Monday, August 18, 2008


OUTFOXED AGAIN: Just when it couldn’t get any more devoid of rationality it turns out that there’s now another wrinkle in the Dance of the Headless Chickens in the Honolulu filing deadline debacle today after Honolulu Advertiser reporter Derrick DePledge dug up an Aug 7 court ruling certifying a “replacement” for a candidate that was never an official candidate.

The replacement candidate, Isaac Choy, is the same one that was named in the Kirk Caldwell mess on July 26. But in a “that was our story and we were sticking to it but this one is much better” spiel from self declared “De Facto” Elections Chief Kevin Cronin, it is now Chrystn Eads- who never filed completed papers- that was “disqualified” to put Choy on the ballot.

And that didn’t happen until a formerly secret Aug. 7 court ruling.

Cronin claims that Eads’ whatever-it-was was not official until Aug 7 when a judge ruled on a case apparently filed by Republicans in the confusion as to who was being replaced when they filed the challenge.

Conflicting newspaper reports in the days after the filing deadline resulted in the Republicans originally challenging the “replacement” based on erroneous-at-the-time reports by Richard Borreca in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that Eads was the one that “needed” replacing

But DePledge’s report at the time that it was indeed Caldwell that was being replaced turned out to be the correct one.

Caldwell was eliminated for filing for a second office-Honolulu County Council- at the same time he was still running for his House seat. Cronin ruled Caldwell’s verbal withdrawal wasn’t sufficient and when Caldwell filed “in writing” the next day Cronin’s subsequent ruling left him not running for anything.

The Republicans challenged the date of the Caldwell withdrawal saying it happened the day of the filing deadline, July 22, and in a ruling that flies in the face of the actual law Cronin ruled that the withdrawal came the day after the filing deadline and a “three day replacement” rule let the Democrats put Choy on the ballot- and do it via telephone on a Saturday after Cronin had ruled that Caldwell’s withdrawal via telephone was not sufficient.

But, it appears the Republican case or perhaps one from Honolulu County Clerk Denise Decosta, either on her own or as a reaction to the Republican challenge in the Eads matter (the article doesn’t make it clear who filed for the court ruling), went to court and in an August 7 ruling Eads was “officially” not on the ballot, which Cronin appears to be interpreting as a “disqualification”.

There was no explanation of how a candidate who never officially filed could be disqualified.

Therefore the state is claiming that Decosta’s ruling a few days after the filing deadline that Eads filing was incomplete wasn’t official” until the Aug. 7 ruling and therefore- get this- the Democrats had three days from Aug 7 to pick Choy (again).

And therefore, supposedly, the date of Caldwell’s withdrawal is moot because now Choy is replacing Eads.

Borreca is obviously psychic.

Actually though, the law requires that county clerks go to circuit court for these rulings and though we have some reason to believe it was Decosta who filed for the Aug 7 ruling, she refused to get a court ruling for the one she made that disqualified Caldwell.

This all means that, Cronin and the state is contending, it doesn’t matter when Caldwell withdrew for purposes of the actual Republican challenge saying that the withdrawal took place Tuesday July 22 and therefore the clock ran out on Friday- and therefore the Democrats missed the three day deadline.

And since Caldwell is not challenging when his withdrawal actually took place- even though he would be eligible to run for council if it had been “official” on July 22 instead of the 23rd- Cronin’s ruling in that case that is wasn’t official until the 23rd is for all intent and purpose now irrelevant.... and so it’s legality is no longer a question

In another odd yet relevant tidbit, today it was reported that, in trying to justify his contrary to law ruling in the Caldwell withdrawal, Cronin cited a state “Candidate Information Sheet” we exclusively reported on a week or so ago.

The sheet contains erroneous “written withdrawal required” information but contains a disclaimer that says the pamphlet may not be in compliance with the law and to check the actual law if need be

Cronin’s list of dirty deeds grows. So far he has:

-Failed to register to vote, a requirement for his job, until this month after being hired in February. He said he was too busy and always intended to take the required 30 seconds to complete, stamp and put the form in the mail. He declared himself the “De Facto” Elections Chief when the lack of voter registration came light.

-Ruled that Caldwell’s withdrawal had to be in writing despite past practices of the clerk’s and elections’ offices, and the clerk’s assurance to Caldwell that his withdrawal was official. Caldwell’s oral withdrawal was followed by a call by Decosta’s office to Cronin’s office saying he’d withdrawn. Cronin’s ruling came despite the fact that the law itself does not call for a written withdrawal except under for “health reasons”.

-Sent the ballots to the printer without the legally required review by non-partisan and party observers. Cronin said it was all ok because they turned out to be accurate- and has parsed rulings and manipulated the courts to keep them correct.

-Was severely chastised and reversed by a hearings officer for picking a known-to-be-remarkably-hackable Hart InterCivic election system- a firm he reportedly has had ties to- at a cost almost three times that of a competing bid. Cronin blamed the procurement laws rather than take responsibility

-Was reported here, in an exclusive report, to have been a defendant in a suit regarding keeping blacks off the ballot in 1988 when he was a lawyer for the Wisconsin elections office. After two lower court rulings apparently said he had acted so negligently or purposefully that he had to stand civil trial, a US appeals court ruled he had immunity from the suit- the type of immunity that all officials have for decisions in their official capacity.

We probably left out something. Perhaps the most egregious thing in all this is that the Elections Commission has given him a clean bill of health and is not even considering firing him.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Holy cow Andy....
Hope you got a bodyguard.