Tuesday, December 1, 2009


WHERE DO THE HUSKIES GO?: When we first heard that former mayoral candidate Rolf Bieber was appointed to the Kaua`i Board of Ethics (BOE) and heard he was seeking to clean up this town a la Marshall Dillon our world-weary, seen-it-all, smart-ass response was a decidedly satirical “good luck Chuck”.

So it’s with more than a little surprise that today the local newspaper’s Mike Levine has reported that one of the worst offenders of the charter’s ban on board and commission volunteers appearing before the county government on behalf of private interests while serving on other boards of commissions, Lorna Nishimitsu, has joined one her associates, Jonathan Chun, in resigning her Board of Review position.

It comes on the heels of course of the BOE’s decision to advise former Charter Review Commissioner (CRC) Mattie Yoshioka that she was in violation of the charter, despite a previous opinion clearing Chun who also served on the CRC.

But Nishimitsu- who has cut her teeth defending some of the more scummy developers and landowners for old boy network charter member attorney Walton Hong’s firm before moving on to Graham’s more “respectable” jerkwad-representing law corporation- had an interesting parting shot directed at the weasels on the ethics board that are also themselves in violation but have yet to resign.

After the perfunctory resignation her letter goes on to say:

“On a final note, however, please consider the irony that some of the authors of the Advisory Opinion (who, like myself, have appeared before other boards, commissions, agencies or the Council on matters unrelated to their duties as board or commission members) apparently intend to continue to serve on the Board of Ethics.”

That would be Mark Hubbard. Lei Fuller and Judy Lenthall all of whose stories have been well documented in this space.

Well, better late than never although, as with Chun, it’s a little disconcerting that their “boss” Mike Belles is a former county attorney who, by his silence in allowing them to work on cases before the county council, has also apparently been complicit in allowing the whole back-scratching county system to develop and pervade.

It’s sounding hollower and hollower each time the crony-corralling Office of Boards and Commissions Administrator John Isobe repeats County Attorney Al Castillo’s handwringing over, as Levine reports, some purported “chilling effect, causing a mass exodus of county volunteers” if the charter were enforced.

Are they implying that the tens of thousands of Kaua`i denizens who are unconflicted aren't “board and commission material”– and that the few hundred well connected revolving door beneficiaries apparently are- simply because they lack a rubber stamp- or more often, can’t be paid off to do the mayor’s bidding with a favorable decision by a fellow beneficiary.

But looking beyond the mucky muck and his campaign supporters would take a mayor who appoints people based on what they know, not who they know, a concept that when suggested to most people causes a short silence before rip-roaring roll-on-the-floor laughter erupts.