A couple of things in the news got me wondering, like the articles about the Ka Loko dam settlement that appeared in the print version of The Garden Island and the on-line edition of The Advertiser..
It seems the county’s share of the $25.4 million settlement is $7.5 million — with insurance picking up all but $250,000 — and the state will pay $1.5 million.
Both articles quoted Kauai County Attorney Al Castillo as saying the county was prepared to go to trial, but felt the settlement was in the best interest of the county, then went on to report:
Castillo said the difference between the state's portion of the settlement and the county's had "little to do with culpability, and instead reflected financial realities and state law regarding immunity."
Something’s not right here. Doesn’t the state have insurance, too? And does this talk about “financial realities” mean that the county now has deeper pockets than the state?
What about former Mayor Maryanne Kusaka, who told the county inspector to lay off in his investigations of Pflueger’s illegal grading at the dam? Will she be charged for the $250,000 that the insurance doesn’t cover? Will she ever be held accountable for her deeds? Is the desire to spare her one reason why the county decided to settle out of court? (As my neighbor Andy, ever alert to irony, noted, The Garden Island carried an article about Kusaka right below its story on the dam settlement.)
And if the county has insurance and the state is protected by laws regarding immunity, why are the planning commission and Burial Council so worried about a lawsuit from Joe Brescia?
Then there was the “breaking news” piece in The Advertiser about the House deciding to again bag the civil unions bill.
For some reason, the only comment from anyone that the article contained was a prepared statement from gubernatorial hopeful Duke Aiona:
"This is a temporary victory that only seeks to delay a meaningful decision on traditional marriage," said Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, in a statement released following the House action. "The State Legislature will continue to play political hot potato with the institution of marriage until the people of Hawai'i are allowed to vote on it once and for all."
Why is he quoted? He’s not a member of the House or Senate and has nothing at all at this point to do with this issue, save use it to make political hay, with the Advertiser buying right in.
The Garden Island also ran Duke’s comment, with this rather lame and confusing rationale:
Aiona would assume the full powers of the governor — including the veto power — if Lingle were to travel outside the state, and some lawmakers have conjectured she might have done just that if the House had passed a civil unions bill.
Anyway, it’s disappointing to see the House again stall this issue, with Rep. Jimmy Tokioka among those still kowtowing to the fundamentalists:
Based on the responses from residents in District 15 on Kaua‘i, the overwhelming sentiment was a request to vote no,” Tokioka said, pointing to language in the bill that made constituents worry it could impact their traditional marriages.
Rep. Mina Morita, however, pegged it exactly right in her blog post:
To say that I am disappointed and ashamed on what happened on the House floor would be an understatement. I believe the public, whether one was for or against civil union, deserved a definitive closure on this issue. I have been clear where I stand on this issue. I support civil unions. The posturing on this bill, by not correcting a defective date and all the procedural maneuvering, has been shameful. We were not leaders today.
And finally, The Maui News carried a story that contained a comment from A&B about the future of its sugar operations there:
In a statement, the company said it would continue sugar operations through the end of the year, but that the company's fate beyond 2010 would depend on a "favorable outcome" in water cases pending before the state Commission on Water Resource Management, as well as HC&S' ability to increase its sugar-production levels.
So how is that a big landowner can get away with so blatantly resorting to blackmail, holding 650 jobs as hostage to get its way in a landmark water decision?
Just a few things that got me wondering.....