Wednesday, December 31, 2008


OF NIGHTMARES AND DREAMS: By all accounts it’s been a year of rude awakenings for most Americans. But now that we have your ear are you going to continue to pay any attention?

Doubtful. Although the pendulum has swung back and opened the veil on the abject stupidity and obstinate self-defeating precepts of the Americanism many still won’t listen to those of us who have screamed from the rooftops for years and now have to be satiated with a particularly unsatisfying “I told you so”.

Is this to be the beatific new era of the death of consumerism and greed? Is it to be a time of peace through non-aggression and anti militarism? Is this to be the era of sustainable living, non-polluting renewable energy? Is this to be the time of collective responsibility and a renewal of the social contract?

Don’t bet on it- or at least not yet.

It most likely has to get a whole lot worse for self-indulgent, self important, self destructive American morons to wake up to the fact that they could have had healthcare for all for 50 years if they hadn’t pissed it away by acting like morons in launching a plunderous war and acceding to the deregulation of an anything-goes Ponzi-scheme of a financial system that no one but a complete imbecile thought was in any way sustainable.

As the fake value of everything you own- worth and wealth that was never there to begin with- plummets during next year and the government attempts to slather super-glue over the rapidly collapsing house of cards remember that this is just the nightmare side of your American Dream.

If the long hard slide from millionaire to pauper is happening to you then by definition you are one whose personal avarice and attempt to steal the sweat of the brow of those who actually do the hard dirty work while living in abject poverty caused your own demise.

Is your crackerjack mansion now only an un-resalable place to live? Is your once bulging stock portfolio now full of empty promises? Are your once indispensable luxuries- ones paid for by the investor-profit-driven plundering of productive places of employment for the masses- now suddenly beyond your means?

Is your dirty little imperialistic Iraqi war blowing up in your face as you plan for a new improved even dirtier one in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

How does it feel, to be on your own? The hearts of those who are one step from or two steps beyond joblessness and homelessness pump dirty dishwater for you.

By December 31 of next year will you still be scrambling for ways to prop up an economic system that creates millions of losers for every winner?

But you don’t have to be a fallen fat cat to accept some responsibility. Were you ok with all this in the hope that you would someday win the lottery or claw your way up by stepping on your neighbors and become one of the winners? Was it ok to be a doormat because you dreamed of cleaning your goose-stepping boots on the backs of others?

It’s been said that a recession is when your neighbor loses his job and home and is living in his car. A depression is when it happens to you.

In the next year a whole lot more of us will be calling it a depression. The last one woke people up to the depravity of the entrepreneurial, free-market economic system. How much worse will it have to get before people see how they’ve been deceived?

We’ll let you know when we get there. Meanwhile America enjoy the long ride down the razor blade of life Americans created.

Someone said it a lot more poetically almost 30 years ago so we’ll leave all you “Volunteers for America” with this.


Eskimo Blue Day (by Paul Kanter Grace/Slick

Snow cuts loose from the frozen
Until it joins with the African sea
In moving it changes its cold and its name
The reason I come and go is the same
Animal game for me
You call it rain
But the human name
Doesn't mean shit to a tree
If you don't mind heat in your river and
Fork tongue talking from me
Swim like an eel fantastic snake
Take my love when it's free
Electric feel with me
You call it loud
But the human crowd
Doesn't mean shit to a tree
Change the strings and notes slide
Change the bridge and string shift down
Shift the notes and bride sings
Fire eating people
Rising toys of the sun
Energy dies without body warm
Icicles ruin your gun
Water my roots the natural thing
Natural spring to the sea
Sulphur springs make my body float
Like a ship made of logs from a tree
Redwoods talk to me
Say it plainly
The human name
Doesn't mean shit to a tree
Snow called water going violent
Damn the end of the stream
Too much cold in one place breaks
That's why you might know what I mean
Consider how small you are
Compared to your scream
The human dream
Doesn't mean shit to a tree

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


WHO’S MINDING THE ZOO?: Former Councilmember Mel Rapozo’s “Kaua`i Politics” blog, which was interrupted when he ran for mayor, is back and the first item up was a “poll” asking:

What do you think is the most important issue that will face Kauai in 2009?

But the available answers were limited the usual suspects:

Economy; Traffic; Affordable housing; Solid Waste; Drugs and Crime; Transportation; Superferry; GMO Crops


Seems the one subject Mel knows a lot about is curiously unavailable- corruption and secrecy in county government.

But though he didn’t seem interested in responding to a comment we left noting the absence of the issue from the survey he did answer a comment from someone else asking

(A)ny chance that 2009 will bring the FBI into the picture regarding the hiring practices of the county. andy parx recent post... details a little of the FBI probe. any comments to his assertions that the FBI is investigating the administration's hiring decisions?

Mel’s response regarding something that we kind of glossed over in yesterday’s article on the FBI probe of Kaua`i county corruption was:

As far as the FBI coming here to investigate the hiring practices of the County, I can only hope. I have asked to be on the Civil Service Commission agenda to inform them of what has been happening. After two deferrals, I am set to testify at their January 20th meeting at 3pm. I hope to convince them to initiate an inquiry into the practices that the personnel department has been using for many years.

The Civil Service Commission on Kaua`i is another of those supposedly independent boards and commissions- like the Planning, Police, Fire and Liquor Commissions- that hire and fire their respective administrative department heads..

But their autonomy is almost non-existent in practice because they have been corrupted over the years evolving into the dog being wagged by the administration’s tail, acting as little more than rubber stamps for whatever the mayor wants.

Sometimes we wonder if commissioners are even aware of the hiring and firing power they have especially in the case of the Planning Commission whose associated department head Ian Costa is a three-administration poster boy for cronyism and corruption on Kaua`i, yet is treated as the commission’s boss rather than an employee.

Since the mayor appoints the commission members it’s not hard to control what they do, especially since they are administratively run by the administration which “orients” the new commissioners by indoctrination in the “process” that has “always been that way”.

In the cases of all of these “hiring” commissions, the commissions have no independent staff of their own but rely on those that were hired by the department head and who are of course beholden to that administrator- not the commissioners- for their job.

And guess what- there are no administrative rules for any of them on how to remove or fire a department head. It’s not hard to imagine how much cooperation they will get from their- and not so coincidentally the department head’s- staff should they decide a change is needed.

If there is anything that challenges the authority or threatens the job of their bosses you can bet those administrate personnel will make sure the commission gets only the factual material the department head wants them to get.

And since no one wants to rock the boat - especially the new members- meetings just continue to run as they always have, including of course violations of the Sunshine Law. That’s mostly because no one ever goes to their meetings or cares what goes on except for those who get personally screwed somehow by the county and its corrupt practices.

Rapozo had actually sent a letter before the meeting we described yesterday and instead of notifying him that his communication would be on the agenda, their “protocol” called for receiving the letter and putting it on a future agenda... if they felt like it.

And because they don’t seem to want to deal with it their lest two meetings- in November and December- Rapozo is counting on them to actually listen in January.

Maybe Mel has spent too much time on the official side of the council bar but that notion is one that elicits guffaws from the longtime council watchers.

In his last few meetings Rapozo had promised to keep up his watchdog activities at council meetings and “join the nitpickers on the ‘other side’” after leaving office. We hope that his absence from the first meeting was only due to the family health problems he has reported upon at his blog and not because he is abandoning his efforts to stir up the cesspool.

His promise to pursue the Civil Service Commission action is encouraging.

Whether any of the new council members are even aware of some of the loose ends left by Rapozo and Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho- such as the various audits and investigations of employment and procurement practices in various departments and the mayor’s office- is anyone’s guess at this point..

If past is prologue, we can be sure that Chair Kaipo Asing and Councilpersons Tim Bynum and Darryl Kaneshiro will do their paternalistic best to block the efforts to expose the corrupt practices and the people perpetuating them,

We aren’t too sure which side Jay Furfaro is on in all this but without all three new members’ vocal support and willingness to speak up and speak out on these matters it will be another two years of “same old, same old”.

If people don’t care- or don’t let them know they do- it will just go away as new Mayor Bernard Carvalho and his cronies hope, FBI investigation notwithstanding.

Monday, December 29, 2008



The FBI is engaged in a government corruption probe on Kaua`i and has interrogated the mayor, police chief and most if not all department heads and county council members with an eye toward opening a permanent office on the island, according to Kaua`i Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho.

The FBI interviews occurred in July according to then-Councilwoman Iseri who, at the October 8 county council meeting, revealed that she was questioned for two hours on July 24 regarding “corruption (and) serious allegations of nepotism and hiring of campaign workers etc.”

The revelation came after Personnel Services Director Mel Fernandez refused to appear before the council to explain specific instances of the “downward reallocation” process that downgrades skilled positions to entry level jobs.

The move has allegedly been common practice for many years in order to place well connected but unqualified applicants in job slots that were created by the council to fill the needs for skilled workers expressed by department heads during budgeting sessions as PNN detailed on September 15.

The FBI sessions took place after the death of Mayor Bryan Baptiste and during the short reign of then acting Mayor Kaipo Asing.

“We actually had a visit by the FBI that came on July 24”. Iseri told the council and the TV cameras. “There was a meeting between the police chief and the mayor and subsequent to that there was meetings between department heads as well as the council because there was allegations by many that the FBI had wanted to establish a unit here and there were numerous questions that went on.

“An interview went on for up to two hours with myself and I’m sure that was the length of time that went on with others about corruption in government..

“And that was a serious enough concern that was taken by the FBI, so serious enough that they were thinking of establishing or providing justification to establish an office here.”

The probe was exposed by Iseri after a communication requesting that Fernandez attend the meeting to explain one “reassignment” of job a description elicited a letter saying essentially that he was not asking for a deferral but was refusing to answer any questions as to the reasons for the changes.

As part of the budget law enacted this year, for the first time the personnel services department must notify the council when jobs are reallocated.

All seven councilmembers were flabbergasted by the unprecedented absolute refusal- usually department heads use delaying and misdirection tactics to avoid council inquires.

But none more astounded than Mel Rapozo, who was livid.

“He’s basically telling us he’s done his obligation and that’s all I’m doing- without coming, without responding to our request, (saying) ‘you got a report- stop it’” Rapozo said before reading Fernandez’s letter which said:

Please be informed that I am unable to be present at the October 8 meeting relative to the above subject.

It is our belief that we have fulfilled our obligation under the general provisions changes under the budget ordinance by providing the informational report on the transferring of changing of positions within 30 days.

“This is just baffling- perplexing. I guess this is their response” said then council Chair Jay Furfaro, saying apparently all they could do was to go to the Civil Service Commission, who hires and fires the personnel services director according to the county charter.

But Rapozo said he had already written to the commission and, since the commission’s meeting are on Wednesdays at the same time the council meets, “maybe we can all march down there and testify”

“This is a total show of disrespect. It’s a slap in our faces” he said emphasizing that it is for the public’s benefit that the council asked for an explanation while calling the practice of taking a budgeted position and changing it without explanation “fraudulent”

Noting he would not be on the council come December 1 because he was running for Mayor at the time Rapozo said “I hope the seven who are here dollar fund every position that’s not filled” during the next budget session.

“Dollar funding” is a practice of creating a line item but only appropriating one dollar for it so that by controlling the purse strings by requiring approval the council can have more control over the process.

Currently if the council appropriates $90,000 for a skilled professional the department can hire three $30,000 janitors. And before this summer no one on the council would ever know it.

That’s when Iseri had apparently had enough and revealed the FBI probe to the public.,

This is the third time it’s come up on the agenda” she told the council before describing the “merit principle” that is detailed in the charter regarding hiring practices.

“For me” she said “this is pure administrative arrogance.

“We’re not talking about a simple isolated incident... this is the exact kind of thing that happens as soon as the budget is passed. It shows the budget process is really a fraud. there’s absolutely no accountability in that kind of system.”

Iseri explained that what’s been happening is that frantic overworked department heads come to the council at budget time asking them to create skilled positions to take care of the increasing workload. But when the hiring takes place the skilled position is not filled and an unskilled entry-level position is created, sometimes more than one.

She likened the process to “begging for a civil engineer and then switching to three custodians”.

She cited a recent personnel services decision where an investigator who oversaw cases for 150 prosecutors in Honolulu was deemed to be unqualified to oversee cases of 15 attorneys on Kaua`i.

The councilmembers all noted that this was not a reflection on Asing who had just taken over the job and whose signature was not on the letter from Fernandez. As a matter of fact there wasn’t even a place for the mayor’s signature or initial as is always the norm.

Iseri had special criticism though for administrative assistant then and now Gary Heu who did initial Fernandez’s letter. Heu, she said, had earlier promised that he would make sure that the reasons for changes would be fully transparent, causing Iseri to withdraw a proposed charter amendment on the subject this past summer.

Heu was rehired in his post by new Mayor Bernard Carvalho.

According to Rapozo although the county charter prohibits the council from interfering with the “administrative function” of county government this was a matter of the legislative function of the county dealing with appropriation and budgeting.

In the past this has been interpreted as saying the council cannot compel administration personnel to testify or even appear before the council. In practice the council “requests” that they be present to discuss matter of mutual concern.

“If I’m providing my oversight on a position that we approved- that the public is paying for- you’re damn right I (should) have the opportunity to ask questions on that funding” he said loud enough for his microphone to feed back.

“The problem is not reallocating of positions for people that are qualified. The problem is that they are downgrading positions from the higher levels that require (civil service) testing and requirements that for some reason the people they want to hire don’t have.

“So they lower the classification to entry level where they can waive the test and then hire who they want and put them on their own track for on-the-job training and slowly get them incremented until they’re up to where they’re supposed to be.

“That’s not fair” he said.

He then told of one of the voluminous stories told to him and other council members in phone calls and emails after the problems were revealed at the September meeting PNN described. At that meeting Furfaro told a story about how his qualified and experienced daughter was refused a job so someone with connection but was not qualified could take a reallocated job.

Rapozo told of a local kid who came back from attending University of Northern Colorado where he had obtained a degree in industrial chemistry. When a position for a “wastewater chemist” was advertised in the local newspaper he applied and studied all he could about wastewater in preparation for the civil service test.

But he never got to take the test . Instead, after an interview only, he was told he wouldn’t get the job and they hired someone with a degree in forestry instead- someone who just happened to be a relative of a county employee.

The chemist filed a complaint with the civil service commission in Dec. of 2007 but the follow-up had just begun in Sept..

The matter was deferred and should appear on a future council agenda.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

KPD Blue- Chapter 21: The Ethics Board and Michael Ching

KPD Blue

By Anthony Sommer

Chapter 21: The Ethics Board and Michael Ching

The Kauai Ethics Board is not the champion of the public interest and scourge of rotten politicians and bureaucrats that its name implies.

Quite the opposite.

The Ethics Board is a cudgel the mayor wields to smite public officials who criticize him. For starters, the board is made up entirely of the mayor’s cronies.

Ethics boards, where they exist in jurisdictions on the mainland, have their own staff and their own lawyers and their own office space outside the government complex.

They operate at “arms length” from the government. Their independence is the sole source of their credibility.

The Hawaii State Ethics Board is not beholden to any one politician. It is appointed by a commission whose members are selected by a variety of elected officials who often have competing interests.

But at the county level in Hawaii, ethic board members are appointed solely by the mayor; a system guaranteed to be abused by unethical mayors.

In 2007, the Hawaii Legislature passed a bill requiring the ethics commissions of the four counties to adopt the state’s method of choosing ethics commissioners to insure similar independence.

For the counties in general and Kauai in particular, the bill was a major step toward giving their ethics boards a touch of badly needed credibility.

The bill received zero attention in the media.

“Government news is boring” is the mantra of editors. Best stick to helicopter crashes, shark bites, and celebrities making fools of themselves.

Bryan Baptiste, who very much wanted to keep the Kauai Ethics Board as his personal hammer for exacting revenge on political enemies, urged Gov. Linda Lingle to veto the bill.

She did. But it appeared headed for an override vote, and the mayor of Kauai again leaped into action.

Baptiste lobbied legislators to not override Lingle’s veto. They didn’t. The override never even came up for a vote.

Kauai County Ethics Board members remain the mayor’s appointed stooges.

On Kauai, the Board of Ethics has neither independence nor credibility. The board exists to give the impression that county government has integrity, but the reality is just the opposite.

On Kauai, the board’s staff is a part of and physically located in the mayor’s office.

Every complaint to the Board of Ethics comes through the mayor’s office and there is no mechanism preventing the mayor or his staff from seeing every one of them before the board does.

Considering the complaints it receives invariably are about the mayor or members of his administration, it might seem wise to put them at least in some other office, if only for appearance’s sake.

And the Board of Ethics’s legal advice is provided by the county attorney, who is appointed by the mayor to represent him and his department heads, exactly the same people named in the complaints filed by citizens.

Isn’t there a conflict of interest somewhere in there?

Not on Kauai.

Consider the Ethics Board and its investigation of Police Commission Chairman Mike Ching.

The Ethics Board case was entitled “in re: Michael Ching” but the real target, and everyone knew it, was K.C. Lum, who never was the subject of any ethics complaint.

In fact, Lum never was accused anywhere by anyone of doing anything illegal or unethical. His only crime was in being an outsider.

So Baptiste had to figure out a way to back door his effort to get rid of Lum.

Baptiste turned to County Attorney Lani Nakazawa.

Throughout her tenure as Kauai County attorney, Nakazawa was very careful to give all her opinions to county officials verbally, rather than in writing, which would leave a paper trail (assuming, in the first place, anyone ever obtains access to the records, which she made sure was impossible without a long and expensive court fight).

According to county records, the Ethics Board complaint against Ching was filed by Lt. Scott Yagihara, who filed a similar complaint against Police Commission Vice-Chairwoman Carol Furtado.

Yagihara, in fact, soon was littering the County Building with complaints. It became clear he was nothing but an errand boy for Bryan Baptiste.

Furtado called it “another witch hunt” by the mayor and Council.

Mike Ching, a very successful Hanalei businessman who owns and runs a shopping center founded by his father, was the chairman of the Kauai Police Commission when it chose K.C. Lum both as acting chief and later as permanent chief.

It became fairly clear that somewhere in the year-long process to find a replacement for George Freitas, Ching began to favor Lum as the best candidate.

There is nothing in the law to prevent a member of any commission from taking a position on an issue and trying to convince fellow commissioners to do the same.

But there is a Kauai County Ethics Rule forbidding a county official from using their government position to benefit themselves or their friends.

The ethical prohibition was aimed at instances such as Mayor Maryanne Kusaka quadrupling her own travel budget so she could lease a car from her campaign manager. Or, Kusaka using her county-financed television show to
promote her best friend’s new subdivision.

The Ethics Board thought that was just fine.

But what if a member of a county commission tries to convince fellow commissioners to vote a certain way? That’s why commissions have multiple members and have meetings to debate issues and try to sway fellow members.

Unless, in doing so, you piss off the mayor.

Then the Ethics Board responded to a complaint from a KPD officer (Lt. Yagihara) who never had any personal involvement in the issue or personal knowledge of the allegations he made.

In fact, Yagihara never was called as a witness (odd, because he was in theory the complainant and supposedly a victim of the unethical behavior) at the Ethics Board hearing on the allegations against Ching.

Ching’s case went to a hearing officer, E. John McConnell, a retired judge from Maui. He conducted a hearing on Nov. 18, 2005.

On Feb. 23, 2006, McConnell issued his “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” and a separate and much shorter Hearing Officer’s Report.

In the end, McConnell found Ching had violated the county’s Ethics Code but had NOT broken any laws or violated the County Charter.

Specifically, he found Ching used his position to benefit Lum by supporting Lum’s candidacy.

But the retired judge added an important caveat that later would be ignored by Baptiste and the County Council.

McConnell noted in his finding that many people would regard Ching promoting Lum for police chief as a normal part of the political process and his finding could be appealed.

When a judge says that, he is asking to have the issue appealed in court because he really isn’t certain himself.

Ching never appealed. Again, it was a question of a private individual with limited resources going against Kauai County with unending resources and a clear willingness to spend as much public money as they needed to win in a courtroom.

McConnell also found that Ching had improperly lobbied the head of the police union on Kauai, Officer Bryson Ponce, to support Lum for chief.

To this day, Ching insists it was the other way around and that Ponce lobbied him.

Ching agrees the two did chat at a table outside a restaurant in Ching’s shopping center. But he says he absolutely did not solicit the union’s support.

But what’s really important is this:

McConnell’s findings in the Ching case in no way conclude that Lum was illegally appointed police chief because Ching, although he marginally violated an ethics rule, in no way broke the law.

But that was enough for Baptiste to get rid of Lum, and he did so in a very strange manner.

Friday, December 26, 2008


TRACKING TROUBLE: Although Kaua`i is called the separate kingdom each island has a different character and culture all its own.

And with the explosion of blogging nowhere is there a more diverse community of news and political bloggers than the Big Island.

And whether they are reporters who blog or bloggers who report, that can lead to trouble for the local power structure, as self described blogger-who-reports Damon Tucker found out when he went to check out possible violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) at the Pahoa post office the day before X-mas.

As he took pictures of trash blocking the handicapped parking area and the hard-to-access, possibly non-compliant ramp all hell broke loose when an ever vigilant local postal employee took it upon himself to dub poor Damon a terrorist rather than allow him to make trouble for them over their handicapped set-up..

Here’s how Tucker described what happened next:

I was on my way out to my car, when this guy comes running up to me…
“Brah… what you doing?” He says

“Taking Pictures of the Post Office” I say

“Brah… This one Federal Building… that’s against the Law… Stick around… I’m calling the cops!”

The guy goes in and calls the cops on me. I’m thinking how friggin ridiculous…but ok… let’s see what the cops say.

So I stick around and as the cops arriving, I take a picture of them arriving.

Lady cop: “What you taking a picture of me for… that’s harassment you know?”

I’m like what? Since when is taking a picture of a Police officer or a building considered Harassment…

Officer… I’ve asked you not to take my picture and you took it…
I’m like… I took the picture before you even got out of your car and said a word…

So I show the lady officer (J. Lee) the picture that I took of her and then showed her that I deleted it… Just to appease her.

I then ask if she would like to see any of the pictures of the Post Office… she refuses.

Then she asks Postal Guy if they want to press Trespassing charges against me… Post Office guy says no… that’s ok… just don’t ever take pictures here again.

So my question to anyone and everyone… Is there anything illegal about taking pictures of a Post Office?

Who was Harassed? The Post Office… or Me?

Since when did taking pictures of outside of buildings and/or police officers become “harassment?”

Sheesh… to think I was only there to drop off a package… Is it my fault I always carry my camera?

Heck… Tiffany… You better erase those pictures
you took inside of the Post Office for gods sake before the Goonsquad comes after you!

Just kidding.

I can’t believe this Post Office. Maybe it is time to file a federal ADA Suit against them

But although Damon might have left it there others were perhaps more outraged, especially other bloggers and journalists.

And when long time reporter-who-blogs Honolulu (or more precisely Ka`a`awa) Ian Lind picked up the story, Tucker was apparently inundated with emails prodding into filing a complaint.

But like on Kaua`i it’s not very apparent how to do that on the Big Island. If you go to the Hawai`i Police Department’s (HPD) web site, despite their apparent embracing of “Community Policing” there is no where to tell you where to file complaints regarding officer misconduct.

A search of the site however does produce, if not a description of the process at least a form to fill out to file an official complaint with the Hawaii Police Commissions

The form says:

The Police Commission investigates complaints of misconduct against officers or employees of the police department while on duty or acting under the color of authority. The complaint must be received in the commission’s office within 60 days of the incident. A request for an exception to the 60-day rule must be in writing with an explanation for the delay.

While he apparently hasn’t filed a complaint- which must be signed and notarized according to the form, Tucker has written us with a little more detail in an email today.

He was apparently taking the picture in a public place and had even asked and gotten permission from one post office employee to take one picture through an open door.

[Correction: Damon Tucker in fact was refused permission to take any pictures by the woman. We regret the mistake.

Clarification: Tucker's email said:

One of the post office ladies came out and was sorting mail and left the door open to the post office. I asked her if she would mind if I took a picture of the inside while the door was open, and she said no. I didn’t really think anything at this point and continued to my car. Then I took another picture of the Handicap stall and was about to take a picture of the employee parking lot which was by my car… when a gentlemen came scooting out and asked me what I was doing.

Tucker has clarified that he meant to communicate that she told him he did not have permission rather than meaning that she didn’t mind if he took a picture. ]

He says that when another employee came out he demanded to know why he was taking pictures.

Tucker wrote

“I told him I was taking pictures. He asked me what for. I told him that I liked to take Pictures. He then re-emphasized… why and what are you taking pictures for. I told him I have a blog and I’m reporting about the Post Office (just as I have been reporting about many businesses in Pahoa during the last week).”

The Post Office’s web site does have restrictions on “filming and still photography on postal service premises” saying

“(i)nformal snapshots from handheld cameras for personal use may be allowed at the discretion of the postmaster so long as there is no disruption to Postal Service operations and provided the pictures are taken from areas accessible to the public”.

Tucker was apparently neither disruptive nor taking pictures “on postal service premises” unless the parking lot is considered such.

Tucker actually waited for the officer to arrive perhaps thinking that a person knowledgeable about the law would set the postmaster straight that his discretion ends at the end of the premises and doesn’t extend into the public right-of way.

But never underestimate the ability of some authority figures to defend businesses from snoopy reporters or bloggers.

If the postmaster was out of line the HPD officer was apparently outright abusive in citing laws that don’t exist and exploitive of the power of her uniform

Ticker also expanded on his description of what happened after he “snapped” a picture of the officer, snapped seemingly being the operative phrase around the Pahoa PO that day.

After the officer’s claim of harassment and the erasure incident- i.e. the destruction of Tucker’s personal property- it apparently got even weirder.

I felt extremely intimidated and knowing that this was the day before Christmas and no time to be getting arrested for refusing to obey a police officer… I did as she asked...

She continued to belittle me and yell at me about me about taking pictures of her and the post office. I then asked her if she would like to see any of the pictures of the Post Office and she flat out refused to even look at any of those.

Apparently there was nothing Tucker was going to do to calm the officer down and he did what anyone is supposed to do when an officer abuses his or her authority- comply now and complain later.

But Tucker was apparently too open and honest about who he was and what he was doing because he volunteered more info which apparently infuriated the abusive officer even further

When I explained that I had a blog… she flew off the handle. She started yelling at me saying… “Your going to put my picture on your blog without my permission…etc…” at the top of her lungs. At which point I told her that I’m always putting people on my blog and that it was my right to do so.

Damn straight Damon (he said cheering him on from a safe distance).

She then let into me about how it was illegal for me to post her picture on my blog. I even made mention that I put pictures of all sorts of people on my blog including the Mayor himself. She got extremely pissed and said that… “Well the Mayor is a public figure!”

I didn’t want to continue on with her and I felt the easiest way to diffuse the situation was to just sit there and agree with her before she came up with some lame reason to try and arrest me. It was bad enough that she extorted me into deleting the picture… I didn’t want to go to jail on Christmas Eve.

The press deserves no special treatment outside of the performance of their “job” nor asks for it but bloggers who act as reporters are now covered by the new Hawai`i Reporter’s Shield Law which, says:

(Reporters) shall not be required by a legislative, executive, or judicial officer or body, or any other authority having the power to compel testimony or the production of evidence, to disclose, by subpoena or otherwise.

The fact that bloggers engaged in reporting are included indicates that constitutional freedom of the press extends to anyone acting in the role of the press.

The outrage over an earlier incident of police harassment of reporter/blogger Joan Conrow over her reporting has died down now but unless police allow citizen journalists to do their job as community watchdogs we’re all in for a long lonely slide to fascism as the government- especially though the constabulary- conspires with the corporate class join to keep us in the dark.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


YAWN: We don’t even care enough for a “bah humbug” so Happy Thursday

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

got gifts?

got gifts?: Open any newspaper, turn to any local TV news program and you’ll find a way to “give” to the less fortunate this month.

But who exactly is doing the getting is not very clear, especially on Kaua`i where dozens of articles for programs soliciting contributions, from the Food Bank to the Salvation Army Kettle Bucket Brigade, ply the press without any inking of what the needy, deserving families and kids can do to get these goodies

And there’s a reason- each takes care of their own and only their own. . The “Shop with a Cop” program takes care of victimized kids chosen by the Children’s Justice Center, Toys for tots takes care of military families, and the special newspaper and TV programs take kids whose parents are in the state social service system already.

And the rest goes to the most self-centered of all supposed “charities”- the christian churches.

We know it’s their Big Day tomorrow but apparently self-service is what’s at the center of their lip-service to their “christian charity”.

We got a call from someone recently wondering what she could do to direct some all this “help” to a child she knew whose parents aren’t the religious types and aren’t in the court or welfare system but was nonetheless in need.

And we found out that for the most part if you’re not a christian, forget it.

As anyone who has attempted to get food from the Food Bank on Kaua`i without going to a religious organization knows, it’s impossible. You can’t get food directly from the Food Bank itself and every single current distribution outlet is a christian church or is church affiliated.

And guess what? While most religious organizations protest that, at least in theory they will serve anyone regardless of whether they are members of their own brand of indoctrination and superstition, the fact is that if in practice there is any giving going on outside the faith we couldn’t find it.

The worst part of it is that government resources that are spent on these things. The government is always giving benefits to churches, whether exceptions for zoning and permitting or tax-free status or actual cash contributions.

Supposedly it’s because they “help the community”. But most of the time it’s their own religious community that’s helped and more often than not it serves to expand their sphere of influence.

Lately there’s even these “faith based” government programs which are disguised by being provided for non proselytizing activities. But all the churches have to do is a little robbing of Peter to pay Paul to shift the money around to distribute services to their own members, usually for their own evangelical activities.

Don’t forget- to get the meal, you have to sit through the sermon

In all fairness the Salvation Army doesn’t ask questions and makes it relatively pain free for those who need help. In that, they are the exception that proves the rule. But should people be forced to go to a religious organization if they have strong non-religious feelings?

A major part of freedom of religion is freedom from religion.

Who where and when did any local churches actually seek out non-members for their giving? Where was the effort to alert the non-believers that they are welcome to share in the money solicited from the general public and even government with no religious stings attached?

If there has been an article among these “how to give” features about how to get without going to church we haven’t seen it.

A couple of dozen years ago we were invited by a friend to see a slide show on Japan at the Kapa`a Missionary Church.

Soon it became apparent the presenters had returned from a trip designed to convert the heathen Shinto. And in the middle of the program they showed picture of a beautiful Shinto shrine followed by one showing it burned to the ground.

“Here’s a temple (second slide) that burned to the ground while we were there” she said with a decided expression of joy in her voice. “And they couldn’t understand why we wouldn’t help them rebuild their temple” she said, shaking her head that anyone could be so stupid as to not understand why.

That was greeted with not only knowing smiles exchanged but even derisive laugher.

We got up grabbed the kids and yelled as we walked up the center isle “you people wouldn’t know your own god damn christian charity if it bit ya on the ass”.

We’ll let you go back to your egg nog after an appropriate lyric from “Sunrise”, by Grace Slick and the Jefferson Starship.

Civilized Man
You were keeper to me
Now your animal is free
And you're free to die
You're old and your hands are gray
Your old go home and
We've all heard you dirty stories
Two thousand years
Two thousand years
Two thousand years
Of your
God damn

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


LATEST TAIL: Earlier this month we looked into what appeared to be, shall we say reluctance on the part of the biggest book retailer on the island, Borders Books, to carry the controversial tome KPD Blue.

On December 9 we published a scathing report essentially laying out the case for Borders’ conspiratorial censorship of the book based on interviews with employees and some conclusions reached by author Anthony Sommer as to what was really going on after we tried and failed to reach the manager Helaine Perel

But the next day a phone call from her supposedly set us straight and so we reported the following:

(W)e understand there is a new and final reason why Borders will not be carrying KPD Blue- they apparently can’t get a decent wholesale price.

We finally got a call from Borders manager Helaine Perel who told us that despite what the publisher had told author Anthony Sommer book stores cannot apparently get a decent wholesale price from the distributor and would not only have to take the books on a “no-return” basis but would only get a 5% discount off retail and have to pay for shipping.

“In no way did I ever try to keep the book out of the store. It’s completely mercenary- we just couldn’t make any money on it” said Perel.

Ah, it was all just a silly misunderstanding- all’s well that ends, if not well, then just finally ends.

But it seems the actual story is somewhere in between.

It now appears that Borders will be getting in a couple of dozen copies in a couple of weeks and will continue to stock the book because apparently Perel never actually asked the book’s publisher Booksurge- but rather just asked Borders main distributor Baker and Taylor.

Had she, they would have told her that while the “no-return” policy is in effect, there actually was a “40% off” wholesale price not just the 5% that Perel claimed was the main obstacle to carrying the book.

Sommer says he didn’t really know for sure either. He just recently found out while talking to the publisher on another matter when he happened to mention the difficulty Perel reported.

But what was of just as much interest if not more than the specifics of Borders and KPD Blue was another assertion made by Perel to explain why they don’t stock the book

As we reported she told us:
“’Print on demand’ is a bad way to go for writers- there’s just too many problems” for the anyone who also want their book in book stores in addition to on-line orders

Print on demand or POD is a modern marvel for authors who cannot find a publisher that will publish the book and take on the risk of whether it will sell.

Rather than just give up or go to the old “vanity press” where authors basically pay to print up a large order and then personally market and distributed it, for a very minimal cost- as little as a hundred dollar people can now print and distribute their book without a huge outlay of funds and the associated risk.

POD books are actually printed only when the order for it comes in and then it’s sent to the buyer- all within a day or so

Sommer’s book published this way because although regular publishers like it they thought the market for it was limited to those on Kaua`i.

And, as Sommer described in our first report, he never expected book stores on Kaua`i to carry it anyway because of the subject matter and figured that everyone knows how to use to get a book- something that is apparently not true on Kaua`i judging by the more than a thousand requests at Borders.

The fact that Perel could have found out from Booksurge about the wholesale price with a little effort- about the same effort she put into calling us to “correct” our censorship story- leaves us scratching out head over her criticism of “print on demand” and her discouragement of authors from publishing that way- a subject she want into at length during our call.

As we reported, owns Booksurge and Borders apparently has some sort of agreement with a print on demand outlet called Lulu, which may explain why, while her “completely mercenary” explanation may be valid, the exact avaricious mechanism may not be as clear.

Anyone who is seriously considering publishing a book via POD should do some research and there are consumer-driven web sites describing all the pitfalls and criticizing the various POD providers.

The point at these web sites seems to be more along the lines that each self-publishing company- whether POD or standard “vanity”- has their own way of scamming the author so caveat emptor.

But nowhere could we find anyone claiming that book stores would not carry their book because it was published via POD.

As to KPD Blue, there are also more copies reportedly on their way to the Hanalei Pizza in Ching Young Village and although Sommer says he doesn’t care about making money from the book and just wants people to read it for the information it contains, for those who do care, he will be making only 20% as much per book for the ones at Borders as those at or the pizza place.

Monday, December 22, 2008


BEST PAW FORWARD: Well, one council meeting down and if last Wednesday’s is any indication the next 101 for this council will provide plenty of nap time.

Because for all the talk of change there wasn’t a peep of challenge of anything by anyone.

The biggest controversy was who gushed the most in lavishing undeserved praise of another one of those vapid content-free PowerPoint presentations, this time from new Director of Parks and Recreation Leonard “Lenny” Rapozo,

Rapozo was rewarded with the job despite no expertise or experience in the area, taking over for now-Mayor Bernard Carvalho after qualifying by running Carvalho’s campaign.

The meeting started out with promise when the monthly-minister- whose name we didn’t catch- slyly told a story about the time he ran a red light.

When confronted by his son in his lawlessness, instead of stressing how important a person he was and making excuses like “I had to get to church to deliver my sermon”, he told the boy he’d (pardon the interruption) “try to do better next time”.

If any of the re-elected councilmembers caught the significance or applicability of his parable they didn’t let on.

That was followed by the first indication that this is going to be yet another “go along to get along council” when an executive session was yanked from the end of the agenda and inserted into a mid-morning slot, leaving those who came to speak on other items out in the hall waiting.

Despite pleas from the nitpickers to explain 1) why the council allowed a trick question on the ballot to remove our own Kaua`i Sunshine Law from the county charter, 2) why, if it was removed from the charter, it was still on the agenda and 3) when they could see the now-moot county attorney’s opinion on the matter as proscribed by the state sunshine law- they were, as usual dismissed summarily by Chair Kaipo Asing.

But surprisingly enough the county’s “outside” attorney- only identified as “David” despite the fact he is working for the council, got up and actually lied in trying to “explain to the new council members” how the infamous 3.07(e) provision was rejected by a judge.

The fact is that the charter provision had nothing to do with the infamous ES-177 case.

David- Minkins, we believe his last name is- tried to use a judges ruling specific to ES-177 to give the impression that the judge ruled that the council could do anything they damn well please in secret meetings as long as they cloak it in “attorney client privilege”.

First he attempted to try to mash-up and mix-up the case with a request by Walter Lewis and Ray Chuan to see a slew of past executive sessions minutes after the need for secrecy was no longer valid- something provided for in the Sunshine Law.- a case that had nothing to do with ES-177 in which the county sued the Office of Information Practices (OIP) which oversees the Sunshine Law.

The case of ES-177 involved newly elected at the time Councilmember Mel Rapozo when, acceding to OIP, he apparently ranted and raged over a bunch of police department matters that had nothing to do with the agendaed subject matter.

Judge Kathleen Wantanabe’s ruling however was actually very specific to that particular ES transcript saying that any “attorney-client privilege” at the meeting was “inexorably intertwined” with the portions that normally would not be covered- something that Minkins of course did not mention at all.

And the councilmembers- all seven – sat there like bumps on a log and okayed the current request for an ES on a current unrelated lawsuit against the county.

Later the questionable use of asset forfeiture funds we discussed last week- and specifically sent to the council as testimony- wasn’t even mentioned by any of the seven

The uses of the fund for a boat, new badges and a fax machine was approved unanimously without discussion of whether they were “supplemental” in nature as the law for the funds’ use requires.

But this was all a prelude for “the show” when Rapozo, with his deputy Kylan Dela Cruz by his side, whipped out a stack of apparently expensive, spiral-bound booklets, with plastic covers, printed on high quality, almost poster-board like, paper and distributed them to councilmembers before proceeding with their “presentation”.

“Lenny” was introduced with no last name and when Councilmember Tim Bynum asked him to identify himself Rapozo claimed he already had.

Rapozo actually started off trying to get away without doing his PowerPoint presentation and had to be forced to use the glorified overhead projector..

Then believe it or not he started off by saying “On the first page we identified the dog path task force members”.

But this was no mere slip of the tongue like the one that an embarrassed Kaipo Asing used a few months ago to be met with derisive laughter.

He followed it up by describing the next item- “meeting dates... to help us with the enforcement part of the dog path”.

“PowerPoint” presentations for the council have been the coin of the realm for department heads in recent times under the late Mayor Bryan Baptiste, especially Carvalho who used them in order to feign competence, as we discussed a while back.

They obviously figure that the councilmembers are too dumb- or too incompetent themselves- to notice that the content is usually just a bare-bones outline of stuff that would fit on one sheet of paper with no exposition of the specifics of each “point”,

This one though went further, presenting pages of two-per sheet giant color photos of the various signs and other “features” that anyone could see if they visited the path.... none of which explained any specifics.

The first page appeared to have maybe 25 word tops with such outline subjects as “Maintenance” and lines under it saying “trash cans”, “landscape”, “informational signs”, and “dispensers and refills”

That was followed by the only other thing on the page the heading “Enforcement” which was followed by “2 bicycles (stored at Kapa`a Neighborhood center), “3 vehicles” and “hand held radios.”

Actually this brought the only questioning because apparently they took three old police vehicles to use on the non-motorized traffic bike path.

Asing was incredulous because, as anyone in county government knows and he explained, there is a strict policy against using old “retired” police vehicles because they are “high powered” and notorious gas-hogs.

After some other superfluous info with a distinct lack of detail and the “how I spent my summer vacation” picture-show came the most important thing the council had demanded they come up with more than a month ago but never got because Carvalho was too busy running for Mayor- the actual forms for the bureaucratic functioning of the experimental “dog path”- those for writing tickets, signing up volunteers etc.

Problem was that, although they were in that Cadillac of Booklets they weren’t on the actual slide show- er, PowerPoint..

Well with all the gushing from all- and we mean all- the councilmembers you would have thought these geniuses had expanded string theory what with all the oooo’s and ahhhh’s over the presentation.

We’re distinctly disappointed in the new council for starting off on the wrong foot.

The fact is that it becomes increasingly more difficult to stop unethical, even illegal practices once you allow them to happen by not raising your hand to question them.

No one’s asking the newbies to be confrontational but at least ask the questions required of an oversight body when you’re made aware of them.

That’s been the major complaint about the council- even when members of the public legitimately question practices, do research to back it up and testify or submit it to them they’re greeted with “thanks for sharing- all in favor?- next item please”.

In the case of the police requests, the chief was even in the room. And in the case of the prosecutor’s fax machine if she wasn’t there, why not? Certainly when she was a councilperson the new prosecutor, Shaylene Iseri Carvalho would have demanded someone requesting money from the council be there to answer questions.

And accepting shoddy work without asking pertinent - not impertinent- questions is bad enough. But heaping praise instead of deserved criticism can only be seen as a political ploy possibly to secure a place at the corruption table.

Worse is actually voting for the measure that should have gotten more scrutiny without asking the questions the voters expect will be asked.

Once you have complemented people who are doing shoddy work on one matter how do you confront them later?

Some may say “hey- give them a chance- that was just their first meeting”. But that misses the point- that first meeting will set the tone for other 101 over the next two years.

If past is prologue it could be “same old, same old” as the new members especially if instead of sharpening elbows they just use them to make room for themselves in the “look the other way” old boys and girls club.

We’ll see how it goes in January but if last Wednesday was any indication we’re not too hopeful for any change.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

KPD Blue: Chapter 20 : Hop Sing

KPD Blue

By Anthony Sommer

Chapter 20 : Hop Sing

K.C. Lum, then 55, a 22-year KPD veteran, was named acting chief of police in May 2004 to replace Willie Ihu, who retired as acting chief.

As with so many of the KPD officers in this story, Lum is tied to the Lap Dancing Incident.

He was a lieutenant at the time and the senior officer on the team that pulled off the sting operation on Fanta-See.

Although it was several weeks after the incident, Lum was the first KPD officer to conduct an extensive interview of Monica Alves on her allegations against Randy Machado and the other officers who took her into the watch sergeant’s office.

His report became the basis of the charges against the five KPD officers who molested Alves.

Lum was one of only two KPD officers of Chinese descent. He was raised as a US Army brat on a series of military posts. He was not a Kauai native but he spent his entire police career on the KPD.

Despite his service on the police department, he was an outsider.

When Acting Chief Willie Ihu retired Lum was selected as acting chief and was chosen by the Police Commission to be the next permanent chief.

His swearing-in ceremony at the new KPD headquarters was a strange affair.

It was packed with young patrolmen.

But there were few sergeants, no lieutenants and no assistant chiefs.

He was being shunned by the local “old guard” in a very public way.

(picture caption)
Kauai Police Chief K.C. Lum (left)on the day he filed a civil rights lawsuit against Kauai County.Leon Gonsalves, Mayor Bryan Baptiste’s only appointee on the Kauai Police Commission when Lum was hired, called the new chief “Hop Sing,” a racial slur to Chinese-Americans, the day before Lum was sworn in. The Chinese-American community on Kauai was furious. With Lum when he filed his lawsuit were Dr. Raymond Chuan (center) and former Police Commission Chairman Stanton Pa, both Chinese-American.

The other two finalists for the chief’s job were Lt. Regina Ventura, the senior female officer on the KPD and then head of the Vice Squad (which seems to be at the center of every legal controversy), and Maj. Darryl Perry, a retired member of the Honolulu Police Department but a Kauai native.

Perry was the candidate of the KPD old guard.

Lum never was accused of any misconduct in office. Try as they might, Baptiste and the County Council could find nothing to use against him at the Police Commission.

But he was forced—by Mayor Baptiste and the County Council (not the Police Commission, the only entity with the legal authority to fire a police chief on Kauai)—to retire on June 7, 2006, with more than three years remaining on his contract.

There are lots of players in this theater of the absurd.

But the leader of the band in the effort to oust Lum clearly was County Councilman Mel Rapozo.

A decade prior, he was Sgt. Mel Rapozo, the KPD supervisor who stood off to the side and smirked while four KPD patrolmen fondled Monica Alves in Rapozo’s office. He did nothing to stop them.

The math is simple: Rapozo was a bad cop who took a fall, ended up on the County Council, saw his opportunity to punish Lum, who had reported him for his role in the Alves incident, and seized it.

The other key player was Leon Gonsalves, a retired cop who was the only member of the Police Commission appointed by Baptiste and the only police commissioner to vote against Lum. Gonsalves was a longtime friend of Perry’s.

More important, Gonsalves was the one whose blatant racist comment about Lum lit the fuse on everything else that happened.

On Oct. 14, 2004, the day before Lum was sworn in as chief and Ron Venneman (a retired LAPD detective who was one of the very few white members of the KPD) became deputy chief, Gonsalves sent an email to a friend at the Kauai County Prosecutor’s Office.

There was no question he was upset that two haoles, two “outsiders,” were going to be the top two officials of the KPD.

“Tomorrow is the swearing in for Hop Sing and Little Joe, I wouldn’t be there, thank Good (sic). I might throw up,” Gonsalves wrote.

The email was forwarded many times all over Kauai.

Both Hop Sing and Little Joe were characters on the long-running television pre-political-correctness western Bonanza.

Hop Sing was the cook for the Cartwright family, the central characters in the series, and intended solely as a comic figure. He was easily excited and often defended his kitchen with a meat cleaver.

Hop Sing wore a skull cap and a long pigtail. Chinese- Americans saw him as a negative cultural stereotype and being called “Hop Sing” was definitely not a compliment.

K.C. Lum is Chinese-American. So is Mike Ching, at that time the chairman of the Kauai Police Commission. Another member of the Police Commission, Stanton Pa, although his name is Hawaiian, also is part Chinese.

Even Kauai’s most strident political activist, Ray Chuan, who has a PhD in physics, is Chinese (although, because he’s lived most of his life on the mainland, Chuan is considered a haole by locals).

Little Joe was the youngest of the Cartwright sons. He was played by actor Michael Landon (real name Eugene Orowitz), who was Jewish. Ron Venneman, the new deputy chief, is Jewish.

Gonsalves insisted he had called Lum Hop Sing for many years without any complaints he was being racist.

He said he nicknamed Venneman Little Joe because the television character had long curly hair of which he was quite proud and Venneman similarly placed a lot of emphasis on how he combed his hair.

“It’s not about prejudice,” Gonsalves said shortly afterward. “I don’t like it. It’s just turned into something that was not supposed to be,” said Gonsalves, who is Hawaiian and Portuguese, in an interview shortly afterward.

“I have daughters-in-law who are haole, Japanese, Filipino. My grandchildren are all mixed up like chop suey, and I love every one of them,” he said.

He added he didn’t even know either Venneman or Landon was Jewish.

“To me, Ron looks like Little Joe. I don’t know what religion he is,” Gonsalves said, adding what certainly reflects the “they all look like to me” attitude of locals:

“I look at a Caucasian and to me he’s a haole. I don’t distinguish between German or Irish or whatever.

“As long as you don’t add any adjectives to the term, haole just means he’s foreigner. There’s nothing wrong with being a haole.

“I’ve already apologized. There isn’t anything else I can do.”

By mainland political standards it was time for Mayor Bryan Baptiste (who, like Gonsalves, is Hawaiian and Portuguese) to immediately step up and give an angry and impassioned speech about how he won’t tolerate racism or racist comments in county government.

Instead, Baptiste fanned the flames by doing nothing. His sole comment on Gonsalves’s email was that it was “inappropriate.”

The mayor knew that the vast majority of his local constituents used racial slurs in everyday conversation.

And he wanted a second term.

But, in the meanwhile, Gonsalves’s comments were getting national media attention.

And Chinese-Americans on Kauai (a very small minority; because most Chinese sugar workers on Kauai migrated to Honolulu when they left the plantations) were getting angry.

Violet Hee, the 85-year-old president of the Chinese Cultural Heritage of Kauai, called for Gonsalves to resign immediately.

Lum was threatening to file a civil rights lawsuit in federal court accusing Gonsalves (who technically was one of his bosses) with racism and creating a hostile work environment.

So, Baptiste had to come up with a plan.

And he did. It actually was more a script on which Gonsalves and the County Council agreed beforehand how to play their roles.

On Nov. 5, 2004, Baptiste announced he had asked Gonsalves to resign from the Kauai Police Commission and Gonsalves refused.

Gonsalves confirmed the mayor’s press release: “I talked to the mayor last night and I told him I don’t think I’ll resign.”

Baptiste said in his press release (he wasn’t, of course, available for questions) that he would ask the Kauai County Council to remove Gonsalves from office.

The Council had approved Gonsalves’s appointment, so now they must disapprove it in order for Gonsalves to be removed, the mayor had decided.

No one could remember a member of a county board or commission being removed. And there was nothing in the County Charter about it.

So, it never was clear whether Baptiste or the County Council should have the final word on firing Gonsalves. Clearly, Baptiste was scurrying for cover. He didn’t want to speak out against racism. So he dumped it on the County Council.

His letter to the Council asking it to fire Gonsalves was hardly a stand against racial discrimination:

“My decision to request Mr. Gonsalves’s removal from the (Police) Commission has little to do with whether his remarks in the controversial email message were racially prejudiced or not.”

And, knowing their constituents would consider a Council firing of Gonsalves a criticism of their racist local culture, the Council did nothing for six months.

Finally, in April, 2005, the Council voted to deny the mayor’s request to remove Gonsalves. Gonsalves continued to serve as on the Police Commission.

On Feb. 7, 2006, Lum filed a $1.2 million federal civil rights suit against Kauai County alleging he was the target of discrimination and retaliation because he is an American of Chinese descent.

Lum said the conspiracy between the mayor, County Council and numerous unidentified KPD officers was caused by his insistence on change in the KPD and “to enforce the law no matter where the chips may fall.”

Lum’s attorney is Clayton Ikei, who had represented Jackie Tokashiki and Alvin Seto.

“The facts speak clearly,” Ikei said at the press conference announcing Lum’s lawsuit.

“Chief Lum and the reforms he undertook were successful, but they were a threat to the entrenched guard in the police department and in the county—those with a vested interest in preserving the status quo.”

A federal judge dismissed Gonsalves as a defendant. Lum has appealed that decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the lawsuit against the county is on hold until the 9th Circuit rules.

Friday, December 19, 2008


RED-HANDED: The Kaua`i County Council’s penchant for treating the state Sunshine Law like toilet paper is just a fact of life in this separate kingdom where patriarchy has replaced open governance, deliberations and decision-making.

Though violations of the state’s open meeting “Sunshine” laws are apparent when one watches council meetings, evidence of this criminal activity has been scant and usually circumstantial.

Until now.

PNN is in receipt of a letter apparently from then County Council Chair (now vice chair) Jay Furfaro addressed to “Members of the County Council” asking for support for a bill that was never formally agendaed and certainly not in an open meeting, in blatant violation of the law.

Though we have heard about proposed bills being improperly “circulated” for many years we’ve never had the goods before.

The bill is the one we discussed Tuesday after Joan Conrow discovered it at Realtor Ronnie Margolis’ blog and the letter is the one that Margolis referred to and published a portion of in a recent post regarding setting up “non-enforcement agreements” for people who have vacation rentals on agricultural land in clear violation of state law HRS 205.

While PNN is unable to confirm that the letter was actually sent or received, if indeed it was it could lead to criminal penalties including jail time for Furfaro.

Just circulating communications that are likely to be discussed or introduced before they are actually on the agenda is forbidden but even more troubling in the letter is the actual solicitation for support of the measure which is doubly prohibited.

The letter- reproduced in full below and on official council stationary says in part

I am recommending consideration of the attached bill prepared by former Planning Committee Chair, JoAnn Yukimura, to address the issue of vacation rentals of agricultural lands.. Your favorable consideration in referring this bill to the Planning Commission is appreciated.

Bills regarding planning issues must go through the planning commission according to the county charter after being directed there by a vote of the council.

The letter contains not just a full description of the bill lifted from the “purpose and finding” section but purportedly an attachment containing the proposed bill itself.

The Sunshine law HRS 92 in says in section §92-1

(T)he legislature declares that it is the policy of this State that the formation and conduct of public policy - the discussions, deliberations, decisions, and action of governmental agencies - shall be conducted as openly as possible.

And while there are “permitted interactions of members” in §92-2 none allow the communication of matters not on a meeting agenda and discussed openly in an open meeting especially those likely to be on a future agenda.

§ 92-2.5 does allow that

Two members of a board may discuss between themselves matters relating to official board business to enable them to perform their duties faithfully, as long as no commitment to vote is made or sought and the two members do not constitute a quorum of their board.

but that is certainly not the case here

The section does list some permitted interactions of two or more but less than a quorum such as investigations and other specific matter but nowhere does it allow this kind if communication.

The prohibition on communications outside of open, duly agendaed meetings is clear. In order for any communication behind closed doors to take place it must conform to §92-4 and §92-5 (a) where there is a specific list of eight types of matters that can be considered in “executive session”.

But even those must appear on an agenda duly filed six days before a meeting

92-5 (b) says that that:

(b) In no instance shall the board make a decision or deliberate toward a decision in an executive meeting on matters not directly related to the purposes specified in subsection (a). No chance meeting, permitted interaction, or electronic communication shall be used to circumvent the spirit or requirements of this part to make a decision or to deliberate toward a decision upon a matter over which the board has supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power.

The Furfaro letter certainly doesn’t fit any of the exceptions to the open meetings laws and prohibitions against circumventing the law which also has been interpreted by Office of Information Practices (OIP) to forbid serial one on one communications to avoid compliance in opinion 05-15

The OIP has opined on the matter many times, most recently and clearly in Opinion Letter 4-01 dated January 13, 2004 on Board Members “Discussion of Official Business Outside of a Duly Noticed Meeting” where the summary letter states

The OIP opined that the general rule is that discussion among board members concerning matters over which the board has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power and that are before or are reasonably expected to come before the board outside of a duly noticed meeting violates the Sunshine Law.

PNN received the letter through a reliable source who asked not to be identified. They told us the letter was forward by Margolis as the one he referred to and partially reproduced in his blog.

PNN is forwarding the case to the OIP for investigation as to whether the letter is genuine, was sent and received by councilmembers and to obtain a ruling in the case.

It is illegal to intentionally forge or alter official government documents.


And for the “only on Kaua`i” note of the week we turn to Hank Soboleski’s always excellent and informative Island History column in the local paper

Nepotism, cronyism and the resulting conflict-riddled revolving-door nature of modern Kaua`i government has provided more material than we can handle at PNN. But it appears it’s practitioners have nothing on the way it was done almost 60 years ago.

Soboleski’s piece today describes the 1940 opening of the first radio station on Kaua`i the fabled KTOH and the on air festivities that night.

After describing the much of the program Hank lists the “Guest speakers”

And there, halfway down the list, are the following:

County Treasurer K.C. Ahana
County Auditor K.M. Ahana


JAY FURFARO, CHAIR Council Services Division
MEL RAPOZO, VICE CHAIR Elections Division
RONALD D. KOUCHI Telephone: (808) 241-6371
LĪHU‘E, KAUA‘I, HAWAI‘I 96766-1371
E-mail: cokcouncil@kauai.govJOANN A. YUKIMURA Facsimile: (808) 241-6349

November 28, 2008

Members of the County Council
4396 Rice Street, Room 206
Līhu‘e, HI 96766

Dear Members of the County Council:

As you know, in the last nine months since Ordinance No. 864 regulating single family vacation rentals was signed into law by Mayor Bryan Baptiste on March 7, 2008, the financial system of our country has been thrown into major upheaval, with far reaching consequences for our hard-hit visitor industry in Hawai`i. In a recent briefing of the County Council, Kaua`i Visitor Bureau Executive Director Sue Kanoho said that the Kaua`i Visitors Bureau and the Hawai`i Tourism Authority are now focusing on visitors who CAN come to Kaua`i, as opposed to those who WANT to come.

To address this situation, I am recommending consideration of the attached bill prepared by former Planning Committee Chair, JoAnn Yukimura, to address the issue of vacation rentals of agricultural lands. It re-instates a provision proposed while Ordinance No. 864 was becoming law. It would allow enforcement agreements that would allow vacation rentals on agricultural land to continue to operate where it can be proved that they were in existence and legal operation prior to enactment of Ordinance No. 864 except for State requirements for farm dwellings. This grace period would be allowed only until the County’s agricultural land planning process and related regulations are completed and implemented, or the owner secured a special permit under Section 205-6 of Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (the latter is a new addition to the proposal considering during passage of Ordinance No. 864.).

The subject vacation rentals would accommodate the visitors who CAN come to Kaua`i. They provide support small businesses and provide jobs. On the other hand, they would be limited to those single family transient vacation rentals which were operating prior to enactment of Ordinance No. 864 (it is imperative that the Planning Department strictly administer and enforce this requirement) and would not be allowed if determined to be on agricultural land after our agricultural land planning process unless they, through a public hearing process and meeting the requirements, secured a special permit under State law.

Your favorable consideration in referring this bill to the Planning Commission is appreciated.


Jay Furfaro

Thursday, December 18, 2008


A GUIDE FOR THE NASALLY IMPAIRED: It was fascinating to follow the live blogging from attorney Robert Thomas today from the Hawai`i Supreme Court’s hearing on the Hawai`i Superferry (HSf), especially in light of the coincidental final report from State Auditor Marion Higa who apparently answered the central question for the court in the affirmative.

That question is whether the legislature’s Act 2 was designed to benefit a single business entity- something that all agree is illegal- or whether by referring to “large capacity ferry vessels” in general rather than the Hawai`i Superferry (HSf) as the original draft read, they made it legal.

And all the lawyers- not just in the court room but the handful who commented on the proceedings- very soberly, rationally and calmly debated the issue, especially regarding the only prior case in the state where a similar convolutedly written law called Bulgo was given the OK by the high court.

All that can be said to all these lawyers, as any true New Yorker would say, is “What am I, a freakin’ idiot?”.

Choose your expression here- “Are you gonna believe me or your lyin’ eyes” or “don’t piss on my foot and tell me it’s raining”.

Only a total fool- or perhaps an overeducated boob with a law degree-.would look at the facts and say the legislation was anything but specifically designed to enable one and only one company to operate..

Under questioning, the state’s lawyer’s only relevant response to the fact that there is and was only one company that has a ferry - and in light of the fact that there are no other large capacity ferries that are likely to operate before Act 2 expires next summer- was, essentially “well,,, it could happen.”.

Joan Conrow does an excellent job in summarizing the report from Higa, especially the part which describes the process by which the “special benefit” was bestowed on HSf, and links to all the reports on the audit and the lead-up to this morning’s court hearing.

But what remains mind-boggling is that it’s just possible that a panel of five judges- supposedly bright, rational people with a degree of common sense- could actually say no, it just a general law because that’s the way it was worded in the law itself.

Pay no attention to the facts behind the curtain- I am the great and powerful Unified Command of the Superferry.

Perhaps Conrow summed up best the attitude expressed by those who hope for some tunnel vision on the part of the court by saying:

So once again we have the Administration essentially claiming that all this circumventing and undermining was OK, because it was really in the public’s best interest, so Higa should just shut up and stop poking about in all the corners and closets.

But today it appeared the court just might open the pantry door and look in those nooks and crannies.

Chief Justice Moon actually asked if “Bulgo” was “wrongly decided” meaning that, although the plaintiff’s attorney Isaac Hall didn’t claim that in his briefs mostly because it’s not wise to rely on the overturning of prior decisions when filing a case.

But it’s hard to imagine how even the attorney’s for the state and HSf could make their arguments with a straight face that it is a generally applicable law.

The on line discussion was rather civil with only one lawyer joke but perhaps that’s why people deride lawyers and by extension the legal system. what they see is the officers of the court getting so hung up on the trees of the specific that the forest of the wider view becomes invisible in their carefully constructed house of cards.

The answer to the question “what are we freakin’ idiots?” is apparently yes in many cases.

Should the court rule that everything was hunky-dorey, reporters will go out and unquestioningly report the “facts” and the ferry will run and even the opponents in the legislature itself will all “accept the verdict”.

And we “idiots” will just sigh, sit back with a bag of Doritos and watch Oprah.

The decision, as someone said in a comment, could come either today or two years from now. Whether or not that decision leaves a wet acid odor on the feet of the Hawai`i Supreme Court it doesn’t speak well of anything or anybody whose lawyerly or political fingerprints are on this case that the matter has gotten this far.

Some people will try to convince you up is down and black is white. But don’t let ‘um fool ya. Does a tree make a sound if it falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it? Of course it freakin’ does. Which came the chicken or the egg? It’s the freakin’ egg.

Only a lawyer can convince you that Act 2 is sitting around to benefit some freakin’ slew of high capacity ferries.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


BUT DID IT HAVE TO BE A TOOTHLESS HOUND AND AN OLD GRAY MARE?: The blurry line between journalists and public relations hacks and flacks is getting more indistinguishable every day with reporters who started out afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted downsized into suckling on the teat of corporate conniving to sell you what you don’t want and never needed.

But those few who are left working for mainstream publications and TV news outlets are under more and more pressure to swallow any dog and pony show that provides innocuous and subservient news-hole fodder.

So it should come as no surprise that the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders have nothing on the Hawai`i press corps when it came to swallowing whole Linda Lingle’s latest PR stunt- her supposed economic stimulus program comprised of already approved projects repackaged with a shiny new bow.

You really have to search hard to find out anything that is actually being done in the supposed “fast tracking” and as a matter of fact no one in Honolulu that we can find has actually uncovered the fact that there is actually nothing being done this week that wasn’t being done last week except for the grin and grip for three neighbor island mayors seeking to appear as though they are “doing something to fix the economy”.

A look at the two major Honolulu dailies shows piss poor journalism in ballyhooing Lingle’s application of porcine makeup with not a one actually asking- much less reporting on- exactly what kind of “fast tracking” will actually be done.

The Advertiser’s Peter Boylan is particular smitten, leading his report by saying.

The state is looking to fast- track $1.86 billion worth of capital improvement projects to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

The 1,521 projects include highway improvements; maintenance and new construction at public schools and university and community college campuses; public library upgrades and repairs; small boat harbor upgrades and expansion; Hawaiian Homes construction; public housing facility repairs and renovations; and hospital and healthcare facility improvements.

After a paragraph saying Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann refused to show up for the farce he continues to describe the sow’s ear as a silk purse, saying

The projects identified by Lingle have already been budgeted and approved by the Legislature, and construction could begin within the next 18 months. The projects are set to be put out to bid by September 2009 and awarded by June 2010, Lingle said.

Lingle said she wants to stimulate the economy because "no one is coming here to rescue us. It is up to us."

She added: "My bottom line is it can't be business as usual. That won't work in these times."

The state will pay for the projects with a series of bond issues or by taking money from $3 billion it has in the bank, Lingle said.

Then he’s off on a tangent of Honolulu’s need for other projects turning his piece into a he said/she said political battle between the mayor and governor, never getting back to exactly what the real “news” is

The Star Bulletin’s usually astute Nina Wu was even more vapid. She not only fails to report what specific “fast tracking” there will be she doesn’t even mention that phrase much less explain that they are just a recycled and repackaged list of projects.

Wu simply regurgitates Lingle’s PR crew’s descriptions of the wondrous amounts of money Lingle will single handedly be bestowing on we commoners saying

Calling it an unprecedented initiative, the governor said the main goal was to create jobs.

"It's about real families," said Lingle. "When I talk to our team, I don't talk about it in terms of CIP or projects; I talk about it in terms of your neighbors, your friends, your family being able to have a decent life, being able to make their mortgage payments. That's what the effort is all about."

And that’s nothing compared to the editorial in today’s Star-Bulletin which proclaims “Lingle stimulus plan should work, in time” saying

GOING forward with state construction projects in an expedited timeframe announced by Gov. Linda Lingle should help the state climb out of its current financial ditch but not overnight. The move to hurry along approved state projects in cooperation with federal and county actions is laudable but limited by processes that cannot be sidestepped.
Lingle said more than 1,500 projects statewide that were approved by the Legislature will be put on a fast track, an 80 percent increase of projects previously put on such a schedule. Even then, she said at a news conference, the projects will be put out to bid by next September and contracts awarded by a year-and-a-half from now.

Want a more pantingly pedantic point of virew? Try today’s blog post from Advertiser columnist Dave Shapiro who has apparently been looking for something to butter up his fave on the fifth floor after being forced more and more recently to acknowledge her failed administration.

Instead of pointing out the emperor’s lack of appropriate apparel he pushes to what appears to be the Advertiser’s party line, turning the story into a hit piece on Hannemann. He wrote:

So what happened when Lingle called Hawai’i mayors together to work on an economic plan? Hannemann skipped out, and he deserves as much criticism as he earlier heaped on Lingle.

Before puking out political punditry that praises the Governor and the neighbor island mayors and faults His Mufiness for having more important things to do than participate in ding-a-Lingle’s no-news news-event.

Of course none of the TV news programs had anything more in their fleeting coverage than what they were spoon-fed and most were decidedly worse in terms of not reporting the deceit itself much less details of it.

But credit where credit is due- even if it is from what is usually the worst paper in the state- or country for that matter- The Garbage- er, Garden Island (TGI) on Kaua`i.

In reading relatively new reporter Michael Levine’s article you get a feeling that he wasn’t buying the gift wrapped turd.

Apparently he actually asked some of these questions and after describing the already-in-the-pipeline nature of the projects and listing some of the amounts of money to be spent he writes

However, the announcement should not be seen as Lingle actually releasing the funds from the state’s coffers — Pang said projects in which bids have not yet been awarded are not ready for release, and that the standard process, including planning and permitting, still has to occur on a case-by-case basis.

As an example of what’s not new he reports that

Nearly half of Kaua‘i’s funding total is expected to be used to widen a two-mile stretch of Kaumuali‘i Highway between Anonui Street and the Lihu‘e Mill Bridge.

According to information on the CIP Web site, that project alone is projected to cost just over $70 million.

The project is expected to go out to bid in June 2009, to be awarded in September 2009, and to begin construction in February 2010. The contract time is projected to be 825 days.

So the project, which was always scheduled for that timeframe as he reported previously, will now be scheduled for that same time... only this time it’s thanks to Lingle with an assist in doing nothing from Kaua`i Mayor Bernard Carvalho

According to Levine there’s nothing specific they will be doing to fast track anything except for determining what if anything they can do- which is probably nothing.

“These projects will help in getting our construction and building trade sectors moving,” Mayor Bernard Carvalho, who pledged support for the program at an afternoon press conference with Lingle and other county mayors, said in a release.

Beth Tokioka, executive assistant to Carvalho, said the mayor’s staff was continuing to look through the list to determine what assistance the county can provide to help speed up the process.

Additionally, Carvalho said in a press release that the county is compiling its own list of high-priority CIP projects for immediate and near-term implementation.

“Millions of dollars at the county level are already in the pipeline or are ready to be awarded,” he said.“We are currently preparing for a bond float so that we can fund additional CIP projects.

Supporting our economy during these difficult times remains a top priority for my administration.”

So let’s get this straight- even the fast-tracking is a con job because there’s no guarantee from Lingle that this will speed up her “release” of the funds or that she’ll do it any differently than what is proscribed by laws and rules. And, Carvalho will also be following the law and rules at the county level for permitting and planning approval.

We can only hope that someone like Levine- if not him- is named to replace the departing TGI Editor Adam Harju who is reportedly moving on to- believe it or not- “The Cambodia Daily”.

Levine has done some really exceptional reporting even though Harju has been a stalwart of censorship and drivel in service to publisher Mark Lewis.

But it appears, despite Harju’s denials when he took the job that he was “here to stay”, Kaua`i was for him just “another stop on the circuit” of small but increasingly larger community papers that younger mainland reporters ride to professional legitimacy.

Well the community’s gain is Harju’s loss- As everyone knows the only reason he was here was for the surfing anyway. We’ll most likely be looking forward to an even more out of touch malahini from “the circuit” taking the TGI reigns.

Keep it riel Adam and don’t take any bamboo ones. We’ll let Pol Pot’s living henchmen know they have nothing to worry about in the way of investigative work from you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


TO LIVE INSIDE THE LAW YOU MUST BE DISHONEST: There will be changes to the Kaua`i County Council committee memberships proposed at Wednesday’s council meeting.

If passed, Tim Bynum will replace Lani Kawahara on the new Economic Development/Housing Committee and Kawahara will replace Dickie Chang on the Planning Committee.

The change will give the three supporters of Jay Furfaro a voting majority on the all important planning panels after complaints that they were shut out of a majority on any of the seven committees by the four members who supported Chair Kaipo Asing.

Although all council members are technically members of all committees, voting members are limited to five each according to council rules. The other two sit ex-officio.

And while there are five bills on the council’s agenda tomorrow, despite reports to the contrary, there is no bill to allow vacation rentals on agricultural lands.

The blogs are all a twitter after a post at Realtor Ronnie Margolis’ blog, saying that

In a letter from Nov. 28th, Councilman Jay Furfaro introduced legislation that was drafted by Joanne Yukimura, former council person who lost her bid for Kauai mayor. The legislation provides for the continuing of vacation rentals in ag land.

That set off a chain of postings and phone calls beginning with a pointer-post by property rights lawyer Charley Foster to ballyhooing the claim on his Planet Kaua`i blog, That spurred Joan Conrow to send out an Eclectic alarm which seems to have caused Councilpersons Lani Kawahara and Tim Bynum to contact “farmer Jerry” of KauaiEclectic fame (who in real life is Wailua farmer Jerry Ornalles) to ask his mana`o about the various ag bills that are “floating around”.

But despite all the panty-bunching there is in fact no such bill on the agenda nor was one “introduced” by the previous council on November 28, when a special council meeting was held with only two executive sessions regarding two different lawsuits on the agenda.

Margolis does his best to make believe there is one though and claims to have a letter from Council Vice Chair Jay Furfaro

Margolis wrote

In the letter Furfaro notes,"since Ordinance No. 864 regulating single family vacation rentals was signed into law by Mayor Bryan Baptiste on March 7, 2008, the financial system of our country has been thrown into major upheaval, with far reaching consequences for our hard-hit visitor industry in Hawai`i. In a recent briefing of the County Council, Kaua`i Visitor Bureau Executive Director Sue Kanoho said that the Kaua`i Visitors Bureau and the Hawai`i Tourism Authority are now focusing on visitors who CAN come to Kaua`i, as opposed to those who WANT to come."

Whether there is such a “letter” is anyone’s guess but Margolis actually posted the make-believe bill which contains almost identical language the purported letter from Furfaro.

The “Findings and Purpose” in the official looking but undated and unnumbered ” bill”- which lacks both the county seal and the required tabulation of votes for “first reading” that would indicate legitimacy- as posted by Margolis says:

The Council of the County of Kaua‘i hereby finds that recent unprecedented events have caused major upheaval in the national and world economy, producing a significant eduction (sic) in visitor arrivals to Kaua‘i and a negative impact on Kaua‘i’s economy, small businesses and families. These events include volatile oil prices and the financial disaster caused by the subprime mortgage crisis and failure of long standing financial institutions. In a briefing of the County Council on October 1, 2008, Kaua‘i Visitor Bureau Executive Director Sue Kanoho reported that Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau and the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority are now focusing on visitors who CAN come to Kaua‘i, as opposed to those who WANT to come. Some of the visitors who can come to Kaua‘i want to stay in single family transient vacation rentals in rural settings.

Margolis ends by saying what you’d expect to hear from a realtor seeking to do some kind- anykine- business these days, what with the non-existent market:

This legislation is also meant to help farmers who need to provide housing to their farm workers by renting the housing that is on the land they are working. Hopefully, this will relieve some stress for those who work the land and provide local-grown food, and help their cash flow in these recessionary times.

The fact is that vacation rentals on ag land are specifically banned by state law (HRS Section 205) and there’s not thing-one Kaua`i can legally do about that despite the search for loopholes by real estate lobbyist attorney Jonathan Chun during the discussion of the recently passed Transient Vacation Rentals (TVR) bill that grandfathered existing TVR’s in non-Visitor Destination areas as designated in the General Plan.

So what does this “bill” seek to do? Ah those devilish details.

It actually calls for existing owners of TVR’s on ag land to come to “non-enforcement agreements” with the planning director.

That right folks. In the proud Kaua`i tradition of “if you don’t like the law just ignore it” they want to go one step further and actually pass a bill instructing the planning department to ignore the law.

Preambles (purposes and findings) aside, the actual language the Margolis’ “law” would change with this monstrosity is:

(e) In cases in which a single-family transient vacation rental located on land designated “Agricultural” by State law does not qualify for a nonconforming use certificate under Sec. 8-17.10(d), the following shall apply: upon a finding by the Planning Director that the applicant has met the requirements of Sec. 8-17.10(c), except for the requirement of a “farm dwelling” under HRS, Chapter 205-4.5, the Planning Department may enter into an enforcement agreement with applicant agreeing not to enforce this ordinance’s prohibition against single-family transient vacation rentals without nonconforming use certificates in non-VDA areas, provided that the enforcement agreement contains, at a minimum, provisions to which all parties agree that:

(1) no rights existing at time of enactment of this ordinance will be extinguished or diminished during the non-enforcement period, nor shall new rights be created during this non-enforcement period, and neither the applicant nor the County shall be deemed to have waived existing rights or made any admissions as to existing rights by entering into said enforcement agreement; and

(2) the enforcement agreement shall terminate upon identification of Kaua‘i’s agricultural lands of importance to the State pursuant to HRS Chapter 205 or identification of agricultural lands of importance to the County and adoption of ordinance(s) regulating said lands, or the owner has D:2008-1427A/lki obtained a special permit under HRS Section 205-6 or March 15, 2011, whichever comes first; and

(3) upon expiration of the enforcement agreement, if the subject dwelling unit is located on lands designated “Agricultural” by State or county law, the applicant, owner, successor, or permitted assigns shall abide by the laws that apply to said lands, or if the subject dwelling unit is located on lands designated other than “Agricultural” by State and County law, or has received a special permit under HRS 205-6, a nonconforming use certificate shall be issued therefor by the Planning Department.

What is really going on of course is that this is happening with a background of the developer’s best friend- the “identification of important agricultural lands” study now being conducted on Kaua`i at the state’s behest.

And, although it was originally passed to identify “important” lands, in a developer’s and realtor’s wet dream the study has morphed into identifying unimportant ag lands so they can be taken out of ag and developed.

But despite the fact that it’s been 30 years since the original mandate to “identify important ag lands” and that no one knows what will happen when and if they are ever identified, this would allow what the state law doesn’t allow by telling our planning director to just ignore their illegality until such time.

Anyone can write a “bill” and given the right software can make it appear official. We suspect that IF this bill is “floating around at the council” (where any expressed commitment to support it by council members would be illegal according to the Sunshine Law) and is being considered at the behest of Yukimura, the odds are that Chun’s fingerprints are all over it.

Chun’s testimony was constantly greeted with breathlessness acquiesced by Yukimura who, during the debacle. sought his counsel. It was instrumental in formulating a bill that resulted in allowing the “grandfathering” of illegal TVR’s in non VDA areas, instead of enforcing the state law against them

Incidentally Chun did all this lobbying by breaking the law himself by not consistently identifying himself before the council as a paid lobbyist for the Board of Realtors, as provided for in HRS Chapter 97 and Council Resolution 2007-2 on council rules.

Another bill (#2294) is up for a 1:30 p.m. public hearing (and has passed first reading) on the agenda tomorrow and does deal with TVR’s. It is one that tightens up and defines some permitting requirements for those seeking to have their illegal yet somehow grandfathered TVR’s in non-VDA areas.

It deals with signs and inspections and comes after the planning department failed to even start the process to create HRS Chapter 91 administrative rules for permitting since the bill passed.

Also on the public hearing agenda is a bill (#2292) that a lot of home owners will greet with enthusiasm and is probably long over due. It would make it so that those appealing their assessments for property tax purposes would only need to show the assessor was off by 10% instead of the current 20% in order to appeal the assessment amount.

There are also bills for first reading,

-one extending the deadline to apply for the new Kuleana Land Exemption from Dec. 31 to Feb. 13,

-one to rezone some residential (R-1) land in Po`ipu to Neighborhood Commercial (the land is adjacent to other Neighborhood Commercial land) and

-one to appropriate $85,000 hire a professional recruitment firm for $65,000 and pay $20,000 for advertising to recruit new police officers.

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. in the council chambers at the Historic county Building on Rice St. in Lihu`e.