Friday, September 12, 2008


PUTTING LIPSTICK ON A DOG: Tony Sommer’s new book KPD Blue has spent a week dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s” on allegations of two reported cases of apparent police misconduct and even abuse as we reported this week... and over the last six months in many other incidents.

Sommer’s book is now available at . Throughout the fall PNN will continue serializing the book on weekends with the hilariously deadly serious Chapter 5 entitled Marianne Kusaka coming tomorrow.

In chapter 5 we meet “the Queen” through details of her early efforts to sell jewelry out if the Mayor’s office through her abject anti-“haole” racism and into the driver’s seat of her taxpayer-leased, unbudgeted, red, luxury Chrysler. .

(Parenthetically, 30 years ago her 2nd grade students- and of course we parents- knew you didn’t want to be white in that class... especially when she let kids off early on “kill-a-haole day”).

But worse was the total ineptitude of all those around her and her ability to use their stupidity to let them all get away with highway robbery. She would have gotten rich too if the Coco Palms renovation project hadn’t gone belly up.

Poor Marianne. She was responsible for dozens of inept bozos getting corporate positions when they became too inept for believability. But her attempt to finally cash in herself- after she had to give back the Kealia Kai house site- was the now defunct Coco Palms deal in which she had to give back millions, some say 10 or more- in the deal, as PNN reported in July.

Sommer’s story is spot on and documented by someone who collected the information first hand.

But the book does have an understandable error regarding how the term “nitpickers” arose, with Sommer crediting it to TGI Editor Sue Dixon Strong.

But although Dixon used the term as her own she was actually quoting Kusaka’s who used the term to describe all those who were complaining the original price of KIUC was too high, an amount subsequently dropped by $50-100 million depending on whose numbers you use.

When famed Kaua`i government watchdog Ray Chuan finally gathered a bunch of Princeville ex-financial energy consultants and engineers they made her look silly for supporting the co-op as it was. And after seeing all the documents the council irregulars joined in.

The original almost $300 million price was insane . And complaints about that and management were met with a public statement by Kusaka that people were just “nitpicking” the deal.

But eventually they dropped the price 70 million and it was still too high, some say as much as twice or more what it was worth. .

The leadership of the Democratic Party in the person of the venerable Turk Tokita had joined the organizing board and when Democrat JoAnn Yukimura joined she squelched DOH documents- despite PNN reports- on our `Ele`ele plant toxic waste dump.

More importantly she gave the board united Democratic Party support. And Republican Kusaka didn’t like it, especially when KIUC top dog Greg Gardiner was being excoriated over his current- and sometimes past- documented deceits and dirty deeds.

Kusaka wanted the deal done. But the council was sitting through hours of televised meetings starring the “nitpickers”- who had adopted the name in a statement of ridicule of Kusaka. They were now credited with “saving” consumers tens of millions and trying to save tens if not a hundred more.

They filed up to have their three or six minutes tirades against the price and not the co-op concept but against “this” co-op- the one with the widely reviled and defamed Gardiner in charge

And Kusaka didn’t care. Her new-found Republican buddies- the ones who put her in office like Charlie King- had a big stake in seeing Republican-leaning, former “Kaua`i Times” newspaper owner, Gardiner look good.

The council was the last obstacle because the self appointed co-op board had essentially put it in their hands. The Council, in an effort to not pay the exorbitant price, actually passed a charter amendment creating a municipal power authority that remains unused today.

Finally the council got Kusaka to come and have her tell them face-to-face why they should take the give or take $225 million deal.

But unbelievably enough it was scheduled on the agenda as a secret executive session (ES) meeting,

The nitpickers and the public in general were outraged. And especially when they met under a Sunshine law provision [HRS 92-5(a)4] supposedly to meet with their “attorney” and there was no lawyer in the room- just the council and Kusaka.

(Correction- Attorney Bill Milks was in the room but was essentially there as camouflage while Kusaka and the council cut the deal.)

That’s when and where Kusaka and the council cut the deal for KIUC’s final approval

They came out of ES and everything was signed, sealed and delivered. No discussion. Vote- 7 ayes, Mr. Chair. Meeting adjoined..

Anthony Sommer, the author of “KPD Blue” and a reporter for the Honolulu Star Bulletin Kaua`i Bureau Chief at the time read the Sunshine law and didn’t believe what he just saw happen.

Having been at The Garden Island for a brief spell he knew that unlike real newspapers TGI doesn’t go to court for open meetings matters and freedom of information type requests. ... ever... at all... as a matter of policy.

But Sommer didn’t know that the Star Bulletin wasn’t going to back him up either by hiring a lawyer to find out what was discussed and just how they could decide a major public policy issue in secret .

So Sommer sued on his own nickel.

He won his case although it took years and of course by then the co-op was a thriving company with the highest rates in the country by a wide margin.

Enjoy Chapter 5- see ya Monday.

No comments: