Monday, October 6, 2008


SAME KENNEL, NEW DOG: After eight years of rule by the village idiot it appears the presidency will go to someone who has at least a modicum of pia mater although if it somehow is John McCain it will be neurons that are addled by a combination of mindless militarism, post traumatic stress disorder and creeping crotchety-old-man syndrome.

But though the country might escape a continuation our recent fate, as promulgated by the ultimate application of The Peter Principle, the county isn’t so lucky.

Because unless JoAnn Yukimura suddenly grows a pair and delineates his fraudulency, Bernard Carvalho, she will lose to the dumbest man ever elected to pubic office on Kaua`i... and that’s saying a lot.

Seemingly it’s a well kept secret that not only is Carvalho vapidly mindless in his campaign, he has spent the last six years being the lack of brains behind the insipidly destructive Bryan Baptiste administration.

Though it boggles the mind of outside observers that Kaua`i voters continually vote for the least competent mayoral candidate every fours years, apparently Kaua`i voters’ complaints over our crumbling infrastructure, lack of housing, decrepit and often disgusting parks and recreational facilities are forgotten when they step into the voting booth.

Because when you look down the list of the worst of our problems and the lack of government response over the last six years you’ll see one name in charge of almost all of them- Barnard Carvalho.

A little recent history. As soon as Batiste was elected he immediately took all the “agencies” in the county- those not created by the County Charter- and smushed together all these “loose end departments” that were created as a loophole of unaccountability from past administrations.

It was called the Community Assistance “Department” (CAD) although technically it wasn’t a department at all.

It encompassed those administrative functions that had answered directly to the mayor’s office under former Mayor Marianne Kusaka in order to make sure power was enhanced in her office.

Unfortunately that also added accountability and that was one thing Baptiste would never stand for.

Now when Baptiste took over he needed to reward one of his chief campaign supporters, his buddy from hamabada days (little kid time for all you malahini) Carvalho and also isolate himself from blame for screwing up when it came time for reelection.

And as luck would have it - and perhaps not so strangely because they were subject to lessened accountability and transparency- some the worst problems on Kaua`i were regulated by those agencies.

The CAD was created as an added layer of bureaucracy and combined the Agency on Elderly Affairs, the Housing Agency and the Transportation Agency.

And for good measure, because Carvalho wasn’t qualified for those- or any- areas of oversight, the Division of Parks & Recreation from the Public Works Department. was added.

Carvalho was Kusaka’s politically appointed recreation chief at the time but his having never been an administrator before didn’t seem to phase Baptiste. The Mayor actually left some park functions in the DPW, creating the typical split-function nightmare of dual administration.

And Carvalho proceeded to take the already orphan and neglected areas of executive management and run them into the ground.

It’s not a secret that there was- and is and will be for a quite a while- a housing crisis on Kaua`i. It was a crisis in the 2002 election when Baptiste was first elected and after Carvalho’s reign it has become an un-addressed calamity.

Not only has the county failed to provide housing but it took six years just to develop a policy and the policy was developed through the first of Carvalho’s infamous “tasks forces”.

These task forces were generally groups of county employees, revolving-door-connected business honchos and assorted good old boys who held closed door meetings, never took public input and presented thin gruel to the council for approval when they were done.

The results of Carvalho’s housing efforts are self apparent- Kaua`i is still the only county that has no public housing and the whole effort has been comprised of trying to allow developers to not comply with zoning, planning and permitting.

And perhaps worst of all it was solely designed to create for-sale “affordable” housing that even the housing chief acknowledged to the council wasn’t affordable- or even appropriate- especially for those who needed it most.

There is an even worse result of this- the feds have had the housing agency on a short leash because they are not serving the people who they’re supposed to serve- those who need rental housing and make less than 50% of the median income.

There is some for-sale so-called “affordable” housing “ that’s been created- all by developers, not the county, although some was required during development and subdivision.

But the only people who can afford it are those making more than 120%, many times even 160% of the median income although it’s really supposed to serve those making 100% or less, preferably 80% by law.

But it’s set up so that no one at the lower levels can get a loan for the price of these “affordable” houses so they go to those who make more.

And of course the Baptiste administration with Carvalho in charge of the Housing Agency did not create, start to finish, one unit of rental housing, the greatest need of all on Kaua`i.

But every time the council- which is certainly not blameless- called in Carvalho to explain, when they eventually got him there he would bring some simplistic “PowerPoint presentation”.

These glorified slide shows would inevitably detail the bare bones of a future plan and try to hide what everyone knew already- we weren’t doing diddley-squat for anyone who needed it.

Carvalho has become the tongue-in-cheek “King of the PowerPoint”, proudly presenting his useless and uninspiring pages of large print banalities, usually bestowed after delaying any report to the council for months on end, only to not really answer any questions much less provide any info when the long awaited “answers” finally came.

Year after year it’s been the same, with the council asking “what have you done” and Carvalho answering “here’s what we are going to do.”

The conditions of our parks and county facilities is infamous across the world with newspaper and magazine articles and word of mouth disparagements that make tourism official cringe- all detailing our disgusting bathrooms, trash filled parks and other neglected facilities.

And with Carvalho in chare it’s only gotten worse.

But perhaps Carvalho’s biggest fiasco was his biggest project- the costly corruption-plagued boondoggle of the “Bike Path” project, the “jewel” in Baptiste’s tarnished crown.

From start to non-finish the path has been a plague of problems from wasted funds to un-permitted structures and a plethora of violations of county code and state and federal law, all detailed at county council meetings .

The “29 bike path questions” for Carvalho and his people that the county council asked years ago remain unanswered and apparently will since the ones who wouldn’t let the list die- Mel Rapozo and Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho- will no longer be on the council two months from now.

Again Bernard Carvalho’s answer to all the problems was to, after he delayed appearances and answers as long as he could, form another secretive “task force” which never did answer the questions.

Carvalho even managed to dodge and weave so long that Baptiste’s sycophant Councilmember Tim “don’t confuse me with the facts” Bynum- who was responsible for many of the bike path abuses as a civilian before being elected- got so impatient he seemed to have forgotten that the questions hadn’t already been answered, saying in fact they had been and using as evidence the fact that it had taken so long to get answers..... that and those magnificent PowerPoint presentations..

But the task force did help do one thing- they lent a hand in creating the dog walking ignominy by apparently getting Carvalho to implement a secret “declaration” of the path as a “linear park”, causing an uproar in the community and packed council chambers for months.

The secret bike path task force hasn’t said where the money is going to come from to finish the path- a path originally funded as a bike path but which now has somehow morphed into a “multi-use path”, in violation of the policy for distribution of the federal funding that declares the path must be “primarily for transportation (and) not recreation”.

That’s the reason that despite the fact that the original $40 million in federal funds is long gone- having in part been wasted on amenities along the path, many illegally constructed without permits or required shoreline certifications- they must complete the whole 16 miles to make true their “transportation” claim that got them the money in the first place.

It’s also the reason for the beach-side path’s mauka detour as described in the local paper Sunday.

The article says that “Phase III” is now ready for launch and in order to complete the segment the ocean-hugging path is now going to go through the parking lots of Safeway and Foodland and across the highway twice- once trough the busiest most congested intersection on Kaua`i, the focal point of the infamous Kapa`a traffic jumble..

Another part of the reason for that bit of insanity is that the “county matching” for the $40 million has been in the form of donated land and they’ve run out of land to be donated.

So they essentially eliminated most of a 30-year-old requirement that the two shopping centers build a bridge connecting them so they could get the bike path land in the parking lot to fulfill the rest of the “match”.

Perhaps the most striking of Carvalho’s idiocies was his creation of the Lydgate camping area were he cost the county big bucks by failing to ask anybody that mattered how to both do it and comply with the law.

Instead he and his again secret “task force” didn’t bother to comply with the minimal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and actually built the campground in violation of that and other laws before eventually having to tear it out and build it again..

It might have come to light in time to stop it but Carvalho’s penchant for secrecy made sure no one even knew about it before it was built... except for those in his secret group.

Transportation? Do you have to ask what Bernard is done? If so perhaps you haven’t driven in Kapa`a or tried to depend on the Kauai Bus which hasn’t “gone anywhere” in Carvalho’s years in charge.

And his Elderly Affairs Agency has decreased services such as meals on wheels and other programs under his tutelage.

And this is the front runner in our mayoral race. And that may be because Carvalho’s opponent seems to be happily skipping her way to a loss to this babooze without actually talking about his and the Baptiste administrations corruption and general incompetence.

In the year of the ”change” election she apparently refuses to allude to the need for it locally.

Even knowing that Carvalho will continue the policies – and more importantly retain the appointed personnel- of the Baptiste administration there’s not a word out JoAnn Yukimura about “cleaning house”, especially in the Planning Department where her nemesis Ian Costa has run a rubber stamp operation and where the word “planning” is not what they do but merely the name of the department.

Will JoAnn wake up and delineate the issues? Or will she just sit back and let Bernard coast into office.

Maybe the JoAnn of 20 years ago might have fought for the community she says she loves but don’t hold your breath nowadays.

According to some close to her campaign she wants others to criticize Bernard for her.

But no one in the mainstream media is going to repeat the rantings of a Kapa`a blogger or anyone else. If she’s going to play this game of letting others speak for her she’s most assuredly going to lose because that’s not the way the press works.

She’s got the only megaphone that matters. Because the media- and the voters for that matter- always need to hear it from the candidates themselves. And that goes double for Kaua`i where the press is a joke to begin with.

If she continues to snooze her way toward November 4 we’ll all be in for a rude awakening on December 1.

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