Monday, September 16, 2013

Musings: Hide and Obscure

Often, when I am walking in the wee hours with the dogs, the sky is clear overhead — Makalii, Triangle, Betelgeuse, Jupiter and the rest shining bold against black. But creeping in from the east, from Lihue side, is the heavy, damp grayness of the cloud bank, ready to obscure, blot out and hide.

So it is with our county government, especially on the transient vacation rental issue. As a story in The Garden Island reports, even our gullible planning commission isn't buying the county attorney's argument that all those hundreds of improperly issued TVR certificates must be allowed to stand:

[Planning Director Mike] Dahilig said the former planning director (Ian Costa stepped out in November 2010) granted permits based on whether there was enough evidence at that time for a nonconforming use. That determination is still valid today, he said.

That doesn’t make sense to me,” Commissioner Hartwell Blake said.

It doesn't make sense to any thinking person who values fairness, honesty, integrity and the rule of law. But so long as the county attorney's office keeps hiding the opinion, and the commission and County Council don't challenge it, the nonsense will continue.

Who actually requested that opinion, and who wrote it? That information, like the opinion itself, remains secret. County Attorney Al Castillo actually claimed to a friend that he didn't even know there was such an opinion. Really, Al?

Perhaps the opinion was issued unbidden to ensure the county never deals with the root of this mess — a mess that was intentionally made when the planning department chose to ignore the law and rubber stamp anything that came across the counter.

It wouldn't be the first time the County Attorney's office took the lead in the TVR issue. Remember “beer gate,” when Mike, then a deputy county attorney, lobbied former Councilman Dickie Chang to gut the TVR bill, remove all those pesky requirements like inspections, and proof that taxes were paid?

Did Mike know then that planning had been ignoring the law? Surely he must have had some inkling that things were amiss, seeing as how he was the attorney advising the planning department and commission.

Though Mike whines in the article that “County inspectors hired to implement TVR laws were not adequately trained or supervised,” he doesn't explain why he's kept those same unskilled inspectors in jobs for which they are not qualified. Nor does he reveal why he brought in Mike Laureta, a former planner who appears to be ethically challenged, to supervise them.

If you really wanted to fix a botched mess, wouldn't you bring in some new, skilled people to deal with it? And by the same token, if you wanted to maintain the status quo, wouldn't you hire the same people who helped make and hide all that dirty laundry?

So is that why Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. usurped the commission's power and appointed Dahilig as planning director? To make sure someone in the know swept it all back under the rug?

Well, the Abuse Chronicles dug it out again, and the Administration is desperately trying to sweep it back under the carpet. And you know what, they're gonna do it — unless the Council or a public spirited attorney intervenes.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on the 60-day period in which citizens can appeal TVR renewals approved by the department. Yet it would be virtually impossible for anyone to file such an appeal because planning wants to charge anywhere from $180 to $1,500 to disclose who was approved. It's so obvious from Mike's failure to even create an Excel spread sheet, much less update the on-line TVR log, that this Administration has no interest in TVR transparency.

Like I said, it's all about obscure, blot out, hide.

Ironically, though the planning commission approved numerous flawed TVR applications, with no questions asked, and then promptly fell asleep at the wheel while the TVR law crashed, it's apparently wide awake now, determined no request for a non-conforming use certificate will get past it unchallenged.

That's why commissioners absolutely reamed a lady who sought a permit to made fudge in her kitchen. No on-site sales, no noise, no traffic — not even a stove. Just raw fudge, a few days a week, with the approval of all her neighbors.

Why, we can't be allowing commercial uses to undermine a residential neighborhood, they harrumphed.

No, indeed. But it's apparently OK to turn numerous residential neighborhoods into defacto resorts as the mayor, planning department and county attorney wink and nod their approval.


Anonymous said...

The only way any of this corruption will ever be disclosed is by some one with deep deep pockets and a way to get facts to the masses.

The county attorney knows this and until a very high court rules the county must disclose all the opinions that they base decisions on we will never see.

The people have done a lot of work on bring issues forward to various board and commissions only to be told after meeting in executive session with the county attorney your complainant has been dismissed.

By some chance you get the executive meeting minutes legally
and they prove there was no legal advice given

The next step would be to go to court, lots of money , and not a chance in hell that the Judge would see it your way as their ruling would open a whole flood of action ,their previous dealings might just come forward.

Anonymous said...

That should read more like "Mike Dalihig, as deputy county attorney advised then director Ian Costa." Mike has been behind this fiasco from the very beginning.

Joan Conrow said...

“That doesn’t make sense to me,” Commissioner Hartwell Blake said.

I've learned the full quote was, "That doesn't make sense to me. What the hell are you, excuse me, why even have these requirements?"

Anonymous said...

as in , why even have these requirements if they are not required ?

Anonymous said...

It should be about reasonableness of the use. A small commercial home use by the live-in owner like making fudge, or a B&B, or a dentist office should not be a problem.

Now they messed up TVR, they give the reasonable people a hard time to show how tough they are.

Anonymous said...

Mike Laureta is a little more than "ethically challenged", he is flat out sans ethics and intellectually evacuated.

Anonymous said...

so much bs! the PC was required to have rules for renewals by july 31 2009. wake the fuck up hartwell

Anonymous said...

I will rent my house to whom I want to,when I want for as long or as short a period as I want to. It's called private property...Now get to work and find the murderers and stop believing what the police say. It's like believing what the planning director says

Anonymous said...

Who are you talking to 1:54 go find the murderers?

Anonymous said...

This sounds like it is bordering on criminal. A repeat act of the first implementation

Anonymous said...

How is it that the dysfunction of the planning commission is so deep that they do not know they were supposed to enact the rules for TVR's in 2009 before any renewals were approved at all? Now in 2013 they are wondering why there are no rules . hello,anyone home?
No oversight of the planning department from planning commission on anything, including the TVR implementation at all, which is also the commissions job. This all stems from the mayor appointing all the yes men to the commission as well as the mayor appointing the director of planning (in violation.) So must be Bernard who is responsible for the dysfunction.

Anonymous said...

"there was enough evidence at that time for a nonconforming use. That determination is still valid today." Yeah, right, try that logic in an argument with the IRS and see where you gets you, you dumb $#!+

And 1:54 PM Maybe I'll buy the property next to yours and put in a 24 HR gas station with a piggery on the side.

Anonymous said...

Dear 1:54 PM I missed your last sentence and missed what I hope was your sarcasm. So on that note I take back my piggery comment.

Anonymous said...

I guarantee if at least 10 of you would write to the department of justice, this whole tax evasion scam would come down hard on those who cheated the county, state, and federal government by it paying their dues.

Their records are posted and all of the evidence is there. It's like handing the murderer, the weapon, and written confession to the authorities. I think even KPD could solve this one but don't get your hopes up because everything is superficial and unattended.

Nothing to see here, move right along.

Anonymous said...

so funny about the fudge thing....i was like "what the heck?.......

Anonymous said...

Not to change the subject but is the water works BOD meeting open to the public? If so does any one know what time it is.

Anonymous said...

Murder is a crime...renting your house is a right

Anonymous said...

Not paying taxes on your rental property, cooking the books and withholding information is a crime.

Anonymous said...

Murder = not paying taxes ? If true most people are as bad as murderers ?

Anonymous said...

There was an accidental death on a illegal TVR this year. Some over zealous prosecutor could go all in for a murder charge or settle for the involuntary manslaughter against Illegal TVR owner and it's advertisers.

The family could easily sue this illegal TVR owner and it's advertising body for gross negligence and falsifying records.

So if we look into a different spectrum, Illegal TVR has already claimed its first murdered victim.

My condolences to the family who lost their loved one by death from an illegal TVR.