Tuesday, August 2, 2011


EXTRA, EXTRA- DON'T READ ALL ABOUT IT: The mutual admiration society known collectively as the Kaua`i County Council and the administration has evolved in the face of a dedicated group of, if not delusional at least, disillusioned voters.

Their "if only we could elect an honest mayor or four honest councilmembers..." mantra presumes that half a government is better than no governhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifment at all.

But if the the town Gould, Arkansas is any example it's going to take a lot more than merely getting a foot in the door.

Seems that, according to the NY Times, when the ad-hoc Gould Citizens Advisory Council- "a nonpartisan group that educates voters and raises money for public causes"- recruited the town's Mayor Earnest Nash Jr. to their ranks the city council simply passed an ordinance banning the formation of any group without their permission and "made it illegal for the mayor to meet with any organization in any location' either 'inside or outside Gould city limits' without the Council’s permission."

Of course Kaua`i is in no danger of a similar law, not because the council would never do it but because the fact is that the combination of the lack of transparency and the manipulation of public input has effectively made any group that might form, ineffective before they ever meet.

That and the fact that the local newspaper is dedicated to making sure that the county gets free access to its pages through the papers' pre-spun regurgitated press releases and news by photo-op.

Even when meetings are "covered" by reporters, the reporters are unable to discern when they're being led around through the chamber-of-commerce-installed rings through their noses. They are so hopped up on the power that being the single news source in town confers upon them that, even if they knew how to do it, they wouldn't dare present the causes of dissident groups in any coherent manner.

In the last month, the paper allowed its top advertiser, Kaua`i Island Utilities Co-op, (KIUC) to have free reign of their pages, even going so far as to simply quote a KIUC release on the state's opposition to the federal "FERC" process rather than actually talking to the state official that was quoted.

Then the administration of Mayor Bernard Carvalho held a series of meaningless meetings, supposedly about the location of the proposed teen drug rehab facility in Lihu`e, presenting it- as the administration claimed in their press releases- as a chance to give input on the location.

But when the last meeting suddenly turned into an announcement that the site had been selected they failed to note that as irrefutable evidence that the whole thing was a sham to begin with, as many of those opposing the location maintained.

The question is whether if the Kaua`i County Council tried to surgically remove the basic constitutional rights of its citizens anyone would notice since the only stories that appear behind the dual paywalls of the Honolulu print and on-line news outlets are ones generated by our local paper. Neither publication seems to think that anything we do here is of interest to anyone at all, if the lack of Kaua`i news bureaus is any indication.

There's more to a functioning democracy that three branches of government- that's the reason why a free press is enshrined in the constitution. But the press is only as free as the flow of information and without some attention from the outside we're headed for the kind of corruption that is limited only by the imagination of those who make the laws.

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