Monday, February 28, 2011


OH YOU MEAN THAT QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS: Even though on-line posting of the paperwork associated with Kaua`i County Council agenda items has been promised and re-promised for years it is still impossible to get access to it without a drive to Lihu`e.

That may be why a week or so back our friend Ken Taylor came running up to our door with his hair on fire, waiving a stack of papers showing us a passage, way at the end of a memo attached to a money bill- #2397- to request “funding to cover shortages in operating budget accounts for solid waste disposal and collection.”

Cryptically as all get out it reads:

The Shrimp Farm extracted approximately $250,000 to provide assurance that the white spot syndrome would be mitigated flying trash within there (sic) property and laying (sic) in their ponds that could potentially lead to the spread of the disease. The cost of mitigation beyond the settlement is questionable as well as the negative publicity that could have a direct impact on our future landfill siting efforts.(emphases added)

What it sounds like is that the county, at some time or another, paid the shrimp farm that borders the landfill a quarter of a million dollars for, well, it’s not quite clear what for.

We generally try to keep track of quarter million dollar settlements by the county, as does Ken and neither of us ever remember seeing it taken up at a televised meeting or even on a county council agenda.

So when the bill came up for public hearing last week Taylor basically read the above sentence and said neither he nor anyone remembers seeing it on the agenda much less a vote for payment of the money.

"Even a $900 park bench donation has to be approved by the council” Taylor said, also raising questions about why we would have to pay the shrimp farm anything since it was they who built their farm next to the existing dump, not the other way around.

Council Chair Jay Furfaro responded that “it appeared as a claim” against the county “on a previous agenda” and that he did remember an executive session (ES) on the matter.

When Taylor asked when the ES was and started demanding more answers, Furfaro said that Taylor’s “questions will be noted and I will raise those concerns with the legal department” regarding why the settlement- which apparent was made- was never voted upon in open session.

Taylor refused to settle for such a nebulous promise- one Furfaro has made many times on many matters without any follow-up repeatedly asking “when” he might get an answer.

Furfaro, saying he doesn’t even know if the case was indeed settled and that it might still “be open,” promised multiple times that “I’ll get the date (of the ES) and agenda item within a week.”

The matter appears on the Public Works Committee agenda this Wednesday which will be exactly one week from the Furfaro’s promise.

Friday, February 25, 2011


YOUR HUMBLE SERVANT...: We’ve spent the week coughing up the rewards of a flu bug- so much for that shot- so we were planning on blowing off, not only our nose but, today’s post.

But we couldn’t resist this tidbit at the end to Wednesday’s council meeting.

Well, technically it was after the meeting during one of those certificate presentations that seem for some reason to be televised and captioned while interviews with prospective board and commission members, subcommittee meetings and budget hearings are banned from the airwaves.

We were barely able to get off the couch when the meeting itself ended and were barely hearing anything through our clogged noggin and so missed the name of the winner of the student film contest from Kapa`a whose “texting while driving” short was so nice they played it twice.

And when it was over Council Chair Jay Furfaro ventured that perhaps Councilmember Dickie “Mr. Wala`au” Chang- as he called himself on the ballot last November- could see his way clear to playing it on his “Wala`au” television program.

Seemingly oblivious to the County Code of Ethics, which among other things forbids him from using his position to promote his own private interests, Chang cut through the head-clutter and got our attention by replying that he’d be glad to air the video “on Wala`au which plays on Oceanic Time Warner, Channel 6, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7 a.m., 12 noon, 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 12 midnight.”

Dickie has always been known to have a sense of humility the size of a gnat knee but as usual just when you think you think you’ve seen it all, he reaches a new low of arrogant self promotion.

Perhaps that’s the reason he decided to get into politics- he’d run out of other ways to express his immodesty.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


EVERYBODY’S LAUGHING, EVERYBODY’S HAPPY: County Attorney (CA) Al “The Nebbish” Castillo surprised a select few with his apparent agreement with the ACLU- Hawai`i opinion about illegality of the Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho/KPD/anti-drug office-sponsored, anti-marijuana rally last week.

Others suspect though that perhaps his opinion had less to do with the issue at hand than it did with the long standing feud between Castillo and Iseri ever since both took office over two years ago. The infamous game of musical chairs at the time has left the county with a bunch of ex-prosecutors in the CA’s office and vice versa which may be why Castillo took the opportunity to stick it to Iseri.

But at the same council meeting where Iseri and Councilmember Mel Rapozo held their “Reefer Madness” cotillion, Castillo was busy doing his best Louis Quarorze impression, once again interrupting the council to remind them who, in reality, L'Etat c'est.

The issue at hand was a complicated one that has been doggedly pursued by activist Horace Stoessel even since January’s inaugural meeting fiasco over the evaluations of appointed officials, including the county clerk.

Stoessel has become a resource extraordinaire on the subject for the council, having sat on the Salary Commission and after spending years to emerge as an expert on the subject- as well as others- as it relates to the county charter.

So after Stoessel’s “three minutes times two” were up the council had many questions and was trying to ascertain his opinion on who should be responsible for writing into law the process for evaluations.

It’s all very esoteric but suffice it to say that it had gone on for quite a while when, like a petulant child piping up during a “grown-up conversation” Castillo couldn’t take it any more.

His first interruption was, as if they needed it, to “direct” the council to “stop”, saying Stoessel was well past his three minutes and was- gasp - actually engaging with them during deliberations- something former Chair Kaipo Asing invented and then promptly banned in order to take the public out of the public participatory process.

He was pretty much ignored and the council was finally getting to the nitty gritty of whether the council actually had the authority to dictate a system for evaluating administration appointees when Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura asked if she had properly understood Stoessel’s “legal conclusion” on a fine point.

That was just too much for Castillo who loudly protested that a “legal conclusion by anyone but the county attorney is irrelevant” and that it was “really improper” for Stoessel to reflect back on his time with the salary commission.

As Castillo spoke, the camera showed a clearly agitated Yukimura, rolling her eyes and shaking her head in disbelief. Then Council Chair Jay Furfaro tried to calm things reminding Castillo that he, Furfaro, was the chair and was “acting like any good manager,” likening it to seeking input from a valued employee whose knowledge and experience was essential to the conversation.

That brought back some decorum and discussion continued with a clearly agitated Castillo keeping his peace. But when it became apparent that the council was going to take Stoessel’s testimony to heart, the Sun King couldn’t control himself any more screeching out “I am the County Attorney” and then blathering on about how he should be consulted and boo-hoo-hoo and blah-blah-blah.

So tune in again next week folks for the comedic stylings of Iseri and Castillo and their ensemble of rotating attorneys. You can’t go wrong and well, the price is right... if you ignore the fact that your taxes paying for it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


WEARING PROTECTION: The reporters’ shield law passed by the legislature last year has quickly become an essential tool in the dissemination of information. It has allowed us to give the same confidentiality to sources this year that we have given in past decades only without the fear of having to go to jail for protecting the identities of whistleblowers.

Although we were never put in that situation it’s something that has happened to reporters across the country in states without a shield law. And there is no federal shield law for cases in federal courts.

The new law has allowed us to turn what used to be sometimes agonizing decisions into no-brainers, not just for we reporters but for sources as well who can now pass on information without fear of repercussions.

Of course we’d prefer to always name our sources but, especially on a small island like Kaua`i, we understand some people’s reluctance to come forward and attach their names. It does make our job a little bit more difficult since it often requires extra diligent double-checking for anonymously reported information, especially if there is no document involved.

But in their infinite lack of wisdom legislators put a “sunset date” of June 30, 2011 on the law meaning it must be passed one more time this year without any sunset date.

The good news is that House Bill 1376 passed out of the House Judiciary Committee yesterday with a unanimous vote and seems destined to move over to the Senate where it should have clear sailing.

But the bad news is that, as Civil Beat’s Sara Lin reported yesterday:

The final decision on any proposed extension of the law could ultimately lie with Gov. Neil Abercrombie. We've noted that he was the only Democrat in the U.S. House to vote against a bill that would have protected the confidentiality of reporters' sources in most federal court cases.

It’s hard to imagine his objections but it’s more important than ever that the bill pass both the house and senate with veto-proof majorities. Although no other hearings are currently scheduled it can’t hurt to send letters of support to all representatives ( and senators (

Though the law has perceptibly helped us in our reporting over the last year, the assurance of a shield law is doubly important for sources who are now assured that a reporter will not have pick between spending weeks in jail or caving to prosecutors bent on digging out their sources, as has happened in some cases recently.

Help us help you and support HB 1376.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


GET SMART: Though there’s been a deafening cone of silence over County Attorney Al Castillo’s response to the Hawai`i Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) letter that led to the cancellation of the county’s anti marijuana rally last Thursday, PNN has learned that Castillo has apparently opined that the ACLU was correct in telling the county that using county resources for the activities is illegal.

And to no one’s surprise Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho is none too pleased and has written two nasty letters to Castillo saying so.

Although we weren’t able to obtain Castillo’s “confidential” letter- which was addressed to Iseri, each individual council member, the Kaua`i Police Department (KPD) Chief Darryl Perry as well as three administration honchos- it is obvious from Iseri's responses, which were also “cced” to Mayor Bernard Carvalho, that Castillo supported the ACLU’s position.

In response to Castillo’s original email Iseri wrote

Subject: RE: Anti-Drug Rally Scheduled for February 17, 2011

Aloha Al,

It is quite unfortunate that you chose to send out an email with that tone. You are violating all of the county employees’ rights who chose to attend the rally on their own time. You are suppressing their First Amendment rights and your actions should not be condoned. I will be submitting a letter to the oversight body to review your actions. I have already received calls about you and other County officials that are prohibiting people from attending, even after work hours. Please stop doing this, as I believe, this exposes the county to significant liability.

Further, please be aware that your Deputy County Attorney, on county time, testified on a televised Council meeting with you present, to strongly oppose these same bills, that “other county officials” you make reference to in the press release, exposed the county to significant liability. Yet, I don’t see any reference to your office taking responsibility for its use of county resources to oppose legislation. You were present at the Council meeting and said ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. There is absolutely no authority for the County Attorney’s Office to testify in criminal matters. Let’s call a spade a spade. It is inappropriate to place blame when your office is guilty of the same actions. We are one County and to try to place blame when you were present when all this was happening is totally inappropriate, unprofessional and not in the County’s best interests.



But the ACLU did not say that there was anything wrong with employees using their own time and resources to lobby on legislation. In fact they said the opposite in their original letter writing:

At the outset, we note that the American Civil Liberties Union ("ACLU") has long advocated for individual free speech rights, regardless of the content of that speech. Additionally, the ACLU supports and defends the right of government officials and employees to comment on issues in their personal capacities. The issue with the upcoming Rally is not about the individual police officers, prosecuting attorneys and other county employees expressing their viewpoints, it is about the potential use of public resources (including time and labor of County employees) to do so.

The ACLU letter came the same day as the council meeting- which we described yesterday and presumably did not address the presentation made there.

After a response, also confidential, from Castillo, Iseri not only admitted that her office wrote the press release that the ACLU used to point out the illegality of Iseri’s actions, but gives a detailed description of who else acted in the same vein, writing:


If you haven’t done your total investigation, let it be clear that our office prepared the “draft” release. The “draft” release was provided to KPD to review. It was Beth Tokioka that reviewed it, edited it, and sent it onward. Beth even took the liberty of making amendments to include a quote from Theresa Koki that was never in our initial draft release. Theresa Koki was never presented the release, and never made any quotes because I specifically had asked her about it when the release was amended . It was very clear to me that once we mentioned that Jake had prepared the release, you then took the position to blame KPD and OPA, because of quotes in the release. I find it very sad that because of the unprofessional manner in which this matter was handled at your doing, what started out as a great act of collaboration between KPD, the Administration and the Prosecutor’s Office, has turned into a chaotic event.


So what did the ACLU say?

Before the passage on employees actions on their own as private citizens they wrote:

Re: February 17 Anti-Drug Rally

Dear Chief Perry and Mr. Castillo:

We write to raise serious legal concerns about the Anti-Drug Rally scheduled for tomorrow, February 17, 2011 ("Rally"). In short, we believe that Kauai County employees are acting outside the scope of their limited, delegated authority, thus exposing the County to litigation. See Rees v. Carlisle, 113 Hawai`i 446, 153 P.2d 1131 (2007). Consequently, we recommend that you cancel or postpone the Rally to allow for further discussion.

1- Factual Background

As we understand it, the Kauai Police Department, the Prosecuting Attorney and others are sponsoring the Rally to "raise awareness and inform the community about the dangers associated with pending marijuana legislation." Kauai Police Department News Release, February 12, 2011. The News Release quotes Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, speaking in opposition to specific pieces of legislation currently pending before the Hawaii State Legislature, as stating that `"[i]f passed, these measures will result in increased violent crime, economic crisis and a rise in marijuana usage among our children.'" Id. Finally, the News Release unequivocally states that "Nine police chiefs and prosecuting attorneys from each of the four counties stand united against this dangerous legislation." Id. (emphasis added). Thus, it cannot be disputed that the overriding purpose of the Rally is to persuade constituents to lobby legislators to vote against the pending bills, HB 1169 and SB 58.

The main case that the ACLU cites in its “Legal Background” is Rees v. Carlisle, saying that:

In 2002, the ACLU of Hawaii Foundation ("ACLU of Hawaii") filed suit on behalf of journalist Robert Rees against County Prosecutor Peter Carlisle. The gravamen of the case concerned Carlisle's improper use of public funds to actively advocate in favor of and campaign for the passage of a state constitutional amendment, Senate Bill No. 996 of 2002 ("amendment" or "Question 3"). It was undisputed that Carlisle used public resources for this purpose. The ACLU of Hawaii argued, inter alia, that: (a) neither the City Charter nor Hawaii Revised Statutes ("HRS") § 2840.6 authorized Carlisle's expenditure of public funds to engage in partisan political campaigning; and (b) any law that purported to grant such authority would run afoul of a myriad of constitutional rights, including free association, free speech and the fundamental right to vote.

In 2007, the Hawaii Supreme Court held that "neither the Revised Charter of Honolulu nor HRS § 28-10.6 authorize the prosecuting attorney to advocate for a proposed constitutional election[.]" Rees v. Carlisle, 113 Hawai`i 446, 456, 153 P.2d 1131, 1141 (2007). Based on this holding, the Court declined to reach the constitutional issues. A copy of this decision is attached for your ready reference.

The case seems to go way beyond the incident at hand, going to the very heart of a government employee using office time and/or resources to lobby for or against any legislation- a common practice of police and prosecutors statewide.

In a section called “Neither the Police Department Nor the Prosecutor Is Empowered to Use Public Funds to Advocate for a Particular Legislative Result” the letter says that:

The powers of the Police Department and the Prosecutor are set forth by the County of Kauai Charter, Article XI and IXA, respectively. Notably absent from these articles is any language that authorizes either the Police Department or the Prosecutor to spend public resources to educate the public about issues relating to crime research, prevention and education. Cf. H.R.S. §28-10.6 (authorizing the state Attorney General to spend public resources in this regard); R.C.H. 8-104(e-i) (passed post-Rees to authorize the Honolulu Prosecutor to do the same).

First, the plain language of the County of Kauai Charter limits the authority of the Prosecutor to prosecuting crimes. County of Kauai Charter, Article IXA, Sec. 9A.03. It is well-settled that the Prosecutor's powers and functions are limited to those expressly accorded to his office by the statute creating it. 63A Arri.Jur.2d, Prosecuting Attorneys § 20 (1984). 1 The County of Kauai Charter similarly limits the authority of the Police. County of Kauai Charter, Article XI, Section 11.05. 2 There is no statutory or other Given the similarity in language in Kauai's County Charter and the pre-2007 Honolulu County Charter, court decisions affecting the Honolulu Prosecutor are analogous to the situation now presented by the Kauai County Prosecutor. Honolulu's Department of the Prosecuting Attorney was established in Article VIII of the Revised Charter of Honolulu ("R.C.H.") of 1973 (1983). "Unless otherwise specifically provided by statute, his powers and functions are limited by § 8-105 [now § 8-104] of the Charter to the prosecution of criminal offenses against the laws of the State and the ordinances and rules and regulations of the city." Marsland v. Pang, 5 Haw. App. 463, 472, 701 P.2d 175, 184 (1985) (noting that the county prosecutor only "has been delegated the primary authority and responsibility for initiating and conducting criminal prosecutions within his county jurisdiction").

Furthermore, this limitation on the Prosecutor's powers also eviscerates any argument that engaging in the Rally is germane to the Prosecutor's function. Thus, as fully set forth infra wider Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977), and its progeny, the conduct of the Police Department and Prosecutor's Office constitutes forced speech in violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article I, §4, of the Hawaii Constitution.

2 Notably, the Charter empowers the Police to engage in "traffic safety education." "It is a general principle of statutory construction that when 'Congress includes particular language in one section of a statute but omits it in another section of the same Act, it is generally presumed that Congress acts intentionally and purposely in the disparate inclusion or exclusion." Barnhart v. Sigtnon Coal Co., Inc., 534 U.S. 438, 452, 122 S.Ct. 941, 951, 151 L.Ed.2d 908, 922 (2002) (citing Russello v. United States, 464 U.S. 16, 23, 104 S.Ct. 296, 300, 78 L.Ed.2d 17, 24 (1983)). Where the County wanted to provide the authority that grants the Police Department of the Prosecutor the power to expend public resources to educate the public on criminal justice issues.

Consequently, Rees V. Carlisle, 113 Hawaii 446, 153 P.2d 1131 (2007) is directly on point: neither Kauai's Prosecutor nor Police Department may engage in the type of activity proposed by tomorrow's Rally.

The ACLU letter goes onto say that not only are the actions of the county illegal but it exposes the county to liability. In a section marked “Using Public Resources to Fund the Rally and Associated Events Could Expose the County to Liability Under the First Amendment” they say that:

Such openly biased speech by public officials raises serious First Amendment questions. In the words of Justice Black: Probably no one would suggest that Congress could, without violating [the First] Amendment, pass a law taxing workers, or any persons for that matter (even lawyers), to create a fund to be used in helping certain political parties or groups favored by the Government to elect their candidates or promote their controversial causes.

Compelling a man by law to pay his money to elect candidates or advocate laws or doctrines he is against differs only in degree, if at all, from compelling him by law to speak for a candidate, a party, or a cause he is against. The very reason for the First Amendment is to make the people of this country free to think, speak, write and worship as they wish, not as the Government commands.

After a long passage describing various federal and Supreme Court of the US cases that support that, the ACLU letter concludes by saying:

Given the serious legal concerns about tomorrow's Rally, we would recommend that such Rally be canceled or postponed to allow for further discussion. A moderate delay will not hamper the legislative process on the contested bills given that HB 1169 appears to be dead and SB 58 has not yet been scheduled for hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Thank you in advance for your time and attention to this matter. If you have any questions or comments in the interim, please feel free to contact me at 383-8287 or Iperrin(at)acluhawaii)dot)org or Daniel Gluck, Senior Staff Attorney, at 522-5908 or dgluck(at)acluhawaii(dot)org.

Lois K. Perrin
Legal Director

The fact that Castillo has apparently supported the ACLU’s position now makes it a controlling opinion that the county must follow in the future. We hope that county employees will remember this when they use their position and time and resources to testify and seek to influence legislation in the future.

Monday, February 21, 2011


DOCTOR DOCTOR TELL ME THE NEWS: To simply call last week’s anti-pot council meeting a dog and pony show would be an insult to horses and hounds everywhere . And it would be to ignore the fall-on-the-floor side-splitting presentations of Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri Carvalho and Keith Kamita, head of the state’s drug enforcement division of the Department of Public Safety (DPS) in Councilmember Mel Rapozo’s Pubic Safety Committee.

Iseri- as always mangling the English language with her best "Miss Malaprop" impression- began her “power point” with the word “Marijuana” flashed on the screen in a font reminiscent of the movie “Reefer Madness.” Then, in a spittle-laced rant, she did her fear-mongering, fact-free best to eviscerate any credibility she might have had.

Starting with the much discredited “gateway” theory she soon moved on to medical marijuana with an attack on sick people claiming that, despite clear language in the law, the program was “supposed to be” only for certain terminal patients, and stating that there was a “loophole” for use by those in pain- which, studies show is one of the most beneficial uses of cannabis.

“Doctor” Iseri then turned her rant to trying to convince no one in particular that pot causes violence- failing to understand that it the fact that it’s illegality that leads to any associated violence- and making the claim that the decriminalization of less than an ounce would “allow juveniles to possess” cannabis- a claim later repeated over and over whenever she felt trapped by the actual facts.

There’s also been some public discussion of her contention that an ounce of pot equals 50-60 “joints”. Considering that there’s 28 grams in an ounce and joints of ½ gram are common- although small- the stat might make sense.

But, in fact, in trying to make the claim Iseri held up giant gallon Zip-loc bag containing those 50 or so joints that the vice division of the Kaua`i Police Department (KPD) had prepared, each of which were big enough to be called spliffs.

Among her other claims were that pot nowadays is 10 times stronger than in the 90’s and that plants now contain 37% THC.

We’re pretty sure there are lots of people out there that would like some of that 10-times-stronger, 37% THC pot.

“This is undisputed” she shrieked, adding that this apparently proves somehow that it’s “clearly an addictive drug,” even though no one has ever been physically addicted as commonly are with crystal methamphetamine or heroin abuse.

She then suggested that instead of medical marijuana people use the ineffective government substitute “Marinol” which contains only one of the elements of marijuana by filtering out all of the other beneficial parts used when smoking or ingesting the whole plant.

She prattled on for a while with the usual unsupported blather about how medical use was just a front for legalization, how it’s marketed to children, how “huge amounts of crime” are associated with compassion centers on the mainland- even trying to ridicule the term- and the “myth” that petty possession cases are clogging the courts.

But when she was done Councilperson JoAnn Yukimura, doing her best “Colombo” impression, first cited an actual study- one cited in the legislative decriminalization bills- showing the gateway claim is bogus.

Over and over she asked Iseri for her “studies” to support her facts to no avail. Finally Iseri admitted that everything she said was “our opinion” and that many of her “facts” were indeed the opinions of mainland police departments.

Yukimura, along with Councilperson Tim Bynum also put the lie to Iseri’s claim that the bill to decriminalize less than an ounce would “legalize” marijuana- a term she used repeatedly to try to claim that it would legalize pot use “by kids.”

In fact possession of less than an ounce would still be illegal but it would no longer be a criminal act, only a “violation” subject to a fine as in a parking ticket- a fact that Iseri admitted only after having been asked six- and yes we counted- times.

Iseri also couldn’t cite any study for her claim that pot uses four dollars in social services for every one dollar spent on buying it.

When it got to be Councilmember Dickie Chang’s turn he had apparently never heard of Marinol and, well frankly, he seemed to have much more interest in it than an academic inquiry might have generated.

One trick Iseri tried to use over and over was that, when trapped in her lack of documentation for anything she said she would immediately use misdirection to talk about either use by children or by those at work or operating heavy machinery.

Her sidekick Kamita- the one from the drug enforcement division- is actually the one who administers the medical marijuana program and in trying to show why he wanted to keep oversight in the DPS he made a great case for why the medical program should be taken away from someone like him who actually opposes the program and is more interested in arresting medical users who have a gram more than permitted than in their health.

That’s why one of the bills which Kamita, Iseri and Rapozo all oppose would transfer oversight to the Department of Health (DOH) where it is in every other state with a medical marijuana program and where regulation of any medicine belongs.

Yukimura finally described how the real issue has been access to marijuana for those for whom it is recommended by a doctor under the program and how dispensaries are actually a method that has worked in other states with few problems and actually with decreases in crimes associated with the illegality of pot.

Though Kamita first objected, defending his claim of crime increasing around dispensaries on the mainland, he finally admitted the he didn’t really know and was relying on the propaganda put out by some PDs and prosecutors in California- who of course also stand to lose federal and state grants and funding should the crime associated with illegality disappear.

Kamita and Iseri mumbled and stumbled through it all but finally, after having their excuses derided as nonsense, turned of course to the last refuge of these stragglers in the mid-20th century... saying it “sends the wrong message.”

What message is that? That both your jobs and much of you funding depends on marijuana interdiction?- something they and Rapozo scoffed at but of course couldn’t deny. The message that you’re the last bastion of those in denial at the real facts behind marijuana?

The fact that marijuana is really a “wonder drug” that treats many maladies?

But Rapozo, who was thus running the meeting, wasn’t about to let them look too out of touch and idiotic so he stopped the questioning and turned to public testimony.

That brought up the head of the KPD vice squad who, thankfully, brought some sanity to the discussion more or less deriding the “gateway” idiocy saying that “if you drink a glass of wine you’re not going to turn into a raging alcoholic” and, in answer to a question by Yukimura admitted that “not everyone” who uses pot turns to hard drugs.

He was followed by a handful of people, in favor of the state decriminalization, dispensary and transfer from DPS to Department of Health bills. Each was unceremoniously cut off by Rapozo after their three minutes and, although given an extra minute to “sum up,” were again cut off after another 45 seconds.

We mention that because they were followed by three county employees- two with the mayor’s anti-drug office and another the county attorney who serves KPD- each of whom was given around five minutes without interruption.

Finally Rapozo ended the session by saying “I will close with a very brief” statement and warbling on for almost 15 minutes waffling between statements like “I don’t oppose medical marijuana” and deriding use for things like migraine headaches and intractable, chronic pain.

Of course this was all before Rapozo’s and Iseri’s “anti-pot rally” fiasco last Thursday which that was shot down by the ACLU with a letter to the county regarding the use of county employees and resources to lobby or promote action on legislation- something that the Hawai`i and California courts have said is illegal.

We’ll comment on the letter later this week because it’s an issue that goes well beyond the medical or decimalization of marijuana issue. But if you want a uproarious evening of laugh-until-you-cry entertainment make sure to catch the Mel and Shay Show now playing on Channel 53.

Friday, February 18, 2011



PNN is pleased to have the opportunity oust the three of the worst of the “good old boys” and support Pat Gegen, Ken Stokes and Kuulei Santos in the upcoming Kaua`i Island Utilities Coop (KIUC) Board of Directors election.

While the issues of smart, environmentally-conscious, alternative, cost-effective, non-carbon energy is the ultimate issue, of late it’s become clear that unless and until the board reverses their “gag rule,” which requires the board to speak with one voice, all the other issues will never be addressed- much less with proper member involvement.

In answer to questions posed by the local newspaper, Gegen has stated in no uncertain terms that :

I believe that the KIUC board needs to be more open and responsive to the member/owners. Currently board members are limited on how much they can reveal regarding their views versus the views of the board — this needs to change in order for the co-op to be a truly democratic and responsive organization.

We also believe that Stokes- a leader is energy issues for decades- and Santos will join Gegen in finally attaining a majority of true member representatives- as opposed to corporate shills David Iha, Teofilo “Phil” Tacbian, Peter Yukimura who primarily are responsible for the sorry state of our electricity coop.

We agree with our friend Juan Wilson who, in endorsing Gegen, Stokes and Santos wrote at his Island Breath web site:

New blood is needed at KIUC if it ever is to be a cooperative with the interest of Kauai residents as a priority, and based on the realities that are coming on fast. Instead of focusing on demand destruction, resilience and decentralization the KIUC board as kept to a path of centralization, continued debt and "reliability". That path leads to burning biomass, investment in another conventional power plant and long term reliance on high cost power.
Never has there been a clearer choice and never have we had the opportunity- joining with current board members Carol Bain, Jan TenBruggencate and Ben Sullivan- to form a “people’s board” and oust the current regime.

We urge you to join us in voting for a new energy future by marking your KIUC Board of Directors ballot for Pat Gegen, Ken Stokes and Kuulei Santos.


We’re venturing into the “unknown zone” and will be trepidatiously switching to another computer (yea). If for some reason things don’t go smoothly- and with our lack of computer skills that’s a distinct probability- we may miss a day here and there without notice in the coming week or so. Thanks for you patience.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


COME HELL OR HIGH BONG WATER: No one seems to know for sure what will happen this afternoon when the appointed time for Councilmember Mel Rapozo’s and County Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho’s anti-marijuana rally comes around.

But only two things seem certain at press time- a bunch of counter demonstrators will likely show up and so will Mel Rapozo.

The rest is a subject for the Babooze Comedy Hour starring the Keystone Cops.

The curtain opened with Act 1 this morning at 10:36 when the Kaua`i Police Department (KPD) issued the following fishy sounding press release.

Anti-drug rally cancelled

LĪHU'E – An anti-drug rally that was scheduled at 4 pm this afternoon in front of the Historic County Building has been cancelled due to the threat of flash flooding for Kaua`i County.

A flash watch is in effect for Kaua`i and Ni`ihau through tomorrow morning.

The rally was planned to raise awareness and inform the community of the pending marijuana legislation now being considered by the state Legislature.

It’s not clear if anyone bought that excuse after our article yesterday exposed the use of county resources to plan the rally and an order from Iseri that attendance was “mandatory” for her staff attorneys and, ahem, strongly encouraged for the rest of the staff... with a suggestion that they “rearrange” their “schedule” to attend.

But in Act 2, at 12:23 p.m.- less than couple of hours after the first release- it disappeared from the county’s press release page, replaced with the following release, this one from the office of County Attorney Al Castillo:

Update on anti-drug rally

LĪHU'E – County officials said this morning that they received a complaint from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) regarding the anti-drug rally that was scheduled at 4 pm this afternoon in front of the Historic County Building.

“We are in receipt of the ACLU complaint and my office is reviewing it,” said County Attorney Alfred Castillo.

The rally was cancelled due to the complaint and for safety concerns due to the threat of flash flooding for Kaua`i County.

A flash watch is in effect for Kaua`i and Ni`ihau through tomorrow morning.

The rally was planned to raise awareness and inform the community of the pending marijuana legislation now being considered by the state Legislature.

Oh to be a fly on the wall to witness all that went into that release.

But Act 3 was on it’s way and at 1 p.m. a “Breaking News” update appeared at the local newspaper’s web site from new cops and court reporter Jessica Musicar with a headline of “Rapozo: Anti-drug rally still a go”

Musicar wrote:

Is it canceled or isn't it?

Whether an anti-drug rally will be held at 4 p.m. remains unclear, as the county and a member of its council have indicated conflicting answers.

Kaua`i County Council member Mel Rapozo, who said he originally scheduled the rally, plans to show up at the historic County Building with other participants, regardless of the county's notice of cancellation. The rally was intended to raise awareness and inform the community about pending marijuana legislation under consideration by the state Legislature.

This morning, however, the county canceled the rally, citing a weather warning. It later noted this afternoon in a press release that the cancellation is also tied to a complaint from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Rapozo said he is upset that the county was hiding behind the weather.

"To use the weather as an excuse is unacceptable," Rapozo said. "The reason for the cancellation wasn't the weather. It was the ACLU's concerns."

Although the county has not specified the nature of the complaint, stating only that County Attorney Alfred Castillo is reviewing it, Rapozo said the organization took issue with the county using public resources to host the rally.

Acting as a citizen of the county, rather than a councilman, Rapozo added he will be at the rally with church and youth groups...

We can see it now. Since county employees and any solicited attendees- like the island’s pastors and their minions who Rapozo urged to attend- most likely had heard about the “official” cancellation and the counter demonstrators- especially those who read the local newspaper on-line where, in the comments column, the protest was originally organized- probably either haven’t heard or heard Rapozo will be there, we expect to see Mel facing down a group of pissed off citizens.
But in all seriousness canceling the anti-pot-party after a complaint from the ACLU cannot be allowed to be where this ends. We urge a full investigation by at least the attorney general’s office if not the FBI- since of course KPD and the prosecutor are the alleged “perps”- as well as ethics complaints against Chief Darryl Perry whose underlings organized the KPD’s involvement, Councilmember Rapozo and, especially, Prosecuting Attorney Iseri... all of whom are or should be well aware of the laws.

It’s high time to take a page from the prosecutor’s playbook and make an example of those involved so that this type of thing never happens again.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


AN OFFER YOU CAN’T REFUSE: Today’s idiotic rally against marijuana took a well deserved bashing today from new and surprisingly enough competent cops and courts reporter at the local newspaper, Jessica Musicar, with an especially poignant “kicker” saying “Expert calls county press release ‘fear-mongering’” above a headline of “Kaua`i officials to rally against pot legislation.”

Joining her expert in questioning the sanity of the organizers was a letter (last one) in today’s Honolulu paper from Pamela G. Lichty, President of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii and, more surprisingly, the usually vapid local paper’s Greek Chorus which was joined by many new names and nearly unanimous- with 66 out of 67 comments and counting at press time (*see some below)- in condemning not just the reason for the rally but the propriety of government officials conducting the rally and other related issues.

We’re not sure whether it will materialize but many of the commenters promised to go down to the rally to mock and ridicule the participants.

Though the Musicar’s article claims that “the demonstration is being led by the Kaua`i Police Department, County of Kaua`i Anti-Drug Program, Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, among others” PNN has learned that, unsurprisingly, the “reefer madness” rally is the brain child (and we use that term loosely of course) of none other than Councilperson Mel Rapozo and his joined-at-the-hip, equally-craven doppelganger, Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho.

Seems that the idea for the rally got started when the babooze-meister himself sent a letter to as many pastors and religious leaders on the island as he could find asking them to rouse up their rabble to oppose the scourge of marijuana.

But, we’ve learned, not only are they urging government workers to attend but Iseri has notified the salaried attorneys in her office that attendance at the rally is “mandatory.” And, told the rest of the staff that they should “rearrange your schedule” to attend or if they couldn’t, to go after work, intimating that they were being offered time off to attend on the taxpayer’s dime.

These are the same staff that Iseri begged- and got- extra pay for recently in order to take care of a so-called “backlog of cases” that built up during the county furloughs, as we reported last week.

We’re not sure how many others in county government have been offered a similar “deal” but we wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the answer is every single one of them.

It’s outrageous enough that that the Kaua`i Police Department (KPD) and Prosecutor Iseri are, instead of simply enforcing the law, trying to tell the legislature what laws to enact. It’s even more outrageous that they would use the club of employment to force their underlings to support them, even if the employee disagreed with the “war on drugs,”- especially for as innocuous a drug as marijuana, especially compared to other drugs- as a misguided effort whose mid-20th Century mindset has run its course (according to the U.S. Justice Department).

The ultimate outrage is that Iseri has demanded some attend her stupid rally and used the bribery of time off- and/or the extortion of an implied threat that further employment might be jeopardized- to make sure they are marked present.

The lies about what goes on in California are abominable. The conflict of interest in supporting a big money ticket for the police and prosecutors- who not only receive grants for eradication and interdiction but get to keep the proceeds of their seizures for extra goodies that they can't ask the council for- is obscene.

The idea that they are using their position to try to stop a sane decriminalization policy toward general use and a saner still policy in providing a safe and legal means for patients who require medical marijuana is sickening.

But to do it all on the taxpayers’ dime is intolerable.


*Here are a selection of the comments on the article in the local paper. All are “sic.”

hampstr: I lived in Venice, California, about 3 blocks from 2 medical marijuana clinics. There was never any violence or crime associated with either of the clinics. These claims are so ludicrous that I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. It's not 1964 anymore. It's 2011 and we all know that marijuana doesn't doesn't lead to riots in the streets.

Jinx138: I have a problem with people publicly opposing or supporting anything in uniform. This falsly sugestes that they are speeking for the whole organization when they are only speaking for themselves.

sebastaloha: You should sit outside the dispensary here in town...the patients are from all walks of life, all ages, all socio-economic classes. There are no bars on the windows, no hardcore security thugs, and no fear of ripoff or prosecution. Its right in town, amidst all other businesses....they are well respected, and the neighboring businesses have no problems with them either. The city council backs them, and is involved in forming the rules and regulations that they abide by. No using the medicine on or around the premises, and if you have it acceessible in your vehicle you can be ticketed for open-container just as alcohol. Educate ourselves and your children

stop the lies: The police and prosecuting attorney are marching against pot, it is quite simple, they are afraid to lose their job. If we the people decide to decriminalize pot, how can they justify what they do for a living.

Sensei: Since when do government officials organize protest rallies against the government? The Constitution gives that right to the PEOPLE. These selfish government employees are afraid of not showing enough convictions to merit their employment. Our prisons are filled with these minor drug users, costing us taxpayers millions of wasted money.

ltereader: This article reminds me of Reefer Madness. Are we seriously still in the 30s?.. Over the years I've seen pot work wonders with those in pain, or undergoing chemotherapy (no nausea), and even a senior with parkinson's. Smoking pot stopped the shaking long enough for him to regain some dignity and eat a meal on his own rather than being fed by others. Sadly, he was always paranoid about smoking it because of the laws. People like this should be entitled to smoke without worrying!

kekaha dave: disinformation aka. the "reefer madness" propaganda machine of kpd, with them discrediting the DARE program with outright lies to children regarding the use of cannabis, medical or not, is due to them being threatened by the loss of federal funding for green harvest which has been shoring up their inflated budget for years. helicopters do nothing to fight the devastating ice problem which is the paramount drug problem on kauai. it is reprehensible and pathetic that a state agency formed to uphold the law, steps outside the bounds of their job description and attempt political influence against necessary law referendums. it shows that they are biased in their job, fearful of loosing that job while uninterested in the needs of patients, to the point they need to demonstrate against pending law reform. the police are going down a slippery slope towards discrediting themselves for what they will demonstrate for is irrelevant to the reality of 8,000+ patients' needs. to protect and serve?

AiMoKea: (M)y sister-in-law was dying of cancer a few years back and the ONLY thing that gave her comfort was MJ. I SAW it work for her and have been pro-medical MJ ever since and also feel very strongly that those who spew the false propaganda against it are truly ignorant on the highest (pardon the pun) level.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


PAUL HARVEY’S REVENGE: It feels like “Let’s All Blow Smoke Up Bruce Laymon’s Ass Week” what with Laymon getting the kid-glove treatment from our friend Joan Conrow yesterday and again much more so from out no-so-much-friend Leo Azambuja in today’s local newspaper, all over Laymon’s hatemongering and intimidation campaign at Lepeuli (Larsen’s).

From multiple reports we’ve heard, the level of fear and loathing out there has increased exponentially with reports of confrontational incidents spurred by Laymon against beach goers since he withdrew his request for a state permit recently... as those who can read between the lines of Conrow’s and the paper’s reports can tell.

But one “comment” on Conrow’s post struck us as needing further exposure, that of Lepeuli activist Richard Spacer.

While many on both sides of the issue have criticized Spacer for both his tactics and his position on some of the issues- and although we don’t necessarily agree with him on all points- we thought his rebuttal needed exposure especially regarding some of the history of prescriptive rights and the case law concerning nudity. We also think his “report” regarding the FBI’s visit to Laymon investigating possible hate crimes- which we have independently confirmed- needs more exposure.

The rest, we need to point out, we can neither confirm or refute but are lending today’s column to his side of a story that was presented so one-sidedly, especially in today’s newspaper.

The third part was originally “edited” by Conrow but we requested and received that portion from Spacer today and have included it below.

Here are his comments, all “sic.”

Seems like Bruce Laymon has got to you as well, Ms. Conrow.

The reason the public has the right to access the ala loa trail THROUGH Waioli Corporation land because under the Highways Act of 1892, passed during the reign of Queen Lililoukalani, all roads, trails, etc, at that time were guaranteed to be public forever. The trail through Lepeuli existed in 1892. There are official maps from 1878 clearly showing the trail. There is Native Hawaiian testimony. Waioli Corporation is crying foul becasue they do not like that 1892 law that Lililoukalani had the wisdom to install as she saw the changes coming, and how arrogant haole landowners would keep Hawaiians off the land. A court case on the Big Island concerning an ala loa there was resolved with maps and Native Hawaiian testimony. It is not a private property issue. That is PR spin from Waioli and Laymon becasue they do not want the public to know about the Highways Act of 1892. Google it, see for yourselves.

The same is true in next door Kaakaaniu, owned by Patricia Hanwright. DLNR's Curt Cottrell in 2007 sent her a letter essentially saying to get ready and let them in, as the state claims a coastal trail through there. Patricia Hanwright won't budge. The same stubborness as Waioli. Waioli and Patricia Hanwright are united in denying this trail exists. I have discussed this on KKCR.

The FBI investigated because the KPD has a long history of racism against Caucasians and activists feel little to no vaule will come from filing complaints against Bruce Laymon's hate speech with KPD. How coincidental was the Caucasian guys were at Laymon's home at the time of the FBI visit. Was the FBI visit scheduled in advance or did they make a surprise visit? Do you honestly think the macho he-man local boy police officer would do anything about a gay, lesbian or naturist being attacked? Whether his father is or is not Caucasian or anything else is irrelevant. Bruce Laymon's behavior stands on its own. Bruce Laymon on March 6 told Colorado beachgoer Dennis Bosio at 9:30 am that next week he was going to have 50 Hawaiians down at Larsen's and RUN the f****** haoles out. At 11:30 am the same day he told me he would have 100 Hawaiians there and said he was "taking back the beach." Whatever that is supposed to mean. Exactly HOW are the whites going to be "RUN" out of a PUBLIC beach? With guns, knives, machetes, spearguns, pit bulls?? Mr. Bosio made a notarized statement of the incident and this document is in the posession of the activists, DLNR, KPD, and attorney Colin Yost. It is publically accesible. It clearly documents Bruce Laymon's desire to drive white people out of Larsen's Beach. That means he is a bigot.

The Conservation District Use Permit (now void) granted to Bruce Laymon stated there would be no driving accross Waioli property to access the beach, unless it is NOAA or emergency vehicles. This is violated almost weekly by Filipino and Hawaiian associates of Bruce Laymon including Sherwood Iida who use Schoolhouse Road to set up camps, leave unattended fishing poles, and generally harass beachgoers. Funny how Bruce Laymon leaves that bit out.

Part 2.

The steep, un-maintained easement trail to the beach the Hawaiians mention is just that, an EASEMENT. We do not own it, Waioli does. If you read the easement document, and I assume you did because you were at county council July 7, 2010 when it was introduced, you would know Waioli reserves the right to erect walls or fencing on it. Waioli Attorney Don Wilson's theatrical on-camera denials notwithstanding, the legal document language reserves the right of Waioli to close it off.

Multiple times I have asked county spokesperson Mary Daubert to ask public works when they are going to maintain the county right-of-way trail we obtained in 1979 and the easment trail. I never get an answer as to when, and no improvement has been made to either trail in over a year. My latest request was referred to the county attorney. Why does Kauai County need to ask their lawyer before weed-whacking trails?

This "cattle ranching" project has little to do with cattle; it is all about keeping people away from Larsen's Beach that Bruce Laymon objects to. Who are those people? Bruce Laymon, Robert Schleck and Patricia Hanwright confidante and neighbor Steve Frailey have told us many times in public conversations, including October 16, 2009 at Larsen's. They use the euphemistic term "illegal behavior" to describe them. On January 19, 2011 a young lady who lives near the beach was attempting to use the gradual, lateral trail and was stopped by Bruce Laymon, busy installing 2 fence posts. She asked him who he was to stop her. He said he was the landowner. That is a fallacy. He is a lessee. She asked him WHY he was fencing. Bruce Laymon told her the fence is to keep campers, nudes, and gays from getting to the beach. In 2011 can you believe such bigoted speech is being uttered!? Campers on Waioli land is one thing. Gays and naturists on a public beach have legal protections and this hate speech against both groups is criminal and leaves Bruce Laymon and Waioli Corporation vulnerable to civil litigation. Being gay or lesbian in Hawaii is not illegal. Neither is topfree or nude sunbathing if you are not intending to affront of alarm (offend) someone on a NON-state park beach. A unanimous state supreme court ruling in 2000 settled this issue once and for all. A group called Kauai Naturists has been formed in response to recent events to document harassment of naturists, disseminate correct information, and to make certain this hate speech stops.
February 14, 2011 8:28 PM

Part 3 (note: only the final paragraph was permitted to be posted by Conrow. As noted above we received the first two paragraphs from Spacer):

Bruce Laymon is a Jehovah's Witness according to a member of that church I spoke with in Kapaa. This sect, many say cult, is well known for its intolerance of gays and lesbians. They consider it sinful and illegal. They also hate naturists. Bruce Laymon sees Larsen's as a sinful place and he is the appointed moral messenger to bring pure, "christian" values to that location, whether anyone agrees with him or not. Under Bruce Laymon's vision of Larsen's Beach, judge Sabrina Shizue McKenna, nominated by Governor Neil Abercrombie to sit on the state supreme court, would be excluded from this PUBLIC beach because she is gay. The passing of civil unions and the imminent signing into law of that legislation must be causing Bruce Laymon to lose his mind. Meanwhile, how is it that Robert Schleck, who is gay, is Bruce Laymon's boss, a man who hates gays?! What is that?

Of course, the joke is on Bruce Laymon because Waioli Corporation is using him as a pawn to "clean up" the land so it can be sold to the highest bidder for housing development. Waioli Vice President Charles Spitz told us that recently, as well as that Waioli spent over $40,000. in legal fees over this issue. So much for Waioli valuing preservation.

This issue has severely damaged Waioli's reputation. Ms. Conrow, you ask how to stop the "insanity". How to stop it is for the pro-access board members (there ARE pro-access members) to dump Robert Schleck, Bruce Laymon, and the anti-access trustees on the board NOW. Deed to the public in perpetuity and irrevocably the gradual trail from the Kaakaaniu line to the Waipake line. It is time for Waioli Corporation to say "aloha" instead of "kapu".

Monday, February 14, 2011


IT’S MY PARTY AND I’LL WHINE IF I WANT TO: You wouldn’t know it from a visit but for well over 30 years war has raged at Maha`ulepu- the moniker used to describe last stretch of undeveloped coastline on the otherwise tourist-trampled South Shore of Kaua`i.

It hasn’t been because Grove Farm hasn’t tried and tried and tried again. After a contested case hearing before the planning commission in the late 70’s failed to stop the golf course at the Hyatt, people became more and more concerned that the rest of the coastline would soon become another of those “beaches they sell to build their hotel” unless people organized a permanent effort to preserve the area.

So a decade later Malama Maha`ulepu formed to provide a permanent presence to make sure that Grove Farm’s plans would be permanently back-burnered.

This weekend the hostilities flared once again over a seemingly innocuous upcoming event at the nearby Makauwahi Cave where archeologists David and Lida Pigott Burney have been conducting their study of the “sinkhole” for the last decade plus.

When Professor Burney first made his “discovery” those seeking to preserve the area had hopes that it would become just one more reason to preserve the area. But over the years Burney has, according to most preservationists, became anything but an ally, instead crawling in bed with Grove Farm whenever possible, toeing the company line and doing anything and everything they asked as long as he could maintain “his” dig.

The problems of his possessiveness and need to be cozy with Grove Farm (GF) have put him at odds with some of the goals of Malama Maha`ulepu (MM) before but this weekend he inexplicably exploded when a poster and notice about his “appreciation celebration” was forwarded to MM’s members.

It seemed innocent enough and rather innocuous. The widely distributed email with an attached a “pdf” of a poster promoting the event opened by saying:

Please join us on Sunday, March 6, 2011 at 2pm in the Makauwahi Cave at Maha`ulepu for an appreciation celebration.

This appreciation day is in recognition of the thousands of people who have volunteered over the last two decades to help nurture the Makauwahi Cave Reserve to life!

It then described the program’s entertainment, recognitions and remembrances and gave directions- all information straight from the poster- giving the Burney’s email and phone “for more information.”

But apparently they ticked of Burney by ending it with:


Malama Maha`ulepu
PO Box 658
Koloa, HI 96756
follow us on facebook at Malama Maha`ulepu

(Full disclosure: we have volunteered with Malama Maha`ulepu many times.)

That elicited a scathing letter from Burney giving his “apologies” and complaining that MM was usurping his little party to honor his wife who has the job as “manager of the Makauwahi Cave Reserve.”

Nowhere did the letter say it was an MM sponsored event. And the poster didn’t even have MM’s name on it.

Then why? Well it would do an injustice to excerpt his letter explaining why he needs to keep his lips firmly affixed to Grove Farm’s butt.

MM distributed his letter that said:

Dear friends,

It is with regret that Lida and I have to circulate this message, but we feel it is very important to make something clear: the invitation that you received today from Malama Maha`ulepu implies that they are the sponsors of an “Appreciation Day” event at Makauwahi Cave March 6. They re-named our poster file (sent out originally as “poster.pdf” to “mm.poster.makauwahi.appreciation” and attached a letter that would give anybody who didn’t know better the impression that they are the organizers of this event.

They emphatically ARE NOT, and this is why it matters: Grove Farm employees have been invited to this event, as well as our “neighbors” down there – other Grove Farm leaseholders. I know with certainty that these folks, who have all played a big role in making our project possible at the cave over the last 20 years, do not support some of the positions espoused by the Malama Maha`ulepu organization, and will not attend if the illusion is perpetrated in the community that this is an MM-sponsored event. MM members and in fact everybody is welcome at this event, but we are not seeking their co-sponsorship as this could understandably cause our project great harm by souring the cordial relationship we have with our landlord, Grove Farm, and with many others in the community. We have always strived to maintain neutrality in the sometimes heated political issues down there, and do not wish our efforts hampered by direct association with the advocacy of MM or any other group. Our mission is to research, restore, and interpret Makauwahi Cave, that is all. As long as Grove Farm continues to entrust the property to our care, we intend to make everybody welcome regardless of their political views or group affiliations.

Again, our apologies,

David A. Burney
Lida Pigott Burney

Ooooo- a little touchy aren’t we. Wonder why.

Maybe because over the years the Burneys have taken advantage of MM’s preservation efforts to publicize his project which almost always receives a prominent display at MM tabling and events. As a matter of fact their PR efforts have been the chief way his project been publicized locally.

Even though the MM letter didn’t even intimate it was theirs Burney felt the need to make perfectly clear that, despite his claim that he’s “strived to maintain neutrality in the sometimes heated political issues down there” he has indeed, as his words indicate, always supported GF in their endeavors as long as they leave his little kuleana in Maha`ulepu alone.

Malama Maha`ulepu has only one mission- to preserve and preserve access to the whole region, including “the Burneys’” cave. Burney on the other hand is okay with letting Grove Farm use him to drive a wedge between preservation efforts for the entire area and preservation of his own private- and by the way, very profitable- venture.

Grove Farm continues to covet Maha`ulepu if not as a place of future development- due predominantly to MM’s vigilance- as leverage for development elsewhere. By refusing to support preservation of anything but his own enterprise Burney erodes the efforts of the community at large to eventually fulfill the vision of a permanent Maha`ulepu preserve.

Like the missionary Wilcox family that founded Grove Farm, the Burneys came to Kaua`i to do good and have done very well indeed.

Friday, February 11, 2011


HARD TO SWALLOW: Another characteristic of the true babooze is that he thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room but in reality everyone sees through the ploy he’s trying to foist on everyone.

So it should come as no surprise to anyone that, after seeing the tape of Wednesday’s council meeting and receiving a copy of the text of Mel Rapozo’s so-called amendment to the plastic bag ban bill, we’ve confirmed that we were right yesterday in asserting that the move is a thinly disguised attempt to allow their ubiquitous use once again.

As we suspected yesterday his bill strikes the definition of a plastic checkout grocery bag that, in Ordinance 885 made for a “de facto” ban by requiring, not just that they are compostable or biodegradable but that they not contain any fossil fuel polymers, since no such bag currently exists. Unlike the outright ban on Maui our bill allows the bags if and when a bag that meets this requirement becomes available.

So the bill simply changes the definition removing the “fossil fuel polymers” part.

The amendment now defines a plastic bag by saying:

“Biodegradable bag" means a bag that is made of a degradable plastic in which the degradation is caused by naturally occurring microorganisms such as bacteria fungi and algae.

But if anyone had any doubt about Rapozo’s intent they need only have watched the meeting where, although lip service was given to things like “food safety” and “sanitation,” no one who spoke could really say how exactly plastic bags would specifically keep food safe.

Rather, each person - including Rapozo himself- couldn’t help themselves in quickly descending into whining and sniveling about the inconvenience and how paper bags break and are more costly and we reuse the plastic bags and all the other blah, blah, blah arguments made by people who can’t be bothered ending even one little disgustingly polluting habit or putting a small kink in their consumerist lifestyle.

Two fascinating exchanges put an end to any argument of food safety and its relationship with plastic bags. Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura tried to follow the chain of events that would actually lead to food poisoning with and without plastic bags.

Whether or not a cloth bag contains pathogenic – disease causing- germs those germs must somehow get from the bag into someone’s mouth. So the link- admitted by both the “expert” Kaua`i Community College instructor and "chef" and the restaurant owner eventually admitted was that- shock of shock, news of news- people need to wash their hands before they eat, especially if they have had them in a dirty smelly bag that they had previously spilled pathogen-containing materials.

Didn’t these people have mothers?

No one of course ever suggested just using clean, reusable bags when putting their food in them.

The Chef wasn’t even really clear on where germs live, maintaining that metal, wood and plastic contain “no” germs. Actually studies have shown that the most germ-laden things in a typical room are the metal door knobs and the plastic telephone receiver.

The restaurateur- Mark Oyama of “Mark’s Place”- came with a bunch of his employees in tow to oppose the bill. He went so far as to say that no one ever washes their hands before they eat their plate lunch.

And, as we said, they all gave initial lip service to food safety before launching into descriptions of broken paper bags, public inconvenience and the way plate lunches spill on the car seat or get crushed if you stack them.

At one point the seriousness of it all- the inconvenience not the food safety- was described at the behest of Councilperson Dickie Chang who urged one of Oyama’s employees to tell a story that she had told him earlier.

Seems that a stack of plate lunches had been ordered and the one at the bottom had become crushed and spilled- although it was not really obvious how it even had anything to do with the use or non-use of plastic bags.

And whose lunch was that asked Chang?

Seemly on the verge of tears the employee blurted out “Th-th-the mayor’s lunch.” Fortunately there was an extra lunch so the 300-plus pound behemoth didn’t have to skip a meal (god forbid). But it was a disaster nonetheless because they mayor didn’t get the lunch he actually wanted, she explained.

And on and on it went with a bit of initial mumbling about this mythical food safety issue followed by tales of horror, supposedly- but actually tenuously- involving the lack of plastic bags.

One of our favorite non-sequitors was that out of one side of their mouths people wanted to use the plastic bags for when the plate lunch- the ones dripping with extra gravy and sauces, ably described by Chang- spill inside the bag.

But almost all of the Mark’s place staff- and Rapozo himself at one point- just had to state that everyone uses the plastic bags for trash can lines, dog poop picker-uppers, wet bathing suits and the like.

So you’re reusing the ones dripping with gravy? Or is there really a whole other agenda at work here?

Those who care about keeping the plastic bag law the way it is you might want to consider calling Oyama at 245-2522 and telling him that if he keeps it up you’re not going to be patronizing his establishments anymore.

The worst part is that no one at the meeting pointed out either the scam contained in the wording of the bill or called all these people on their obvious real motive in trying to get back their precious free plastic bags back. Some even complained that they would now need to buy huge 13 gallon trash bags even though the small wastebasket size ones are also available everywhere.

Finally we just have to respond to Rapozo’s charge that we “left out” an important part of a Consumer Reports story about the University of Arizona study- funded by the plastic bag industry- calling the health issues “just baloney”.

Nitpicker Glenn Mickens had quoted the report saying he read about it in Andy Parx’s blog. Rapozo responded that we had left out the “important part” which he read aloud.

It stated that:

It’s easy to spread bacteria from meat, fish, or poultry to other foods... So we do think it’s wise to carry those items in disposable bags. Reusable bags are fine for most everything else, but it’s a good idea to wash them occasionally.

There are two problems here. First we did in fact post the paragraph he read. Second, as we said, the reference is to use of disposable (note the use of disposable not plastic) for RAW meats which is of course a use that our ordinance exempts anyway.

After that the whole thing degenerated into a discussion of Andy Parx’s blog eventually ending with a ruling from the county attorney that anything Andy Parx says is not on the agenda and so any discussion of what Andy Parx says must stop immediately.

One more thing- we just love this argument- made by Rapozo in bullying and badgering activist Ken Taylor- that somehow because we’re not banning all sorts of bad things like Styrofoam and other plastics pollutants we shouldn’t be banning plastic bags.

Rapozo seized on the phrase used by Taylor and others that they “support the bill as it is” and absurdly twisted that into trying to say that meant that people didn’t want to ban anything else like plastic water bottles or Styrofoam.

Finally, veins bulging in his forehead Rapozo prosecutorially shouted at Taylor requring him to “answer yes or no” as to whether the environment was more important that human food safety.

Taylor kept his cool saying that it wasn’t a yes or no question and turning the tables on Rapozo asking why he wasn’t amending the bill to ban all sort of plastics. That shut Rapozo up but the attempt at imtimidation was classic Rapozo- a tactic he’d learned at the feet of the master, former Chair Kaipo Asing.

The public hearing on the bill is March 2 at 1:30 p.m. Don’t miss it. Let Rapozo know you won’t stand for this kind of crap.

And bring a plate lunch- with extra gravy. Maybe even two... just in case the mayor is there.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


ONE OF THESE DAYS...: The motto of the true babooze is “don’t confuse me with the facts.”

For our purposes it doesn’t really matter whether he’s merely too lazy to look at Ordinance 885 and read the record or hell bent on misrepresenting his effort to gut the plastic bag ban.

Either way Councilmember Mel Rapozo’s efforts are an affront to rationality.

After yesterday’s first reading the bill now heads to a public hearing where Rapozo’s “amendment”- which doesn’t seem to be posted at the county’s web site- will no doubt be further ridiculed.

And sensing he’s fighting a losing battle, it’s apparent that Rapozo is going to try to use lies and obfuscation to essentially end the ban.

In a comment on the article in the newspaper Rapozo wrote:

This article failed to mention the most important component of the amendment. Food service establishments will be required to use biodegradable/compostable plastic bags. These bags will help to protect the environment while addressing the issue of food safety.

Bullsh*t Mel.

First of all, if he had bothered to read the ordinance and the record he’d have found out that we don’t really ban plastic bags. But we have a stricter standard than simply “biodegradable” which is a nebulous terms that has allowed bags that are not really “biodegradable” to be used in other jurisdictions where bans on non-biodegradable bags are in effect.

Our ordinance requires two things of any plastic grocery bags. As we wrote last October as part of our extensive coverage of the development and passage of the ordinance:

The ordinance allows only "biodegradable bags" which according to the ordinance “means a bag that (1) contains no polymers derived from fossil fuels; (emphasis added) and (2) is intended for single use and will decompose in a natural setting at a rate comparable to other biodegradable materials such as paper, leaves, and food waste.”

And, as we detailed, that type of bag is not yet being produced anywhere in the world, according to both researcher Brad Parsons- who spent a week on the phone ascertaining this fact and also the Department of Public Works (DPW) which therefore currently has zero acceptable bags on their “list.”

This leaves a “de facto” ban unless and until someone begins selling non-fossil-fuel-containing bags- which is possible since, as Parsons found, there are materials out there that could serve the purpose only no one is currently manufacturing them into bags.

So either one of two things are true.

Either the amendment doesn’t do anything at all and keeps the current definition of ‘biodegradable bag” and, in essence continues the effective ban or, more than likely (as we said the bill isn’t posted anywhere) it changes the definition of biodegradable to mean those bags that actually aren’t.

What passes for biodegradable bags these days are bags made with fossil fuels that simply break up into little pieces. They still don’t truly “biodegrade” for thousands of years. The only difference is that they are broken into tiny specks of plastic which many say is even worse for sea life which is now more likely to wind up with a clump in their belly with bite-size pieces floating around.

So either Rapozo is actually trying to change the definition, which would effectively lift the “ban,” or he’s not changing anything and the ban will continue- the latter of which is unlikely.

We'll have more after viewing the meeting but either way this whole thing is a waste of time and energy and the product of a regressive mind where Rapozo thinks he is not just entitled to his own opinion but his own facts.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


TURNING OVER AND OVER: It’s hard to say it wasn’t with a degree of weary glee that we watched some of the finally-beaten-down, bible-thumping wackos try one last time to stick their noses into the crotches of same gender couples as the civil unions bill passed out of one final committee hearing.

But the fact that it took years to beat back a handful of church-zombies showed, if nothing else, the vapid nature of most of the legislators in Hawai`i who needed to be shown at the actual voting polls what the telephone polls showed all along.

The thing is that this time the only argument the religion-addled had left was one that they were actually right about- this separate but equal half-measure is ultimately insulting and shameful to everyone in the state and many won’t rest until same gender marriage is the law of the land.

Although we can’t imagine why anyone would want the state to get involved in their relationships, as a civil rights issue it’s well past time for full marriage rights for those that are into that kind of kinky paperwork.

But now that these busybodies have way too much time on their hands again we’re about to go through the whole thing, with the same cast, all over again on the Death With Dignity Bill (SB 803) which was “held” after a hearing Monday, reportedly effectively killing it once again this year.

The bill says it:

Allows a terminally ill, competent adult to receive medication to end life. Prohibits mercy killings, lethal injections, and active euthanasia. Requires informed consent. Allows alternate doctor to replace attending doctor if latter declines to prescribe. Provides immunity from civil and criminal liability for acts taken in good faith. Imposes penalties for unauthorized altering, forging, concealing, destroying, or exerting undue influence in making or rescinding a request for medication. Requires monitor at time of taking dose.

Many of the same entrenched gutless wonders- who didn’t trust, much less know, their own constituency and quaked in their boots at the thought of losing their precious legislative seats if they did the right thing on civil unions- are back allowing the same religious crazies hijack the bill that would allow terminal patients with less than six months to live to avoid the pain and suffering of a prolonged dying process- should they freely chose to do so.

It’s essentially the same issue as civil unions- one of civil rights. The question in both cases is who owns our bodies- us or the god squad.

The problem here is obvious. While it took years, it was an effort to put a human face on the civil unions issue with happy smiling families coming out, so to speak, that made the hate-mongering of the opponents not just apparent but unsettling enough to cause people to vote out the vile opponents in the last election.

But who is to speak for the dead and dying? A corpse who was forced to suffer needlessly tells no tales. And if it did it wouldn’t be as pretty a picture as young, healthy, same gender couples many with children in tow, simply asking for the same future as everyone else.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


THROWN OVERBOARD: Most county employees we’ve heard from are still quietly seething over their politically motivated furloughs last year with their ire about equally split between the mayor, the council and their union.

But after seeing tomorrow’s council agenda one group that must be positively apoplectic is the county’s lifeguards.

For those who missed the circus, when furloughs were first discussed Mayor Bernard Carvalho assured the council the “public safety employees” would not be furloughed.

But, long story short, they were- including non-sworn officers in the Kaua`i Police Department (KPD), which caused all kinds of constipation as the prosecutor’s office, already backed up by the furloughs in the state courts, had to begin letting people loose people KPD had arrested because they couldn’t process them as fast as the law required.

After a huge fight over whether money for the prosecutor’s office to “catch up” on the backlog- supposedly created by furloughs- was truly “related to furloughs” (as the bill’s “purpose” stated) the money was included in the bill.

The lifeguards, however were not so lucky. During the first committee meeting on the bill to end furloughs, lifeguard champion Dr. Monty Downs described how, while lifeguards are part of the fire department for administrative purposes- where they were finally placed a while back after years of being what many called “second class heroes”- for union representation, unlike firemen they are stuck in some obscure backwater bargaining unit in Honolulu.

Somehow that left them out of being considered “public safety” employees and, through a series of screw ups and political maneuverings, they were left, not with furloughs but accepting the 5% pay cuts that the rest of their bargaining unit accepted, even while other counties didn’t screw their lifeguards.

But when Downs asked to do what was fair and promised and give them back the 5% that had been stolen from them in the screw up, the council decided that this was not “related to furloughs” and anyway the bill was “looking forward” even though the prosecutor’s office was getting money to clean up the mess left by furloughs in the past.

But "never fear" councilmembers promised- we can take that up in a new bill, which they promised, would be introduced at the next council meeting.

And guess what doesn’t appear on tomorrow’s council agenda? A money bill to make the lifeguards whole like the rest of the public safety workers.

This wouldn’t be the first time that assurances given during council debate are forgotten when the gavel bangs and the meeting adjourned.

You can reach councilmembers at and ask them why they’ve seemingly forgotten the lifeguards.


The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a Thursday, February 10, 2011, 2:00 p.m. hearing on HB 343 (Status) which would allow election day voter registration.

Advance registration is an anachronism and more and more states have gone to same day registration without any problems.

If you care about voter turnout this bill is essential.

As always testimony can be emailed to or submitted via the web at and must include the testifier's name with position/title and organization, the committee the comments are directed to, the date and time of the hearing and the measure number.

Monday, February 7, 2011


THINKING INSIDE THE ENVELOPMENT: Leave it to a joke-of-a-legislator like Jimmy Tokioka to introduce a joke-of-a-bill to take care of a no-joke problem.

The matter of guide books that list places from which we routinely have to drag dead tourists isn’t new. It’s been the subject of many more than a handful of county council discussions over the past decade or so with emergency room Dr. Monty Downs leading the way in pushing the Kaua`i Visitors’ Bureau (KVB) to get off their duffs and put pressure on the authors to de-list the most demonstrably dangerous locations after his umpteenth time of having to go out and “inform” an Ultimate Guide Book-clutching family that their loved one(s) didn’t make it.

Admittedly the way to go about fixing it isn’t passing a law to allow lawsuits against writers if they irrelevantly include instructions that urge trespassing in some kind of absurd end run around the actual problem.

But nonetheless it’s a subject which predictably brought out the usual gang of sociopaths, blaming the victims and assuring us that they would never be so stupid- while giving evidence to the contrary with every post.

We invite them- and the two “newspaper” editors who predictably screamed about first amendment rights- to call Dr. Downs. We’re sure he’d be happy to invite them over to the hospital next time the ambulance is on the way so they can watch him pull the sheet over a bloated corpse that was a vibrant individual an hour before. Perhaps he’ll let them inform the family.

Of course we wouldn’t think of criticizing something without offering a solution.

We’ve been hypercritical of the obscene amount of money that the county council throws at KVB without any accountability just so they can be seen as providing money to the tourist trade- the old gush and flush.

So, our solution? Two words: bubble wrap.

That’s right, bubble wrap. We simply get the airlines to greet every arriving passenger and swathe them in bubble wrap.

And it need not be that cumbersome a process like piecing sections together with duct tape or something. With county funds the KVB could simply offer a contract for zip-up, reusable, bubble wrap suits, prefabricated and read to wear... off the rack so to speak.

We’ll still need legislation to force them to wear them at all times but at least that kind of law would address the issue head on. Of course we’ll have to exempt those with a local driver’s license since we never do stupid things.

Or maybe KVB could publish a warning list of dangerous specific references in specific guidebooks and distribute them to deplaning visitors. Afterall, the answer to free speech is more free speech.

Nah, that would be too easy. Besides they’re too busy finding ways to waste the money to keep a list like that. And it might pop the real bubble- the obligatory promotional impression given by the tourism industry that you can leave your caution at home because nothing bad could possibly happen in “paradise.”

Bubble-wrapping is the kind of creative thinking Kaua`i needs. We’re frankly surprised it hasn’t been proposed already at the anonymous dimwit roundtable, which is already in regress.

Friday, February 4, 2011


WRONG PLACE, RIGHT TIME: Today’s 3 p.m. State Senate hearing of a bill (SB 1460) that would make “possession of one ounce or less of marijuana... a civil violation for that is subject to a fine of not more than $100” got some press today.

That joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Labor and Health Committees took up a measure that would not only decriminalize possession of less than an ounce but also eliminate a lot of other inappropriate and draconian penalties like requiring substance abuse treatment and eliminating any “intent to distribute” charges for simple possession of pakalolo.

(Update: SB1460 passed JDL/HTH 5-0 and now goes to Ways and Means [WAM])

Also on the agenda at the same meeting was a hearing on the much publicized bill (SB1458) which among other things would establish licensure for “medical marijuana compassion center license for the sale of medical marijuana to qualified patients.”

You can submit late testimony and track the two measures but for many the real action this year is in a bill being heard next week to transfer jurisdiction of medical marijuana from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health (DOH).

Bill SB175 would do what should have been done when the legislature first legalized medical cannabis- something done in all other states that allow the practice- instead of setting up the seeming contradictory placement of a legal use under a department that deals with illegal matters.

That has resulted in rules that provide lists of patients to be circulated and kept by law enforcement and allows for preemptive, warrantless raids on patients homes without probable cause and even an incident of the release of a list to the press on the Big Island.

The bill would require all new administrative rules under DOH and eliminate the absurd and potentially abusive oversight of the program by those who actually oppose medical marijuana.

This could be the year after an aborted attempt last session under former Governor Linda Lingle.

The bill is on the agenda for a joint hearing of the Senate’s Committee On Public Safety, Government Operations, And Military Affairs and the Committee On Health, next Tuesday, February 8 at 2:45 p.m. You can track the bill here.

Those wishing to testify can email it to, making sure to include the measure, date and time of the hearing.

Easier still is the automatic handy-dandy, fill-in-the-blank email page the Senate provides at
And some good news. Though it still has to get through the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Bill 174 has already quietly passed out of the Committee on Health. It would “(r)emoves marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinols from the schedule I controlled substances list and places them in the schedule III controlled substances list”.


Update: Despite testimony in overwhelming support of the bill (which we detailed on Monday) to select county ethics board members from a list provided by an independent body from Common Cause Hawaii, The League Of Women Voters Of Hawai`i, Americans for Democratic Action/Hawai`i, Rolf Bieber, Larry Geller, Richard Spacer and PNN- and no testimony in outright opposition- HB468 was deferred after last Tuesday’s House Judiciary Committee.

However, the Senate Public Safety, Government Operations, and Military Affairs (PGM) Committee has scheduled a public hearing on the companion bill SB214 a week from tomorrow- Saturday 2/12- at 9:00AM. The senate is probably where the action will be on this one since it was introduced by six senators whereas the house version was introduced by only one representative.

If you sent testimony to the house please resend it to the Senate PMG committee at If you didn’t, now is your chance. As always include the measure, date and time of the hearing. Or use the email page the Senate provides at

Thursday, February 3, 2011


GOOD EVENING LADIES AND GERMS: A characteristic trait of the true babooze is the reluctance to let facts get in the way of a good babble.

So now that we’ve dispensed with the preliminaries we can get down the real idiocy behind Babooze-In-Chief Mel Rapozo’s demagoguing of the plastic grocery bag ban.

Because had Rapozo actually tried to find out whether the claims that reusable bags carry pathogens that can cause disease are true he would have found that they were “just baloney.”

At least according to the respected independent publication Consumer Reports’ “Safety Blog,”

Turns out that media hysteria over bad bugs in reusable bags came from a study conducted with funding from- you’ve probably guessed already- the plastic bag industry.

“Which is why” said the article,

“we’re not so swayed by a recent report about reusable grocery bags and their potential to make you sick.

The report came out of the University of Arizona, Tucson and Loma Linda University in California. Smack on page one is this note: “The authors would like to acknowledge and thank the American Chemistry Council for providing funding to support this study.”

The American Chemistry Council is the trade group that advocates on behalf of plastic-bag manufacturers. Now why would the folks who make plastic grocery bags want to cast doubts on the safety of reusable grocery bags? Oh, right.”

After pointing out that the study was based on a grand total of 84 bags the article says that:

The researchers tested for pathogenic bacteria Salmonella and Listeria, but didn’t find any, nor did they find strains of E. coli that could make one sick. They only found bacteria that don’t normally cause disease, but do cause disease in people with weakened immune systems.

Our food-safety experts were underwhelmed as well. “A person eating an average bag of salad greens gets more exposure to these bacteria than if they had licked the insides of the dirtiest bag from this study,” says Michael Hansen, senior staff scientist at Consumers Union. “These bacteria can be found lots of places, so no need to go overboard.”

But Hansen notes that there are some reminders to take away from the study. It’s easy to spread bacteria from meat, fish, or poultry to other foods – in your kitchen or in your grocery bags. So we do think it’s wise to carry those items in disposable bags. Reusable bags are fine for most everything else, but it’s a good idea to wash them occasionally.

And of course the current ordinance on Kaua`i specifically exempts the bags used for vegetables and meats anyway.

We’re not suggesting that campaign contributions from places like Safeway Inc., the Kauai Beverage & Ice Cream Co., Ltd or Randall Francisco, the head of the Chamber of Commerce- which was the only entity that strenuously opposed the bill- influenced Rapozo’s decision to reverse the ban... but they couldn’t have hurt.

The fact is that the “amendment,” as currently written, would allow every single supermarket on the island to go back to those white plastic grocery bags when, first the original bill provided for bags for individual items like meats and produce and second, if people use common sense and wash out their reusable bags when they spill stuff in them there’s no health or sanitation issue.

Are we a bunch of baboozes who don’t have the smarts to know how to keep our food safe?

Well, apparently it takes one to know one.