Monday, March 31, 2008


JUST PUT IT IN HIS PORK CHOP- HE’LL SWALLOW IT: Silly season seems to be here lately as various personages seek to confuse and deconstruct with bogus straw men and nonsensical nonsequiturs.

Be it Robin Clark’ s letter to the editor yesterday trying to redefine “genetically modified organisms” (GMOs) to mean that anything and everything living has been genetically modified because they all have genes, or the claim that the seeds of Aloha airline’s demise were sown with the predatory practices of the fare wars rather than Aloha’s own predatory practices regarding its customers when it instituted a mainland-style weeks-in-advance purchase of precise day and time ticketing scheme, it’s obvious that many are getting into the equivocally-parsed swing of the presidential election year.

But few are as amusingly contrived as Lowell Kalapa’s arguments today against mandates for solar water heaters on new homes.

They even exceed the vacuousness of the peak-oil deniers who act as if an increase in the price of oil matters is driving the need for a mandate rather than just practical consumer economics no matter what the price of oil. Although any increase in the price of oil only enhances savings one even suggests we all invest in oil futures rather than save money on our electric bills.

First Kalapa argues that the mandate might include repealing the very tax credits that make solar water a no-brainer in the first place and adds to his henny-penny, red-herrings that then the electric companies will stop their loans and rebates.

Which orifice he plucked that one out of isn’t apparent but then he goes on to say we that since we don’t know how many people will live in the house how can we know how big a system to put in each of them, asking “what if grandma and grandpa move in?”.

Well what do people do now when they build a house- they select a certain size water heater. Using Kalapa’s logic we should just leave out all appliances until the people move in... maybe leave out walls because we don’t know how many bedrooms will be needed. Why don’t we just build the house around the people and tear it down and build a new one when someone else moves in.

But the most mystifying of all is his first argument that some roofs currently need to be strengthened if solar systems are installed... well, duh Lowell- that’s why we want them on new construction so that they don’t have to be retrofitted and the savings of doing it as part of the design can also be added into a positive cash flow for the homeowner.

Finally comes the conventional wisdom of pre-spun PR from Aloha Airlines marketing execs which says that it was go! Airlines and the $39 fares that did them in. It’s maybe the silliest, yet most swallowed, straw-man hogwash of all

Aloha sowed the seeds of their destruction when they changed the pricing and reservation system that we had for decades. It used to be that you could buy a coupon for a reasonable price make a reservation and show up for the flight or cancel it and travel later. You could decide on Thursday to take a weekend whether in Honolulu or Puna- for one price and not have to buy tickets weeks in advance to get a decent price or pay double to go to Maui or the Big Island from Kaua`i

Then Aloha stopped the coupons and, more importantly, made you pick a day and time you’d fly weeks in advance... and the longer you wanted the higher the price would be.

That started a flow of anti consumer measures, first doubling prices and then picking up on the way mainland airline rip us off by changing the fares as soon as you decide you want to buy a ticket... but doing it without the flair of the big boys. In recent times you could literally watch the prices change at Aloha’s web site as you attempted to buy the cheapest ticket.

People would fly all the time but don’t any more because if you decide Thursday to go Lahaina for the weekend you don’t just pay double the $39 but $120 each way for spur-of-the-moment travel- reversing the concept Aloha threw in the garbage when it was really the way they made a profit for years.

The only way to make money on these short-run airlines is to run fuller planes and get more volume- more passenger per plane. But now people only fly when they have to, not when they want to.

Does anyone you know fly as much as they used to before the changes a few years back when you could even go overnight and pay a reasonable predictable price to go to a concert you decided to attend at the last minute?

Stupid executives. Stupid decisions. That’s what doomed Aloha, not any predatory pricing by a new airline but their own new predatory pricing and reservation system that they foisted on the flying public.

But people must believe these arguments or people wouldn’t buy into them. That may explain why people who want to stop the war immediately, have national single-payer health care, reign in corporate lawlessness and reform election campaigning are willing to cast a vote for one of three people who all oppose all of these no-brainers..

Maybe Robin Clark’s misdirective explains why Barnum was right- all those suckers being born every minute were genetically modified.

But things sometimes have a way of working out- if people buy the snake-oil those who argue against solar hot water mandates are selling, they just might be too silly to deserve them.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


DON’T YOU WORRY YOUR FURRY LITTLE HEAD ABOUT IT: When Glenn Mickens takes the road to the Council meetings sometimes he actually takes the road to the Council meetings.

He’s been picking up broken off pieces of it for 14 years, charting them, measuring them and physically “putting them on the table”, showing the Council the perennially substandard work that’s cost the County millions a year in unnecessary maintenance and repaving.

Councilmembers have generally agreed with Glenn for years.

“Yup- sure is substandard...too thin” is standard fare.

There are few if any councilpersons who in the last 10 years haven’t gone with Glenn on a tour of some of the most egregious jobs, all of which Mickens has documented- something Mickens is exceptionally good about, starting all his appearances before the council with his mantra- “You have a copy of my testimony”..

But “Coach” Mickens has finally dug deep enough and learned enough simple math to prove that someone is stealing asphalt in the DPW.

Here’s his case:

The National standard for laying asphalt is 120 sq ft of road per ton. For some reason Kaua`i has a standard of only 90. No one in the Dep’t. of Public Works (DPW) knows why when the Council has asked. Old-timers say it goes back even before the 1974 CZO.

“It always been that way” they say because, well, “this is Kaua`i”.

For those who might be confused, the difference is such that the roads on Kaua`i should be thicker and better than the required inch-and-a-half thick national standard. If you pour a ton of asphalt into 90 one-square-foot buckets there’ll be enough to fill 30 more left over for every ton doing it the Kaua`i way.

Glenn has spent the last 14 years showing anyone he could how in fact the roads were actually thinner, not thicker than 1½” as they would be if all that extra asphalt were put only on the roads that are on the official DPW proposed and Council approved and budgeted yearly list of roads designated for repaving each fiscal year.

With that kind of double saving we should have roads that are thicker, last longer and have Cadillac-size shoulders... probably with enough asphalt left over to pave the bike path.

Glenn doesn’t know exactly where all that asphalt is going and is reluctant to call it theft. But he does say that when he asks DPW employees all of them look to see if anyone is listening and then tell him “take a look at the driveways of the supervisors... and developers who contribute to the mayors’ campaigns”:

But Glenn just keeps asking the Council in his respectful way- as nicely as he can- if they will to “look into it”.

And all he hears lately from the Chair, week after week, is “Thank you Glenn... anyone else?”

He tried to ask Councilperson JoAnn Yukimura about her views via email last week and got blown off with the same unresponsive silliness that DPW has used for years, contained in the exchange that follows.

Sent: Sunday, March 23, 2008 6:56 PM
To: JoAnn Yukimura
Subject: Nathan Eagles article about government watchdogs--"Nitpickers"
From: Glenn Mickens

Aloha JoAnn;

Just a note to say I completely agree with your comments to Nathan about the public knowing what they are talking about when they get on their "soapbox", TGI 3/23/08.

However, I find it quite interesting to see you make that statement and yet, no matter how long I have testified about the tax payers getting ripped off by wrong paving methods being used and documenting what I have said. not you nor any member of the council has taken steps to stop it. Or, at the very least. I would welcome one of you or all of you checking out what I say and if it is the truth then why aren't you doing something to change what is going on?

I have sent you all my documentation on this subject and if there is anything you don't understand I will be more than happy to go over it with you.

If you truly mean what you say that community involvement is important and that you need their input, then show me that my 14 years of involvement can make a positive impact.

Your comments, please.


On Mar 27, 2008, at 11:32 AM, JoAnn Yukimura wrote:

Hi, Glenn,

We did "check it out" in the last session with Donald and Ryan Nishikawa and found that the figures were averages--actually more per square foot than the standard, but the actual application varies with the specific parameters of the road. That seems very logical to me. I believe the main solution is raising the fuel taxes so we have enough resources to pave on a timely basis.

What is your response to that?

I do agree with Joe Rosa that paving over dirt is counterproductive and if you have evidence of this happening, please let me know.


Subject: Re: Nathan Eagles article about government watchdogs--"Nitpickers"
Date: March 29, 2008 11:34:27 AM HST

Aloha JoAnn:

The problem we seem to be having here is that you are asking the "fox" that is guarding the hen house about the problem with our roads. Donald and Ryan make a statement and you buy it. If you want the truth then, as you have heard me say a hundred times, ask Greg Schleper (a true neutral expert in asphalt paving) and you will get the real story.

If, as Donald and Ryan say, we are getting "more per square foot than the standard" then let them drill core holes and show us that this is the case. Remember that the rest of the nation including Oahu uses 1 ton of asphalt to pave 108 square feet and not 1 ton to pave 90 square feet as ONLY Kauai does---why would that be, JoAnn???? Mel met with
Schleper before he was monopolized off Kauai so if you want to know more please ask Mel. Again, this illegal way of paving has nothing to do with "averages"---trust me, I have researched this problem for far too long---14 years!

If you want to see a road that had no base course put down before it was paved then go look at upper Waipouli road---they paved right over the dirt, I was there watching the job being done. Joe Rosa is a very smart person and knows what he is talking about when it comes to these roads and a laundry list of problems that impact this Island---LISTEN TO HIM!!!

Obviously we need a lot larger budget for our roads repaving if we are going to repave by the 10 year plan (just as Jay has said) BUT even more, we need accountability of the way our roads are being paved and repaved. Why aren't you pushing for that performance audit along with Mel, JoAnn? If you doubt the validity of this statement then please ask the experts AND NOT THE "FOXES"!!

Also, JoAnn, why didn't you ask Ryan or Donald why Kealia Road was repaved at
a cost of $250,500 when there are few house along that road AND OTHER ROADS WITH MANY RESIDENTS ALONG IT HAVEN'T BEEN REPAVED IN 20 YEARS OR MORE? Everyone knows that road was repaved because McCloskey has the 2000 acre subdivision at the top of it and that was what it was for. BUT why no investigation to find out why tax payers money paid for it??

Thank you for your response, JoAnn, but please delve into the problem more before you simply accept what is told to you by those on the one side of the fence.


That spurred Mickens to write the following letter to the editor of the local newspaper that has gone unpublished for a week.

To The Forum:

A big Mahalo to TGI for their excellent article, "Government watchdogs on the prowl" 3/23/08.

The article quotes JoAnn Yukimura as saying that the nitpickers are a "very valuable resource" and that "Democracy only works well when we have actively participating citizens."

I compliment JoAnn for her hours of work on so many problem areas of our government and I totally agree with her statement, "When you get a soapbox to speak from, it's really important to have your facts accurate and really listen carefully to what's happening---not make assumptions, not jump to quick conclusions." (the public is allowed only 3 minutes on that soapbox).

I have given our government accurate, documented facts and figures for 14 years about our roads not being PROPERLY paved and repaved but no one has responded to my questions. Nor has anyone delved into finding out the accuracy of my statements and if they are correct, why has no corrective action been taken?

The following words give my in depth perception of what is wrong and hopefully Councilman Rapozo's long awaited performance audit will bring some huge tax saving actions for the public:

Probably 90% or the tax payers on Kauai use their vehicles to commute around our Island. And probably 99% of those are dissatisfied with the deplorable condition of our roads. Pot holes, cracked surfaces, dips and irregular paving---all make driving miserable.

There are 300 miles of county roads on Kauai and with the limited budget allotted for repaving those roads we have been getting 8 to 15 miles of them resurfaced each year. Which means that it would take 38 years for the 8 year cycle and 20 years for the 15 year cycle to repave all of our roads---unacceptable! One of our councilmen tried to limit this cycle to 12 years 2 years ago but nothing happened.

Now, let's get into the heart of why our roads are in such bad shape.

For 14 years facts have been brought to the attention of our administrations and councils the reasons our roads are deteriorating at a far faster pace than those roads in the rest of the nation or, even on Oahu. The following details give just a few of the reasons for our roads being in such poor condition and hopefully you, the public, will read them and decide what should be done. It is your tax money that is being wasted and you certainly have the right to tell our officials what you want done.

1) Our elected and appointed government officials have seen and verified that the code of 1 1/2 inches of compacted AC (asphaltic concrete) for repaved roads and 2 inches for newly paved roads is not being followed. By either an inspector being at the paving site or by core holes being drilled to see that the proper amount of AC is being laid, this hasn't been done. But no audit or investigation has ever been done to find out why code isn't being followed.

Whenever a private contractor does a paving or repaving job they are mandated to follow the code specifications before the county will accept the job. However when our public works department tells the contractor to do a job it can be done by any method that their contract specifies. So the question arises as to why the rules are exact for the private contractor and yet, no code when the county sets the rules?

2) The national method of repaving roads (including Oahu) shows that the contractor should use 1 ton of asphalt to pave 108 square feet. This formula means that a road at an average width of 18 feet and a depth of 2 inches compacted to 1 1/2 inches will need 1 ton of material to do 108 square feet. At last years cost of $146 per ton for asphalt, a mile of road would cost us (under this accepted method) $128,480.

However, on Kauai the material used or at least specified in THEIR formula is 1 ton per 90 square feet. Obviously if you do the math that means that our roads should be getting MORE pavement than the compacted 1 1/2 inches by the national standard. And, under this formula, we would use 1056 tons to pave a mile which would cost us $154,156---OR at an added cost of $25,696 per mile!!!

But remember that our Mayor (when he was a council member) and many other members of our council and administration have looked at these roads over the years and verified that we aren't even getting the compacted 1/1/2 inches laid on them. So, where is the additional material going or the added money to buy this overage?

3) Kauai is a member of HAPI (Hawaiian Asphalt Paving Industry) which is a member of a national organization that has precise standards for paving and resurfacing roads. However even though paving contractors on Kauai belong to HAPI they only do their work according to the contract that the county gives them---NOT to HAPI standards.
For example, year after year we repave over existing badly cracked and broken roads and thus with a poor sub base the finished layer of asphalt will crack and get pot holes. And yes, it will cost us more up front to do the job by HAPI standards BUT in the long run our roads will last longer and be in better shape and will save us millions of dollars!

4) By using the Kauai "method" of ordering more asphalt than is needed and by using sub standard methods of repaving our roads, the tax payers are certainly not getting what they are paying for.

5) The methodology of picking which roads to be repaved is also highly questionable. How many of you citizens are living along a road that hasn't been repaved in 20 years of more? And yet on the 05-06 repaving list Kealia road was resurfaced at a cost of $250,800---a road that has few houses along it BUT a 2000 acre subdivision is going to be built at the top of it---any questions??!!!

So, who is responsible for this huge waste of millions of dollars or our tax money? All the past and present administrations for their lack of oversight and finding out what is going on. Plus the past and present councils for continually funding these projects without mandating that we do the job by all nationally accepted methods and not by our much costlier way.

The Council wisely funded an audit ($500,000) that was pushed by Councilman Rapozo 4 years ago and to date it hasn't been implemented. WHY??? Unless we significantly increase our repaving budget, find out where the waste is going, and pave according to national standards to make our roads last 5 times longer, we, the driving public will continue to suffer.

Glenn Mickens

Saturday, March 29, 2008


COMTEMPLATIVE BONES OF CONTENTION: : Joan Conrow eclectically wrote yesterday about a “remarkable (experience) last night when I attended a session of Deeksha, the Oneness Blessing... a meditation, followed by a hands-on blessing.

“I definitely felt the spiritual energy” she says and describes the “striking” event of “sitting with a dozen total strangers and feeling such a deep sense of love and acceptance.”

She tells us that “the answer lies in transforming ourselves, and from that process will come the profound shift needed to achieve a world that’s just, peaceful and pono.”She then wisely adds a caveat, warning that “(it) is not to say that one should ignore what is going on or not speak out about wrong doings and injustices” adding “a lot of our political problems stem from the absence of ‘spirituality’ And by that I do not mean religion or even any sort of spiritual practice, but consciousness, an awareness of the deep consequences of our actions.”

It’s apparent we don’t see things too differently because we have no problem with people who have a personal spiritual center inside themselves and use it to guide their actions in an altruistic, humanitarian manner.

Where the problems begin is with those who think that by just maintaining and then sharing that spiritual center they can- exclusively, through some kind of group-think- make the world into being a better place.

Instead of real political action and involvement in their community, many retreat into an apparent apathetic powerlessness that they cover-up and rationalize by thinking candle-light vigils will stop tree-murders and gestures of turning off their lights for an evening. will stop global warming.

And for some, even those actions are too much of an intrusion into their self-indulgent “we’re spiritually superior to you political people” world. They prefer sitting around a naval-contemplation circle to speaking out and demonstrating and acting upon their angst and anger, instead driving their very real emotions deep inside themselves to fester and express itself in their personal lives.

And worse, many criticize those of us who do actively try to change things for not being devout enough, as if affirmations of their divinity and general grooviness will counteract and overcome their emotional denials and shortcomings.

A former Islander in Maine sent us this today from the Urban Dictionary

Word of the Day March 28, 2008:
Slacktivism: The act of participating in obviously pointless activities as an expedient alternative to actually expending effort to fix a problem. Signing an email petition to stop rampant crime is slacktivism. Want to really make your community safer? Get off your ass and start a neighborhood watch!

Friday, March 28, 2008


PETTING ZOO: Getting Democrats and Republicans to agree to anything is rare but apparently the corruption in State Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) has them singing Kumbaya at the prospect of pushing up the date of an audit of the bloated bureau of beneficence.

According to a couple of newspaper reports, Sen. Jill Tokuda, D-24th (Kane'ohe, Kailua), who chairs the Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs Committee passed the audit resolution (SCR 138) while holding hands with Republican’s Republican Sam Slom, R-8th (Kahala, Hawai'i Kai) flanked by Sen. Russell Kokubun, D-2nd (S. Hilo, Puna, Ka'u) and even ex- OHA trustee Mililani Trask.

Linda Lingle’s mouthpiece Attorney General Mark Bennett presented an abundance of political but no legal reasons why he supported OHA trustee’s contention that no audit was needed and the audit was “punitive”

Meanwhile, Sloam’s Republican-leaning friend Maila Zimmerman at Hawai`i Reporter told the story today of her quest for a few financial records that OHA apparently wants her to pay $11,000 to see, as independently confirmed by Ululani Sexton in testimony at the hearing.

And apparently the Office of Information Practices (OIP) is going to let them get away with the price tag.

If Zimmerman’s story is backed by the records the way OHA treats their funds like an ATM machine for their personal use and pleasure could rival that of Bishop Estate trustees’ during the Dickie Wong and Lokelani Lindsey. days... or so thinks Malia

Her allegations, quests and requests in the matter are well worth the read and may have a lot to do with what both Democrats and Republicans know- many of OHA’s priorities are anything but those of the beneficiaries.

OHA Chair Haunani Apoliona and Zimmerman have clashed a few times in the past both over the records request and over a cartoon Zimmerman published last year when Apoliona drew fire and national attention from First Amendment advocates for being an elected official seeking to silence the media. The cartoon spoofed OHA’s “Kau Inoa” program, one of those Zimmerman alleges benefited the trustees as well as the kanaka maoli beneficiaries.

According to Tokuda and others the request for the audit has come from beneficiaries and the article reports that “(t)he Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Homelands Assembly and Hui Pu, a coalition of Hawaiian sovereignty groups, supported the resolution”

“Punitive” infers punishment which isn’t fact finding in an audit. But if the audit goes into depth on the first-class travel, big parties in Vegas, hiring photographers to harass Zimmerman and other financial improprieties and perks for trustees, punishment may indeed be in the cards..

You would think the State’s top investigator would be in favor of finding out wrongdoing instead of calling off the cops before they can track down the crooks or even establish the crimes.. It goes a long way to further show the continual abuse of office that has pervaded Bennett’s tenure as AG under his benefactor Gov. Lingle.

Under the Uniform Information Practices Act (HRS 92F) requested records are supposed to be free with assurances and ability for wide dissemination by the requestor. We’ve asked Malia to share the response documents on the dissemination exemption from the OIP and OHA and she’s said she’ll try to dig them up. We’ll keep readers informed.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


AH, THE SMELL OF PLANTATION LUNAS THE MORNING: An article in today’s local newspaper about the new “green” National Tropical Botanical Gardens (NTBG) center in Lawa`i contains a note about the fact that the multi-million dollar project is being financed in part by a $300,000 loan through the good graces of the Kaua`i Island Utilities Co-op (KIUC)

But buried deep in the article is a note that according to KIUC Board member Peter Yukimura the next $300,000 loan is going to Island School.

Now calm down- what might strike some as another unrelated-to-anything expenditure that might show up on our electric bills is actually a pass-through loan from a U.S. Department of Agriculture “Rural Economic Development Land and Grant” program which puts up the low-cost loan money and electric co-ops like ours choose a non-profit group in the community to receive it. (Yukimura also reportedly said the money has to go a “co-op”)

We wondered, why Island School It’s known as a private school where the elite send their kids and tuition is just under $10,000 a year- $6500 for pre-school

Well a look at the list of Board members of KIUC,
Island School the NTBG and even the first $300,000 recipient, Kaua`i Hospice might give a clue, especially when some context is provided and a couple of other “connector” names are added.

All of the recipients are fine institutions. So, as they used to say on the streets of NYC, “we ain’t sayin’, we’re just sayin’...”

Here’s a list of who and what we found in a day of snooping around:

James Mayfield: Island School Board Director ; Former KIUC Board Director; Bank of Hawai`i Vice-President; Manager of Kaua`i operations; Owner and President, Island Business Services, Inc.; Republican Political ally of Charlie King; involved in extensive financial support and business dealings with King and Holbrook W. Goodale and others in the auto industry on Kaua`i

David Proudfoot: Attorney for KIUC Board since before inception; VP of Island School Board of Directors; Partner in Belles, Graham, Proudfoot & Wilson which has routinely represented Grove Farm before the County Council and Planning Commission for many years,

Charlie King: Island School Board Director; President of King Auto Center; Former campaign chair for former Mayor Marianne Kusaka; business associate of Mayfield

David Pratt- President of Island School Board; Trustee for NTSB; Retired long time President of land-baron Grove Farm and former employer of Allan Smith and Mark Hubbard; Now President, Niu Pia Land Company

Allan Smith: KIUC board member; Former Senior Vice President of Kaua`i Grove Farm under Pratt; Former Interim Director of State DLNR

Holbrook W. Goodale: NTBG Trustee, Member, Island School Board; Retired Rancher and Auto Dealer. Associate of King and Mayfield

Bill Cowern: Island School Board, Owner, Hawaiian Mahogany (or Mahogony according to Island School’s web site) which has preliminarily contracted with KIUC in controversial albezius wood-chip growing business for a bio-mass energy operation.

Victor Punua: Island School Board Director; Proprietor of Punua Insurance Agency; Has decades of extensive business and governmental-service dealings with Teofilo "Phil" Tacbian, KIUC Board Treasurer and Independent Insurance Agent.

Teofilo "Phil" Tacbian: KIUC Board Treasurer and Independent Insurance Agent.

Mark S. Hubbard: Kaua`i Hospice board member and former executive at Grove Farm under Pratt; and A. Smith at Grove Farm. Also worked for Amfac Sugar-Hawai`i; Current Chair of Kaua`i Board of Ethics, under fire for ethical violations in clearing of others for ethics violations

Wade Lord: Island School Director; Manager of Grove Farm’s Kukui Grove Shopping Center; Former Manager of Kaua`i village Shopping Center where he fought efforts of the County to force the owners to comply with requirements to build a bridge to the neighboring shopping center.

Marianne Kusaka: Former Kaua`i Mayor; Original chief proponent of the electric co-op purchase before inception, even at original inflated prices. Called opponents of co-op’s original inflated price nitpickers, coining tongue-in-cheek term for Kaua`i government activists. Most of the above named contributed to her campaign and pet charities.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


A DOG BY ANY OTHER NAME or HERE FIDO- ER, I MEAN, IRVING: According to the Associated Press’ Mark Niesse, Jeff Portnoy, numero-uno attorney to the mainstream press in Hawai`i, is about to sell the State’s bloggers down the river to keep protections for his corporate bosses in the proposed Shield Law.

The article says “(t)he Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on House Bill 2557 (where) Honolulu city prosecutors argued that the shield bill needs to be weakened so that journalists can be forced to reveal their sources in criminal cases, a change that mainstream media representatives said would be acceptable if it applied only to nontraditional journalists. “

It also says “Deputy Attorney General Girard Lau said he also doesn't want to see bloggers, pamphleteers or one-time Internet posters attempting to claim a right to withhold information from the courts.

“The measure would grant all current and former mainstream reporters legal protections, but bloggers and other Internet reporters would have to prove they're disseminating news in the "substantial public interest."

But according to Honolulu Advertiser Capitol Correspondent Derrick DePledge’s “blog”, Portnoy said that traditional news media organizations would prefer that “tests” apply only to bloggers.

Portnoy is reportedly representing “the media” in negotiations with prosecutors to produce a compromise with prosecutors at the request of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian Taniguchi who reportedly will not let the bill out of committee without it.

According to DePledge the issues and some of the tests include

*How to cover bloggers or citizen journalists. The state Attorney General's office believes the bill is so broad it would protect bloggers, people who pass out leaflets, or one-time posters on Internet Web sites.
*Whether a three-part balancing test for disclosure of information should apply to civil or criminal cases. The test requires the party seeking the disclosure to show by convincing evidence that the information is unavailable despite the exhaustion of all reasonable alternatives, is noncumulative, and is necessary and relevant to the case.
*Whether there should be an exception for law enforcement investigations.
*Whether there should be an exception for reporters who are witnesses to crimes.
*Whether unpublished notes or other material should be protected even if there is no expectation from the source that the material is confidential.

The problem is that the shield may be defined by the title of the person doing the reporting, not the reporting itself.

We facetiously asked DePledge if he thought information he reports in his “blog” should have less protection than in a standard article? Does Dave Shapiro’s Wed. column have protection but not his daily blog?

It’s the act of reporting not the title of “MSM reporter” over “blogger” that needs protection. If the information being sought in court is obtained in the course of newsgathering and reporting it needs to be protected. It’s that simple.

This watchdog has been an independent journalist on Kaua`i for more than 30 years and recently started blogging mostly on Kaua`i politics. Does that mean reporting in our new “blog” is no longer news-gathering and reporting?

“ windmills?” usually tries to do at least one piece of original reporting in every “blog” yet by using the “” software do we lose protection of the process of gathering that item reported? Does the mere fact that we’ve referred to our daily op-ed/reporting as a “blog” disqualify what we do from protection?

Or does the association with Parx News Net (PNN) confer protections not available to the “blogs” of far more experienced independent professional journalists such as Joan Conrow, Doug White or Ian Lind?. What about Larry Geller’s reporting on his blog?... or for that matter non-journalists like Charley Foster if he were to do some legitimate original reporting?

Portnoy reportedly says he’d rather not have a bill than have a bad one. But if good means protecting those who buy ink by the barrel and excludes those who publish using a “greener” technology because of the name of the platform, it certainly raises red flags for many of us.

If what Depledge reports is true, don’t do us any favors, Jeff.

Update: The probability that Foodland CEO Jenai Wall was paying attention to the Linda Harmon led boycott of Foodland as we reported, was confirmed by Harmon today.

In an article published at Island Breath she reports:

Although Jenai claimed she had seen some of the letters, petitions or emails identifiying concerns of community about the loss of the monkeypod trees in Koloa, but not all. She said is now on the case, and has responded to all those she has seen. She also told us she has made more efforts than any of the other tenant on this issue of preserving the trees, but has done so privately.

In a personal phone call to me she saught an apology from the People for the Preservation of Koloa Trees, for making unreasonable statements about her and her company. My response was to indicate I would not apologize for our actions, but would be the first to applaud Foodland for making a public stand for the trees with the developer and property owner.

Since then her representative has made an appeal by phone as to how they could accomodate those protesting in front of the Foodland store on Kauai.

The boycott demonstrations reportedly continue with a fourth one scheduled this Thursday, March 21st , 2008 from 5:-7 p.m. at Foodland in Waipouli

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


DIMMER THAN A JUNKYARD DOG: Doug White at Poinography is talkin' trash about the possibility of neighbor islands shipping their trash to the mainland through Honolulu Harbor after a report saying an environmental assessment found that shipping O`ahu trash out to the U.S. Northwest did not pose any environmental problems.

Doug talks about the Big Island’s plans but he apparently has nothing to worry from Kaua`i because for the last 10 years the Kaua`i County Council and it’s mayors and Council have refused to even consider shipping out what we ship in- even though it could save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars... and would only make sense... especially since the alternatives are burning and burying it.

In 1998 we proposed the “send it back” solution in testimony to the Council about our opala overflow that has caused Kaua`i to build a Mount Mana by “ vertically expanding” the only landfill.

But Mayors Kusaka and Baptiste and Council Chair Kaipo Asing have refused to hear of it- then or now.

And now Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura won’t listen either. At last report, she agrees with them. When we again asked the council to look into it in 2002 after her return to public life it was pooh-poohed by Yukimura who said the idea might be “environmentally irresponsible” even though 99% of what would be sent out would be what was send in... if we use our already existing and unused “White Elephant” trash sorting facility to weed out weeds and recyclables.

But Kaua`i has already paid for two studies of trash management, all from the old-school HR Beck Company who keeps producing studies calling for “integrated solid waste management” which always seems to wind up burning and/or then burying our waste.. with a little recycling.

Last year a presentation was made to the council by one of those “Zero Waste” consultants (at their own expense) and the council ignored it.

There’s quite a few cutting edge consultants in that area at google... there are even communities, especially on the East Coast, who have gone “zero-waste”... for which 90-95% appears to be the physical limit... and 70-80% has been immediately achievable in some communities.

But despite requests to include studies of “ship it in, ship it out” for 10 years, the option has not even been considered by Beck, except in passing. There weren’t even definitions much less cost projections in the most recent Beck Report, undefined cost being cited as a detriment.

Siting a new landfill is impossible. Every proposal dies along with the political career of anyone who proposes to even look for a site at this point much less pick a site. People would take a drug rehab facility before a landfill in their area.

At Joann’s mayoral campaign kickoff in 1988 she said that her number one priority would be to “solve our solid waste crisis”. Yet today we have not done it and she left office when `Iniki created 20 years worth of trash.

Then the Kusaka Administration fired everyone and brought in Solid Waste Coordinator Troy Tanigawa who was given “protected” status as Dr Ray Chuan documented in the late 90’s.

He was so dim a bulb that Kusaka had to personally publicly assure the council that she would send him back to school... and she never did.

Seems Ray was more than prescient. Tanigawa is still on the job asking to gobble up more money for shoddy studies but concentrating on pleading with the State DOH to let him build the next story of his monument to Kaua`i consumerism, which blights the sacred west shoreline.

Right now Kaua`i puts all it’s trash in trucks and hauls it clear across the island to the furthest point west- 80 miles or more from the north shore. 70% of it is probably from around 50 miles away.

We pay tens of millions to maintaining the landfill. The cost alone of just opening another one could reportedly be $50 million or more. And then the operational costs increase exponentially because we have a “grandfathered” landfill right now where we don’t have to comply with some of the strict new rules for landfills.

The county has issued bonds last year once again (the first it was spent on perpetuating the current mess that Yukimura warned about in ’88) selling the bond to voters as being to “do something about our solid waste.”

Oh- by the way... there’s a new Council bill to spend some of the bond money on something else.... and there might just be a new bond money surprises before the election.

The mainland is eager to take our trash and is offering to do it for a fraction of what it’s costing us now.
What’s the hold up? We’ve asked for years and can’t heard..Being Kaua`i we don’t expect to get answers but.we’d love to hear for once what’s really wrong with the concept because the cost seems to be lower

Monday, March 24, 2008


GETTIN’ OFF THE GRAVY TRAIN: An article in today’s Honolulu Advertiser today tells the story of a couple, LaDonna and Kurt Shively, who were scammed by their bank into investing their life savings in what the article calls “auction-rate securities”, another one of those creative wording products that described the creative mortgage products that unraveled and laid bare in the so-called “sub-prime mortgage crisis” described as such by the mainstream financial media.

But it’s really a lot simpler than most people are willing to admit- the couple was one of those left holding the bag when the housing bubble burst.

Yes, that’s what happened. That doubling and tripling of real estate and homes in the early to mid ‘00’s that people were told was some miraculous glitch in the market where the prices of homes would continue to go up, up, up forever turned out to be a big fat lie... imagine that.

Yet all we hear today is convoluted terminology from every money-bunny and pecuniary-pal buddy from Batoloma to that screaming bald guy. Unsecured security, arbitraged annuity, stated-income liar-loan, interest only investment, government-backed money-expansion and circle-jerked investors aside, you never hear the term “the bust that followed the boom” used in the financial media.

Because then we could understand it and they wouldn’t have their jobs explaining to us how hard it is for us to understand.

And when all is said and done many of them blame the victims of scam-loans rather than the banks and Tom Wolfe’s Bonfires of the Vanities “Masters of the Universe” on Wall Street who left everyone like LaDonna and Kurt at the end of the line holding the empty bag..

But although the housing bust has yet to really slash and return prices to a sane level where they were a few years ago we hear the article and the rest of the CNBC- FFN- CNNF-WSJ-crowd quoting mumbo-jumbo from banks and sundry investment scammers telling us “now is not the time to panic”.

And we all know what to do when we hear that... PANIC!.

Any sharp five-year-old can tell you money and finance is based on nothing but the mass hallucination that things are worth what we all think they are. There is nothing but belief backing up financial markets and once someone convinces the hundredth money-monkey that their crap ain’t worth crap anymore- poof... it isn’t.

But my point- and I do have one- is that there is something to understand here and, unlike the rest of the financial media PBS reporter Paul Solman usually cuts through the miasma and has done another of his masterful jobs of explaining it all.

We wouldn’t presume to be able to paraphrase or even quote him well enough to explain what he explains so watch it for yourself – or at least read the transcript.

Solmon doesn’t really reveal the core of the bust he does make it’s derivation simple enough so even fiscal dullards like us can figure out how it happened..

Sunday, March 23, 2008


HE STAY MAKE ALREADY... signed, the other jew.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


HEY LOOK, A TALKIN’ DOG: Councilman Mel Rapozo has stated that he personally has no ethical problem with his solicitation and the subsequent awarding of a single-bid competitive contract for almost $50,000 to do process serving work (executing subpoenas) for the Kaua`i Prosecutor’s office, despite the possibility that the reason no one else bid on the contract was due to his position as Councilman.

In answer to our personal ethics inquiry he said:

“Andy, I believe that I have answered your question, regarding whether I feel that my actions were ethical or not, several times before. It is clear that I feel that they were.”

As to the legalities he says:

The Charter does not prohibit any officer or employee from doing business with the County, as long as the competitive bid process is used in the awarding of the contracts. Using your logic, the County could never have used the Princeville Hotel while Jay Furfaro was the Manager. They could never have used Kauai Petroleum while Daryl Kaneshiro was on the Council. They could never participate with Leadership Kauai while Tim Bynum served as the Executive Director of LK. These examples are just a few of County employees or officials doing business with the County.

Andy, I hope this answers your questions. Because you don't agree with my answer doesn't mean that I avoided your question. I have attempted to answer your questions as best I can. If you sincerely feel that there is a violation of the law or code of ethics, please file a complaint with the proper authority rather than continue to post erroneous information to the public. We obviously disagree, but debating back and forth will not resolve your issues. By the way, I put you blog on my home page. We are a non-discriminating blog. Take care.

He also described why he took the contract. Others have reportedly maintained that the ethics of the situation can be mitigated due to the important and allegedly unique nature of the business in which Rapozo engages.

I have been in business now for over 10 years, much longer that I have been in office. My company provides professional process service, and has been since we began, for clients throughout the country. There are no other companies on Kauai that do what we do. We are attempting to assist the County with a very serious problem here, the failure to serve court documents in time, forcing many criminal cases to be dismissed. What other options did the Prosecutor have? Do you think that maybe we should have hired 4 County Process Servers to handle the job, taking General Fund money in the amount of about $200,000(salaries + benefits) versus $48,000 (of which only pays for my servers, not profit for me) of Federal grant money? Andy, please answer that question

We thanked Rapozo for his response and asked another question:

Thanks for answering how you personally feel about the ethics of the situation. I can agree to disagree. I consider privatization of all sorts to be a bad example set by government so yes I would have you hire the people needed to provide the services we require. The lack of accountability in contracting out traditional government functions actually costs more in the long run many times. I’m not one of those free lunch people who want more and more services and expect to pay less and less taxes. All we’re doing in privatization is making sure we nickel and dime workers, shirk oversight and wind up with an inferior productThat’s why I asked the charter commission last time to make the Council members full time employees and bad outside employment. but instead they put the provision for conflict declaration and recusal on the ballot. It’s certainly something that’s time has come Would you support a Charter amendment to raise the salary of the council to a good wage, make it a full time position and eliminate outside employment? That would certainly eliminate this kind of question in the future.

Friday, March 21, 2008

HOW MUCH IS THAT DOCUMENT IN THW WINDOW: As part of a national Sunshine Law project former Honolulu Star-Bulletin investigative reporter and “premier” Hawai`i blogger Ian Lind has been working on a 50 state project to see how accessible state administration emails are.

He made a request for random but certain dates from the Lingle Administration for all the emails for those days and after they got done purging whatever they thought was protected from release they sent him a gobbledygook of incompatible files that needed ages-old software just to download.

Brave investigative reporter that he is, Ian has been installing software and deconstructing the pile of garbage they sent him. It’s yielded what seems to be not much yet although one commenter says they show how obsessed with legislative politics their people are.

But yesterday Lind delved into whether legislative offices need to give up their emails too.

He cites the Uniform Information Practices Act (HRS 92F) and finally after much exposition cites the end of 92F-13- 5 which says:
Inchoate and draft working papers of legislative committees including budget worksheets and unfiled committee reports; work product; records or transcripts of an investigating committee of the legislature which are closed by rules adopted pursuant to section 21-4 and the personal files of members of the legislature.

He concludes that:
(t)hat last clause, “and the personal files of members of the legislature”, clearly means that a legislator’s own email, along with other personal files, would not have to be disclosed... (s)o I expect to hear a collective sigh of relief when I arrive at the capitol later today.

What a minute- we beg to differ. Here’s what we had to say in Ian’s comments section

No Ian- that’s torturing the term “personal”. The measure makes sense only if something is not personal. Personal must mean “not official” (done in an official capacity) in this case- it doesn’t mean everything that goes on in the office or it wouldn’t be there- it would say everything. There has to be whatever isn’t “personal”

It has nothing to do with the draft vs. finished document provisions. As a matter of fact that opinion indicates that finished documents are to be released. Once an email is sent, it is a finished document unless all it’s doing is sending a draft of a document.

I don’t know that, as Ed (Coll)
claims above personal activity is not - or shouldn’t be for that matter- allowed in the offices. You’ve got to let people who work there call their husband or wife to pick up milk and that’s the kind of “personal” email or call logs that is excluded.

But if you think about it as everything going on in the office as either personal or official business the reading becomes clear-yes, all official actions of the legislature are public records…. why not ask them and see if they maintain some kind of exemption?

As Ed is fond of saying “Anyone got a problem with that?”

Calvin? Colleen? records?...

Update: Mel Rapozo has evaded our basic question as to his personal view of the ethics of his actions (and referred to a different provision of the Charter on the legal situation but not the one we or the Board of Ethics cited) but there is an interesting contention by Charley regarding the trumping through the “clearly contemplated doctrine” vs. a “two prong approach” which we posited at Mel’s Web site. We are still looking for an answer from Mel.

But he will look into the dogs-parks matter further. Cool.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


THAT NIPPER’S A NUDGE: Kaua`i Councilman Mel Rapozo has a new blog and someone requested his comments on two matters expounded upon here- his ethics problems with his bidding on and winning a County contract and whether the bike path is indeed an officially approved County Park and so allows no dogs.

First “anonymous” asked in the “comments” section:

"Are you going to use your blog to address the questions of why you are bidding on county government contracts in blatant violation of Kaua`i ethics provisions in the Charter that Andy wrote about?"

Mel answered:

"As far as my contract with the County, I am not aware of any violations of the ethics code or the Charter. I have not read Andy's comments, but if you can cite the exact section(s) of the Charter that has allegedly been violated, I would be more than happy to address each one of them. Thank you for your concern."

Then someone anonymously posted our piece in full with the URL and full text

After returning from Oklahoma City Mel said:

“As far as Andy's allegations of my violations of ethics, I do not believe that any violations occurred. This was validated by the recent ruling by the Board of Ethics. Andy's allegations have no substance as the contract was offered in a competitive bid process in which I participated in.”

Not quite addressing “each one (of) the exact section(s) of the Charter that has allegedly been violated”, eh? So we’ll tried again.

Someone had also anonymously asked Mel:

"Perhaps you can tell us when the bike path was made a park by the council through a change in the CZO which is required for this to actually happen."

Mel answered:

"As far as dogs on the bike path, I don't know who promised dog access on the path, but that was erroneous information. Dogs were never considered for the path, and this was clarified by Mr. Doug Haigh at the last bike path workshop. As far as the park question, I can only tell you what we are told by the County Attorney. I have asked for a clarification on this concern, and will post the answer when I receive it."

So since both questions were evaded we thought we’d try again and posted the following at Mel’s blog. If any of you want to bet ten bucks on getting actual answers rather than political doubletalk maybe this week won’t be a total loss.


Mel, you fail to address any of the specific violations I listed at I maintain you have violated the Section XX of the Charter.

If the provisions I’ve cited are to have any meaning at all, the meaning points to a direct violation.. Whether you have actively used your position as a councilman to secure the contract is not the point. A plain reading of the Charter essentially says you, as a councilperson and a business owner cannot and may not do business with the county.

That concept is not just common sense, it is the law of the island at this point in time. If you wish to change it, change it. Otherwise enforce it. It must mean something. You as a former sworn police officer know that’s how the rule of law works. There is what I consider to be a disingenuous attempt to obscure and twist the meaning of the Charter by equally conflicted Ethics Board members in a self-serving attempt to keep their positions and ability to abuse it. But even if you buy the argument that it could prevent you from getting a drivers license on the “absurd” side of interpretation, it certainly is not absurd to apply it to your situation. As a matter of fact that is the very intent of the law.

But that has no relevancy because this is not about drivers’ licenses. It’s about conflict of interest and corruption and the appearances of such.

To claim that because the Board of Ethics legitimately cleared you there is no violation is meaningless on a couple of levels.

First of you. as a councilperson, confirmed their appointments. The potential for a quid pro quo is self-evident.

But primarily, in addition, as I said, if I have a company that does business with the county and know that a councilperson- one who controls the purse strings and so would appropriate the money for any contract I wanted- was bidding on a contract I wanted, I would be a fool to bid on it and potentially anger the councilperson. I would be competing with. that councilperson who could even launch an investigation of the administration’s awarding of my contracts. If I’m doing hundreds of thousands of dollars of work for the county I wouldn’t jeopardize that by bidding against a councilperson who might just be deciding matters that will effect my current and future contracts. But perhaps if I let that councilperson get the $50,000 I won’t jeopardize my business with the County- no wink, no nod needed... it’s understood.

That type of intimidation or potential for it is exactly why provisions like this, which are ubiquitous across the state and nation, forbid people in power from doing business with the government in which they serve.

It’s a direct conflict-of-interest. You appropriated that money for your contract. And you rely on a body you appointed to “clear” you. Your representation of your business gives you an advantage and privilege whether you actively initiate that conflict or just passively allow it to occur.

Even assuming that there was no law against what you’re doing can you tell me why your actions are ethical and not corrupt? I’d be very interested in your personal view, especially since you are a law-maker.

Can you really tell me you are not violating the intent if not the letter of the law? Surely you must see the intent- you’re no dummy. Can you explain your actions on an ethical if not legal basis in light of what I’ve said here?

I may disagree with you- sometimes quite stringently- on any number of issues but that’s fine and a separate matter from your personal ethics which judging by the standards you’ve tried to set for the administration are antithetical to the appearances of, if not actual, conflict of interest and outright corruption.

Please address this matter directly- do not tell me the Ethics Board “cleared” you because we can plainly see by their own words that they have these same ethics problems personally and owe their position to your discretionary decision-making.

And although it was a bid-contract you certainly must admit that your participation changes the equation for who might bid on it.. That’s the very reason Councilpersons are forbidden from doing business with the County whether the problem is actual or potential.

I’m hoping you can see your way to directly addressing this matter and not evading the core issues.

And as far as the dog/park matter please don’t put this into the black hole of the County Attorney’s office- even if you ever get an answer, we will never see it. Do what I did. Do 10 minutes of research, find out that all official parks (as distinguished from other County property) are designated such in the Kaua`i County Code, Sect 8, aka the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance - which is ordinance/law passed by the Council- and find out that the Council never officially designated the bike path a county park.

Your and others’ assertion has been that dogs are not allowed in parks and that the bike path is a park so no dogs are allowed on the bike path. That equation has a serious flaw in its premise and substantiation for your position does not need to come from the County Attorney... or Doug Hague who, I have heard you say, has routinely misrepresented many matters pertaining to the bike path that have commonly subjugated the Council’s appropriate decision-making powers.

Just tell me how and when the bike path officially became a park and I will stop asking. I do know that dogs are not allowed in County parks. But I don’t know that the bike path is a county park. But again please do your own research, as you have notably done in the past on the bike path project and many other matters, and address this directly.

Thank you for your attention to these matters- and welcome to the Kaua`i blogger community.

Andy Parx,
Parx News Net,
got windmill?


There have also been some jealous “what-am-I? chopped-liver” rumblings from our friend Charley Foster over at Planet Kaua`i after Joan Conrow got a link to her Kaua`iEclectic blog under Mel’s “Interesting Links” and Charley didn’t.

We don’t expect there’ll be any “interest” in got windmills? from Mel if we keep up this line of questioning.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


A PERSONAL DAY: On this solemn day, March 19, a sad anniversary occupies my thoughts. But as I have for these many years I will again dutifully yet reluctantly fulfill my duty protesting this brutal war once again..

But I am defeated before I begin. As it has been for 29 years running, death is at my door once again .It fills me with dread yet I must participate. I only hope against hope that this year will be different but I am sure my ritualistic protestations will fail again.

Yes, I will wage my 30th battle and lose the NCAA Basketball pool once again this year.

Everyone knows it. “Well at least we know someone will get Andy’s money again” I hear them cruelly say. And they don’t even have to call me up to rub it in anymore- modern technology has provided on-line computer tracking and computations for all entrants, keeping me up to the minute as to precisely how badly I’m doing compared to the others, numerically mocking me as each final buzzer hastens my death spiral.

Oh I’ve come close to redemption- one year I almost took second place only to find out I forgot to pick a tiebreaker and lost to someone who did. One year I had the lead and had picked heavily-favored Oklahoma with Wayman Tisdale, only to lose to “Daaaanny Maaaanning and Kaaaansas” as the eventual pool winner referred to them...and still does every time he reminds me about it.... which should be this week if history is prologue

But most of the time it was over almost before I got coffee Thursday like when my beloved Syracuse Orange (Orangemen at the time) were on my card to win it all and lowly 15th seed Richmond knocked them off in the first game of the tournament.

Last year I was leading until the regionals but one Georgetown and one UCLA alum lucked out by picking their teams and having them win.

We started with only four or five of us in ’78, mostly members of the Kapa`a Outdoor Club whose main activity was to meet every Sunday morning at the Kapa`a Neighborhood Center to sit indoors and watch NFL football on the only color TV with good reception on the east and north sides.

And through the years, $10 bucks a pop, I’ve gotten accustomed to my place- not quite last because for a while we had a $10 booby-prize for the worst record and I couldn’t even win that.

Last weekend I offered to stake my 11 year-old grandson if he wanted to enter and, knowing my sad tale he said something to the effect of “why, so I can be a loser like you?”

All to say these will be light posting days in the next two four-day weekends. Wish me bad luck- maybe that will work.

One of the original Kapa`a Outdoorsmen, who won the pool more times than I care to remember, won’t be making any picks this year- my good buddy Stan passed away this week. I know I’ll probably never win but at least he could have waited a few days so I could delude myself into thinking I could win some of my money back..

This bracket’s for you Stan.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


DOG CATCHER TO BE REPLACED WITH ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER: It’s not often that Glenn Mickens is wrong. The unassuming “Coach”, who always gives himself less credit than is deserved, has been a chief proponent of instituting a County Manager (CM) system of governance on Kaua`i, assuming a change in the structure will clear the utter depravity and corruption that the administrations and county councils have perpetrated for generations.

Glenn says it could work. But he, along with Ken Taylor, whose ideas are usually equally unassailable, and Walter Lewis- the father of the CM movement whose ideas are not always as sound- must admit it might not work.

There are at least two problems with changing from our mayor-council to a CM system.

The first is that changing the system doesn’t change the people who corrupt the system. Good people will make a bad governance system thrive and bad people can corrupt the best of systems.

The argument – and the only argument we’ve heard- is that a CM system will put a hired professional in charge of the day-to-day management of the County. But that assumption presumes that those hiring the person will hire someone for their professional expertise and not for their political affinity with those doing the hiring.

As a matter of fact, the current Charter calls for the Mayor to appoint an Administrative Assistant (AA) whose job description almost matches that of a CM, except for how he or she is appointed. If the Charter was changed to have the current AA require Council confirmation it might just accomplish what people have proposed without a huge shakeup... although perhaps a huge shakeup is what those urging change have in mind to begin with in the face of an electorate that re-elects the seemingly unelectable over and over.

While there are many different county manager systems, usually a council appoints some sort of de facto Mayor from among themselves and then hires someone to actually administrate the various departments- as our so-called “strong Mayor” currently does- many times under that appointed Mayor’s oversight.

But it also removes the check and balance of having two separate bodies which essentially oversee each other’s activities. That is eliminated in most CM systems where the chain of command is a straight line.

If elected people are going to corrupt the system it’s much easier to do so with a CM because there’s no intergovernmental accountability. The pro-CM people argue that the Mayor and Council are always fighting and never get anything done. But “getting things done” is a two edged sword- there may be things people want done but there may be more things no one wants done.

As they say, Mussolini did make the trains run on time.

The second problem is in the actual change itself. The whole Charter of Kaua`i is based on a mayor-council system of governance. It is embedded in almost every sentence of every section. Just the physical task of changing it would be monumental, involving essentially creating a whole new Charter.

In addition although there are hundreds if not thousands of jurisdictions that use a CM system, there are also hundreds of differences from system to system. There are even hybrid structures.

Which one is right for Kaua`i? Only a careful analysis of where we are and where we want to be will even yield a system right for us. And then any document for the voters’ approval would have to be worked from scratch to mesh with the existing infrastructures, both tangible and intangible.

And, most importantly, that doesn’t even begin to address the cultural changes, both political and personal, and how to mesh them with where we are and want to be...

And all that assumes a CM system is where we want to be. As the exposition of problem #1 shows determining that is the first step here.

It would take thousands upon thousands of hours- and those would be billable hours- checking and cross checking every sentence of the old and new charter documents by governance and legal experts and attorney’s who would need to delve into the minutia of municipal law.

And those experts would have to be familiar with Kaua`i- we’re certainly not going to get a document that understands the needs, wants and aspirations of the populace of the Island from someone from the mainland, or even O`ahu for that matter.

We’ve been asking Mickens, Lewis and Taylor over and over to do some preliminary homework on these questions for the three years since the CM issue was brought up before the former Charter Commission. We’ve asked proponents for a list of model CM systems and an analysis of how they work, why they work or don’t work and why some rather than others would be appropriate for Kaua`i.. We’ve asked them to at least present a factual researched case for why a CM system would be theoretically better than the current system- all to no avail.

Instead we hear it is not that complex, and we never hear how it could not be in the face of a simple list of prudent things to do before we all get on the conga line to a CM future.

Why would one system be better- the “professionalism” of a CM is not inherent in the system just as it isn’t inherent in the Mayor-Council system even though it should be. And if that CM is a political appointee with no administrative abilities we’re in the same boat as now with the current crop of self-serving public servants, only there’s no oversight.

It is people who people these positions whether under a mayor-council or CM system. And it is people who make the system work- it just depends on who they make it work for, themselves or the public.

It would be like saying the water in our bath tub isn’t hot enough so we’re going to change from having a two separate hot and cold faucets to a single faucet set up. But you don’t need to be a plumber to see that isn’t going to work because the problem is in the water temperature, not how it’s delivered.

A county manager system would apparently also require changes in State law and even the State Constitution which delineates how the various counties are to set up their governance structure. Any attempt to put anything on the ballot would have to be preceded by changes at that level or fudging on our part to adhere to the current requirement for many elements of the mayor-council models in the various counties. It would also take changes to a plethora of state laws and administrative rules that are set up to have processes that deal with that administrative-legislative two body scheme.... not to mention the local administrative rules of the various departments.

It’s not as simple as Glenn, Ken, Walter and others would have us believe- you can’t just put a question on the ballot saying “Do you want a CM system if governance on Kaua`i?”

If the proponents of a CM system want to build support for even investigating whether we want to change governance structure- and if so what specific system and, once one is chosen, how do we actually assemble the nuts and bolts of the various constitutional, legislative and administrative initiatives at both the state and county levels? They need to get busy and do some homework in order to get the ball rolling enough to convince people that changing the structure will change the level of good governance, even just in theory.

But to say “it’s easy- just click the heels of your flip-flops and say three time ‘there’s no place like ‘County Manager’” won’t make it happen- nor should it..

Monday, March 17, 2008


THROW 'EM A BONE: In honor of Sunshine Week the legislature is poised to gut the essence of the Hawai`i Sunshine Law.

Bill SB 2174, which has now crossed over to the House, would allow more than two members of a government “board” to meet and discuss business in secret as long as a quorum is not present.

And the red herrings are flying again, indicating how badly these people want to hide their hand.

According to an article in the Honolulu Advertiser the latest official to advocate repeal of the law is Karen Knudsen, first vice chair of the state Board of Education, who says the law is “just not practical” because she can’t conduct business in secret.

Maui County Council Chairman G. Riki Hokama is quoted as saying the Maui Council wants to “chang(e) the law to give council members and other public officials more flexibility to conduct public business in an efficient manner without violating the sunshine law”.

They all repeat the straw man that is being raised again by some, that the law prevents them from attending presentation or even having lunch together. But that isn’t any part of the law.

What the law is intended to do- and does- is to prohibit more than two members from discussing issues that are before the board or may be on the agenda, unless it’s done in pubic.

It does not prevent more than two of them to listen to a presentation, have lunch together or attend a lecture or meeting as many disingenuously profess. You can discuss your lunch order or your grandchildren all you want as long as you don’t discuss a law intended to regulate your lunch or grandchildren.

No third parties can be used to circumvent this law nor can you “play telephone” and pass the conversation on throughout the board one member at a time either, as the OIP has long ago opined and recently Hawai`i courts have ruled.

The law is there to make sure that public policy is conducted before the public. But the Senate has passed- and the House is poised to follow suit- a law enabling them to essentially do everything but the voting, or actually verbally pledge to do so, in secret.

This is at the very heart of sunshine laws. If it passed we would move from being a state having one of the best sunshine laws- even though our enforcement is terrible according to a recent national study- to being what the article calls a “quorum” state, with little restrictions on back room deals as long as it’s done with less than the number of members that constitute a quorum, usually one more than half.

Those who have complained about sunshine laws from Day 1 are apparently the ones who have no idea what the law is about in the first place- or apparently don’t want to understand it. And although we’ve heard these complaints that they can’t be secretive and corrupt for the last 32 years that the law has been in existence in Hawai`i, this is the first year that the threat to open governance has come to the point where a bill has been passed in the Senate and has crossed over and is being considered by the House.

But why not? .This State is controlled in full by the Legislature which, as the article points out, exempts itself from the law. And of course there is no way to allow the people to change the law because, as we stated yesterday, there is no initiative or referendum nor petitioning to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in Hawai`i.

Although it is part and parcel of the process, especially here on Kaua`i- where any viewing of Council meetings make it apparent that agreements on disposition have been made before agenda items are read and disposed of in sessions- it has always been illegal to do it.

Back in 1989 Tom Toles, political cartoonist extraordinaire, had a piece that remained on our refrigerator for years. It showed the newly democratic Russian Bear being scolded by Uncle Sam for not following it’s laws against corporate control and corruption. But, Sammy says as an aside, that’s because their democracy is young... soon their corporate buddies will be able to actually write the law.

As a 49-year-young democracy, we in Hawai`i are truly maturing it seems.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


HE'LL NEVER MISS THEM: National Sunshine Week begins today but our Sunshine and open records (UIPA) laws, Hawai`i HRS 92 and 92F respectively, are apparently dead due to the httpbizarre use of “attorney –client privilege”, a trick that started on Kaua`i and has now been adopted and abused by Governor Lingle and her Attorney General Mark Bennett.

Our Sunshine Law clearly sets how public policy meetings and records are to be publicly available with a few specific exceptions that delineate how certain legal, privacy and personnel uses are protected from public view.

HRS 92-1, Declaration of Policy and Intent, states that “the formation and conduct of public policy - the discussions, deliberations, decisions, and action of governmental agencies - shall be conducted as openly as possible.” while 92-5(a)4 allows bodies “(t)o consult with the board's attorney on questions and issues pertaining to the board's powers, duties, privileges, immunities, and liabilities” in secret.

Nowhere does Hawai`i law allow for public policy discussions by elected officials to be protected from public disclosure nor does it allow public policy opinions of governmental attorneys to be kept secret.

Nowhere in the Sunshine Law do the words “attorney-client privilege” appear and that’s because of the intent of the law as stated is that public policy deliberations and decisions must remain open to the public.

No one in government- not County Attorneys (CA), Corporation Consuls (CC) nor Attorneys General (AG) had ever thought to use the attorney-client privilege to shield public policy from public view until Kaua`i Mayor Bryan Baptiste’s County Attorney Lani Nakazawa made it up in 2003.

But once they did and seemed to get away with it the Lingle administration and Bennett pounced on it.

Attorney-client privilege clearly is for an attorney-client relationships that under state law specifically excludes matters of public policy which “should be, in a democracy as open as possible” if the word intent and legislative history of the Sunshine and Uniform Information Practices Acts are to have any effect of law at all.

Public policy deliberation and decision making are clearly excluded from any attorney- client privilege that may be needed by either an individual or a legislative body who needs legal advice to deal with an actual lawsuit or personal legal jeopardy- but not for the legal ramifications of public policy advice from attorneys.

It does not exclude just anything that is done in the presence of an attorney and certainly not official public policy opinions a CA CC or AG.

But what with the nebulous “executive privilege” claims that were made up by Presidents like Tricky Dickey Nixon- words that do not appear in the U.S or any state constitution- anything that an administration wants to keep secret is kept secret anyway, at least federally.

Courts have commonly called shenanigans on these executives privileges. The Hawai`i Supreme Court has not ruled on whether any attorney-client or “executive privilege”- something the Lingle administration has actually claimed- exists especially for the public policy deliberations and decisions government-employed crooks may have used to hide their corruption.

It’s time for a change but the legislature may never do it and we don’t have the right to do it by the ballot because we are the only state west of the Rockies to not have Initiative and Referendum, much less the ability to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot.

Happy Sunshine Week... don’t worry about us- we’ll just sit here in the dark.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


DOG BREATH: Foodland has “green” egg all over it’s face a week before Easter and has had to remove an on-line piece signed if not penned by CEO Jenai S. Wall, Chairman & CEO of Foodland Super Market, Ltd declaring her and their concern about their “carbon footprint” .

Foodland is the anchor tenant in the “Monkey Pod” Koloa shopping center where they recently cut down lots of the monkey pod trees despite weeks of candlelight vigils by people in Koloa and a current boycott of Foodland.

Thanks to Juan Wilson and Island Breath we still have her words posted there. If you really want to read something funny read, among other gems “’(G)oing green’ has moved from recycling and a general desire to protect the environment to global warming and reducing our carbon footprint.” . She then goes on to sprinkle liberally the terms global warming and carbon footprint throughout the piece.

Clarification from yesterday: Our piece “On the Gravy Train” yesterday, were based on the accounts of Judy Lenthall’s own words, as reported. . Although the impression was that she appeared on behalf of the FoodBank before the Council, upon viewing the meeting it is clear that her appearance was to receive a Certificate of Appreciation of her work and it was not done during an official session of the County Council.

Friday, March 14, 2008


ON THE GRAVY TRAIN: The somewhat depraved corruption of Mark Hubbard and his Kaua`i Ethics Board continued it’s utter disregard for ethics again in yet another kangaroo court proceeding Thursday.

As we reported previously Hubbard, who represents Grove Farm before the County in development proceedings, has again called the law “absurd” because he himself is apparently illegally occupying the Ethics Board Chair slot.

The law simply says that “no officer or employee of the county shall appear in behalf of private interests before any county board, commission or agency.”. Yet Hubbard says that somehow some kind of tortured reading makes it illegal for those subject to the law to obtain a drivers license.

Ethics laws like this are ubiquitous and to appear in behalf of private interests does not ever mean applying for personal matter like filing taxes or applying for a drivers’ license. In those cases there is no “representation” nor is there any “private interest” being represented. Personal representations are not “private interests” which can include business interests owned by a single person.

Only on Kaua`i can people like Hubbard and Jonathan Chun- who the Board ruled was not in violation despite his appearance before the County Council and Planning Commission representing the Board of Realtors recently and, in fact, getting his way with the Council- get away with this.

Chun is the head of the Charter Review Commission and will reportedly soon be deliberating on a measure to repeal the ethics law as part of that job.

Another commissioner Judith Lenthall asked if when she appeared before County Council as Executive Director of the Kaua‘i Food Bank she violated the law- which by any reading she did..

She reportedly said “It can be taken to the level of absurdity,”

Yes Judy but the abusdity is not that you don’t belong on a board or commission if you are representing private interests before the body that appoints you. It’s the ridiculous and yes “absurd” notion that either you aren’t breaking the law or that there is something wrong with the law.

There is apparently something absurdly wrong with you and Hubbard if you can’t understand why you two should not be on the Board of Ethics and Chun should not be on the Charter Commission.

When people who commonly ask the council for favors sit in judgment of them- as Lenthall admitted she will be reciprocating during in the upcoming case of Mel Rapozo- who, as we detailed, is illegally applying for a contract with the county that “shockingly” was not bid upon by any other firm who hopes to do business with the county that Mel helps run and make the rules for- that is called corruption, kiddies.

Lenthall at least said “I continue to be a little confused. I’m going to abstain because I can’t figure it out whether it’s a yes or no.”.

Although she feigned confusion Lenthall is not an idiot. But she did abstain rather than voting yes and sending a clear message by asking Hubbard to join her in resigning from the Board and asking Chun to do the same... and Rapozo to refrain from doing business with the county too.

Chun, who is not reportedly an idiot either, referred to a “chilling effect” on people who lobby and request favors from the county stopping them from serving on its boards and commissions by saying “they would have to make a choice (because) under a strict interpretation, I can’t speak my mind before any other board.” .

Damn straight Jonathan. And that’s a good thing because they shouldn’t be serving in the first place. That’s why the rule is there.

And that’s why the whole system of boards and commissions is utterly corrupt on Kaua`i.- because somehow good people like Lenthall are bamboozled by crooks like Hubbard and Chun and Rapozo into being “confused” because she also shouldn’t be there.

Most of the slots on board and commissions are filled by revolving-door developers and their pals hand-selected by the Mayor and Council who, because they are beholden to the politicians, commonly rule the way the politicians expect them to rule. That’s especially true with the Ethics Commission which acceded to the witch hunt against former Police Commission chair Michael Ching and Chief KC Lum a couple of years back while also clearing Council Chair Kaipo Asing of ethics violation charges recently and are expected to clear Rapozo soon... and will then again come before the Council and Administration “hat” in hand for money for private interests when the next time they represent them.

And guess what- putting on a different hat doesn’t make you a different person... a lot of crooks find that out.

The only ones who seeming don’t understand why this is a forbidden activity are the ones benefiting from it.

“Nobody seemed to care that it might be a violation of 20.02D”, Hubbard was quoted as saying” Why can’t Jonathan Chun do that and Mel Rapozo can?”.

Ah, here in the back Mark... someone does care.

Rapozo shouldn’t be able to do it either and won’t unless some the most corrupt of all members of the community Mark Hubbard and his corrupt Ethics Board declares it to be hunky-dory.
The very fact that these people who are playing both sides of the fence can question whether the law should be enforced seems speak volumes on why it is illegal- and apparent to anyone who doesn’t try to pull this fast one on the people of Kaua`i. Perhaps they’ll all resign and get people to take on those positions who do not have a vested money interest in the outcome of the proceedings.

And perhaps pigs will fly.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


GLAD WE DIDN’T STEP IN IT: :KIUC and Anne Barnes are apparently not going to talk to us or anyone this week and we are not going to get to know how lucrative a position with KIUC’s Board of Directors actually is before the balloting for three director positions is completed.

The three incumbent candidate were paid the second, third and fourth most of all directors with only secretary Ray Paler exceeding their “stipends”

Phil Tacbian came in at $16, 374, Peter Yukimura at $15,542 and Dennis Esaki 13, 074 while Paler who is not up for reelection made $18, 845.

But despite a plethora of calls and emails requesting the full record for both stipend compensation and any other payments, broken down by director, even though she agreed to “talk to accounting“ and produce those records, when the due date came around Barnes disappeared. We could only speak to her loyal assistant Shelly Paik who couldn’t get her to talk to us during this critical period when the ballots for the new directors are coming in.

PNN asked for a breakdown of the 2006 numbers but only got the “stipends” collected as reported on KIUC’s IRS 990 form, not any per diems and/or expenses paid during the numerous training junkets directors take on the mainland or any other payments made if any.

According to Barnes- not the 990- the nine directors did split the $138,891.70 in stipend and $90,104.16 for “travel & training” although the 990 lists on Part V-A “Current Officers Directors Trustees and Key Employees Compensation” payments of $504,606. with “Contributions to Employment Benefit Plans & Deferred Compensation Plans” of $47,810.

But the requested full disclosure of the exact payments to even the three directors running for reelection has been denied even after Barnes’ assurances they would be forthcoming.

Barnes’ husband Walt was an original KIUC board member and one of those who was caught making up facts and figures on KIUC’s behalf during the Council hearing on the Co-op purchase before Kaua`i electricity users paid up to double of what the former Kaua`i Electric Co. was worth even after the price was slightly cut after government watchdogs’ extensive research and activist prodding.

Anne Barnes eventually took over as KIUC spokesperson and public information officer and her obvious unavailability for comment on that part of the story is in keeping with the much reported and much ballyhooed and admitted penchant for secrecy and “speaking with one voice” as KIUC mandates.

According to Barnes KIUC’s complete 2006 990 tax form is available at their web site although she would not provide the specific URL and it is not plainly listed. Copies of the 990 are available by request from PNN in a 40 page PDF as sent by Barnes via email.


UPDATE: Developer-friendly blogger Charley Foster wanted to know our sourcing for yesterday’s story of what happened really happened when Jimmy Pflueger caused the Ka Loko dam break and murdered those seven people. We posted the following further sourcing for the story in the comments section here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


SNIFFIN’ OUT THE STORY: Glad someone on O`ahu can see through all the “this was an accident” media hype regarding the Ka Loko dam break.

Kauaians were screaming about Jimmy Pflueger years before he murdered those seven people- and yes he murdered them despite the fact that Mimsy Buret withdrew the publicly stated charge after he sued her.

In fact this WAS about Jimmy-the-shark’s penchant for boating though no accident. According to a former Kaua`i resident and FOP- friend of Pflueger- he specifically and purposefully filled in the spillways of the reservoirs on his property so he could go water skiing on his “lakes”.

He was apparently such a dim bulb he didn’t realize they were agricultural reservoirs.

Anyone paying attention knows what happened- he leveled hills and acres of land illegally and was minimally fined for it before 40 days of rain washed the dug-up dirt into the reservoir causing the breach. Meanwhile the Kaua`i Dept of Public Works, under Mayor Kusaka’s direction, stood by and refused to act despite the violation at Ka Loko and the previous grubbing and grading scandal on Pflueger’s property in nearby Pila`a which led to the inundation of the Marvin’s beach property there. .

The problem was never lack of regular dam inspections- it was and is the revolving door connecting large land owners and developers with state and county inspectors and directors who look the other way and feign incompetence in order to avoid charges of malfeasance.

Thanks Larry- Disappeared News indeed

UPDATE: Hawai`i Reporter has an update along the lines of Doug and my comments by the ABC network producer/reporter who did the 20/20 story