Wednesday, August 19, 2009


DOESN’T PASS THE SNIFF TEST: Though it took some prodding from PNN to get it posted on-line, an editorial tripping over itself to find a silver lining in KPD Chief Darryl’s Perry’s slap-in-the-face-of-Kaua`i application to become Honolulu’s Police chief was finally posted yesterday.

This Sunday’s editorial in the local newspaper is more striking for what it leaves out than what it says. Although we suspect it was written or at least informed by “somebody please love me” oft-fired, piss-poor reporter Paul Curtis we usually get a response of “it’s a collaborative effort” when we’ve asked in the past about who the editorial scribes are since the paper recently established a once a week editorial voice.

If Curtis’ involvement is not the case then the excuse that the dynamic duo- journalists par excellence Editor Nathan Eagle and Assistant Editor Michael Levine- are newbies and don’t know the history could explain the revisionist history contained, although we’re pretty sure they have read the book “KPD Blue” and many of the reminders of the real history of the department in the last 10 years, as detailed in this space over the past year and a half.

But there really is no excuse for at least three passages that ignore reality and rather provide false premises for sycophantic lapdog hand-licking opinions.

The editorial somehow schizophrenically both criticizes and admonishes Perry for leaving unfinished business after he and his promoters screwed over two chiefs and caused no small amount of pilikila on the force and in the community over the years in revenge for his being passed over for the job twice.

The first paragraph that stands out says:

We are particularly impressed with his community outreach efforts and ability to connect with the people here. From writing a column for us answering your questions to reading at local elementary schools and generally making himself available at any time, Perry has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

The problem is that this “community outreach” has been a top-down, tin-ear attempt to take the community out of the equation in tossing aside the “community policing” programs instituted under Chief George Freitas- whose community policing successes in Richmond CA are noted nationwide- and continued under the short reign of Chief KC Lum.

Instead Perry promoted an “us vs. them” attitude on the force as he sought to bring a big-city style arms buildup to the tiny Kaua`i. He then refused to directly respond community criticism over that and noted incidents of police abuse of power and even brutality- which he pooh-poohed, indeed attacking those who would question his new techniques even twisting arms at the newspaper which fired regular columnist Juan Wilson over such criticisms.

The next paragraph is particularly galling to many on the force and their families and friends.

We continually hear from officers and people on the street how much better the department, historically known for its unstable footing, has been running since his arrival.

We’ll bet you have- since they are the only ones who will dare speak up on the subject. The fact is that many officers we’ve spoken to- especially who were caught on “the other side” in the 10 year battle to secure the job for Perry- tell us they found out early that any criticism or even suggestions would be met with retaliation.

Dissent has largely moved underground and certainly no one is going to tell the newspaper.

Even the “bottom up departmental review”- a review that would allow officers to freely and openly give input on structure, operations and policing methods - that was discussed for years by the police commission has been killed, giving officers who remain unsatisfied with the direction of the department marching orders to shut up and stew in their own juices.

The next two paragraphs are chock-full-o’ contradictions and misinformation

The tumultuous process of selecting a new chief is something we'd be OK not having to endure again for another couple decades if possible.

Then why the pass on leaving us in the lurch only a couple of years after battling for the job, a process we detailed in our editorial on the subject a couple of weeks ago.

Remember how messy things got last time around? Our county is still fighting the Office of Information Practices in the Hawai`i Supreme Court on a matter relating to the dismissal of former Police Chief K.C. Lum.

What a load. Although it came out of a request for minutes of a council meeting regarding a council investigation of the department, the case is really about the county’s ability to tell the OIP to shove it when OIP ruled the minutes of an executive session should be made public.

Calling it “a matter relating to the dismissal of former Police Chief K.C. Lum” and. among other things disregarding the race discrimination suit by Lum in the “Hop Sing” fiasco- which is still alive in federal court- is to shift the blame for the debacle from a politically motivated purge by the good old boys to some sort of internal dispute caused by Lum.

The next sentence it the topper:

It's not about breaking commitments to serve Kaua`i. How could he have foreseen that this opportunity would open up? And why should he be asked to turn a blind eye?

How could he have foreseen it? Don’t you guys read the papers? Honolulu Chief Boisse Correa’s five year contract is expiring and he has been hobbled with a bad back which caused him to take a long leave of absence.

Correa hasn’t had a shot in hell of continuing beyond his current tenure and that was a forgone conclusion way before Perry ever set foot at the already-falling-apart brand new police station.

But what’s most distressing is that, despite the “new blood” news department the mysterious editorial board- which we have no doubt includes old-boy-come-lately Publisher Mark Lewis- is exercising the right to distort history and ignore reality just because they’re the only ones on the island who still buys ink by the barrel.

The editorial is a blot on the once revered, then reviled, now revived local newspaper. With this revisionist history and the rehiring of the oft-fired Paul Curtis, it does not bode well for the future of islands’ “newspaper of record”.

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