Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Musings: Twists and Turns

When the dogs and I first went out, the world was ethereal, wet, silent, Jupiter nearly as bright and high as a moon on the fat side of half. As we walked, more was revealed: wisps, streaks, wide ribbons in undulating patterns, like waves, bumpy mounds, puffballs. And then the dawn came, turning the black clouds mauka dusty pink and the sky in the east shades of orange, yellow, red, so that I was treated to a riot of shapes and color every which way I turned.

Co-op member unhappiness about KIUC’s foray into hydro via Free Flow Power, FERC and a special election challenging the Free Flow contract has taken an interesting turn, with Scott Mijares now circulating a petition that, to use his words, “gives our members the opportunity to object to the manner in which KIUC's management and board have conducted this vote.”

The petition calls on the Board of Directors to submit to the general membership for a vote its Resolution 05-11, which approved the language of the ballot and associated materials sent out to members, as well as the timeline for the election.

The petition preamble makes references to “stacking the deck” and “an illegitimate election process” while expressing dismay at the Board’s decision to “schedule the vote for the earliest possible date, thus severely limiting the time available for the membership to become informed.”

All of which raises the very good question of why, oh why, didn’t KIUC head off this skirmish by handling the election in a more fair, above-board, inclusive manner, especially since it was already on the hot seat for the perception, real or otherwise, that it had failed to be inclusive and above board with the members when it choose the FERC road to hydro?

Meanwhile, much has been said about where Bill Tam stands on this issue. He’s currently the deputy director of the state Commission on Water Resource and Management, and is familiar with the FERC process from his former tenure in the state Attorney General’s office when it opposed FERC jurisdiction over three proposed hydro projects on Kauai.

The Garden Island acknowledges that it hasn’t been able to get a comment from Tam, but it doesn’t reveal the reason: one of its reporters apparently used Google research to pull a quote from a years-old speech he gave, and Tam wasn’t too pleased.

I was able to get some clarification from Tam for my Honolulu Weekly article, which comes out today. And KIUC Board Member Jan TenBruggencate went over to Honolulu for a face-to-face with Tam last week, which resulted in today’s TGI “news" article entitled “KIUC clarifies its position:”

“There is nothing KIUC is doing that violates state policy on its approach to FERC,” said Jan TenBruggencate, a member of KIUC’s Board of Directors. “Clearly the state doesn’t want utilities in the state of Hawai‘i to use the FERC process to license hydro plants. Clearly we know that, and clearly we are not licensing any hydro plants.”

He added that it is his understanding that the state does not oppose the use of preliminary permits to scope projects. It opposes the licensing, something for which KIUC has not applied.

So I asked Tam, who previously told me he’d taken no stand on the FERC permits, if that was a correct statement of his position and got this email in response:

Hypothetical situations have been considered under certain assumptions, but no resolution has been reached.

And I can’t help but wonder, if the state supposedly doesn't oppose the use of preliminary permits to scope hydro projects, why have two state agencies — the Agribusiness Development Corp. and Department of Hawaiian Home Lands — already filed formal motions to intervene?

Clearly, they're alarmed about something.


Anonymous said...

KPAA website has the NO votes leading.

I would be for a re-vote mainly because I donʻt trust KIUC anymore. Their tactics are suspicious and I donʻt know if the current ballot is going to be tampered with.

Today the TGI article said KIUC is engaging the community........
I think is more like the community has engaged KIUC, by force of petition.

Otherwise, left to their devices, they would not do the right and legitimate thing. I know that now.

Anonymous said...

Sorry forgot to link to KPAA site:

Anonymous said...

my musings.... Another thing - KIUC is blackmailing us voters by telling us that because they already entered into the six figure contract to do this, that we will have to pay all the monies under that contract if we vote NO. That sounds like a BS threat. Call that bluff.

Im calling bullshit. First, David Proudfoot knows how to get out of a contract. What about, for example, claiming that there was no contract until the members had an opportunity to negate the deal. Or what about claiming that only partial payment is due since the services were not performed.

Also, doesn't Proudfoot have a conflict of interest?

As s a co-op member I want to sue the directors who signed this contract that is supposedly binding no matter what the members want, and that obligates us to pay all this money regardless of whether the services are really provided. What kind of KIUC director would enter into such an "iron clad" contract knowing that the members could kill it. Shouldn't the director have some personal liability to the members?

Any lawyer will tell you that if there is a contract that is cancelled before performance, (or because those who had the final authority to accept it, didn't) then all of the monies may not be due as KIUC is threatening - so are we just getting bullshitted that all that money is gonna be on us? Or is KIUC gonna pay the "full" amount supposedly due on this contract if we vote no just to spite the members? Or will KIUC lawyers actually put some energy into getting out of the contract instead of just telling us how ironclad it is?

Finally, the opponents of FERC would do well to look at the law Mr. Foster puts out on his Planet Kauai blog - it could help you. Please remember that legal challenges need to rely on the EPA - and not to make the same legal mistakes over FERC that they made in Cali.

Peace and happy gardening.

Anonymous said...

It is really hard to know what the true circumstances of this contract are when members are not allowed to see it.
We need to see the MOA. There has to be disclosure.
As to what C. Foster has in his comments, that is all part of the evidence that we were not engaged properly as a community and as members. So at this point it is moot.
These issues should have been researched and hashed out - before - the MOA was signed.
KIUC has handled this poorly and Bissell is the main player behind it.
And now he has his great minions cheerleading.
Seeing Chairman Tacbianʻs unintelligent responses clears it up for me.
P L A N T A T I O N E R S; yessiree boz.

Anonymous said...

Clearly they have something to be alarmed about...mmm...yes, reading rules and laws is a bitch.

Anonymous said...

Boy did we waste our votes on Ben and Jan.

The old boys network co-opted them in no time flat.

This FFP situation is a money spinner for consultants and not much more.

Anonymous said...

If this NO vote happens and KIUC spends 300K of our money to pay on this contract, I agree that we should sue the CEO personally to recover that money.

Can't we petition to even see the contract? WTF? We own it but we can't see the contract? Something very smelly about that.

Fosters ideas aren't moot - they're for if there is litigation. In legal terms they are not ripe yet. Moot is the wrong term.

Anonymous said...

"This FFP situation is a money spinner for consultants and not much more."

This seems correct. Has anyone looked inot whether the FFP consultants have some other relationship with anyone on the Board?

Anonymous said...

I think the nucleus is David Bissell, the financial advisor (donʻt remember his name) and FFP.
Everybody else got sold the goods.
They operated on the premise Kuaai residents were a bunch of backwoods hiks, like where they come from; the land of great and grand fleecing.

Anonymous said...

i think their smart guys out smarted our smart guys. david b is just trying to get us off oil. due diligence may not have been done; it's not too late to back out before it's too late. sad that everyone from joann, ben, jan are so eager to sell us downriver( pun intended). this is getting uglier by the minute. where can i sign this petition?

Anonymous said...

You realize of course that this kind of decision is exactly what directors are elected to make. All this talk of suing them i foolish.

Anonymous said...

No itʻs not foolish.
They may have left everyone with no other choice.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone at KIUC sign a contract that does not have an "escape clause" in it - allowing cancellation if the members reject it.
Can you say attorney malpractice?

Anonymous said...

June 23, 2011 6:57 AM
Agreed. Because maybe David Bisselʻs command does not come from KIUC but from FFP and always has.

Atty malpractice is definitely not hard to believe.

Anonymous said...

Bissell is just dumb. Doubt he's connected with FFP or getting any kickback.

Asking how much we've paid and will pay FFP and our other main I Banker consultant -- Bill Collett -- has collected and how he's wrapped up in this sweetheart deal

jonathan jay said...

thanks for this piece, and for posting the link to download this recall petition, joan. you do such good work for kaua`i.