Thursday, October 29, 2009



(PNN) -- In a stunning rebuke to the authority and power of the Office Of Information Practices (OIP) the Hawai`i State Supreme Court, without comment, upheld the intermediate court of appeals denial of OIP’s ordered release of the infamous minutes of the “ES-177” Kauai County Council meeting held in January of 2006.

The Monday decision upholds the original ruling of fifth circuit court Judge Kathleen Watanabe that the attorney-client protected material in the minutes is “irretrievably intertwined” with the material that the OIP ordered released to the public.

More importantly it also sets a precedent upholding the notion that individual agencies may now sue in circuit court to overturn OIP rulings despite apparent legislative intent and construction that allowed OIP to have “final say” on matters involving the state sunshine (open meetings- HRS 92-section 1) and Uniform Information Practices Act or UIPA (open records- HRS 92F) laws

The executive session was called to purportedly allow the council to discuss a council investigation of the Kaua`i Police Department (KPD) but the minutes were believed to contain a wide ranging discussion of specific charges against KPD personnel by former police officer and then council member Mel Rapozo according to OIP letters to the county attorney that were released to the public at the time.

For a detailed analysis of and links to the OIP brief see our July 1 post or click here to listen to the entire audio recording of the audio arguments or here to read the background at the state judiciary web site.

The following is the full text of Monday’s ruling:


(By: Moon, C.J., Nakayama, Acoba, and Duffy, JJ., and Circuit Judge Hare, in place of Recktenwald, J., recused)

Petitioners/Defendants-Appellants Office of Information Practices filed a timely application for a writ of certiorari from the judgment of the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) dated February 19, 2009, entered pursuant to the publishedopinion dated January 30, 2009 in County of Kauai v. Office of Information Practices, 120 Hawaii 34, 200 P.3d 403 (App. 2009) which affirmed the February 11, 2008 judgment of the circuit court of the fifth Circuit. This court accepted certiorari on June 23, 2009, and subsequently ordered oral argument.

Upon careful review of the record and the briefs submitted by the parties, having given due consideration to the arguments advanced and the issues raised, and also having heard and carefully considered the parties' respective arguments at oral argument held on August 10, 2009,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the ICA's February 19, 2009 judgment on appeal is affirmed.

DATED: Honolulu, Hawai`i, October 26, 2009.

(Sent to attorneys) Paul T. Tsukiyama, Cathy L. Takase, and Jennifer Z. Brooks, (of Office of Information Practices) , and Gail Y. Cosgrove and Kunio Kuwabe (of Hisaka Yoshida & Cosgrove) for petitioners/defendants/­appellants

Alfred B. Castillo (of Office of the County Attorney, County of Kauai) David J. Minkin and Becky T. Chestnut (of McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon LLP) for respondents/plaintiffs ­appellees.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


MAYBE IF OUR DOGS NEEDED IT: It’s nice to see that the local newspaper is putting their time-money where their print-mouth is in pushing the administration to promptly comment on the current Green Harvest helicopter operations after the coconut wireless brought the annoying and absurd disturbance to their attention yesterday

After an editorial this Sunday dealing with the brain-dead few who still oppose marijuana reform, especially for the sick, who would expect anything less?

The irony of the coincidental start of both the expensive expedition and yesterday’s state senate hearings on reforming the medical cannabis provisions- which uniquely administer the law through the Department of Public Safety rather than the Department of Health and don’t afford provision or distribution of people’s medicine- isn’t lost on anyone.

After all much of the western US, where medical marijuana laws have been on the books for years, are rapidly moving to regulate and even tax their ubiquitous distribution centers.

It’s about time for the legislature to act this year to remove all the Catch-22’s from our state’s laws by making it legal to obtain a legal medication. putting regulation of a health- related matter in a health-related department and removing control of a legal-to–possess substance from the control of those who deal with illegalities.

A between-the-lines reader of today’s newspaper report might think that it’s up to the Kaua`i and Maui Police Departments as to whether they will participate in the eradication program- a notion that belies the experience of those on the Big Island.

On Hawai`i Island after years of debate their county council has refused to take the federal money that enables Green Harvest and has in fact commanded their PD to give enforcement of all pot-prohibition laws the “lowest priority”.

Yet the Kaua`i County Council continues to accept the funding year after year without debate much less testimony from the public.

As we did last time, we’ll let the our readers know the next time it comes up on the council’s agenda. Maybe this time people will speak up and bring Kaua`i into the 21st century.

Monday, October 26, 2009


THE ROAD MORE TRAVELED: The pilikila over the Larson’s Beach access has finally gotten some attention after a fine article in the Hawai`i Independent by Joan Conrow detailed how once again the public is about to lose a path that has been historically ours forever because of some slight of hand by a big landowner.

She writes:

An outcry over plans to fence off a trail to Larsen’s Beach is causing Kauai residents to revisit two longstanding issues: Should concerns about liability restrict access; and is the county properly recording public easements?

The controversy arose over cattle rancher Bruce Laymon’s plans to install a fence on northeast Kauai coastal land that he leases from the Waioli Corp., a kama`aina landowner whose holdings include the historic Waioli Mission House and Grove Farm Homestead Museum.

But the rest of the article deals for the most part, not with Laymon but with Waioli Corp and the history of the access.

Although going forward it’s Waioli’s actions that will determine the future of the access it’s Laymon’s past actions- with the ok of Waioli- that has brought the issue to a head.

Local rancher Bruce Laymon would have people believe, as his attorney told the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR), that he “is a rancher and landscaper... an avid fisherman who loves Kauai and the community... and is not a sophisticated developer as the Sierra Club would like to have the Board believe”

That, in part was what influenced the BLNR to approve staff recommendations to reduce his fine for illegally clearing the bluff above Larsen beach- a secluded clothing optional North Shore beach where travel-book-reading sunbathers from around the world come to vacation- from $15,000 to $2,000 according to the minutes of it’s July meeting.

Laymon claims that it was an innocent and understandable mistake when he relied on an approved “conservation plan” for his ranch, to do work along the ancient historic Alaloa trail above Ka`aka`aniu (rolling coconut) beach and reef- also knows as Larsen’s Beach after a Kilauea sugar plantation luna- which is famous for its limu kohu according to the BLNR staff report which PNN has obtained but is apparently not posted on line.

The work not only went well beyond what was permitted by the East Kaua`i Soil and Water Conservation District (EKWCD) Board when they approved his Brush Management Plan that had been developed with the help of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) but encroached on the state conservation district and county special management area where permits are required to do any work.

Rather than just carefully hand- remove all the non-native plants and leave the foliage in place to hold together the hillside- as the “approved plan” for the other areas required- Laymon apparently came in and cleared the entire area of “brush” denuding the hillside including cutting large trees down to stumps in order to harass the homeless in the area.

According to the report Laymon apparently tried to dispose of the campers’ property calling it “household trash”, engaging in a confrontation with some when they tried to retrieve their belongings.

Though Laymon claimed ignorance and said he was “doing something good for the community”- a position with which members of the BLNR agreed- this isn’t his first run-in with the law for land-clearing operations without necessary permitting- nor is it the first time he’s had confrontational run-ins with nude sunbathers or so-called “illegal campers” on property he leased.

In 2003 Laymon did apparently illegal grubbing and grading on a three acre parcel above Kealia for which he didn’t have an NRCS approved plan. But the EKWCD Board said he made an “honest mistake” in including the three acre parcel in a plan for a different 2011 acre parcel in Kealia according to a lengthy article on the subject in the local newspaper.

This occurred during the infamous Kaua`i County Council “Developers Gone Wild” grubbing and grading hearings, spurred by the 2001 Pila`a mudslide disaster for which developer Jimmy Pflueger received the then-biggest-ever fine for a federal Clean Water Act violation.

Despite the fact that Council Chair Kaipo Asing called actions “another Pila`a waiting to happen” Laymon’s buddies on the EKWCD Board- a group comprised of large landowners in the area who obtain votes based on the acreage they own- cleared him of all charges saying Laymon was just an unsophisticated rancher and landscaper who actually made the area look “beautiful” despite the fact that if a heavy rainfall had occurred while the land was denuded it could have despoiled the reef at Kealia.

Laymon was also involved in the similarly infamous harassment of nude sunbathers in 1990 when he apparently organized an armed vigilante squad that roamed Kaupea Beach- aka Secret Beach- on ATVs at the behest and in the employ of landowners above the beach until the state told him to stop because the beach was state property.

Among those owners were Michelle and Justin Hughes who leased Laymon the Kealia Property that they had obtained from developer Tom McCloskey who bought the entire Kealia ahupua`a after area sugar cane went defunct.

But it seems the BLNR staff either never heard about these incidents or chose not to tell the board about them and rather convinced the board that Laymon was just an unsophisticated rancher and landscaper who made an understandable mistake in clearing the area above Larsen.

The minutes of the BLNR meeting are revealing for what they don’t contain as much as what they do. Although Kaua`i member of the Board Ron Agor told many people that he would push for the full fine the minutes reveal that he actually led the other board members to accept the staff report and reduce the fine.

Laymon is currently applying for an “after the fact” permit from the BLNR for not just the denuding of the hillside but to do the real work he intended to do before complaints stopped him in October of 2008- changing not just the historic Alaloa trail but the traditional easier access to the beach and substituting one more treacherous.

As to the future, the Sierra Club has been on the case and, in a letter, refutes testimony by Laymon’s attorney Lorna Nishimitsu who at one point actually tried to claim to the BLNR staff that the Alaloa trail was actually Ko`olau Road.

The Sierra Club letter to the board details the issues and misrepresentation in the after the fact permit application and is apparently not available on line so is reproduced in full here.

As you know, Paradise Ranch has submitted a CDUA for land leased from Waioli Corporation. This application calls for brush management for ranching and the construction of two sections of fence – one portion designated as pre-existing (near the northern boundary), and additional fencing that is not pre-existing, approximately twice the length of the first portion. We agree that cattle should be kept off the beach. However, the siting of this additional fencing raises a number of concerns.

Safe Beach Access

We appreciate that Waioli Corporation provided a public access easement to Larsen’s Beach years ago, but that route is steep and difficult for both children and elderly to use. The CDUA survey map Exhibit E, indicates that the proposed fence will block the favored public access along the gradual slope labeled “Existing Road” and “Existing Trail”. Emergency responders who routinely rescue visitors from the two rip currents at Larsen’s Beach also favor this route. Therefore, we ask you to keep the existing trail behind the beach unblocked.

Historic Alaloa

Exhibit D in the CDUA notes the State of Hawaii’s claims of ownership of the historic coastal trail – the Hawaiian Alaloa. The Alaloa is not Ko`olau Road as put forth by attorney Lorna Nishimitsu in a letter dated August 5, 2009 (Exhibit C). The evidence of the trail’s location is provided in the document called Ref: K98:1 Moloa`a (from September 1, 1998) which was not included in the CDUA exhibits, but is cited at the top of the Na Ala Hele Memo dated March 1, 2000 (Exhibit D).

Therefore, attached to this letter is documentation from the 1998 Abstract Ref: K98:1 Moloa`a which includes an historic map labeled: Na Ala Hele Exhibit B – “Portion Registered Map 1395 dated 1878 depicting portion of Old Alaloa”.

It is clear from this map that the Alaloa is a coastal trail and not the Kauai Belt Road, Kuhio Highway or Ko`olau Road. Furthermore, there is ample oral testimony collected by Na Ala Hele Kauai Advisory Council members in the late 1990’s that the path traversed close to the coastline and over the Pali. Kupuna in the area can corroborate this.

The “pre-existing” fence does not interfere with the Alaloa. However, the proposed alignment for the new, additional fencing is makai of the existing trail ( see CDUA Survey Map-Exhibit E). The fence would block the “Existing Trail” at two points, cutting off existing public access to Larsen’s Beach via the Alaloa. We encourage Waioli Corporation to seek confirmation from the Na Ala Hele staff abstractor as soon as possible on this matter and to encourage DLNR to conduct a metes and bounds survey of the Alaloa in order to properly site the fence, and submit a corrected survey map for the Conservation District Use Application.

Endangered Species

The project area is adjacent to the sensitive coastal habitat of monk seals, green sea turtles, albatross and other endangered seabirds. Has the lessee considered using fencing that is dog proof so that endangered ground nesting birds would be protected? We hope that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be consulted and afforded the opportunity to comment.


We ask that you relocate the proposed fencing so that it is mauka of the trail/road. Doing so would:
a) Preserve the traditional and customary Alaloa;
b) Provide the only safely graded beach access from Larsen’s Beach parking lot;
c) Assist lifeguards and emergency responders in their rescue efforts, and
d) Allow the public access when Monk Seal volunteers routinely ribbon off sections of this beach.

If liability is a concern, Waioli Corporation could dedicate the existing trail/road/Alaloa to the State under the Na Ala Hele Hawaii Trail & Access System, thereby removing the threat of liability. Neighboring Moloa`a Bay Ranch also has a portion of the Alaloa and that easement was adopted into the State Na Ala Hele trail system several years ago. Also, please note that your neighbor Falko Partners, north of Larsen’s Beach, is currently in discussion with the Kauai Public Land Trust about transferring rights to the coastal portion of the Conservation District to the public.

Thank you for your consideration. Perhaps board members would benefit from a site visit to better understand the significance of this coastal gem and its importance to the community.

Judy Dalton
on behalf of the Executive Committee
(Sierra Club)Kaua`i Group, Hawai`i Chapter


We’ve managed to screw-up the handiwork of our shoulder surgeon and are back to hurtful hunting and painful pecking. We may be posting a little lighter than usual in the coming weeks. Pardon the interruption- try to do better next time.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


‘TWERN’T SHE: Carol Ann Davis wants to make one thing perfectly clear- she was not the one who provided Walter Lewis with a nine page opinion “letter” from Deputy County Attorney Mauna Kea Trask to the charter review commission (CRC) regarding the county manager proposal.

“I’d swear on a stack of bibles it wasn’t me” she told us in a telephone interview yesterday, despite the veiled implication in Lewis’ two part column in the local newspaper last weekend that it came from her

Davis, as a member of the CRC did receive the letter at a meeting of the CRC but said she cannot discuss specifics. She did say that it read like "a lesson in Poly Sci 101" not a legal opinion, something she said she told the commission in open session.

She said she tried to have the letter released but was thwarted by the rest of the commission.

For Davis or anyone to release the letter could be a misdemeanor in violation of Charter Section 20.02B.

Our column last Friday also alleged that the true “writer” of the proposed amendment originally submitted to the CRC by then- CRC member, Davis’ late husband, Walter Briant. was indeed Lewis not Briant and Lewis claimed.

By way of explanation regarding the question of who “wrote” the draft, although according to Davis, Briant was the one who actually went through the county charter by hand and changed all the references to “mayor” to “county manager” (CM) and Davis was the one who typed it up in the proper format, we stand by our statement that according to Briant and another Kaua`i `Ohana member familiar with the process it was Lewis that conceived of and in that sense “wrote”- meaning “authored” rather than scribed”- the draft by instructing Briant precisely what to pen.

Davis admits that the draft was ridiculously inadequate in that all it did was eliminate all references to the post of mayor and substitute the words “county manager”, leaving other details unaddressed.

As far as Lewis is concerned he has refused to speak to the issues on the record writing to us that:

I value my privacy... My personal role is not relevant.

A number of your statements were inaccurate. I expect that you may already know some of them. If you wish, though, I will provide a few corrections and comments for your private information if you will agree to refrain from any publication or distribution of them without my permission.

Though normally we speak to many people “off the record” in this case due to past dealings with Lewis we have chosen to tell him that if he has any corrections of fact and wishes to have them noted in this space we would be glad to check them out and if verified we will publish a correction.

We respect Lewis’ right to publish – and in fact encourage in publishing- factual information contained in the letter while refusing to state who gave it to him. The question of whatever Lewis is a journalist aside, journalists are protected by the new Hawai`i Shield Law which protects them from revealing anonymous sources

Lewis has apparently refused to tell anyone how he obtained the letter including his editor at the local newspaper which published his column.

Upon our inquiry Editor Michael Levine said he did check with the county attorney’s office and

While I don’t love the fact that our columnist is quoting a letter that we haven’t gotten our hands on yet, I do have every reason to believe that it exists and that it says what he says it does. I’ve just gotten off the phone with someone in the Office of the County Attorney who tells me there are no major factual inaccuracies in the column to speak of and that their reading of it was that it was comprised mostly of opinion and not of fact.

And on a final somewhat related note, a comment on Friday’s post took issue with our characterization of the `"Ohana" property tax charter amendment passed “by a huge margin”, saying that blank votes are counted as no votes. While that is true for state constitutional amendments due to the “majority of (total) ballots cast” language in the constitution, our charter provides for yes vs. no vote be counted for a majority in local charter amendments.

In the future if we deem inaccuracies of consequence to be the intentional result of sniping and trolling we will delete the post rather than just ignore the troll as we do now. We don’t care if you want to show everyone what an jerk-wad ass-wipe you are or attack our integrity or hygiene. But we will not allow directed misinformation to appear in this space.

For the record we correct all errors of fact when verified as such. If in the future you see a comment making a claim of error and don’t see a correction it means we stand by our original reporting.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


CARVING OUT A THIRD WAY: Something subversive clicked this morning when we read the headline in the Honolulu Advertiser saying “Burial council won't sign rail pact”.

Seems that:

(t)he Oahu Island Burial Council has decided not to join other parties ... in signing an agreement on mitigating the rail project's impacts on historical, cultural and archaeological resources...

The burial council decision is largely symbolic and isn't expected to stop or delay the 20-mile elevated commuter train project.

That last sentence seemed odd considering how much power the Kaua`i Island Burial Council (KIBC) has apparently had in recent doings up at Naue where developer Joe Bresca continues to build a massive house on top of burials despite warning from Judge Kathleen Watanabe, while the planning commission has voted to consider revoking his building permit based on the fact that he doesn’t have the proper “sign off” from the KIBC.

What occurs to us is that the oft repeated conundrum for the KIBC- that they are limited to the two bad choices of either leaving the burials in place or removing them- may not actually be the case.

Because, as the months-long delay in holding a KIBC meeting due to a lack of appointments sufficient to maintain a quorum, they have, in a de facto manner, carved out a third choice- to simply not act on the request.

We’re not sure what the planning process on O`ahu calls for but here one of the numerous “sign-offs”- a so-called “punch list” of agency approvals that the planning commission and department rules mandate- is one from the KIBC.

Though the delay was unintentional, apparently, since the “automatic approval” law is inoperable here, if the KIBC simply “receives the matter for the record” – as the county council does when it doesn’t want to discuss an issue anymore- the planning department would be unable to issue a building permit.

After all it’s only been the widely reviled and truth-challenged State Archeologist Nancy McMahon’s -so that there are only two useless wrenches in the KIBC toolbox.

Who’s to say that if they take a page from the county council’s playbook of obstruction they can’t carve out a third?

Monday, October 19, 2009


A TALE OF TWO WALTERS: Every fortnight readers of the local newspaper are presented with the words of their only regular columnist, Walter Lewis from Princeville.

And this week, as usual, it’s chock full of disingenuity and in fact complete falsifications.

The problem is that we usually– though not always- generally agree with the “opinion” portion of his column but when it comes to presenting facts, Walter seems challenged especially when it comes to being able to disclose his own part in the events he reports upon.

This week’s two part entry would have you believe that Walter Lewis, the observer, is simply reporting and giving his opinion upon on the proposed “county manager” (CM) efforts of the later Walter Briant and his wife Carol Ann Davis-Briant who took over his spot on the charter review commission (CRC) when Walter passed away.

But in fact Lewis not only was the one who first proposed the change to a CM system but actually wrote the proposed amendment that he claims was written by Briant.

Lewis writes that “(b)eginning in 2005, citizens have thus sought support of the charter commission for the manager program” but fails to fully inform the public that in fact the one who originally “sought” it was Walter himself, seeking revenge after his “`Ohana” property tax proposal was struck down by the Hawai`i Supreme Court at the behest of the county council and mayor.

For those who forgot or weren’t around at the time- or didn’t follow the events- Lewis has started a small tight knit group that tried to instituted a California-style “Proposition 13” type property tax reform on Kaua`i, limiting property tax increases to a certain percent a year.

The timing was right. Lewis and his small group managed to not only get the measure on the ballot but have it passed by a huge margin by people who, at the time, were experiencing runaway yearly property tax increases that the council seemed unable or politically unwilling to deal with.

When the council and mayor filed suit to strike down the ballot measure and won in the Hawai`i Supreme Court Walter’s next move was to try to stick it to the electeds by changing the whole system.

Throughout the whole time the CM system was before the prior charter review commission PNN kept asking for a specific proposal since CM systems vary to the point where there are literally a hundred different ways to set one up and an equal number of details that would have to fit into the state system that provides a legal framework into which local jurisdictions must fit their system of governance.

Finally with Briant’s appointment we contacted him and asked for a specific plan and sure enough he produced one. We prodded and prodded and finally, after ascertaining through other knowledgeable sources inside Lewis’ “`Ohana" that it was in fact Lewis who had written the proposed amendment, Davis reluctantly admitted that it was indeed Lewis’ work.

(Note- Although our conversation with Briant was not for attribution at the time, Briant’s death ethically releases us from that obligation)

But Lewis, in his first installment Friday said:

“of the seven-member commission, only one member, Walter Briant, was willing to work for a manager proposal and to develop the details required for its consideration....

(H)e tried without any assistance from governmental or other commission personnel to structure a report on the subject that included a draft proposal containing his suggestions for issues necessarily involved in the proposal.”

Was Lewis intimating that this was Briant’s work, we wondered? Well it certainly was vague enough even though full disclosure on Lewis’ part should have included the author, especially since it was him.

But Saturday’s installment left no doubt Lewis was lying about who the author was, saying

It should be noted that the proposal to which the “opinion” was addressed was an initial draft by Walter Briant in which the “mayor” was to be chosen from among the council members. (emphasis added).

The rest of the Saturday’s “part 2” of the article seemed to center around a 9 page “letter” from the county attorney (CA) replete with Lewis’s lengthy characterizations of the letter. The problem is there is absolutely no reference to how Lewis obtained the letter, how he knows it was genuine or any link to the letter itself. As a matter of fact there wasn’t an actual relevant quote from it, just Lewis’ interpretation of what it said.

Given Lewis’s descriptions of the events in the first part- a combination of half truths and misrepresentations- it has to make you wonder what the letter actually said and if it made some good points about the challenges of instituting a CM system.

We’re not especially for or against a CM system on Kaua`i. While the fact that the prospect of having a professionally run administrative branch would be something that is not just exciting but would be new, it could be worse by consolidating power in the council and eliminating the check on their power.

It certainly could make things worse with the currently corrupt county council appointing some crony who happens to meet the qualifications - no matter how stringent- written into the law. Just look at their appointment from within of long time Deputy County Attorney Ernie Passion as the new County Auditor if you want an inkling of how they would operate if forced to select a “true professional manager”, as proponents would have people believe would certainly happen.

And that would be done in the absence of a potentially counterbalancing mayor.

It’s could just be a matter of “if your eye offends, you pluck it out”.

Of course, presuming parts of Lewis’ characterization of the CA letter are accurate, the CA has no business delving into the politics of the proposal when asked for the legality. But just because the CA is full of it doesn’t mean Lewis isn’t.

When we first read Walter Lewis’- not Bryant’s- draft we did a quick check of the state constitution and Hawai`i Revised Statutes (HRS). While the word mayor does not appear in the constitution we found no less than 13 references to county mayors- a post eliminated in Lewis’ current working draft upon which the CA was commenting.

Most of them are provisions that envision the person of the individual mayors of the counties as having the power of a mayor as the county systems are currently structured. Just look at the “approval” needed from mayors in the current state employee labor negotiations.

Seems the first thing needed to pass a CM system on Kaua`i is to convince the legislature to change the laws to allow for it.

The real problem in the CM system may be the proponents on Kaua`i. They have been seeking to rush through “anykine” CM proposal and every time anyone legitimately asks to slow down and look at it they are asked “why do you oppose the CM system?”- much as those who question the war are asked “why do you hate America?”.

There may well be a concerted effort to defeat the CM proposal by the CA, the council, the mayor and their sycophants on the charter review commission. But by ignoring the real concerns and screaming “conspiracy” the proponents have become their own worst enemy.

And they make it worse still by misrepresenting their own intimate involvement in the project by trying to appear the casual observer with an opinion.

Rather than trying to separate the legitimate questions and deal with them they try to lump all concerns together and characterize them as obstructive.

If the CM cheerleaders keep it up and allow Lewis to disingenuously be their passive aggressive and less then truthful spokesperson there may no one- not even potential fellow opponents- who will back up the efforts.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


GETTIN’ JUICED TO IT: It’s hard to know what to make of the announcement today that “our Kaua`i Island Utility Cooperative will buy electricity by April 2012 from a new power plant that burns both sugar cane and wood” according to Diana Leone’s Honolulu Advertiser front page report today- a far more complete telling of the story than the press release rewrite, un-bylined article in today’s local Kaua`i newspaper.

According to Leone, also relying on the press release but adding more details:

Pacific West Energy LLC and the utility have agreed on key issues regarding a 20-megawatt, biomass-to-energy plant that could supply up to one-third of Kaua'i's power needs from renewable sources.

All agree there’s a long way to go and of course the devil will be in the details. All the plusses reported today have to be tempered with what this means for the individual “members” of the co-op- a concern that has been anything but first and foremost in the minds of the board of KIUC.

Thirty percent renewable energy, along with the reported 325 jobs and the prospect of using much of our greenspace for growing a usable crop all seem on first blush to be positives.

But lets be clear- although it beats fossil fuel it is anything but a carbon free energy generation facility.

Even more important is another problem... it’s still a “facility”.

The idea of a co-op could have been a good one had it truly restructured the way we think of our energy consumption when citizens forked over a quarter billion dollars for an old dilapidated generation facility and a spanking new post-`Iniki transmission grid.

But instead, the mindset of “we sell electricity to you” just continued the same old consumer-abusive business plan used by commercial utilities.

The leaders of KIUC have done all they can to maintain that model and do everything they can to make sure that individual generation through solar and wind are kept to a minimum with a “can’t do” attitude that belies all the technological innovation used on the mainland.

No smart grids, where computer networks sense use and generation along the grid and instantly tell generators to produce only what is needed when sun and wind are insufficient. None of the new storage mediums prevalent across the world. Only generation plants- like this one- to serve the current business plan.

And this deal seems to cinch that for the foreseeable future. The “renewable standards” are now attainable without making every effort to serve the members.
By making installations on people’s roofs and in their yards an impossibility by using absurdly structured rates for those installations when people have to buy back what they generate into the grid at exorbitant rates, to the efforts of the council to make wind generation almost impossible with a bill currently deferred that would actually discourage individual wind generation and serve only big wind farms”, KIUC maintains that “we sell you electricity to you” model at all costs.

It will be interesting to see what this does to the “(un)important ag lands study”- it’s a game changer as to what's ”useful” ag land. Now that marginally productive acreage in terms of food suddenly becomes useful for growing electricity is there any such thing as useless and therefore unimportant ag land anymore?

But the worst problem it that it will also give KIUC the ability to sit back and continue to discourage individuals from producing their own electricity due to fear of losing the non-profit’s profitability.

Rather than having a goal of minimizing “plant” generation and subsidizing individual generation through zero interest loans with an eye toward minimizing power plants and just maintaining a power grid that serves the people who generate their own- and charging them a minimal amount to use the storage capacity of the grid- KIUC can now sit back and rely on this plant to meet the renewable standards imposed by the state and say screw you to the members.

And just wait ‘til you see what we pay for the juice generated from this biomass plant. If past is prologue it will be at the same rate as fossil fuel.

As long as we don’t demand a different business model from “our co-op” we will be paying through the teeth for a product that should be as free as the sun and wind.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


A THIRD OF A NINTH: Today the United States Court Of Appeals For The Ninth Circuit will be hearing the case of KC Lum v. Kauai County Council, former Kauai` Police Department Chief Lum’s appeal of the dismissal of his civil rights case against the county council and other county entities.

It may or may not be telling that it’s the last case of a two day calendar.

The audio of the oral hearings should be available here by noon tomorrow.

But when we went to review the briefs filed in search of all the particulars, we found that they were filed “under seal”.

We were able though to obtain what was filed and the list is fascinating. Anyone who has read KPD Blue or this space will recognize many of the names. Keep these in mind when listening to the tape tomorrow.

For those who want a to peruse the scorecard, here’s the full docket so far ...sans details (thanks to Charley Foster).
1 3 pg, 172.92 KB
DOCKETED CAUSE AND ENTERED APPEARANCES OF COUNSEL. SEND CADS: No. The schedule is set as follows: Designation of RT for Appellant King C. Lum due 05/05/2008. Designation of RT for Appellee Bryan Baptiste, Leon Gonsalves Sr., Kauai County, Kauai County Council and Michael H. Tresler due 05/15/2008. Transcript order for Appellant King C. Lum due 05/27/2008. Certificate of record due 06/02/2008. Appellant King C. Lum opening brief due 08/11/2008. Appellee Bryan Baptiste, Appellee Leon Gonsalves Sr., Appellee Kauai County, Appellee Kauai County Council and Appellee Michael H. Tresler answering brief due 09/09/2008. Appellant's optional reply brief is due 14 days after service of the answering brief. (GR)

Filed representation notice of Clayton C. Ikei and Jerry P.S. Chang (GR)

Filed Civil Appeals Docketing Statement. Served on 04/25/2008. (GR)

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Filed order MEDIATION (VLS): Case referred to Mediation for assessment conference only. Telephone conference to be on 06/02/2008 at 02:30 pm. (Pacific Standard Time) (KKW)

Filed certificate of record on appeal. RT filed in DC 6/12/08 (EL)

Filed Appellant King C. Lum notice of order of transcript. Reporters transcript ordered: (NONE) (RC)

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Filed order MEDIATION (RGA):The court will initiate a further assessment conference by telephone on July 1, 2008, at 3:00 p.m. PACIFIC (San Francisco) Time.The briefing schedule previously set by the court is amended as follows: appellant shall file an opening brief on or before September 15, 2008; appellees shall file an answering brief on or before October 15, 2008; appellant may file an optional reply brief within fourteen (14) days from the service date of the answering brief. (KKW)

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Filed order MEDIATION (RGA):. At the request of counsel for appellees, the further assessment conference originally scheduled for July 1, 2008, is continued to August 5, 2008, at 3:00 p.m. PACIFIC (San Francisco) Time. (KKW)

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Filed order MEDIATION (RGA): The court has determined that this appeal will not be selected for inclusion in the Mediation Program. All further inquiries regarding this appeal, including requests for extensions of time, should be directed to the Clerk’s office. The briefing schedule previously set by the court is amended as follows: appellant shall file an opening brief on or before October 6, 2008; appellees shall file an answering brief on or before November 20, 2008; appellant may file an optional reply brief within fourteen (14) days from the service date of the answering brief. Counsel are requested to contact the Circuit Mediator should circumstances develop that warrant further settlement discussions while the appeal is pending. (WL)

Received Appellant King C. Lum's notification of filing Vol. 5 of EOR UNDER SEAL, with copy of DC protective order attached. (LA)

Filed original and 15 copies of Appellant King C. Lum (Informal: No) opening brief of 62 pages. Five copies Excerpts of record in 12 volumes (Vol. 5 FILED UNDER SEAL). Served on 10/02/2008. (LA)

Filed original and 15 copies of Appellee Leon Gonsalves, Sr. answering brief of 30 pages and separate addendum. Supplemental Excerpts of record in 4 volumes. Served on 11/19/2008. (LA)

Filed original and 15 copies of Appellees Bryan Baptiste, Kauai County, Kauai County Council and Michael H. Tresler answering brief of 50 pages. Supplemental Excerpts of record in 2 volumes. Served on 11/20/2008. (LA)

Filed original and 15 copies of Appellant King C. Lum (Informal: No) reply brief of 6 pages. Served on 12/02/2008. (LA)

Calendar check performed. [6972743] (AW)

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Received copy of transcript designation and ordering form filed in DC. [7003647] (MT)

Calendar materials being prepared. [7018072] [08-10422, 09-10092, 08-16167, 08-17166, 08-15648, 08-16352, 08-16093, 09-10147] (AM)

CALENDARED: 10/14/2009 9:00 AM Honolulu, HI Sixth Flr Courtroom [7021130] [08-10422, 09-10092, 08-16167, 08-17166, 08-15648, 08-16352, 08-16093, 09-10147] (AM)

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Notice of Oral Argument on OCTOBER 14, 2009 Calendar. Please return ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF HEARING NOTICE form to: SAN FRANCISCO Office. Please open attached documents to view details about your case. [7049601] (AM)

UPDATED CASE CALENDARED: 10/14/2009 9:30 AM Honolulu, HI, The University of Hawaii @ Manoa, William .S Richardson School of Law, Moot Courtroom [7060079] [09-10147, 08-10422, 09-10092, 08-17166, 08-15648, 08-16352, 08-16093] (AM)

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REVISED Notice of Oral Argument on OCTOBER 14, 2009 at The University of Hawaii @ Manoa Law School. Please note the location and time change of hearing, and return ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF HEARING NOTICE form to: SAN FRANCISCO Office. Open attached documents to view details about your case. [7060349] (AM)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


SAME OLD TAIL: We’re still in limited typing mode and working on another story so today here’s a preview of Horace Stoessel’s latest letter to the editor dissecting the latest machinations of the Kaua`i Board of Ethics (BOE)- words with which we most stridently agree.


How will the Board of Ethics extract itself from the awkward position it now occupies?

In June the board dismissed three ethics complaints based on Charter 20.02D pending its receipt of and concurrence with an opinion from the county attorney. One member, without whose vote one complaint could not have been dismissed, later said that he was mistaken when he voted in favor of dismissing the complaint, asserting that 20.02D prohibits attorneys serving on boards/commissions from appearing before county agencies in behalf of their clients. Have the complaints been dismissed or not?

In September the board took a similar provisional action in response to a request for an advisory opinion, only this time the board, contrary to its actions on the complaints, told the requester to stop appearing before the Council until it determined the right way to administer 20.02D.

The chairperson says that the solution lies in reaffirming the position taken by the board in March, 2008, when the board gave an attorney permission to continue representing clients before county agencies and purportedly based its decision on a legal opinion from the county attorney.

This proposed solution relies on two questionable assumptions: that a county attorney opinion must be accepted as authoritative regardless of its content and that this particular opinion justified the board’s decision.

The first assumption overlooks the fact that the charter designates the county attorney as the county’s chief legal adviser, not its only adviser, and the fact that the county frequently employs highly-paid legal advisers from Honolulu . If the board has questions about the quality of legal advice received from the county attorney it has the right, if not the duty, to seek a second opinion from a qualified neutral party. It does not have a right to turn over its decision-making role to the county attorney in blind faith.

The second assumption is simply mistaken. Even if the opinions received by the board since March, 2008 were flawless (which they are not), they still do not justify the board’s 2008 decision or provide guidance in the cases now awaiting a final decision by the board. The opinions merely conclude that 20.02D cannot be read in a vacuum without specifying what statutory and circumstantial details should fill the presumed vacuum.

I believe the solution is for the board to affirm the plain meaning of 20.02D and to justify any exceptions it makes to applying it in the pending cases.

Horace Stoessel

Monday, October 12, 2009


IF DOGS WALK FREE: Our all-too-slowly healing shoulder isn’t cooperating in putting together a longish piece on the pilikila at Larson’s Beach- actually Ka`aka`aniu (rolling coconut) reef-. a place famous for it’s limu kohu.

So we were reading Joan Conrow’s description of her trip from Nihoku to Mokolea Point (Crater Hill to Rock Quarry in settler parlance) guided by our old mountain ball buddy, now Kilauea kupuna, Gary Smith.

Joan mentioned the two-edged sword- the fact that it’s not everyone that gets to walk that stretch anymore... unless you own that not-so-little pink house along the way.

Makes you wonder if the Rundgrens invite the Mellencamps to Toddfest.

It reminded us of how a few years back, access to the beach and mountains was the biggest issue on the island according to polls. As one of the louder voices on the subject, we were outraged when we first heard Gary mention that he actually opposed the movement saying that maybe only “certain people” should be able to go to “certain places”.

It wasn’t until later that we began to understand that the tendency to love these places to death has to be addressed when we maintain traditional accesses.

Even today while reading Joan’s account we still felt a pang of “hey- how come she and Gary get to go there but the rest of us don’t?”.

But you know what- were ok with that nowadays.

Gary in fact was right. There are places to fragile to have the gates swung open to the visiting hoards. And if local people have to sigh and say “I remember small-kid-time when we used to go”, well we’re the ones who elected those who swung open the main gate in the name of progress and prosperity and we’re just reaping what we’ve sown.

So say hi to “the wedgetail shearwater chicks and two red-tailed tropic bird chicks, as well as numerous nene, boobies and iwa” Gary and Joan. We’ll have to be happy just knowing they’re there.

Friday, October 9, 2009


THE CHEESE DEMANDS A LOAN: If you thought the two bills still bottled-up in Councilperson Jay Furfaro’s Kaua`i County Council Planning Committee- the “farm workers” and “vacation rentals on ag land” measures- were not just stomach turning but illegal, you ain’t seen nothin' yet.

The giveaway to residential non “farm dwelling” homeowners- those gentleman farmers who have ravaged the viability of agricultural in the islands by “condominiumizing” ag-zoned lands, jacking up prices way beyond the affordability by legitimate farmers- continued at a public hearing Wednesday on Bill 2322 that would again extend the deadline for building “additional dwelling units” (ADUs)

The original measure was designed to provide family members displaced by the end of the pineapple industry a chance to build an additional house and was supposed to end in five years. But that sunset date has been extended by the council at least five times over the past 25 years according to a planning department staff report on the bill.

Yes the boo-hoo, poor-little-rich-turd, fake-farm crowd once again turned up en masse to ask that the council give them at least five more years- most asking for 10 or 15 or no limit at all- to build these doubly or triply illegal houses because of the “hard times” and difficulty in getting financing. Most of them bemoaned how their speculatory investment they “locked in” last year will go down the drain if the are forced to immediately build what many admitted were rental units, as a “final” sunset bill passed last year required.

For those who haven’t heard about this bit of multi-compounded decades-old blunder, in the early 80’s when the legislature required the counties to grant these “ohana dwellings”- as ADUs were euphemistically called- on certain larger residential lots, then-Councilperson Jimmy Tehada and the development-wild council had the brilliant idea of granting them on ag land even though state law required (and still requires) that all those who build residences on ag land build “farm dwellings” as part of a legitimate farming operation.

But instead of enforcing the state law the council falsely claimed that the “ag condo” problem was a state issue upon which their hands were tied all the while compounding the problem by allowing twice the already finagled “density”.

That density is granted by the council under the county’s comprehensive zoning ordinance (CZO) which gives density to open zoned lands and allows that to be combined with ag land to permit residences on otherwise density-free ag land.

The original ag land ADU law was supposed to “sunset” after five years but every time the deadline came near the council extended it until last year when they finally made all those who wanted to build ADUs on ag land file certain paperwork with the planning department and build the house post haste in the hopes of finally ending the idiocy.

But Furfaro seems hell bent lately on ignoring the requirements for “farm dwellings” and has introduced this third bill to increase density, further driving up ag land prices allowing those non-farmers who have gotten in their paperwork to have five more years to build... or sell it to someone who will before the entitlement disappears.

Yet for many of those who testified, five years weren’t enough- they wanted to lift the time restriction entirely, something the council seemed reticent to do... although who knows. We’ve seen these clowns pander to the moneyed classes in last minute giveaways way to often to trust their mealy-mouthed assertions early in the process.

Unbelievably the stream of owners- all admitting they had bought as an investment or for retirement or for any number of non-farm related reasons- ended with real estate agent Phil Fudge who shed his crocodile tears over losing this absurd little entitlement giveaway and the profits he would make selling it.

Only one person who testified said she wanted to build an additional house for her brother so they could both live and work on their organic farm. The words “farm dwelling”– in fact, other than her, the word “farm”- were not uttered at the hearing.

Meanwhile the farm worker housing bill- a developer’s wet dream with so many loopholes that it could well double the density of ag land- is still in the planning committee awaiting some “tightening up” of the restrictions despite the push by ag condo owner Councilperson Tim Bynum to ram it through and ignore provisions that would allow fake farmers to build who knows how many extra houses on their ag land.

And of course there’s still the almost-impossible-to-count-how-many-ways-it’s-illegal “transient vacation rental on ag land” bill instructing the planning department not to enforce the state law (HRS 205) that clearly mandates that “no overnight accommodations shall be permitted” as part of any “ag tourism plan”- a plan the council has failed to enact.

Furfaro stated that he hopes to rush through the bill with a one-off committee meeting next Wednesday Oct. 14 and final passage the following week on Wed. Oct 21.

And unless people show up and denounce this ugly giveaway that’s most likely exactly what he’s going to do.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


SUCKLING ON THE TEAT OF ABSURDITY: In an age when medical cannabis has become an accepted treatment for many maladies and the age when Reefer Madness is an old joke you’ve got to wonder what kind of idiots are populating the hall of the National Institutes of Health.

According to a press release (thanks to Big Island blogger Damon Tucker for the heads up)

The U.S. Health & Human Services Department’s National Institutes of Health has six discretionary grant opportunities to support research that focuses on the development of a medication to treat disorders related to the use of cannabis.

No this is not a joke. And what’s more it wants people to study only indigenous groups including “Native Hawaiians”.

This stuff is absolutely too bizarre to make up.

According to a “funding opportunity notice from the U.S. Health & Human Services Department’s National Institutes of Health” six $500,000 grants- for a total of $3 million- are available.

Applications may focus on the pharmacotherapy of one or various CRDs or clinical manifestations of the disorders. For example, research may focus on marijuana dependence or specifically on marijuana withdrawal. Clinical applications may include human laboratory studies to develop models for testing medications targeting single or multiple manifestations of the CRDs, and the interaction of cannabinoids with other medications, pharmacokinetic and/or pharmacodynamic studies of potentially therapeutic compounds.

Applications may also focus on the specific symptoms of the disorder such as withdrawal, craving or relapse, complications such as cognitive impairment, sleep disorders/disruption of normal rhythms or the clinical surrogates of their use such as depression and other mood disorders

The NIH has yet to fund a definitive study on the benefits of medical marijuana but presupposes nonsense like physical addiction replete with “marijuana withdrawal symptoms”- concepts disproven many years ago.

Your tax dollars at work. Anyone still looking for hope and change?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


SAME OLD TRICKS: When veteran Arizona reporter Anthony Sommer took the job of Honolulu Star Bulletin Kaua`i Bureau Chief- a position that has long since disappeared along with the paper’s coverage of Kaua`i- although he continued to attend Kaua`i County Council meetings, the fairly in-depth weekly coverage he had provided in his brief tenure at the local Kaua`i newspaper suddenly dried up.

And what did make it into the S-B seemed to be lacking any detail. When people asked, Tony was more than forthcoming with the reason.

Seems his editor, Frank Bilge- er Bridgewater, didn’t want all that “inside baseball” stuff -as they tend to call any detail from the neighbor islands- and in fact, the choppy copy in final articles was due to the chainsaw nature of Frank’s blue pencil.

So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that it took the Honolulu Advertiser’s part-time Kaua`i correspondent Diana Leone almost a year to produce her first in depth coverage of the Kaua`i council activities and almost five months to finally cover the fact that Lani Kawahara and Tim Bynum have been “prodding the state's smallest county to ‘move into the 21st century’ and post more government information online”.

Better late than never, Leone reports that:

More than four months later — and more than two years after Bynum first brought up the issues — the mavericks are claiming progress in their quest for equality among council members and better public access to information.

Kawahara calls the posting of council and committee meeting minutes on the county's official Web site since July 3 "a major accomplishment."

While the article does a good job of telling the story- and comparing what the council provides on-line with the other islands in a handy-dandy chart- what is implied but not stated is that absolutely no improvement has been made in the on-line access by the council to documents as a result of the actions of the two... at least according to the administration and Council Chair Kaipo Asing who claimed at the time that the posting of council minutes and recap summaries were a result of their own initiative not the push by Bynum and Kawahara.

Yes, the jobs of Kawahara and Bynum have been made easier with the availability of all documents addressed to the council as a whole being made available to them in a “binder in the council break room”- a “solution” that, although though it placated them still leaves the public without the ability to receive these supposedly public documents in a timely manner.

And now they apparently are able to introduce bills and resolutions unimpeded- the biggest outrage of all and one the Leone fails to mention.

The article does make note of how we are still the only county that doesn’t even make copies of bills and resolutions available on-line, still requiring a physical trip to Lihu`e if someone wants to interpret the agenda.

Although Bynum has done a good job of posting them himself on his and Kawahara’s web site- although tomorrow’s meeting’s documents are nowhere to be found- it shouldn’t be up to him to spend every Friday afternoon holed up at his office scanning and posting all the minutia that makes it possible for people to do their homework so they can speak intelligently on items at council meetings- ironically enough a major complaint directed to members of the public from Asing and his 3-D Swiss Guard, Dickie (Chang), Darryl (Kaneshiro) and Derek (Kawakami).

Promises of presently posting not just the documents but live streaming video of meetings- and an indexed by subject archive of the video clips- were seemingly just another stonewalling device designed to make the all-to-used-to-being-ignored people, just go away- return to your homes... nothing to see here.

As we predicted when the two mavericks, as Leone calls them, decided a promise to “do better next time” from Asing- one that wasn’t worth the paper it wasn’t written on- was enough, they apparently crept back into the dark of the Minotaur’s labyrinth since they were now getting the documents they wanted even if the public was still in the dark.

But it sure was exciting for a month or two to think things might improve, wasn’t it?

Friday, October 2, 2009



(PNN) -- Charles Vidinha, who was convicted last Friday of killing a pregnant monk seal May 21 at Pila'a Beach is or was an employee of Jimmy Pflueger and only had access to the area from which he fired the shots due to his employ, PNN has learned.

According to an area resident familiar with Vidinha, Pflueger’s operations and the area- who asked not to be identified due to fear if reprisals- Vidinha, 78, works with Gordon Rosa, Pflueger’s foreman and property manager.

The area above Pila`a Beach is closed to the public and sits behind locked gates with only Pflueger, his employees and area kuleana residents having the key.

Vidinha’s 90 day sentence and $25 “special assessment” has outraged many on Kaua`i for its leniency as evidenced by comments on news stories in local and Honolulu newspapers.

Many think Vidinha’s reported excuse- that “he intended to scare the seal away from the beach, not to kill it” according to his attorney federal public defender Alexander Silvert- is silly and are even more outraged that it was offered considering that monk seals can be spooked back into the ocean just by walking up to one.

Vidinha could have been jailed for one year and fined $50,000 for the federal offense.

According to a quote in the Honolulu Advertiser Bill Pickering, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration law enforcement agent-in-charge for Hawai`i said that "the defendant claims he was just trying to scare the seal because he wanted to go fishing and was just concerned the seal would eat the fish. We have nothing to refute that." in explaining the light sentence.

The paper also reported that “Assistant U.S. Attorney Marshall Silverberg, who prosecuted the case, said because Vidinha had never had trouble with the law before and is ‘broke ... living out of a car essentially homeless, a fine didn't seem to be consistent with justice.’”.

It is unclear if federal authorities knew of Vidinha’s employ with Pflueger or what form of compensation, if any, Vidinha received from Pflueger.

Pflueger is free pending trial on murder charges related to the Ka Loko Dam disaster that killed seven people in 2006 and is reportedly close to settling multiple lawsuits arising from the dam break.

Pila`a was the 2001 scene of a mudslide caused by Pflueger who paid a record federal fine under Clean Water Act in the case for despoiling the ocean and reef.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


GRRRRRR: OK- it’s go time.

Through all this “Blood Alley” crap, including today’s announcement of a ludicrous and possibly more treacherous diminution of the speed limit from 50 to 40 on the stretch of road between Hanama`ulu and Wailua, no one- not the cops, not the state DOT, not the scribes of the dozens of letters and certainly not those who died- has said what anyone who drives that stretch a few times can tell you about what causes many of those accidents.

The fact is that for some reason word has not reach the shores of Kaua`i that:


When the stretch was expanded from two to three lanes- a disaster waiting to happen to begin with- it was the first place on the eastside where there was actually a “passing lane”.

Kaua`i drivers, unsure of what to do with this newfound freedom to pass Mr. Magoo, didn’t heed the “keep right” rule, in part because the DOT didn’t bother to put up a sign to that effect for a number of years.

And, apparently- we say apparently because to this day no one seems quite sure- Hawai`i is the only place we know of other than New York City where passing on the right is legal, if not safe.

But legal or not it seemingly doesn’t occur to most that if cars are zooming past you on the right- many screaming obscenities and giving the one-finger salute- you just might be doing something wrong.

After the grand opening the stream of traffic stayed in the left hand lane and passing on the right became de rigor, except for tourists who, not knowing what the heck was going on got into the right lane when the road expanded.

So now we have some Magoos in the left lane and others in the right hand lane while Larry Leadfoot, who needs get to the next stoplight three seconds earlier, gets frustrated enough to tailgate one or the other- or alternatingly both- zigzagging in and out of the two lanes of traffic both going 40 MPH side by side.

But KPD is still out there ticketing- if they can get through the traffic and catch up to anyone- the speeders and turning a blind eye to the oblivious obstructer in the left hand “passing lane” whose steering wheel apparently doesn’t have the ability to guide them into the right hand lane.

So the DOT- most likely at the behest of a gaggle of engineers from Honolulu who rarely if ever drive the stretch- decides in its wisdom to slow down ALL the traffic so old Larry will be zooming in and out of not just the Magoos but everyone else following the speed limit but not do anything about alerting us to the ”keep right, you moron” rule of the road.

Maybe the DOT engineers- obvious graduates of the Rube Goldberg School of Urban Design- are all out of stupid things to do with Kaua`i traffic after designing all those hedge-maze interchanges and “Burma Shave” style series’ of signs on the west side that say “Speed Limit 50, Speed Limit 40 Ahead. Speed Limit 40, Speed Limit 35 Ahead, Speed Limit 35, Speed Limit 25 ahead, Speed Limit 25,” then suddenly “Speed Limit 50”... all within a thousand feet... all at around a thousand bucks a sign.

Can’t anyone here play this game?