Tuesday, June 7, 2011


THE CUL-DE-SAC OF THE GOLDEN ROAD TO UNLIMITED DEACCELERATION: Glenn Mickens thought after 17 1/2 years he finally had 'um.

Silly coach.

For almost two decades the former Brooklyn Dodger pitcher and UCLA coach pitched the council a scandal of major proportion, occasionally bringing the mountain to Mohammad by hauling in pieces of asphalt and dumping them on the council's table to show that, not only our our potholed roads in terrible shape but someone was skimming said asphalt off the top resulting in the county getting less coverage per ton than the standard- as we described in detail a couple of years ago.

But that was only the beginning. Mickens suggested that- gasp- politics might be determining the way the roads made the yearly county repaving list after Hale `Ilio Road, where both Mayors Marianne Kusaka and Bryan Baptiste lived, made the list over and over during their years in office while his own Waipouli Road remained on the Tire Warehouse Enrichment and Preservation list.

Over the years, each time the yearly road resurfacing list came up for council approval Glenn tried to corral at least one councilmember into championing his cause and to get to the bottom of the apparent corruption- all to no avail.

Until, it seemed, this year.

For the last few years Coach had been unusually silent on his pet peeve. The reason? The list was never on the agenda. And the reason for that was that, while the council dutifully appropriated money for resurfacing no one in Public Works even bothered to make a list much less spend the money.

So now there was a cool $8 million accumulated in the fund. And that got someone's attention.

After hounding Chair Jay Furfaro for months to find out why on February 23 Mickens tenaciousness was rewarded with an item on the council's agenda saying

C 2011-76 Communication (02/16/2011) from Council Chair Furfaro, requesting the Administration's presence to provide the Council with an update on the County's Islandwide Road Resurfacing Program.

But as we reported on March 16 and again on March 22 new County Engineer Larry Dill didn't seem to be coming up with answers to satisfy anyone so Furfaro kept deferring the matter on March 9, March 23, April 6, April 20, and Dill kept coming up with excuses for why he couldn't answer the questions fully.

So Furfaro finally put them in writing and came up with a list of 8 questions based on Mickens' evolving 17 1/2-year-old list of queries.

And, as county engineers have done for decades, Dill kept stalling whether by just not showing up or pulling the old shuffle saying someone else had to answer the question but that person was (check one) in `O`ahu, on vacation, busy in an important meeting or some other lame excuse in the official County Engineers' Big Book of Bullsh*t Answers.

On May 3 Furfaro gave Dill two weeks so of course on May 18 Dill himself was off island.

And finally, last Wednesday, when the agenda item was called by the clerk (not in advance) the sheet with answers to the eight questions was distributed to councilmembers... all SIX of them.

Seems that June 1 was the day that, as everyone in the county knew- including of course Dill- Furfaro was in San Francisco negotiating a lower rate on the county's bonds.

The answers themselves were absurdly brief and non-responsive such as #2 which read

Q- Who is responsible for compiling and maintaining the data regarding paving and repaving

County roads?

A- The Roads Maintenance Division of the Department of Public Works.

The answer to Question #7 was quite revelatory regarding how the roads were chosen for repaving

Q- How does the Department of Public Works determine which roads should be resurfaced?

How are these roads prioritized and what type of criteria is followed?

A- A list of roads to be considered for resurfacing is maintained by the Roads Maintenance

Division. Roads are added to this last due to input from Roads Maintenance personnel or the

public. The Division Head inspects all the roads and prioritizes the roads for resurfacing,


* Pavement condition

• Volume of traffic

• Potential liability if deferred

• Grouping of roads

In other words using a totally subjective method leaving out "the ones the Mayor wants done".

The rest were a combination of double-talk and non-answers.

You'd think the six remaining councilmembers, having sat through all the crap of the past few months would be champing at the bit to tear Dill a new one. But this being Kaua`i, you'd be thinking wrong.

With Furfaro gone, a quick "Thank you Mr. Dill. Any questions? Hearing none we'll take a vote on the motion to receive this matter. All in favor say aye Motion carried" from Acting Chair Yukimura which brought an end to Mickens' hope that this year- his 80th- might be the one that yields answers and, god forbid, better roads.

Meanwhile back in his labyrinth, the Minotaur turned over, munched a few bones and went back to sleep thinking "life is good"

No comments: