney’s concerns” about the bills only to have the CA call bullsh*t on him by saying that he would have concerns about ALL land use bills.

No, the biggest outrage of all is that these three measures to protect what’s left of our agricultural lands are dead for the immediate future.

Friday, August 27, 2010


TAKIN’ IT TO THE STREETS: What do you do when you are waging war with those who “buy ink by the barrel”.

The questionable judgment it shows in perpetuating the conflict aside, Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho has decided the best course is to take her show on the road.

Apparently the next parry in her battle with local newspaper reporter Paul Curtis is her announcement of a series of six “community meetings” in September and October at various neighborhood centers around the island.

A poster she’s distributing reads:

Pono Kaulike
Equal Rights and Justice for All
Community Meetings
Have any questions for the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney? Our office will be holding six Pono Kaulike community meetings in September and October at the following locations

5:30-7:30 p.m.

Kapa`a Neighborhood Center Thursday September 2
Koloa Neighborhood Center Thursday September 9
Lihu`e Neighborhood Center Tuesday September 14
Kekaha Neighborhood Center Wednesday September 29
Waimea Neighborhood Center Thursday October 7
Kilauea Neighborhood Center Friday October 15

Come learn more about our office and ask questions to (sic) our experienced attorneys.

It’s hard to fathom Iseri’s thought processes sometimes and when she gets all riled up it’s really a hoot to try.

As a result of her hostilities with Curtis, the biggest criticism of Iseri’s office- rightly or wrongly- is that they don’t seem to spend enough time preparing their cases and, due to “limited resources”, the ones they choose to prosecute aren’t the more serious ones... or at least the ones that matter most to the community.

So what does she do? She takes her whole office out on the road to spend the time they could be spending prosecuting the “bad guys” to do a PR talking tour in order to placate those making these kinds of complaints.

Plus, for those who have had the Iseri experience, she isn’t exactly the most enchanting and charismatic of figures in person often electing “fingernails on the blackboard” reactions even from those who agree with what she is saying.

Perhaps she thinks that she’s god’s gift to public speaking after winning an open council seat based on how big her family is or running unopposed in her prosecutor’s race. Perhaps she believes her own publicity.

Either way we urge anyone looking for a rousing evening of entertainment to attend one of these session. You can be sure Paul Curtis will.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


INTO THE WAY BACK MACHINE: Not much happens at the legislature between sessions especially things that concern little Kaua`i.

But while the state’s eyes are focused on the senate hearings for the next Hawai`i supreme court chief justice one of our favorite senatorial rabblerousing monkey-wrenchers is holding a hearing of her own with an agenda that will certainly pop some local eyes.

Next Tuesday at 1 p.m. Chair Donna Mercado Kim’s Senate Ways and Means Committee will holding an Informational Briefing (click for testimony just before the hearing) investigating, among other things,

6. Lihue Airport –

a. Status of the employee embezzlement investigation

b. Explanation of the overpayment, reinstatement, and settlement of the employee that walked off the job

c. Status of the Mitigation of TSA (Transportation Security Administration) fines on Kauai – mitigation

d. Costs to the State, airlines, and travelers from the security breach at Lihue Airport on September 11, 2009

7. Grove Farm – status of the helipad expansion and status of information requested by the Committee in letter dated July 22, 2010, regarding enhancements to the access points for the Grove Farm land , the value and costs of the enhancements, and whether an enhancement fee was negotiated as part of the contract

Many on Kaua`i have heard about the Grove Farm (GF) fiasco where former county Director of Finance and now GF vice president Mike Tressler bamboozled the state into paying way more for a parcel of land than it was worth leading to the resignation of the state airports operations chief.

But the previously unreported incidents such as embezzlement and the other cryptic references to TSA misconduct are not any surprise to those who’ve followed the origins and evolution of the security crew at Lihu`e airport since the federalization of airport safety.

It’s no shock that there’s apparently elevated if not rampant corruption to those who remember how the TSA was originally staffed in the days after 9/11.

The administration of Mayor Maryanne Kusaka was coming to an end and there was no dearth of disgraced henchmen and women who had served the queen and worn out their welcome in county government, even with Kusaka’s handpicked successor Bryan Baptiste taking office in December of 2002.

There was even talk of mass indictments with then-new Councilperson Mel Rapozo telling the public that he had spoken to then-Prosecutor Michael Soong who was ready to prosecute Kusaka and her cronies for a plethora of alleged crimes from Kusaka’s personally-directed illegal grubbing and grading above Kuna (Donkey) Beach to her alleged instructions to Department of Public Works officials to ignore any violations of law by land-raping developers like Jimmy Pflueger and Tom McCloskey- both of whom had contributed nicely to Kusaka’s favorite charity.

It was then that Kusaka used her Republican connections to clear the way for members of the exodus to find a path to the new George W. Bush administration-created TSA offices at the airport where scandal-tainted Kusaka cronies found employment despite their misdeeds.

The Lihu`e Airport TSA has drifted in and out of the headlines for cronyism, nepotism and the resultant corruption ever since. We’ll be eager to see what Senator Kim has to say about the latest outrage but we suspect that it just might be a symptom of the Lihu`e TSA’s origins almost a decade ago.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


REPLY HAZY, TRY AGAIN: We haven’t heard much about our crony-addled, bored of ethics, Board of Ethics (BOE) since local newspaper reporter Mike Levine left for a real job in journalism.

Levine’s coverage during the infamous “20.02(D)” debacle (see right rail for our three-part report) would have been nothing extraordinary in the rest of country but around here- especially lately- merely attending meetings and reporting accurately IS extraordinary by any measure.

Nowadays if it weren’t for a few dedicated “nitpicking” community watchdogs that darkest of black holes for ethical violations might go it’s merry ethically-challenged way.

Some might think that the BOE’s inability to read and apply simple ethics laws could indicate a distinct lack of literacy. For those Pollyannas, well, we have a few select scenic lookouts for sale.

The reality is that after Mayor Bernard Carvalho’s unceremonious dumping of BOE member (and current county council candidate) Rolf Bieber it became quite obvious that if you’re going to wear the king’s uniform you’d better carry the king’s sword.

So when members of the planning department decided it was okay for them to seek outside employment preparing permit applications for their fellow department employees’ to approve, instead of trying to stop the plainly unethical practice that the law forbids, Planning Director Ian Costa knew he could turn to the BOE for a some kind of tortured process whereby his underlings could continue their corrupt practices.

Horace Stoessel has been doing the job the local newspaper abandoned after Levine’s departure and today, without further comment, we present his latest report.



I have attended meetings of the Board of Ethics for the better part of three years. I offer these comments for the information of those interested in a matter currently before the Board.

In May Planning Director Ian Costa requested an advisory opinion from the Board of Ethics regarding the outside employment of four departmental employees engaged variously in drafting, site inspection, architectural drawings, design and consultation.

Since then, in an end run around the Charter requirement that a request for advisory opinion must be answered within 30 days, the request has been withdrawn twice by mutual agreement between the Board and the Department, in each case to be resubmitted at a later date. The main reason given for the five-months-and-counting process was to allow Director Costa a chance to consult the County Attorney ’s office.

So far the County Attorney ’s office has participated in the Board’s process as follows:

In May Deputy County Attorney Mona Clark, who is regularly assigned to the Board, advised the Board that County Code Section 3-1.7(d) expresses an absolute prohibition against the activities referenced in the request for advisory opinion and told the Board that aside from enforcing the section its only option is to ask the Council to change the language of 3-1.7. The Board took no action based on her advice, arranging instead with Director Costa to withdraw the request and resubmit it later.

In July Attorney Clark volunteered to provide the Board with a (written) opinion if the Board requested it. The Board did not request it.

In August Director Costa’s request reappeared on the agenda, leading some of us in the public to believe that the way was clear for the Board to act on the request. However, County Attorney Al Castillo appeared long enough to tell the Board that Attorney Clark was in court and to apologize for his being unprepared to address the agenda item.

In July Board member Paul Weil had moved that the Board request the County Attorney to provide the Board with the same information provided to Mr. Costa. The motion was seconded by Warren Perry and unanimously adopted. That request also went unanswered in August.

In August it was agreed that Mr. Costa would resubmit the department’s request at the September 17 meeting.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


WHY WOULD YOU?: While Will Rogers said he never met a man he didn’t like, in a political sense he might have meant that he never met a man he didn’t agree with- at least once.

So like the pre-digital broken clock that’s right twice a day we weren’t surprised when the now infamous email from Ed Case showed up in our inbox (apparently he got hold of a Maui Superferry list a while back) calling Mufi Hannemann the “most dangerous politician in a generation” and the “clear choice of a political machine (which has) practiced the politics of division, exploiting rather than healing differences of race, origin and economic status”.

Case himself has been turning stomachs for his own Mufi-like outsized ego for years now but we couldn’t have put it more succinctly.

But what it reminds us is just how few candidates there are this year that we can actually consider voting for much less endorsing.

Our ruminations over the past few weeks have left us with the worst taste in our mouth in years when we look down the list of wannbes whether for our local Kaua`i County Council race, our state senate and two of the three house races or the statewide races- not to mention the U.S. congressional choices.

With the exception of Gary Hooser in his race for Lt. Governor and Mina Morita’s run for re-election to the state house we can’t think of any candidates to actually vote “for” while the list of those to vote “against” is extensive.

It’s particularly disappointing when someone like Councilperson Lani Kawahara gives up on politics after one term because of the personal toll of dealing with the slings and arrows of elected office. It sends a signal to those considering throwing their hat in the ring to, as the large letter above the steep steps at the entrance to the county building equivocally say, “Watch Your Step”.

Maybe it should say “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here”

With voters’ “gimme-gimme-gimme services but don’t tax me and while you’re at it pay yourself a pittance” attitude toward those we expect to solve all our problems it’s no wonder we’re stuck with the traditional “lesser of two evils” after creating an enclave where only the evil dare to tread.

Monday, August 23, 2010



(PNN) -- PNN has learned that the County of Kaua`i has settled the sexual harassment lawsuit brought by Kristan C. Hirakawa and has paid her $450,000.

According to a reliable source who asked not to be identified, the check has been cut yet there has been no announcement and there is no record of the settlement which was apparently approved by the county council in an executive session at their July 27 meeting.

Hirakawa sued the county for a second time after winning her first suit against the Kaua`i Police Department and being reassigned to the liquor department where she was once again a victim of gender discrimination resulting in the current settlement, as PNN has exclusively reported.

Although settlements are public records according to the Office of Information Practices (OIP) the “recap memo” for the July 27 council meeting shows no settlement vote was taken in open session.

The agenda item, Executive Session (ES) 458, says it was held “for the purposes of deliberating, deciding, and authorizing a proposed settlement in the case of Kristan C. Hirakawa v. County of Kaua`i”.

According to OIP Opinion 89-10 regarding settlement agreements “(o)nce the litigation is concluded...all the settlement agreements must be publicly available.”

However OIP Opinion 03-07 regarding voting in executive meetings says that

Votes taken in executive meetings need not be disclosed to the public because the Sunshine Law allows minutes of executive meetings to be withheld so long as their publication would defeat the lawful purpose of the executive meeting, but no longer. Once disclosure of votes taken in executive meetings does not defeat the lawful purpose of holding an executive meeting, the votes should be disclosed.

A request for clarification was sent yesterday to OIP asking whether a lawsuit settlement vote must be taken in open session with the terms disclosed and, if not, how the public is supposed to know about the settlement. No answer was received by press time.

Also on the July 27 agenda was ES 256 which was held “for the purposes of deliberating, deciding, and authorizing a proposed settlement in the case of Jane Doe v. County of Kaua`i, EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) Charge No. 37-B-2009-00620 and FEPA NO. K-15516”.

There is no record of any settlement of this case although as PNN reported there are multiple EEOC complaints against the county including one by former deputy county attorney Margaret Hanson Sueoka was mistakenly revealed by the county in June of 2009.

EEOC complaints are confidential according to federal law which supersedes the state sunshine law.

Although a source close to council services has told PNN that the Sueoka case has been settled there is no record of the settlement.

According to law, the EEOC must give the go-ahead in order for an employment discrimination suit to be brought in circuit court.

Also outstanding is the case of Kathleen Ah Quin against the county transportation agency which the council apparently voted to fight with an appropriation of money for outside council on June 9.

Follow the links above for details of these lawsuits and complaints.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


INCOMPETENCE AT TEN PACES: No one looks good when a war breaks out. But the hostilities between local newspaper “reporter” Paul Curtis and Prosecuting Attorney (PA) Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho pit two of the least sympathetic characters on Kaua`i against each other in a race to the bottom of the island’s approval ratings.

Today’s artillery blast from Curtis accusing Iseri of causing the “dismissal” of 16 counts of incest comes on the heels a “press release” issued by Iseri on Tuesday that refutes much of the content of an Aug 5 Curtis-penned front page article accusing her of various misdeeds in a case involving her ex-boyfriend- allegations the paper was forced to retract the next day although they did it so via a tiny “Corrections and Clarifications” blurb at the bottom of page 2.

For more background you can re-read out post on the subject

Iseri’s release, which does not seem to appear at the web site of the Prosecuting Attorney, was obtained by PNN and starts by saying:

The Kaua`i Office of the Prosecuting Attorney (“OPA”) issues the following News Release in response to an August 4, 2010 Garden Island Newspaper (“GI”) article entitled ‘Battle Brewing’ (“the article”). The OPA previously declined comment on the case, as it was legally bound by ethical obligations. Those obligations have since been removed, and the OPA is now ethically able to comment.

It goes on to detail what Iseri claims are the false statements made by Curtis. The first three were pretty much covered by the “corrections”. With an explanatory blurb after each one Iseri writes:

The GI’s claim that Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho announced that she was seeking enhanced sentencing for Dennis Rego Jr. is patently false.

Neither Rego or his attorney Mark Zenger asserted any conflict until
the court refused to grant any further continuances of the trial date

The OPA contacted the Attorney General’s Office, who opined that there was no conflict.

However the next one contains heretofore untold accusations of misconduct against Rego’s attorney Mark Zenger:

Zenger contacted the victim numerous times to pressure him into dropping the theft charge against Rego.

According to the victim: Zenger told the victim that Rego’s family owns City Liquor Store on Rice Street, is very embarrassed by the incident, and wants everything to be handled quietly without going to court. Zenger also said that Rego would never be convicted based on his connections, having dated Iseri-Carvalho, and having a sister who works for a judge. Zenger said that Rego would return the stolen money and property if the victim promised not to participate in prosecuting Rego.

Finally she tells her side of a meeting she says took place six days after the article appeared:

Iseri-Carvalho met with the GI.

On August 11, 2010, Iseri-Carvalho and OPA staff met with GI reporter, Paul Curtis, and GI editor, Nathan Eagle. The GI admitted that it failed to investigate the personal allegations against Iseri-Carvalho. The GI deliberately misled the public by inventing a scandalous story alleging abuse of the Prosecuting Attorney’s position without a shred of legal or factual basis. The GI attacked Iseri-Carvalho’s professional and personal reputation without due regard for the truth. Had the Garden Island acted professionally, it would have waited to report on testimony given under oath at a hearing that had already been set for September 14th. Instead, the GI chose to publish its uninformed, unsubstantiated allegations, which interfered in the judicial process and compelled the OPA to transfer this case to the AG.

Of course the paper has disregarded Iseri’s release.

Instead, in today’s article, under a headline of “Judge dismisses 32 counts of incest,” Curtis reports:

Calling some statements county Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho made to a grand jury “irresponsible” and “sloppy,” 5th Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe on Wednesday dismissed 32 counts of incest against Kenneth Bray of Kapa`a.

“I’m surprised that caution was not taken,” Watanabe said before dismissing the 32 counts without prejudice.

"Without prejudice", for the uninitiated, means that Bray can be re-indicted by the grand jury- essentially a “no harm no foul” decision.

It’s hard to tell who’s worse in all this crap.

You can practically see the spittle coming off the page of Iseri’s release. And Curtis’ petty vindictive coverage of the pre trial motions is typical of his childish behavior.

As our source for the release said “those two deserve each other”. And we deserve better from both.


On a serious note many may have heard by now about the tragic death of our dear friend Ann Punohu’s eldest daughter Shanarae Kaulananapuaikaikamaolino Donovan also known by her many beloved nicknames: Shana, Lana and Fi.

Kaulana was on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, Vice President of the Young Democrats, was commended by the Governor for her work with the Boy’s and Girl’s Club as an outstanding leader and was a Leadership Kauai graduate. She was a student at KCC with plans to attend Cornell University, and was the recipient of the Wai’ale’ale four-year scholarship for college. She was completing an internship at the National Tropical Botanical Garden and an active volunteer in her community.

A Benefit Concert will be held to help the family, who are unable to cover her funeral expenses. The concert will be held at The Children of the Land Polynesian Culture Center under the clock tower at Kaua`i Villiage Shopping Center in Waipouli on Tuesday, August 24th from 6-10 PM.

Musicians, Performers and volunteers are needed for this event. If you are interested in donating your time to help the family, please call Sandy Herndon at The Children of the Land at (808) 821-1234.

A Memorial Fund to help with expenses has also been set up at Bank of Hawaii. Donations can be made at any Bank of Hawaii location by requesting the funds go to the Shanarae Donovan Memorial Fund.


We’re off to the dentist tomorrow. Be back Monday.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


OUT OF THE FRYING PAN...: State Auditor extraordinaire Marion Higa gets her head into the machinery of government and spits out the details of what’s broken in excruciating detail.

But woe is us when state legislators start coming up with ways to fix it.

A good example of this just might play out next January after yesterday’s joint hearing of the Senate and House public safety committees’ reaction to Higa’s audit of the Sheriffs’ Division of the Department of Public Safety.

At the end of the newspaper report on the hearings was this quote:

In response to a question from Senate Public Safety Chairman Will Espero, (Department of Public Safety Director Clayton) Frank and Deputy Director Jim Propotnick said they would support splitting the sheriffs' law enforcement function from corrections responsibilities.

Espero (D, Ewa-Kapolei-Ewa Beach) said after the meeting that he will introduce legislation to create what in effect would be a stand-alone law enforcement agency combining sheriffs with those with police powers now currently in the Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Land and Natural Resources and Department of Transportation.

For years, not just the Sheriffs' Division but the DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Recourse Enforcement along with the DOTs harbor police have been anything but ethical and competent models of law enforcement with each force answerable only to their respective department heads. That has created private police forces without any of the civilian oversight that is required of accredited law enforcement agencies across the nation.

That’s led to abuses that spur an inordinate number of complaints about specific actions of specific officers without any accountability beyond an arbitrary and often capricious decision by the politically appointed department head

Just combining these law enforcement agencies and presumably putting them under the governor’s office- as one television news report suggested was part of Espero’s plan- will only create an even bigger monster with even less accountability than the current setup.

All too often legislators- not just at the state but county level too- take the easy way out by giving their respective administrations more power than is wise and then wind up complaining about the abuses of that power.

Certainly something is broken with all these paramilitary groups. But unless accreditation and a civilian board or commission is part of any reform plan it’s bound to be ripped a new one by a future Higa audit.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


LOW AND OUTSIDE: There’s nothing like watching Council Chair Kaipo Asing when he’s defending the indefensible and his latest attempt to block legislation from the agenda was as bizarre as it gets.

It was almost cringe-worthy and sad to watch the once mighty Minotaur become a babbling boob at last week’s council meeting redux of last year’s conflicts over the simple rights of councilmembers to introduce bills- events which might have informed the rote, chronological recital of events and quotes in the newspaper article about it had they been included.

This time the new wrinkle was Asing’s insistence that bills be reviewed by the county attorney (CA) before they can be introduced even though his nemesis Tim Bynum’s research showed that CA review before introduction is, at best, rare.

But the missing context wasn’t limited to our friend Leo Azambuja’s failure to go back and review last year’s coverage of the issues of councilmembers’ rights.

That would take a basic understanding of how the council services department works.

Seems that there was much made by Asing of how council “staff” had recommended that CA Al Castillo’s office review the three bills that Bynum wanted to introduce.

But Asing wasn’t talking about the various secretaries employed by the council. The staff he was referring to is the council’s own attorneys who don’t just review but actually help draft bills and have done so for decades without interference from the county attorney.

Under Asing’s tenure as chair however, use of the time of these “legislative analysts” has been strictly controlled, as has the use of any staff time for the use of other councilmembers. Who do you think prepares all of Asing’s infamous “power point presentations” given that Asing’s technical skills are such that he can’t even answer his own email?

Getting back to the analysts, although they are the ones that are supposed to make sure bills are the kuleana of county legislation and don’t conflict with state or federal statutes, all of a sudden Asing has relied on Castillo to interfere in the political process and determine public policy from the outside.

This politicization of the county attorney’s office could only happen under the Kaua`i County Charter which makes the CA’s appointment a dual responsibility of the administration and council and fails to list any component of serving the public’s interest.

In Castillo, Asing has found an all too willing ally who sees nothing wrong with the politicization that the charter seems to allow.

This has led to highly political actions coming out of the CA’s office, including the conduct of public policy behind the closed door of “executive sessions” that we’ve seen over the past few years.

Though most acknowledge that our charter’s section on the CA is lacking and it would be “necessary and desirable” to perhaps even elect our CAs, the charter review commission (CRC) seems to waste it’s time putting lengthened council terms and various districting plans on the ballot for the umpteenth time and otherwise tinkering around the edges, ignoring the one glaring deficiency that has caused untold confusion and corruption of the legislative process.

But who can blame the CRC when the most active citizens have distracted the body by pushing a “county manager system” onto the ballot despite the lack of evidence that anything would be different?

Unless and until people put pressure on the CRC to change the set-up of the county attorney’s office it will be ripe for abuse no matter who the council chair is.

Monday, August 16, 2010


WILL IT GO ROUND IN CIRCLES: It wouldn’t be the first time the state took a cue from one of the more outrageous abuses of process originating on Kaua`i- and it certainly won’t be the last.

But let’s back up a bit.

An article in last Thursday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser announced

Changes proposed to state land rules
The first revisions in 16 years involve shoreline boundaries and permits

It reports that:

The first update of conservation land use rules in 16 years would change the shoreline setback, eliminate required permits for activities like weeding and increase fees.

The proposed changes, outlined in a 71-page document by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, are being reviewed through public meetings. Today's will be in Honolulu.

The revisions have some environmental organizations concerned.

Among the more significant changes would specify shoreline setback, a line past which no structures or coastal alterations are allowed. Numerous lawsuits have been filed over designations of public and private access along the shorelines.

Some of the changes will include those required by the Supreme Court of Hawai`i (SCOHI) decision in the case brought by Kaua`i North Shore resident Caren Diamond that redefined the shoreline determination process.

But a side bar to the article lists some of the changes the new rules will try to bring about including one that goes unmentioned in the piece:

Rules would specify that only people with property interest, residency on the land or anyone directly affected by a permit can appeal. Rules now state that "any person" can appeal to the department.

Now maybe they missed it but that rule would apparently fly in the face of a more recent SCOHI case, County of Hawaii v. Ala Loop Homeowners, which essentially held that any land use effects the environment and that triggers Article XI, Section 9 of the Hawai`i State Construction which reads:

Each person has the right to a clean and healthful environment, as defined by laws relating to environmental quality, including control of pollution and conservation, protection and enhancement of natural resources. Any person may enforce this right against any party, public or private, through appropriate legal proceedings, subject to reasonable limitations and regulation as provided by law

That would seem to preempt any restriction on who can sue when it comes to “land use rules” of the DLNR.

So what does this have to do with Kaua`i?

The use of administrative rules to try to define-out-of-existence provisions of the county charter- the county’s equivalent of a constitution- was the central issue of the two year Kaua`i Board of Ethics (BOE) brouhaha when county attorneys used both a county ordinance and the BOE’s rules to narrow the plain reading of Section 20.02(D) of the charter which bans county employees and board and commission members from “appear(ing) on behalf of private interests” before other boards and commission.

Apparently the DLNR may be paying attention to our local shenanigans and are attempting to slip through a rule that could at least temporarily bog down what land use attorneys across the state have called a “newly created right”- that of private citizens to sue over land use decisions.

It’s enough to make a local good old boy’s chest swell with pride to think little Kaua`i could come up with a process corrupt enough to be used by the masters at DLNR.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


VOTE FOR GARY HOOSER FOR LT. GOVERNOR: PNN is proud to unequivocally and enthusiastically endorse former Kaua`i Councilperson and State Senator Gary Hooser for Lt. Governor in the Democratic Primary September 18.

Hooser is the rarest of elected officials- one who is honest, open and acts to protect the rights of his both his constituents and the `aina, rejecting the dictates of big money interests while holding true to his values- even after more than a decade in elective office.

Our first endorsement of the political season is a no brainer- no other candidate even comes close.

Hooser's list of accomplishments over the years are everything we could ask for in an elected official.

Here are a few.

For those who may have forgotten or never knew, as a councilmember on Kaua`i he worked to reign in incompetence and corruption within the Kaua`i Public Works Department bringing forth year long hearings after the first Jimmy Pflueger-caused landslide disaster in Pila`a and initiated the stoppage of efforts to use a Trojan Horse “gift” to turn what is now the north-of-Kealia leg of the bike path into a private beach for the luxury “Kealia Kai” homeowners. He also left a legacy by introducing a first-in-the-state charter amendment on the ballot that now funds an open space and public access fund through a dedicated percentage of property tax revenues.

As a state senator Hooser introduced and passed a first-of-it’s-kind-in-the-nation requirement that put solar hot water heaters on all new homes as well as a law denying bans on the use of outdoor clotheslines, walking the talk of sustainability through concrete measures to conserve energy.

In the land use arena he introduced and passed into law a measure prohibiting restrictive covenants on agricultural land that would restrict agricultural activity. Though that sounds like a no-brainer, there are actually “fake farms” where subdivision and condominium property regime (CPR) associations have covenants that stop real farms from operating. They have placed restrictions on agriculturally districted and zoned land limiting the size of windbreak trees (to maintain owners’ “viewplanes”), prohibiting loud noises (like tractors and other farm equipment), even some that ban the smells of farm animals and prohibit animals that make loud and repetitious noises.

Hooser also blocked efforts to decimate state districting and zoning laws in order to legitimize the Hokulia development on the Big Island. The development of luxury homes on ag land was being held up in the courts and legislative attempts would have designated all lands of a certain soil classification as rural instead of ag, re-designating a huge amount of ag land around the state with one broad brush.

Hooser has been tireless in maintaining the citizens’ rights of entry to public area. He introduced a measure making it a criminal penalty to block public access to areas like coastline and interior mountains so that when people put up a gate otherwise block a legal access point there is now a criminal penalty for doing so.

He’s also been a champion of civil rights and as senate majority leader he led the effort to provide civil unions by shepherding HB 444 through the state senate by a veto proof margin.

Hooser has focused much of his work on education and proposed a plan to stop “furlough Fridays” before they were even implemented- one that was virtually identical to the final agreement.

He was also instrumental in beating back the administration’s efforts to circumvent and even strip the legal protections of the Hawai`i Environmental Protection Act (HEPA) during the Superferry fiasco.

Those who know us know we almost never give glowing recommendations like this and certainly do not do so lightly.

Hooser’s campaign has relied in large part on small grassroots contributions rather than huge corporate checks and, as always, has abided by restrictions to qualify for public funding. Contributions may be made online at www.garyhooser.com or checks mailed to Friends of Gary Hooser, P.O. Box 4094, Honolulu HI, 96812.

Gary Hooser has always been there for us. It’s time for us to be there for him and do all we can to put his name on the Democratic ballot for governor in November.

We’ll be off “on assignment” as they say, Thursday and Friday. Unless something particularly sticks in our craw we’ll be back Monday.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010



(PNN) -- The local newspaper’s Business Editor, Coco Zickos, was fired last week because, she was told, the business community was unhappy with her reporting and she was doing too many environmental articles.

According to Zickos on August 4 she was called to a meeting with Editor Nathan Eagle and Human Resources Director Tamra Wedemeyer where she was told by Eagle that she was “not a good fit anymore” and to gather her belongings and go.

However Zickos says that when Eagle left the room Wedemeyer essentially told her that it was “not personal but you've been doing a lot of environmental stuff but not involved enough in the business community and the business community is unhappy with your business reporting” although she could not recall the precise words used by Wedemeyer

She says Eagle told her it was not her writing or journalistic skills but her “performance” that was at issue, saying she was pushed to attend more chamber of commerce promoted events and didn’t always do so.

“It was a total shock” Zickos said in a telephone interview conducted yesterday afternoon. “There was no warning- nobody ever pulled me aside and said there were any problems.”

Although no one said so, Zickos said she suspects the firing was at the behest of Publisher Randy Kozerski.

Although in the past the paper’s business editors also covered the “environmental” beat Zickos says she was not originally hired to cover environmental issues but, since that was her passion, she asked and was given permission to cover the beat.

Some sources who asked not to be identified said that it might have been the content of her environmental coverage such as the series on bacterial counts at local beaches that upset tourism industry officials who would rather bad news that could effect visitor count be squelched.

This is not the first time the paper’s business editor has left the paper due to complaints over content that upset some in the business community. Editor Andy Gross quit after being told to stop covering Kaua`i Island Utilities Coop (KIUC) issues raised by co-op members by current Police and Courts Editor Paul Curtis who was weekend and assistant editor at the time.

Curtis was then let go by the Editor Adam Harju due to the incident but has returned to the paper under Eagle.

Before that Curtis was employed by KIUC founder Gregg Gardiner at The Kaua`i Times newspaper before it was bought out by TGI.

Zickos says she guesses that she angered some powerful people in the business community somehow although she didn’t venture a guess as to whom that might be.

Though she said she had no experience or training in journalism she said she “learned a lot” by working at the paper.

Pressed with the $64 question often raised by PNN as a reason why journalistic skills and experience are apparently given short shrift during hiring- especially given the number of experienced journalists out of work after the “merger” of the Honolulu newspapers- Zickos would only give her salary “range” of “between 12 and 15 dollars an hour”.

The paper has apparently not as yet hired a new business and/ or environmental editor and Zickos’ name has been purged on the staff page.

For the record Zickos did not initiate contact with PNN, we sought her out for this story.

Monday, August 9, 2010


STOP US BEFORE WE VOTE AGAIN: The TV news last night was full of the same “because there’s video” lede about a sign-carrying demonstration support for one of the worst, most reactionary ideas to come down the pike in many a year- the constitutional amendment to stop electing Board of Education (BOE) members and allow the governor to appoint them with senate confirmation.

According to this morning’s Starvertiser.

"We need to do something," said Colbert Matsumoto, chairman and CEO of Island Insurance Co. Ltd. "We just can't stand idly back."

Admittedly the current election system for electing BOE members has it’s problems. People vote for all the members across the state, not just their local island reps and often have no idea who the candidates are so that they either vote for a “pig in a poke” or leave their ballot blank.

This creates a statewide election- the only one other than that for governor and US senator- run on campaign budgets that preclude interisland campaigning, assuring that no one has any idea who the candidates are, especially with the media emphasis on the glamour races.

But to start doing the “dance of the headless chicken” by waving our arms in the air and yelling “do something” and then deciding to reject democracy as “too messy”, belies the Jeffersonian axiom that the answer to the problems of the messiness of democracy lies not in less but rather more democracy.

The reality of a gubernatorial appointment system will result in more of the same problems experienced with similar appointment schemes such as that of the UH Board of Regents (BOR) which is somehow cited by proponents.

But as with the BOR the positions will be filled by cronies and hacks with no particular expertise other than a partisan knee-jerk adherence to the governor’s agenda. Haven’t we seen the dangers of that during the Lingle administration?

If we need to tweak the election system then let’s do it.

By creating districts and allowing voters to elect only their own local representatives we would assure not just local recognition of candidates but would go a long way toward local control and accountability which is what many say is the right prescription for K-12 educational reform.

It’s very easy to look at governmental systems without accounting for people and politics and deciding that, if the systems works the way it should, it would be better than the present.

That’s always a huge “if” which ignores the political reality of changing control of that system to a single person and placing another layer of accountability between the voters and those acting on our behalf.

Friday, August 6, 2010


GET THE WHITE-OUT: We were pretty rough on local newspaper “employee” Leo Azambuja the other day in calling him “(h)yperbole notwithstanding, the worst reporter in the world at the worst newspaper in the world”.

But that statement is only problematic if you dispute the tag “reporter” given his lack of acumen and apparently after these many months, his ability- or interest in trying- to learn the job.

Therefore let us amend that- given his decades of pseudo-journalism on Kaua`i the “worst reporter” award has to go to courts and police beat reporter Paul Curtis whose controversial front page report yesterday alleging misconduct on the part of Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri- Carvalho was apparently based on a central “fact” Curtis created out of whole cloth.

In writing about a case in 5th Circuit Judge Randal Valenciano’s court Curtis’ lede read:

At face value, it looked like an open-and-shut theft case with the perpetrator caught on a grocery store surveillance camera.

That is until county Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho through Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lauren McDowell announced she may seek enhanced sentencing against Dennis Louis Rego Jr. because of his petty misdemeanor theft conviction in 1987 in Honolulu.

But today, tucked into a corner of page 2 under the banner Corrections and Clarifications the SECOND correction was this little tidbit:

In the front-page story Thursday, “Battle brewing,” it should not have stated that county prosecutors are seeking enhanced sentencing against defendant Dennis Louis Rego Jr., and that the state Attorney General’s office never uses outside private counsel as special deputy attorney generals (sic), but deputizes prosecutors from other county prosecutors offices to take certain cases.

For those that missed the story, apparently, according to a filing by Rego’s attorney Mark Zenger, Rego and Iseri:

were boyfriend-girlfriend for nearly a decade, that Rego helped put Iseri-Carvalho through undergraduate and law school, and that Iseri-Carvalho prodded Rego into the 1987 theft of cosmetics from a Honolulu department store.

But no one apparently said anything connecting anything about any enhanced sentencing, which would be central to any allegation of misconduct on the part of Iseri who said she checked with the attorney general’s office regarding any conflict of interest before the case went forward and did not personally prosecute Rego.

The second part of the correction is bad enough because any experienced court reporter would know that deputy attorneys general (not “attorney generals” as any court reporter should know) aren’t used as prosecutors.

But in this case Curtis even writes that “Iseri-Carvalho in an e-mail advised against the newspaper printing ‘false statements’ but did not elaborate”.

You’d think that a good reporter would go back and figure out what the false part is, and, given that the rest of the allegations were contained in Zenger’s written filing, focus on the one thing that wasn’t in writing.

So what? Well if the 44 Comments on the article are any indication the peasants were gathering pitchforks and torches and getting ready to march on Iseri’s office today.

And given the placement of the correction, today’s “furlough Friday” may have been all that saved Iseri’s neck.

The worst part is, in an attempt to present a scandalous story with a “Battle Brewing” headline- we’ll give the benefit of the doubt that Curtis didn’t really try to “sensationalize” what would have been pretty sensational anyway were the story “true”- Curtis should have suspected something was wrong with his story based on Iseri’s statement about “false statements” and could easily have double checked with the deputy prosecutor that he’d gotten the story right.

Is there a “per se” libel case here? For that the article would have to not only falsely accuse Iseri of a crime- which although it does in saying she conspired with Rego to steal the cosmetics, he is quoting Zenger so it would have had to have been published with “reckless disregard for the truth”- but since Iseri is a public figure she would have to prove “malice aforethought” on Curtis’ part.

With over 20 years of experience Curtis should certainly known better and if he’s not fired he should certainly disciplined severely by the local paper’s editor and/or publisher.


Note: Somehow we left off the campaign contributions filing of Councilperson Tim Bynum yesterday. Here it is.

Bynum, Tim
Had $8,096.47
Raised $7,775.00
Spent $12,659.97
Loan $3,725.00
Debt $513.50

The on-line version of yesterday’s post has been edited to include Bynum’s numbers numbers.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


READ ‘EM AND WEEP: The latest candidate campaign contribution filing reports are in and newcomer to the race for Kaua`i county council Nadine Nakamura leads the chase for cash with a whopping $35,505.56 raised so far, followed closely by former Mayor and Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura who has taken in a total of $29,751.00 raised this election cycle.

But to no one’s surprise, the deepest war chest in the county is that of Mayor Bernard Carvalho who has raised over a quarter of a million dollars collecting a total of $253,082.23.

His opponent Diana LaBedz did not file a report.

In the council race former Councilperson Mel Rapozo raked in a cool $14,289.20 followed by incumbents Derek Kawakami, Dickie Chang and Tim Bynum with $13,602.36, $10,370.00 and $7,775.00 respectively, second time candidate Kipukai Kualii added $7,757.39 to his coffers, current Council Vice Chair Jay Furfaro raised $7,300.00 and former Planning Commissioner Theodore Daligdig III brought in $3,700.00.

The rest of the county council candidates either did not file a report or raised less than a hundred dollars. Carvalho’s opponent Diana Lebedz did not file a report.

Below is a quick look at the finances of each candidate. The totals may be misleading due to loans with are counted against cash on hand.

For this chart we used common terms but they indicate official categories as follows:

“Had”: “Cash on Hand at the Beginning of the Election Period”
“Raised”: “Total Receipts” without loans
“Spent”: “Total Disbursements” without “Unpaid Expenditures”
Unpaid Debt: “Unpaid Expenditures”
“Has” or “Debt”: Surplus/Deficit.

The flings are as of June 30, 2010 . The next filing is due in September. For more filing information details including the lists of contributors click on the candidates name below.

Carvalho, Bernard
Had $61,927.83
Raised $253,082.23
Spent $130,135.53
Unpaid Debt $10,954.84
Has $111,991.86


Bynum, Tim
Had $8,096.47
Raised $7,775.00
Spent $12,659.97
Loan $3,725.00
Debt $513.50


Chang, Dickie
Had $3,337.34
Raised $10,370.00
Spent $28,982.84
Loan $8,900
Unpaid Debt $5,000
Debt $25,850.18


Daligdig III, Theodore
Raised $3,700.00
Spent $1,200.14
Loan $3,000.00
Debt -$500.14


Fowler, Dennis
Had $100
Raised $0.00
Spent $0.00
Has $100


Furfaro, Jay
Had $718.99
Raised $7,300.00
Spent $7,511.36
Loan $18,500.00
Unpaid Debt $1,057.29
Debt $19,049.66


Justus, Edgar
Had $50.00
Raised $290.00
Spent $0.00
Surplus $330.00


Kawakami, Derek
Had $12,982.40
Raised $13,602.36
Spent $22,135.44
Unpaid Debt $11,897.14
Debt $7,447.82


Kualii, KipuKai
Had $7,916.41
Raised $7,757.39
Spent $10,321.14
Loan $6,047.25
Debt $694.59


Nakamura, Nadine
Raised $35,505.56
Spent $13,530.90
Has $21,974.66


Rapozo, Melvin
Had $2,935.96
Raised $14,289.20
Spent $11,840.38
Loan $5,000
Has $384.78


Taylor, Kenneth
Loan $2,820.03
Debt $2,820.03


Thronas, George
(filed 2/22/10)
Had $2,527.24
Spent $56.25
Has $2,470.99


Yukimura, JoAnn
Had $4,910.39
Raised $29,751.00
Loan $26,000.00
Debt -$23,402.79

(Note: This post has been edited to include the filing of Council incumbent Tim Bynum whose numbers were inadvertently omitted. We apologize for the omission.)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


SLIP-SLIDIN’ AWAY: Hyperbole notwithstanding, the worst reporter in the world at the worst newspaper in the world, Leo Azambuja of our local newspaper, seems to be making an effort to learn what constitutes a “lede”- the journalistic slang for the “lead”, the opening sentence that covers the “who, what, when, where and why” in about 25 words or less, as part of the inverted triangle that puts the most important information nearer the top and the less important stuff further down.

So Azambuja’s article on the fate of the “county manager” proposal that was before the Charter Review Commission is, on the surface, a step forward as he reported:

Kaua‘i’s strong mayoral form of government won’t be changing this election.

After several community meetings, the Charter Review Commission’s Special County Governance Committee last week unanimously voted down a proposal to ask voters this fall if they would like to see the Garden Island governed by an appointed county manager instead of an elected mayor.

Now perhaps it’s our fault because in the virtual reams of criticism of Azambuja’s apparent lack of journalistic training or ability we forgot to mention the most important part of the lede- that the information be ACCURATE.

Silly us for thinking that that went without saying.

As we reported a day short of a month ago, in actuality, according to the recommendation section of the SCCG’s Report to the Kauai County Charter Review Commission- which apparently Azambuja failed to read critically, understand or comprehend:

Special Committee on County Governance, by unanimous vote, recommend(ed) against placing a measure for a Council-Manager form of government on the 2010 General Election ballot. The committee, accordingly, recommends the adoption of this report, and further recommends that the issue of a Council-Manager form of government be postponed indefinitely.

What actually happened “last week”- at the July 26 meeting of the full Charter Review Commission to be precise- is that the full commission voted to accept the recommendation of the SCCG- something Azambuja could have found out by going to the county web site he cited as an information source at the end of the article, since he apparently failed to attend the all important meeting.

From there it only gets worse. So we decided to use the skills we gained as a teaching assistant to the legendary local newspaper editor Jean Holmes while she taught-and we attended- her journalism classes at Kauai Community College in the 80’s to take a blue pencil to Azambuja’s Adventures in Newswriting Wonderland.

Next Azambuja writes:

“The large majority of people didn’t see it as a desirable necessary change from the current situation,” said Patrick Stack, who chairs the three-member committee. North Shore resident Joel Guy and former reporter Jan TenBruggencate are the other members.

While that’s technically accurate it’s omits the most important information showing that he didn’t understand the SCCG report because, as we reported, they plainly based their recommendation on the a rationale that makes the decision anything but arbitrary or capricious, saying:

The Special Committee was constrained by the authority given the Charter Review Commission under the existing Kaua`i County Charter. Section 24-03 of the County Charter contains this authority: "In the event the commission deems changes are necessary or desirable, the commission may propose amendments to the existing charter or draft a new charter which shall be submitted to the county clerk." (Emphasis added) This is a key point. The Charter Review Commission is not authorized, as many public testifiers suggested, to place an item on the ballot simply to allow voters to express their choice.

Instead of emphasizing or even reporting that- as the SCCG did- Azambuja chose to stress what the committee insisted did not influence their decision at all writing:

“The large majority of people didn’t see it as a desirable necessary change from the current situation,” said Patrick Stack, who chairs the three-member committee. North Shore resident Joel Guy and former reporter Jan TenBruggencate are the other members.

From there the writing itself becomes a bizarre exercise in trying to write about something Azambuja didn’t quite get, as evidenced by his incorrect lede. He “writes”:

If the commission approved the proposal, voters would decide at the next election Nov. 2 if the mayor should be replaced by a county manager.

That tortured bit of the mother tongue mixes the future looking “if” with the past tense “approved” returning to the future “would decide”. The correct way to express the thought might be to say:

"If the commission HAD approved the proposal, voters would HAVE decideD at the next election Nov. 2 if the mayor should be replaced by a county manager."

In addition this indicates that somewhere he did understand that it was the full commission not the SCCG that acted last week although he could have just conflated the committee and the commission. Either way it’s particularly mis-informative in any number of ways.

One of the rookie mistakes made in J-School is the unattributed opinion over which the prof usually scribbles “Sez who?”. And skipping down a little further is this language-challenged, unattributed “Azambujism”:

If the measure would be adopted, it would likely be stricter to meet qualifications for the county manager than for the U.S. president.

We won’t even attempt to dissect or diagram that one.

One of the things a newswriting class teaches is to avoid negative characterization of the person you are quoting. There’s noting wrong with the neutral word “said” but, unless it’s well explained and under extreme circumstances where it’s called for, reporters should avoid using pejorative terms like “claimed”, “boasted” or “admitted” or use of prejudicial adverbs. But in characterizing a quote from Glenn Mickens. a proponent of the county manager proposal, Azambuja wrote:

He admitted the county manager system wouldn’t be a cure for all, and if it didn’t work, the island could return to the mayor system of governance.

You get the idea.

Back in the 90’s our solid waste mess was almost as bad as it is today and then-Mayor Maryanne Kusaka was called before the council to explain why, given the “crisis” she insisted on having the bumbling, bungling, uneducated and inexperienced Troy Tanigawa in charge of the Solid Waste Division of the Department of Public Works- someone activist and original “nitpicker” Ray Chuan used to characterize as one of the “protecteds”.

Even when, after council interrogation, it became apparent Tanigawa- who is still in the position today- was incapable of handing the situation Kusaka wouldn’t give up on Troy telling the council she was willing to “send him back to school” rather than replace him.

Though we all rolled in the council chambers isles at that one perhaps if Editor Nathan Eagle won’t look for someone with basic newswriting skills from among the many out of work journalistic casualties of the Honolulu newspaper “merger” debacle- and pay them more than the local paper’s notorious starvation wages- at this point we’d even settle for the “Tanigawa Solution”.

Or at least spring for a textbook Nathan.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


SHHHH: There was a plethora of reported jaw dropping among Governor Linda Lingle and her cronies over the “Hawaii State Bar Association's board of directors' rating of appeals Judge Katherine Leonard as ‘unqualified’ to be Hawaii's next chief justice”.

Strangely enough the news of the rejection of Leonard by the bar wasn’t Starvetizer courts reporter Ken Kobayashi’s lede but instead he stressed the professed outrage of Lingle and her republican cronies in the legislature over the secrecy of the bar’s vote.

But we’ve got a lowered mandible ourselves over Lingle’s colossal nerve to criticize the closed vote, especially considering her own legacy of clandestine operations and the notorious way judges in Hawai`i wield their retaliatory sway over attorneys and others in the judiciary, according to many we’ve spoken to over the years.

Lingle and her administration’s abuse of Hawai`i open records laws has been notorious but for those who want to hear the ultimate story of fear and loathing they need turn no farther than legislative staffer Doug White’s recently revived Poinography blog.

Doug finally explained what he was up to in the year plus absence of his popular blog by telling one of those hilarious-if-it-wasn’t-so-serious tales of the runaround he got over a simple record request of the Lingle administration- not to mention the invoice for his temerity in requesting the records for Lingle’s requests for input on the bills she threatened to veto after the 2009 legislative session.

In My UIPA saga – a $1582.15, twelve month struggle White recounts the evasions, lies, delays and the incredible barriers he experienced at the hands of the Lingle administration making any charges of secrecy from her a joke.

We won’t even attempt to truncate the tale- you’ve got to read it for yourself as well as the indexing and posting of the results which White is busily compiling which are already painting a picture of consultation with everyone who is guaranteed to support her position and avoidance of anyone who might dissent.

Also notable is the lack of consultation with the Lt. Governor and current gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona regarding which we’ll allow you to draw your own conclusions.

Lingle’s legacy of covert governance and feigned outrage over every perceived slight takes a backseat to no other past state administration’s- and that’s saying a lot.

Monday, August 2, 2010


PEA POD POLITICS FOR PEABRAINS: As many read last week Goofy Mufi Hannemann had his usual blinders on in ignoring an Associated Press article the week before that confirmed what we all knew- that Hawaii Superferry (HSf) Inc.’s claim that they were victims of the courts and those crazy environmentalists was a bogus piece of PR from a company that was actually drowning in red ink created by their own lack of a realistic business plan- although the article missed a chance to dig deeper and find out the ferry was created to fail as part of a military demonstration project for the littoral design.

Mufi’s pledge to bring back the same vessels- even though their size was half the reason for the bankruptcy- demonstrates just how much more damage there is to be done if a Hannemann administration gets it’s hands on the already damaged machinery of the state under the equally mentally and morally challenged Linda Lingle.

And as if to underline some of that damage, in an article about the delays in obtaining an environmental impact statement (EIS) for a UH coral reef research project it was reported that:

Part of the delay is that the state body that could grant UH an exemption to the EIS requirement has not met since Aug. 17 of last year...

The council tried to hold a meeting in late June, but was unable to book adequate state videoconference facilities, Steiner said.

"It seemed like we were moving forward, then it just stalled," she said. "I think that it is not a priority to our state or to our administration to have an active Environmental Council."

Steiner said council members have expressed concern that the group is being penalized possibly for ruling in 2007 that the state Department of Transportation erred when it exempted Superferry harbor improvements from an environmental review. That decision was later supported by a Hawaii Supreme Court ruling that eventually led to the demise of the interisland ferry.

Though the administration pooh-poohed the connection it’s just another symptom of how the state apparatus- especially for environmental protection- is still addled by Lingle’s denial of what even proponents view as the boneheaded way she handed the Superferry EIS and how it continues to hamstring the state EIS process, having created a pissed off Environmental Council and an administration bent on revenge.

Hannemann and Lingle apparently share one thing- a pig-headed battering ram style that scares the heck out of those who have been looking forward to a change of approach in November.