Tuesday, November 23, 2010


NOTHING LIKE BEING THERE: And speaking of getting “quitted” it appears the brief tenure of the worst reporter in the local newspaper’s annuls (yes, even Lester Chang) has ended after a week or so’s absence of the name of Leo Azambuja from the paper’s pages and today’s coverage of yesterday’s council’s organizational meeting by council neophyte Vanessa Van Voorhis.

For the record Editor Nathan Eagle did not return multiple emails seeking information on Azambuja’s job status.

Although the pedestrian coverage appeared adequate we can’t help wonder whether it’s a disease or a habit of the paper’s reporters to use the kind of “lede” that first day J-school students are warned against.

Professor: They know there was a meeting yesterday because you’re writing about it. Pick something that happened there- the most important thing- and put it at the top, in 25 words or less. Then follow the “inverted triangle” format- Don’t report events chronologically but by order of importance.

But speaking of neophytes- at least as far attending or even watching council meetings- Joan Conrow has her own first hand account today.

It’s nice to occasionally have the two newspaper experience on Kaua`i but someone was obviously having a bit of fun with both Van Voorhis and Conrow on the subject of having the meeting open to the public.

As we wrote last week, a few councils have actually done their organizational business in open session. The issue is always whether they appear to have been scripted.

But Van Voorhis wrote that “(o)fficials said the meeting was unprecedented in that it was the first time a Kaua`i County Council held such a caucus open to the public” while Conrow said “in a nod to 'transparency and open government' — words rendered as meaningless as pristine and sustainability — the new County Council did its organizing for the first time in public”.

Oh well. If either decides to attend on a regular basis they’ll get the hang of not believing a word of what they’re hearing and only half of what they’re seeing.

But we were especially taken aback by this quip from Conrow whose malice toward Tim Bynum has been hardly concealed of late:

Tim said he was expecting Councilmembers to have “equal and equitable access to the key documents that are theirs” before going on to say he wants to structure the Council so that decisions made in Executive Session are made public. That way, you see, he won’t have to risk violating executive privilege by leaking them to a certain blogger.

Ah, engaging in libel per se now, eh Joan?

For the record our report on the Margaret Hanson Sueoka suit last month was based on having attended council meetings for many years which enabled us to go back to our notes and decipher the background of the Margaret Hanson EEOC harassment case, without any conversation whatsoever on the subject about it with Bynum.

Seeing recent executive sessions listed to evaluate Nakamura’s performance right after one to consider the Hanson settlement helped tip us off. Then, upon hearing the council’s discussion of the plethora of harassment suits including an oblique reference to a case “right here” in council services- and knowing that deputies in the county attorney’s office serve both the administration and the council- we realized that perhaps Hanson’s suit may not have had anything to do with her experiences with the administration, as we had previously theorized.

Years of leg work- something our bum back prevents us from doing these days- paid off.

We remembered the incident with Nakamura years ago and sure enough when we checked our files from the era, it turned out that it was Hanson that was the deputy county attorney assigned to the council at the time- the one who was harassed by her then-boyfriend County Clerk Peter Nakamura, according to many council regulars and employees of council services at the time.

As they say, we deny the allegation and we deny the alligator- we did not seek, receive nor use any illegally obtained information in our report.

It’s all especially strange considering Conrow’s final statement:

In the end, Tim got what he wanted in terms of committee assignments, and so did JoAnn. The question now is whether they’ll also get something else they want — an executive search firm to find a new County Clerk. Mel and Derek said they like current Clerk Peter Nakamura and Nadine had to recuse herself because he’s her brother-in-law.

I know why Tim doesn’t like Peter, but I’m not sure what JoAnn has against him. I’m pretty sure he had to go through Seven Habits when he was her planning director.....

Maybe that search is because Nakamura’s actions in harassing Hanson cost the county the $250,000.

Actually JoAnn wasn’t enamored with Steve Covey and “The Seven Habits of Truly Disingenuous and Irritating Assholes” when she was mayor. As a matter of fact it was because of her 180 from the micromanaging of where every paperclip went as mayor to seeking to become the consummate politician when the voters threw her out of office, that she turning to Covey.

Funny story here- at the actual first “public” organizational meeting of the council when Yukimura returned to elective office after a hiatus, we actually asked Yukimura whether she was going to support Nakamura’s reappointment and she replied “why wouldn’t I- he was my planning director”... which we always thought to be a strange statement in and of itself because the planning commission appoints the planning director... which of course reinforced her penchant for micromanagement reputation.

So Round and Round the Mulberry Bush they go and it helps to see every council meeting for a decade plus and report on county government for 25 years if you want to be able to tell the monkeys from the weasels.

1 comment:

Blahblahblah said...

She's a bit of a hack and doesn't take criticism well at all. Point out her feet of clay and your post will rather rapidly evaporate without a trace.

Breathlessly flapping over an issue when your entire "fact" base come from the local fishwrap is not journalism. At least she went this time.