Friday, August 1, 2008


NO LITTLE KIRK, WE SAID YOU COULD HAVE “A” DOG: Curiouser and curiouser is an apt description after 10 days down the rabbit hole in the case of the deadline-missing candidates.

Because a “preliminary” half-ruling by former “de facto” State Elections Chief Kevin Cronin has determined half the equation in saying that soon-to-be-former House Majority Leader Kirk Caldwell did not withdraw from running for his old post until after the filing deadline- doing so on Wed. July 23, not before the filing deadline on the 22nd- enabling the Democratic Party to pick their replacement candidate, Isaac Choy

But as to whether Caldwell- or anyone- broke the law as the ruling infers, by illegally filing for a second office without withdrawing from the one he had previously filed for, Cronin exercised his “I’m not here” privilege and was silent.

According Ian Lind who today provided the pdf file of Cronin’s ruling:

That appears to bounce the issue of Caldwell’s candidacy for the city council back to city clerk Denise Decosta, who by law (Section 12-8 HRS) must decide on challenges to candidates for county office. Now that Cronin has ruled that Caldwell remained a candidate in his House district until sometime on the morning following the filing deadline, and state law prohibits a candidate from filing for more than one office, Decosta appears to have less wiggle room in determining whether Caldwell’s council filing was valid.

So Decosta, who if she wasn’t a law-breaker herself at best aided and abetted Caldwell in breaking the law prohibiting the filing for more than one office, will be the one to decide whether Caldwell’s filing for council is valid regardless of how the insufficient-valid-signatures issue with Caldwell’s filing plays out.

If she rules Caldwell, having had his filing accepted by her office, legally filed for council she would be the one who was the scoff-law for allowing him to file for two offices at once. But if she rules that her office made a mistake in accepting it and bans Caldwell from the ballot, it’s all’s well that ends well- for her... unless of course Caldwell sues her for screwing him- despite the fact that he apparently didn’t know or intentionally broke the law despite the fact that he makes the laws..

Caldwell’s kind of like the guy with two girlfriends. He’s thinking the worst that could happen is that he’ll have to chose one or the other if they find out about each other. But when they do uncover his scheme they both ditch him.

It appears that Kirk is in for a rude awakening when he wakes up to find that after diddling around with two constituencies his new bed in the political gutter.

And you know it couldn’t happen to a nicer- or at least more appropriate- guy.

Anyone who observes- or cares about- the legislature knows Caldwell primarily for his blind devotion to Speaker Calvin Say and for his penchant for obstructing legislation by assuring it gets killed, if not by him then through his support of powerful committee chairs.

If the speaker didn’t like a bill or it didn’t serve their leadership faction politically he was the hatchet man. He and Say killed dozens of good bills this session- the kind people look at and say “how did that not get passed?”- and pulled the same crap when veto overrides were proposed, denying a vote on many of them by claiming, as he did during session, that “there weren’t enough votes”, without even bother to hold one.

He’s been a real champ at these political moves, shielding legislators from having to commit on controversial issues in an election year.

Cronin also has more problems of his own today after breaking another law and running up against common sense because he reportedly already ordered the ballot to be printed without allowing the parties to examine them (in violation of state law) and included Caldwell’s name on the ballots even though his ruling practically obviates the rejection Caldwell’s council filing

It’s quite the biblical parable. But presumably there will be some other twist such as Cronin’s decision being nullified because perhaps his self-proclaimed “de facto” leadership status might be insufficient to allow him to make the decision in the first place.

We just heard the Mad Hatter say to stay un-tuned


And in a follow-up to our SuperScamFerry story yesterday there are two seemingly conflicting stories out of ferry-builder Austal’s home town newspaper, the Mobile Press-Register, regarding the copmpany’s military contracts and plans to build warships for the Navy.

The first, published Wednesday, is headlined

Audit: Austal failed to keep tabs on LCS Company didn't keep Navy managers informed

It tell us that the big Navy shipbuilding contract they are depending on might be on shaky ground saying:

Austal USA failed to keep Navy managers informed about the cost and schedule of the littoral combat ship under construction at its Mobile yard, according to a recent report that also faults the Navy and the project's lead contractor, General Dynamics Corp., for failing to ride herd on the company.

Overall, the review by the Naval Audit Service outlines a "significant breakdown" in internal controls over the high-profile project, now some $300 million over budget and a year behind the original timetable.

Program managers "were not provided valid and reliable cost, schedule and technical performance information for decision-making purposes," the report said.

"These issues raise concerns regarding Austal's management processes impacting the timeliness, accuracy, reliability and validity of performance management data that (Navy leaders) were supposed to rely upon to manage the contracts."

But then today there’s this:

Austal begins $254M facility; Shipyard counting on expansion to win more military contracts

Austal USA is banking on a $254 million expansion of its Mobile shipyard to lay the groundwork for large-scale U.S. military work.

Austal broke ground Thursday on a modular manufacturing facility that promises faster, less expensive ship construction at a time when the Defense Department is trying to rein in costs, particularly on ships.

Whether the U.S. Navy responds with new contracts remains to be seen, but one Washington, D.C., analyst said he feels there's a good chance the multimillion-dollar gamble will pay off.

"I don't think there's ever a guarantee in life," said Jay Korman, senior Navy analyst for consulting firm Avascent Group. "But when you look at the progress they've made on their program, they are right on track. I think the military customers will come ? that's the bottom line."

Gotta file this one under “huh?”

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