Tuesday, October 14, 2008


HOW MUCH IS THAT CRONY IN THE WINDOW?- REDUX : After yesterday’s analysis of the ridiculous attempt to trick voters into allowing the county council to change the law and exclude the public from public meetings you would think nothing could top that for Minotaur, “do what’s wrong as long as he can”, depravity.

But if so, you wouldn’t have read another doozy- one that would remove standard ethics restrictions for those serving on local boards and commissions.

At least the question on this one is pretty straight forward it asks

Should the Kauai County Charter be amended to expressly permit county board and commission members to appear on behalf of private interests before any county board, commission or agency except the board or commission on which they serve?

We detailed the story at least one two three four five six times going back to February about how the Ethics Board and its Chair Mark Hubbard refused to enforce the county charter provision that says “no officer or employee of the county shall appear in behalf of private interests before any county board, commission or agency.”

But since Hubbard does this all the time as a vice president of the huge, land-rich Grove Farm Corporation he decided that the law was “absurd” and refused to enforce it against attorney Jonathan Chun.

The Ethics Board cleared Chun of charges that he quite obviously violated the ethics provision by appearing before the county council representing the Board of Realtors during the recent approval of an ordinance regarding vacation rental while at the time serving as chair of a county commission.

And what commission would that be? Why the Charter Commission who put this piece of garbage on the ballot.

So let’s get this straight- Hubbard’s Ethics Board clears Chun for some ungodly reason and then Chun turns around and tries to get the voters to remove the ethics law and allow himself, Hubbard and others to lobby the people who appointed them..

You can read some of Hubbard’s convoluted reasoning in refusing to enforce the ethics laws in some our past articles and by following the links there to some local newspaper accounts, especially How much is that crony in the window? and On the gravy train:

They also describe why this kind of ubiquitous ethics provision is standard stuff everywhere else but here on ethically-challenged Kaua`i.

And while you’re at it you can follow some of Hubbard’s and his cronies’ corruption-laced connections in Ah, The Smell Of Plantation Lunas in The Morning

And then vote no and send a message that these corporate crooks can’t use their revolving door positions to screw us considerably more than they can now.


The next Charter amendment we’ll look at today is an interesting one..

It asks

Should the Kauai County Charter be amended to require that the two candidates who receive the highest number of votes in the primary election for the office of the mayor and prosecuting attorney, regardless of whether a candidate receives a majority of the votes cast at the primary election, run in the general election?

On the surface the “50% plus 1 run-off” system Kaua`i has now seems to be a fair and democratic enough way to determine the winner if we are going to use a “two separate run-off elections” system to begin with

Actually the best of all systems is “Instant Runoff Voting” where you vote only once, rank all the opponents and the lowest vote getters are eliminated round by round and their second, third, fourth (and so on).choice is counted until someone gets 50%. It’s used all over the country and is gaining popularity all the time.

But pols locally are generally living in the mid-20th century when it comes to elections so we have to settle for a 50 some-odd year old “innovation”- the non-partisan, two-round runoff with the two top vote getting candidates in September’s “primary” going on to November.

Under the current law if a candidate gets “50% plus one” votes in the primary the election is complete, as happened by two votes when Bryan Baptiste won the mayor’s race in September of 2006.

The problem is that statistics show that voter turnout in these primaries is dismally lower than- often not even half- the turnout in November . Here in Hawai`i the top of the ticket in November is always either a presidential or gubernatorial election- along with legislative races- which draw many more people to the polls.

This change would make it so that no matter how many votes they get in the primaries the “top two” would go on to the November election.

Although theoretically it shouldn’t matter, in realty it does. And the argument that having only one election would “save money” doesn’t hold water since it doesn’t eliminate an entire election it just eliminates one race from a ballot that is being printed anyway, containing partisan state and national races

If you agree that the elections gain legitimacy when more people are voting, this one is a no-brainer “yes” and “top two” is a change for the better.

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