Wednesday, May 11, 2011


LIFERS: The expression "it's not what you know, it's who you know" goes double in small towns. But on Kaua`i it's exponentially so since government and private enterprise connections double back on themselves like a game of "Pong" with an infinite number of balls bouncing back on themselves when they reach the shoreline.

So when we read that former Prosecuting Attorney Mike Soong and Horner Bailbonds owner Darrell Horner got the contract to operate their new Jailhouse Pub & Grill at the old 19th hole of the county owned and run Wailua Golf Course- right across from the local pokey- it raised a few red flags as to how they got the contract and why they thought they could make it work when all others had gone broke... especially given that the county has been pouring taxpayer cash into the supposedly self-sustaining golf course, in large part because, according to Parks and Rec leaders and councilmembers, they're not getting what they should be out of the post-play-property.

But it didn't take long to find at least some of the answers to those questions when a local newspaper article revealed that:

After taking over the space, which needed a lot of work, Soong said inmates from the correctional center’s work furlough program came on three Saturdays and helped clean the place up.

“By the time they left, everything was sparkling,” Soong said at the pub on Monday.

The operators also are interested in hiring inmates with kitchen experience once they’ve been released.

Huh? It's been no secret and a thorn in the side of many a vocal taxpayer that apparently inmates have been forbidden from working as road crews or working on other county and state facilities.

But seemingly Soong and Horner know whose you-know-what to you-know-what to get free labor.

The question of how other entrepreneurs can get the same kind of deal from the hoosegow honcho Warden Neal Wagatsuma aside, is there anyone who doesn't think they traded on their criminal justice insider status to get to him loosen up the chains enough to help a couple of long time associates?

It would be nice to think that maybe the county might now be able to stop pouring millions a year into the golf course's "enterprise fund" and stop subsidizing a "nice to have", but don't "need to have" recreational facility which by law is supposed to pay for itself.

That assumes that somehow the new management will be a whole lot more successful than the old one. But trading on their insider status for free labor sounds a little to comfy... for anywhere but Kaua`i.

As they say, we ain't saying- we're just sayin'....

1 comment:

KimoRosen said...

that's a good one, never thought of your angle, I'm sold.

Aloha, kimo