Wednesday, February 29, 2012



(PNN) -- Kaua`i Police Chief Darryl Perry was "offered a settlement" by Mayor Bernard Carvalho at a meeting Monday night, Perry's wife Sollette told the county council Wednesday (2/29) evening.

In testimony before the council she said that there was a settlement discussion at the meeting, which was attended members of the police commission, but before she could give details she was interrupted by County Attorney Al Castillo who had previously tried to stop her testimony on two other occasions.*

After previously denying Castillo's demands Council Chair Jay Furfaro did stop Mrs. Perry's testimony at that point saying he would "not allow personnel issues to be raised" and that "no names of employees" were to be spoken although Mrs. Perry had previously named others.

Mrs Perry also demanded that the council launch an investigation under County Charter Section 3.17 and hire special counsel to do so.

After citing her extensive experience in "human resources" Mrs. Perry described the events of the last month saying Chief Perry was originally called to Carvalho's office on January 30 on what he thought was another matter.

There, Mrs. Perry said, the Chief was told that although he was "not being investigated" and was "expected to carry out his duties" when he returned to work, he was being "suspended as Chief of Police for seven days. "

Mrs. Perry said that at the meeting her husband was "shown a letter" from an employee complaining of a "hostile work environment" although he was not given a copy. She said the letter named Assistant Chiefs Roy Asher and Ale Quibilan as subjects of the complaint.

She said that this meeting was attended by Heu, Kollar and one other Carvalho aide.

The evening after the meeting at 8 p.m. she said the Chief got a call from Heu telling him he was to "stand by for a meeting in the morning" but to "avoid (the complainant) at all costs.

"For a month the Chief has been under attack" Mrs. Perry told council members saying that there was "nothing in the county charter that gives the mayor the power to suspend the chief."

Mrs. Perry stated that, when Chief Perry did return to work, as has been reported, Acting Assistant Chief Mark Begley refused three direct orders from Perry requesting Perry's gun, badge and access to his office in what she called "an act of grave insubordination... under directions from the mayor."

She added that current Acting Chief Michael Contrades had also received a communication from Heu on behalf of the mayor ordering Contrades to withhold the chief's equipment.

She told the council she didn’t see the authority to suspend the chief as resting with the mayor but rather that "the (police) commission should direct the chief."

Mrs. Perry testified just before the council went into a previously scheduled executive session regarding the matter. Chair Furfaro said that she had "called in" to request to testify before the session and was told to come in and do so.

For background on this story see previous posts at:

Deputy County Attorney Justin Kollar did not attend Monday's "settlement" meeting between suspended Police Chief Darryl Perry and Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. The meeting was, according to sources, attended by some members of the police commission. The post has been corrected.


PRAISE THE SPEAKER AND PASS THE COMPAZINE: As we enter our fifth year of "daily" whatever-the-heck-it-is-we-do in this space (changing the definition of "daily" on the fly, first to "week"days and later to whenever-the-heck we feel like it), we noticed that, while some years we tend to bang our head against the wall of the annual state legislative session more than others, this year?.. not so much.

Now don't get us wrong- we usually have little or no trouble getting our boxers in a bunch for the next big fight. The trouble is we're so damn tired of fighting the last one again and again.

Our legislative system has to be one of the most "corrupt" in the country. By that we mean that it's essentially based on a politically-motivated, mutual hand-washing type of cronyism and legalized bribery. This year there was a bill floating around that would have literally legalized "gifts" meant to influence legislators.

It's like a bento that comes with a heaping portion of our absurd "committee-chair-as-God" bill-referral system and two scoops of an "it's-always-this-way-unless-it's-not" rules and procedures, all slathered in the gravy of a hurry-up-and-wait, fake-you-out-of-your-Nikes slew of often-unannounced hearings culminating in a series of conference committees at session's end that make the previous four months of kabuki a bad and expensive joke on those picking up the check.

So the past week or so, as yet another effort to remove all environmental protections from the Hawai`i Environmental Protection Act (HRS 343) moved forward- this time in a measure to arbitrarily allow the governor and/or mayors to exempt anything their black little hearts desire from, not just environmental protection, but from any and all permitting that might trigger public hearings or even add conditions- we just couldn't whip up the outrage of past years' efforts at similar ma

Thankfully this morning we awoke to a Facebook posting from former Kaua`i State Senator and current state Director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control, Gary Hooser. Fortunately Hooser is now in a position where it is his job to read through stacks of bills, many of which the environmental watchdogs might miss because of course they're not titled "Related to Rape of the Environment" but rather, as in this case, "Relating To Economic Revitalization."

After sending out an alarm last week as to the scheduling of a hearing yesterday, today Hooser wrote that:

HB1893 was "deferred" in the House Finance Committee which means it is most likely dead for this session! This of course is great news for those who care about the environment and preserving public participation in the development process.

Of course another bill, HB2324, which would exempt "the upgrading and new construction of broadband facilities on state and county property from state and county permitting processes" did pass with still-unknown amendments which, the ever optimistic Hooser hopes, "will result in a Bill that is far better than the version that arrived in Finance."

Every year there's another attack. We'd seen them come and go over the year with the worst of the worst, like "automatic approvals," creating havoc and leaving communities with monstrous projects and developments that no one wants because, in the case of automatic approvals, some bureaucrat was asleep at the wheel.

But a special place in the legislative Hall of Shame has to go to these outright HRS 343 exemptions for certain department or division projects.

We became aware of these relatively recently when the SuperFerry was triggering pre barf-o-meter nausea.

As word of the Linda Lingle Administration's corrupt little exemption from 343 began to be challenged, we noticed the absence of any county permitting- even a Shoreline Management Area (SMA) permit which always accompanies any project on or near the shore and is required under the federal Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Act.

But after our usual runaround at the planning department (PD)- which, as with all county departments, usually consists of a "click" on the phone whenever we identify ourselves- we finally received a semi-anonymous email from a lower echelon PD cog from sector "R," referring us to an HRS provision that, like one of those pockets in your colon that contain five year old potato skins, contained a particularly disgusting little turd of a law that exempted the entire Harbor Division of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) from any and all county permitting.

Upon further review we learned from then-Kaua`i Representative Mina Morita that, though this provision pre-dated her tenure and had little chance of repeal, she had spent a decade or more fighting the same battle, year after year, to defeat bills that would make others, like the Airports Division, similarly exempted.

Of course now people are becoming more aware of these measures and sometimes, miraculously, as with today's "defeat" of HB1893, the bill is at least temporarily squelched until it rears its ugly head at next year's session.

We have no idea whether we'll be able to stomach much coverage of the legislature this year. Oh we may re-rant about the idiotic Council on Revenues (COR) system where they have to prepare the budget not once, not twice but three times as the economic projections change from one pulled from the COR's sleeve to another pulled from their butts at various points before, during or after the session.

Or maybe we'll get our hackles raised by some last minute "plate-lunch" bill with a heaping portion of gut-and-replace and a side order of conference-committee-shenanigans that yields a final day vote on bill that, although it never even got a hearing and was declared dead in January, has now been slipped into a stack of 20 bills that are passed in a matter of 25 seconds.

But don't expect much. We're nauseous enough from the vog blowing though these days, and food is too expensive to lose our lunch over an entrenched legislative process which stands zero chance of getting a gut-and replace treatment of its own.


Monday, February 27, 2012


DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN: It's somewhere between one of those birthday cake candles that can't be blown out and a regenerating fire-breathing dragon that needs slaying on a recurring basis.

This year again, bills that would make it even harder to use one of the safest and most effective pain medications- medical marijuana- are back and are zipping through the state house. Yet the silence among those trying to stop the bad bills and actually expand the program has been deafening.

Efforts to switch oversight from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to the Department of Health (DOH) are seemingly absent and the continuing abuses of patients and doctors by the DPS have gone at the very least under-reported if not ignored after healthy debate a year ago.

But one doctor, Jim Berg, MD from the Big Island, is trying to fight back.

Berg has become the doctor who has processed the most recommendations for marijuana to patients and, in an open letter to Governor Neil Abercrombie posted last week at Tiffany Edwards Hunt's Big Island Chronicle he details the abuses of the police and DPS.

Although the letter is incredibly long and at times repetitive, it does tell the sad story of how Berg started giving his own patients recommendations- they're not really prescriptions- and, as other doctors were harassed by state and county law enforcement officials they started sending their patients who needed medical marijuana to Berg rather than fight the county and state.

Berg beings by saying to Abercrombie:

I come from the place of deepest respect as a licensed medical doctor in the State of Hawaii. Respect for you, the great peoples of the State of Hawaii, its laws, and respect for my patients. I appeal to your integrity as a politician in power to hear the pleas of patients of Hawaii suffering from severe pain, nausea, muscle spasms, and appetite loss. They would be disqualified and loose their right to use their medical marijuana if current bills HB2600 and HB1963 (SB2606) pass the Hawaii legislature and you sign them into law. Many of my patients told me personally, that you promised them while on the campaign trail for governor, that you would protect their rights given to them as legally registered patients under the current medical marijuana law. You would show your respect for the 90 percent or more of the current patients that would be disqualified by the bills HB2600 and HB1963, if you would promise to veto these bills. On behalf of the patients and doctors involved, I also ask that you repair the State of Hawaii’s administration and enforcement of the medical marijuana program for the patients and doctors, by creating a state system that actually cares its patients.

After detailing many of the local abuses of patients and disinformation campaigns by Hawai`i Island Police Department (HiPD) Berg tells a tale of years of terrorism toward both doctors and patients at the hands of Keith Kamita, the notorious Deputy Director of Public Safety whose outright lies and, as Berg alleges, illegal activities in fighting against medical marijuana are legendary.

Berg writes that:

the ringleader behind the state’s concerted efforts has historically been Mr. Keith Kamita, the current Deputy Director of Public Safety, and the former Director of the Narcotics Enforcement Division since its inception until you recently promoted him. Mr. Kamita has always been personally kind to me directly and has never suggested to me that I was doing something wrong or bad, despite my and my office’s thousands of communications together with him or his office. Yet Mr. Kamita has not been supportive of the medical marijuana program, and I believe he has spearheaded the statewide movement to hinder a patient and doctor’s right to fulfill this law, and he has repeatedly conspired to used his power to put patients and sincere doctors like my colleagues and myself in a false light to get rid of this program. His obligation as a state agent is to support the current law, not conspire against it. Let me provide some more examples of Mr. Kamita’s systematic attempts to not fulfill the medical marijuana law and to overtly enact a plan to restrict patient and doctors’ legal rights.

HB 1963, which has passed various committees and second reading and been referred to the Judiciary Committee,

Updates the law relating to the medical use of marijuana by: (1) requiring the Department of Health to submit a report, including draft legislation, to the Legislature on recommendations to the list of authorized debilitating medical conditions; (2)requiring a separate registration at each principal place of business where an applicant recommends the medical use of marijuana; (3) clarifying definitions with respect to medical use of marijuana; (4) establishing a suspension period for those violating the medical marijuana program conditions; (5) limiting the amount of marijuana that can be possessed at a location; and (6) increasing the penalties for fraudulent misrepresentations about the medical use of marijuana. (HB1963 HD1)

We're a bit under the weather so will leave it here for today. Last year we almost got through bills to not just put regulation of medical marijuana under the DOH but to start up compassion centers where it can be obtained legally- a problem Dr. Berg details in his letter. But Kamita and others, including Kaua`i Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, managed to put a last minute nail in medical marijuana reform's coffin through a campaign of blatant disinformation and fear-mongering.

But this year those bills flounder while this one and others that would make things ten times worse are moving through the legislature without an audible peep from medical marijuana advocates.

Those who need marijuana to alleviate pain without opiates need to have people stand up for some sanity. If reading Berg's letter doesn't move people to act perhaps nothing will.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


HA-CHA-CHA-CHA-CHA: With yesterday's "oh yeah, well so's ya mutha" public pissing contest between Kaua`i Police Department (KPD) Chief Darryl Perry and Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. playing out throughout the day, apparently some felt left out of the act.

Under the "yeah, you think?" headline of "Kauai police chief's status unclear," the "readership-schmeadership" Honolulu Star-Advertiser decided not to "lede" with Perry wandering the halls of the cop shop waiting for someone to "toss him a sandwich" (lest he lose his self-administered authority by going out for lunch) or Carvalho going "off-leash" and calling TV stations to let them know that he was "not making big chest mayor."

Rather, in a "stop da music- STOP da music" moment, they led with:

The Kauai County Charter Review Commission (CRC) is scheduled to meet Monday to look at whether Mayor Bernard Carvalho has the authority to keep Police Chief Darryl Perry on leave.

And in fact it seems that they've scheduled an executive session without any charge or expertise to do so, to examine Section 7.05 of the Kaua`i County Charter which details the "Powers, Duties and Functions" of the mayor.

The fact that banks of attorneys, bloggers, reporters and assorted members of the peanut galley have been unable to interpret the ancient hieroglyphics that pass for the county's guiding document over the past three weeks apparently means that, because the word "charter" appears in the name of the commission, they feel the need to add to the babble.

In case you haven't been sufficiently confused with both sides claiming the authority to discipline the chief let us try to not make sense of it.

The fact is that nowhere in the charter sections on the Police Department (Article 11) or the Mayor (Article 7) is the power to do anything specifically regarding the chief mentioned except for "Section 11.04. Chief of Police" which says:

The chief of police shall be appointed by the police commission. He may be removed by the police commission only after being given a written statement of the charges against him and a hearing before the commission.

Appointed and removed? Yes. Disciplined, suspended, placed on leave, told to stick his head in gravy and sell it to the Navy? No.

But though this has been reported ad nausium some of the other parts of Article 11 haven't.

Section 11.03 "General Powers of the Commission" says that:

The police commission shall:

C. Receive, consider and investigate charges brought by the public against the conduct of the department or any of its members and submit a written report of its findings to the chief of police within ninety days.

D. Refer all matters relating to administration of the department to the chief of police.

Certainly the chief is a "member" of the department. Section 11.01. "Organization" specifically states that:

There shall be a police department consisting of a police commission, a chief of police and the necessary staff.

But this only covers complaints made by "members of the public." And if a complaint against him goes anywhere, it's right back to him.

But under Section 11.06. Discipline and Removal, the charter reads

The dismissal, suspension, or demotion of any police officer or employee in the police department shall be under procedures set forth by civil service laws and regulations.

That's where things go kabluey because appointed officials are not civil service employees so are not subject to civil service laws and regulations (also making "Section 11.07 Appeals" moot). This would also seem to indicate that the chief is not to be treated as other "members" of the department since he is not subject to civil service laws as most are.

So does the mayor have the authority?

The only reference for that is in Section 7.05. "Powers, Duties and Functions" of the mayor. It says that:

The mayor shall be the chief executive officer of the county. He shall have the power

A. Except as otherwise provided, exercise direct supervision over all departments and coordinate all administrative activities and see that they are honestly, efficiently and lawfully conducted.

And that's about it. Although many have pointed to the phrase "(e)xcept as otherwise provided" and said that the police commission is where the power to hire and fire the chief is seated, as delineated above, that's the only power given to the commission where the chief is concerned.

Is Carvalho claiming that he making sure that "administrative activities" are being "honestly, efficiently and lawfully conducted?" Honesty doesn't seem to involved. Or efficiency. And legality would seem to be for the courts to decide.

Thus, the "constitutional crisis," the charter being the "constitution of the county."

Anyone claiming authority for anyone to do anything to the chief but hire and fire him is simply whistling in the graveyard.

There is however an "out."

There are 13 "Powers, Duties and Functions" of the mayor in Under Section 7.05 not just the one we cited above. The very last one reads:

M. Exercise such other powers and perform such other duties as may be prescribed by this charter or by ordinance.

We can plainly see that the charter does not proscribe who is in charge of "disciplining" the chief. However although the police commission cannot claim the power in their administrative rules (under HRS Chapter 91) the county council could, conceivably, pass an "ordinance" placing the power wherever it chooses.

We're sure they're just soooo appreciative for having this thrown into their collective laps.

This of course would be subject to review by the courts. Many times courts will rule that, under the type of "supremacy" established in the 10th amendment of the US Constitution, powers not taken by a "higher" authority are reserved for the next one down. In the case of the 10th Amendment that means anything congress doesn't make a "law regarding" is "reserved for the states."

In the case of state, supremacy plays out in that anything not regulated by the state constitution is reserved for the legislature. And anything the state constitution or statutes don't cover is left to the counties. And if a county charter doesn't address it, the council may usually do by ordinance.

Maybe. There are instances where a judge will say that just because the "higher" document is silent it doesn't necessarily give the next one down the right to regulate. You just never know. It's apparently a situational, "case by case" thing and we're not an attorney nor are we in possession of those dauntingly huge collections of every court decision.

But if the authority to resolve this "crisis" exists anywhere it is with the county council which may, by ordinance, establish which "other powers and... duties" the mayor may "exercise" and "perform," including the disciplining of the police chief and other department heads that are hired and fired by boards or commissions such as fire, liquor, personnel and planning.


One more thing- again burying the lede- before we take a long weekend.

We said yesterday that, in violation of county policy and EEOC regulations, according to multiple sources, Chief Perry tried get Officer Darla Abbatiello-Higa to drop her October hostile work environment/sexual harassment complaint against an assistant chief. That, we said, prompted her to file her second complaint in January- this time not internal to the department but sent to the mayor and police commission- alleging that not only were Assistant Chiefs Ale Quibilan and Roy Asher harassing her but that Perry was among those "creating a hostile workplace."

Yesterday, in a report on KHON-TV, Perry stated that the reason he asked to either work from home or be suspended or take a leave (or whatever he's saying today):

I didn't want to come back to a hostile work environment and be placed in a situation where this person may see me in the hallway and say that I looked that person (sic) in a wrong way and make another complaint.

By using the word "another" Perry apparently confirms that a hostile workplace environment" complaint was filed against him.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I'M AFRAID I CAN'T DO THAT DAVE: He has no key, no badge, no gun... no office.

Yet, according to sources close to the Kaua`i Police Department (KPD) Police Chief Darryl Perry is back on the job today although his whereabouts inside police headquarters at any given moment is anybody's guess.

It all started late yesterday when Perry told the TV's Hawai`i News Now (HNN) that he was returning to work today based on unanimous instructions from the police commission Friday, despite a county attorney's opinion that reportedly gives Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. the authority to determine Perry's status after Perry was placed on leave on February 2.

But this morning HNN reported that:

Kauai Police Chief Darryl Perry was turned away from his office when he tried to return to work Wednesday morning in a power struggle with Mayor Bernard Carvalho.

Perry told a Hawaii News Now news crew that he was not allowed to receive his gun and badge and get access to his office Wednesday at police headquarters in Lihue just before 8 a.m.

"I ordered Assistant Chief Mark Begley to open my office and reissue my equipment. He stated to me that under direct orders from the mayor and the county attorney, that he is not to do that," Perry said in an interview at police headquarters.

"The police commissioners have expressed their opinion and also directed the issuance of equipment and my ID card and everything else that comes with it, my weapons. But they have refused," Perry said.

"Right now, I'm actually on duty, but I don't have any equipment with me. I can't get in to my office. I don't have access to my computer," he added.

As of press time we have learned Perry is still "at work" although still locked out of his office

This morning at 9:29:16 a.m. Carvalho's Director Of Communications Beth Tokioka issued a "Statement by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. Regarding The Kaua`i Police Department," in which Carvalho claims that it was initially Perry's idea to be placed on leave and Carvalho initially disagreed.

In the release Carvalho tells the following story for the first time:

“First of all, I would like to state that it is still my belief, based on advice from legal counsel, that I have the authority to supervise the daily activities of the Chief and that I have acted within my authority for all actions taken regarding this matter. The members of the Police Commission have been advised of this as well.

“As you know, on February 2, I made an announcement that the Chief of Police had been placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigation of the complaint in question. I want to make it absolutely clear that this action was taken upon the request of the Chief. Initially, when the Chief made this request on January 30, I felt that there was no need to place him on leave and that he could continue to lead the department under certain conditions that would preserve the integrity of the compliant investigation. After I advised the Chief that I would not be placing him on leave, he sent an email to the Police Commission on that same day – January 30 - asking them to pressure me into placing him on leave. I am providing you with a copy of that email so that you can see how emphatically he felt about being placed on leave.

“After further discussions on January 31 and February 1, it was determined that the Chief’s concerns had merit, and that an appropriate course of action would be to place him on leave until the complaint was properly addressed. There has been public speculation and statements regarding the type of leave the Chief was placed on. Because this is a personnel matter, I will release no details on that aspect of this matter.

“On Sunday, February 19, I was informed by Police Commission Chair Ernie Kanekoa that the Commission wanted the Chief to return to the job as soon as possible. I listened to his reasons and, although the Chief had previously made a strong case for why he should be placed on leave in the best interests of all involved, I was willing to talk to the Chief and better understand the reasons for his change of heart. I asked that Ernie and the Chief be available to discuss this with me on Tuesday, February 21, at 3:00 pm. My intent was to determine if conditions could be agreed upon that would protect the interests of all involved in the complaint so that Chief Perry could return to work.

“It is important to remember - above all else - that I have been served with a complaint that involves Chief Perry and other high-ranking officials in the department. It is my legal responsibility - which I take very seriously - to ensure that complaint is handled properly.

“Unfortunately, yesterday afternoon Ernie advised us that the Chief, on advice of his attorney, would not meet with us. This meeting was very important before we could even consider bringing the Chief back to work. In earlier discussions I've had with the Chief on this matter, he expressed deep concerns about protecting the integrity of the investigation, the department, County of Kaua`i, and his personal interest with respect to further risk and exposure to himself and his family if he were to continue working while the complaint was being investigated. I had my own concerns for protecting the interests of all involved in the complaint. For those reasons, I feel it is very important to have a shared understanding of the terms under which the Chief could return to work while the complaint is being investigated. Unfortunately for all concerned, the Chief refused to meet and chose instead to communicate through the media.

That is certainly a different story- in fact the opposite of the one told by Perry, who said he asked to be allowed to work from home but it was Carvalho who insisted he be placed on leave.

Carvalho went on to state he was " disappointed in the way this has been handled over the past 24 hours," saying the department "is in capable hands" while reiterating that "the Charter gives me that authority and (I) have been advised as such by the County Attorney," and stating that "(t)he Chief even acknowledges this in his email of January 30."

Perry's January 30 email seems to confirm Carvalho's narrative. It is addressed to individual police commission members, the mayor and some of his senior advisers and community supporters as well as some of the KPD brass.

It reads, in full,

As you know, AC Quibilan and AC Asher were placed on administrative leave with pay at the closing of this business day pending the outcome of the investigations relating to hostile working environment complaints initiated by an officer.

Additionally, at this morning’s meeting I too was placed on notice by the Mayor for my involvement relating to the most recent complaint against AC Quibilan.

In order to protect the integrity of the investigation, the department, County of Kauai, and personal interest with respect to further risk and exposure to myself and family, I too was about to put myself on administrative leave with pay at the close of this business day. However, I was informed by KPD’s legal advisor, Justin Kollar, that I do not have the authority to do that.

Therefore, I am requesting that this body contact the Mayor’s Office as soon as is practical to have my request approved without delay.

In the interim, Deputy Chief Michael Contrades shall be the Acting Chief of Police and Assistant Chief Mark Begley will be the Acting Deputy Chief until further notice and/or modifications are made.

I will send a notification to All KPD at the end of the day and will be turning in my equipment immediately in accordance with policy and procedure.

Because I will not have access to departmental communications systems, you may contact me directly via my cell phone 351-5004, or by email
Mahalo. Chief Perry
Darryl D. Perry
Chief of Police

 In not immediately launching an investigation when Officer Darla Abbatiello-Higa filed an internal "hostile work environment" complaint against Perry's assistant chiefs, Roy Asher and Ale Quibilan, there's no doubt that Perry's actions were a violation of county policy which has the force of civil law according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rules.

That, according to sources familiar with the filing, is essentially what Abbatiello's January complaint- this time addressed to the mayor and police commission- said. It also, according to sources, complained that Perry indirectly tried to get the idea across that she might be jeopardizing her beloved work with youth and the Explorer Scouts if she didn't drop the October compliant.

As to Perry, like "Charlie on the MTA" he may never go "home" and his fate is still unknown. He may walk forever though the halls of the cop shop, he's the chief who never (actually) returned.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


LEGALLY SCHMEGALLY: You'd think we'd have learned by now.

But because the lackluster MidWeek advertising rag- the one that's shoved in everyone's mailbox and overflows the trash cans at the Post Office on Tuesdays and Wednesdays- generally has so little relevant content past the puff pieces, we've been tossing them ourselves occasionally without skimming for the rare relevant content.

And in doing so, we'd have missed former Police Commissioner Tom Iannucci's impossibly befuddled and schizophrenic piece on the latest Kaua`i Police Department (KPD) sexual harassment debacle if it weren't for Kaua`i Eclectic's Joan Conrow, who herself only noticed it as she was throwing it out.

Calling Iannucci's tome"an obtuse piece," as she did, is an act of kindness.

Iannucci rambles on with vague analogies about hotel management and all you get out of it is that he- surprise surprise- is yet another troglodytic troll who thinks sexual harassment is best swept under the rug, calling Perry and the two suspended Assistant Chiefs, Ale Quibilan and Roy Asher "wrongly accused," having the unbelievable nerve to state:

Two wrongs don’t make a right. And a wrong may have truly occurred, but to what degree the whip should extend and whom it should consume comes into question, and the motives behind it....

These three officers are men who do care and, in my opinion, their actions and motives are being wrongly accused, and the quicker this is resolved, the better for our island and our department. I stand behind them and their integrity. But they are just the top tiers of a problem whose inception, whose roots are deeper in many different ways.

When all is stripped away and peeled back, we will have to ask: Did it really need to go this far, or was it just opportunity and ability to extend the whip and cause hurt for the sake of doing so? Maybe it will all be buried in legal findings and judgments, and we may never know.

As Perry's biggest supporter- and an ex-Marine with the well-known requisite attitude toward women that goes with it- Iannucci can be expected to take a "boys will be boys" attitude.

But Conrow? We're sure that that isn't the case, at least consciously. But could her admiration and staunch support for Perry be clouding her reasoning? Read on.

Conrow tells the story that we've heard, albeit second hand because the story is apparently being told by, guess who, Perry himself who, we understand, is the source of most of the anonymous quotes in the press since the day he was put on leave by Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr.

She re-tells Perry's cockamamie story about asking to work from home and instead being publicly disgraced by Carvalho who "illegally," according to many, put him on leave... all because Carvalho sees Perry as his biggest potential rival not just for power, as Iannucci would have us believe, but in his 2014 re-election bid.

She also adds a new wrinkle that was brought to our attention over the weekend and that is that current Acting Chief Michael Contrades is the son of Tommy Contrades, "whom the mayor already generously rewarded by creating especially for him the new, highly-paid position of managing the county's capital improvement projects," Conrow reports.

Although we have no direct knowledge of Conrow's source, she, unlike us, has a "hot-line" relationship with the chief as she has written many times. Perry would no sooner take a call from us than respond by-the-book to a sexual harassment complaint.

But she does tell two seemingly incongruous stories.

She first tells the story as to how, as we said a couple of weeks back,

It all started when Officer Darla Abbatiello-Higa reportedly rebuffed Quibilan's sexual advances, and he allegedly retaliated by making mean, sexually-oriented cracks to and about her in front of others, including the kids she works with in the Kauai Police Explorers program. She complained to Asher, who reportedly did nothing to separate the two — as is required under a rule in the county handbook — or chastise Quibilan, whose alleged harassment then reportedly worsened.

And she follows that by acknowledging that:

She next took her concerns to the chief, who allegedly twice tried to dissuade her from pursuing a formal EEOC complaint and allegedly expressed resistance at placing Asher and Quibilan on leave. Instead, he reportedly urged her to try to work things out internally.

That, right there, according to the county's own handbook on sexual harassment- as well as the EEOC's- is reason enough for suspending Perry and placing him on administrative leave. Instead, by law and policy, he should not have tried to get her to withdraw her complaint, as apparently he had been doing since she filed the complaint last October.

But then Conrow says that:

Dissatisfied with his response, Officer Darla then took the matter to the mayor, who reportedly directed Perry to put Asher and Quibilan on leave while the complaint was investigated, which Perry did. Now here's where politics rears its ugly head.

The chief then reportedly said that since the complaint involved him, he also should stay away from the cop shop, and would instead work at home.

Uh, well, actually no. Perry's misconduct in trying to dissuade Abbatiello made it mandatory that whomever was in charge formally suspend Perry for misconduct. It's called an attempted cover-up. Don’t forget either, the second complaint was also sent to the police commission which had failed to act before Carvalho took action. It was only after Perry was placed on leave that the commission scheduled a meeting, one for a Sunshine Law mandated six days later despite the fact that they could have acted under emergency provisions of the Law to meet immediately and confirm any action taken when the properly noticed meeting took place with the required six days notice.

The story that Conrow tells- which could only have come from Perry or Carvalho- and it's doubtful it was the latter- is that:

the mayor disagreed (with allowing him to work from home) and told Perry to come into the office. The two, who have long been at odds, reportedly argued, and Perry stood firm by his decision and stayed home. The mayor then suspended Perry without pay for seven days for insubordination, after which he was placed on paid leave with Asher and Quibilan, pending an investigation of Officer Darla's complaint.

Conrow first cites Carvalho's desire to put Contrades in as acting chief and then explains the politics behind Carvalho's move. As she sees it:

it was appropriate for Carvalho to take some immediate action when Officer Darla came directly to him. Not only was it appropriate, it was mandatory, from a staunch-the-bleeding legal standpoint.

But it was Carvalho's responsibility only to ensure that Officer Darla's complaint was appropriately handled once it came to his attention. It's really a stretch to say that his kuleana also included getting into a power struggle with his political enemy, the police chief, and ultimately suspending him.

Surely, once the chief placed Asher and Quibilan on leave, as he is authorized to do, he could have been allowed to take vacation, comp or personal leave until the police commission could be convened to sort out the issues that specifically involved him.

Instead, Carvalho took the opportunity to thuggishly grab power and mete out some political pay back against Perry. Unfortunately, by taking that particular approach he threw the police department and community into a tizzy, caused Officer Darla to be dragged into the spotlight by those seeking to make sense of the turmoil, possibly exposed the county to litigation by Perry, created a lot of ill will and made our island once again the subject of statewide derision.

As we said two weeks ago, it certainly fits the narrative across the island of the politically motivated Carvalho screwing the beloved Chief Perry for political gain.

It seems like Conrow is of two minds- one in which she says that Carvalho's action was "mandatory" and one in which he should have allowed Perry to "work from home,"

Has her belief in Perry has clouded her judgment?

Maybe. Because the real story as we've heard floating around is that Perry, Quibilan and Asher all threatened Abbatiello that if she didn't drop the October complaint she might just lose her beloved position in administrative services working with youth and heading up the police recruitment program with the Explorer Scouts (sorry to bury the lede). Maybe not in those stark terms but the general idea was broadcast loud and clear.

Either story cold be true. A vindictive, politically ruthless mayor seizing the opportunity to repay a supporter or a chief who is known to try to "smooth over" conflicts in order to "boost morale" going too far and violating the law- one that has cost the county millions already.

But the latter is the story that makes sense here, not the one that Iannucci is pushing on Perry's behalf and that Conrow wants desperately to believe- that Bernard's well known penchant for rewarding his friends and punishing his enemies has gone over the line and is threatening to destroy the reputation of the chief.

We could be wrong- but we doubt it.

Monday, February 20, 2012


GIVE THAT MAN AN EXPLODING CIGAR: Sometime you've gotta wonder what happens when people start breathing the air around the state capitol when the legislature is in session.

While it seems to imbue many reps and sens with a tone-deafness that often yields bills like this year's slew of anti-ethics measures, such as the one that would have literally legalized bribery, we're talking about the tendency of public interest lobbying groups- the ones supporting things like good governance and environmental protection- to look at a difficult route for good legislation and decide to take the path of least resistance.

So it was bad enough when, as we wrote late last month:

we heard that rather than ban those one-time-use, white, plastic grocery bags like Kaua`i and Maui have done, the bill streaking through the legislature aims to simply put a 10 cent fee on them- to go to 25 cents if it doesn't decrease the use significantly.

At that time we were kvetching about how

the corporate media is framing any controversy over the bill as whether in fact to institute a fee and if so how much it should be, is that our own people have sold us down the river once again.

But to our surprise soon thereafter we received a "Capitol Watch" email from the state Sierra Club (SC) asking us to get behind the effort rather than pushing the type of legislative ban many of us worked hard to institute on Kaua`i, Maui and the Big Island and has now been introduced in Honolulu.

What no one has reported is the behind-the-scenes controversy it caused, not just among SC members but among other organization cited as supporting the bill such as the Surfrider Foundation.

Apparently one of those problems of bi and tri-level organizations hit the fan and the press wasn't interested in making it clear that it was Surfrider's Honolulu chapter that was supporting the fee while others, like the Kaua`i chapter, were holding out for a total ban.

They weren't the only ones who felt like the SC was screwing up. Email overflowed the in-boxes of those who worked for a year or more to pass the bans on the neighbor islands. They were worried that, despite the fact that the original bill would have allowed the county bans to stand, their efforts may have been usurped by one of those all-too-common, last-minute, conference committee switcheroos.

But despite all the buzz, apparently the word hadn't reached the SC's desk as they announced that "A Bill’s Death Leaves Citizens Stunned"

The piece said that:

in a surprising and astonishing move, HB 2260 was recommitted, and in a casual vocal floor vote, the single-use bag and watershed initiative fund bill experienced a swift death on the House floor, rendering it impossible for the bill to pass the First Lateral deadline. We’re not sure why this occurred, but the move was completely unexpected and came as a shock to its ample and optimistic supporters.

Astonishing? Surprising? Stunned?

How about Tone-deaf. Out of Touch. Oblivious.

While the death of the "fee" bill has been characterized as "a mistake" by some there is evidence it may have been anything but.

Maybe no one at SC noticed that Honolulu City Council Chair Ernie Martin has introduced and a bill that would ban single use plastic bags which, if it passes, would create a de facto state-wide ban by virtue of having bans in all four counties. If they had surly it would have alerted them that their piddly little fee-instituting bill was hopelessly out-stripped by current events.

But even without the Honolulu measure how far did they think they would get without the support of those who on the three neighbor islands?

These citizens prevailed in the face of big money being poured into the state by the national chemical industry which air-lift in lobbyists to unsuccessfully try to convince three sets of councilmembers that it was an issue of "choice"... that people should be free to "choose" to create visual land blights, turn the ocean into a death trap for aquatic life and further contribute to the ever-growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Did they think we were now going to give up and support a half-assed "fee" bill?

The Sierra Club does great work and without their lobbying efforts we probably wouldn't even have a Hawai`i Environmental Protection Act any more- something they are trying to again prevent from happening this year again.

But when they do things like this by deciding to start off supporting a weak bill- not to mention one that many of their members view as wholly inadequate and possibly destructive of activists' previous efforts- it might be wise to examine, not why the "fee" bill was voted down but exactly why they shocked in the first place when it happened.


As you can probably tell from the above we're still in need of a new editor. If you have some experience- or even if you are just literate and can tell when it's its and when it's it's- and can determine if that phrase is "clear as mud" or "clear like mud"- and can spare a spell to check our spelling and such sometime around noon on weekdays, email us at gotwindmills(at) It would also help if you're familiar with local names, places and political machinations.

We can't offer recompense beyond the satisfaction of dealing with an impossibly demanding crazy person but we're still hopeful that there's someone equally insane out there somewhere.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


DEALING WITH IT: Yesterday's shooting of Richard Ernest "Dickie" Louis was a classic "suicide-by-cop" according to sources close to Kaua`i Police Department (KPD).

Although most are tight-lipped as to the details of exactly how Louis was shot and killed, it wasn't hard to predict. Many say Louis had been making "they won't take me alive" types of statements for a year or more and yesterday that's the apparently way it played out.

Louis was convicted in early December almost four and a half years after an arrest for illegally cutting Koa in Koke`e which led to the discovery of "two rifles, ammunition and a shaving kit containing 23 grams of crystal methamphetamine, marijuana, paraphernalia and $3,541 in cash."

But though some of his family and friends are surely grieving for Louis whose slow downhill fall can be traced, sources say, by the evolution of his mug shots over the four and a half years, the biggest tradgedy is that for the officer or officers who went to work yesterday to do their job, went home last night with a weight on their psyches that will most likely haunt them the rest of their lives.

Oh sure there'll be counseling, although we understand that a counselor will have to be brought in from Honolulu because Kaua`i is thankfully small enough for "suicide by cop" to be a rarity.

We often get so busy with criticism of the few bad actors on the force- those who abuse their power jacking up sovereignty activists and native American Church members, the ones who can't seem to stop harassing female officers and department civilian employees and others still who can't seem to maintain the professionalism that asks them to walk a sometimes impossibly thin line between appropriate and inappropriate use of force- we can forget that the vast majority of sworn officers on Kaua`i are conscientious, just-plain working-class folks whose lives can suddenly be turned upside down through circumstances like those presented yesterday where they are forced to take a life in protecting us all.

Louis might have been one or the "bad guys" or could have been a good guy who fell under some bad influences, made some really bad choices, got involved with drugs... and, some say, didn't have the courage to "do the job" himself.

But there's a high likelihood that those who were forced to take his life were doing a job that we thank our stars for every time we are threatened, assaulted or robbed, when someone wraps their car around a telephone poll, when a tourist simply can't find their way to "lye-heh-you-eeee" or when we otherwise find ourselves in need of protection or service.

We know it will be a long hard road to emotional recovery for the officers at the scene yesterday. It always is. They are men and women, not rocks. And we know it's hard for many of them to read some of the things that others in the department do that reflects poorly on them.

That's going to happen again- we can't prevent it and if we didn't write about it we wouldn't be doing our job.

But there is one thing we can do. And that's to sometimes just say "thanks guys and gals" for being there when we need you.


Due to circumstances beyond our- or theirs- control, we find ourselves, for the second time in a year, in need of someone who can do another impossible job- act as editor for our daily scribblings.

If you have any experience with wordsmithing- and dealing with a scribe who think every word is divinely influenced (not really but you may feel that way at times)- and can spare a short spell around noon on weekdays let us know at gotwindmills(at)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


ASSORTED SECRET VALENTINES: Although those involved with events surrounding the harassment compliant and subsequent shakeup in the Kaua`i Police Department have been tight lipped as to the "result" of Tuesday's Kaua`i Police Commission executive sessions on the matter, the Kaua`i County Council will apparently get some kind of closed-door briefing their own selves tomorrow, if only a session with the county attorney discussing the legality of Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.'s "removal" of Police Chief Darryl Perry a couple of weeks back.

Apparently Perry, along with Roy Asher and Ale Quibilan- the two Assistant Chiefs Perry he put on leave the day before Carvalho's ax similarly fell on him- remain on paid administrative leave pending who knows what.

But the council has scheduled its own closed door briefing tomorrow with an agenda notice that reads:

ES-524 Pursuant to HRS sections 92-4, 92-5(a)(4), and section 3.07(e) of the Kaua'i County Charter, the Office of the County Attorney, on behalf of the Council, requests an executive session with the Council to provide the Council with a briefing on the Mayor's authority to exercise direct supervision over or discipline of the Chief of Police. The briefing and consultation involves consideration of the powers, duties, privileges, immunities, and/or liabilities of the Council and the County as they relate to this agenda item.

But although the public will not be privy to what presumably County Attorney Al Castillo tells them, citizens will be permitted to public vent their frustrations, not just for the council's edification but for that of the viewing public.

Also on the agenda is an interesting little item that, although also scheduled for a clandestine confab, reveals that someone in the county has been busy with shenanigans of their own.

Communication 2012-52 requests council's "authorization to expend funds up to $50,000.00 to retain special counsel to represent the Board of Ethics in BOE 11-003 and BOE 11-004 and related matters."

And what exactly are BOE 11-003 and 11-004? According to the December 9, 2011 Board of Ethics agenda:

BOE 11-003 Letter dated 11/25/11 requesting the BOE to initiate an investigation into allegations that an employee or officer of the county has improperly used county resources

BOR 11- 004 Letter dated 11/25/11 alleging an employee or officer of the county has improperly disclosed information and used their (sic) position to secure a benefit, privilege or exemption for them selves (sic) or others

This of course could be anything from simple theft to abuse of power. But it could also have to do with the alleged misconduct, primarily in the Department of Personnel, regarding filings for sick and vacation leave, as we reported the day the story of the suspension of the two assistant chiefs broke.

Whichever it is, it will certainly be one to watch.

And, in a followup to the story of the closing of the Jailhouse Pub and Grill and how it will effects the county's efforts to somehow return the municipal Wailua Golf Course to it's "enterprise fund" status- essentially a place where the county at least breaks even on running it, money-wise- one problem, albeit apparently a political one, is that has been that the way because of the way the charter reads and how fee setting has "worked" since the golf course's inception.

Currently it is the council that sets the rates per round. But a public discussion of the matter has already been held and it's obvious that the council doesn't want to be held responsible for raising ridiculously low rates for seniors and youth- especially in an election year. Yet the county attorney has verbally opined that they are somehow stuck doing it due to charter provisions that disallow the administrative setting of the rates by the Department of Parks and Recreation- where the council would much rather the authority reside.

The argument is that the rates need changing over and over in order to find the "point of diminishing returns"- the place where the cost of a round will not discourage people from playing in Wailua rather than the half a gazillion commercial golf courses- thus finding the "just right price" to optimize revenue.

Why they need to do this in executive session is anyone's guess but apparently the verbal expression of the legal situation by Castillo wasn’t enough and so tomorrow they will be:

consult(ing) with the County Attorney regarding the Council's release of the County Attorney's written legal opinion dated January 17,2012, regarding the delegation of fee setting for Wailua Golf Course and related matters.

As usual all the "good stuff" tomorrow will be done in executive session. Although the Minotaur has departed the labyrinth, "Uncle Kaipo Potter's Council Chamber of Secrets" is alive and functioning well. There's an unsubstantiated rumor going around (spread by us) that they’re working on creating a banner- costing $5,000 and to be funded in executive session- saying "Under New Management."

Perhaps they can borrow a practically brand new one from the Jailhouse Pub and Grill.

Monday, February 13, 2012


IT'S A BIRD, IT'S A PLANE. IT'S AN EYESORE: Although it's probably been more than a decade, we remember a certain drive though San Francisco quite clearly.

Having lived there in the early 70's, we just assumed that we could find the old freeway entrance. But while cruising from "the Haight" to "downtown" we found ourselves suddenly coming around the block for the third time looking for the ramp that led to one of the elevated freeways that made much of the city center a dark, gloomy, drug and crime-filled morass.

"They did what? They tore it down? They whole thing?" "Yes," we were told, "there are no more raised thoroughfares north of Market Street."

As the years went by we noted the trend continuing across the country with cities not only refusing to build new raised monstrosities but actually tearing the old ones down.

So it was no surprise that when Honolulu's traditional lack of planning combined with its time-honored corrupt procurement process and long-standing adherence to urban design concepts 40 years out of date combined to yield yet another plan for the long-delayed, on-again-off-again mass transit project, they decided it was going to be constructed a hundred feet in the air.

Admittedly we haven't been to Honolulu in a decade or more and plan on avoiding it like the proverbial plague for the foreseeable future. Once one sets foot outside of the tourist mecca of Waikiki- and not very far- the sidewalks crack and crumble and the streets are not just filthy but filled with potholes large enough to rent for $1700 a month.

Why would we go? Just the price of a last minute plane ticket approaches that of a direct flight from Kaua`i to SF- a city of similar population where the areas known as "slums" are aesthetically more pleasing than most of "town" on O`ahu.

In their infinite wisdom, the city fathers decided on a "plan," not to spruce it up and start carefully planning- complete with pubic input (gasp!)- the city's future development but rather, to plunge most of it into darkness so no one can see how truly decrepit it actually is.

And that's just the physical limitations. The political ones are worse.

Not only was the first fully-funded, ready-to-go attempt at simply building a system to move people to and from work every day aborted a couple of decades back after a particularly entertaining dance-of-the-headless-chickens but, according to a poll reported today, support for the current similarly ready-to-commence project is dropping faster than the price of stock in the companies that lost the contract to construct it.

According to the poll in the pay-wall protected Honolulu Star Advertiser, support for the project has dropped from 49% last May to 43% now.

And as if that wasn’t enough of a sign that the denizens of Honolulu are fed up with the way the project has evolved- the way its back-room planning and pay-to-play system put into place the most expensive, ugliest system possible, not to mention one that bucks a 20 year trend in urban design- former Governor and anti-rail candidate Ben Cayetano is leading the race for mayor over the two pro-rail candidates by a wide margin.

For those that forgot or weren't around, by the time he left office, Cayetano had burned so many bridges and offended so many supporters, he's been left for politically dead ever since.

Yet current Mayor Peter Carlisle, like the rest of the tone-deaf, steel-on-steel, elevated rail supporters, still clings to the notion that the only problem is that "we haven't done as good a job as we should have in showing people exactly what all the accurate information is (on rail)."

Ah, the last refuge of a delusional pol- the notion that "if people were just 'educated' they would see it from my warped, power-hungry vantage point."

We probably have no right to even write this column today- we don't live on O`ahu and would rather be homeless on any neighbor island than live in a Waikiki luxury high rise.
Honolulu citizens seem to be saying "we want mass transit, perhaps even rail- we just don't want THIS mass transit and THIS rail." Kaua`i people have similarly spoken this way about a certain bike path, a certain electricity co-op and a dozen other projects that have been forced down our throats by smug, paternalistic officials.

The "City and County" seems to have a penchant for hiring those who graduated at the bottom of their class from the Rube Goldberg School of Urban Design. Then, when the worst of them are forced to leave in disgrace, they seem to find their way into the equally befuddled, clueless and crony-filled Kaua`i County government.

All we can say is thanks but no thanks. We've got our hands full now.

Friday, February 10, 2012


ME OR YOUR LYIN' EYES: We've made no secret regarding our take on any purported health issues with so called "smart meters." As we wrote on December 1, 2011, when it comes to the science behind claims of cumulative health problems caused by "non-ionizing 'radiation'"- "radiation" being a sort of misnomer since it is not in any way, shape or form the same as the "ionizing" radiation in radioactive substances- there really is no "there there."

Despite almost a century and a half of man-made RF beginning with the telegraph, although it can burn the crap out of you if the waves are long enough and it's placed right next to human tissue, studies have failed to find any accumulation of these waves that are generated by everything from cell and cordless phones to remote controls to radio and television broadcasts.

And, even if somehow it could be shown that there was a "cumulative effect," the amount and proximity to people of the signals in smart meters pales in comparison to placing a cell or cordless phone next to your brain.

It is certainly not "a hundred times worse" as the self-proclaimed "biggest smart meter activist in the state" told the county council on Wednesday.

So why then are so many otherwise rational people on Kaua`i going nuts over the Kaua`i Island Utilities Co-op (KIUC) purchase and imminent installation of these new wireless meters which should be welcomed as a way to increase the amount of "intermittent" energy generation (such as wind and photovoltaic) we can reliably accommodate?

Opponents have been successful by basically telling others that any information on health effects or other issues such as "privacy" are all generated by "the industry" and "the government"- even though that is patently false- asking "how can you trust the 'electric companies'" or the "'big brother' of government" to tell you the truth.

Of course that is what's called an "ad hominem" attack which, according to Wikipedia, "is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it. Ad hominem reasoning is normally described as a logical fallacy."

But the fallaciousness of an ad hominem argument is dependent on how much the source is worthy of trust. If the track record of an individual or organization for truthfulness, honesty and open, transparent dealings with controversies is that they have never been truthful, open, honest or transparent in the past, people tend to take the old "how do you know if KIUC is lying?- because their lips are moving" joke as gospel.

Well we're pretty sure you can see this one coming up Rice St. because when it comes to a track record for deceit and opaque decision-making, KIUC is very model of modern major mismanagement.

We don't really have to go through the liturgy do we? Whether the bungling of the roll-out of proposed hydroelectric power projects by imposing the potential for federal meddling in local state environmental protections or the lack of any membership consultation- supposedly the hallmark of cooperatives- in the decision-making that preceded the underhanded manipulation of the petition-driven ballot effort to overturn the board's decision, KIUC has been exemplary in how not to gain the trust of the people of Kaua`i.

Even KIUC's inception was fraught with controversy with a group of hand-picked members of the "good old boys and girls" political elite offering an absurdly high- and later to be rejected by the PUC- original bid and eventually paying former owners Citizen's Electric of Connecticut what many say was up to twice what was shown to be the "book value," of Kaua`i Electric... as our "highest in the nation" electricity rates can attest.

Is it any wonder that, no matter how silly, no matter how unscientifically-based, no matter how self-defeating the rush to ban smart meters is, it has gained the support of so many otherwise rational people?

The reason is clear. It's because KIUC is a cooperative in name only when it comes to governance.

KIUC is what's called a "Consumers' Cooperative" in which, according again to Wikipedia, "(m)embers vote on major decisions and elect the board of directors from amongst their own number."

A normal cooperative board simply oversees the day-to-day operations but any major decision- such as strategic planning or even the decision to sign a power purchase agreement with a news solar or wind farm- is supposed to be made by the members.

How hard is that concept to understand? Apparently it's like reading hieroglyphics for the majority of the board of directors which has yet to consult the membership on any decision much less ones of great magnitude, in direct violation of the precepts of a co-op.

According to the same article:

Cooperatives are based on the cooperative values of "self-help, self-responsibility, democracy and equality, equity and solidarity" and the seven cooperative principles:
-Voluntary and Open Membership
-Democratic Member Control
-Member Economic Participation
-Autonomy and Independence
-Education, Training and Information
-Cooperation among Cooperatives
-Concern for Community

Does that sound like KIUC? Just ask yourself if there is true "Democratic Member Control" or is the nature of board decision-making that it's done behind closed doors often citing "proprietary" information- a concept directly in opposition to the basics of co-op decision-making principles.

Education, Training and Information? Information is anything but free-flowing at KIUC and, as a matter of fact, the flow of information from individual board members is tightly controlled through a gag rule preventing them from speaking publicly unless the content is approved by the board's chair or- get this- the CEO, meaning that the employees are telling the employers what they can and can't say.

Voluntary and Open Membership? People are automatically members as soon as they sign up for electric service and, although there is a way to "opt out," users are told they will pay more if they do so because they will not receive the "patronage capital"- a sort of rebate that represents the "profit" that would be there if it was an investor owned company. And there certainly isn't an "open membership." The majority of electricity consumers are not members because membership is reserved for those who pay the electric bill. Assuming the average household is between two and three people that means that most people cannot become members.

Concern for Community? The concern seems to be for the company rather than the community with the community being kept in the dark about major decisions and even routine matters through the gag rule and a general attitude of paternalism left over from the plantation days that is at the very root of the origins of KIUC.

Is it any wonder that when KIUC says "white" people assume "black?" When they say "up" can't we say with some certainty that the likelihood is that the real answer is "down?"

And when KIUC tells us "smart meters are safe," even if they are, it's no wonder more and more people are willing to believe that they are not.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


PRESUMPTUOUS ASSUMPTIONS: The outrage is palpable over the actions of Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. in placing ever popular Kaua`i Police Department (KPD) Chief Darryl Parry on leave pending investigation of a reported "hostile workplace" complaint by Officer Darla Abbatiello-Higa against Perry's two assistant Chiefs- Roy Asher and Ale Quibilan.

It fits the narrative- one we admit to perpetuating- of a pompous, politically-motivated. power-hungry mayor, yet again overstepping his authority and perhaps, as many have speculated, going after a potential 2014 political opponent with Perry's name being bandies about by many as the only person who could successfully challenge Carvalho for his job in two years.

But what if the narrative is wrong? What if there was misconduct on Perry's part in handling Abbatiello's complaint- actions that violated the county's own policies on how to handle a complaint?

One thing we can report is that, although Perry's first and only statement to the press- or at least on-the-record comment- stressed that he had "the utmost trust in the... decision-making" of Asher and Quibilan and that "they’re beyond reproach,” literally dozens of people will tell you that it is in fact Abbatiello that has a sterling reputation for being a "straight shooter" and beyond reproach.

And another dozen will tell you that they have no difficulty at all in believing that either Asher or Quibilan were the types who would think they are so "beyond reproach" that they could get away with harassing Abbatiello even after she had successfully sued the county for just such actions by other KPD officers and brass in the past.

It is certainly strange then that Perry's first reaction was to tell the local press he apparently fully supported his two assistants despite what had to be an extremely credible complaint from "Officer Darla" as she is affectionately known.

Remember that a hostile workplace complaint was filed internally by Abbatiello, reportedly against Asher, in October. That complaint seems to have been all but ignored and was apparently mishandled with, at minimum, no "separation" of Asher and Abbatiello as county policy calls for.

The county's 2010 edition of their "Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment" says that “(p)ending investigation, the investigator(s) shall take immediate and reasonable action to limit the work contact between employees where there has been a complaint of discrimination or harassment.”

Seemingly the fact that going up the chain of command in October- a chain that ends with Perry- met with no success led to Abbatiello's January 31 complaint, reportedly against Quibilan, being sent to both the police commission and the mayor.

While we're not privy to the contents of the complaint, the scenario that makes the most sense is that, after finding out about the complaint- and presumably its contents- Perry tried to stop the bleeding by placing Asher and Quibilan on leave. But he felt compelled to side with them against Abbatiello in a comment to the press even after being warned, according to the same article, not to comment on the matter.

So put yourself in Carvalho's place. Assuming the complaint included the fact that Perry had filed to act properly in the October complaint, the "beyond reproach" comment was too much for the politically-oriented Carvalho. But more importantly consider that the comment exacerbated the situation intimating that Officer Darla was a liar. Having the department head take sides against the complainant would be yet another violation of the sexual harassment guidelines.

And we're pretty sure Carvalho was reminded of all this by County Attorney Al Castillo who has also been under fire for allowing these sexual harassment suits to be mishandled and even ignored.

The fact that the complaint was addressed to the mayor left him in a place where, if he failed to act by putting Perry on leave- and not just allowing him to "work from home" as Perry claimed he had demanded- he would be doing what the county has done in similar sexual harassment complaints- at best just ignore them and worse put pressure on the complainant to drop the charges by allowing Perry's statement to stand as the county's only reaction to the complaint.

While we've gone back and forth on the subject of whether Carvalho had the authority to discipline the chief, it's a subject that has even received scrutiny in Honolulu with an exchange between blogger Ian Lind- who asserted Carvalho did not have the authority- and, in comments on the post, former local Kaua`i newspaper reporter and current "Civil Beat" correspondent Mike Levine.

Levine essentially said "not so fast" in pointing out that, while the authority might seem to be with the police commission which hires and fires the chief, it's a leap to say they are the only ones who can discipline the chief since there is no clear written authority to do so anywhere in the Kaua`i County Charter.

The most popular narrative on Perry in the community is that, after a recently reported 61 official grievances having been filed during the brief tenure of his predecessor KC Lum- who was essentially "quitted" for allowing "low morale" to spread through the department- Perry has been able to cut those grievances to a negligible level. But among those who thought Lum got a raw deal, the narrative is that the reason why there were so many grievances under Lum is that he was actually processing them by the book, encouraging an atmosphere where employees felt their complaints would actually be heard, causing the number to snowball not because of morale but because there was so much misconduct.

They say that the reason why the grievances have slowed to a trickle under Perry is that he has sought to "smooth things over" and either ignore the complaints until they went away or intervening and using his authority to intimidate complainants into withdrawing their complaints so as not to "make waves" and "rock the boat."

That, some say, has allowed some "bad apples" to remain in place and created a "don't bother to complain" atmosphere under Perry's permissive reign.

Is that the situation here? While we can speculate and even state that Perry's public handling of Abbatiello's latest complaint was in violation of the county's workplace policy- making them a violation of the law since the law requires employers to have a policy and stick to it- we have no direct evidence other than the public statements to believe one way or the other.

But if others, as they have in almost unanimity, want to speculate that Hizzonah is once again on the wrong end of an issue of process, they would be wise to consider that there is another narrative that, while it doesn't fit the observable past, may just have the quality of the proverbial broken clock- one that right at least twice a day.

Monday, February 6, 2012


WHY, WHY, WHY, DELILAH: One of the oddest things about the current Kaua`i Police Department complaints against Assistant Chief Roy Asher and is why the reported October complaint against Asher by Officer Darla Abbatiello-Higa seems to have fallen into a black hole while the January complaint against Quibilan spurred a full-fledged inquiry by Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr.

The reason may be the way the two complaints were filed.

According to an administration source the October complaint never reached the mayor's office in the first place but rather was filed internally and handled within KPD where an investigation was apparently launched. Whether that investigation is still active is unknown.

All we can say is that in January when the complaint was reportedly filed against Quibilan it was sent to both the Kaua`i Police Commission (KPC) and Carvalho.

The matter is on tomorrow's KPC agenda, scheduled for no less than three executive sessions. So why then did Carvalho feel the need to launch his own investigation and suspend Chief Darryl Perry, especially since there is nothing in the county charter that specifically gives the mayor the power to deal with the internal affairs of the department? In fact, the commission is designated as the entity that hires and fires and so, presumably, disciplines the chief although the "discipline" part is not specifically spelled out in the charter.

Apparently Carvalho found himself in an untenable position, especially given the likelihood that there will be yet another lawsuit involving, if not sexual harassment then certainly, "creating a hostile work environment" as has been reported is the subject of both complaints.

If he were to ignore the fact that the complaint was sent to him and wait for the commission to act, when the complaint was revealed and his name was on it he surely would have been accused of inaction in the face of this type of complaint. That's something of which the county has been accused over and over during the last decade plus, as multiple sexual harassment and hostile work environment cases have shown not only guilt but distinct attempts by the county to stonewall and even cover up the events by failing to launch timely investigations... or launch them at all.

Whether or not Carvalho's actions will be found to have been in violation of the ambiguous provisions in the charter, perhaps worse for him politically would have been to have it be known that the complaint was addressed to him and he failed to act post haste.

That being said all this criticism- such as a scathing editorial in Saturday's Honolulu Star Advertiser condemning Carvalho's attitude toward informing the public of some of the details that would not have violated anyone's privacy- could have been avoided by being a bit more open as to why he took the action he did.

The pay-wall protected editorial said, in part

Kauai residents have been left in the dark after Mayor Bernard Carvalho placed on leave the island's police chief and two assistant chiefs due to what he calls an "employee-generated complaint," which can mean just about anything. The mayor should provide more information about the allegations surrounding the three highest public officials entrusted with safeguarding the island's public safety...

The mayor added in a prepared statement, "It is standard procedure to keep all information relative to the complaint confidential while the investigation is in process. This is essential to safeguard the fairness of the process and the rights and privacy of all involved."

Of course, that depends on what the public already knows or soon will learn. When police chiefs were put on leave recently in other parts of the country, the mayors in each of those cases acknowledged the issues that already had been public knowledge: In Oklahoma, the chief's arrest on drug charges; in Texas, misuse of public funds; in Connecticut, sexual harassment; and at the University of California at Davis, pepper spraying students.

But in a small town in New Hampshire, residents are still left wondering why the police chief resigned Thursday, more than four months after he was put on paid leave that totaled $36,000.

Clearly, there is compelling reason for the public to know the circumstances under which their paid public officials are placed on leave. Kauai's situation is no different...

Mayor Carvalho read the statement to reporters that the "content of the complaint" will be kept secret "while the investigation is ongoing," but he would not say whether it would be made public afterward.

"This is not the first time an employee has been placed on leave pending the outcome of an investigation," he read, "and it should not be construed to be disciplinary in nature."

However, the police chief is more than your garden-variety county employee. Residents deserve to be advised about the nature of the allegations being made against the man who has been in charge of the county's law enforcement and his two top assistants.

But perhaps the most telling part of the editorial described what happened after Carvalho's press conference on Thursday where he read a prepare statement that revealed just about nothing.

Carvalho refused to answer questions by reporters on Thursday, directing them to his communications team. When asked whether that team would answer questions that day, he responded flippantly, "Welcome to Kauai." The county attorney has advised all county employees to remain silent, and Kauai police officers are telling reporters that they are under orders not to talk.

This just underlines not just Carvalho's inability to think and speak coherently on his own without displaying foot-in-mouth disease, but the amateurish nature of Carvalho's "communications team" which is headed by Beth Tokioka- the so-called "brains" behind the last three administrations.

Tokioka has no experience as a journalist and has gotten away with Carvalho's "Welcome to Kaua`i" attitude because the local newspaper has been, with rare periods of coherency, an administration lap dog.

All this does is to confirm the widely held view that Kaua`i is "a separate kingdom" where neither the ABCs of good public relations nor the rule of law apply.

It takes a shakeup of the proportions of the current debacle to get the attention of the outside press. The only problem is that when this story fades, so will the attention to the finger that Kaua`i mayors have been giving to the rest of the world for generations.

Friday, February 3, 2012


HORSESH*T OF A DIFFERENT COLOR: Stumblebums, troglodytes and mental midgets- oh my.

Those are just some of the words that come to mind over Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.'s "Goo-goo-ga-joob" response to charges he had no authority to place Kaua`i Police Department (KPD) Chief Darryl Perry on leave yesterday- an action reportedly taken after Assistant Chief Roy Asher and Ale Quibilan were the subject of a "creating a hostile work environment" complaint from- guess who- Officer Darla Abbatiello-Higa.

"Creating a hostile work environment" has cost the county millions and these guys are apparently still at it.

"Un-freakin'-believable," as one former Kaua`i official repeatedly yelled into the phone last night.

Perhaps the best line we heard yesterday came from "KPD Blue" author Anthony Sommer who wrote, regarding Carvalho, "maybe he just wants to keep the tradition of 'every Kauai mayor gets to fire one police chief' alive."

But if Asher and Quibilan are Neanderthals, it pales in comparison to Carvalho's "I am the Eggman, They are the Eggmen, I am the Walrus" statement that somehow the county charter gives him the right to place Chief Perry on leave.

Though he cites charter section 7.05, that section has 13 different provisions in it. But assuming the first one is the one to which he refers, it plainly begins with the phrase "unless otherwise provided" which, although Carvalho and real mayor Beth Tokioka disingenuously and conveniently chose not to read this part, means that the operable section, 11.04 supersedes 7.05(A). That's the section that says the police commission is the body empowered to hire and fire the chief and therefore apparently to whom he is responsible.

But not only is Carvalho tone deaf to the limits of his own authority, he apparently hasn't read the sunshine law either.

In his "statement" he explained that he contacted the chair and vice chair of the police commission and apparently discussed the matter with them. Since the mayor sits as a non-voting "ex-officio" member of all boards and commissions, this is a blatant violation of prohibitions on more than two members of a board discussing matters that are before that board, outside of a duly agendaed meeting.

The matter is on the police commission's agenda for a special "executive session" meeting next Tuesday.

Oh- and one last thing. Though the county has been tight-lipped about the type of leave Perry and the two assistant chiefs have been forced to take, one report may indicate it's not just some routine, non-disciplinary type.

Today's pay-walled Honolulu Star Advertiser reports that "(a)ll three were ordered to turn in their equipment."

You don't take away an officer's- or especially a chief's- gun and badge without some serious wrong-doing behind the action.

Another question that comes up is why if, as reported, the complaint against Asher was filed last October 24, it did not show up on the October, November, December or January police commission meeting agendas. It just goes to show how seriously the county continues to take charges like this.

We haven't been directly privy to the information that apparently came from either Abbatiello-Higa or Perry or both but it certainly wouldn’t be being spread by almost every media outlet in the state unless the source was unimpeachably "close to Abbatiello-Higa" or "has direct knowledge of the investigation" as they have characterized their source.

But the real issue is that even after efforts by current Councilmember Tim Bynum and former Councilperson Lani Kawahara to put an end to the sexual harassment that pervades the county offices, it continues.

A letter from the two dated October 13, 2010 states that the county "has repeatedly failed to respond appropriately to allegations of sexual harassment and a hostile work environment."

Yet the Carvalho administration hasn't done a thing other than have a few "training sessions." Many of the harassers- even some of those that cost the county big bucks- are still on the job in positions that actually ARE under the direct supervision of the mayor. Funny how he's willing to butt in where he's apparently forbidden by law to do so but when it comes to his own hand-picked cronies it's a "hand-off" policy that pervades.

If we didn't know better, we might think there was some kind of corruption going on in the administration.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


WELL I WONDER, WONDER, WONDER, WONDER WHO: The "fact" that Kaua`i Police Department (KPD) Chief Darryl Perry "is on leave" seems to be the only thing that is clear after chapter two of the latest departmental saga hit the streets.

Chapter one was the leave that was apparently forced on two assistant chiefs by Perry on Tuesday. But as to how Perry wound up on leave there seems to be about as much confusion in the press as there is silence on the part of the administration of Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.

The first report of Perry's "situation" came from a county press release last night and simply said:

As of this morning, Police Chief Darryl Perry is on leave and Deputy Police Chief Michael Contrades will serve as Acting Police Chief until further notice.

The local Kaua`i newspaper claims to have reached Perry who told them that indeed it was hizzonah who did the deed saying:

While the county offered no explanation in terse statements that were released Tuesday and Wednesday, Perry said late Wednesday that“the truth will come out,” and that the actions were brought about by the mayor’s office.

The pay-walled Honolulu Star Advertiser, while detailing some of the ways past chiefs have departed on less than friendly terms with the county apparently reached county KPD spokesperson Sarah Blane who told them "she was not told who placed Perry on leave."

Although the county claims it cannot say anything because it is a "personnel matter" the sunshine law says that, if appropriate in the specific case, the public's interest in the information can trump privacy concerns. That, however, would be a matter for the toothless Office of Information Practices (OIP) to determine and, even if they had fangs, they seem to work at glacial speeds.

So who dunnit?

Well if it was the mayor all we can say is "here we go again."

According to Section 11-4 of the Kaua`i County Charter

The chief of police shall be appointed by the police commission. He may be removed by the police commission only after being given a written statement of the charges against him and a hearing before the commission.

And while the power to place the chief on leave is not directly addressed, Police Commissions statewide are, according to state law, supposed to be autonomous in their dealings with the police chiefs.

But while it's not within Carvalho's powers to remove- or even place on leave- the chief, it's not for lack of wishing on his part. He has been engaged in a campaign to have the state law changed so that the chiefs of the police departments across the state would be hired and fired by the mayors, making the police commissions little more than advisory boards.

It may be of note that both Perry and the commission have gone on the record opposing Carvalho's would-be new law.

A perusal of the police commission's most recent agenda produces no recent "emergency" meeting where any executive session placing Perry on leave might have taken place and to do so would have violated the state sunshine law anyway which requires six days notice before a meeting can be held.

However this morning at 8:15 an agenda for a meeting scheduled for next Tuesday February 7- the first day one could be legally held- calls for no less than three "executive sessions."

The first, ES 5 reads in part

Pursuant to Hawai`i Revised Statutes, §92-4, 92-5(a) (2) and (4), the purpose of this Executive Session is for Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. to provide the Commission with a briefing regarding personnel and/or disciplinary actions related to notarized complaint filed with the Police Commission on 01/31/12, and for the Commission to further consider and discuss said personnel and/or disciplinary actions.

While it's not clear what "disciplinary action" Carvalho has taken it seems pretty clear it refers to placing Perry on leave because the next item, ES 6 reads

Pursuant to Hawai`i Revised Statutes, §92-4 and 92-5 (a) (4), the purpose of this Executive Session is for the Commission to consult with its attorney as to its powers, duties, privileges, immunities and liabilities as they relate to Section 11.04 of the County of Kaua'i Charter

Charter section 11-4 of course is the one cited above about the hiring and firing of the chief being the sole kuleana of the police commission.

The third item on the 2/7 agenda reads:

Pursuant to Hawai`i Revised Statutes, §92-4 and 92-5 (a) (4), the purpose of this Executive Session is for the Commission to consult with its attorney as to its powers, duties, privileges, immunities, and liabilities as they relate to Rule 6-1.f of the Rules of the Kaua'i County Police Commission.

But if you thought that would clarify what was going on you'll be sorely disappointed because Rule 6 is entitled "Control, Management And Direction Of The Department" and 6-1 is an incredibly long and list of the "Powers, Duties and Responsibilities of the Police Commission."

Although 6-1-3 does deal with "Investigation of Charge (sic)" it does not directly address what happens if the target of the investigation is the chief.

So what does it matter who put Perry on leave?

Well if past is prologue the county might just be in for another big settlement should Perry decide to sue for denying his rights under the charter.

To make a long story short, back when George Freitas was the chief and Maryanne Kusaka was the mayor- this during the time when Kusaka was allegedly covering up for her buddies with grubbing and grading violations by allegedly telling a Department of Public Works engineer to butt out when it came to Jimmy Pflueger and the Ka Loko Dam area that later burst during a storm killing seven people- Kusaka "removed" Freitas from his office.

She apparently got the long time secretary for Freitas and past chiefs to take his gun and badge from his desk and give it to her. There was a long list of serious charges made but when it was all over the only one the police commission upheld was that Freitas had given a ride to his girlfriend in his police car.

And in the end Freitas settled for a reported half-million dollar golden parachute and "retiring" from the force.

Hard to say what will happen tomorrow- or next Tuesday for that matter because the usual open session for decision making after executive sessions on complaint against KPD personnel is decidedly missing from the 2/7 agenda.

But one thing is clear- in his notorious quest for power Carvalho is certainly putting the county in jeopardy by usurping the commission's oversight.