Wednesday, March 31, 2010


STILL ON PATROL: The recent decision by the Kaua`i Board of Ethics (BOE) to enforce the conflict-of-interest prohibitions as expressed in the county charter’s section 20.02(D) was an important first step in reforming what has evolved into a traditionally ethically-challenged political tool of administrations and councils.

And apparently members of the public aren’t going to rest on their laurels if Horace Stoessel’s communication asking the BOE to “schedule three reviews that I believe will serve the public interest as well as the board’s interest, with a brief rationale for each” is any indication.

Although Stoessel’s requests are matters that the BOE needs to examine until they come under a less political and more independent template and appointment system - similar to that of the State Ethics commission- any reforms may be merely akin to shifting deck chairs on the Titanic until the charter review commission decides (or a group of citizens petitions) to deal with the really problematic charter sections like the one governing the BOE’s structure.

That said, here’s Horace’s request:


TO: Chairperson Sally Motta and members of the Board of Ethics
FROM: Horace Stoessel
SUBJECT: Request for Reviews
DATE: March 30, 2010

The purpose of this communication is to ask the Board of Ethics to schedule three reviews that I believe will serve the public interest as well as the board’s interest, with a brief rationale for each.

1. A review of the board’s Guide to Ethical Issues (2004), with a view to making appropriate revisions. Aside from routine corrections such as recognizing the creation of the Office of Boards and Commissions Administrator, potentially confusing references to the Code of Ethics need correcting. In the last paragraph of page one, for example, the Code is referred to as “these ordinances,” while the examples listed on pages 4-8 routinely cite the County Code ahead of the Charter—a practice that should be reversed.

2. A review of Chapter 3 Article 1 of the County Code in light of Charter Section 20.04D, with a view to recommending changes per 20.05D(5). In 1971 the Council enacted Section 25, entitled “ETHICS,” consisting of slightly more than two double-spaced pages. In 1976 the section was replaced with approximately six single-spaced pages entitled “CODE OF ETHICS.” It is reasonable to assume that the new title and expanded contents made it easy for people to assume that Chapter 3 Article 1, rather than Charter Article XX, contains the code of ethics. The title of 3.1 should be changed to something like “Supplements to the Code of Ethics,” and the contents should be reviewed in light of the requirement that ordinances should be necessary supplements to the code. For example, is mere repetition of sections from Article XX justified by 20.04D?

3. A review of the relationship between the Board of Ethics and the administration in light of the board’s authority and responsibility per Article XX, the job description of the Boards and Commissions Administrator (Charter Section 7.06 adopted in 2006), and the County Attorney’s role (Charter Section 8.04). The board is not a part of the administration, but the fact that the Boards and Commissions Administrator and the County Attorney are appointed by the Mayor and serve the board can lead to the perception that the board is just another part of the administration. One key issue is whether the board has the right to seek outside counsel when it deems such counsel is needed.

I request that this communication be placed on the board’s April 9 agenda.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


WHICH WAY IS UP?: Excuse us if we’re off chasing a pet peeve today but this weekend’s rescue in Hanakapi`ai has highlighted a problem somewhere in describing island locations.

We’re not quite sure where the problem is but we’re pretty sure it’s once again promulgated confusing if not erroneous information being disseminated.

Though the county press release doesn’t appear on the county web site today, the “lede” in the local newspaper says:

A multi-agency response Sunday afternoon led to the successful recovery of a family who got into trouble off Hanakapi`ai Beach on Na Pali Coast, a county press release states.

A 43-year-old father and his two sons, ages 10 and 12, were rescued from a cave west of Hanakapi`ai Beach on Sunday after a long operation, the release states (emphasis added).

Two problems appear to those who know Hanakapi`ai as well those who’ve noted a fairly recent penchant in describing directions in both county press releases and stories in the local newspaper.

First of all, while there are a couple of “temporary” caves that “appear” on the Ke`e Beach side of Hanakapi`ai – usually in the summer but sometimes in the spring- there are never any that appear “around a bend” on the Kalalau side.

You can probably see where we’re going here especially after reading this penultimate sentence in the newspaper which says:

Since 1970, there have been over 30 drowning deaths at Hanakapi`ai, according to various sources including Patrick Durkin’s Kaua`i Beach Hazard Survey and the Web site (The Edge Of Kaua`i Investigations), which indicates people getting swept westward from Hanakapi`ai Beach normally find no safe exit point for three to six miles (emphasis added).

That, as we said, is because there aren’t any. We suspect the editor might have known that but accepted the “west” description given by the county at face value and sought to reconcile it by describing a rather miraculous appearance of a cave on the Kalalau side.

It’s all because whomever is giving directions- whether the county or the paper- is using the continental designations of “east, west, north and south” rather than the island-friendly mauka and makai for toward the mountains and toward ocean and. more to the point, common reference points- such as Ke`e and Kalalau or `Ewa and Diamondhead in Honolulu- to indicate direction around the island.

This results in the wrong directions being reported because very few places are really strictly east or west as they move in a circular manner rather than straight lines. That’s has led to “choke” confusion in describing numerous car crashes and other police fire and rescue incidents.

Our road signs don’t indicate east west north and south simply because it leads to confusion especially if you’re going from say the northern most point on the island in Kilauea to the end of the road. While most might think and say you’re traveling “further north” actually you’re moving in more a westerly direction.

One more thing- we’ve noted that, as a matter of fact, the Honolulu newspapers always leave out mention of the four continental directions from their county-press-release- based reports as one did today.

So how ‘bout it Kaua`i folks- how about getting with the program and giving us directions in the terms we’re used to hearing and can use?

We now return you to your regularly scheduled rants.

Monday, March 29, 2010


DOGGIE PEE, DOGGIE DOO: It won’t be long now until dog poop is once again on the lips of the citizenry what with the expiration of the experimental “bikes on the dog path” law and the new law before the council promising a long hot summer of dog path hearings a-comin’.

So get out you doggie-doodoo-bag and pin it to your shirt because it’s already being spread pretty thick on the pages of the local newspaper- all before the public hearing on the bill to expand dog-crapping to the entire path and also before the required survey is available.

Just this weekend we’ve already been hit with a flaming bag-o-crap lobbed over the wall in a predictable disinformation campaign from the brownshirts of the so-called stakeholders committee: Dr. Randall C. Blake, Sue Hansen, Thomas Noyes, Dr. Becky Rhoades.

Even Joan Conrow- who is usually more concerned with topics of real importance such as her upcoming Honolulu Weekly piece on the latest from the Naue burials debacle- has been busy with watching where she walks after describing a little walk on the “linear park”

After a meeting of the persons if not the minds between her and Councilperson Tim Bynum, who has introduced the latest dog path bill and was an original proponent of the path, she wrote:

Koko and I found ourselves meeting Tim at Lihi Park — the southerly end of the section where dogs are allowed — yesterday afternoon.

Now, readers of this blog know that I am no fan of the Path, but it was a lovely day and the ocean — turquoise and glassy under an offshore wind — looked absolutely ono. Of course, I couldn’t legally access it for a swim so long as Koko was at my side, so I focused instead on the task at hand: listening to Tim.

For those who don’t generally delve into underworld of the anonymous trolls in the comments section of Joan’s blog, it’s pretty much of a zoo where the bored, lonely sophomoric and adolescent-minded baboons gather to mindlessly throw their own feces at each other and Joan.

And today, after mentioning the lawsuit against KIUC for refusing to do anything but talk about stopping their wholesale slaughter of Shearwaters, she wrote about what one particularly dedicated defacer posted over the weekend:

This topic always makes me think of the thoughtful “f the birds” comment left by the shift-key impaired, short dash-fixated “dwps” — aka “mainland mentality,” “Darwin was pretty smart,” “young white atheist male” and “anonymous” — who recently left the comment:

“only here, and a few weird places on the mainland populated by strange people, would a bike path be seen as some sort of bag thing. its bizarre”

I’m assuming he meant “bad” and not “bag,” so let me spell it out for him. A bike path that is part of a road system, so as to truly facilitate alternative transportation, could be seen as a good thing.

But a bike path that runs over a beach or burials, is constructed of coastline hardening concrete, delivers hordes of people to places previously untrammeled, exposes you to possible $500 fines and puts you on the radar of an over zealous enforcement officer riding a bicycle with a poodle in a basket, well, in my opinion, that’s a bad thing.

Although we generally skip the troll-fest we happened on this one and maybe not so coincidentally it stood out to us too.

So a little Kealia and island history is in order.

In 1976 a Japanese developer wanted to put a resort where the Kumukumu camp- right across the highway from the beach- had recently been shut down.

People fought like hell to stop it and did so successfully but at one point those who opposed it but thought it inevitable had suggested Kealia be officially designated as a county beach park to “protect” it from development.

Being malihini at the time we at first blanch didn’t get it. But on second thought we had been around the island long enough to have seen the pattern and saw what happened whenever a “park” designation was made.

Many local people knew full well what happens on Kaua`i when you make a beach or any other gathering place into a “park”.

Where people once had free reign to camp, fish, even drive right to the camping spot and generally be free of rules and restrictions, all of a sudden we now had permits, rangers, prohibitions- including against bringing dogs- and generally had to go somewhere else to relax on weekends ad holidays.

So we stopped the beach park at Kealia. Some of us tracked it for decades and every time the proposal came back up we nipped it in the bud.

Now comes the bike path- that had it’s origins in Kealia Kai- and we thought we had nixed the beach park idea again with a plan that would have the path just run along the old haul cane road.

But Bernard Carvalho- then head of at first the Parks and Rec Division and later the newly-created Department of Parks and Rec- unbeknownst to anyone including the council until it was a done deal, formed a secret committee (later called the stakeholders committee), filled it with bike path proponents and then “secretly” built illegal un-permitted pavilions along the bike path because they had “extra money” (don’t ya just love that one?).

Finally they had to tear down and re-do some of the pavilions that dotted the path. But instead of leaving well enough alone, when the “dog path” bill came along all of a sudden Bernard and his cronies had somehow “declared” the bike path with pavilions to be a “linear park” where dogs would be automatically banned,

Even though by law official designation of parks is supposed to be done by the council- not to mention that no one had ever heard of a “linear park” on Kaua`i before and in fact the term didn’t appear anywhere in our charter, ordinances or administrative rules- their “done deal” stood, especially when Bernard became Mayor.

So through the back door Kealia has essentially become a “beach park” despite citizen vigilance, all due to Bernard’s lack of foresight and bending and breaking of laws, rules and regs and the lack of anyone on the council willing to challenge anything having to do with the bike path since Mel Rapozo and Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho left

That’s just one of the corners cut and reasons why we have an ugly ribbon of concrete running along the beach instead of the natural unspoiled shoreline we used to enjoy.

As with many Kaua`i institutions, its not “bike paths” in general- or electric power co-ops or a dozen other mom-and-apple-pie ideas- it’s THIS bike path that causes us to have to sidestep another stinking pile.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


DISBELIEVING IS SEEING: We actually enjoy ridiculing the all too easy to mock Kaua`i administration and council for their ability to keep us guessing whether they are just totally incompetent or simply so addicted to secrecy that it just seems that way.

Once again the ability to play the game of public policy and related public relation has taken a pie in the face with the county’s press release announcing “County Charter now available online”

Actually it’s always been there but as anyone who has gone to the now defunct- without a redirect- on-line version of the charter knows it’s been woefully out of date with recent charter amendments not just missing from the charter but unavailable anywhere at the county’s web site.

So it was with hope we that we read:

In response to numerous requests, the codified version of the County Charter is now available online.

To access the charter, please go to
Originally adopted by voters in 1969, there have been many amendments to the County Charter over the years.

Codified? Sounds good. Sounds like it might just be the actual words passed by the voters- all of them up through those passed in 2008.

So will the real charter final please stand up? Will we be able to cease having to do a search of our own files in order to find the language of, oh say, the seemingly forgotten, still unenforced, citizen-petitioned, general plan enforcement amendment and others passed recently?

Yeah, right- just read the penultimate line for a clue:

The official document remains in the County Clerk’s office.

And it was worse when we went to the new and improved posting where it says

Disclaimer: This is the Unofficial Charter of the County of Kaua`i, and as such MAY NOT represent the law in its current form (no warranties are made regarding its accuracy or completeness). It is being provided as a courtesy while the official edition is being finalized.

Please Note: This information is being provided as a public service. Users should confirm the accuracy of the information with the handcopy available at the Office of the County Clerk. While the County of Kaua`i will strive to keep this material accurate and up-to-date, those people needing an official, accurate, and up-to-date edition of the Charter will be able to obtain hard copies of those documents and other pertinent information from the Office of the County Clerk.

So the first result of the change is that no one who previously bookmarked the charter and never saw the release or the newspaper regurgitation story will be able to find it without jumping through who knows how many hoops.

But if you do find it what you’ll find is the long missing index (inaccurate when used with the pdf pages) but just the same tired old lack of amendments- with the exception of the addition of the “County Auditor” amendment but without any of the other 2008 changes and sans some earlier ones- notable the general plan amendment.

It’d be nice if it was even one step forward two steps backward with these dolts now and again but instead we have three steps sideways with a moonwalk thrown in to boot.

No wonder we ask so often “can’t anyone here play this game?”

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


DREAMIN’ OF REALITY: One of the peculiarities of the ease of travel over the past century or so is the lack of context that causes parachute residents of a new chosen community tend to think the local culture began the day they arrived.

And because the “local” Hawai`i culture is both so familiar and so foreign to newcomers it’s easy to forget that all may not be as it appears to them in retrospect.

It’s the reason why there is a difference between kama`aina- literally familiar with the land, including it’s history- and the malihini and why, while it occurs all over the county and indeed the world, it is a unique distinction in Hawai`i.

So it seems to be with our friend Joan Conrow’s “review” of John Wehrheim’s movie “Taylor Camp,” in which she apparently attempts to superimpose the island and culture she found on arrival with that of late 60’s and early 70’s Kaua`i.

Joan writes:

Taylor Camp was the beginning of the end for Kauai, especially the North Shore. Because the campers reflected an attitude that was sharply at odds with local culture, an attitude that still persists to this day.

The board brush approach of that statement seems to see a monolithic “local culture” but it’s impossible to analyze that culture without separating out what was culture derived from a truly unique, native and later mutli-cultural island and that superimposed at the time by years of cultural genocide courtesy of the western capitalist missionaries along with normal provincialism that yields cultural traits that can be found in any mid-western American town.

She continues:

Those who came to Taylor Camp didn’t care that no one else on the island wanted them here, except others like them who had arrived earlier and spread the word, encouraging more to come...

They didn’t care that locals were offended by their nudity and lifestyle, or that they largely lived apart from the locals, literally lost in their own little world, just like the mainland transplants of today who stick to themselves and don’t care that locals are offended by the extravagant eyesores they construct in the view planes. The campers with their treehouses were essentially no different than those who build mansions that are similarly occupied by transients who are just passing through, removed from the larger workings of the community.

A pretty strong statement that could be expected from someone who wasn’t there. But the reality was these people weren’t building even permanent structures much less mansions and the “treehouses" blocked no view planes and were in fact invisible from the road and most of the beach.

The fact is that most of the long oppressed working class locals and those few who still practiced a truly native culture were not just tolerant but unusually welcoming given the traits of this new and different kind of haole.

“Haole John’s” stylized depiction of an us and them dynamic- achieved through interviews with the likes of western luna’s stooge Mayor Malapit- notwithstanding, a very different dynamic was underway.

While the power elite- the same paternalistic white ruling class and selected “coconuts” (brown on the outside, white in the middle) may have taken this approach the vast majority, especially the young people, were at least curious and in many ways took the cultural revolution of the 60’s as a cue for their own cultural renaissance.

Joan continues:

I was struck by how the campers, with few exceptions, gave nothing back to the place that they supposedly loved so much. Instead, they just took: food stamps, welfare, the time and patience of Clorinda, the longtime Hanalei postmaster who had to pass out their mail through general delivery, rides from people who had the cars they couldn’t afford or eschewed, fish from the ocean, water from the streams, schooling for their children, medical care. They were skimmers, folks who came in and took the cream off the top, much like the land speculators and Realtors and vacation rental operators who continue to exploit “Paradise” today, leaving their trash and doo doo and houses behind.

If all you knew was what John put in the movie you might believe some of this to be true. The fact is that Clorinda and the Chings- and almost all of the Hanalei businesspeople- loved the campers and had none of the animosity, much less a barely tolerant attitude, that Joan may have gotten from John, who was certainly was in no way a camper and was more akin to the invading, rich, land-owning and raping haole that Joan apparently abhors.

While there were many more transient “campers” who might have fit Joan’s description what Wehrheim apparently intentionally left out of his movie is that most were gainfully- if not legally- employed in the pakalolo trade.

And guess what? In that sense they fit perfectly into the local culture because soon after their arrival, not so coincidentally every family on the island- including most of the members of the police department- were driving brand new four-wheel-drive trucks thanks to the “money trees” in their back yards.

But for the “hippies” it was a lot harder. Since they had no back yard- and did it as a job- they hiked miles up streams and mountains to grow their crops- working a lot harder than anyone could imagine.

More from “Joan”:

But what really jumped out was the campers' selfishness, their insistence on doing what they wanted with no thought to how it affected the locals or this place, their overall lack of respect. One example was how they started living on the beaches, which prompted county officials to shorten the shoreline camping period from one month to two weeks, so locals ended up getting screwed. They also gave fake names like “mermaid’s pool” to places that already had perfectly good names conferred on them from ancient times. Amazingly, not one person interviewed in the film expressed one word about the Hawaiian culture or history. Instead, it was as if the place never existed until they arrived.

Here is where the inability to put things into historical context is most egregious. First of the current county camping permits are the same as always- one month spread out over a year. Some changes were made but not until the 90’s but there is no such thing as a shoreline camping permit- only ones for designated county parks.

And as far as making up names there were few if any places that didn’t have haole or pidgin names way before anyone from camp got there. It’s only since the late 70’s that more and more have regained their own names. For example no one- not local people not anyone (although in retrospect we’re pretty sure the Chandlers knew)- ever mentioned the name “Makana” but rather called the mountain across from camp “Bali Hai” since it was the one depicted as the mythical island in the movie South Pacific... which is where many north shore places got the names that were used at the time.... and it was local people who gave them those names.

And, as we said before, in many ways the influx actually contributed to the beginnings of the revival of the kanaka maoli culture which had been suppressed to the point of virtual extinction until soon after the arrival of these new westerners who eschewed that suppression and encouraged cultural expression.

It’s also easy to conflate those at Taylor Camp with many of the other “hippie enclaves” on the island. Camp was a place that tolerated and in fact encouraged transients, being the “gateway” to and stopover for Na Pali where many hundreds of others came and went.

But Joan lumps the few dozen who actually lived there- many of whom at the time developed relationships with and now live as part of that same local culture Joan sees being disrespected- along with the transients who, like today rich or poor simply come to paradise to exploit it.

Joan’s view of a continuous kanaka culture ignores the fact that it was for all intent and purpose killed off way before the sixties, practiced perhaps by a few families who kept it alive at home but were either afraid or embarrassed to do so publicly.

Many of us who came to know these families - not necessarily campers, many of who moved to the Big Island where they are members of that community- especially in Anahola shared political support for the rebirth of that culture and provided an atmosphere where the fear and embarrassment were at least in part a thing of the past.

This is not to say that the hippies- and that covers a lot of ground from the political activists to the druggies and hangers on- somehow directly caused the rejuvenation and free expression of the native Hawaiian culture that bloomed shortly after they got here.

But the very attitudes that supported and encourage that renaissance make the contention that they somehow are to be lumped in with the rich haoles who now build gated mansions on the hill and wouldn’t know an ipu from mele is only possible if you overlay the current zealousness of native culture today on the suppressed, traditionally provincial, plantation-mentality of “local” culture of the day.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


A COLD DAY IN HELL: As Sir Lancelot in the person of local newspaper reporter Mike Levine prepares for his Friday departure from the paper- and, we hear, the island - as this brief shining moment of journalistic Camelot ends he’s left us with one last accurate depiction of last Wednesday’s council debate on how best to keep the upcoming budget hearings from being viewed by the public.

But as we watched slack-jawed at the insipidly transparent tossing of anykine noodles against the wall by those opposing Tim Bynum’s and Lani Kawahara’s quest to open the process to televised scrutiny it seemed more like a cartoonish melodrama than a sober legislative hearing.

So we take you to Frostbite Falls and The Further Adventures of Rocky “Lani” J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle “Tim” J. Moose in:

“How Much Sunshine Does it Take to Melt a Snow Job?” or “A Crony Enslaved Is A Crony Earned”

When last we left our heroes moose and squirrel, the evil Pottsyvanian Boris “Darryl” Badenov and his paramour Natasha “Derrick” Fatale were plotting to perpetuate Fearless Leader’s (guess who) plot for council domination as Jay-Peabody and his pet boy Dickie-Sherman looked on.

Bullwinkle: What are we going to do Rocky? We can’t let these no-good-nics thwart the people’s right to see the way we’re spending their money.

Rocky: I know Bullwinkle- we’ll put the matter on the agenda and everyone will see their evil plans and the people will rise up and demand ...

Bullwinkle: Uh, didn’t we try that last summer Rocky?

But when the time for debate came to economically downtrodden Frostbite Falls, knowing the public’s traditional gullibility and short attention span Boris and Natasha had some tricks up their sleeve.

Boris: People of Frostbite Falls. We must stop moose and squirrel’s from letting world know of incompetence and corruption, er I mean wise and compassionate use of tax dollars. If we spend $17,000 on televising budget hearings that will be sole cause for county employees furloughs. And we must keep sessions secret so bond rating people won’t have a record of utter stupidity, er I mean brilliant money management. Otherwise world will know of our waste and pork-barreling, er I mean benevolent oversight.

Natasha: Good one Boris- why not tout slush fund while you’re at it.

Fearless Leader: Stick to the script you two or you’ll be sent to the civil service gulag.

So- will our heroes get the budget hearings on TV? Will Boris get his kickback? Will fearless leader run again?

Tune in again next time for “Powder-puff For The People” or “White Noise Is Good Noise”

(Commercial for next $1 million, unaccountable, unsuccessful, down-the-rat-hole tourism grant).

Now it’s time to tell some fractured fairy tales so let’s get into the way back machine.

Peabody: Now Sherman, remembering I’m both for televising the meetings and against spending the money what do you have to say for yourself?

Sherman. Why don’t you see- even if we televise them no one will ever get to see them. Each day’s session lasts eight hours so it will only air in the middle of the night before the next day’s session goes on the air... because as everyone knows the days are only eight hours long here in the past and weekends and the future don’t exist.

(Next commercial for multi-million $ helicopter-toy).

When we last left our intrepid duo they were being cut off by fearless leader after the double-talking bamboozling of the rest of the council.

Rocky: What are we gonna do now Bullwinkle? Look like, the local newspaper’s on-line streaming notwithstanding, there’ll be no TV for most of the people who don’t have or use computers?

Bullwinkle: I know- we’ll introduce a bill to allow more vacation rentals and strip all the protections in the last bill.

Rocky: How will that get the budget hearings on TV?

Bullwinkle: It won’t. But I’m moving on. People will only remember we fought for them and won’t care if we give up. This may not be Chinatown but it is Kaua`i.

So will our heroes get the hearings televised? Will the local newspaper simply tape their “feed” and submit it to public access TV? Will the administration find $17,000 after they stole $130,000 from the line item for televising meetings for an on-line streaming project that should have been in next year’s budget?

Tune in again next time for:

“Broadband Melody” or “A penny encumbered is a pound yearned for”.

Monday, March 22, 2010



(PNN) -- When Rob Abrew first started his campaign to force the council to provide the public with the actual applications filed by prospective board and commission members and do so in a timely manner he suspected he might be opening a can of worms.

This past Wednesday his suspicions- that the lack of sunshine might be covering up at best incompetence and at worst malfeasance on the part of Mayor Bernard Carvalho and Boards and Commissions Administrator John Isobe- were confirmed when he examined one of the two applications submitted by people seeking council confirmation for their appointments.

Despite the fact that Heidy Huddy-Yamamoto’s application for appointment to the Liquor Control Commission clearly states she works for Costco- an establishment that sells liquor- the fact that her membership on the commission would clearly violate the county charter, Carvalho and Isobe didn’t seem to mind.

In article 16 section 3, Disqualifications of Liquor Control Commissioners, the county charter states:

No person shall be a member or the liquor control commission who is or becomes engaged, or is directly or indirectly interested in any business for the manufacture or sale of liquor... This provision shall be enforced by the mayor by the removal of the disqualified member whenever such disqualifications shall appear.

Abrew has been successful in not only making the applications available to the public but in causing Isobe to make changes to the application forms to make sure that they include all information required by the charter including a question as to political party affiliation so as to confirms that only “a bare majority” of members of any one party sit on any individual board or commission.

But while Abrew confirms that all the latest applications do ask that question the county still has no process for ascertaining the validity of information provided with the various political parties.

When he brought the subject up at the March 3 council meeting- the first for which the applications were made available- Councilmember Tim Bynum, who has supported Abrew in his efforts, told Abrew that he had confidence that the administration would be doing their job as far as confirming the information provided and presumably checking on the legality of each appointment.

However the very next meeting on March 17 the violation of the charter presented on Yamamoto’s application was either missed or ignored by Carvalho, Isobe and apparently the council itself which, after Abrew’s testimony, deferred the resolution confirming Yamamoto’s nomination pending an interview.

Abrew thinks the action may be a violation of the code of ethics since it is a violation of both Carvalho’s and Isobe’s oath of office in which they swear to uphold the county charter.

He also wonders how many other board and commission member’s appointments have violated the charter and/or ordinances since not only are the past applications unavailable but this seems to confirm that the administration may not even be reading them much less verifying the information contained.

Abrew says that some of the applications he has seen so far have been incomplete with many unanswered “blanks” including under “employment” which might also reveal conflicts-of-interest in violation of the provisions of the code of ethics contained in the charter and county code.

For background see previous PNN news stories:



Wednesday, March 17, 2010


JAWS OF DEFEAT: About a week or so back we got a thus-far-unpublished letter to the editor from Horace Stoessel, the father of the 20.02(D) controversy- the man who first had the temerity to ask the Kaua`i Board of Ethics (BOE) to enforce the charter.

In it he surprisingly said he would compromise and support the “carve out” exemption for charitable organizations when county officials appear on behalf of private interests before county boards, commissions and agencies in order to get the rest of the provision enforced.

So today’s news that the Ethics Board has (had a) change of heart and voted to uphold the law after all the silliness of the past couple of years came as something of a shock.

Even Mark Hubbard who fought the hardest to make a mockery of the law voted for it although, according to reporter Mike Levine he still has remnant schizophrenic, double-talking tendencies in refusing to admit the past rulings clearing Hubbard and others were a mistake.

And of course, as the people’s champion former BOE member Rolf Bieber told Levine the proof will be in the pudding since, as we’ve seen, just because a clear statue exists it doesn’t mean people with conflicts will do what Hubbard suggested in saying exactly what we’ve written dozens of times:

(W)ith this interpretive rule, it’s now different than we’ve voted in the past, and I would have been in error in going before the County Council. I should not do that again, or I should quit my position on the Board of Ethics. I have a choice.”

It’s certainly a black eye for the gang of administration stooges at County Attorney Alfred “E. what me worry” Castillo’s office who didn’t even bother to do enough research to turn up the state ethics commission letter that convinced the BOE that they didn’t have any cover to continue to carve out exemptions or create “absurd result” excuses for their illegal activities.

Throughout the whole debacle people have asked basically “what the heck is the difference?.. it’s not as if this will magically clean up the corrupt, old boy network of the board and commission system”.

No it won’t. They will still try to make sure that if you wear the kings uniform you carry the kings sword. We’ve spoken to four people currently serving as a mayoral appointees who confirm that board and commission chief John Isobe made sure that they “support the mayor” before getting an appointment.

But it will shake out the most conflicted- those with an obvious reason to play the “one hand washes the other”, revolving-door game.

It also gives heart to those who still believe that a small, dedicated, persistent group- in this case Bieber, Stoessel, Rob Abrew and Glenn Mickens who did what most or can’t do... show up- can effect change even if it is incremental. Their success couldn’t have come about without Levine’s detailed news coverage and others like Charley Foster and Joan Conrow whose blog posts helped keep the issue before the public.

If they’re anything like us, these people do battle with the entrenched cronies not for the rare victory like this but for the fight itself because they have trouble living with themselves if they don’t.

As the Happy Camper might say, “hats off”, “kudos” and “three cheers” for them the real service-oriented citizens of Kaua`i.


SAY IT AIN’T SO: Speaking of Levine it looks like the inevitable is about to come to pass. According to John Temple, the editor of “Peer News”, the nascent online Hawai`i news venture (thanks to Ian Lind for the heads up):

I’m happy to report that we’ve now hired the editorial team that will launch our new news service for Honolulu and Hawaii...

(T)he reporter hosts at Peer News will include:

Mike Levine, currently a reporter and assistant news editor at The Garden Island newspaper on Kauai. Mike has worked as a journalist on Kauai for a couple of years, after picking lettuce and acting as a tour guide there. He also worked for Fodor’s to update the Kauai section of the 2010 Hawaii Guidebook and Kauai Guidebook 3rd Edition. Mike worked as a news desk editor and writer at before moving to Kauai. He’s a graduate of Lehigh University and the rare reporter to have majored in journalism and minored in material science and engineering.

We’re not sure if this means Mike will be leaving the local newspaper and apparently he will still be covering Kaua`i even if he does. But a statewide news services is unlikely to cover the detail of local Kaua`i news that his reporting has provided.


We’ve off for the weekend tracking how soon we’re eliminated from the basketball pool. We’ll be back with a tear-stained entry Monday.

Monday, March 15, 2010


NOTHIN’ TO SEE HERE: In the deepest, darkest depths of the demonic despots’ dwelling the sun never shines on a secluded secret system sheltered by the minotaur’s mighty minions.

Kaua`i county’s budget has always been a slight-of-hand exercise slapped together without the glare of the TV cameras, allowing the council to hide the ingredients of the sausage from the public eye.

Which is why when Councilmembers Tim Bynum and Lani Kawahara dared to try to even discuss the matter of televising this year’s budget hearings Councilperson Darryl Kaneshiro tried every trick in the book to squelch discussion, replete with gavel banging recesses and county attorney threats.

It’s another of those must see segments starting right at the beginning of last Wednesday’s finance committee meeting.

Things were already testy after Bynum’s January request for the administration to come before the council and the public to talk about the county’s options and their thoughts on getting through this year’s financial crisis had been refused and deferred until days before the budget was due... which is today.

Kaneshiro started by actually defending the administrations secrecy saying that letting the public know what Mayor Bernard Carvalho was up to was a bad idea even though Bynum’s request was based getting more details about Carvalho’s January testimony before the legislature and statements made to the press.

Bynum apparently had the gall to think that public input before the budget was drawn up was a good thing and Kaneshiro wasn’t having any of that.

But when council watchdog Glenn Mickens asked about televising the budget hearings Kaneshiro had a hissy fit.

First he tried the old misdirection gambit saying Mickens was wrong in saying that the budget hearings used to be televised. In fact Mickens had said no such thing or anything approaching it. But Kaneshiro nonetheless was successful in browbeating the easily intimidated Mickens into thinking somehow he had actually said that. .

Then Kaneshiro launched into more misdirection saying that the budget hearings abide by the sunshine law and are open to the public... and anyway they’re long and boring and no one needs to see all that... and there’s a pubic hearing anyway... and, of course, it’s way too expensive to televise them, “especially in this fiscal crisis”.

The facts are of course that, first of all no one mentioned whether the meetings were open to the public, yet as they always do when the subject of televising meetings come up, they answer a question that wasn’t asked and ignore the fact that no one has the time to show up to a week of 8 a.m. to 12 noon meetings but may have the time to watch them on TV.

Second the “public hearing” for the budget bill occurs after the council approves the budget. There has virtually never been a change in the budget based on anything ever said in the public hearing. At that point its just a charter-mandated formality with the budget going to the mayor exactly as it was before the pubic hearing.

But the “too expensive” claim is the most absurd claim of all.

At $125 an hour- the figure cited by Kaneshiro- the 20 hours of budget hearings would cost $2500 to inform the public about how their money is being spent. In a $160 million budget that’s not even gum money.

Actually the council spends more than twice that every year on televising non-agendaed portions of the meetings- up to a hour or more per meeting- for things like the opening prayer and of course those “certificates”- which are basically thinly-veiled “grip and grin” re-election campaign photo-ops presented free on TV.

While they might be nice for the participants they are most assuredly not something that needs to be televised especially if the more than 50 hours a year of them causes the cameras to go dark for the 20 hours of all-important budget hearings.

Not only that but according to a county source there’s about $10,000 “extra” left in this year’s TV budget.

That’s separate from the question of what the administration is doing overseeing the budget for televising council meetings in the first place given the strict separation of powers in our charter and the fact that “recordings” of council meetings are council records, to be kept by council services according the state sunshine law.

So anyway after Kaneshiro gave his lengthy spiel Kawahara started to do the one thing Kaneshiro couldn’t and wouldn’t stand for- making sense as to why she and Bynum were in negotiation with the administration to get the budget hearings on the air.

That caused Kaneshiro to all of a sudden decide that televising the budget meetings weren’t on the agenda, finally cutting off Kawahara by banging his gavel and calling a recess.

After they came back, council watcher Ken Taylor took up the cause and was cut off, not by Kaneshiro but by County Attorney Al Castillo, who has routinely taken it upon himself to act as if he were the chair.

The squabbling went on from there with a second gavel-banging recess courtesy of Kaneshiro finally resulting in Bynum and Kawahara saying they were going to put the discussion on the agenda for this coming Wednesday- which they have done.

That may be why, despite the fact that they didn’t mention the dust up, the local newspaper fired a shot across the bow this weekend in their Sunday editorial, Shot in the dark

The first six and a half paragraphs dealt with why it’s probably the most important thing the council does and argues that:

With millions of dollars less to go around next fiscal year, the need for community members to have easy access to what cuts to services and increases to fees are being made becomes all the more important.

But the real shocker was contained in the seventh paragraph where they wrote:

If the county isn’t willing to ante up despite the public pleas for these meetings to be televised, we will do our best to not only maintain our regular coverage in the daily paper but also by streaming the meetings live at

While it’s commendable that they will apparently spend the money (and it can’t be cheap) to get the meetings on-line it isn’t the same as television where channel surfers and those that simply don’t own a computer- or don’t own one able to play streaming video- will be able to see how their money is spent.

We’ve sat through years of these things and they are anything but boring. It’s where you can see plainly what the priorities of each councilmember are and how well they vet the administration’s request, department by department.

Gee- wonder why they wouldn’t want you to see that?

Thursday, March 11, 2010


DON’T FENCE ME IN: Things are heating up at Lepeuli (Larsen’s) Beach with a showdown apparently scheduled for Saturday when board members of the Waioli Corporation are planning a site visit coinciding with a Sierra Club “beach cleanup”.

Also, lessee Bruce Laymon has apparently gone off the deep end this week and is engaging in terroristic threatening with hate crime overtones according to a letter from activist Richard Spacer addressed to Senator Gary Hooser and Councilperson Lani Kawahara which we’ve obtained.

Though we haven’t confirmed the truth of matter one way or the other Spacer’s letter includes another letter from someone identified as “Dennis” detailing Laymon’s actions last Saturday.

Spacer writes:

Dear Lani and Senator Hooser:

And this came in to me today too.

This visitor to our island was at Larsen's about 2 hours earlier than me, today, Saturday March 6.

I have concealed his last name and email for privacy, but I encouraged him to go public and to contact you and other organizations and officials about this incident. This is unacceptable and charges need to be filed. Many jurisdictions would consider this a hate crime and terroristic threatening. Bruce Laymon is out of control. How long is this clearing by machine going to be allowed by DLNR? Today is the 4th day that I know about. Accusing a 50 year old visitor of breaking farm/landscaping equipment deep inside a property the guy is unfamiliar with except for the beach and lateral trail?! Writing letters that are lies? How can Laymon accuse him of writing letters if he does not even know the guys name??!! This is sooooo stupid.

Dennis writes:

This morning about 9:30 am and was on the lateral trail where the trail becomes a road.

A man who identified himself as Bruce Laymon got out of a dump truck and confronted me.

He said " you are on private property and you know it, I am going to take your picture and the next time we see you on our property we will have you arrested". He was agitated, threatening and confrontational. He did not take my picture at this time but did yell at some workers to remember me if I came back on their property.

He accused me of being part of the group vandalizing his equipment and taking pictures and stirring up trouble. I had no idea about the damage to the equipment until the afternoon when I got the newspaper and saw todays story.

I did not respond aggresively but did ask him several times if he really was B.L. I had no idea who he was other than his word.

I then got off the lateral trail and went down on the beach and walked to the picnic table on the north end.

A little while later I walked back down south on the beach a hundred yards or so and was talking to 2 guys I see there alot.
We were on the sand not too far from the grass line. The guy who said he was Bruce Laymon came down on to the sand and starting yelling at me again. He took my picture with a disposable camera and asked me for my name. When I smiled for the picture he said, "you better watch out, you think this is funny." He was yelling about how he was going to have 50 hawaiians down here next week and they were going to take the beach back. "You watch and see, we will run you haoli's out of here. That's all you fucking haoli's do is come down here, get naked, and leave all kinds of shit back here in woods." He also yelled about how his entire crew was family and that's why they were doing this work, to reclaim the beach for their family and the hawaiians.

I tried to calm him down and talk to him but he was having none of that. He kept accusing me of stirring up trouble. He also said that I was spreading lies through the newspaper.

Nice aloha spirit,
dennis (all sic)

We’ve are also in possession of a letter from Waioli Corporation’s attorney Don Wilson who is apprehensive about the coinciding Sierra Club activity and the board members’ visit, and implies that no matter what anyone does these days they are trespassing if they try to go to the beach at Lepeuli.

We haven’t confirmed the letter is from Wilson but we have no reason not to trust our source.

Wilson writes, in part:

(T)he Sierra Club has apparently scheduled a beach walk and trash clean-up at Larsen's Beach for this Saturday. I just found out about it this afternoon. As I mentioned in my last letter we have a Waioli Board of Trustees tour also scheduled for Saturday and I don't want there to be any conflict or problem with both events happening simultaneously. I'm told that the Sierra Club hasn't yet set a specific time for its event so I don't know for certain that there will be a scheduling conflict but I want to be cautious and to not inadvertently have an uncomfortable situation set up for anyone. Also, I don't know precisely where the Sierra Club is planning on conducting its beach walk. If they intend on using the lateral trail that is on Waioli's property instead of either the County-owned trail (doubtful) or the other existing trial that is not affected by the proposed fencing project and that is on Waioli property then we would have a concern about that. Given recent events and just as a general rule I don't want this to escalate into something that can be avoided and I certainly welcome the Club's beach walk and trash clean-up if it is limited to public property and is not being used as a way to exercise any control over the private property, is being conducted on the basis of a claimed legal right that is disputed by my client, or simply to prove a point. I don't assume that such is the intent but I just don't know exactly what they are planning.

If it's okay with you and if I find out anything further that indicates there may be an issue with simultaneous events or with what we consider to be trespassing (with the acknowledgment that you may not agree with that conclusion), and based on your comments below, I'll contact Sierra Club directly. I will be polite and respectful in any communication I have, and as I mentioned above I think it is a very good thing that they are doing if it is limited to the publicly-owned beach. I don't plan on any phone or other verbal communications about this and the last thing I want is for a controversy to erupt.

Although it sounds like things have already “erupted”, what with Laymon going on his “naked hippie patrols” after the alleged “vandalism” of his tractor- which some believe was self-inflicted to create sympathy although there is no evidence either way- Saturday’s showdown at the Waioli/Laymon Corral promises to be anything but a walk on the beach.


We’ll be taking a long weekend- see ya Monday.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


VOTE FOR TENBRUGGENCATE, GEGEN AND BAIN: This year’s Kaua`i Island Utilities Co-op (KIUC) Board of Directors election presents a thus far unique opportunity to fill the three open slots with three smart, independent, alternative energy advocates.

That’s why we unequivocally urge you to vote for Jan TenBruggencate Pat Gegen and returning Director Carol Bain.

TenBruggencate is one of the smartest and most knowledgeable people we know. His expertise in the environmental, energy and science fields has a 30 years paper trail in doing an impeccable job of covering that beat- as well as Kaua`i in general- as the Kaua`i Bureau Chief for the Honolulu Advertiser.

His integrity is beyond reproach and, most importantly at KIUC, he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Those years as a journalist have left him a quick study with the ability to find and understand complex scientific information. He has the background to separate the corporate model double-talk from the reality. Check out his Raising Islands blog to get an idea of his depth of knowledge in the energy field and today’s post for his “platform”. We’re rally lucky to have him on the ballot

Pat Gegen has walked the talk on alternative energy in going through the process to put up his own windmill at his home and was an advocate for the bill that would ease the process. He’s smart and an independent thinker who will be another voice for getting KIUC off fissile fuels and into supporting- instead of discouraging- home generation.

Carol Bain has fought for the transparency that would enable better and more effective member participation for the past last three years as well as advocating for renewable carbon-free generation.

The election of TenBruggencate and Gegen to join her and board member Ben Sullivan, will finally give members enough clout to turn around the for-profit model and mentality that still pervades the group-think of the majority on the board and make KIUC a true member-driven co-op.

One note- whatever you do DO NOT vote for corporate shill and good old boy for Allen Smith who has served the powers that be for decades and is an impediment to change.

This year’s KIUC election presents a great opportunity. Fill out and mail your ballot today and if you don’t have one seek out those who do and ask them to elect these TenBruggencate, Gegen and Bain.

Monday, March 8, 2010


MORE POOP ON THE PATH: It’s been a week and a half now since the jaw dropping news from Joan Conrow that none other than Kaua`i Humane Society (KHS) chief Becky Rhoades

was indeed cited on Jan. 29 for having a dog on a section of the Path where dogs are not allowed. Hers was one of five citations issued since the ordinance took effect on Dec. 1, 2008.

And indeed in an email, county spokesperson Mary Daubert confirned to Joan that:

Dr. Becky Rhoades was cited on Jan. 29 for having a dog in a section ofthe multi-use path where dogs are not allowed.

Since the ordinance took effect on Dec. 1, 2008, 5 citations have beenissued to people who had dogs on sections of the multi-use path wheredogs are not allowed.

But nary a word out of the local newspaper whose editors, we’re quite sure read Joan’s Kaua`iEclectic reports where, despite the “blog” disguise, many major local stories are broken on a regular basis.

Now you would think this is man bites dog stuff. A leash law violation in and of itself is not front page news. One by the head of KHS might be although it might actually be more of an embarrassment.

But, as Joan wrote:

Yes, this is the very same Dr. Becky Rhoades who is continually preaching responsibility among dog owners, who launched a citizen’s patrol to ensure people were picking up their dog’s doodoo on the Path and who told the County Council:

“I honestly believe we will have better dog stewardship if we pass these ordinances,” she said.

Can you say ironic?

Joan is such a nice lady that the word she chose was ironic. We’d prefer to drop the “i” and add “mo”.

The fact that the one person who led the fight to allow dogs on one certain portion of the dog, er, bike path and was even put in charge of education as to where to and more importantly where not to walk your dog would care about the potential negative publicity of getting a ticket.

She obviously is concerned enough about negative publicity that, in the same article Joan cited she also said:

“This is a really important time for Kaua‘i,” Kaua‘i Humane Society Director Becky Rhoades said. “To be known as a dog-hating visitor attraction is not what we want to be known for.”

But maybe she has no need to be concerned. Especially if we remember who would be the one to report on the police and courts.

That would, at the risk of stealing Keith Obermann’s shtick, the “worst reporter in the world”, Paul Curtis- the same one who splashes headlines above articles about poor misguided, usually drug addicted kids who go astray, assuring that integration into the community after either rehab or jail time will be twice as hard, increasing chances for recidivism.

As Joan pointed out earlier back in June of 2009, this is nothing new from Curtis when it comes to Rhodes and KHS, writing

I’m so glad I’m one of those people who naturally wakes up early and so am able to enjoy the dawn of each day. It fortifies me with a good feeling that persists even through exposure to the news — not that you could call The Garden Island’s article on a Poipu animal cruelty case that. Reporter Paul Curtis completely threw objectivity out the window in his coverage and allowed himself to become a propaganda machine for the Kauai Humane Society.

I’ve noticed this every single time the paper covers stories that obviously come from the Humane Society. The reporters let director Becky Rhoades say any kind, with nary a glimmer of any other point of view. She did the same thing last month in a piece on roosters confiscated from a
chicken fight.

Now no one wants to learn of dogs starving and rotting in their kennels, but there’s also the issue of trying —heck, slandering — a person in the newspaper, especially when he’s awaiting trial. And I couldn’t help but wonder if the KHS offensive was an attempt to CYA. I mean, they reportedly found a dead dog in this guy’s kennels in March, and after seeing everything was hunky dory in April, the enforcement officer stopped following up.

Come on. People don’t go from having a dead dog in a kennel to being model pet owners in a month. Surely a tad more oversight was warranted.

Today’s article notes:

The case is a bit puzzling to Rhoades, she said, because KHS offers free food, owner educational assistance, spay and neuter services, and other services, no questions asked.

What Dr. Becky in her self-righteousness doesn’t seem to understand is that many people do not view the Humane Society as a helpful resource where they’re likely to get assistance “no questions asked” – especially if they’re hunters.

A good reporter has that “nose for news” and when they are being bullsh-tted and sold a bill of good they use that nose to sniff around and find out what’s really going on and why they feel like something doesn’t add up

They don’t just act as regurgitating scribes who allow themselves to join a “Confederacy of Dunces” and spread the self-serving propaganda of some PR hack or mealy-mouth CEO.

We’ve been very lucky lately that the local paper has put the dynamic duo of Mike Levine and Nathan Eagle in charge of daily operations.

Their one mistake until now has been in bringing back Curtis who, as weekend editor during the Adam Harju reign was fired for interfering with a series of stories by Business Editor Andy Gross investigating KIUC. Gross quit in protest over what was essentially a published apology to KIUC for Gross’ series of articles, written by Curtis.

Come one guys- how much longer does this have to go on? There’s no shortage of good reporters without job these days- why do we have to put up with someone who has to put a smiley face on any story about the comfortable and afflict only the already afflicted?

Friday, March 5, 2010


GLAD WE DIDN’T STEP IN IT: Abso-freakin’-lutely bizarre.

What else can you possibly say about the county’s decision that, after all these years of putting everyone through convoluted conniptions so they could run the “coastal” bike path across the busiest highway intersection on the island and through the Safeway and Foodland parking lots, they’ve decided to start from scratch and do what they said was impossible- run the path along a makai route where it belonged in the first place.

Or, maybe not so bizarre.

The brief announcement from the county was pretty vague- and buried to boot. After a comparatively long and final “screw you” to those who want the path entirely off Wailua Beach, way at the end it says:

The mayor also noted that due to the cost and safety reasons, phase three of the multi-use path, from Lydgate to Lihi Park, will be aligned makai to avoid crossing Kūhi`ō Hwy. and the mauka leg will be postponed until a later date.

This change will require several additional steps including: land acquisition; a supplemental Environmental Assessment, a special management permit; and design work.

Even reporter Mike Levine of the local newspaper- who presumably hasn’t been around long enough to know a tenth of the background of the various scams that caused the mauka route to be chosen- wasn’t buying county’s obfuscation and wrote his own lede stressing the “new alignment”.

After apparently obtaining a county map he writes:

The new leg would head makai from Papaloa Road where it meets Coconut Marketplace, between the Kaua`i Sands Hotel and the Aston Islander on the Beach, before turning north and staying behind the Kaua`i Coast Resort at the Beachboy and the Aston Kaua`i Beach at Makaiwa, a county map shows.

Those who have followed the long and winding corridor’s saga will remember that it became obvious through testimony before the county council by Department of Public Works Building Division Chief Doug Haigh- going back to the Maryanne Kusaka administration and continuing through Bryan Baptiste’s reign- that the mauka alignment was chosen after a convoluted deal was struck with Safeway and Foodland to give the county land for the path in exchange for concessions from the county over the infamous “Safeway Bridge”.

For those that don’t remember, in 1979 when the Foodland and Safeway shopping centers were granted their commercial zoning one of the requirements in the ordinance was that they build a pedestrian bridge connecting the two stores so as to divert at least some traffic from the highway.

Citizens demanded a vehicular bridge but those were the days when corruption was even more rampant than today and public input meant diddly-squat when countered by developer’s demands.

But even the “compromise” condition was never satisfied and in the late 90’s the two owners tried to get the council to throw out the conditions because it was holding up a lot consolidation the Safeway owners needed to sell the shopping center.

It was supposed to be a done deal until a member of the public, Tracy Murakami, came forward at the public hearing on the bill and objected saying she wanted the bridge so she didn’t have to drive every time she wanted to shop at both stores.

That started a groundswell of support for the bridge especially from council regulars and set off the Battle of the Safeway Bridge.

People were outraged that the condition was ignored for 20 years and both sides started coming before the council over a period of months, the public with evidence of cover-ups and lies by the two corporate owners and the owners, with the backing of the state DOT, trying first to say the narrow, four-foot walkway on the highway bridge- with no guard rail and traffic whizzing by inches away- was good enough (even for a stroller with her newborn baby in it when Murakami brought it up), then saying there was nowhere to put the bridge- which Murakami and others pictorially showed just wasn’t true.

But after Kaipo Asing- then still a champion of the people- went out, tape measure in hand, and did his own investigative work and one of his famous “Kaipo Explains It All” presentations, the council refused to remove the requirement and even passed an ordinance saying “build it now... or else”.

But the “or else” wasn’t really specified. So cut to almost a decade later when Councilpersons Mel Rapozo and Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho got wind of the lack of enforcement.

The council then went through the whole thing again- and again said build it “or else... and we mean it this time”.

Then cometh the bike path and Haigh, the county’s chief cook and bottlewasher on the project, came up with a plan that would both fund his bike path and settle the bridge controversy.

The main appropriation for the bike path- the original $40 million in “transportation, not recreation” federal funds needed matching funds from the county. The Kusaka administration had worked a deal to use the “gift” of the Kealia Kai mauka region land to offset a good chunk of it.

But they still needed more.

The deal was that in exchange for rights to a strip of land for the bike path to run through their valuable commercially-zoned land, Safeway and Foodland would only have to pay a nominal amount for the actual bridge itself and the county would maintain it as part of the “coastal” bike path which would now cross the highway and wend its way through the busy parking lots.

Haigh told the council that it would be impossible to get all the land for the path to go through the Coconut Marketplace and all the hotels in the makai area and detailed other physical barriers. There was no choice but to go west.

But as everyone knew the county couldn’t just decide not to build that portion because “the path must go on” to make sure that it would be “continuous” from Kealia to Lihu`e- a requirement since a “transportation” path couldn’t very well have breaks in it.

So why the change? Or more to the point why the change now after buckets of money and time have been invested in the mauka alignment and other plans are already in place along the canal- having been piggy-backed onto the bike path- for things like the Pouli Road connectors to ease vehicular traffic?

For one possible explanation you might look at the agenda for the February 17 council meeting under “Legal Documents”. There you’ll find this:

C 2010-46 Communication (01/15/2010) from the Director of Parks & Recreation, requesting Council approval to secure a shared-use path easement at the Kaua`i Shopping Village (TMK 4-4-3-08:14) in exchange for a parking and pedestrian access easement at Waipouli Drainage Canal.

This is apparently the land deal that finalizes all the previous contortions and now that all is in place the county has it’s “value” to be able to reap more of the matching funds required for the federal grant.

Of course the actual time and money the county has put into this now apparently defunct portion of the bike path is probably quite staggering although the real accounting is still in limbo.

The actual figure for cost to date was one of those “29 questions” that the council asked and which the administration has yet to answer regarding the bike path. The questions were left unanswered when Rapozo and Iseri left the council and no one else - especially original bike path zealot Tim Bynum who now chairs the Parks/Public Works Committee and has no interest in the questions, having said they were “all answered” as far as he was concerned- seems concerned about where the money went and where it’s going in the future.

Of course the county says the mauka portion is being “postponed” but when in the heck do we need an unconnected-to-anything bike path through a parking lot for now. In Kaua`i government parlance postponed usually means when hell freezes over. And of course they have to say that or it would make all efforts to secure the mauka route the farce it really was... apparently all along.

If that isn’t the answer what exactly changed so dramatically in the couple of weeks since the council approved the land deal? Either way they go some ‘splainin’ to do although no one is holding their breath.

Egad- we feel like Paul Harvey.

Correction: Tim Bynum is the Chair of Public Works and Elderly Affairs Committee, not Public Works and Parks. Lani Kawahara is the Chair of Parks and Transportation.

Thursday, March 4, 2010



(PNN) -- The movement to reverse a Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) issued by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to Waioli Corporation lessee Bruce Laymon- one which would cut off traditional access to Lepeuli (Larsen's) Beach and potentially pollute the reef by allowing cow grazing just above the beach- has another ally.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ (OHA) Clyde Namu‘o has joined the Sierra Club in questioning the permit and, in a letter to Tiger Mills of the state Office of Conservation and Coastal Land, points out the shoddy nature of the application and process in granting the permit, asking pointed questions as to what much of the permit was based on.

While the Sierra Club letter- which we posted in full a week ago Monday- detailed the specific discrepancies and deficiencies Namu’o simply puts the onus on Laymon and the DLNR to fully explain themselves focusing on the cultural, access and gathering rights issues involved.

“We have concerns that the project will impact constitutionally-protected traditional and customary Native Hawaiian rights. We note that the project site is located near the shoreline where Native Hawaiians engage in a number of traditional and customary practices, such as fishing and gathering” the letter states.

He asks how, as the permits states, the ranching operation will get rid of “nude sunbathers” but not “Native Hawaiians exercising their traditional and customary rights along the shoreline (who) will be impacted by this project in the same way nude sunbathers will be affected.”

He also questions the contention in the application that that "there is no record of native Hawaiian usage" of the area which, he says, is contrary to the statements of people in the area and he puts the onus on Laymon to substantiate his statements.

In his application and testimony before the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) Laymon and his attorney Lorna Nishimitsu tried to create confusion over where the traditional “alaloa” in the area actually runs saying opponents should prove that it runs across the fenceline that would cut off the trail that’s been used for as long as people in the area can remember.

But Namu’o says “It is our understanding that traditional use of this trail has never ceased. We fear that the proposed fence will disrupt our beneficiaries' use of the trail and impact the trail itself. Moreover, there seems to be disagreement between the applicant and the community regarding the exact location of the alaloa and the Ko`olau Road. We request that state officials and the applicant consult with the community and OHA to discuss appropriate measures to mitigate the impacts this project will have on cultural sites and traditional and customary Native Hawaiian practices.”

Laymon’s has a history of environmental degradation and Waioli has seemingly turned a blind eye to what he’s doing on their land as we detailed last October. But despite promises from Kaua`i BLNR representative Ron Agor to recognize the issues and try to block the permit, his support for Laymon was in fact the deciding factor according to minutes of the BLNR meeting at which the pertinent was granted.

The following is the text of OHA’s letter in full


February 9, 2010

Tiger Mills
Office of Conservation and Coastal Land
Department of Land and Natural Resources
P.O. Box 621
Honolulu, HI 96809

RE: Paradise Ranch LLC, Hanalei, Kam TMK: (4) 5-1-003: 003.

Aloha e Tiger Mills,

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) received your letter requesting comments on the above-mentioned project. Paradise Ranch LLC proposes to construct a fence for pasture purposes that will run parallel to the sea, 100 feet from the shoreline. OHA has reviewed the project and offers the following comments.

We have concerns that the project will impact constitutionally-protected traditional and customary Native Hawaiian rights. We note that the project site is located near the shoreline where Native Hawaiians engage in a number of traditional and customary practices, such as fishing and gathering. The applicant states on page 5 of the CDIJA that the fence project will bring its ranching operation close enough to the beach to impact "nude sunbathers." However, the applicant states that its operations will not impact fishers or other beachgoers. The applicant must explain why its ranching operation will impact nude sunbathers but not other users. We suspect that if the ranching operation affects one user, it will likely affect all users in the same way. We assume then that Native Hawaiians exercising their traditional and customary rights along the shoreline will be impacted by this project in the same way nude sunbathers will be affected. The applicant must fully explain these impacts and offer mitigation measures.

Page 6 of the application states that "there is no record of native Hawaiian usage" on the property since the 1850s. We ask to review the records the applicant used to arrive at this conclusion. Further, OHA is troubled by the applicant's suggestion on page 6 that the state "should not take any action to establish any protection" of traditional and customary Native Hawaiian rights. The Hawai`i Constitution specifically asserts that the state must protect Native Hawaiian rights. In addition, the Hawai`i Supreme Court ruled that the state must assess the impacts its actions will have on Native Hawaiian resources and rights (See the three-part test the court established in Peakai O Ka `Aina v. Land Use Comm'n, 94 Haw. 31, 47 (2000))

OHA has specific concerns regarding the project's impact on area trails, particularly the alaloa, which is designated as State of Hawai`i Historic Site No. 50-30-04-1033. It is our understanding that traditional use of this trail has never ceased. We fear that the proposed fence will disrupt our beneficiaries' use of the trail and impact the trail itself. Moreover, there seems to be disagreement between the applicant and the community regarding the exact location of the alaloa and the Ko`olau Road. We request that state officials and the applicant consult with the community and OHA to discuss appropriate measures to mitigate the impacts this project will have on cultural sites and traditional and customary Native Hawaiian practices.

In addition, the historic, archaeological and cultural sites section of this CDUA is incomplete as no sites are listed, not even the alaloa, which as mentioned earlier is a state historic site. Please note that the applicant must identify and submit management plans for historic, archaeological and cultural sites located not only within the subject parcel but also near it.

We request the applicant's assurances that should iwi kapuna or Native Hawaiian cultural or traditional deposits be found during the construction of the project, work will cease, and the appropriate agencies will be contacted pursuant to applicable law.

The applicant states on page 5 that the proposed fence will bring the applicant's ranching operations closer to the beach. The applicant must explain the impact this will have on the marine resources of the area. Many of our beneficiaries' traditional practices rely on these marine resources. The applicant also must explain how the expansion of its ranching operation will affect endangered and threatened species such as monk seals and green sea turtles. These animals may be impacted in the same way as the nude sunbathers.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment. If you have further questions, please contact Sterling Wong by phone at (808) 594-0248 or e-mail him at .

'O wau iho no me ka `oia’i’o,

Clyde . W. Namu‘o
Chief Executive Officer
C: OHA Kaua`i CRC Office

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


RABID REPROBATE: As November approaches it gets harder and harder to stomach Governor Linda Lingle and her corrupt, incompetent, self serving, government-by-sound-bite administration.

It’s guaranteed that the closer the end of her slash and burn reign of terror, the more bizarre it will get.

Now she’s claiming that State Auditor supreme Marion Higa is the one who is incompetent and does "shoddy," "unprofessional" and "politically motivated." work for detailing the way the state, seemingly illegally- put taxpayer money into hair-brained investments that ended up essentially frozen when they got taken by some slick wall street firms, selling supposedly liquid investments that have suddenly become all but worthless if we need the money right now... which apparently we do.

The report is only a draft and apparently unavailable in full but media accounts show how, as usual, Lingle answers charges never made and uses personal attacks to substitute for facts, just like she did the last time Higa uncovered corruption/incompetence (take your pick) in Ted Liu’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism when Higa said Liu “should be relieved of his duties due to a ‘troubling pattern on nondisclosure’ of financial details surrounding an overseas trade mission and federal grant program” according to today’s press account.

Higa is know nationally as one of the best at what she does and Lingle’s known as one of the worst- except among the delusional Rush-Rove-Chaney crowd- so it’s pretty obvious why Lingle is left with nothing to do but to attack Higa personally when she “outs” Lingle’s Department of Budget and Finance team as the boobs they have shown themselves to be in this and most other fiscal and financial management blunders.

We’re lucky to have Higa statewide but when it comes to our own newly appointed auditor we’ve yet to see anything out of former Deputy County Clerk Ernie Pasion’s County Auditor’s office except that he’s searching for one.. an office that is.

But even once he sets up shop we don’t expect much from affable, good old boy Ernie whose former job consisted of serving the council in the role of boat-rocking attendant.

The appointment of Pasion was one of the biggest slaps-in-the-face of good governance advocates who waited years through the “hold me back boys” antics of some of the beaten down, former council reformers who, due to pubic outrage almost 10 years ago over illegal land rape by the likes of Jimmy Pflueger and Tom McCloskey, first threatened and funded an investigation under charter provision- 3.17 which allows the council to perform administration investigations.

But there was so much screwed up stuff in the Department of Public Works under Mayor Maryanne Kusaka’s administration that they couldn’t decide on what to investigate and then called the matter too expensive anyway.

Next they set up and funded an auditor position by ordinance and then never appointed anyone. That was followed by the last and latest stall tactic of placing a charter amendment to create the new County Auditor position before the people. which passed last fall.

While the promise was to set up a “Marion Higa-style-auditor” the search for a tough, competent, experienced and independent auditor started and ended in the council chambers with the appointment of someone who could be counted on to continue his anti-boat rocking activities when wave-making is exactly what is called for in a management auditor.

For all those who think good governance lies in passing laws and charter amendments- like the one to peg tourism development to growth figures in the general plan, which has apparently died a death by disregard- it’s time to recognize that until we say “enough” on election day we’ll never escape the management-by-incompetence and corruption typified by our current gang of self-serving incumbents whether at the county council/mayor or the state representative/senator/governor level.


We’re losing our editor for the next few weeks to a mainland jaunt so our incomprehensibly long sentences will probably be even more unwieldy and the typos and spell-checker caused glitches will most likely proliferate until then. We’re also going to be a little more intermittent in posting over that period, what with so much college basketball and so little time. Go ‘Cuse.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


EVEN MORE ‘WANTED’: When it comes to playing kissy face in covering the police and courts beat for the local newspaper “reporter” Paul Curtis is a champ with his ceaseless publication of the “Kaua`i “Most Wanted” list and write-ups for every award and commendation given at the monthly police commission (PC) meetings.

But when it comes to covering controversies that come up at the meetings Curtis’ coverage is, shall we say, strangely absent.

You’d never know it if you read the local newspaper but if you watch the government channel you know that during February’s PC meeting Mayor Carvalho’s power grab- formerly covered in January by Curtis in his usual sycophantic style- caused conniption fits on the part of at least two commissioners.

To be fair the quest to allow counties to change their charters to allow the mayors of each island to appoint their respective police chief and others department heads currently hired by boards and commissions has been requested not just by Kaua`i Mayor Bernard Carvalho but by the Hawai`i Council of Mayors- a four person group that includes all the counties’ chief executives.

Right now a state law HRS 52D requires police chiefs be appointed by citizen police commissions. But, using the seemingly phony excuse of “home rule”, Administrative Assistant Gary Heu and Board and Commission Administrator John Isobe have been pushing Senate Bill SB2177 and it’s companion House Bill HB 2016 which would allow the counties to change their charters with a vote of the people.

But when Commissioner Leon Gonsalves- the controversial commissioner who authored the “Hop Sing” email that began the political purge of former Chief KC Lum and was attending his last meeting due to term limits- got wind of it he apparently authored a scathing letter criticizing the plan and defending his now former fiefdom.

He placed the letter on the PC agenda for discussion and vetting by fellow commissioners and that brought Heu and Isobe to the meeting to defend the plan.

But it was another controversial commissioner, homophobic, former marine “Pastor Tom” Iannucci, who started off the critique accusing the administration of “entering scary territory”.

“I support my mayor” Iannucci told the assembled and TV audience in a theme he repeated at every criticism of the plan. “I just worry about what comes after him”.

Saying the police commission “should be a buffer for the people to keep politics out of pubic safety” he wondered what would happen “if we get an ‘old boy’, corrupt mayor” in the future as, he said, has happened in the past although he mentioned no names.

Failing to see the irony of his praise of Carvalho’s administration while addressing to two of the mayor’s chief ‘old boy’ operatives, Heu and Isobe, he told of how when he joined the commission he found out about how procedures called for a list of prospective KPD employees- including officers- to go to the mayor for approval. a violation of civil service law.

Iannucci began his stint on the commission during the Baptiste Administration and seemed unaware that the practice continues today according to many county employees.

“That’s the way it used to be” he said complaining how it wasn’t just the idea of the change he objected to but the way the administration was trying to flim flam the commission into “approval” of it by claiming all they wanted to do was change the state law “for now” when everyone knew and the administration admitted that this was done in order to ultimately take the hiring and firing of the chief out of the hands of the police commission.

Gonsalves, whose letter wasn’t available on the county web site, said he completely agrees with Iannucci who had cited Gonsalves letter in his rant.

“Leave it alone- don’t play with it” said Gonsalves chiding Heu and Isobe by saying they “should have approached the commissions first” and discussed it before the legislative push to change the state law, not after.

“There’s a reason it’s set up that way” he said noting that the set-up goes “back to the 40’s”.

Chief Darryl Perry agreed saying “my fear down the line (is that) things may change for the worse” adding that “ we do investigations from parking citations to the top of government.

“This process may be compromised if one person has the power over this department.”

Nowhere was a discussion of how civilian control over our paramilitary police should be the norm and that taking the politics out of police departments is the norm across the country, not the other way around.

They also failed to mention the incidents during Mayor Maryanne Kusaka’s administration when she tried to personally fire Chief George Freitas for not protecting her “people” until she was informed that only the police commission could do that. Eventually Freitas sued and got a hefty “retirement package” in exchange for dropping his suit.

Strangely enough after discussion of the “good governance” item was over- without approval or disapproval or any vote on disposition- the commission discussed whether and how they could stop the televising of police commission meetings with Iannucci saying "commissioners (are) making statements that shouldn’t go out” to the public and seemingly unaware of the sunshine law which requires open meetings.

Iannucci used the excuse of how money was tight to call for an end to televised commission meetings right before the commission went on to the subject of how many commissioners they could send to the next junket to attend a state police commissioners’ meeting on the Big Island.

We just thought that if you don’t watch the meetings on TV you might want to know about this stuff since we don’t expect Curtis will be publishing anything controversial regarding the commission or department- or the administration for that matter- any time soon.

Monday, March 1, 2010


IS THIS THE PARTY TO WHOM I AM NOT SPEAKING?: Saturday’s Tsunami scare has the county administration on Kaua`i patting themselves on the back and since nothing really happened they can get away with it, although you’ve gotta wonder what they were going to do with all those people- especially tourists- lined up at the road blocks waiting to get back to town if one really hit.

But one of the biggest complaints zipping along the coconut wireless has been the 5:30 a.m. phone call from the county apparently waking up even those who didn’t sign up for the calls as they were urged to do when the system was set up last year.

We know we specifically decided not to sign up figuring the sirens were going to be going off anyway and we’d find out what was going on then if we needed to. In this case we knew before retiring for the night what the siren was for and had even known the ETA of 11-12 o’clock.

So what’s the deal, many are asking? Why the heck were we “notified” when we didn’t “sign up”?

We decided to double check the county web site’s “One Step Notification
Sign Up Now” button- now moved to the top of their home page- only to find that suddenly today the system has apparently been changed from an “opt in” system to one where you are now signed up whether you want to be or not.

That’s right, after most likely receiving many complaints from those in non-inundation zones who would have liked another couple of hours or so of sleep on a Saturday- although the 6 a.m. sirens took care of that, as did the 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. blast including for those in non-inundation areas who got up, checked the news and tried to go back to bed- today (March 1) in order to cover their asses, they posted the following, replacing the “sign up” system with one that signs up all listed phone numbers on the island

In an effort to improve emergency communications, county officials announced today plans to implement Connect-CTY, a mass notification service from Blackboard Connect Inc....

Publicly available primary residential and business phones on Kaua`i will automatically be included in the system. However, residents can opt in to provide their complete information, up to three phone numbers and two email addresses, and indicate if they have a TTY/TDD device.

A community-wide test call will be conducted on Friday, May 1, at 11:45 am to ensure that residents are aware of the Connect-CTY service and can provide their correct phone numbers and email addresses should they not receive the text message.

And under the Frequently Asked Questions it says:

Is my telephone number included in the notification database?

It is our intention and hope that every residence in our community be included in the notification database. To provide contact information, please click on the 'Sign Up Now' button or click

Problem is that it wasn’t done “today” it was obviously done sometime before Saturday without telling anyone and only “announced” today, once they had received complaints.

It’s hard to say whether automatically signing up everyone is the right or wrong thing to do. But that isn’t the point.

Even when trying to do something simple- and arguably advantageous- like move from the widely publicized sign-up system to this one, Mayor Bernard Carvalho’s gang that can’t shoot straight bungles the move pissing people off and then attempting to cover it up by posting an “after the fact” announcement.