Thursday, September 30, 2010
Republican gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona is the kind of twit that, if the prospect of his incumbency weren’t so scary, we’d love to have to kick around.
Last night we’re watching KITV’s six o’clock news and there’s the big Dookie on the screen and Denby Fawcett is reporting that despite the fact that Aiona has spent eight years promoting flu vaccines he himself doesn’t get them.
After running down his numerous “get your shots” PR efforts over the years the on air story had this quote in explanation from Aiona.
"I have never really been vaccinated in the past and I guess I am a creature of habit and I seem to take care of myself fairly well, exercising and dieting and I do brag about that," said Aiona on Tuesday.
But for some reason Fawcett leaves out a quote that appears only in the print version of the story at KITV’s web site.
Aiona said he is neutral about the information about flu shots.
"I have read the literature on it, I have read the science on it and I say it has some merit to it and I am not convinced that vaccines are more beneficial that harmful. But I don't think in any way my personal views hamper our efforts to get people to get vaccinated. I encourage people to get vaccinated," said Aiona.
Are you freakin’ kidding us? It’s downright scary to think this dim-witted church-addict might just be deciding issues based on Leviticus instead of Lister.
Not everyone needs a flu shot- not everyone comes into contact with a lot of people. But Aiona is currently crisscrossing the state shaking every hand, kissing every baby and hugging every tutu he can get his hands on, spreading germs with a paint roller.
You never know with these bible thumpers- maybe when it comes to infectious disease transmission he eschews the germ “theory” in favor of demonic possession.
But think of the fun in four years of ridicule. We couldn’t ask for more.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
When it comes to using underhanded and unscrupulous methodologies that are rarely deciphered in time to do anything about it, they take a back seat to none.
But the clues are there for any forensic document reader if you know what to look for and are ready to do a little work to find out what the heck is going on.
So last Thursday when we received and examined the agenda for today’s council meeting this stood out as an executive session (ES) item begging for explanation and exposition.
The meat of it reads:
The Office of the County Attorney requests an executive session with the Council to discuss legal issues pertaining to the implementation of Ordinance 885.
Of course no one knows what ordinance 885 is.
When a bill becomes an ordinance it is given a number. But since the Kaua`i County Code essentially remains a secret document- with no on-line version and the only way to see it being to request it by number even though finding out the number is nearly impossible- with the topic, for the uninitiated, remaining meaningless.
They also cleverly post the agenda late on Thursdays, often after official office hours, so with “furlough Fridays” the earliest one can call and find out anything is Mondays, a mere 48 hours before the meeting. That makes notifying others- so as to gather a crowd to testify- a Herculean effort.
But apparently one of those that worked tirelessly to see the bill that became Ordinance 885 pass also actually reads each week’s agenda and wondered, with us, what 885 was all about.
We’ll let Pat Gegan’s letter to the mayor and the council (edited for spelling) speak for itself since we could not say it better.
Subject: Kauai's Bag Bill Under Attack???? HELP!
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 2010 17:48:52 -0400
Dear Zerowasters, Apollo Kauai Members, County Council Members and Honorable Mayor:
After pulling up the Council agenda last night and a quick call to Council Services this AM for clarification (since Kauai County doesn't want to make it too easy for citizens to get info by putting OUR information on the internet....) I began to get worried.........
I am confused and concerned by tomorrow's Council Agenda, specifically the Executive Session item #2. The item in question is Ordinance #885 which is the Plastic Bag Ban that is scheduled to be in place starting this January when Maui is also doing the same.
Why is an executive session needed to discuss the Plastic Bag Ban??? As I recall the issue was deferred multiple times as the county attorney and the council were trying to find the "correct" language for the definition of what constitutes a "plastic bag". Now - Only 3 months before implementation - the attorney and council want to meet behind closed doors to discuss this issue. What could be the "...powers, duties, privileges, immunities and/or liabilities of the council as they relate to this agenda item."? It has been over a year since the bill passed and the ordinance was signed.
What could the issue be??? The ordinance allows no single use plastic bags with petroleum products to be given away in retail establishments . This was meeting the needs of what we wanted, 1) Less rubbish for the landfill that lasts for a long time w/o breaking down, 2) less opala flying around our garden Island and harming our wildlife, 3) No new feed for the floating Pacific plastic patch, and 4) less use of petroleum based products. Section 1 of the Ordinance below states it better than I can:
"The Council of the County of Kauai finds and declares that to preserve health, safety, welfare and the scenic beauty of Kauai, the distribution of plastic bags should be regulated and prohibited."
Seems very clear to me - I would like to believe that when the council and the mayor propose and sign a bill into an ordinance that the legislation has some meaning. Why hasn't Kauai county government taken an active role in the implementation of this legislation like Maui appears to (look at the Maui county website dealing with implementation of their bag ban - http://www.co.maui.hi.us/index.aspx?NID=1688 )?
-I will be at the council meeting tomorrow to address my concerns,
-I humbly would ask for others to let your council members know how you feel about the bag ban as it was signed - if you have time (see email addresses above),
-I personally vow to vote against any council member who tries to change the Ordinance or the implementation date as it stands (and I will actively try to influence others similarly) .
I would appreciate feedback. I am concerned especially since it is in executive session and can only hope my concerns are unfounded.
According to a source who spoke to a councilperson, County Attorney Al Castillo has now decided that his own language- which he insisted on during the council sessions on the bill- regarding the "no petroleum content" requirement is now somehow problematic.
Of course it’s too late for you to go down there and insist on a public airing of the issues involved or demand they leave the bill alone- by the time we post this the meeting will be over.
Why it’s almost as if they planned it that way.
For those interested in more information on Waldorf “Wally” Wilson whereabouts and related issues, please read Joan Conrow’s interview today with KPD Chief Darryl Perry.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
But since we committed yesterday to filling in the blanks through the use of the clues the county left, we’ve gotten a hold a text copy of what appears to be the thus-far “secret” proposed county charter amendments (see pp 12-18) we’ll all be voting on on November 2.
Apparently, although there’s no indication that they were ever approved by the Charter Review Commissions, a September 3 letter from County Clerk Peter Nakamura to state Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago transmitted seven questions, in time for them to be included on the actual ballot.
While they appear to be “official” we’ll have to wait and see when and if they were approved, not that the county won’t go ahead with them illegally anyway if they weren’t.
We’ll go over them briefly here with deeper analysis to come.
The first is the same old question that’s been asked and answered- in the negative- innumerable times but for some reason it’s on the ballot again. The ballot question reads
"Shall the term of office for councilmembers be extended from two to four years with a limit of two consecutive four year terms?"
When will these people accept that we like being able to recall our council every two years. They’re unaccountable enough already without only having to worry about the what the electorate thinks every four years.
We want to see an amendment saying that you can’t propose the same amendment more than once every 10 years.
The second is a response to the call for a county manager and eliminates the position of administrative assistant and creates a position of “Managing Director”.
The question on the ballot will be:
"Shall the Mayor's Administrative Assistant, whose title shall be changed to Managing Director, be required to have appropriate job qualifications and perform certain duties?"
Here’s the exact language to be added to the charter, describing those “job qualifications” and “duties”
The mayor shall appoint and may remove a managing director. The managing director shall be a citizen of the United States not less than thirty (30) years of age and a resident elector of the county at least three years immediately prior to his appointment. The managing director shall have at least five years experience in an administrative or managerial position with at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in public administration, business or a related field.
A. Powers, Duties and Functions. Except as otherwise provided and under the supervision of the Mayor, the managing director shall:
(1) Serve as the mayor's principal administrative aide.
(2) Oversee the administrative functioning of all administrative departments.
(3) Prescribe standards of administrative practice to be followed and evaluate the management and performance of all administrative departments under the director's oversight.
(4) Attend meetings of the council and its committees upon request and provide information and reports as they may require.
(5) Perform all other duties as required by the charter or assigned by the mayor.
B. The salary for the managing director shall be set pursuant to Article
XXIX of this Charter.
Better than nothing.
The third is a new one on us and we’ll have to take a good look at it to figure it out. The question on the ballot asks:
"Shall the Charter provisions relating to centralized purchasing and disposition of surplus property be changed to conform with State law?"
The wording contains many additions and deletions and can be viewed on p 15 of the pdf linked above.
Number four is pretty self explanatory and the ballot question will read:
"Shall the dollar limit without competitive bidding for contracts with County officers, employees or firms in which an officer or employee has a substantial interest, be increased from $500 to $1,000?"
On first blush unless someone can make a pretty good case for it anything that makes corruption easier- as this would by allowing people to get paid twice as much by the county without triggering a competitive bid- $1000 rather than the current $500. If anything what's been called “the $500 loophole”- with the law having been avoided through serial $500 contracts- should be being plugged.
Number five is pretty self explanatory and reads:
"Shall the County extend from six months to one year the timeframe prohibiting the County from entering into a contract with a former County employee or a firm that is represented by a former County employee, for those contracts where the former County employee participated in the subject matter while employed with the County?"
This sounds like an improvement although we’d like to see two years or more to stop the “revolving door” which is one of the most corrupt of practices in the county and elsewhere.
Sixth is an amendment that apparently plugs a loophole on disclosures and asks
"Shall any employee delegated to act on behalf of the Director or Deputy Director of Finance be required to file a disclosure statement with the County Board of Ethics?"
We’re not sure what the problem is but apparently some in the finance department can act for the director and don’t have to disclose their potential conflicts of interest. It sounds good but we’ll have to take a good look at it in total.
Finally number seven is one we’ve been expecting and we’re ready to fight tooth and nail. It asks:
"Shall the time in which the County Board of Ethics has to render advisory opinions be extended from 30 days to 45 days, which opinions shall be binding on the Board, unless changed or revoked by the Board?"
The incompetence and even malfeasance of the Board of Ethics (BOE) has been well documented in this space (see left bar for our special report or click the link above for all our coverage of the BOE).
Why can't they make their decisions in a timely manner? To increase the time allotment just gives them more time to fumble and futz around trying to misread the plain reading of the charter and law. If they need to call special meetings, so be it. If they don’t have enough people for a quorum, get people who can show up.
An extra 15 days won’t really help these people. Thirty days has been plenty for over 40 years and it’s only the appointees under this and the last administration that seem to have a problem getting these advisory opinions done promptly instead of throwing the person- and sometimes the county- into a crisis because they can't decide what the law says... or more often just don’t want to deliver the bad news or are in the same conflict themselves.
Well that’s the seven- read ‘em and weep. Maybe sometime before the election we’ll get the official word.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Glaringly absent is any endorsement in the 15th House district where incumbent “Democrat” Jimmy Tokioka is facing off against Republican Larry Fillhart, the quotes around Democrat possibly explaining the endorsement.
Tokioka was a Republican before switching when he ran for Ezra Kanoho’s old seat and voted like one during his days on the Kaua`i County Council.
While Dee Morikawa in the 16th and Mina Morita in the 14th got the nods apparently Tokioka didn’t even get the “just because you’re a Democrat now” pick.
In the council race only four of the five incumbents running were deemed acceptable with buffoonish business shill Dickie Chang failing to make the grade for obvious reasons.
Less obvious was why former Mayor and Councilperson JoAnn Yukimura didn’t make the list while everybody’s darling- including the usual big-bucks special-interests- newcomer Nadine Nakamura along with former Councilperson Mel Rapozo getting a checkmark.
Is it a long standing grudge from her mayoral days when she tried to shake the county workers out of their slumbers or her more recent attempts to make everybody happy and so pleasing no one?
But the one thing missing from the Kaua`i endorsements- something that’s listed for all the other islands- is their recommendations for county charter amendments.
The reasons apparently is, incredibly enough, in an election that is five weeks from tomorrow the county has not finalize and announced the changes proposed by the Charter Review Commission.
A check of the CRC’s web page finds nothing, as does a check of the county’s elections page. To find the proposed amendments that will have apparently gotten final approval at today’s CRC meeting, one has to look at the agenda for the meeting since the last meeting minutes posted are those of July 26th.
It’s usually confusing enough to figure out what the charter amendments say and mean, as evidenced by last election’s trick question that removed the county’s “stricter than the state’s” sunshine guidelines under the guise of “conforming to the state sunshine law” (wmphasis added).
If this year’s questions don’t appear soon in the “newspaper of record” soon we’ll be doing their job for them again later this week- notwithstanding the way they hilariously and inappropriately editorialized this weekend about how they:
continue to utilize our resources to the best of our ability in our ongoing effort to hold our elected officials and other powerful players accountable (and) recognize the wide-ranging role the local newspaper plays in the community and we consider this responsibility of utmost importance.
Between the county and the local newspaper it’s apparently a race to the bottom to see who can best keep us un and ill-informed.
Friday, September 24, 2010
But, although you have to look for it, the first article from new local newspaper reporter Vanessa Van Voorhis (wasn’t that a character in Archie comics?) has a few revelations.
The first is that she has obviously got the message as to why the last business “reporter” (note the position has been downgraded from “editor”) Coco Zickos was fired so, as her first entry she scrambled her butt down to the Lihu`e Business Association’s monthly meeting, the type of thing Zickos admitted she neglected to do enough of during her stint, saying it was reason #1 for her exit.
But then there’s the end of the article in which Van Voorhis is listed as business AND environmental editor, the latter of which, according to Zickos, was added to her job description at her request- a position which she was told she spent too much time on at the expense of the former.
But the big news, if true, is buried in the 10th paragraph and 325 words into the piece covering a talk by Department of Water (DOW) Manager and Chief Engineer David Craddick.
After talking about projects and pipes and other mundane stuff we hear a statistic that can’t possibly be right- but then again might be.
Quoting Craddick, Van Voorhis writes:
DOW is Kaua`i Island Utility Cooperative’s No. 1 customer, using approximately 40 percent of all KIUC’s generation.
Forty percent?.. of all the electricity used on the island? That raises way too many mind-boggling questions.
Something has got to be haywire, especially since for years we’ve been told by the water department that gravity-fed, natural springs are the primary source of our water and that, other than the new surface water in Lihu`e, it’s the way the rest of the island gets its water.
But it appears it might be so because she also writes
When asked about the option of solar-driven energy for pumps, Craddick said it would “require acres and acres of solar panels to power just one pump,” and is therefore not a feasible option.
Now we don’t have an engineering degree but what kind of pump needs “acres and acres of solar panels”- or 3/5th of the islands electricity output- to run?
Then, as if it were almost a joke, the penultimate paragraph in the article reads:
(Craddick) added that customers should anticipate about a 25-percent increase in water bills over the next three years. “We’re doing a rate study right now,” he said, “and we should have the results November or December. Then we’ll know what we need to do.”
Psst... we’ve got a suggestion- start with finding some more efficient pumps. Or at least tell us whose brother-in-law is supplying them.
Update: According to two people the article by Vanessa Van Voorhis in yesterday’s local newspaper quoting Department of Water Chief Engineer David Craddick as saying that “40 percent of all KIUC’s generation” is factually incorrect, as we suspected.
Dr. Carl Berg who attended the meeting wrote to say that actually:
My notes from that meeting say (the) County is biggest single consumer of electricity, using 10% of what is produced and 40% of County's use is by Water Dept. That is a lot different.(Craddick) did say it would take a lot of solar panels to drive a pump and that solar is no good at night. He did mention net-metering. Also talked about hydroelectric from surface water source. But he concluded that DOW is really dependent on KIUC.
And Ken Taylor confirmed that statistic and added other information writing that:
The county overall, is KIUC biggest or #1 customer at about 10% of the total production. Of that, DOW uses about 40-50%, sewers use about 20%. I talked to Walt Barnes who is an electrical engineer about how much solar would be needed to run a 75 hp pump motor. His calculations showed only about 1 acre of solar would be needed. This happened after David had made this same comment at another meeting last fall. I questioned David's numbers because I have read where water districts in Cal. have been installing more and more solar. I think the problem come in getting the pump started, which can be done by using KIUC to start them, then automatically change over. I'm checking with some others on this. I asked the question that started this conversation at yesterdays meeting.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
While it’s nice to see real journalists hired- Vanessa Van Voorhis covering “business” and Andrea Frainier, “lifestyle”- it doesn’t change the fact that the more newsy government and police reporters are a little- or maybe a lot- less professional, although the government reporter Leo Azambuja has shown some improvement.
Though unfortunately that hasn’t led him to obtain the kind of expertise possessed his predecessor Mike Levine- no shame there- we still sometimes wonder whether he’s even trying.
In all fairness his editor Nathan Eagle could have made sure coverage of the ethically-challenged and oft incompetent Board Of Ethics (BOE) continued when Levine left for big city climes. But apparently neither Eagle nor Azambuja seem interested in covering BOE meetings and more importantly continuing Levine’s quest for BOE documents beyond replacing Levine’s name with Azambuja’s at their document-containing “Sunshine” web page.
But lucky live Kaua`i and not Bell California where the lack of citizen oversight led to obscene salaries for county officials.
Next time you see the trolls start criticizing our “nitpickers” remember that the only news we’ve been getting about the BOE lately has come from Horace Stoessel whose latest report on the BOE’s September 17 meeting- in the form of an as yet unpublished letter to the editor- describes the latest round of fear and loathing.
Here’s Horace’s report- see ya on the other side.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
In May Deputy County Attorney Mona Clark advised the Board of Ethics that County Code Section 3-1.7(d) absolutely prohibits the kinds of outside employment referenced in requests for advisory opinions involving four members of the Planning Department.
At its meeting on September 17 the Board reviewed a written opinion from Attorney Clark repeating and expanding the advice she gave in May and concluding: “It is the County Attorney’s opinion that an employee cannot create a work product for a private employer which the employee would reasonably expect the employer to submit to the Planning Department without a violation of K.C.C. 3-1.7 occurring.”
The Board acted accordingly and continued to set an example for other agencies by releasing the privileged opinion, which is available from the Office of Boards and Commissions.
I wish I could say that the quality of the May-to-September process leading to the Board’s decision matched the quality of the decision itself and the principled advice it was based on. However, the process left a trail of unanswered questions.
In light of the Charter requirement that a request for advisory opinion must be answered within thirty days, I think the most obvious question is, why did it take so long for the Board to answer this request, especially when its answer was based on the same advice it received on day one?
A short letter like this cannot do justice to the question. Suffice to say that it leads to numerous other questions pertaining to policies (and lack of policies), procedures and communication (or lack of communication) involving the Mayor’s office and Planning, Personnel, and County Attorney offices as well as the Board of Ethics.
I do not question the motives or integrity of county employees. I do say that there is plenty of room for improving governmental processes. One way to improve the processes is for agencies and citizens to extend mutual respect to and expect mutual accountability from each other.
What Horace doesn’t mention here is that rather than doing their job in a timely manner the BOE’s notorious inability to read plain English has caused them to request that the charter commission- another body whose meetings have been unattended by local newspaper reporters since Levine left- submit a charter amendment to voters to give the BOE more time to futz around.
The announcement of this year’s charter amendments will be forthcoming presently but if this change, and one to allow the mayor to consolidate power by taking away the police, fire and planning commissions’ ability to hire and fire their respective department heads, are typical of their work this year an across the board “no” vote from the electorate would seem to be a no-brainer.
Whether the news that will allow people to make informed decisions on proposed charter changes will reach them through their “newspaper of record” is anyone’s guess.
But at least they’ll have timely and accurate information about who opened a new scissors and scotch tape store and whose baby lu`ua served the best malasadas in Waimea.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Those who followed the campaign- and even those who didn’t- couldn’t help but hear about Mufi’s fiascos starting with the “Atomic Money” parody cartoon web site pegged to Hannemann aide and campaign volunteer Keith Rollman which attempted to ridicule Abercrombie... the key word being attempted.
Then Mufi’s widely reported “I look like you” speech- a thinly veiled reference to Mufi’s and Neil’s comparative skin colors- led right into the “Compare and Decide” flyer which compounded the “local vs. haole” storyline.
That was followed by Hannemann’s “Island Values” flyer which was an Atomic Monkey redux later found to be the work of another Hannemann campaign member Ken Wong whose name magically disappeared from Mufi’s web site after he was linked to the flyer.
Though much the information first appeared in blogs like Ian Lind’s and Dave Shapiro’s it didn’t stay there for long with TV news and newspaper stories focusing on Mufi’s “dirty campaigning”.
So if most pundits agree that “going negative” works, why didn’t it work for Hannemann?
The story was written even before Abercrombie resigned his congressional seat to come “home” to run. The media, almost as a group, were publicly asking the question as to when, not if, Hannemann would be going negative.
And for good reason. His political history was one of pulling victory from the jaws of defeat through last minute, usually “underground”, stink-talk and rumor campaigns run, it was later found, by the Hannemann campaign’s “dirty tricks” division.
But each time the revelations of these dirty tricks came only after the election or at best a day or two before the election when it was too late to do anything to lessen their effects.
It’s not as if this run for governor was unexpected- all but the malahini knew six years ago that this was coming.
And that gave people like Rollman and Wong and the rest of the “Mufiosi” as they’ve been called during the campaign, to come up with enough negative stuff to get an early jump and plan them to spread throughout the campaign.
So what was different in 2010? The expectations. And the influence of the on-line media.
Everyone in the mainstream media was champing at the bit, ready, willing and able to spread the word of Mufi’s latest negative campaigning and dirty tricks. So when the blogs began to question and investigate each move from the Hannemann camp what was the underground nature of these tactics in past campaigns was plastered all over the front page of the paper and on the 6 and 10 o’clock news programs.
Whereas in the past there was little above board comprehension of the Hannemann campaign “rumor and ridicule” machine, this time, as each new revelation was exposed, they began to snowball with the media directing the storyline of the campaign which became a ‘there he goes again“... a fulfillment of their- and so the public’s- earlier expectations.
Recently Jon Stewart of the Daily Show has created a running joke comparing to the media- specifically Fox News- to the talking dog in the movie “Up” who carries on intelligent conversations until he suddenly looks around and screams “Squirrel” and takes off after it.
So when the previously imprinted “squirrel” of negative campaigning surfaced it was impossible for them to curtail the instinct to dash off after it.
Many criticize the media for “following the horse race” instead of the issues in political campaigns. But of course in reality they couldn’t do that unless they had already set up the gates and packed the racetrack and of course “handicapped” the favorites.
In this case despite the fact that it was obvious to all that Hannemann was being set up like a bowling pin by the media, he and his campaign braintrust was so enthralled by past successes and had planned their underhanded tactics for so long that avoiding becoming their own bowling ball was the one trick they apparently couldn’t perform.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
But a look at the results of Saturday’s elections shows that not only was the bigot community’s empty threat to “remember those who voted yes to Bill 444 in election day” given way too much credence by the media, but also by the legislators themselves- most of whom, if you’ll remember, had conniption fits to keep from voting on the record until being forced to do so on the last day of the session.
But a few key races show that not only were some who voted “aye” not punished but those who voted “no” were.
Of course on Kaua`i one of those “no” votes, Roland Sagum, was not just ousted by an unknown, Dee Morikawa, but lost in a landslide. Morikawa won with 55.2% of the vote to Sagum’s 37.8% and another 7.0% left their vote blank, always an indication of dissatisfaction with the incumbent.
The funny thing there is that, in talking to westsiders over the past few days, we haven’t really been able to find any other reasons for Sagum’s dismissal other than that he just “did do anything”- that and, to some extent and for those who even knew about it, his recent representation of an unpopular projects by a North Shore developer before the planning commission.
Even though Sagum’s 16th district of the south and west sides of Kaua`i is known to be more conservative than the north and east sides the talk last May of the vote on 444 being a key to proponents’ votes was apparently indicative of the result.
Perhaps THE key race was between the openly gay introducer of HB 444, Representative Blake Oshiro and the leader of the religious homophobes, former Honolulu Councilpersons Gary Okino who specifically ran against Oshiro over the civil unions bill.
Oshiro similarly trounced Okino 53.3% to 42.0% with 10 0.2% blank.
Both statewide races also went the way of HB 444 proponents.
Former Congressperson Neil Abercrombie, who said he’s sign it in a minute, crushed Mufi Hannemann who, although he hemmed and hawed, was seen as opposing civil unions. The last minute push- or punch as it turned out- to get Republicans to crossover to the more “righteous” Mufi coming from the head of the Hawai`i Republican Party, nutso bible thumper and Kaua`i boy, Jonah Ka`auwai, is seen by many as cinching Hannemann’s rout.
Finally there was the lieutenant governor’s race where Brian Schatz, a civil rights proponent who said unequivocally that he supported 444, trounced the two biggest anti-civil rights members of the state senate, former Senators Bobby Bunda- who successfully blocked the bill in committee only to see it “ripped” to the floor- and Norman Sakamoto who made opposition to civil rights his signature issue.
Not only did Schatz win in what can be considered a landslide in a plurality vote with 34.8% of the vote to Bunda’s 19.2% and Sakamoto’s 18.5% but former Senator Gary Hooser- who made his support of the bill his top issue in ads- led the pack of also-rans pulling in 9.5% of the vote.
With the other candidates for lt. governor also supportive of civil unions, the anti civil rights voters accounted for only 37 .7% of the vote.
But let’s not forget that while “civil unions” was adopted by the progressive community as the fight du jour at last year’s legislative session it is still just another way to treat gays and lesbians as second-class citizens. And it may well be a moot issue as the “Prop 8” case recently decided in federal district court wends it’s way to the 9th Circuit appellate court where a decision upholding full same gender marriage would be binding on Hawai`i.
If we learned one thing this year it’s that these religion-addled bigots will see that any attempt to secure people’s right to love anyone they want is turned into some idiotic “sanctity of marriage” argument. Despite common wisdom of the past decade there are apparently few, if any, that are for civil unions but against same gender marriage.
The court’s decision may or may not come before next May but it’s time to decide whether to fight for full civil rights in this year’s legislature based on the results last Saturday and presumably in November where a landslide Abercrombie victory over religious nutcase Duke Aiona is likely.
That decision is, well, way above our paygrade. But those who are planning strategy for the ’11 legislative session would do well to take the legislative and election results to heart, stop pushing an incremental, fear-based agenda and reach for the brass ring.
Monday, September 20, 2010
But looking down the rankings we couldn’t help but get a sense of deja vu. Now let’s see- where did we see that list in that order recently?
How about last Monday when we reported the list- in almost the same order- of campaign contributions.
Top seven in cash?
1) Nadine Nakamura $50,218.56
2) Derek Kawakami $46,393.71
3) JoAnn Yukimura $45,925.00
4) Jay Furfaro $21,040.00
5) Mel Rapozo $19,394.20
6) Dickie Chang $17,870.00
7) Tim Bynum $16,477.99
Top seven in votes?
1) Kawakami, Derek S.K. 10,088 8.6%
2) Nakamura, Nadine K. 9,266 7.9%
3) Yukimura, Joann A. 8,719 7.4%
4) Furfaro, Jay 8,432 7.2%
5) Bynum, Tim 7,620 6.5%
6) Rapozo, Mel 7,383 6.3%
7) Chang, Dickie (Walaau) 6,430 5.5%
If you flip numbers one and two and push Tim Bynum to number 5 it’s the same order.
And, look at the order of the only other candidates who raised money:
8) Kipukai Kualii $16,361.92
9) Ted Daligdig $3,700.0010)
10) Ed Justus $1,760.0011)
(11) Dennis Fowler $100.00
you’ll find them in the same order they appear in the polls:
9) Kualii, Kipukai Les P. 4,877 4.1%
10) Daligdig, Ted III 4,427 3.8%
11) Justus, Ed 3,010 2.6%
14) Fowler, Dennis M. 1,118 0.9%
We like to think that the “same old faces” keep getting re-elected because people vote based on name recognition or who’s whose auntie or who’s a nice guy/gal or any of a dozen reasons that denigrate other voters’ motives. But in reality all we do is just keep electing those who raise the most money while complaining about all the money in politics.
Kaua`i has always had it’s “perennial” candidates. This year we really miss Bob Carriffe who used to campaign for council on the “getting rid of the mosquitoes” platform while picking up trash by the side of the road, saying he was really running so his wife would take him back.
Many used to vote for him just to say to other more prominent candidates “see? I’d rather vote for Bob Carriffe than you.”
One of our favorites was John Phillip Sousa (he claimed to be a direct descendant) who ran for mayor as a Republican, election after election, throughout the 70’s and 80’s.
Long after the election had been decided in the Democratic primary, Sousa could be found prowling shopping centers asking you to “pull a recipe” out of his shirt pocket “because they won’t let me hand them out”.
In the late 90’s and early ‘00’s, after we changed to non-partisan council election, there was Deborah “JoB’ Spence who championed aliens and UFOs among other issues.
We bring her up because, after moving to the Big Island, she turned up this year on the “Free Energy” party ticket, running for lt. governor.
We also being it up because the “Free Energy Party” provided one of the biggest head-scratcher of Saturday’s primary.
They only ran two candidate- Daniel H. Cunningham for Governor and JoB.
But the results were that, of those who chose Free Energy ballot, 54 people in Cunningham’s case and 76 in Spence’s case left their votes blank.
Who are these people who shunned the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian and Green primaries to vote in the Free Energy primary but then didn’t vote for one of their unopposed candidates?
There must be some explanation. But then again when it comes to people’s voting habits it’s better not to question anything if you ever want a good night’s sleep again.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Though we hadn’t planned on anything tonight, since it’s impossible to get Kaua`i results from TV or the papers, here’s the first print out.
Looks like the headline is Roland Sagum is probably out with Dee Morikawa way ahead and Dickie Chang and Kaipo Asing are battling for 7th place on the council with Dickie in 7th, ahead of Kaipo by 63 votes as it stands now.
Here are the numbers
KAWAKAMI, Derek S.K. 4,614 9.0%
NAKAMURA, Nadine K. 4,381 8.5%
FURFARO, Jay 3,709 7.2%
YUKIMURA, JoAnn A. 3,669 7.1%
RAPOZO, Mel 3,248 6.3%
BYNUM, Tim 3,126 6.1%
CHANG, Dickie (Walaau) 2,718 5.3%
ASING, Bill (Kaipo) 2,655 5.2%
KUALII, KipuKai Les P. 2,000 3.9%
DALIGDIG, Ted III 1,855 3.6%
JUSTUS, Ed 1,064 2.1%
BIEBER, Rolf H. 754 1.5%
TAYLOR, Ken 646 1.3%
FOWLER, Dennis M. 435 0.8%
DeSILVA CARVEIRO, Mizdebz
Mayor, County of Kauai
CARVALHO, Bernard P., Jr. 5,646 76.8%
LaBEDZ, Diana 948 12.9%
State Representative, Dist 15 - D
TOKIOKA, James Kunane 1,771 68.0%
LIBRE, Rhoda L. 556 21.3%
State Representative, Dist 16 - D
MORIKAWA, Daynette (Dee) 1,178 58.8%
SAGUM, Roland D. III 693 34.6%
State Senator, Dist 7 - D
KOUCHI, Ronald D. 3,700 57.5%
YAMANE, John Sydney 2,043 31.7%
Thursday, September 16, 2010
In recent the case of Alexander and Baldwin (A&B) and their recent successful effort to get out from under a “workforce housing” requirement for their Kukui`ula project in Po`ipu the trail of money and votes of county councilmembers tell a story that makes the latter a distinct possibility.
When A&B got re-zoning of their Kukui`ula project a few years back, then Council Planning Committee Chair JoAnn Yukimura, who as a private citizen had fought the project, did a 180 and helped grease the wheels to change the project from an affordable housing venture to one of luxury homes for off-islanders.
She says that because she didn’t have the votes to actually stop the project she made sure that the conditions and “give backs”- things to benefit the community like housing, roads or schools- were severe and sometimes unique, including the 99 year buy back condition on a sizable chunk of the “affordable” so-called “gap” housing.
So when A&B asked to not just reduce the time line but dump the administration of the program into the county’s lap, Yukimura, now again a private citizen after an unsuccessful run for mayor in ’08, screamed bloody murder.
Needless to say, it was “no soup for you JoAnn” when A&B started handing out the checks.
But not so for former Councilperson Mel Rapozo who was one of those who was predisposed to voting for the original rezoning. Rapozo, also out of office after a mayoral run, has been a vocal populist and activist, testifying and providing documents on many land use issues this year. He’s considered a shoo-in this November in his bid to return to the council.
But on the Kukui`ula housing bill Rapozo remained silent. And if he had any ideas of opposing the bill, right before the it was introduced Rapozo got a $500 check from A&B on April 23, reminding him of their previous support.
Also receiving an April check- this one on the 27th- was first-time candidate Nadine Nakamura who got $300. Nakamura a “planner” by trade is a good investment for A&B since her day job is essentially to help developers like A&B push through their developments. More on her later.
As the bill was being placed on the table A&B decided to spread some “love” around to remind their most likely supporters who was buttering their bread.
Councilperson Dickie Chang- a man who never met a development he didn’t like- was the first and on June 14 he got $500.
At this point it was anyone’s guess how the council vote would shake out. Recent battles over transient vacation rentals and use of ag lands had sharpened the edges of the council factions and Chang, who was in Chair Kaipo Asing’s “gang” would be looking to Asing for a cue and Asing could have done anything here.
There was one more worry for A&B- the man at the top. Would Mayor Bernard Carvalho use his still-in-the-original-packaging veto pen if community outrage got out of hand? Another $1000- check for a total of $3000 this election cycle- served as reminder that A&B had another favor to ask.
That left Councilpersons Derek Kawakami and Jay Furfaro as the swing votes as it started to become clear that Councilmembers Tim Bynum and Lani Kawahara- the real leaders of the dissident faction- were lining up to oppose passage of the bill.
Though Furfaro, vice chair of the council and chair of the planning committee, was the outward leader of the dissidents he remained non-committal though much of the back and forth in committee. So did Kawakami until Asing showed his hand by saying that, since the county had now passed affordable housing standards that were much lower than the Kukui`ula numbers it wouldn’t be “fair” to A&B to keep the 99 year buy back.
The bill passed on August 11 with Bynum and Kawahara voting “no”.
And on August 13 Kawakami received his reward- a check for $1000 courtesy of A&B.
And a few weeks later, on September 3- the final day for of the reporting period- A&B cut checks to Furfaro for $1,000.00, Chang for another $500.00 for a total of $1,000.00 and Rapozo, who kept his mouth shut on the bill, for another $500 totaling $1000.
Also receiving a September 3 check was Nakamura who got $700 for a total of $1000.
Missing from the largess was Yukimura who showed up at every committee meeting to reiterate how A&B had agreed to all these give backs and how it was part of a “package” and shouldn’t be changed.
Asing doesn’t take campaign contributions.
Nakamura has been thought by many to be some kind of bright star on the horizon, especially in the controlled growth community. But A&B doesn’t give money to just anyone and they know what many don’t- that the view of someone who is trained and working as a “planner” is one amenable to development.
So were these “bribes”? Certainly not as far as the law is concerned. In order for a campaign contribution to be a bribe there would have to be unimpeachable evidence- a recorded conversation or a written note- explicitly saying that the money was given in exchange for a vote.
But until corporations are banned from giving directly to politicians’ election campaigns these legal bribes will continue to corrupt American politics at every level of government.
We have “stuff” tomorrow. See ya Monday.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
And the new site, selected by Mayor Bernard Carvalho, is the original site- one designated almost 20 years ago.
Yet back then the site was rejected due to “environmental justice” issues that seem to have disappeared today.
The Ma`alo Road site on the way up to Wailua falls is so far without opposition- even from the usual dedicated environmental activists who, rather than questioning the decision this time, are apparently embracing it if the dearth of negative reaction so far is any indication.
Here’s an email typical of those we’ve received from activists across the island.
What about the Ma`alo landfill site and MRF center? Got any read on that? it looks at first blush to be a great improvement over Kekaha & Kalaheo. Interested in your thoughts.
So what, if anything, has changed?
Perhaps it’s the urgency- the date when the Kekaha landfill will be full is quickly approaching. But that would be happening anyway no matter where the new dump was sited.
And it’s centrally located- although the site hasn’t moved any since the 90’s.
Maybe it’s that the suggestions that we ship it all back where it came from has been monkey-wrenched by a corrupt process that blew up in the faces of Honolulu politicians, making it a much harder sell over here, especially since Indian tribes where the mainland dump is located are suing because Hawaiian trash is too “exotic”.... actually maybe we should be proud that apparently even our crap is thought to be mysterious and glamorous.
It could be the fact that we now need space for the kind of recycling efforts that were only dreamed of back then. The availability of land nearby for a MRF- a materials recovery facility where recyclables would be sorted- is something that is key to any zero waste plans for the future.
It could be that now there is a system in place to bribe Hanama`ulu residents into accepting the new dump, although the way Kekaha has been botching the Host Community Benefit program many are apprehensive as to any benefit other than creating animosity over what to do with the money.
But really most likely the lack of opposition is simply due to the decades of stumbling and bumbling by three administrations through a half a dozen proposed sites making us just plain tired of hearing about it.
Dig the freakin’ hole, throw all the crap in and shut up and be done with it. After all, that’s how Kaua`i has treated our opala problems for over a century now- why should this time be any different?
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
But Kaua`i isn’t the only place the most basic and important information and documents are missing from on-line perusal due to the use the same unfathomable excuse for their absence.
A few weeks back we were working on evaluating the plethora of candidates for office on Kaua`i so for a full list we went to check the same handy-dandy pdf that we’d used up until the July filing deadline to track who was running.
But while the names and addresses of most races were there, those elections to fill the offices of those who resigned to run for another office- as in the case of Kaua`i the State Senate 16th district which Gary Hooser had vacated to run for lieutenant governor- were missing.
So surely the State Office of Elections main page must have the list. Surely you jest- and it’s Scott Nago who’s in charge, not Shirley.
Let’s see Home? no we’re there. Administrative Rules? Phew, there was enough pilikila over them last elections. Factsheets? nope nothing there. Calendar? Information? Contact Us? Nope, uh-uh, nothing.
Well let’s move down. Voter Information? No- that would be too obvious. Voting in Hawaii Factsheet? 2010 Polling Places Factsheet? A Guide to Voting in Hawai (sic)? Nada, zippo, bupkis.
Ah 2010 Election Contest and Incumbents Factsheet That’s gotta be it.
But noooooo. Although they seemingly had the time and personnel to assure that they listed all races up for grabs along with the names of the appropirate incumbents (or lack threreof)- the ones who apropriated (or actually didn’t appropriate enough of) the money for running the office- it was apparently too much work to list their opponents.
Well we headscratchingly went off, google in hand, in search of the candidates from other sources.
We continued to act like we had ukus until we read this little item in a letter to the editor of the local newspaper:
Support League of Women Voters
It is good to see The Garden Island promoting voter education (Sept. 5, A1 and A6).
In addition to reading your local newspaper, candidate information for the Sept. 18 primary election can be found at http://www.lwv-hawaii.com/candidates.htm
When the State Office of Elections which formerly posted this information on its website but discontinued the service citing budgetary constraints, the League of Women Voters in Hawai`i volunteered their website and time.
To continue receiving voter information, please support the LWV in Hawai`i as well as your local news.
Carol Bain, 2007 LWV Kaua`i County president, Puhi
Budgetary constraints? How much does it cost to plop the list- the one from which they prepared the ballots- onto a web page... especially considering they went to the trouble to list the races and incumbents.
Yes, the governor and the legislature cut the OOE’s budget to the bone causing them to close and consolidate dozens of polling places. But you’d think the list of who is running wouldn’t be left to LWV to post on-line
Once again the state is taking it’s cue from Kaua`i where the council has claimed it’s way too much work to simply plop public documents onto the county web site as they are made public- especially since they have this expensive, super-duper “copy machine” that has all the bells and whistles including a button that will place public documents on line.
We had plenty to say about the last Elections Chief Kevin “King” Cronin, the Wisconsin attorney who seemingly botched every decision he made with his “rules?- we don’t need no stinkin’ rules” attitude until he suddenly moved on leaving Nago, the new elections chief, with a huge mess on his seemingly incapable hands.
But the job is apparently too much for Nago too if this is the type of excuse for not doing the very basics of the job properly is going to be the norm for the rest of the election season.
Correction: We goofed when we said that, unless there is a tie, the mayoral election will be over Saturday. We forgot about the charter amendment that changed out preliminary nonpartisan elections from a “50% plus one” to a “top two system”. Thanks to Horace Stoessel for the reminder. What that means in English is that the race for Mayor WILL go on to November. We regret the error.
Also in our news article on alleged Westside serial killer Wally Wilson, based on early information obtained at deadline we said that Nola Rebecca “Becky” Thompson was murdered. Thus far, according to county authorities, the cause of death has not been determined We regret any error.
Monday, September 13, 2010
(PNN) -- The money race for council candidates split into four distinct groups going into the preliminary election this Saturday with three approaching $50, 000, five between 16 and $21, 000, two between 1 and $4,000 and the rest not filing and/or not collecting at least $1000.
But with two exceptions they are all currently in debt after spending- and owing- more than they collected.
One of those with cash on hand is newcomer Nadine Nakamura who maintained her lead- but just barely- with $50,218.56. Two others came in right on her heels with freshman Derek Kawakami totaling $46,393.71 and former Mayor and Councilperson JoAnn Yukimura collecting $45,925.00 overall this election cycle.
Mayor Bernard Carvalho continued to build his war chest even though his opponent, Diana LeBedz, has vowed not to collect any cash. He has collected $37,537.02 this period to total $228,691.42, with $124,697.32 cash on hand.
In the middle of the pack are current Vice Chair Jay Furfaro who has brought in $21,040.00, former councilmember Mel Rapozo- who is also debt free- with $19,394.20, TV host Dickie Chang with $17,870.00, council veteran Tim Bynum at $16,477.99 and second time candidate Kipukai Kualii with $16,361.92.
Brining up the rear are former Planning Commission Chair Ted Daligdig at $3,700.00 overall and businessman Ed Justus at $1,760.00.
For more detailed info- including individual contributors- go to the Campaign Spending Commission’s Candidate Filing System
The following is a list of candidates taking in more than $1000 and as such are required to file. The information includes contributions to date which is for the whole election cycle, contributions this period which includes amounts collected from July through September 3, amounts spent overall and this period, outstanding debts which include both money owed and loans (those that are loans only are noted with “loan”) and the total surplus or deficit.
Bernard Carvalho (Mayor)
Contributions to date $228,691.42
Contributions this period $37,537.02
Spent this period $35,482.81
Spent overall $165,618.34
Outstanding Debt $303.59
Outstanding Debt (loan) $1,350.00
Contributions to date $16,477.99
Contributions this period $8,702.99
Spent this period $11,394.30
Spent overall $24,617.65
Outstanding Debt (Loan) $3,725.00
Contributions to date $17,870.00
Contributions this period $4,450.00
Spent this period $13,929.59
Spent overall $42,912.43
Outstanding Debt $2,100.00
Contributions to date $3,700.00
Contributions this period $3,700.00
Spent this period $1,200.14
Spent overall $1,200.14
Outstanding Debt (loan) $3,000.00
Contributions to date $100.00
Contributions this period $0
Contributions to date $21,040.00
Contributions this period $13,740.00
Spent this period $8,717.96
Spent overall $16,229.32
Outstanding Debt $25,557.29
Contributions to date $1,760.00
Contributions this period $1,470.00
Spent this period $1,082.19
Spent overall $1,082.19
Outstanding Debt $1,211.49
Contributions to date $46,393.71
Contributions this period $24,258.27
Spent this period $11,694.37
Spent overall $33,829.81
Outstanding Debt $17,718.56
Contributions to date $16,361.92
Contributions this period $6,040.78
Spent this period $1,233.06
Spent overall $11,554.20
Outstanding Debt (loan) $6,247.37
Contributions to date $50,218.56
Contributions this period $14,713.00
Spent this period $15,507.40
Spent overall $29,038.30
Outstanding Debt $0
Contributions to date $19,394.20
Contributions this period $5,105.00
Spent this period $3,121.96
Spent overall $14,962.34
Outstanding Debt (Loan) $5,000.00
Contributions to date $0
Contributions this period $0
Spent this period $147.04
Spent overall $147.04
Outstanding Debt $2,820.03
Contributions to date $45,925.00
Contributions this period $16,174.00
Spent this period $16,643.15
Spent overall $48,707.33
Outstanding Debt (loan) $26,000.00
Friday, September 10, 2010
(PNN) ALLEGED WESTSIDE SERIAL KILLER WILSON SAID TO BE “OUT OF JAIL AND BACK ON ISLAND” ACCORDING TO MAYOR’S A.A. HEU
ADMINISTRATION IN “DAMAGE CONTROL” AFTER EMAIL CIRCULATES WIDELY
(PNN) -- In the wake of the unsolved murders of Amber Jackson in June and tourist Nola Rebecca “Becky” Thompson- whose body was found this morning after having been missing for the last week- the man alleged to be the “west side serial killer” is thought to be on the loose and living in Puhi according to a source who quoted Kaua`i County Administrative Assistant Gary Hue as telling her to “be careful” because of it.
Waldorf “Wally” Wilson was identified as the man thought privately by many- including privately some Kauai Police Department (KPD) officers- to be “the west side serial killer” in the book “KPD Blue” by former Kaua`i Bureau Chief for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin Anthony Sommer.
Waldorf "Wally" Wilson, taken 1/25/10 (provided by Department of the Attorney General’s Online Sex Offender Search)
According to an email circulated widely yesterday and obtained by PNN, a woman who asked not to be identified said that Hue told her that Wilson “is out of jail and apparently back on island” and, she says that, “apparently he rides a bike - targets middle-aged Caucasian women and is currently thought to be living in Puhi.”
But the administration got hold of the email and went into “damage control” and convinced the woman that because Wilson “was never convicted of any crimes here on Kaua`i and what I wrote about him borders on libel and slander”.
Saying she “committed a grave blunder and forgotten that all of us have rights and are innocent until proven guilty” the originator of the email said that “(t)he email I sent has gotten back to the office of the mayor and they are in damage control mode right now and I am the subject of this damage control. They do not wish to create widespread panic about this situation which I helped to create.”
According to KPD Blue’s Chapter 8- The Serial Killer which PNN serialized in 2008 (see left rail):
In the spring and summer of 2000 on Kauai’s west side, three white women were stabbed and sexually assaulted. Two died. The third was left for dead and so severely injured that it took her three hours to crawl to a telephone only a few yards away and call for help....
KPD detectives quickly identified a prime suspect but insisted they could never gather enough evidence to arrest or charge him.
The suspect’s brother was a veteran KPD officer....
On April 7, 2000, the battered body of Lisa Bissell, 38, was found in a roadside ditch near Polihale State Park on Kauai’s west side.... On May 22, 2000, a 52-year-old haole woman was beaten and stabbed in the yard of a remote Kekaha beach home where she was house-sitting... The third victim was found on Aug. 30, 2000, at her camp site near Pakala Point Beach, a popular surfing spot. She was identified as Daren Singer, 43, of Paia, Maui...
In early September, KPD detectives rounded up all 70 registered sex offenders on the island. They said they didn’t find any suspects but, of course, they had.
On Sept. 12, 2000, the KPD announced it had arrested a convicted rapist on a parole violation. The man’s name and mug shot were released through the mayor’s office.
The press release was almost instantly followed by another insisting the parole violator was in no way a suspect in the west side attacks and his only crime was violating the conditions of his parole.
The KPD was so vehement in pointing out that the man was not the serial killer, every editor in the state bought it. Except for one Honolulu television station, which used his name and broadcast his picture, all the “news executives” were frightened by the KPD’s threat of libel suits.
The next day, the KPD, through the mayor’s office criticized the lone television station that identified the arrested man for “irresponsible reporting.”
The television station was correct. It was the KPD that was lying. And the mayor’s office knew it but lying to the press was pretty much standard operating procedure. Next, Inspector Mel Morris, head of the investigations bureau, began dragging a red herring claiming, “KPD has not ruled out the possibility that there may be more than one person responsible.”
He said the man arrested is “unrelated to any of these cases. Any impression that might have been given that these cases are close to being solved is flat-out wrong.”
The arrested man was, of course, KPD’s primary, in fact only, suspect and (off the record, of course) they were certain he was the killer but they couldn’t prove it.
His name was Waldorf “Wally” Wilson, and his name and picture were all over the west side on anonymously printed flyers.
But the Honolulu media executives would not publish his name until two years later—and then only because Wilson filed a lawsuit against KPD, a newspaper and a magazine.
Wilson was convicted in 1983 of a brutal rape on Oahu. He was paroled on Jan. 9, 1999 and in January 2000 moved to Kauai. The attacks began three months later.
Wally Wilson’s brother was a KPD officer, Buddy Wilson, a long-time member of the Vice Squad known for his somewhat less than subtle tactics in investigating narcotics cases.
(Once again the circle that began with the Randy Machado trial looped back. Kelly Lau was a witness for Machado at his trial. Lau indicated quite clearly she was a confidential informant working for Buddy Wilson.)
All the while, KPD insisted Wally Wilson was not a suspect. For the next two years, the KPD engaged in tactics that Wally Wilson later claimed in his lawsuit violated his Constitutional rights.
But he was kept off the streets without ever actually being charged with any crime.
And there were no more attacks.
According to Wally Wilson’s lawsuit, KPD “coerced” him into taking a polygraph test on Sept. 12, 2000 and then “strongly pressured” the Hawaii Parole Authority to revoke Wilson’s parole. The results of the polygraph test were not given in the lawsuit.
A judge ultimately threw out Wilson’s lawsuit but by then KPD’s tactics were pretty obvious, as was its complete inability (or unwillingness) to bring criminal charges against him involving the three attacks.
Initially, Wilson’s parole was rescinded because he had been in contact with a woman on Kauai that his parole conditions specifically directed him to avoid. The revocation lasted until Feb. 28, 2002, when he was set free. On June 15, 2002, Wilson was again sent back to prison for violating his parole by failing a polygraph test.
To this day, KPD never has stated Wilson was a suspect at all in the West Side attacks. Yet every time he was released, his parole was violated on one technicality or another, and he was sent back to prison.
The problem is, Wilson has now “maxed out,” served the full term for his earlier conviction, and is back on the street. Since he no longer is on parole, he can’t be hauled in for parole violations.
The case of the one and only serial killer in Kauai’s history remains unsolved.
According to Wilson’s page at the Department of the Attorney General’s Online Sex Offender Search page, Wilson is 50 years old, 5’ 11”, 185 lbs with black hair and brown eyes with tattoos on his right shoulder and left ankle. Although it lists a Honolulu address that is from 2004.
According to the site Wilson was convicted of first degree rape, first degree sex abuse and kidnapping on July 26 1983.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Filed in US District Court, it essentially claims that Global Horizons Manpower Inc - the company whose head, Mordechai Orian, is being held on a million dollars bail for various charges related to “exploiting 400 workers from Thailand and forcing them to work on U.S. farms” – indemnified them against anything and everything related to the EEOC complaints.
But of course it’s hard to imagine how they could have been anything but fully aware of the circumstances supporting the conditions since they occurred right under their noses.
Strangely enough- and possible illegally- the compliant reveals the names of those making the EEOC complaints. which are considered confidential according to federal law.
The charges- at least Kaua`i Coffee’s characterization of them, according to the complaint, are supposedly uniform, saying
According to the suit:
The EEOC Charges uniformly contain the following allegations:
I. Since [2004/2005/2006], 1 I have been harassed, subjected to different terms and conditions of employment, and intimidated in all aspects of employment with Global Horizons, due to my national origin (Thailand).
The year in which the discrimination complained of allegedly began differs depending on the individual EEOC Charge.
II. On many occasions, I objected [sic] the terms and conditions of employment but was ignored.
III. I believe I have been harassed, subjected to different terms and conditions of employment, and intimidated because of my national origin (Thailand) and retaliated against for engaging in a protected activity, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.
IV. Further, since [200312004/2005], 2 I believe that employees as a class have been discriminated against due to their national origin (Thailand) and retaliated against for engaging in a protected activity, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.
Though the complaint details and provides exhibits as to why Kaua`i Coffee thinks Global Horizons fully indemnified them, after detailing a back and forth between attorneys over the last two years, the compliant admits
an actual and genuine controversy exists between Kauai Coffee and Global Horizons concerning the latter's obligation to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Kauai Coffee against the EEOC Charges.
Kaua`i Coffee’s case for indemnification refers to the agreements to provide the labor saying.
The Agreements state that the contract workers furnished by Global Horizons to Kauai Coffee "will be employees of [Global Horizons] and will at all times be subject to the sole and direct supervision and control of [Global Horizons]." Exs. "1" and "2" at 9[ 3(a).
Pursuant to the Agreements, Global Horizons furnished Kauai Coffee with contract farm workers from Thailand (the "Workers") at various times during the period of approximately November 2004 ("Fall '04") through approximately June 2006 ("Summer '06").
But then they admit that
Per the Agreements, Kauai Coffee provided housing and transportation to the Workers. Exs. "1" and "2" atl 8(a).
It’s hard to see how if, as with the cases against Orian and Global Horizons, workers were held against their will that Kaua`i Coffee was fully unaware of what was going on and therefore were not accessory to the crime regardless of any indemnification.
As to the case for indemnification itself the complaint says
Paragraph 11(j) of the Agreements (the "Indemnity Provision") provides as follows:
[Global Horizons] hereby agrees to indemnify, defend and hold harmless [Kauai Coffee] and its affiliates and their directors, officers, agents and employees against any claim, obligation, liability, demand or cause of action, including without limit, costs of defense, settlement, and reasonable attorneys' fees, that results directly or indirectly from any acts or omissions of [Global Horizons] in providing services hereunder.
The complaint says Kauai` Coffee is asking
A. For a declaration that Global Horizons is required under the Agreements to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Kauai Coffee as to the EEOC Charges;
B. For an award of attorneys' fees and costs incurred by Kauai Coffee in maintaining this suit; and
C. For such other legal and/or equitable relief as the Court may deem just and proper.
As we said, since the EEOC complaints were made against Global Horizons and, as yet, no one has actually accused Kaua`i Coffee of anything the complaint itself seems like a case where the alleged perpetrator screams “I didn’t do it” before anyone tells them what it is they supposedly did.
A Honolulu Star Advertiser story on September 3 did say that:
More than a dozen farms in Hawaii were involved in what the FBI is calling the largest human trafficking case ever prosecuted in the U.S., according to a sweeping federal indictment unsealed yesterday
About 400 workers from Thailand circulated through island farms -- some were sent to the mainland -- through Global Horizons from May 2004 through September 2005. The workers were threatened with deportation and economic stress if they did not work, the indictment said...
"The FBI is attempting to learn the extent that these farms were aware of the forced labor conditions of its workers," Simon said. "With few exceptions, the farms have been cooperating with our investigation."...
The indictment also said Global Horizon confined workers to the property of the now-defunct Maui Pineapple Farm, posting guards to prevent the workers from running away.
Two of the defendants strung yellow tape around the Maui Pineapple housing area and installed bells on string lines in the woods to alert guards of escape attempts, according to the indictment.
If Kaua`i Coffee’s involvement was anything like that of Maui Pineapple it’s easy to see why they are seeking what amounts to a CYA (cover your ass) complaint seeking to separate themselves from any wrongdoing.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The big news ran in a Pacific Business News article headlined
Barking Sands Going Off Grid
A fragile domestic electricity grid makes military installations unnecessarily vulnerable.
The sub-head tells the rest of The Pacific Missile Range Facility’s (PRMF) side of the story including a target date of 2015.
You don’t have to be a mathematics genius to understand the untold story of the implication for rate-payers who are forced to remain on the grid and who will have to pay for all the established infrastructure of lines and generation facilities with fewer rate payers.
Actually you didn’t have to be a genius to predict it either. The “nitpickers”, who got their name from then Mayor Maryanne Kusaka for their efforts opposing the sale, did so during the deal-making process about a decade ago.
They knew that when the big users- specifically naming PMRF among them- decide to go off the grid the rate payers would suffer. And as home generation though wind and solar became cheaper and more widely available more families would leave the grid too making their- now our- old fissile fuel generation units, well, old fossils.
And you don’t have to be anything but observant to understand the links the local newspaper has to Kaua`i Island Utilities Cooperative (KIUC) to understand why the story was absent from its pages.
First of all, the firing of Business Editor Coco Zickos for not making kissy-face with the Chamber of Commerce crowd wasn’t the first time a business editor left under similar circumstances.
A few years back Business Editor Andy Gross was starting to ask questions about KIUC and publish answers that didn’t please the board and management. One weekend, while then weekend editor Paul Curtis read the latest installment of Gross’ investigative efforts he demanded Gross leave out the most embarrassing parts.
Gross essentially told Curtis “to take this job and shove it” but when the editor returned Monday, Gross wasn’t the only one out of a job. Curtis was fired and by the time Gross was offered his job back he had already found better paying employment and refused to return to a newspaper that censored news.
But why would Curtis- who has been rehired under Editor Nathan Eagle and reinstalled as weekend editor- care? For that you have to go back to the nascent days of The Kaua`i Times newspaper where then publisher Greg Gardiner gave Curtis his first newspaper job as Gardiner’s shill in his pro-development efforts.
Gardiner went on to lead the coop’s efforts to buy the utility at any price that owner Citizen’s Utilities asked- an original price that was dropped by over $50 million and, the nitpickers contended, should have been lowered much more with some, including PNN, saying they should have had to pay us to take it off their hands due to the other liabilities such as the toxic waste dump under the Ele`ele power plant.
Add to that the fact that KIUC is one of the biggest advertisers in the paper- using rate-payer’s bucks for happyface PR- and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why news of the biggest user of electricity deciding to go it alone hasn’t made the pages of our “newspaper of record”.
A newspaper is more than just another business especially when it’s the only news source in town, small, independent, essentially one-person outlets like this notwithstanding.
“Without fear or favor” and “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted” are more than just slogans. They are at the heart of responsible journalism- the kind our local Kaua`i newspaper apparently eschews if it displeases those who advertise with them.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
But you’d also think that when the biggest agricultural plantation on the island is linked to charges of slavery it would get at least a little mention.
Readers and viewers of the Honolulu newspaper and TV news outlets respectively have no doubt heard reports about how:
More than a dozen farms in Hawaii were involved in what the FBI is calling the largest human trafficking case ever prosecuted in the U.S., according to a sweeping federal indictment unsealed (last week).
For those unfamiliar with the story according to the Star-Advertiser article linked above
About 400 workers from Thailand circulated through island farms -- some were sent to the mainland -- through Global Horizons from May 2004 through September 2005. The workers were threatened with deportation and economic stress if they did not work, the indictment said.
"This is the largest human trafficking case ever charged in United States history," FBI Special Agent Tom Simon said, referring to the number of victims.
"In the old days, they used to keep slaves in their place with whips and chains," Simon said in an interview. "Today, it is done with economic threats and intimidation."
Global Horizons recruits workers from foreign countries through the U.S. Department of Labor H-2A guest worker program to work on U.S. farms, including properties in four Hawaii counties.
Although the indictment itself (thanks to Larry Geller) - which describes how Thai farmers were duped into putting up the deeds to their land and then underpaid and held against their will- only mentions Maui Pineapple, toward the end of the article it goes on to describe how,
(Last) Tuesday, the Kauai Coffee Co. filed a lawsuit against Global Horizons. The two companies entered into an H-2A agreement for workers from Thailand in 2004.
Since 2006, 17 people have filed worker discrimination complaints against Kauai Coffee Co. through the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 15 of whom filed through the Honolulu office.
Kauai Coffee denies the allegations, but has had to defend itself against the EEOC charges, racking up attorneys' fees and associated court costs. Kauai Coffee claims in its lawsuit that Global Horizons should be defending the charges on its behalf.
An attorney representing Kauai Coffee declined comment yesterday, citing the continuing case.
Seventeen EEOC complaints? And Kaua`i Coffee is apparently not only refusing to cooperate with the feds but is trying to stave off indictment but countersuing to get the jump on them.
And it’s not as if the local paper’s Editor Nathan Eagle hasn’t heard about it. According to sources he was not only questioned as to why he didn’t at least run an Associated Press story based on the S-A’s article, but according to one person he bristled at “insinuation” of the question.
We’re not “insinuating” anything. We’re saying it straight out.
After the firing of business Editor Coco Zickos for what she describes as not doing enough to make the business community happy it’s not much of a stretch to think that Eagle would think twice about revealing the allegations of slavery at Kaua`i Coffee- a huge mainstay of the business community, not to mention an advertiser who has had glowing coverage of the taste of their coffee despite the fact that coffee connoisseurs think that, after all these years, it still “sucks” due to it’s high “green” (unripe) bean content related to their mechanized harvesting methods.
We’re working on getting hold of Kaua`i Coffee’s suit.
If nobody knows the troubles we’ve seen, there’s little disputing that you can blame it on the local newspaper which apparently likes it that way just fine, thank you..
Monday, September 6, 2010
It wouldn’t be the first time advertisers clamped down on content they didn’t want people to see as PNN reported on it’s Parxist Conspiracy television newsmagazine in the late 1990’s.
But little did we suspect it might be the beginning of the wholesale censoring of Kaua`i based news that reflects poorly on some the islands biggest “industries”.
Yet at least twice in the last week, while other news outlets have reported on stories of alleged illegal activities on the island the local newspaper has remained silent.
The first, as you might suspect if you read our Aug. 26 post regarding the “Informational Briefing” led by Senate Ways and Means Chair Donna Mercado Kim investigating, among other things, is about, as the agenda said, the
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
(e) 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
You’d think that the paper would have at least watched the hearing on line if not sent someone to the hearing that could negatively effect tourism, the biggest industry on the island. Or maybe they could have just read the stories at the KITV web site which is apparently the only news outlet that covered the hearing.
In the first of two articles- which are much more comprehensive than the video report also available at their web site- they described how, as the headline says
Kauai Airport Supervisor Fired For Theft
She Was Put On Leave With Pay After Admitting To Stealing
The article itself reveals
A supervisor at Lihue Airport who admitted to stealing thousands of dollars in an embezzlement case has been fired after state transportation officials put her on leave with pay for nearly two months while they investigated the case.
The state transportation director admitted Tuesday what employees have complained about for years: that there's a management problem at Lihue Airport.
Sources told KITV 4 News a business services supervisor at Lihue Airport, who oversees four other people, admitted to stealing about $13,000 from the state over several months. Some of it was money that airline employees, vendors and others pay for annual airport security badges.
The state placed her on leave with pay after she admitted to airport officials in writing to the theft in early July, according to Sidney Hayakawa, an administrative services officer with the state department of transportation.
The woman, who has not yet been charged with a crime, kept collecting her paycheck for nearly two months until she was fired Thursday, he said.
Though KITV- and apparently those at the hearing- did not name the employee, by simply cross-referencing mentions of the employee’s position in earlier article with the listing at the DOT web site one of PNN's investigators has deduced the employee’s name is Finance Director Maycia Matsuyoshi.
Kim was apparently incredulous, not only at the embezzlement but at Matsuyoshi’s treatment after being caught.
"Why would she be put on leave with pay?” Kim asked during a hearing Tuesday at the state capitol.
"Because we wanted her to be available to come back, because we needed to re-interview her. And that's what's happening right now, the AGs have to re-interview her and she was available to them," Hayakawa said.
"You still have to go through an investigation and you have to verify that wrongdoing is evident and had occurred," said State Transportation Director Brennon Morioka, noting that even people who’ve admitted wrongdoing deserve due process.
Airport records show the woman was paid anywhere from $35,000 to $54,000 a year. Hayakawa said officials could have put her on unpaid leave while they investigated, but they chose not to.
The report also says KITV “found four small claims judgments against the woman since 1998.”
But that incident isn’t all the committee investigated. It goes on to say:
There are other problems at Lihue airport. It was the only airport in Hawaii to pay security fines to the Transportation Security Administration recently. Lihue paid $75,000 worth of security fines to the TSA for 15 security lapses between March of 2009 and 2010.
"The management at Kauai airport seems to be problematic. And this is just one more, on top of all the issues we've seen on Kauai," Kim said.
In another incident, an airport operations controller frustrated with management at Lihue walked off the job in late 2008 and no one bothered to notify personnel officials to stop his paycheck for weeks, so he was overpaid about $5,000.
Earlier this year, he was allowed to return to work at the airport, keeping the extra $5,000 in overpaid salary and 880 hours of accrued sick leave.
If they could rewind the situation “we would have looked at recouping the money for his salary overpayment,” Morioka said....
“It seems to me they could do a reality show at Kauai Airport,” said State Sen. Sam Slom (R-Hawaii Kai, Diamond Head, Kahala).
In another incident, airport manager George Crabbe lost track of two people he was escorting behind security checkpoints on Sept. 11, 2009, resulting in the Lihue airport terminal being evacuated and shut down and passengers re-screened.
That disrupted scheduled flights on Kauai. “In spite of my personal embarrassment of being the cause of the disruption, the alternative of not taking this step to ensure terminal safety would have been worse,” Crabbe wrote in a statement to his superiors at the DOT.
“I take sole responsibility for the events that led to this disruption and I cannot fully express the mortification and regret my momentary lapse of attention caused,” Crabbe said in the statement.
The second article deals with the resignation of former Deputy Transportation Director Brian Sekiguchi who is now involved in an ethics probe for allegedly “accepting free tickets from an airport vendor to attend the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., in April of 2009 (and) not put(ting) in for vacation leave for one day of that same April vacation.”
But late in the article it refers back to what apparently caused Sekiguchi to resign three weeks ago saying:
Several other incidents and problems raised questions about the management of the airports division, which Sekiguchi oversaw since 2003 before resigning in August.
On July 27, state Procurement Office Administrator Aaron Fujioka found the state Department of Transportation violated procurement law when it hired two airport security consultants through Securitas Security Services USA, an airport security contractor.
The incident was previously reported to involve dealings with former county Finance Director Mike Tressler, now a vice president at Grove Farm which handsomely profited by the overpayment which paid out more than double what the property was really worth.
Tomorrow in part 2 we’ll let you know about an even bigger blockbuster ignored by the local “news”paper- one that could have severe repercussions that bode ill for the future of agriculture on Kaua`i.
It’s time to send letter to stop Linda Lingle’s lame duck attempt to make horrendous wholesale changes to the conservation district rule which the Department of Land and Natural Resources is proposing. Go to Marti Townsend’s KAHEA website for a handy-dandy way to do so.