Thursday, December 25, 2014


We were nothing if not assimilationist Jews. After all, as my mother's brother Uncle Jerry was keen to point out, after ridding himself of the distinctly Hebraic "Paschkes" surname in favor of the blander American-cheese "Parks" moniker upon immigration, my father proceeded to name us kids Andrew and Kathryn- an apostle and a Russian Czarina.

So Christmas trees and stockings hung on the bureau with care were de rigueur yearly fare. Uncle Jerry would come down from the Bronx and he and my mother would "sneak" a fresh ham with the admonishment "don't tell Grandma."

When Grandma did visit during the Yule season she would stick her head into the living room, look at the tree and mutter streams of "oy gevalt" and "a shonda, a shonda- DAT'S vhat it is" under her breath (but at the same time loud enough so everyone in the next apartment could hear it) throughout the day. Every Christmas morning after the wrapping paper covered the floor Uncle Jerry would crack that it "looks like Santa Claus threw up in here."

I was apparently a born investigative reporter because at the age of three my source (my best friend Barry's four-year-old brother) had informed me as to the "Santa Scam." So I decided that this year I was going to catch my parents in the act of posing as Mr Claus, sneaking into my bedroom and filling my stocking with all manner of American consumer crap- crap without which I couldn't live.

Being the original "toothpicks under my eyes" kid I thought staying up and staking out the stockings would be a breeze. I wasn't sure whether I was going to jump out from under the covers and yell "Gotcha" because I apparently was also clever enough to know that if I blew their cover, next year all said crap might not "magically" appear.

Using my trusty wristwatch and the light beam from the street lights outside my window on FDR Drive, every half hour I'd go and check the stocking. 11:00... nothing. 11:30... nothing. Midnight... nothing.

Finally it was 1 a.m. and I KNEW I had remained vigilant. Yet miraculously it was FULL. The thought that I'd actually fallen asleep was anathema to my budding Sherlockian persona but while I wasn't stupid enough to think a fat man in a red suit had actually stopped by my and every other kid's home, there was, for the next couple of years, always that nagging sort of "but what if" agnosticism.

So when it was my daughter Jessica's turn we had the tree, the presents, the stocking and the whole schmear. Same with my grandson Tony. Why not- why scar them with being the only kid that didn't get to have a tree in the house with all the accouterments?

Flash forward to December 2000. My parents- at this point my dad and step mother- are permanently ensconced in Florida where, I believe by law, all old New York Jews must go upon retirement. Many had escaped the Nazi concentration camps only to find themselves in pre-fabricated rows of alphanumerically-delineated barracks, surrounded by guard shacks and barbed wire fences. Go figure.

And, my step mother is dying because she "didn't want to bother anybody" about the colon cancer that had been growing in her belly for who-knows-how-long.

So there we all are: me, Jessica, Tony. my sister Kathy and my dad and trying to give Tony, who was four, Christmas in the Heart of Jewville- Century Village in W. Palm Beach.

My step-mother Sylvia was pretty much comatose 23 hours a day but her lucid moments consisted of doing a reprise of my Grandma- opening an eye, looking around at where Santa had upchucked, mumbling "oy gevalt" before dropping back into unconsciousness.

Now Florida has quite the Home Hospice operation where they come into your home and help with, as the end nears, whatever level of palliative care the, shall we say "pre-deceased" requires. By Christmas eve 250-plus pound Sylvia's had deteriorate to the point where ambulatory bathroom trips were out of the question. So of course we let hospice know that we required the promised "next level of care."

Now of course the Hospice employees were not the little old Jews of Century Village but were the local Floridian gentiles- for the most part black women. And somehow we hadn't gotten the message that it was Christmas and no one was going to show up.

And when I asked around, all the old Century Village Jews could say was "Vell, vhadda ya expect- it's 'The Gentiles' Big Day.'"

That night this little couplet wrote itself:

'Twas the Night before Christmas and all through the joy
Not a gentile was working not even a shabbos goy.
The Jews were all snuggled in their self-made camps
Ordering Chinese food and lighting eight lamps....

Happy "Big Day" all you gentiles out there.

Friday, December 5, 2014


(PNN) In a move by new Chair Mel Rapozo that removes the rights of councilmember to introduce legislation, move bills out of committee to a final vote by the full council, initiate workshops and even cuts the amount of time allotted for them to speak on measures on the agenda by half, the new Kaua`i County Council majority rammed through wholesale changes to longstanding rules at Monday's usually inaugural meeting of the Kaua`i County Council.

The rights of the public were also severely curtailed by cutting the mandatory length for public testimony in half, removing the right to petition the council, severely restricting exchanges between councilmembers and testifiers and forcing the public to one again wait for hours to testify.

The County Charter requires adoption of the rules at the usually pro-forma first meeting which turned into a protracted, almost four hour long losing battle to protect the rights of councilmembers and the public after Rapozo attempted to sneak new rules past due consideration by the council by circulating them unformatted, without using the standard "Ramseyer" format that shows changes to legislation. That way a quick glance made those reading them think there were no changes at all.

A PNN article on Saturday which detailed a small handful of the proposed changes apparently alarmed Councilmember Gary Hooser who then "shared" the article on Facebook. That spurred an email from Rapozo sent only to those who had contacted him after seeing the article, attempting unsuccessfully to play down and in fact misrepresent the changes. That email itself was followed by a detailed point-by-point Facebook post refuting Rapozo's email from Hooser who was outraged over the not just the rules themselves but the attempt to dupe the council into adopting changes.

Among the changes is one previously unreported provision that would allow committees and their chairs to prevent the full council from taking a final vote on a bill or resolution by holding the bill in committee permanently, thus killing it.

While giving chairs this kind of power is common at the federal and state level it is rarely part of the rules for local jurisdictions. Kaua`i is the first county in Hawai`i to pass a rule like this, although Hawai`i Island briefly considered and quickly rejected a similar measure this week after their chair attempted a similar secret maneuver.

According to Roberts Rules of Order which governs parliamentary procedure, only the full body can determine the ultimate fate of any measure with a majority or more (depending on the type of measure) of the full body carrying the outcome. But under the Rule-a-la-Rapozo a "receipt for the record" or in fact any vote other than approval by a five-voting-member committee of the seven member council would cause the measure to remain in committee until the chair allows it to come up again- conceivably not at all. That would allow three votes- or even less depending on how many are in attendance for the vote- to essentially kill a bill or resolution.

The new rules also:

-Cut the time the public is given by law to testify on an agenda item from a total of six to three minutes. It would leave granting a second three minutes to the discretion of the chair, replacing the old four additional minutes under the chair's purview. It's interesting to note that when the matter came up for discussion Councilmember Kipukai Kuali`i showed how even he- a member of the new majority who was the most vocal about how it was "disrespectful" to challenge the new rules- insisted this was not true, personally attacking Hooser over his contention that it was. It took an insistence from Hooser that the record reflect the truth for Kuali`i- obviously worried enough about how his performance would look to the electorate to later apologize and claim he was not attacking Hooser personally- to acknowledge his error demonstrating definitively that he hadn't understood or possibly even read one of the most glaring changes. The "total of six minutes" rule had been in effect on Kaua`i for decades;

-Removed the right of councilmember to have proposed legislation- or any matter- placed on the council agenda within 120 days of submittal. This provision was added a couple of years back after Rapozo's stated "mentor," former Chair Kaipo Asing, abused the requirement requiring the council chair to "initial" matters in order for them to appear on the agenda. to block legislation he disfavored from ever appearing on the agenda;

-Eliminate the right of members to hold "workshops" unless the matter is on the council agenda. Workshops are used to gather facts, input from experts. members of the administration and the community to contribute to the preparation of legislation without violating the state Sunshine Law which requires six-day notice and public testimony whenever a majority of the council gathers to deal with actual or projected council business;

-Cut from 10 to five minutes the time councilmembers may speak on an agenda item without permission from the chair;

-Eliminated the right of citizens to petition the council to consider legislation;

-Eliminated a recent rule change that had allowed members of the public to testify on any single agenda item for three minutes at the very beginning of a meeting rather than having to sit around all day- sometimes into the night- in order to testify, thus forcing them to, once again, take a full day off to speak their mind rather than just an hour or so at 9 a.m.

Rapozo claimed many of the substantive changes were merely "housekeeping" measures and that all were done with intent of "expediency (and) efficiency" and as "cost saving" measures, even suggesting much of the council's proceeding- apparently including public and council input- were "a waste of time (and) money" presenting an unsubstantiated a figure of $250 an hour to record, caption and web-cast meetings.

For the record, at one point during the meeting Rapozo personally chided PNN Publisher, Editor and Chief Correspondent Andy Parx by name over what he thought he had read in PNN's first (Saturday 11/29) article on the rules. Rapozo mockingly claimed that Parx wrote that a rule regarding "intemperate" or "abusive" language was new. However a critical-reading of the paragraph shows that the reference to "new" was made regarding the section on "Public Testimony" in which the passage is contained, not the passage itself. PNN welcomes a retraction and apology from Rapozo considering how adverse he is to litigation.

The meeting began with a... ah screw this "news" format- the rest calls for a lot less "just the facts ma’am" and a lot more Rabid Reporter bombast.

The power grab by "King Louis-Mel "I am the County" XIV, The "Blotting out the Sun(shine) King" started with a "hurry up and just pass the damn rules" push during the usually pre-fake-swearing-in snooze-fest where the gaggle of governance takes the actual oath of office while the audience swears a different kind of under-their-breath-oath. That is usually punctuated by selection of the new chair, vice chair, clerk and deputy and finally pretty much the same old rules as the last term are adopted. At least that's been the case for the at least the last 25-plus years with any substantive rule changes taking place at regular meetings throughout the term.

As the clocked ticked down to the official unofficial hour assigned to re-perform the swearing-in ceremonially in the auditorium next door approached, the new council majority became panicked when it became apparent that the minority were not happy about the elimination of their and the public's rights as Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura announced she had prepared nine amendments for the most egregious of the measures to consolidate MachiaMelli's powers.

" Hurry... only a few minutes to go" shouted dumber-than-the-usual-bear Ross "Boo-Boo" Kagawa to Yogi the Chair as the clock ticked down. "Let's just pass them and be done with it" said perennial also ran, first-time-actually-elected Rapozo-sycophant Kipukai Kuali`i who seemed outraged-to-tears (if that's possible) that someone would challenge the rights of Il Douche-A, to run roughshod over the minority.

It was only when, with mere minutes to go, Yukimura shouted "Move to amend" and a split-second later Hooser said "second" that the lap-dancer-fondling chair thought better of not recognizing the motion at the almost-didn't-happen delayed-on-line-streaming of the event and they all proceeded next door for the banal fake-coronation and insipid oratories from Hizzonah and Ghengis Mel, saving the fireworks for after the show.

Despite the opposition from the majority- which includes a long-sought seat for big Kaua`i landowner Grove Farm in the form of Silver-Spoon-Fed legacy "Missing-D," Arryl Kaneshiro (whose election, many say, was due to confusion with his father, long-serving ex-Councilmember, Darryl)- Yukimura charged on with her amendments with "seconds" from Hooser and loose support from the other member of the progressive minority Mason Chock who, with Yukimura, voted for the final rules with only Hooser voting in opposition.

The worst of the worst of the really offensive "how dare you challenge The Prince" rhetoric came from Kuali`i who had gotten the votes of many progressives in the last election despite his demonstrated support for the Rapozo, Asing and former councilmember and disgraced former County Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho.

Iseri and Kuali`i were accused of colluding to throw Victim-Witness Program monies to Kualii's employer, the YWCA, with Iseri firing the V-V program employees she had just hired (causing a wrongful termination EEOC filing which the county settled) in the prosecutors office... where the program had always been housed since its inception.

This, say council-watchers guaranteed Kualii's allegiance to the Iseri/Rapozo alliance during the often bitter battles over Asing's secretive and paternalistic reign as Chair after having served nobly for years as the champion of the people in the '80's '90's and early '00's.

Of the nine amendments only one passed and that with an amendment to the amendment. But that was was perhaps the most perplexing of all because the "new" rule was the same as the old rule housed in that previously mentioned section on Public Hearings.

The council rules certainly did need some actual housekeeping measures including use of archaic language, anachronistic provisions and misogynist phrasings. But one of the most glaring had always been that there was no section regarding the rules for Public Testimony. Those rules had always been housed under "Public Hearings" which are required by charter but separate from common public testimony which is required on every agenda item at every meeting by the Hawai`i State Sunshine (open meetings) Law. The Public Hearing rules have always been treated as applying to both.

Apparently when staff pointed this out to Benito Rapozo he decided to use the opportunity to make the council train run on time.

The one and only provision that differed was that during actual Public Hearings, the council has been restricted from asking questions and having exchanges with those testifying. It had always been pretty strictly adhered to until recently when, although former Chair Jay Furfaro would often remind councilmembers of the rule, he in fact was a little lackadaisical about enforcing it.

Yet here was an amendment from Yukimura apparently seeking to allow it that during Public Hearings. Now it should be pointed out that at this juncture that although the council appeared to be working from, if not a formal Ramseyer copy of the new rules at least one that indicated changes, still neither has not been made available to the public.

And as a matter of fact one of those "housekeeping" rules made it even harder to know what the heck is going on at meetings by allowing the chair to dispense with the actual verbal reading of measures. We've tried for years to get them to read actual amendments when they're introduced- or at least before they are passed- to no avail.

Parenthetically, as a matter of fact- and we should have anticipated this- council service is traditionally about as fast as a molasses-surfing turtle when it comes to getting things posted on the county web site. Yet the new rules were posted so fast it made our head do an Exorcist and now the old rules are apparently lost to the ages.

Not so parenthetically, in some ways we were sympathetic to the impetus (if not the lack of thought) behind a few of what can only be called the new"Yukimura Rules."

There isn't one person we know who hasn't rolled their eyes and even walked out of the room asking those remaining to "let me know when she's done" after sitting through one of her interminable "thinking out loud" sessions, usually during Q&A with someone testifying. The smirks when councilmembers made veiled references to it during the debate were not as veiled as the references themselves.

So back to the actual amendment that apparently amended nothing, Yukimura's amendment seemed to seek to allow exchanges during Pubic Hearings. That would have been a change from what we remember the old rules said:

"Public hearings are held to receive testimony from the public. Councilmembers shall reserve their opinions, questions, and arguments for the appropriate Council or Committee meeting."

So after much wrangling and Yukimura's pleas that members be able to "clarify" what those speaking at Public Hearings were saying, the following was added:

";except that Councilmembers may ask clarifying questions that enable the Council to better understand the point or position of the speaker."

And THAT passed unanimously. Big whoop. It's probably the one change we would have opposed.

The afternoon session session began with His Melness attempting to run down the list of changes, often mumbling "housekeeping changes made by staff"- until it turned out they weren't- or otherwise glossing over or misrepresenting them. Then Yukimura's amendments rejected at breakneck speed, with the the Greek Chorus responding to Sophoclapozo's "I wont abuse my power" with a refrain of "No he won't abuse his power" followed by some HMS Pinafore-like

What Never?
No Never
What Never?
Well... hardly every
Hardly ever abuses Ruuuules.

Hardly ever sick at Council meetings? We suspect that for the next two year the response will be "yes always."

Sunday, November 30, 2014


(PNN) Kaua`i County Council Chair-elect Mel Rapozo has written a response to the yesterday's PNN news article yesterday on his changes to the proposed Kaua`i County Council rules and Councilmember Gary Hooser has answered his response basically supporting the veracity of our news story (posted below).

PNN stands by everything in the article. It is absolutely factual, unlike many of the prevarications and fabrications from Mr Rapozo below . Mr Rapozo, in fact makes many misstatements and uses half truths to disguise his apparent motives.

In answer to part of Mr Rapozo's response (posted below a summery of Rapozo's response and Hooser's answers), starting off the new term with rule revisions that consolidate the power of the chair by making participation by the public and in fact other councilmembers discretionary on the chair's part in the name of "efficiency" would not seem to be the way to create "an environment that fosters fairness"or "a positive start to the new Council term." But Mr Rapozo has a long history of disingenuity so why should his first day as chair be any different.


Here is Rapozo's "answers" and Hooser's response to them:

Mel says:

Reducing public testimony from 6 minutes to 3 minutes. Simply not true. Here is the new rule:
Rule 11(c)(6) Oral testimony shall be limited to three (3) minutes per person. The Chair shall have the prerogative to set the order of speakers, speaking for or against any proposition, and may notify the speaker of the expiration of speaking time 30 seconds before such expiration. The Chair may allow an additional three (3) minutes to provide further testimony after all persons have had an opportunity to speak.

This rule simply allows for a 2nd opportunity to speak after everyone has spoken. Currently, the public has 6 minutes up front, forcing people to have to wait to speak. If 10 people are signed up to speak, the 10th speaker has to wait 54 minutes (or longer depending on questions from councilmembers) to speak. With the new rule, the wait time will be much shorter. This rule is for the benefit of the public, not the Chair or councilmembers.

NOT TRUE: The old (existing) rule states:12E, 4F&G says: F) Person has 3 minutes to speak G) Person has a second time to speak for an additional 3 minutes, plus at the Chairs discretion an additional 4 minutes.

Summary of Rule differences
****Existing old rules- A total of 6 minutes is guaranteed plus a possible 4 more at Chair discretion ****Proposed new rules - A total of 3 minutes is guaranteed plus a possible 3 more at the Chairs discretion


Mel says: Rule 9(c) Placement on Agenda. All bills and resolutions must be initialed by the Council Chair or, in the Chair’s absence, the Vice Chair (or other designated chair as stated in Rule No. 3) in order to be placed on the agenda.

The existing rule was introduced by Chair Furfaro and changed the practice of the Council after many years. The current rule requires placement of all bills and resolutions, regardless of its legality, on the agenda within 120 days. This is not practical as all bills and resolutions require legal review. If a bill or resolution is deemed illegal, it should not be placed on the agenda. This rule change is not intended to "scuttle" proposed legislation, but rather to ensure that all bills and resolutions are legally sufficient. This is a standard process for all legislative branches.

THE TRUTH: This Rule means the Council Chair can "scuttle" ANY proposal whatsoever both legal and illegal. If legality were the issue the Rule could be amended so that it is no more than 120 days and must have gone through a legal review. CM's can vote anything down on first reading if they suspect the item is legally insufficient but at least there is a public discussion. Often times "legal sufficiency" is a matter of degree and interpretation. This Rule leaves 100% of the interpretation up to the Chair.


Mel says: The removal of the section that allows the public to testify for 3 minutes on any item on the agenda at the beginning of the meeting.

What Mr. Parx fails to mention is that the current rule only allocates 18 minutes for this portion of the meeting. This creates an issue of unfairness because only 6 members of the public are entitled to this right. The Council, by a vote of 5 members, can suspend the rules to address special circumstances as they arise.

THE TRUTH: The old/existing Rule provides a positive way for people to testify early in the process without having to wait all day long for a specific agenda item to come up. If needed then this rule could be expanded to allow as much time as is needed so it remains fair.

What also is not addressed is:

The new Rules require Committee Chairs to have approval of the Chair prior to holding a "Workshop" (primarily educational in nature), plus the new Rule says workshops can only be held on items that are on the agenda (also controlled by the Chair).
The old existing Rules include no such restrictions and past practice is that Committee Chairs may schedule workshops on any topic within their subject matter jurisdiction without needed the Council Chairs approval.

Gary Hooser
Here, in full, is Mr Rapozo's response as sent to many people via email today:

Thank you for your email. I appreciate your input but feel that I have to clarify some of the misstatements made by Andy Parx. I don't know the motive but his actions clearly do not encourage a positive start to the new Council term. I have broken down each of Andy's concerns below.

Reducing public testimony from 6 minutes to 3 minutes. Simply not true. Here is the new rule: Rule 11(c)(6) Oral testimony shall be limited to three (3) minutes per person. The Chair shall have the prerogative to set the order of speakers, speaking for or against any proposition, and may notify the speaker of the expiration of speaking time 30 seconds before such expiration. The Chair may allow an additional three (3) minutes to provide further testimony after all persons have had an opportunity to speak.

This rule simply allows for a 2nd opportunity to speak after everyone has spoken. Currently, the public has 6 minutes up front, forcing people to have to wait to speak. If 10 people are signed up to speak, the 10th speaker has to wait 54 minutes (or longer depending on questions from councilmembers) to speak. With the new rule, the wait time will be much shorter. This rule is for the benefit of the public, not the Chair or councilmembers.

Removal of the 120 day provision as it relates to the posting of bills and resolutions on the agenda. Here is the new rule:

Rule 9(c) Placement on Agenda. All bills and resolutions must be initialed by the Council Chair or, in the Chair’s absence, the Vice Chair (or other designated chair as stated in Rule No. 3) in order to be placed on the agenda.

The existing rule was introduced by Chair Furfaro and changed the practice of the Council after many years. The current rule requires placement of all bills and resolutions, regardless of its legality, on the agenda within 120 days. This is not practical as all bills and resolutions require legal review. If a bill or resolution is deemed illegal, it should not be placed on the agenda. This rule change is not intended to "scuttle" proposed legislation, but rather to ensure that all bills and resolutions are legally sufficient. This is a standard process for all legislative branches.

A new section "Public Testimony" was created to give the Chair the authority to restrict testimony by the public. Here is the new rule:

Rule 11(c)(9) The Chair may restrict or terminate a speaker’s right to the floor for intemperate or abusive behavior or language.

This is not a new rule. Currently, rules for public testimony are housed in Rule 12, Public Hearings. This is a housekeeping measure as we are now placing the rules for public testimony in a new section, Rule 11, Testimony. Rules for public testimony should apply to all testimony, not just limited to public hearings. Again, this is a housekeeping measure. The new Rule 11(c)(9) is the former Rule 12(e)(4)(J). Intemperate or abusive behavior or language has no place at any Council or Committee meeting. I'm not sure why Mr. Parx would have a problem with this.

The removal of the section that allows the public to testify for 3 minutes on any item on the agenda at the beginning of the meeting.

What Mr. Parx fails to mention is that the current rule only allocates 18 minutes for this portion of the meeting. This creates an issue of unfairness because only 6 members of the public are entitled to this
right. The Council, by a vote of 5 members, can suspend the rules to address special circumstances as they arise. If the Council, not the Chair, determines that the rules need to be suspended to address specific and unforeseen circumstances, I have no problem with that. The public will be given every opportunity to participate in the process. That is my commitment.

I hope that I have clarified the misstatements by Andy Parx, which sets out to create unnecessary controversy and divisiveness to the Council and the community. My goal as the Chair is to bring efficiency to the Council. To create an environment that fosters fairness and consistency to the public and councilmembers. I have served for 10 years on the Council, and believe that these rules will best serve everyone. There is no attempt to reduce public participation, in fact quite the opposite. I hope to restore order and decorum to our meetings which will result in better legislation and a much more efficient office. Also, these rules will require a majority vote of the new Council. This is a proposal, and each member will be able to offer amendments at tomorrow's meeting. I see that Councilmember Hooser has chosen to share Mr. Parx's post on Facebook, creating a perception of unfairness on my part. That is his choice. I am troubled by this as I had hoped to start the new term with a true sense of teamwork. At the end of the day, the Council sets the direction for the organization. Not the Chair. And I am committed to moving forward as a team in the hopes that we can serve the people in their best interest.

Again, thank you for your email. I am always available to discuss your
concerns and can be reached via email or by cell phone at 645-0243. Have
a great day.

Mel Rapozo
Council Member
Kauai County Council

Saturday, November 29, 2014


(Note corrected time and location 12 noon at the War Memorial Convention Hall)
Action Alert- Please write to the council at and ask that the new rules be deferred to the next regular council meeting for full public testimony and council consideration. You may also come Monday 12/1/14 at 12 noon at the War Memorial Convention Hall  to ask for a deferral.

(PNN) A major rewrite of the Kaua`i County Council rules which would cut mandatory time for public testimony on agenda items from six minutes to three and give broad new powers to to limit testimony to new chair Mel Rapozo is scheduled to be adopted at Monday's mostly "ceremonial" Inaugural Meeting.

The rules, submitted by Rapozo, would also remove a section that requires the chair to put bills, resolutions and communications from councilmembers on the agenda within 120 days of submission, thus allowing the chair to scuttle proposed legislation. Legislation like Bill 2491 (Ordinance 960) related to disclosure of pesticides and GMOs might never have made it onto the agenda under the new rules, especially with Rapozo, a critic of the bill, as chair.

An entirely newly-created lengthy section on "Public Testimony" also give the chair the power to "restrict or terminate a speaker’s right to the floor for intemperate or abusive behavior or language" giving the chair potentially arbitrary and capricious powers to stop someone from speaking, as well as placing many other new restrictions on public testimony.

The new rules also eliminate a recently added section that allows the public to testify for three minutes on any agenda item that day, at the beginning of any meeting rather than having to wait until the item comes up for consideration- many times hours and hours into a meeting, even stretching into the night on occasion.

Monday's meeting is traditionally mostly ceremonial in nature and, according to the agenda, all testimony will be restricted three minutes to be given at the beginning of the meeting, thus violating current council rules and thereby, according to the Office of Information Practices (OIP), the state Sunshine Law which requites rules for public testimony to be of a standing nature and established well ahead of being applied.

In a bit of slight of hand the proposed rule changes as published at the Council's Webcast page, are not in the "Ramseyer" format that is traditionally used to show changes to documents so that what is "new" and what is being removed cannot be determined, making cross-checking for changes tedious if not impossible.

PNN has also learned that the way leadership of the "new" council was determined was also done on the sly in an "informal" meeting that was not even announced much less agendaed. Although an OIP opinion exists saying these organizational meetings may fall under a "loophole" in the Sunshine Law, that determination was based on a year when there was a majority of new council members. There are five returning members this year.

According to OIP Opinion 02-11 11/14/02 on "Meetings of Councilmembers Who Have Not Yet Officially Taken Office to Discuss Selection of Officers" although the "short answer" to the question of "(w)hether members of county councils are subject to part I of chapter 92, Hawaii Revised Statutes ("Sunshine Law"), prior to officially taking office when they meet to discuss selection of officers" was "No." the full opinion says that "(t)he OIP is of the opinion that it is not illegal for a quorum of newly elected members of a council to meet privately to discuss selection of officers prior to commencement of their terms of office. The OIP also believes, however, that a loophole in the Sunshine Law allows such an assemblage, which would be prohibited after councilmembers officially take office. Therefore, for the reasons set forth below, the OIP STRONGLY RECOMMENDS (emphasis in bold in original) that a quorum of members-elect of a board not assemble privately prior to officially taking office to discuss selection of board officers, in keeping with the spirit of the Sunshine Law_ The OIP also notes that this issue can be brought before the Legislature for clarification."

The council has always announced and agendaed these meeting even since the opinion was issued in 2002.

Monday, November 24, 2014


If you missed the original Rolling Stone article on the pervasiveness of rape at the University of Virginia- and many other campuses across the country if the Title IX investigation is any measure- you'd get little sense of the substance of the piece from official and media reaction

We're hearing a lot of "shocked-shocked" reactions from the school- and Virginia politicians- as if this was the first they heard of it, despite the university's awareness of, if not complicity in dealing with it.

There's a lot of "we need to stop these rapes from happening" (duh) but for the most part the essence of the article is ignored. Because while there's a lot of condemnation of fraternities- where the incident cited in the article took place- and they have been shut down temporarily at U Va, no one is talking about the culture that has allowed the attitudes toward women behind the actions to still be pervasive among our young adults, even after generations of efforts to reverse them.

The article is not really about not the specific case of gang rape of freshman "Jackie"- wrongly described as a "graphic depiction" by the press- but the fact that we are still plagued by a misogynistic generation of men who think nothing of sexual violence and who are not just enabled by university officials but whose actions are indeed protected by other students, including many if not most women on campus.

Although there have been media citations regarding pressure to avoid hurting the reputation of U Va, the article goes into depth as to how the real pressure was apparently from other women who warned "Jackie" that she would be shunned and black-balled from the alcohol-fueled "party scene" at the "#1-ranked party school" should she speak out or "make a big deal about it."

That was the most distressing part of the article. The focus on the "gang rape that happened that night" at "that fraternity" ignores the fact that we are still producing children who accept rape and even encourage it with a 20th century mindset that blames the woman or takes a "boys will be boys" attitude.

It's hard for those of us who have been involved in the feminist movement for decades and thought we have made progress to find out that, despite all attempts and claims of success in, at a minimum raising awareness, our children are no different than their grandparents.

But if the media coverage continues to see this as a plague of individual events at U Va or even at schools across the country rather than a problem of a culture that still raises children who haven't learned to respect women, we may never make any progress.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


I need someone a lot smarter than I am to help me with some simple research.

I have been thinking lately about how the "median income" - a dollar amount representing a point at which the number of people earning above that amount equals the number of people earning below it- may not really be as representative of levels of wealth and poverty as would be the "average" income- the amount that is reached by adding up all the incomes and dividing the result by the number of people "earning" that income.

So I started by Googleing "average income in Hawai`i" and the results, only showed "median income." At first I thought of Googleing "no you idiot, I said AVERAGE" until I came across an article that reminded me that the "average" anything is also called the "mean."

Fair enough- I'm the idiot. So I Googled "mean income in Hawai`i" and without exception, I got a page of listings for "median" income.

Now I did get an occasional reference to "per capita income." But that isn't the mean income. Per capita would denote the total of all income made divided by the total number of all residents, including people like children, the unemployed or others with zero income.

The problem with "median income," which, according to Wikipedia, was $68,020 in 2013 in Hawai`i, is that the dollar amounts above the median could conceivably, for argument sake, "average," $300,000 per year while the mean for those below it could average only $25,000 a year.

Meaning that the rich are a lot richer and the poor are a lot poorer than the $68,020 median- which seems pretty high to begin with- would seem to indicate to statistically-challenged idiots like me.

Based on nothing but noting the poverty of the regular working people I know who make $8-12 an hour and the relative apparent opulence of those who live in million dollar homes or half-million dollar Honolulu high rise condos I get the feeling that - surprise surprise- "median income" statistics are either lies or damnable lies.

Even at the $12 an hour rate, for a 40 hour work week that comes out to just a smidgeon under $25,000 a year. At $10/hr it's just under $21,000.

Is there a research/data/ statistical genius out there who can figure out the "mean" income for those above and below the median income. I have gone to the US Census and they don't even have "mean" just "per capita" and "median."

I started a math major in college but I never claimed to be any good at arithmetic. I remain your humble numerical idiot.

Friday, October 24, 2014


As you might expect, the three Kaua`i County Charter Amendments on the ballot November 4 are meant to consolidate power in the hands of the mayor and reduce transparency by asking "trick" questions that don't really tell voters what the real intent- much less content- might be.

So let's play "Who do you trust?"

Ballot Question #1:
Shall the Department of Personnel Services be changed to the Department of Human Resources, with additional human resources functions?

This first one may look like the long-awaited change to get rid of our Department of Personnel and replace it with a modern day Department of Human Resources. But like the fake change a few years back from having an "Administrative Assistant" to a "Managing Director," it is merely a change in title.

It does do one more thing- it takes a whole list of powers away from the Civil Service Commission and give them to the newly renamed Director of Human Resources who is appointed by and answers to (drum poll please)... the mayor.

The Department of Personnel has been the seat of the infamous Kaua`i patronage system for decades and rather than ending that this amendment would finally put practice in print by giving the mayor even more control over who gets "merit-based" civil service positions.

How? Well, it removes the phrase "All positions in the county, except those exempted by law, shall be under civil service" and adds "The director of human resources shall be responsible for the execution of the human resources management program which shall include" followed by a list of general functions that used to be, in theory, under the perusal of the Civil Service Commission.

But at the bottom of the list it adds (hides?) the phrase "other related duties as may be determined by the Mayor"... presumably, now officially, including the appointment of hizzonah's cousin-guys to that new opening in public works.

This one stinks like Mount Kekaha. Vote "No" and tell them you want a real Human Resources Department.


Then we have "Hide the Salami for 1000 Alex"

Ballot Question #2
Should the county be allowed to publish summaries of charter amendments or a new charter in a newspaper of general circulation and the entire text on the official website of the County of Kauai?

This one simply allows them to stop publishing the full text of charter amendments in the newspaper and do that only at the cumbersome, unsearchable county web site- although you'd never know that to look at the question. It makes it sound like this is a wonderful, new additional service we don't have now. By failing to use the words "instead of" it doesn't arouse suspicion... or for that matter communicate the true intent.

Although there aren't any statistics for how many people aren't on-line on Kaua`i , there are probably a lot considering the local newspaper is free on the internet yet it still has the print circulation to survive.

The real question should be "Should the county be allowed to publish only summaries of charter amendments or a new charter in a newspaper of general circulation instead of the currently required entire text, and publish the entire text only on the official web site of County of Kaua`i?"

But why confuse the already bamboozled, eh?

If this is the kind of flim-flam "summary" that we'll be getting in the newspaper from now on it will assure that it's even more of a supreme hassle to look for what they are really planning to do... and that less people will bother to do it.


Okay twice-divorced "Dating Game" contestants - is it "the third one is the charm" or "if you agree to it you'll be a three time loser."

Ballot Question #3
"Shall Charter section 27.07 regarding recall ballots be amended to comply with State law and to meet voting system requirements?"

Whatever those "state requirements" may be if they even exist since the state elections bureau is notorious for not having administrative rules.

This is yet another of our favorite type of "trick" question, used in the past to dupe voters into removing the county charter's open meeting law- which was permissibly stricter than the state's Sunshine Law- by asking us if the charter should "comply" with the state law.

Although the question on the ballot says nothing about the actual change to the charter it would change the sentence (* added to denote the change) "Immediately *to the right* of the proposition there shall be designated spaces in which to mark the ballot FOR or AGAINST the recall" to "Immediately *next to* the proposition there shall be designated spaces in which to mark the ballot FOR or AGAINST the recall," changing the words "to the right of" to "next to."

We've tried to figure out the no doubt sinister motive behind this to no avail. That and the fact that the question has nothing to do with the actual change in wording makes us even more suspicious.

But as usual the things that really need change are not on the menu.

Just about everybody agrees that the perennially broken charter section regarding "The Office of the County Attorney" could use some changes, perhaps making it an elective office or at least noting that he or she should serve the public. It has also been proposed that it should, at a minimum, be changed to a "Corporation Counsel" system as all the other counties use... although they would probably just propose changing the name without changing the current arrangement that was seemingly intentionally designed to cause a natural conflict-of-interest in serving both the council and the administration.

Or maybe a change to elect the police and/or planning commissions.

Or an amendment to create a Department of Environmental Protection like Maui has.

Or allowing for council confirmation of department heads. Not requiring any of them (except for the county attorney) to have to be confirmed by the council when being appointed by the mayor explains in a large way why we are said to have a "strong mayor system." Which also explains the pervasive administrative corruption since department heads are not required to even show up if the council wants to have a little chat. You'll notice how council agendas "request the presence" of say, the county engineer or planning director.

It's something that would be much more effective in terms of administration accountability than having some meaningless "county manager system" since any change in how we select the administrative chief is meaningless compared to having the right person in the job.

Yeah- those'll all happen. We've only been working on them for 35 years.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


In any compendium of incompetence our local Kaua`i newspaper has it's own volume. But the current editor has  brought drivel and illiteracy to previously unparalleled heights and depths, respectively .  

With "Yes," "No" and "Maybe" choices, today's "poll" asks:

"Do you think James Pflueger, 88, received the appropriate sentence (seven months in jail, 5 years probation) for his role in the the (sic) Ka Loko dam failure on March 14, 2006 that killed seven people?"

Leaving aside the question of why on earth a person go to the trouble of answering an opinion poll question with a "maybe,"  exactly what information does a "no" convey? 

It certainly doesn't indicate whether you think it's too little... or for that matter, too much. It's enough to befuddle Goldilocks.

Garbage in, garbage out- how appropriate for the The Garbage Island.

Next week's question: If you're flying in a canoe and your ears fall off, how many elephants can you fit in a dog house? Hint: Ice cream has no bones.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


We now know who bought the Bowman's Lepe`uli property that include the ancient Alaloa and beach access trials- Mark Zuckerberg who owns Facebook, according to Pacific Business News.

According to testimony before the Kaua`i County Council the then-unknown buyer intended to withdraw the previously approved subdivision of the property where 80 "gentlemen farms" were planned. Testimony indicated that it could have been many more lots if it had been "CPRed." But just as important as scratching the subdivision it self, the development would have forced the county to take a difficult rocky beach access rather than the gently sloping existing ancient trail down to "Larson's" (Lepe`uli) beach.

And, it was said by the attorneys, the new owner said he would not develop it.

Previously after a "full court press" by the administration and the county attorney's office, the council was poised to approve that access for months but rather deferred action over and over due to objections from the public, especially from Kanaka Maoli (native Hawaiians).

Councilmembers Tim Bynum and Gary Hooser were instrumental in delaying the action until the property was eventually sold, despite having been told there was nothing they could do to stop it by Deputy County Attorney Maunakea Trask.

If true, Zuckerberg has apparently given a true gift to the people of Kaua`i however for now the future of the Alaloa has yet to be determined.

UPDATE: Here's an article from Forbes on Mark Zuckerberg's Pila`a and Waipake purchase. It seems to have different information that the Pacific Business News article.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


We don't complain much, do we? (Don't answer that). But Richard Borreca is stealing my material.

In his pay-walled "On Politics" column today he leads by saying:

"You look up and down the bench and you have to say to yourself, 'Can't anybody here play this game?'"

Casey Stengel said that about his 1962 Mets ballclub that lost 120 of its 160 games.

If the baseball coach who had won five championships with the New York Yankees were alive today, he might say the same thing watching Hawaii's state and city government swing and miss the slow pitches."

HEY DICKIE-BOY...THAT'S OUR JOKE. Not only was "Can't Anyone Here Play This Game" an actual "tag" at this "blog" but it was a running joke no less that 20 times from 2008-2013.

Stand-up comedians have performed vengeful, twisted practical jokes for less.

Actually Borecca is snootily infamous for his abhorrence of "blogs," having claimed to have "never read one" apparently relegating them to some kind of "glorified gossip columnist" genre... that is until they began appearing as an essential part of most news-gathering and reporting organizations.

So it's possible his pompous dinosaurism- and this goes double for his content which apparently purports that repetitions of conventional wisdom are actually Borreccian pearls of wisdom- has allowed him to be blissfully ignorant of anyone's content but his own.

We'll take it as "plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery."

Sunday, July 20, 2014


News analysis by Andy Parx

(PNN) -- "Is it a cat or a dog," Kaua`i County Council Chair Jay Furfaro has infamously asked regarding the "Kaua`i Rising (KR)" charter amendment ballot petition- one which the county attorney claims is really an "initiative" disguised as a "charter amendment."

Well, legally the answer is essentially, it's none of their business.

The council will meet Wednesday to figure out whether to "receive" the petition so that the county clerk can verify and count the signatures for what KR says is a charter amendment. But Deputy Attorney Mona Clark issued an opinion at the last meeting claiming that "(t)he substance of the petition determines the required procedure."

That second sentence of her written opinion is actually a false premise. And, as is usual with any postulate, as the late great Johnny Carson used to say of his comedy pieces, "if you buy the premise you buy the bit."

But it's hard- make that impossible- to find any justification for that premise in the actual words in the county charter, the overriding document that governs the county like a state or federal constitution.

What difference does it make? Well the charter calls for 5% of the number of voters in the last election to sign a charter amendment petition while an "initiative" requires 20%.

Two court decisions regarding the two past Kaua`i citizen-petition charter amendments have struck them down saying, at least in the case of the first one, that it had elements of an "initiative," defined as a ballot measure which creates an ordinance or a "law," something otherwise passed by the council.

But, in the more-than-a-decade since the original ruling the county has failed to act to clarify the plain words in the charter regarding the process for certifying charter amendment petition.

In those two petitions the "cat or dog" question never came up until they were already enacted by the electorate with the council in both cases simply doing what the charter requires of them- be the body with which the petition is filed before the county clerk processes it.

The charter simply says of charter amendment petitions that as long as a few technical requirements are met:

"Upon filing of such petition with the council, the county clerk shall examine it to see whether it contains a sufficient number of valid signatures of registered voters."

That's it. No ifs, ands or buts. The council has no part in the process but to receive the filing. And the clerks role is simply to determine sufficiency of form and if there are enough valid signatures.

An initiative has a completely different process that includes giving the county attorney the power to essentially make changes to the petition whereas with a charter amendment the county attorney can only suggest changes.

The reality is that nowhere- not in the charter, not in any ordinance and not in any rule- is there any provision that gives the Kaua`i County Council any legal authority whatsoever to reject- or even consider rejecting- any citizen-initiated charter amendment petition for any reason.

And certainly nowhere does it say, as the county attorney did in her opinion, that

"The County can refuse to process a petition for a Charter amendment based on noncompliance with the Charter. The substance of the petition determines the required procedure. If a petition for an ordinance is labeled a charter amendment, it still remains an initiative and must comply with the procedures for an initiative. Both the County Council and the County Clerk have authority to refuse to process an initiative as a charter amendment."

While the opinion is allegedly based on the Hawai`i Supreme Court ruling a decade ago as to what distinguishes a charter provision from an initiative- in a case where essentially the county sued the county (yes indeedy, you read that right- the county attorney sued the mayor)- nowhere does the ruling instruct the county on what to do or how to do it or give the council or the clerk the power to reject a citizen petition based on which kind of animal they think it is.

That part came solely from the mind and pen of Clark.

While the county council and the charter review commission have discussed what to do about this potential "constitutional crisis" as presented by the rulings they have essentially sat on their duffs and the law remains the same as it was before the two petitions went to the ballot.

That means that the law is very clear- the only thing that separates an initiative from a charter amendment is what the petitioners call it.

And in this case that is a charter amendment, not an initiative.

And we may be mistaken but we don't believe there have been any court rulings saying if the county doesn't like the law they can ignore it and do as they please. The U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1803 in Marbury v Madison that we are "a government of laws and not of men"... and certainly not of autonomous Kaua`i County Councilmembers or their attorneys.

The Hawai`i Supreme Court in fact is also very clear as to what to do in interpreting laws. According to Awakuni v. Awana (2007), before getting into any interpretive gymnastics you must look at "the language of the statute itself," saying:

"First, the fundamental starting point for statutory interpretation is the language of the statute itself. Second, where the statutory language is plain and unambiguous, our sole duty is to give effect to its plain and obvious meaning." (emphasis added)

As we said, the law is plain- "upon filing of such petition with the council, the county clerk shall examine it to see whether it contains a sufficient number of valid signatures..." It doesn't say "oh, but the council can reject it if they feel like it or if their attorney comes up with some convoluted reason to do so." And it certainly doesn't allow their clerk- yes, a clerk- to do so either.

At the July 9 council meeting when a tie vote caused the matter to come up as the Special Order of the Day at the very beginning of this Wednesday’s (July 23) meeting, Councilmember Tim Bynum detailed it well.

After Councilmember Gary Hooser pointed out that the process has always been to receive the petition and pass it on to the clerk and to do otherwise this time would be at best unfair, at worst unlawful, Bynum detailed the history of the past decade plus.

That included revealing his own emails from a few years back predicatively pointing out the potential for the current "crisis" and the existence of a resultant still-secret county attorney opinion issued on the heels of the second successful charter amendment petition and subsequent court ruling.

The emails demonstrate how the county had every opportunity to introduce and pass it's own charter amendment clarifying things and instead sat and figuratively twiddled their thumbs.

And of course the charter review commission has been debating this year whether to "equalize" the two by either lowering the number of signatures for an initiative or raising the number for a charter amendment. But they couldn't agree on which to do and neither will appear on the ballot this November.

Not only that but the very charter section cited above was altered in a technical amendment in the 2012 election without addressing the "cat or a dog" question.

At the last council meeting Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura went on at length with lawyerly questioning of Clark with an eye toward how the council could go about rejecting the KR petition but never questioning whether they had that power based on the law to begin with.

She eventually cast a "silent" vote which, according to council rules, goes "with the motion" meaning it is essentially a yes vote. That left the seven member body in a 3-3 tie with the excused absence of Councilmember Mel Rapozo.

He is seen a sure "no" vote this week due to his presumed opposition to the substance of the petition regarding further regulation of the chemical "biotech" industry's pesticide/GMO (genetically modified organism) experiments on the island in the wake of the passage of Ordinance 960 (Bill 2491) last year.

The problematic "no" votes were those of Councilmember Mason Chock and Chair Furfaro who were swayed by the complexities presented by Clark and Yukimura, feeling that Clark's opinion was some kind of edict based on a court ruling rather than just an "opinion" and so leaving the question of process and following the law obscured.

It was easy to see why. For one thing no one had any time to read much less analyze the opinion because it was handed out only minutes before the meeting.

Few but the introducers and their attorneys would disagree that the past two charter amendment petitions were submitted as such because of the four-fold number of signatures required for an initiative. And with both being struck down by the courts KR's effort is no doubt destined to end up in court too no matter what anyone does on Wednesday.

If the council rejects it, KR will no doubt sue. And if the council accepts it the county will no doubt go to court for a declaratory ruling or wait for passage and then get a definitive ruling on it from the courts. If they don't you can be sure the chemical cartel will.

The simplest thing to do would be to accept the petition and "count the votes- er, signatures" as councilmembers kept saying during the last meeting, apparently having the 2000 presidential election in Florida on the brain after Bynum mistakenly said it in passing.

Then the county can go to court for a "quick" declaratory ruling. It would not only be the most efficient but the most economical path.

But mostly it would follow the plain words of the Kaua`i County Charter.

Many if not most in movement to regulate the use of pesticides and GMOs on Kaua`i have been, shall we say, less than enthused at the petition effort. The document extraordinarily long, contradictory, at times impossibly and bafflingly confusing and probably illegal for many more reasons than the "cat or dog" question. And it was foisted on the community by a rich north shore developer, Joan Porter, and organized by the brusk, always incommunicado leader of KR, Michael Shooltz, and prepared by a mainland attorney who had apparently had little or no idea what Hawai`i and Kaua`i law says.

It usurped much of the energy that could have been used to pass the real "next step" if they had simply consulted with the grassroots members of the community that rallied to pass Bill 2491. Most think KR's idea of having a Department of the Environment is a good one- one that Maui has already adopted.

But instead they not only ignored the concerns of those on Kaua`i with a little political savvy but refused all help and in fact would not even return emails containing suggestions- including suggestions that would have corrected technical errors on the petition that led to the rejection of the first round of signatures and caused KR to have to go out and collect them over again from scratch.

As a matter of fact KR's link to the the new "purple petition" containing supposedly new text is broken and doesn't work.

Going into the July 9 meeting we were among those who had had it up to here with the effort and were willing to listen and even agreed with those who argued that the courts had said that, since substance determined whether a measure is a charter amendment or an initiative, the county council should reject it if it "smelled like an initiative." And after much testimony, first from Clark and then from Shooltz, Potter and their mainland attorney, we were ready to declare the substance of the measure to be a "cat."

But Bynum's and Hooser's comments made us see that the real "process" in question is whether a group of citizens followed the rules and, just as importantly, based their efforts on past actions by the county. They and they alone are the ones who, according to the charter, have the right to say "it's a dog."

And we say "woof."

We don't expect Councilmembers Ross Kagawa or Mel Rapozo to vote yes to receiving the petition, counting the signatures and allowing the petition to go to the November ballot. But we expect more nuanced thinking from Chock and, we can only hope, Furfaro... and maybe even a recognition on the part of Yukimura that the legal basis for the a council determination is nowhere to be found in the plain words and meaning of the law.

If you would like to respectfully give your mana`o and urge Councilmembers Chock, Furfaro and Yukimura to allow the counting of the signatures as a charter amendment you can email them at , and respectively. You can also testify on the measure by emailing .

The meeting begins at 8:45 a.m. this Wednesday July 23 and will be streamed live on-line at the county's webcast site.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Frankly we haven't exactly been the President of the Kimo Rosen Fan Club over the years. We don't think we've even read one of his columns. Ever since he was virtually the only one on Kaua`i riding the Superferry bandwagon his markedly wise-ass-settler views have been widely viewed as insulting to the host culture and local community.

But all schadenfreude aside it's outrageous that he has not only been forced to apologize for an innocuous "joke" on Facebook but the local newspaper has taken his weekly column away from him after he wrote that the “(b)est thing we could do is get 1,000 gallons of gas and burn it down,” referring to the old ruins of the Coco Palms hotel- a day or so before fire destroyed it.

The paper has announced that "Rosen was a contributing columnist for The Garden Island. His column has been suspended in light of recent events."

They say the only sin in crafting a joke is not being funny. We're sure we've been guilty of that but we can't help thinking "there but for the grace" of whatever-it-is that bestows grace. Had we been the one caught in the wheel of unfortunate timing we'd have probably told the press to shove it and hung out "Psychic For Hire" shingle.

But then telling the the local paper to shove their column is something we've never had the distinct pleasure of doing, having been pen-sona non grata there since the day legendary editor Jean Holmes retired.

Rosen has apparently chosen to grovel, quoted by the paper as saying:

“It was coincidence and eerie timing that the Coco Palms would go up in flames after making the comment,” Rosen wrote in a statement. “I have learned from my mistake and will not be commenting anymore on any Facebook pages besides those I know personally. I am thinking of not commenting and just sticking to the “Like” button. I am truly sorry, especially to (Coco Palms care taker) Mr. Bob Jasper. I would never consider such an evil act as arson. The irony is I hate fireworks and anything that has to do with fire. I consider myself an honest man and could never live with myself if I was ever part of anything so destructive...

“I have learned and hope to pass this on to everyone, that words are powerful and should be measured carefully,” he wrote. “Mahalo for giving me this space to express myself. Thank you TGI and my apologies to the Mr. Bob Jasper and the Coco Palms community.”

It's not like he pulled a Donald Sterling... or for that matter a Ben Cayetano who was chastised by Dave Shapiro today for using the phrase "let's call a spade a spade" in referring to President Obama's Syria policy- also on Facebook.

Rosen simply gave voice to what 99% of Kaua`i residents have thought on one occasion or another, as he pointed out the day before in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Having not come across one person who doesn't think it was arson, that apparently makes everyone just as "guilty" as Rosen although what it is we're guilty of isn't quite apparent.

The fact is that arson by the owners seems unlikely since the fire is going to add a huge expense to any dismantling effort since the asbestos removal phase is going to be that much costlier of a nightmare... although a Star-Advertiser story says that Jasper told them that the elements that were destroyed in the blaze- apparently the lagoons building, offices and breezeway- were to be preserved in the latest attempt to eventually reopen the resort... the first time such details have been "revealed."

Many had assumed the place would have been be razed and replaced but the old original Iniki rebuilding ordinance- which was extended yet again by the Kaua`i County Council last year just for the current iteration of the rebuilding effort- would seem to restrict that and actually pertains to structures that were destroyed "50% or less."

How that affects the current plans is probably going to take a team of lawyers to figure out.

We can't say we'll miss Kimo's weekly non-sequitors and banal banter. But then we wouldn’t miss anything important if today's "all-the-news about churches, dogs, jogging and the Rotary Club, all-the-time" from a bunch of misinformed malahini were to disappear either.

Although, as has been the case with the current iteration of the local Kaua`i newspaper, less is seemingly more, Kimo might just have been the most informative and witty thing in the paper.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


There's another joke of a promotional news story about the resurrection of the Coco Palms Hotel in today's local newspaper headlined "Foreign Financing Needed," loosely based on last week's "quarterly report" to the Kaua`i County Council.

Apparently they're Waiting for Go-Dough, the mythical Chinese investor with money burning a hole in his pocket.

Maybe the headline should have said "No Green For Greene" because, come to find out, apparently slick-talking huckster Tyler Greene doesn't have two plug yen to rub together yet. Well, as they say, "put you wishes in one hand and spit in the other and see which one fills up first."

No one mentioned that the dilapidated, tumble-down monstrosity is still sitting there despite last year's promise it would be gone in six months... nothing but an illegal dust fence spurring yet another of those infamous Kaua`i "after-the-fact" permits. And apparently there hasn't even been an application for the required Special Management Area permit for the fence- much less one for the hotel itself. Of course that wasn't in the news story either after being revealed at the meeting by #1 developer-son attorney Mike Belles.

Who else remembers when it was "the Japanese" who had "too much money" and were going to invest in everything? Then it was "the Arabs." Now it's "the Chinese"... whose economy is reportedly also on the verge of collapse as happened to "the Japanese" and "the Arabs."

We're sure everyone in the Wailua Homesteads and Houselots just can't wait to add another 10 minutes to the time it takes to make a left onto the highway. And we're just as sure pedestrians waiting to cross the highway to the beach on the Kuamo`o Rd side will be happy to walk the half mile to and fro to the much-talked-about-but-will-never-happen pedestrian overpass "proposed" for the Hale `Ilio intersection.

We were "this" close to the much discussed "Hawaiian Cultural Park" with seed money already appropriated before we let old Harold Hill sweet talk us into another 76 Trombone parade down Rice St.

What are we- a bunch of idiots? Don't bother to answer. The Wells Fargo Wagon ain't coming down the street any time soon no matter how much Larry Rivera and Bob Jasper want it to come.

Monday, June 9, 2014


It's a little know fact: Kaua`i does, in fact, have a "Code of Ethics." But it's not for lack of trying that county officials have failed to undermine it.

And after many attempts to make a joke of our County Charter provision that simply doesn't allow an "officer or employee of the county" to "(a)ppear on behalf of private interests before any county
board, commission, or agency," Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura wants to try to gut the provision at tomorrow’s (6/10) County Council meeting.

The provision in 20.02(D) of the charter means that, for instance, the chair of the Board of Ethics (BOE) which rules on ethical issues, cannot come to the council and ask for money for the non-profit he chairs and then turn around and give a councilmember a pass on a questions about their own ethics that may come before the BOE for a ruling.

And that's not a hypothetical- it actually happened when BOE Chair Mark Hubbard came to the council for money for the Kaua`i Action and Planning Alliance. And when BOE member Judy Lenthall got cash for the Kaua`i Food Bank of which she was the executive director- and when, possibly the worst of all, when attorney Lorna Nishimitsu came to the council representing the Kikia`ola Land Corporation, developers of the humongous Kukui`ula development in Po`ipu.

Later Councilmember Mel Rapozo got a pass from the BOE on contracting with the county even though the amount of those contracts was over the legally permitted amount. And of course the BOE found nothing wrong with theie own actions.

The proposed change would eliminate all that and make the provision apply only to someone appearing before their own board or commission- or, in the case of an employee, their own "agency"- by adding "on which the officer or employee sits or is employed" to the end of the prohibition.

This means that the "you scratch my back, I'll scratch your" prohibition will be dead except in the narrowest of situations.

Right now if a member of the salary commission is a lawyer for a developer, he or she could represent their client asking to rezone 1000's acres of ag land to build a resort and then turn around and give all the councilmember raises. Or a member of the Civil Service Commission could ask for $100,000 for a pet project their non-profit is pursuing and then make sure the swing vote on the council's uncle got a nice cushy county job. Or a member of the Board of Review could do the same and then rule for a councilmember's- or for that matter her family, friend or business associate- appeal of the assessment value of their home.

We could go on but you get the picture as to why this standard provision is an important part of our charter's code of ethics.

But when the resolution to put the measure on the ballot came before the council two weeks ago many councilmembers sat there nodding their heads as Yukimura decried how her mucky-muck friends were having ethical problems simply because they had a blatant conflict of interest- as if the highest an mightiest of the Kaua`i Good Old Boys and Girls were the only ones who could possibly serve on these boards and commissions.

Apparently Yukimura, the former champion of the little guy has been hanging out with the ruling elite long enough that she sees them as irreplaceable, as they flit from board to commission and back again, round and round the revolving door, while at the same time coming for a handout that they could conceivably repay with their vote the next time they need to rule on something a councilmember might want.

This goes for all the board and commission members like the planning commissioner or police commission and, conversely goes for the member's families and even friends.

Oh no" they say "these people would never abuse their positions. Why we resent the implication."

But that isn't the issue. It's the appearance of a conflict of interest that is to be avoided if government is ever to have the confidence of the electorate. It's one reason you don't see much of a turnout at the polls.

You don't need a "quid pro quo" - giving something to get something- to have an apparent or potential conflicts of interest. It's that simple.

If the council approves the resolution tomorrow it would go on the November ballot. You can send testimony to the council at

For more read PNN's three part series
on the Board of Ethics debacle, Unethical culture- Government service with a personal “touch”

For more on the Board of Ethics click here

For more specifically on Charter Article 20.02(D) click here

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


JUST SAY YES TO NEGOTIATION: Today's newspaper commentary by Kaua`i Rising regarding their charter amendment petition (see last week's article at ) is disappointing.

Can and should are two different things.

While any intent to reign in the chemical cartel may be laudable, if past court rulings (2012's Kaua`i Beach Villas vs Kaua`i, to correct a past citation) are any indication this "charter amendment" will be found to be an "initiative"- at least after the election... if it passes.

It would have been good to have seen KR negotiate with the county attorney and separate out what is properly a charter amendment and what is an initiative but they seem intransigent and all their efforts seem doomed to being struck down by the courts.

While the council, county clerk and county attorney seem to have no choice but to put the petition on the ballot if it has sufficient signatures it would behoove KR to listen to the county attorney and negotiate a petition that would withstand court scrutiny.

Watch what the council decides to do live tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


(PNN)-- Deputy County Attorney Mona Clark told the Kaua`i County Council today (Wed 5/28) that the county clerk does not have to put a proposed charter amendment on the ballot even if it has sufficient signatures if it is determined that the "substance" of the amendment really makes it an initiative.

The amendment, being submitted by the group "Kaua`i Rising" seeks to "Protect From Hazards of GMO Agriculture, Toxins and Testing (and) Establish an Administrator of Environmental Health, and Provide for Enforcement"

Though the Kaua`i County Charter (Article XXIV) apparently denies the council the power to refuse access to the ballot if sufficient signatures are obtained for a charter amendment, a count ruling on the last petition-submitted charter amendment, Nakazawa v Baptiste, said that even if a petition claims to be a charter amendment the county should look at the substance, not the form, in determining if indeed it is a charter amendment or an initiative.

An initiative puts an ordinance or law into effect as opposed to a charter amendment which changes the overall governing document of the county, similar to changing a state or federal constitution.

Clark said she will formally address the matter in writing and the council will meet again next Wednesday to review her opinion and determine where to go from here after the council voted to receive the matter.

The number of signatures for a charter amendment is 5% of the number of registered voters while the amount for an initiative is 20%- a four-fold discrepancy the current charter commission is considering addressing with a charter amendment of their own to either raise one threshold or lower the other.

If it is determined the Kaua`i Rising petition is an initiative it would change the number of signatures required from a little over 2,000 to over 8,000.

The attorney for the petitioners submitting the charter amendment petition told the council that certainly at least some of the document qualifies as a charter amendment such as the creation of a new Department of the Environmental Health but that he wanted to wait until the signatures so far are verified so he knows how many more he might need for an intuitive or whether to modify the petition.

On the matter of sufficiency of and any changes to the petition, the charter says:

"Upon filing of such petition with the council, the county clerk shall examine it to see whether it contains a sufficient number of valid signatures of registered voters...

By petition presented to the council, signed by registered voters comprising not less than five percent (5%) of the number of voters registered in the last general election, setting forth the proposed amendments. Such petitions shall designate and authorize not less than three nor more than five of the signers thereto to approve any alteration or change in the form or language or any restatement of the text of the proposed amendments which may be made by the county attorney."

The provision does not give the county attorney, the county clerk or the council the right to unilaterally change or determine anything about the petition, notwithstanding the count ruling in Nakazawa.

The case was originally infamous because it had the county suing the county with the County Attorney, Lani Nakazawa, suing then-Mayor, Bryan Baptiste.

The amendment "is to be filed "(b)y petition presented to the council" though it does not define what that means, if anything, beyond having the county clerk verify that it has a sufficient number of signatures. The court ruling does not say how to determine what to do if the the content is that of an initiative nor who should determine that.

The attorney for the group said he is not representing the group as far as election law, just for purposes of drawing up the petition. He did say that based on today's proceedings "there will be" an attorney to represent the group. He said he welcomes advice from CA Clark as to how to address the matter in the interim between now and a special council meeting tentatively scheduled for June 4. At that time the council will meet in executive session and consider the opinion and what to do with it.

Clark said that it is up to the council to determine sufficiency but Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura, an attorney, disagreed saying all the council can do is accept it and send it to the clerk- where it should go no matter what the council says, as has been done in the past.

Council Chair Jay Furfaro repeatedly told the council that they had to determine "if it's a cat or a dog" referring to whether it's a charter amendment or an initiative. Clark says that determination should be made by the county attorney.

If it is determined that it is an initiative the matter of "sufficiency" would be referred to Charter Article XXII on Initiative and Referendum which envisions a much more complex scheme for determining content with a back and forth between the petitioners and the county's attorneys.

Councilmember Gary Hooser questioned whether the opinion would be made public to which Clark responded that it is the decision of the council what to do with it.

County Clerk Rick Watenabe said he has been meeting with the petitioners thus far solely to work on the sufficiency of the signatures as the charter commands. He said he never held up the petition for any other reason. He said that a delay today would delay the process of verifying signature.

Hooser said he would prefer the signature verification process for a charter amendment proceed while the CA opinion is drawn up. He said it could always be changed to an initiative at a later date.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


(PNN) Kapa`a (May 27)- Outrage is going viral today on Kaua`i as parents and community members perused pro-biotech, propaganda-filled comic books that were distributed to Kapa`a Elementary School kids as part of a Monsanto Foundation-funded, "GENE-ius Day" program "taught" by the "Biotechnology Outreach Program" in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa.

Although details are still coming in the personalized "comic book" pamphlets were given to kids who were apparently took part in CTAHR Associate Professor Dr. Ania Wieczorek's, eight-year-old indoctrination program. A newer “Saturday Gene-ius” program began about two years ago, and according to an April 24 UH Professional Assembly release "(e)ach Saturday Gene-ius class has about 24 students and their parents come to the UH-Manoa campus for two hours of exciting, thought-provoking activities. The classes are also held at Kauai Community College.

According to the CTAHR/"GENE-ius Day" web site "(t)hese GENE-ius Day field trips are aligned to teach science standards and its implications in genetics, agriculture, and forensic sciences in a fun and memorable way."

The pamphlet/comic books include images of children dismayed to look in their cupboards only to find there were no more "chips" and "cookies" because there were no more farmers to grow the ingredients since apparently their job was too hard- a job now miraculously made virtually effort-free through use of GMOs and pesticides, presumably courtesy of the good folks at Monsanto.

According to the CTAHR web site "(o)ur Gene-ius Day Program is funded by various grants, organizations, and private donations. Without the generous support from our sponsors, the GENE-ius Day Program could not be possible."

So who are these generous supporters? According to a November 4, 2010 UH Foundation press release

"Monsanto Supports "Gene-ius Day" at UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

(Honolulu, Hawaiʻi) — The College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has received $20,000 from the Monsanto Fund, a private foundation and the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Company, to support salaries and materials for "Gene-ius Day." Gene-ius Day is a special program that introduces students from grade 4 through 12 to basic genetics and the function of DNA.

"CTAHR is pleased to team up with the Monsanto Fund to build a shared learning experience about basic genetics," said Dr. Ania Wieczorek, founder and director of Gene-ius Day and associate specialist in Biotechnology, Biotechnology Outreach Program (CTAHR). "A primary goal of the Gene-ius Day Program is to build a strong understanding of basic genetics at the elementary school level so that teachers are able to present increasingly complex biotechnology topics in the upper grades."
"We're thrilled the Monsanto Fund is able to support Gene-ius Day, which not only teaches science, but encourages students to imagine themselves as scientists," said Dr. Fred Perlak, vice president of research and business operations for Monsanto Hawaii, and an award-winning microbiologist. "Monsanto is proud to employ thousands of scientists and other talented employees who use science and technology in their daily work. I hope many of the students who participate in Gene-ius Day will go on to pursue great careers in the sciences."

Pages of the personalized comic books with different names on the covers began to surface on social media yesterday and elicited outrage, especially among parents and community members who have tried to tech their children about the dangers of pesticides, the lack of actual data on and chemical company false claims of the safety of generically modified foods and the benefits of eating healthy, sustainably grown, chemical-free foods.

The program is headed up by "Dr. Ania" as she is "affectionately called" using a team of graduate and undergraduate students as well as "volunteers" who are listed at the web site. None are listed as geneticists or students of genetics.

The UHPA press release says:

Wieczorek's love for molecular ecology and biotechnology is clearly evident in the way she serves the community. She may even tell you it’s part her DNA.  She has led the UH Biotechnology Outreach Program since it began in 2002, sharing her expertise in numerous venues across the state, on the Mainland, and in Taiwan.

"She saw a need in the community for greater awareness and appreciation for genetics, and filled it. Dr. Wieczorek felt more individuals, both adults and children, could make sound decisions about biotechnology issues if they were informed about scientific facts. That desire led to her launch of a new field trip program for elementary school students seven years ago called “Gene-ius Day.” Dr. Wieczorek’s goal is to use DNA to inspire students...

"To date, more than 5,000 young students have participated in hands-on activities on topics such as human and plant genetic traits, forensic science, agriculture and DNA research... The Gene-ius Day became so popular that Dr. Wieczorek started another program called “Saturday Gene-ius” about two years ago.  Each Saturday Gene-ius class has about 24 students and their parents come to the UH-Manoa campus for two hours of exciting, thought-provoking activities. The classes are also held at Kauai Community College. 

"Dr. Wieczorek added that in the near future, the Saturday Gene-ius program will be expanded to middle school students, which will greatly expand the reach of this outreach program. 
The Saturday Gene-ius classes fill up quickly."

Kaua`i has nationally been called "ground zero" in the fight against the chemical companies- Syngenta, Dow and BASF after Monsanto pulled out of Kaua`i a few years back- who conduct pesticide experiments in the Westside town of Waimea.

It has been revealed through a lawsuit in federal court (Waimea vs, Pioneer et. al.), that corn, soy and other commodity foodstuffs are routinely doused 240 days a year (with multiple different pesticides routinely used on those days) with up to 18 tons a year of extra-toxic "restricted use pesticides" that have been implicated in a plethora of illnesses by local doctors and nurse practitioners as well as an unusually high number of a specific type of heart anomaly in newborns.

The state Department of Health stopped compiling data on illnesses in 2006 claiming a lack of funding.

Recently citizens recently engaged with paid biotech workers as the local county council passed a bill requiring that the companies disclose exactly what, where and when they are spraying and created buffer zones around the testing fields after years of data-request stonewalling by the chemical companies and state flouting of regulations.

A recent DOH study found pesticides present in streams and their sediment near and around the chemical testing fields but does not plan to retest.

After public outrage threatened his November reelection Governor Neil Abercrombie instituted a "voluntary" partial disclose program while the bill was being debated. Activists called the "Good Neighbor Program" too little, too late and the bill passed after an override of a veto by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.

Carvalho also faces reelection this year and is being challenged by local surfer Dustin Barca, one of the leaders of the "Pass The Bill" movement and an organizer of a 4000-strong march on the county building. The population on Kaua`i is 61,000.