Wednesday, January 27, 2010


MIA: In two days it’ll be two weeks since Mayor Bernard Carvalho pulled his little Friday afternoon press release scam to flim-flam those opposed to putting the bike path on Wailua Beach before he conveniently slipped town all to avoid answering questions about the bogus, mealy-mouth lie that the new plan will put the path on the highway and take it off the beach.

That was exacerbated the next day by the gross negligence by the local newspaper in presenting a patently false headline and a misleading article – one still not corrected or clarified- repeating the misleading words of the mayor’s press release without digging deeper to get to the truth of the matter.

It’s understandable that that ace reporter Michael Levine may have been confused at first but its inexcusable that there’s been no update to inform an ill-informed public, especially since the arbitrary “comment deadline” of Feb. 25, set by the administration, has come and gone.

Other than the “he said, she said” style quote from Judy Dalton late in the original article claiming it’s still on the beach there’s been no inkling in the paper of the fact that the path will still be on the beach, leading many of not most on the island to believe that the mayor has now miraculously given in and realigned the path to keep it off the beach.

While the on-line community has been on the story with our Steaming pile on bike path the following Monday, Joan Conrow’s visual depiction Tuesday and a widely distributed letter from Dalton on Wednesday it’s been nothing but silence from the primary news source and “newspaper of record” on the island except for a letter to the editor- one that seems unsure of itself- from Wendy Raebeck of Wailua yesterday.

But while the newspaper certainly should take some of the blame for perpetuating a lie it’s even more baffling as to what happened to the dozens of activists who brought the issue of burials to light and the hundreds if not thousands who were outraged enough to get the mayor to put out his bogus realignment announcement.

Were they similarly bamboozled? Have they just given up?

The officials in this county have shown that they will stonewall, obfuscate and even outright lie in order to get people to just go away so that they keep their corrupt little party going. And when we give up- as many apparently have in this instance- we become just another guard at the gates of the minotaur’s labyrinth.


We’ll be taking a long weekend again unless something really sets our hair on fire- see ya Monday.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


REAL OPTIONS: As our readers- and anyone who’s seen a council meeting lately- know, one of the more power-drunk county officials is often demented County Attorney (CA) Al Castillo who last week thought it was within his purview to order someone testifying before the council to remove his hat.

Castillo is the latest in line of CA’s that have acted as political hacks and stooges for the council and mayor, following in the “law is what we say it is” footsteps of Hartwell Blake, Matthew Pyun and Lani Nakazawa who is currently serving Mayor Bernard Carvalho as his own private attorney and political “advisor”.

We’ve called for a charter amendment to elect the county attorney since the current 10-year-long charter review commission (CRC) first met in 2004 but it has escaped their radar screen due partially to the fact that the post-2006 members don’t seem capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time except for regurgitating an old seven-time rejected amendment for four-year council terms and other assorted Titanic seating-chart tinkering.

Today we received an advance copy of a letter from CRC watchdog Horace Stoessel making the case for an elected CA with a particularly pithy set of choices.

Here it is.


The county charter provides for the county attorney to be appointed by the mayor, with council approval, and to serve as the county’s chief legal adviser and legal representative.

The charter also mandates that the Charter Commission “study and review the operation of the county government under this charter” and propose amendments to the charter that it deems necessary or desirable.

Based on my observations of government operations and study of the charter, if the commission honors its mandate it has two options for proposing amendments regarding the county attorney’s office.

If the commission wants to bring the operations of the office into line with the charter, it should propose that the county attorney, like the prosecuting attorney, be elected for a four-year term, thereby freeing the office from having to serve not one but two political masters who are sometimes at odds with each other.

However, if the commission deems that the proper course is to bring the charter into line with current practice, it should propose adding a phrase to make the charter read, “chief legal adviser, legal representative, and political enforcer.”

For reasons too obvious to require spelling out, I favor a proposal for a four-year elected term.

Horace Stoessel

Monday, January 25, 2010



(PNN)The county council continued to flout county charter provisions and state open meeting and records laws last Wednesday in approving two more board and commission (B&C) members despite a request for deferral by Councilperson Lani Kawahara.

Kawahara said that the Office of Board and Commissions (OBC) is currently working on a process for releasing properly redacted applications of prospective B&C members awaiting confirmation but Chair Kaipo Asing refused to allow her to make a motion to defer approval until they can be made available to the public before confirmation as the Office of Information Practices (OIP) has required.

Despite detailed testimony to the contrary from Rob Abrew who has been championing the issue for the past month County Attorney Al Castillo told the council there was no problem with the process and they could go ahead and vote on the confirmations, saying the OIP “are not necessarily right all the time” citing recent court cases won by the county against the OIP.

The OIP is charged by the state with oversight of the state’s open meeting (HRS 92 Section I) and records (HRS 92F) laws.

Kawahara asked Castillo “do you believe we’ve done due diligence in providing the public the information that’s supposed to be made public within a reasonable amount of time... so the public can comment (on nominees)?”

In response Castillo continually referenced “these fine people” awaiting confirmation saying to Kawahara that no violation of law has occurred and that “nothing should give you pause to question the process”.

Agreeing that all the applicants are all “fine people” Kawahara said that wasn’t the point of questioning the process for confirming the almost two dozen applicants that have been recently processed.

“I don’t have any confidence that the public was able to get information they would have needed to make comments on those nominees” she said.

Kawahara did however leave some hope that when the final two nominees come up for confirmation in two weeks the information might be forthcoming saying “I’ve worked with the offices involved (to assure) that this procedure is much clearer in the future.

“I was requesting that we would honor what will be going on in the future” she noted adding “Give and take between the (council and the) public is how we make decisions, not in a vacuum”

Councilmember Tim Bynum said he appreciated Abrew’s work on the matter and Kawahara’s follow-up saying that “good questions were raised” and noted that B&C administrator John Isobe “has already responded” and that “going forward we will have a clarified process” for redacting phone numbers and addresses and releasing the rest of the applications to the public when the agenda is published- as OIP told the council to do back in January 2005.

That opinion led the council to move interviews with prospective B&C members out of executive session and into the public purview although they still refuse to televise those interviews.

Abrew had requested the information contained in the applications - including employment, experience and potential conflicts of interest- in writing on Jan. 12 but had not received a written response as of this morning, well exceeding the 10 day window for response to a record request under the state law.

The matter was brought to light by Abrew after noting that county charter provisions require that no B&C have more than a “bare majority” of members of any particular political party.

It is still unknown if the new process will include that information and how those memberships- or lack thereof- will be confirmed with the parties.

For more background information see previous PNN reports:


Friday, January 22, 2010


LAPPIN’ IT RIGHT UP: Intellectuals and philosophy mavens can spend hours in sophomoric sophistry asking each other the question “if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it does it make a sound?”.

Let us clue you in- of course it freakin’ does... what are you a freakin’ moron?” (it seems to be that kind of week).

The ease with which people are bamboozled and bewildered comes to mind because what nobody seems to want to admit in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision allowing corporations to flood elections with cash is that if Americans weren’t too-stupid-to-live and as easily swayed as the mythical soundless trees they wouldn’t be influenced by all the bogus, distracting advertising bought by company capital.

So which is it? Are “American voters are smart enough to see though all the nonsense” as some suck-up pols suggest? Or is it that “you can never underestimate the intelligence of the American voter.”

Only the silent tree toppling proponents could pick the former.

But what can you expect from a country that can’t tell that a “person” is a flesh and blood human being and not a piece of paper with the words “corporate charter” written on it?

Corporate personhood goes back to an 1886 Supreme Court Case, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad and this absurd notion is behind yesterday’s Orwellian “free speech for those who can’t speak” piece of true fascist flack.

Many in the progressive movement are busy today promoting a narrow constitutional amendment dealing with banning corporate cash in elections but a small cadre including Howard Zinn, Bill Moyer, Tom Hayden, Jim Hightower, Medea Benjamin and dozens of others have put together a “Move To Amend” web site and petition to “firmly establish... that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights”.

But then again to think that a constitutional amendment under what passes for democracy in the USA Inc. is in the realm of reality probably means joining that confederacy of dunces who debates noiseless arboreal thickets.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


COMING HOME TO ROOST: It never fails to amaze us how the level of satisfaction of a “we told you so” moment is inversely proportional to the time elapsed.

Nevertheless it’s another somewhat empty cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face victory today as "Earthjustice" is finally going to sue KIUC for it’s diligent lack of action in protecting endangered Hawaiian petrel and Newell’s shearwater, according to an article in today’s local newspaper.

As the article reports, according to a press release:

(Earthjustice attorney David) Henkin said a “series of recommendations” — such as lowering power lines, attaching lines to bridges, switching from a vertical array of wires to a “traditional” T configuration and planting trees which shield lines — provided to Kaua`i Electric in 1995 have yet to be taken up by KIUC.

And surprise-surprise- KIUC’s response has been to file for permits to continue to kill birds rather than acting on the recommendations.

But whether through the cost of complying with the law or the “$50,000... that each violation of seabird take is subject to” it’s going to cost co-op members a pretty penny.

The irksome part is that we shouldn’t have to be paying for it.

It all harkens back to the original purchase from Kaua`i Electric and the price paid which, even after it was lowered once was still quite obviously as much as twice what it was worth.

And one of the liabilities that the “nitpickers” predicted would come back to bite us in the ass was that very 1995 list of unfollowed recommendations.

As a matter of fact it was at that point that the people fighting for a reduced price were first called “nitpickers” by then Mayor Maryanne Kusaka who had been busy flip-flopping her Republican butt on the purchase because the original board was comprised of Democratic machine honchos and whatever they wanted she didn’t.

The original purchasing board and their slick-talking honcho Gregg Gardiner and his stooge Walt Barnes simply ignored the all research, facts and figures presented by the about a dozen members of the public including the “birds liability” and the facts about members’ potential liability for the cleanup of the toxic waste dump underneath the `Ele`ele power plant, as PNN reported in 2002.

Stay tuned- there are plenty of other little surprises-on-the-rug to come as KIUC continues the be the gift that keeps on taking. As some said at the time of the pig-in-a-poke, “elephant?- what elephant?” purchase, they should have paid us to take KE off their hands.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


WHIPLASH: The use of tasers by police and what constitutes “excessive force” has caught our attention lately as it’s been impossible to find out what KPD’s policy was and/or is in light of a recent federal 9th Circuit Court ruling in Bryan v. McPherson which limited their use.

That’s why a Maui news headline- reprinted in the Honolulu Advertiser in place of their own neighbor island coverage- that said Maui officer's use of Taser on woman not excessive, court rules.

Seems the use is on a case by case basis with limits on both ends being established on the fly.

But it was the very last paragraph of the story that really caught our attention saying:

Former Deputy Corporation Counsel Laureen Martin argued the case. Deputies Corporation Counsel Richard B. Rost and Cheryl Tipton also represented the officers and county.

Now there’s something- in fact a couple of things- that we’d fall over backward in our chair if we read on Kaua`i.

The first is that they actually went, not just to trial but, to an appeal to the 9th Circuit “in house”- using county employees rather than hiring outside attorney’s at whopping prices as our “county attorney’s” office routinely (make that always) does.

The second is of course the “corporation counsel” system employed in every other county in the state.

It comes on the same days an another entry from seemingly blind and deaf Judge Al Laureta asking what specifically is wrong with our charter despite our treatises on the subject.

Although he asks in the context of the county manager proposal, a reorganization of the broken county attorney (CA) section of the charter is a good place to start.

One of the main problems is the inherent conflict embedded in our charter that empowers the CA to provide all legal advice to both the council and administration yet places the CA’s office within the administration giving the council little or no say- other than confirmation- in the department.

Reform of the CA’s office- whether electing the CA under the current set up or restructuring under a "corp counsel" system- seems a no brainer yet it has never been on the radar screen for the charter review commission (CRC).

The current system has been costing us millions every year to hire Honolulu law firms. It’s about time to see if the CRC can walk and chew gum at the same time and if not, instead of pouring their time into re-asking for the umpteenth time about four year council terms and fighting against putting effort into putting together an appropriate county manager proposal they might concentrate on fixing the most broken of all county departments.


Yesterday we inadvertently left out a link under “problems with the county’s sustainability plan” to Jan TenBruggencate’s piece on the subject, New county energy sustainability plan draft released which identifies many of the troublesome aspects much better than we could including the use of the word ridiculous and annoying word “disincentivize.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


CHASING THE BUS: The screamin’ meemies are out in me-me force over the county’s energy sustainability study and it’s proposed fiddy-cent a gallon gas tax, ignoring the rest of the idiotic study which pooh-poohs windmills and extols an incinerator to generate electricity despite the proven lack of enough trash to make it cost effective even if we foolishly burned all our recyclables.

The main problem with the 50c fuel tax is what they would use it for- promoting the interim technology of hybrid cars.

But apparently even those that get that the idea can be a good one in order to provide public transportation seem to be blind as to what is really necessary to get people out of their cars and onto the bus.

The newspaper article on the presentation of the plan to the council reports the expected knee-jerk politically expedient reaction of most of the councilmembers by headlining “Members criticize ‘ridiculous’ 50-cent fuel tax proposal”.

But it also reports that at least one councilmember gave it due consideration reporting

Councilwoman Lani Kawahara agreed with the goal of the fuel tax but said it is too much, too soon...

“I don’t think we’ve provided enough options besides automobile transportation for us to be able to even consider doing a 50-cent gasoline tax right now,” she said. “Unless we get a bus system that runs 24 hours or every day including Sundays, that would be something that should happen first, I would think.”

Although she didn’t make the connection of using the tax to support a “bus system that runs 24 hours or every day including Sundays” a least she’s connecting it to a “full service” bus system.

Juxtapose that with KIUC board member and founder of Apollo Kaua`i founder Ben Sullivan’s weekend letter-to-the-editor that did make the connection but also came up a bit short on thinking it through.

After pointing out that for most people, especially in this recession, “it’s gonna be quite a while before we can afford to buy a new car, especially one that carries a price premium like a hybrid or a yet-to-be-seen plug-in hybrid” he does propose an expansion of the bus saying “(o)ne suggestion that has come to the surface is to allocate a major portion of the revenue to fund dramatic improvements to the Kaua`i Bus”.

The problem is that his “vision” still has cars in it. He writes

You jump in your car in the morning (or on your bike) to drive to a nearby park and ride, and board the bus for your daily commute to work. You don’t have to worry about the schedule because it runs every 15 minutes during morning and evening rush hour. You have a bus pass through your employer’s special discount program for employees. They offer it so they can preserve valuable parking for customers, help their employees during hard times, and to get a tax break. Instead of white knuckling it through traffic, you ride in to work sipping hot coffee (with a no-spill lid) and use the on-board Wi-Fi to check your e-mail. The bus drops you off only a block from your job. Late day at the office? No problem. The last bus isn’t until 9:30 at night. Hey, you can even ride to church on Sundays with your neighbors because of new expanded weekend bus service. With a bus system like this, we might even see a return to one-car families who can save thousands of dollars annually between insurance, car payments, maintenance and, of course, gasoline.

The solution runs down the middle of Kawahara and Sullivan’s apparitions.

The only way to reduce the number of cars is to provide a level of service that will enable people to live without owning a car. It really comes down to that and that alone.

Who the heck is going to buy- or really invest in- a car and then get in it to drive a quarter mile to leave it in a parking lot all day and then take the bus?

The answer is no one. With the exception of a few who either buy into Ben’s leisurely ride concept or even fewer hardcore socially and environmentally conscious, if you own a car you’re going to drive it.

Right now, especially with the service/tourism jobs on Kaua`i that depend on shift work, people have to have a car. The bus doesn’t run 24 hours a day, seven days a week and it doesn’t serve enough residential areas.

And that’s just for work. People go out in the evening, sometimes returning late. They go out on weekends. Even if you don’t do it very often it’s reason enough to own a car.

Also people need to be able to carry packages on public transportation, another self-inflicted wound the current system has imposed for no particular reason except for the clout of the rent-a-car and taxi lobbies.

In order to make it practical to live without a vehicle the bus must run 24/7 even if it only comes once an hour after midnight. And in order to make it available to people who live in residential areas off the main highway it must expand into all of the major and even some minor feeder roads in the mostly mauka but sometime makai (such as in Kalaheo) districts.

A few years back when the legislature gave Honolulu the ability to fund public transportation via a half-a-percent excise tax we asked around among some reps and sens about giving the neighbor islands that option even though we usually eschew regressive taxes.

All said it’s a non-starter unless and until the counties ask them for it.

Unless and until that day the Kaua`i bus is going to be a useless appendage because people will be forced to own a car for the times when “da bus no more come”.

And if we own them we will use them. It’s really that simple.

Monday, January 18, 2010


ANOTHER STEAMING PILE ON THE BIKE PATH: When confronted with government snow-jobs we’ve often asked “what are we- a bunch of freakin’ idiots”.

The answer this weekend is apparently yes because somehow many if not most of the people opposing putting the bike path on a boardwalk on Wailua Beach are apparently convinced that the “new alignment”- craftily announced by Mayor Bernard Carvalho and his “brains”, Beth Tokioka- will no longer be on the beach but on the highway.

Apparently that is a bunch of shibai.

The only thing that has changed is that the path will now be a permanent strip of concrete rather than the “removable boardwalk” that was originally put in place because a permanent sidewalk on the beach would have been considered a “hardening of the shoreline” requiring an almost impossible to obtain Army Corps of Engineers permit.

The first step in the misdirection came in the form of the local newspaper’s Friday article faithfully rehashing the carefully written county release.

The headline falsely stated “Mayor shifting path from beach to highway” and the article doesn’t refute that statement.

A careful examination of the county press release shows that it never actually states that the new “alignment” will not be on the beach. And actually, if you read between the lines, it says it will.

The relevant portions of the release says:

(T)he proposed alignment for the Wailua Beach section will be shifted from the beach to the right-of-way on the makai side of Kūhi‘ō Highway...

(T)he mayor told the groups (he met with Friday), “As a result of all of the input we’ve received, I’ve decided to move forward on a makai alignment, keeping the path within the Kūhiō Highway right-of-way.”...

In the new design, the existing rock wall will be removed and a replacement barrier will be constructed as an integral part of the path.

“We are hopeful that this adjustment addresses many of the concerns raised by the community,” said the mayor...

In aligning the path within the highway right-of-way, the path will be constructed of concrete at a depth of just 18 inches, even shallower than that of the adjacent roadway.

“There will be no additional drilling or ‘augers’ required,” said Building Division Superintendent Doug Haigh.

Notice how it sounds like it is going to be where the highway pavement and wall are currently located. Nowhere does it say it will not be on the beach anymore, only that “there will be no additional drilling or ‘augers’ required”.

The article in the local newspaper is careful not to say what the headline does and does not make clear where exactly it will be but it does contain the first hint that all may not be as it appears.

Way down towards the end Mike Levine- who may or may not have written the headline but was not at the Friday meeting where the Mayor announced the “change”, according to participants- reports:

(I)t’s still on the beach,” Judy Dalton said Friday evening.“As long as it’s still on the beach, we feel that the alternate route described in the environmental assessment as one of the three alternatives ... on the canal behind Coco Palms would be the least impactful, environmentally and culturally,” Dalton said.

According to some who attended the meeting Friday at which Carvalho “met with representatives of several Hawaiian groups” according to the county release, the issue of exactly where the path would be was presented in a manner seemingly designed to make the matter “as clear as mud”.

Some of the confusion centered around the use of the word “shoulder” which many took to mean the paved shoulder off the highway itself but still on the paved portion- a “shoulder” currently used for a “bike lane”.

But upon questioning it became apparent that the shoulder the officials were talking about was the “soft” shoulder adjacent to the paved portion defining the “shoulder” they were talking about as “where the pavement ends”.

Another key in the misdirection is that it may well be that the state’s “right of way” is not limited to the paved highway itself with part of it extending onto the beach. Although the exact location is not addressed in either the article or the press release, the “on the right of way” statement has led many to believe that the “right of way” mentioned as the location of the realignment was on the paved highway itself.

Looking at two maps on the county web site is a joke. Both are crisscrossed with seemingly meaningless, unlabeled lines all over the place with no clearly marked “new alignment” much less the old one.

As if to prove the extent to which the public has been duped, a letter to the editor appeared over the weekend from one of those who has been calling on the mayor to change the alignment to get it off the beach.

What with the headline in the paper and the carefully parsed county release it’s understandable that Jimmy Trujillo wrote:

The mayor’s decision to stay off the sand but stay on the roadside is a compromise that warrants support.

It may be one of the few times in the short time I’ve lived on Kaua`i that a government leader has demonstrated any kind of respect to the kupuna leaders and cultural practitioners of the host culture.

The first irony in all this is that a perfectly good bike path exists right now on the makai side of the highway on the pavement- the spot many are erroneously thinking the “new alignment” would put the path.

The problem is that there’s only so much room to put the new four lane highway and for some reason the county has never pursued acquiring land on the mauka “Coco Palms” side of the highway despite the countless permits and extensions issued to the land owners

The second is that the concept of a “removable” boardwalk came about precisely because a permanent concrete sidewalk on the beach would have been an approval nightmare with not just the Army Corp but various state and county agencies who were sold the idea on the basis of a removable boardwalk, not a permanent concrete ribbon.

The county recently passed a bill exempting itself from our “strictest in the nation” shoreline setback laws under some circumstances. Changes in the path should trigger a new “certified shoreline” especially considering that waves commonly deposit sand on the highway during large storms.

Going back to the original unacceptable concrete-on-the-beach idea reminds us of the joke about the guy who eats at Luigi’s Italian restaurant every day and with his meal he is served two slices of Italian bread.

“Luigi” he asks “What’s with the two slices- how come your so stingy with the beard every day”.

The next day Luigi serves him four slices and the man still isn’t happy and wants more. The next day Luigi gives him six and the man still complains.

Finally the next day Luigi takes the whole Italian loaf and slices it down the center the long way and serves it to his customer.

The man looks at Luigi and says “What, Luigi- you’re back to the two slices. eh?”

Can’t anyone here play this game?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


...GANG AFT AGLEY: The dysfunctionality of the corrupt crony-riddled board and commission (B&C) system on Kaua`i is not a new issue.

Prior to 2004 members were like babes in the woods, usually flung into their positions with no idea what they were supposed to do, getting on-the-job training confined to whatever dysfunctionality the current members had adopted from their predecessors.

They were selected via a closed secretive process by the mayor and interviewed in secret by the county council before an open confirmation with the public receiving little more than the name of the prospective appointees.

Most didn’t know the sunshine law from a hole in the ground and were surprised to find out they needed agendas- much less ones published and posted six days in advance- to meet and that the public was not just allowed to attend but were to be given the opportunity to testify regarding any and all agenda items.

It was so bad that the charter review commission (CRC) of that year decided that a skilled administrator and staff was needed to bring some cohesion and sunshine to the system.

But under B&C Administrator John Isobe most observers agree that if anything the lack of transparency and independence of members has gone from bad to worse with an administrator unskilled in anything but obfuscation and public relations keeping the selection process hidden, documents unreleased or difficult to obtain- one who sees open meetings and public input as a nuisance and foists that attitude on business and development oriented B&C members all too willing to help him do his dirty work for the administration.

The charter amendment- which, along with any and all amendments from the 2006 and 2008 are unavailable at the county web site, even on the non-updated page where the charter appears- was carefully drafted by the CRC to do a few things.

One was to select someone with skills and experience in doing the job.

The amendment on the ballot read:

There shall be a boards and commissions administrator and any necessary staff. The administrator shall have such training, education or experience as shall qualify the administrator to perform the duties described in this section.

Though the qualifications are pretty general it’s hard to see how Isobe meets them. Rather, a look at his past shows him to be a PR flack and himself a crony of the past three administrations.

A UH graduate and “lifelong” Hawai`i resident Isobe first shows up in 1996 as a spokesperson for Princeville corporation during a time of conflict with the homeowners there over various issues.

Though the dates are unclear his first stint with the county was as Deputy Finance Director under the Kusaka administration and was appointed to a state community-based economic development advisory council in 2006.

He was also a member of the infamous Kaua`i Economic Development Board under disgraced head Gary Baldwin who started the business-friendly pro-development board promoting a staunch chamber of commerce agenda until Baldwin left in disgrace after it was revealed that he was a wanted for running a financial scam on the mainland.

Then having proved himself adept at defending large and powerful corporations he held a positions at Kaua`i Community College (KCC) serving as director of the Kauai Rural Development Project where he developed “F.A.R.M... a strategy to bring the Kauai business community together through education” according to the Pacific Business Journal (PBJ) article in 2001.

That led to a job as training coordinator in the Office of Continuing Education and Training at KCC where, rather than offering traditional academic courses, he was part of a push to serve “business organizations, visitor bureau, chamber of commerce and (the) work-force investment board” telling PBJ in 2003 “’We are in constant contact with people in the industry and our courses revolve around their needs’" .

How that constitutes “training, education or experience as shall qualify” him to be B&C Administrator is anyone’s guess. It certainly qualifies him to know all the pro- development cronies in the Chamber of Commerce-KEDB crowd in order to make sure the B&Cs are stacked to reflect and protect their interests.

One of the most important parts of the amendment was what the administrator was supposed to do and the CRC made sure that open governance principles were to be one of the more important functions.

The charter amendment reads in part:

The administrator shall assist in providing administrative and operational support to the various county boards and commissions. Such support shall include, but not be limited to: assisting in the recruitment, orientation, education, and training of board or commission members regarding their powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities under the charter... (and) helping to educate such members about applicable state and county ethics laws and the State Sunshine Law... (emphasis added).

But the words “sunshine law” never appear at the county web site’s B&C page. Instead here’s Isobe’s blurb at the top of the B&C page:

Kauai County's 16 boards and commissions are comprised of 116 volunteer board members and commissioners who oversee and make critical decisions about key County functions and groups. Volunteers who serve on Kauai County boards and commissions are the best in their fields, local leaders, and valuable, knowledgeable resources. They give an extraordinary amount of time to serve in these roles each year and make both personal and professional sacrifices to do so. Because of this and the weight of their responsibilities to our community, they are among Kauai's treasures.

Instead of trying to recruit everyday citizens who have no preconceived notions- and especially no conflicts of interests in “their fields”- rather he seeks to find the “best in their fields, local leaders, and valuable, knowledgeable resources”- a euphemism for well connected people with a lot to lose if they offend the mayor, who can be counted on to “not rock the boat”... also known as his and the mayors cronies, supporters and campaign contributors, which includes Isobe.

Want more proof? Just look at the notice posted for the first B&C training session this year, scheduled for January 29th, on the “Role Of The Board/Commission Member”.

For some incredibly tone deaf reason it is not itself “agendaed” as a government meeting but rather is printed on Kaua`i Chamber of Commerce stationary and is apparently sponsored by the business promotion organization “Leadership Kaua`i”.

Among the topics covered are:

...your duties and responsibilities as a board or commission member, tips on what resources and materials are available (i.e. charter, county and state laws), general provisions of the law, standards of ethical conduct, guidelines on effective communications (and) basic parliamentary procedure.

The importance of transparency, open meetings and records and public testimony are not to be found.

This is exactly the attitude that former Board of Ethics member Rolf Bieber spoke of, especially the attitude among B&C members that they are the elite and know better than the common rabble whose testimony should be tolerated only because it is required by law- a law they are barely aware of.

John Isobe is the exact opposite of what a B&C administrator should be and is a disgrace to democracy and good governance. His resignation and replacement with a trained manager- one experienced in facilitating communication between citizen volunteers and members of the public- can only be a positive for Kaua`i which at deserves to have the charter amendment they passed honored.


We’ve gotta get outta the house tomorrow and Friday. Unless we feel especially ambitious we’ll be back Monday.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


TRANSLUCENCY: We mouth off a lot about the complete lack of transparency in county government and maintain it’s not just a matter of the buffoonish bungling of incompetent imbeciles but a concerted, concentrated effort by a cabal of connected, conniving cronies to treat citizens like mushrooms by keeping them in the dark and feeding them bullshit.

It not just the unfathomable need to delay and stonewall the release of documents or the penchant of board and commissions- including of course the county council- to jump into executive session to hide politically sensitive deliberations.

It’s the way even the most basic information is kept under wraps even in the information age.

Ever try to find a complete list and directory of all county employees or, more to the point under current scrutiny, the complete list of board and commission members at the county web site?

Don’t bother looking. There’s not a link to be found and the search box is, as anyone who has tried to use it will tell you, worthless.

But today, while researching one of the more persistent guards at the gates of the Minotaur’s labyrinth, up popped the county directory which, although outdated by many months, elicits at least the heads and deputies of all the various departments and agencies as well as the members of all boards and commissions.

We’re not sure that once we provide the pdf link it won’t magically change so we are posting it in full today so the next time you’re getting the all-American runaround- sending you from department to agency, from civil servant to appointed bureaucrat- you can use the search box at the top of this page to find the person, department, board or commissions you’re looking for.

Here’s the directory as of March 11, 2009 when it was last modified. Spelling of all words and names are as listed by CofK. Boards and Commissions are listed under the department to which they are administratively attached.


4396 Rice Street
Lihue, Hawaii 96766

COUNTY COUNCIL (7) (12-01-10)
CHAIR..BILL "KAIPO" ASING (D) ....241-6371
Vice-chair.......Jay Furfaro (D)....... 241-6371
Council Members
Tim Bynum (D)....... 241-6371
Dickie Chang (D).... 241-6371
Daryl Kaneshiro (D).. 241-6371
Lani Kawahara (D) .... 241-6371
Derek Kawakami (D)......... 241-6371
County Clerk
Peter A. Nakamura ......... 241-6371
Deputy County Clerk.....Ernest Pasion.... 241-6371
FAX: 241-6349

Mo‘ikeha Building
4444 Rice Street, Suite 235
Lihue, Hawaii 96766
MAYOR ...BERNARD P. CARVALHO, JR. (D) ....(12-01-10) .. 241-4900
Administrative Assistant......Gary Heu.......... 241-4900
Executive Assistant..............Beth Tokioka ....241-4900
Executive Assistant..............Lani Nakazawa..241-4900
Administrative Aide ............Kaui Tanaka...... 241-4900
Public Information Officer ..Mary Daubert ... 241-4900
Staff Services Assistant .......Soncy Tamashiro 241-4900
FAX: 241-6877
Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator....Christina Pilkington... 241-6203
Anti-Drug Coordinator...Theresa Koki...... 241-4925
FAX: 241-5127

4444 Rice Street, Suite 150, Lihue 96766
ADMINISTRATOR.....JOHN ISOBE ...... 241-4918
Administrative Aide ...Cyndi Ayonon ....... 241-4922
FAX: 241-5127

Chair ...........Leila Fuller (12-31-10)
Vice-chair....Mark Hubbard (12-31-10)
Secretary .....Christiane Nakea-Tresler (12-31-10)
.Rolf Bieber.......(12-31-09)
Robert Farias.....(12-31-10)
Judith Lenthall...(12-31-09)
Paul Weil.......... (12-31-11)

Barbara Bennett......... (12-31-09)
Jonathan Chun............(12-31-09)
Sherman Shiraishi......(12-31-11)
Carol Suzawa.............(12-31-11)
Leonard Vierra...........(12-31-10)
Matie Yoshioka......... (12-31-10)


Chair ..........Tore Wistrom (12-31-09)
Vice-chair...Randy Finlay (12-01-10)
Benjamin Bregman (12-31-09)
Nadine Nakamura (12-31-10)
Lorna Nishimitsu (12-31-11)
Sandy Sterker (12-31-11)
Michelle Swartman (12-31-09)

Chair ............Lisa Ellen Smith (12-31-11)
Vice-chair.....Regina Carvalho (12-31-11)
Secretary .....Uli‘i Castor (12-31-11)
Members......E. Kanani Alapa (12-31-10)
Mylie Alu (12-31-09)
Jade Battad (12-31-10)
JoAnne Georgi (12-31-09)
Cherie Mooy (07-31-09)
Ann Punohu (12-31-09)
Renee Sadang (12-31-11)
Valerie Yadao (12-31-09)
Darla Abbatiello (Kauai Police Department)
Malcolm Fernandez (Personnel Director)
Peter Nakamura (County Clerk's Office)
Mamo Cummings Graham (State Commissioner)

Chair ......Gini Kapali (12-31-09)
1st Vice-chair...Randy Hee (12-31-11)
2nd Vice-chair...Thomas Cooper (12-31-11)
Bob Crowell (12-31-10)
Trinette Kaui (12-31-11)
Dawn Murata (12-31-10)
Allan Smith (12-31-09)

FAX: 241-4499

3990 Kaana Street, Suite 100, Lihue 96766
Plans & Operations Officer ..Clifford Ikeda.....241-1800
FAX: 241-1860145

4444 Rice Street, Suite 220, Lihue 96766
FAX: 241-6319

4444 Rice Street, Suite 200, Lihue 96766
DIRECTOR....GEORGE COSTA..... 241-4946
Film Commissioner...Art Umezu ..... 241-4946
Energy Extension Coordinator ...Glenn Sato ..241-4946
Agriculture Specialist ..Charles W. Spitz ...... 241-4946
Tourism Specialist ..Nalani Brun ................... 241-4946
FAX: 241-6399

4444 Rice Street, Suite 280, Lihue 96766
DEPUTY DIRECTOR .....BELMA BARIS ........ 241-6565
FAX: 241-6533

Chair ............Benjamin Lizama, Jr. (12-31-10)
Vice-chair.....Richard Koenig, Jr. (12-31-11)
Craig DeCosta (12-31-11)
Cayetano "Sonny" Gerardo (12-31-11)
Eric Nordmeier (12-31-09)

4444 Rice Street, Suite 295, Lihue 96766
FAX: 241-6508
Chair ..........George Simpson (12-31-11)
Vice-chair...Darnney Proudfoot (12-31-10)
Guy Croydon (12-31-10)
Basilio Fuertes (12-31-09)
Linda Kaauwai-Iwamoto (12-31-09)
Wayne Mukai (12-31-11)
Jan Rudinoff (12-31-09)

Executive on Housing ....Kenneth Rainforth .... 241-4444
FAX: 241-4495

4444 Rice Street, Suite 120, Lihue 96766
DIRECTOR.....ERIC HONMA ....241-4966
FAX: 241-6585
Chair ..........Clifford Nakea (12-31-11)
Vice-chair...Gerald Matsunaga (12-31-09)
Shirley Akita (12-31-10)
William Gibson (12-31-10)
Gary Pacheco (12-31-11)
Myles Shibata (12-31-10)
Pauline Ventura (12-31-09)

4444 Rice Street, Lihue 96766
FAX: 241-5126

4444 Rice Street, Suite 140, Lihue 96766
FAX: 241-6593

Chair .........Rick Haviland, Jr. (06-30-09)
Vice-chair...Lani Aranio (12-31-10)
Suzanne Aquiar (12-31-10)
Gilbert F. Maerina (12-31-10)
Ann Sokei (12-31-10)
Cathy Adams (12-31-11)
Ryan Dela Pena (12-31-09)

4444 Rice Street, Suite 473, Lihue 96766
DIRECTOR....IAN COSTA... 241-6677
FAX: 241-6699

Chair/Architecture.....Patricia Sheehan (12-31-09)
Vice-chair/Hawaiian Culture .....Kaimi Molly Summers (12-31-11)
Alan E. Faye, Jr. (12-31-10)
L. Kehaulani Kekua (12-31-09)
Dennis Alkire (12-31-11)
Hawaiian Culture
Danita Aiu (12-31-11)
Randolph Wichman (12-31-09)

Chair/Environmentalist ...James Nishida (12-31-10)
Vice-chair/Business .....Caven Raco (12-31-09)
Camilla Matsumoto (12-31-09)
Kurt Akamine (12-31-10)
Herman Texeira (12-31-10)
Hartwell Blake (12-31-11)
Jan Kimura (12-31-11)

Chair/At-Large ........Roger Caires (12-31-11)
Vice-chair/At-Large...Caren F. Diamond (05-01-11)
Anahola-Haena .....Beryl Blaich (05-01-10)
At-Large....Johanna Gomez (12-31-10)
Hanapepe-Eleele..Jean Nishida Souza (05-01-09)
Kapaa-Wailua......Eugene Punzal (12-31-10)
Koloa-Kalaheo....Theresita Kinnaman (05-01-09)
Lihue-Hanamaulu...Puna Dawson (12-31-09)
Waimea-Kekaha ...Randall Uyehara (12-31-09)147

3990 Kaana Street, Suite 200, Lihue 96766
DEPUTY CHIEF .......MARK BEGLEY ..... 241-1602
FAX: 241-1604
Chair ..........Russell Grady (12-31-10)
Vice-chair...Charles Fulks, Jr. (12-31-09)
Leon Gonsalves (12-31-09)
Thomas Iannucci (12-31-11)
Alfred Nebre (12-31-11)
Rowena Tachibana (12-31-09)

4444 Rice Street, Suite 275, Lihue 96766
Solid Waste Coordinator..........Troy Tanigawa ......... 241-4839
FAX: 241-6604

4444 Rice Street, Suite 175, Lihue 96766

FAX: 241-6806

4444 Rice Street, Suite 175, Lihue 96766

FAX: 241-6609

4444 Rice Street, Suite 255, Lihue 96766

FAX: 241-6204

4444 Rice Street, Suite 500, Lihue 96766

FAX: 241-6859

Chair/Engineering.....Larry Dill (12-31-09)
Vice-chair/Fire ...Michael S. Kano (12-31-10)
At-Large.....Jose Diogo (12-31-09)
Building.....Rodney Pascua (12-31-09)
Electrical....Norbert Watanabe (12-31-09)
Fire .....__________________
Plumber...Gaylord Fukumoto (12-31-10)

4191 Hardy Street, Lihue 96766

4396 Rice Street, Suite 103, Lihue 96766
FAX: 241-6417148

4398 Pualoke Street, Lihue 96766
FAX: 246-8628
Chair ........Leland Kahawai (12-31-10)
Vice-chair...Randall Nishimura (12-31-10)
Secretary .....Dee Crowell (12-31-09)
Roy Oyama (12-31-09)
Ex-officio (voting)
Ian Costa (Planning Director)
Donald Fujimoto (County Engineer)
Raymond McCormick (Acting Engineer Program Manager, State Dept. of Transportation)

3990 Kaana Street, Suite 210
Lihue, Hawaii 96766
FIRST DEPUTY ......LORI WADA..... 241-1888
FAX: 241-1758

Monday, January 11, 2010



(PNN) -- The release of information on the applications of prospective board and commission (B&C) members took another turn today when, on instructions from the Office of Information Practices (OIP), good government activist Rob Abrew filed for that information and also submitted a written request to “seek clarification in writing from the County Clerk’s office as to whether and to what extent all the applications received in the Clerk’s office concerning the Mayor's successful applicants to various Kauai County Boards and Commission's, will be made available to the public”.

Abrew also asked “before any additional action is taken by the Clerks Office and by the Kauai County Council on any appointments not already approved, that the Clerk respond to this request”.

Abrew’s complete letter to County Clerk Peter Nakamura is reproduced below.

In response to a request by Abrew for guidance as to how to proceed given previous OIP rulings on the matter (see PNN/gw?) Friday - COUNCIL IGNORES, FLOUTS OIP IN CONFIRMING BOARD, COMMISSION MEMBERS) the OIP’s Acting Director Cathy L. Takase told Abrew that:

We have received your email dated January 7, 2010 asking that the Office of Information Practices (OIP) review whether or not the Kauai County Council must disclose the application of a successful applicant for a county board or commission prior to their action on that applicant, i.e., where the Mayor has appointed the individual and that individual's appointment is now before the Council for confirmation. You stated that you orally asked the County Clerk's office for copies of the applications and were orally denied access to them.

OIP does not generally issue opinions based upon informal requests (i.e., oral requests) made to agencies for records under the Uniform Information Practices Act (Modified), chapter 92F, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) (the UIPA). Therefore, we will not be opening a case file for your request. However, we note that you are correct that OIP has previously opined that Council confirmation of board and commission appointees must be done in an open meeting and that successful nominee applications are generally public with respect to information such as names, employment history, current occupations and education. See oip Op. Ltr. No. 05-04 (issued to Council member JoAnn Yukimura); Op. Ltr. No. 91-8 (application information to be disclosed for Governor's nominees).

It is our understanding that the meeting at which the Mayor's nominees were confirmed has passed. Given this fact, we presume that you are no longer interested in getting the actual applications, but are instead seeking to get clarification for future confirmations. Given these facts, we suggest that you seek clarification in writing from the County Clerk's office or the County Attorney's office as to whether and to what extent applications of successful mayoral nominees for boards and commissions will be made available. You may provide them with a copy of this letter, and they may consult with 01? if desired. If you receive a response that is inconsistent with the above-referenced 01P opinions, you may request an opinion at that time, enclosing a copy of your request and any written agency response received.

Although many of the nominees were confirmed last Wednesday without the information being publicly available despite a verbal request by Abrew, in today’s written document request Abrew asked for the applications of those prospective B&C members whose confirmations have been deferred because the council had to reschedule their interviews.

Verbal request for public documents related to current agenda items are always granted by council services without delay or charge. Written requests for documents can face a 10 business day delay before a response is sent, according to state law.

Since agendas need not be filed until six calendar days before a meeting, a document may not be available until well after the meeting.

According to sources, Nakamura and the council are seeking to set the responsibility for redacting the parts of the applications that do not fall into the “public interest” category- like phone numbers and other extraneous information- and releasing them.

But the OIP has said that it is the council’s responsibility to make the documents available before the meeting because the trigger for releasing the information is the public nature of the confirmation process and the public’s right to testify on each nominee armed with the information contained in the applications.

Abrew also submitted his testimony from last Wednesday’s council meeting as well as the letter from Takase along with the two requests.

The summaries and complete texts of OIP Opinion. Letters No. 91-8 and 05-04 are available on-line at:
91-8 Summery -- Full Text
05-04 Summery -- Full Text


Abrew’s letter to County Clerk Nakamura

Mr. Peter Nakamura, Kauai County Clerk

I would like to seek clarification in writing from the County Clerks office as to weather and to what extent all the applications received in the Clerks office concerning the Mayor's successful applicants to various Kauai County Boards and Commission's , will be made available to the public.

This clarification is in response to a oral request for these applications that was denied on January 4 2010 from this Office at the counter.

I would ask the County Clerk to respond to this request for clarification as soon as possible due to a letter I received from the State of Hawaii Office of Information Practices on January 8 2010. This letter addresses a previous letter sent to The County Clerks Office IE.. OIP 05-04. This letter is attached to this request.

I also ask before any additional action is taken by the Clerks Office and by the Kauai County Council on any appointments not already approved that the Clerk respond to this request

I have also included in this request for clarification, the testimony I presented to the County Council on 1-05-10. This testimony describes in detail my concerns with information not available to the public as required by law for the County Council to review and act on the Mayor’s selected appointments to various County Boards and Commissions.

Rob Abrew

Friday, January 8, 2010



(PNN) -- To the surprise of few if any, the Kaua`i County Council ignored state law and two Office of Information Practices (OIP) directives in refusing to provide the public with certain information contained in the applications of some 21 nominees for positions on Board and Commissions (B&C) before confirming most of them at Wednesday’s council meeting.

The confirmations came despite the detailed testimony from good governance activist Rob Abrew- posted Wednesday in this space- documenting how OIP had twice explained the importance of the public interest (over privacy concerns) in receiving the information contained in the applications of prospective B&C members before they are confirmed.

After consulting with the county attorney during a recess, Councilperson Lani Kawahara promised to send a communication to the Office of B&C (OBC) asking them to look into the matter, But according to Abrew if and when the information is made available it will be “too late” to be useful in testifying about specific applicants.

Abrew and council watcher Glenn Mickens both told PNN that during a recess in the meeting Councilperson Jay Furfaro told them that the council need not follow OIP directions because “the OIP can be wrong” as evidenced by the council winning their lawsuit against the county over the ES (executive session) 177 case.

The county’s recent victory in the “ES-177” lawsuit was related to OIP’s authority over open meetings or “sunshine law" (HRS 92 section I) matters, not the open records or the Uniform Information Practices Act (UIPA HRS 92F) matters where the law is specific in granting the OIP the authority to decide which should prevail privacy vs. pubic interest matters.

The OIP sought to define the ES-177 dispute as a matter of UIPA law because it involved the release of executive session minutes, a “record”. But the Hawai`i Supreme Count ruled that it was an open meetings matter, because it was related to an open meeting issue.

The OIP has said that because of the ruling it will no longer release “formal opinions” on sunshine issues but will continue in it’s role in determining UIPA matters

The applications were made available to the council but were not released to the public with councilmembers contending that it was a matter for the OBC to decide even though the OIP specifically instructed the council itself to release the material.

According to Abrew’s testimony:

In an Letter dated January 1, 2005 addressed to Former Council Member JoAnn Yukimura concerning Executive Session Interviews, the issue of public disclosure of a successful applicant's information was discussed at great length. This letter was responsible for the interviews of the successful applicant's moving from Executive Session to a Public Meeting.

This Letter was also copied and sent to Chair Asing, Former County Attorney Nakazawa and County Clerk Peter Nakamura

It stated:

The Charter provides that all members of boards and commissions shall be appointed and may be removed by the mayor, with the approval of the council.” Charter, Art. XXIII, § 23.02. It is our understanding that, in accordance with the Charter, the Mayor transmits to the Council the names of the appointees for the Council’s approval. A copy of each appointee’s application for appointment to the board or commission is also transmitted to the Council. The application includes, among other things, the appointee’s name and employer, a summary of the appointee’s major work experience, and a statement of the applicant’s understanding of the primary duties of the appointment.

Although the UIPA recognizes that individuals have a significant privacy interest in “applications” and “nominations” for “appointment to a governmental position,” the OIP has previously opined that this significant privacy interest is outweighed by the public interest in the application information concerning successful applicants, or nominees, because it “sheds light upon the composition, conduct, and potential conflicts of interest of government board and commission members.” OIP Op. Ltr. No. 91-8 (June 24, 1991). Therefore, the UIPA would require the disclosure of the appointees’ application information.

The resolutions to confirm a handful of the applicants was deferred pending a rescheduling of their missed interviews but there is no indication whether the information in their applications would be forthcoming.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


CAUSE IT’S ONE, TWO, THREE STRIKES YOUR OUT: The joke is probably a lot older than 35 years but on the “original” Saturday Night Live there was a sketch right after the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant leak that has always been one of our favorites especially when watching the machinations of government.

Seems the only guy who knows anything about the local nuke plant system is going on vacation and won’t be able to be reached. He leaves the crew with one instruction: “Remember you can’t put too much water in the reactor.”

After he leaves the crew starts to talk about the instruction and of course there evolves a split as to what exactly he meant by that cryptic order.

One faction assumes he meant that they should be careful not too put too much water in the reactor. The other says “no”- it means that it impossible to put too much water in so they should keep putting in more and more.

After much irrational discussion the dunderheads decide that rather than picking one interpretation they should do the one thing guaranteed to cause problems and they simply drain all the water from the reactor.

We bring this up because of news that the mental midgets in the legislature have decided that, what with budget matters coming up in a non-budget year- potentially pushing aside consideration of the usual second-session-of-the-cycle legislative matters- rather than either extending the session or using the shortened recess they announced the other day to deal with all the work, they will indeed actually cut the session short by a week because "we want people to focus on the major issues and not be distracted" according House Democratic leader to Blake Oshiro (D, Aiea-Halawa).

Obviously you can’t put too much time into legislating.

Of course this would have nothing to do with the fact that this is an election year with Senate President Coleen Hamabusa running for the open congressional seat in a special election, to be scheduled, most likely, for shortly after the session ends.

Just buy yourself some peanuts and Cracker Jacks and enjoy the show. Be it SNL, the ’62 Mets or the Hawai`i State Legislature, like Casey Stengel we gotta ask once again - “can’t anyone here play this game?”.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


WHEN THE CAT’S AWAY... : Anyone reading today’s local newspaper coverage of the council interviews of prospective board and commission (B&C) members would think that the session was rather mundane and that, like a popular t-shirt says “Experts agree- everything is A-Okay” down at the county buildings.

But of course when you look at the byline you find out why.

Reporter Mike Levine- the paper’s government beat reporter who, with Editor Nathan Eagle has spent the last year building back the credibility of the paper after a thirty-plus year lull- is apparently on vacation or taking a long weekend and the vapid Paul Curtis was there to report how smoothly everything went, with no mention of Rob Abrew’s testimony and the promises of some councilmembers to look into the matters that he raised before today’s scheduled confirmation votes.

We’ve pretty much outlined the problems with the lack of adherence to some county charter provisions over the past two days but Abrew’s testimony details OIP opinions regarding state open records laws that the council is set to violate if they proceed without providing the public with the non-confidential disclosures contained in the applications prospective B&C members have filled out- one the council has indeed received but have not released to the public.

We’ll try to follow up tomorrow on today’s activities based on reports from Abrew but for today we’ll present his testimony verbatim as it details the issues and the law that, despite Abrew’s testimony, Curtis ignored in favor highlighting kissy-face testimony of former Judge “What Me Worry, Alfred E, Let ‘em go” Laureta and the supposedly laudable qualities of all the nominees.

Here’s Abrew’s testimony:


Aloha and Good morning Council Members

I would like to offer my gratitude to all our community members here today that have become the Mayor's successful applicant for a position to one of Kauai's many Boards or Commissions We are here today to complete the process that the citizens of Kauai have approved in Charter section 23.02 (B) on how the Mayor appoints and our Council approves the successful applicant's to a Board or Commission.

On behalf of The Public I must ask today that the Council defer the interview process until the public has a chance to review and publicly testify on information contained on the successful applicant's application as required by HRS 92F, THE UNIFORM INFORMATION PRACTICES ACT (MODIFIED)

In an Letter dated January 1, 2005 addressed to Former Council Member JoAnn Yukimura concerning Executive Session Interviews, the issue of public disclosure of a successful applicant's information was discussed at great length. This letter was responsible for the interviews of the successful applicant's moving from Executive Session to a Public Meeting.

This Letter was also copied and sent to Chair Asing, Former County Attorney Nakazawa and County Clerk Peter Nakamura

It stated:

The Charter provides that all members of boards and commissions shall be appointed and may be removed by the mayor, with the approval of the council.” Charter, Art. XXIII, § 23.02. It is our understanding that, in accordance with the Charter, the Mayor transmits to the Council the names of the appointees for the Council’s approval. A copy of each appointee’s application for appointment to the board or commission is also transmitted to the Council. The application includes, among other things, the appointee’s name and employer, a summary of the appointee’s major work experience, and a statement of the applicant’s understanding of the primary duties of the appointment.

Although the UIPA recognizes that individuals have a significant privacy interest in “applications” and “nominations” for “appointment to a governmental position,” the OIP has previously opined that this significant privacy interest is outweighed by the public interest in the application information concerning successful applicants, or nominees, because it “sheds light upon the composition, conduct, and potential conflicts of interest of government board and commission members.” OIP Op. Ltr. No. 91-8 (June 24, 1991). Therefore, the UIPA would require the disclosure of the appointees’ application information.

This is straight forward. We cant say these are only “guidelines”, this is the Law, the intent of the Legislature.

This Letter also made reference to an OIP decision made back in June 1991 (OIP Op Ltr No. 91-8)

This OIP decision was in reference to the Governor's applications for appointments to Boards and Commissions to be reviewed by the State Senate.

Below you will find some information included in that opinion. Since the OIP directly referenced this decision I took the liberty to add Mayor where it had Governor and Council in place of Senate.

*Government Record*

HRS 92F-3 Defines "Government record" means information maintained by an agency in written, auditory, visual, electronic, or other physical form.

*Successful Applicants*

*OIP 91-8*

We find that certain information about a Mayor's nomination would shed light upon the operations of government boards and commissions, and also upon the Mayor's and the Council's role in selecting board and commission members on the public's behalf.

In our opinion, the public has an interest in the application and nomination records concerning a nominee that would reveal the composition, conduct, and potential conflicts of interest of board and commission members whom the Mayor appoints with the Council's approval

We believe that this public interest would be furthered by the disclosure of a nominee's identity and the other nominee information discussed below.

The nominee's work experience required for appointment to the particular board and commission must also be disclosed to the public upon request. Under the UIPA, an individual has a significant privacy interest in the individual's "nongovernmental” employment history, except as necessary to demonstrate compliance with requirements for a particular government position," in this case, as a board or commission member.

We find that more than a "scintilla of public interest" in a nominee's qualifying work experience exists "to preclude a finding of a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy."

We find that the UIPA requires public disclosure of a nominee's current occupation, business address, business telephone number, education and political membership due to a charter provision to keep our government to a bare political majority as possible.

The nominee's home address, home telephone number, birth date, financial information, and other information contained in the application must be kept confidential under the UIPA exception for a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy.

*Public Access*

Under section 92F-19(a)(6), Hawaii Revised Statutes, the Mayor may disclose information, including confidential information, about a nominee to the Council that will review the nomination. When the Council receives confidential information about a nominee from the Mayor, the Council must observe the applicable restrictions on disclosure. *However, the Council will be required to publicly disclose certain nominee information under its review when the public interest in disclosure of the information outweighs the nominee's privacy interest. *

Both opinions guide us on what is public information and what is confidential in a successful applicant's application. In my opinion the last line tells us that before the Council can review the information and act to approve or not approve *the Council must disclose the non confidential successful applicant information to the public. This information should be available to the public when the agenda is posted, it was not. *

The communications from the Mayor received in the County Clerks office on 12-4-09 and 12-23-09 stated that the applications of today’s successful applicants were attached. This allowed more then enough time for the Clerks office to remove the confidential information on the application and make available to the public the information needed for the Council to review and move forward. If the applications were not attached and the Mayor did not include them, please have the Mayor send over the applications so we can move forward.

Due to time I have offered only a small portion of the information contained in the two OIP letters I mentioned. I feel to get a complete understanding of all the information supplied, the case notes, case law and Legislative intent of the UIPA you must read the opinions in their entirety. Please feel free to ask you Council Attorney their advice on if it is appropriate to move forward today with this new information supplied today.

My testimony here today is to not interfere with a process that brings members of our fine community together for public serve. But to ask questions about the process and are we doing what we can to make our government the most open and free flowing of information as possible while respecting the private lives of all in our community.

Mahalo for your time

Rob Abrew

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


UNFAIR TO MIDDLING: We’d been wondering when we’d hear from Rolf Bieber himself telling the long sad story of his public service on the Board of Ethics (BOE) and his abominable treatment by just about everyone in the county administration for trying to do the job he was sworn to do- an unforgivable act on Kaua`i.

Bieber’s letter to the editor in today’s local newspaper cites his saga, chapter and verse, naming names of everyone involved from Mayor Bernard Carvalho to County Attorney Al Castillo, the rest of the BOE members, the members of the county council and assorted king’s-uniform-bedecked bureaucrats and sycophants, all carrying the kings sword.

Bieber writes that his taking of the

oath to preserve the Charter soon aligned me against BOE colleagues, mayoral appointees, the Office of Boards and Commissions (OBC), the County Attorney (CA) and apparently Mayor Carvalho himself, who inexplicably refused to reappoint me to the board for a second term.

But, although the unrivaled plodding cronyism of a politically-tone-deaf Carvalho has set the tone for this administration’s corruption as never before, it could not have been accomplished without Office Boards and Commissions (OBC) administrator John Isobe.

Bieber writes that

Mr. Isobe would on several other occasions try inappropriately to influence me — once, when I requested public documents that could expose members of the administration and commissions he asked that I not share the documents with anyone, and later calling me to meet in his office “to see how things were going” but to actually express his desire for the BOE to reach a “super-majority or unanimous-vote only for release of County Attorney opinions to the public.”

The irony in all this is that it was in fact the same good governance activists that Bieber thanks for their support at the end of the letter who were among those who helped create Isobe’s job.

When the “original” Charter Commission- the one appointed in 2004 under the “every 10 years” provision in the charter- proposed a slew of amendments for the ’06 election, one that all agreed would go a long way toward repairing the apparently broken board and commission system on Kaua`i was the creation of the OBC.

The problems the commission found were due to the lack of guidance from the administration as most newly appointed B&C members were just thrown into their position with no idea what they were doing there.

The thought was that an office of B&Cs would provide the necessary support with training and a one-stop central place for commissioners and board members to go with questions as to how to do their jobs correctly and ethically.

But, as we all find out sooner or later, you can write good legislation and charter provisions until you’re blue in the face but if corrupt-minded individuals dedicated to obedience and cronyism are elected and those elected appoint more of the same to administrative posts there’s little that will work the way it’s supposed to.

Rather than facilitating the B&C members in their quest to uphold their oath Isobe has intervened to make sure they serve the political goals of the mayor.

We can tinker with- or even fully rewrite- the Kaua`i County Charter. But if we continue to elect self-aggrandizing boobs like Carvalho with a “give the new guy a chance” and “how bad could he be” attitude we will, as Bieber says, keep finding out what we knew already... “together we can’t”

One more note- Bieber writes:

In April of 2009, Castillo told me he had meetings with Kauai Circuit Court Judge Randal Valenciano on several occasions concerning 20.02 (D)

Huh? But April of 2009 the controversy over 20.02(D) had been well underway for years with dueling “interpretations” making the matter ripe for an eventual 5th Circuit Court lawsuit.

We certainly deserve an explanation from both Castillo and Valenciano on this apparent breach of ethics.

Monday, January 4, 2010


LOOK OUT KID, THEY KEEP IT ALL HID: Tomorrow is restocking day for Kaua`i Boards and Commissions (B&Cs), as the county council will quasi-secretly- in an open meeting that won’t be televised- prepare to rubber stamp twenty new B&C members, selected not as much for their expertise as for their ability to bend over when the administration demands it.

As we wrote a couple of weeks ago, rather than televise these interviews the council prefers to spend the money to televise themselves patting each other on the back for presenting “certificates” honoring everyone and anyone that accomplished some minor feat, especially those with big families who vote.

We also told readers about a charter provision prohibiting a majority of any particular board from being members of any one political party and how it may take on new meaning with the slew of new members of the Democratic Party- a number that, according to one democrat in the know, went from 38 to around 4,000 on Kaua`i- that joined to vote in the Obama-Clinton “primary” held by the party last year.

In light of Mayor Bernard Carvalho’s big show of joining the Democratic Party last year and his well document penchant for selecting political cronies and sycophants to B&Cs you’d think the council would look carefully for that when confirming his nominations so as not to run afoul of the law.

But while the “application” to be a B&C member asks about party affiliation apparently the council isn’t privy to the official list of members of political parties on Kaua`i even though they are sworn to uphold the county charter.

As a mater of fact, we’ve learned that as of the date of the agenda posting, the council apparently did not have the applications in their possession- and we have no reason to believe that will change by the official confirmation time.

But even worse is that when these people file before the council tomorrow the council will definitely not have the basic information these people will swear to in their public disclosure forms that list potential conflicts of interest as well as financial information

That’s because, by tradition, those disclosure forms aren’t given to the council at all much less before the interviews but rather go to the Board of Ethics (BOE), which until recently had never publicly released any of the public disclosure statements.

The councilmembers will try to tell us they are doing their job thoroughly when they interview the 20 prospective B&C members tomorrow – as they have in the past- saying “trust us” rather than showing us.

But the question remains- how can they possibly say they do a thorough job of vetting these nominees when they don’t have any of the basic documents needed to do so.

Though the interviews are tomorrow, the actual appointments will happen during the regular council meeting Wednesday, when council watchdog Rob Abrew has told us he will challenge the council on both the issue of party membership and the lack of disclosure forms.

We fully expect the council to follow their usual M.O. and fully ignore Abrew with, at best, a “thank you- next?” and at worst a double-talking, intimidation, “how dare you impugn our integrity” attack after Abrew is sent back to his seat.

The council loves to blame the administration when any boondoggle or other B&C related corrupt scheme is revealed- usually by member of the public at televised meetings- and make up some cockamamie story about why they are blameless.

We’d estimate that at least 50% of the corruption on Kaua`i involves the active or passive complicity of people like those who will be interviewed tomorrow and confirmed Wednesday. Remember that and the council’s “ainokea” actions next time they whine that they have no control and “it’s the administration” that is responsible for B&C activity .

For the record, here are the twenty interviewees:

•Lisa Wilson -Term ending 12/3112012
•Russell Kyono -Term ending 12/3112011 (replacing Richard Koenig Jr.)

•Roy Asao Oyama -Term ending 12/3112012

Dennis Aquino, Fire designation -Term ending 12/3112011
Gerald T. Nakasone, At-Large -Term ending 12/3112012
Lawrence J. Dill, Engineer designation -Term ending 12/3112012

Warren Perry -Term ending 12/3112012
Brad Nagano -Term ending 12/3112012

Roy Morita -Term ending 12/3112012

•Lawrence Chaffin, Jr. -Term ending 12/3112010 (replacing Nadine Nakamura)
•Dirk Apao -Term ending 12/3112012
•Linda Faye Collins -Term ending 12/3112011 (replacing Lorna A. Nishimitsu)

FIRE COMMISSION: ·Jan Rudinoff -Term ending 12/3112012
•Basilio Fuertes, Jr. -Term ending 12/3112012

•Gerald Shigemi Matsunaga -Term ending 12/3112012

•Camilla Chieko Matsumoto, At-large designation -Term ending 12/3112012

Rowena Tachibana -Term ending 12/3112012
George Tiffany -Term ending 12/3112012

•Charles King -Term ending 12/3112011 (replacing Tom Cooper)
•Sheri S. Kunioka-Volz -Term ending 12/3112010 (replacing Dawn Murata)
•William Dahle -Term ending 12/3112012