Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Musings: Wednesday's Warblings

It was a gray kind of morning, with no color save for that provided by the grass and flowering shrubs, when Koko and I went out walking. Masses of dark clouds moved across the moon and Venus, with the promise of rain to come.

We hadn’t walked far when we ran into Farmer Jerry, just back from Oahu, where he and the other Board of Agriculture members approved quarantine zones on the Big Island to prevent the spread of the coffee berry borer pest — a story that Mike Levine at Civil Beat reported far more competently than Brand X.

We got to talking about airport security, since he’s been spending a lot of time flying, and Jerry said he’s noticing a lot more pat downs, some of them quite intrusive — up the thighs and into the butt crack and crotch — and some of them meeting resistance from passengers.

“If they’re going this far now, what’s gonna happen when we get to red?” he asked, in reference to the color-coded security alert system that Homeland Security now wants to change.

As the song lyrics go, "Babylon makes the rules whereby people suffer..."

We also got to talking about the homelessness on Oahu, with Jerry saying the gray and blue tarps are everywhere on that island.

“It’s a sign of decay,” he said, “like bad teeth. It’s out there for everyone to see.”

Which is why Honolulu’s new mayor, Peter Carlisle, is so determined that no one will see the island’s poverty-stricken, displaced underside during the upcoming APEC conference, which all kinda big wigs from business and government will be attending. Especially troubling was Carlisle’s take on homelessness, as also reported by Civil Beat:

"Homelessness," he concluded. "It's just like the common cold or people who are alcoholics."

That’s the same sort of sensitivity he showed when treating drug addiction as a crime, rather than a disease. Which just goes to show you can take the man out of the prosecutor’s office, but you can’t take the prosecutor out of the man.

Hard to believe Honolulu elected him mayor, but when things get tough, folks seem to like to get tough on the down-and-outers. Oh, btw, according to a report on Democracy Now! today:

New government data show U.S. corporations made record profits in the third quarter, earning at an annual rate of more than $1.6 trillion. That’s the highest figure since the government began keeping track 60 years ago. Overall corporate earnings are up 28 percent from the same time last year. Companies, however, have not been using the record profits to hire more workers. The Federal Reserve is predicting that the nation’s official unemployment rate will remain over 9 percent for at least another year.

But hey, get some great “Black Friday” deals over at Walmart...

Closer to home, the planning commission accepted Planning Director Ian Costa’s resignation, which was expected, since they do whatever they’re told. Still, it was surprising that the mayor himself showed up.

In the county’s way of putting people into jobs for which they’re eminently qualified, Ian’s going to be shuffled over to Parks and Rec, where he’ll serve as deputy director, as had been the scuttlebutt. That way he can keep doing his architectural work on the side. Still, Ian didn’t go out on any kind of ethics violation, though an ethics complaint was filed against him for recommending approval of four vacation rental applications that he’d worked on. The mayor just wanted to get rid of Costa, and all the negativity associated with him, so he could put in someone new. Who could then start attracting their own negative reactions from the public....

The commission also accepted the mayor’s proposal to make Deputy County Attorney Mike Dahilig acting planning director, and I’m sure that when the mayor has his new director lined up, the commission will accept that person, too. Yes, it’s supposedly up to the commission to hire the director, but if anyone thinks that’s done without the full involvement of the mayor, they’re living in dreamland.

While Mike appears to lack the qualifications for the job, of greater concern for the public is Mike’s willingness to direct the commission where he wants it to go. If he did that as the commission’s attorney, one can only imagine how much influence he’ll wield as director.

Which kind of undermines the whole purpose of a citizen body…..

Finally, blogger Charley Foster, in writing about Ian and Mike, noted:

Deputy County Attorney Mike Dahilig, allegedly (correctly) advised Council member Dicky [sic] Chang prior to passage of Ordinance 904 that failure to grandfather pre-existing TVRs would lead to a raft of expensive lawsuits against the county. (It's true. Dozens of appeals of denials of non-conforming use cert applications were filed prior to passage of 904. Had 904 not passed and those appeals been denied, many would have been filed in the courts).

And it struck me as rather odd that the county is busy passing laws to protect itself from the potential threat of lawsuits even as it fails to avoid actions that result in actual lawsuits. You know, like killing protected species and sexual harassment.



Anonymous said...

Nice blog...a few comments:

1. Why the big deal over body searches? Anyone who has ever travelled anywhere remotely interesting knows this is commonplce across the globe.

2. Peter Carlisle said to get rid of the homeless in the Honolulu parks, he was going to turn on the
sprinklers all night. This is also the guy who tried to weasel searches thru the legislature where a cop could go up to anyone, anytime, and just start searching asking for docs, etc. He's scary.

Anonymous said...

"Overall corporate earnings are up 28 percent from the same time last year. Companies, however, have not been using the record profits to hire more workers."
Why would anyone hire under educated incompetent people.
Just because you can breath doesn't mean you get to have a job.
See NYT, and Friedman's editorial today.

Anonymous said...

Mayor announces incoming cabinet and leadership team

LĪHU‘E – Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. today announced his incoming cabinet and leadership team, which will take effect upon his inauguration on Dec. 1.

“I’m very proud of the team that we’ve assembled. Each one brings experience, knowledge and commitment that will help us move forward on many important initiatives over the next four years,” said the mayor.

In addition to some changes in leadership in departments such as Public Works, Transportation and Parks and Recreation, the mayor has re-organized his team to allow for several positions that will oversee areas of significant focus.

“Risk management, solid waste and wastewater projects, and civil defense can benefit from additional resources. The new organizational structure will ensure they get the attention they deserve,” said the mayor.

The mayor is also pleased to bring in new personnel from the private sector to complement team members with extensive government experience.
“We can always benefit from having more of the private sector perspective to help us re-analyze what we do and how we do it,” said the mayor. “It’s all in an effort to improve efficiency and customer service.”

The mayor will be asking the Kaua'i County Council to confirm his appointment of Al Castillo to the post of county attorney at the inaugural Council meeting, which will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 1, noon, at the Kaua'i War Memorial Convention Hall.

Inauguration ceremonies for the mayor and County Council will follow at 1 pm. The public is invited to both events.

The list of the mayor’s cabinet appointees are as follows: Managing Director Gary Heu (change in title effective December 2); County Attorney Al Castillo; Finance Director Wallace G. Rezentes, Jr.; Deputy Finance Director Sally Motta; County Engineer Larry Dill; Deputy County Engineer Lyle Tabata; Director of Parks and Recreation Lenny Rapozo; Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Ian Costa; Director of Economic Development George Costa; Housing Director Eugene Jimenez; and Transportation Director Celia Mahikoa.

Other mayor-appointed staff include: John Isobe, Boards and Commissions Administrator; Janine Rapozo, Risk Management Administrator; Kylan Dela Cruz, Manager, Civil Defense; Donald Fujimoto, Environmental Services Officer – Solid Waste and Wastewater; Beth Tokioka, Director of Communications and Mary Daubert, Public Information Officer.

Department heads and their deputies that are appointed by their respective commissions include: Director of Personnel Services Malcolm Fernandez; Director of Liquor Control Eric Honma; Director of Planning Michael Dahilig; Chief of Police Darryl Perry; Deputy Chief of Police Mark Begley; Fire Chief Robert Westerman; and Deputy Fire Chief John Blalock.

Anonymous said...

The list of the mayor’s cabinet appointees are as follows:

Managing Director Gary Heu (change in title effective December 2)
County Attorney Al Castillo
Finance Director Wallace G. Rezentes, Jr.
Deputy Finance Director Sally Motta
County Engineer Larry Dill
Deputy County Engineer Lyle Tabata
Director of Parks and Recreation Lenny Rapozo
Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Ian Costa
Director of Economic Development George Costa
Housing Director Eugene Jimenez
Transportation Director Celia Mahikoa
Boards and Commissions Administrator John Isobe
Risk Management Administrator Janine Rapozo
Civil Defense Manager Kylan Dela Cruz
Environmental Services Officer Donald Fujimoto
Director of Communications Beth Tokioka
Public Information Officer Mary Daubert

Anonymous said...

Managing Director Gary Heu (change in title effective December 2. This will allow him to get more pay.

County Attorney Al Castillo. Remember the Dickie Chang incident?

Finance Director Wallace G. Rezentes, Jr. Son of Dickie Chang's campaign chair/treasurer

Deputy Finance Director Sally Motta. Has been in the real estate industry for over 35 years; her diverse experience covers mortgage lending, escrow, and real estate.

County Engineer Larry Dill. Property Administrator, Princeville Operating Co., LLC

Deputy County Engineer Lyle Tabata. Kaua‘i Operations Group Manager for Aqua Engineers, Inc.

Director of Parks and Recreation Lenny Rapozo. Husband of Janine Rapozo.

Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Ian Costa. Experienced in Parks and Rec?

Director of Economic Development George Costa. Most sensible appointment.

Housing Director Eugene Jimenez.

Transportation Director Celia Mahikoa.

Boards and Commissions Administrator John Isobe. The brainchild behind the Carvalho campaign.

Risk Management Administrator Janine Rapozo. Wife of Lenny Rapozo. Where is the experience in Risk Management?

Civil Defense Manager Kylan Dela Cruz. Isn't Mr. Marshall the Manager? Another additional position for Bernard.

Environmental Services Officer Donald Fujimoto. Another new position for taxpayers.

Director of Communications Beth Tokioka.

Public Information Officer Mary Daubert.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Bernard has really set this County up for the benefit of the developers. Unbelievable. Nepotism at it's finest. It seems that creating new positions while "regular" employees are being furloughed is not fair. I guess he has a plan.

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks, readers, for the reports on Bernard's Cabinet, including the eyebrow-raising new positions created at a time when most local governments are practicing fiscal austerity.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Janine Rapozo sued sucessfully by a former employee for discrimination? And then there's the high personnel turnover in Transportation - that must be her experience to head up risk management. She'll be in a good place to deflect the complaints against her husband, Lenny who has been mainly absent from his high paying job for two years now. Wait, he had a job - he was Bernard' campaign manager. Shame on Bernard and his administration for using OUR money for self promotion. Politics as usual?

Anonymous said...

so if there is money for new positions does that mean end of County furloughs? Ass backwards Mayor.