Snakeskin clouds stretched across a wedge of moon and the eastern sky blazed rose when the dogs and I went walking this morning in puakenikeni-perfumed air. Dawn arrived and the golden light revealed the notched blue summit of Waialeale, along with two fat waterfalls streaming down the face of Makaleha, evidence of welcome rain that fell in the night.
I'd welcome the news that Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho's office, after weeks of “claiming the fifth,” will finally be presenting information about the POHAKU program to the County Council today. Except I have a sneaking suspicion — based on what I finally got in response to one of my public records requests — that it's going to be so carefully selected and spun as to be rendered meaningless.
As you may recall, I've been trying since April 16 to get some info about POHAKU, prompting the state Office of Information Practices to direct the prosecutor's office to respond to my greatly narrowed request within five business days. At 6:37 p.m. yesterday, the fifth day, I finally got an email from First Deputy Jake Delaplane:
The OPA [Office of Prosecuting Attorney] provides the following responses to your requests:
1. A copy of the Kaua‘i OPA contract with Strategic Justice Partners
The OPA does not have a contract with Strategic Justice Partners. I have attached the Bad-Check Restitution contracts signed by Craig DeCosta with American Corrective Counseling Services. This Bad Check Restitution Program was the precursor to the POHAKU program.
2. All invoices and expenditures relating to the POHAKU program
There were no invoices or expenditures by the OPA for the operation of the POHAKU program.
You can check out the contracts here and here.. Wow. Two months of run-around and stall tactics, just so they can invoke the “Craig DeCosta did it, too,” defense. I sent the following response to Jake:
Regarding #1 -- Are you telling me that the OPA never amended the ACCS contracts to reflect a new scope of services provided by a different corporate entity, Strategic Justice Partners?
It also seems you have not fulfilled request #2 as it was made. I asked for all invoices and expenditures relating to the POHAKU program — not just invoices and expenditures by the OPA for the operation of the POHAKU program, as you state in your response.
The compensation schedule 1 in the ACCS contract you provided references various incidental service charges and fees, as well as a 92% to 8% split of diversion program fees. The contract itself references electronic records of accounts, as well as post office box and banking fees and a monthly summary of all account transactions.
Please immediately complete the fulfillment of my request.
Jake also noted at the end of his email:
Given your prior requests, you may be interested in some of the information we will be providing to the County Council tomorrow as it relates to the POHAKU program. We will be asking that the materials we provide be made publicly available in electronic form.
He was apparently referencing today's agenda item regarding Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura's proposal to ask the Board of Ethics to investigate the POHAKU program.
Gee, Jake, ya could've just fulfilled my original request, instead of claiming you didn't have time to pull out all the info, and in any case, would need to charge me $1,600 just to look. But of course, Shay and Jake aren't actually going to provide everything to the Council, just the cherry-picked stuff that will make them look good.
Speaking of cherry-picked stuff, somehow smart meter opponent Mark Naea has convinced himself — and apparently others — that last Friday's settlement between KIUC and Adam Asquith is a game-changer. As Mark writes in an email that was forwarded to me, and a long list of others:
The agreement reached between Adam and KIUC as stipulated in this settlement has completely changed the landscape of KIUC’s planned roll out of smart meters here on Kauai.
Mark goes on to claim:
“Settlement Changes Smart Meter Program to Opt-In ONLY! KIUC is now required by their lawful and signed settlement with Adam to seek permission first before installation of any smart meter. KIUC is prohibited from installing any smart meters without consent of the account holder.”
Ummm, sorry, Mark, but I think you're engaging in wishful thinking. This settlement is all about Adam, and it doesn't give him anything different than what KIUC has already given everyone else: the opportunity to say he doesn't want a smart meter installed.
The settlement — you can read it for yourself here — also gives Adam the right to sue KIUC again if the Public Utilities Commission allows KIUC to install a smart meter at Adam's house without his permission.
That's it. No miracle cure, folks. I understand that some people feel really strongly about smart meters, but it doesn't help anyone to make stuff up and then present it as fact.
However, the hoohaw did cause me to wonder how many folks had opted-out, so I contacted Jim Kelly at KIUC to ask.
I learned the island has about 33,000 meters. Some 5,000 of them have been replaced with smart meters to date. A total of 1,264 deferral forms have been submitted to the utility. About half of those were turned in before installation began, and the rest have trickled in since.