The contrast between President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney wasn't quite so marked in yesterday's debate, with one Facebooker likening it to a debate between McDonald's and Burger King.
As the candidates droned on about arcane tax rates and Romney promised the world — higher wages, more jobs, beefed up military, no cuts in Medicare or Social Security, no tax increase, no deficit spending, check's in the mail, I'll still love you in the morning — I thought of all the missed opportunities for questions that would have interested the voters.
Like when Romney said the federal government was all about ensuring life and liberty, that was the perfect time to ask, exactly when, Mitt, does that life begin, and how come we don't hold Muslim lives and liberty in such high regard?
And when Romney was making like he was the friend of the working man and small businesses, well, that was a natural segue to say, hey, how many jobs and companies did you and Bain Capital destroy with your predatory practices?
As for Obama, well, right off it would've been, yo dude, what's up with your personal assassination list and all those civilians killed by drones? And how come you're so keen to make sure Americans are covered by the National Defense Authorization Act? Who are you planning to lock up, and why?
I think my 30-something nephew had it right when he posted: If this debate helps you decide who to vote for, you shouldn't be voting.
And the audience, well, you could see human heads in the darkness, but they were eerily silent — no coughs, no sneezes, nobody booing, applauding or screaming out “liar!”
Shoots, the County Council hash-out of Keiki POHAKU was a lot more entertaining, though I was troubled by the 14 cops sitting on their duffs in the audience for a few hours, all on the county dime. Not to mention Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho's six-figure-salaried personal blogger, who started to live blog the proceedings, then apparently thought better of his foolishness and disappeared the post.
So how come regular people have to take time off from their jobs to attend Council meeting, but cops and other county workers get paid to simply sit and show support for an agenda item? Heck, the cops didn't even testify. They left that to their fearless leader, Assistant Chief Ale Quibilan, who came off looking like a dolt, as did school superintendent Bill Arakaki: “Uh, duh, yeah, we love Keiki POHAKU. We don't know nuttin' about it, but we love it.”
My ears pricked when Councilman Mel Rapozo got all high and mighty about the sunshine law, and what could and couldn't be discussed by the Council. He then pronounced: “The OIP [Office of Information Practices] is the governing authority.” Yeah, that's what I always thought, too. So right then I sent him an email, asking how he feels about Shay repeatedly blowing off OIP directives to release public records that I requested.
“I'd really like to hear your views on this,” I wrote. But he didn't reply.
I especially liked the part where Council Chair Jay Furfaro made a point of noting that he had not leaked an email to The Garden Island — an email that other Council members also received, an email that is almost certainly a public record. That later prompted Mel — not to pick on you, guy, but you keep putting your foot in it — to huff about confidentiality issues.
“Some of the communication that came to us ended up in the media,” he said. “Why? This is our workplace, not the media.”
Apparently it is OK, though, for certain Council members to leak confidential, as in executive session, stuff to Shay.
Things got a little heated when a citizen called upon Councilman Tim Bynum to recuse himself now that he's filed suit against Shay. After questioning from Tim, and a bit of lawyerly dodging, Shay finally came right out and said, “I believe you have a conflict of interest.” OK. So Shay thinks Tim has a conflict whether she's charged him, or he's suing her. And since he's suing partly because he believes she impinged upon his First Amendment rights, well, just keep digging the hole deeper, girl. Cause you ain't gonna pick up the tab for his settlement.
Though the Board of Ethics previously found that Tim did not, in fact, have a conflict of interest concerning the Office of Prosecuting Attorney (OPA) when Shay filed those bogus zoning charges against him, it might not hurt for him to check in again now that he's suing her.
Which reminds me to check on that BOE opinion regarding Councilman KipuKai Kualii's conflict with the OPA, which gives money to his employer, the YWCA. As I reported back in August, until we see the actual advisory opinion, it's a little unclear exactly what the conflict covers.
While we're at it, maybe Mel should also check in with BOE and see if it's a conflict for him to be the Council's Pavlovian supporter of all things Shay, considering he also gets paid who knows how much – oh, I feel a public records request coming on — by her office.
And I wonder if Bryson Ponce, spokesman for SHOPO, the cop's union, had a conflict in his pro-POHAKU testimony, considering they endorsed Shay for re-election, and some cops might end up getting paid big bucks for OT once the program is up and running.
Cause ya know, conflicts suck, just like corporate cronyism.
Seeing as how both are rampant in government, how's about we scratch this set-up, and come up with something new?