Friday, October 17, 2008


LASSIE’S LAMENT: Has anyone wondered what the deal is after seeing the listing as it appears on the ballot for council candidate Dickie Chang.

In parentheses it lists his business’ name, Wala`au, after his name- a blatant violation of Hawai`i law and administrative rules.

HRS: §12-3 states specifically

Nomination paper; format; limitations. (a) No candidate's name shall be printed upon any official ballot to be used at any primary, special primary or special election unless a nomination paper was filed in the candidate's behalf and in the name by which the candidate is commonly known.(emphasis added)

The nomination paper shall be in a form prescribed and provided by the chief election officer containing substantially the following information:

(4) The legal name of the candidate, the name by which the candidate is commonly known, if different, the office for which the candidate is running, and the candidate's party affiliation or nonpartisanship; all of which are to be placed on the nomination paper by the chief election officer or the clerk prior to releasing the form to the candidate.

Is there someone who actually calls our good friend Dickie Wala`au? If not, it is illegal to have included it on the ballot.

And if there’s any doubt, Hawai`i Administrative Rules (HAR) §2-52-4 make it clear by saying

Nomination papers; candidate name on ballot.

(a) A candidate's name, including the Hawaiian or English equivalent or nickname, shall be limited to twenty-seven characters; provided that the twenty-seven characters shall include punctuation and blank spaces, and shall be set on one line.

(b) The name of the candidate appearing on the ballot may be the candidate's legal name or the name by which the candidate is most commonly known. If a candidate seeks to have a name other than the candidate's legal name, its commonly recognized equivalent, or maiden name, appear on the ballot, the candidate, at the time of filing nomination papers shall also file a notarized affidavit in which the candidate attests to the fact that the name to appear on the ballot is the name by which the candidate is most commonly known throughout the district from which the candidate seeks election. .(emphasis added)

(e) Slogans shall not be printed on the ballot.

Not only doesn’t anyone call Dickie “Wala`au”- the name of his television program- it certainly is not the name by which he is most commonly known throughout the island.

Dickie may be the nicest guy you would want to meet but not only is he out of step with his pro-uncontrolled-growth “never met a tourism business or hotel he didn’t like” positions but he obviously has little regard for the law either when it comes to shameless promotion- something at which few haven’t cringed in the past

Swearing a false affidavit is a crime in Hawai`i.


QUESTIONS FOR QUEENIE: Ask Fido:When we reported twice how Bernard Carvalho was apparently ducking a “forum” with his opponent JoAnn Yukimura last month it wasn’t as if there weren’t any other forums with the two.

The difference was that the one that was “cancelled” at the time was the one sponsored by the local newspaper The Garbage- er Garden Island.

Imagine our relief when we were able to report not only had it had been rescheduled, this time it was billed as an actual debate

At last- some professionally-developed, well-structured questions with specificity and follow-ups asked to provoke answers on the issues not just the “what are you going to do about” or “tell us your thoughts on” type of questions which generally do little but provoke the candidatures to give their standard pre-packaged stump speech.

But this being Kaua`i and the newspaper being the rag it is- staffed by a malahini editor and publisher and reporters similarly unfamiliar with Kaua`i history, culture and issues - we should have known better.

Perhaps the most inane nonsensical misinformed questions were asked of the candidates by Adam Harju, a mainland transplant who, along with his well meaning and skilled staff have no idea what they’re doing and obviously never prepared debate questions before, much less ones pertinent to Kaua`i voters.

The first one was a doozy, to the point where they had to be asked to repeat it because it was so long convoluted – not to mention presumptuous and baffling as to intent and content.

Even reading it now it’s no wonder the candidates didn’t bother trying to answer it. It asked

The Kauai County Charter has been described as lacking the depth for a strict interpretation of its intent. If the charter does in fact allow for flexibility in interpreting the powers bestowed upon the office of mayor, is that flexibility a good thing and how will you use that flexibility to carry out your duties?

What? Who described it that way? And what the heck does that first sentence even mean? What exactly does the phrase “strict interpretation of it’s intent”. Is intent interpretable?. By definition, no. And what “flexibility” does it have? Perhaps ambiguity is the word you were looking for Adam.

Certainly the Kaua`i charter is short on specific nuts and bolts but so are most constitutional documents- look at the US Constitution the national equivalent of our county charter.

Charters -and constitutions- rely on setting out the inviolable basics to be detailed by ordinances by the legislative body, the council and effectuated by the administrative branch- the mayor.

If anything the question shows a distinct lack of understanding of how government works. Didn’t the author ever take a civics class? Or was this just an attempt to sound smart?

But out of the frying pan into the fire. The rest of the questions were so broad it was basically just an invitation to tell us anything at all and some were downright hilarious attempts to do that.

The so called follow-up to the charter question was even more vacuous. He asked

“So what role does the charter play in the day-to-day functioning of the mayor's office?”

Day to day? Probably none since there are ordinances and administrative rules that are in place based on the Charter that are the real day to day concerns. And what is this- high school. Are they candidates or teachers?

Here some more fluffy softballs lobbed

What is your interpretation of supporting the local economy?

What specifically are you going to do to help the small businesses on Kauai?

What's the first issue you would tackle in office?

But these snoozers are nothing compared to the silliness of others such as

What does the Kauai County General Plan have to do with anything?

Well if you have to ask maybe you should read the General Plan and read the Charter, (which has a whole section that answers this question) something that obviously wasn’t done... along with first gaining an understanding of what “planning” is in the governance context since every community across the state and most throughout the county’s have a general development plan?

One of the screwiest was this

How do you determine where the state's fiscal responsibility ends and the county's begins?

Although there are some gray areas - such as some roads that were established as “government roads” before statehood- for the most part, due to the centralized structure that resulted from statehood for a territory with well established law, the state, through its constitution, laws and regulations pretty much determines what the state’s and counties’ responsibilities are. Anything unaddressed is delegated to the counties by default.

At this point it seems more like the Harju was asking the candidate to give him a class in civics and governance and explain the minutia Hawai`i laws and regulations

And on others it seemed as if Harju hadn’t read his own paper. He asked

Would you relocate the Salt Pond treatment facility from the old humane society buildings?

Guess what? That plan was ditched years ago. It made headlines statewide.

Though a facility is sorely needed and he could have asked what they were going to do to get one built- or better, in whose neighborhood they would put one- he asked about reviving the Hanapepe plans– another debacle of the Baptiste administration.

He obviously didn’t get the “news” that protests put the kibosh on putting troubled teens in the old dog pound and pollute the nearby ancient salt pans with sewage and run-off..

Actually the best questions came from the audience who seemed to have at least more of a handle on the real issues and even a better ability to pinpoint the questions to elicit specific answers. Questions like

What targets would you set to reduce our dependancy (sic) on oil imports and your specific actions to achieve those targets?

and, although strangely worded, this one

How are you handling NIMBY (not in my backyard) for locating a new landfill?

and especially this one

What is your plan of action for increasing sustainable commerce on Kauai. With tourism on the decline, Poipu destroyed, developers stopping construction, now laying people off, how will you turn this around so Kauai can withstand this declining economy?

While not perfect at least they go to the heart of the issues and amount to more than TGI’s “what pabulum have you come to spoon-feed us tonight?” queries.

This seemingly leaves unasked that one question we always seem to be asking of our county government, the business community and the press : “Can’t anyone here play this game?”


AUDIT THE AIREDALE: And to round out our charter amendment analyses there’s one to establish the long needed County Auditor.

The council has hemmed and hawed and threatened investigations of the administration for 15 years even appropriating money in an aborted effort to establish an auditor’s office under the council’s control.

This amendment will establish an office, supposedly independently, to perform management audits of the administrative departments and agencies. It is long overdue. Vote yes- twice if you can.

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