The adage, “you get what you pay for,” certainly seems to ring true with Teri Tico's offer to defend Kauai County pro bono against the chem companies' lawsuit over Bill 2491/Ordinance 960.
I mean, what kind of attorney apologizes in advance for likely losing the case? And in the process, tells a little fib in order to pre-emptively blame the client?
Because surely Teri knows that an attorney's opinion belongs to the client — in this case, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. — so his decision to make it public couldn't have been an “unauthorized release” as she falsely claims in today's issue of The Garden Island.
And if she's actually read the very detailed complaint, then she also knows that it goes well beyond the issues and concerns raised in the county attorney's opinion.
But why let the truth cloud an attempt to bask in the limelight?
Speaking of which, Maui attorney Lance Collins left a blog comment expressing his surprise at the “vitriol” and “xenophobia” some Kauai folks had directed at him for challenging the county's pro bono procurement process:
I have assisted many people and groups across this state (and internationally) in my years as an attorney and this is the first time that my status as a resident of a different island has ever been made an issue.
Mmmm, perhaps that's because those people and groups requested his assistance, whereas he waded into our muck unaffiliated and uninvited. Or so he claims.
Still, it seems likely that the county's decision to extend the definition of pro bono to include all costs, as well as services, won't fly. In which case, the administration will go back to its list of vetted for-hire attorneys and start racking up the big legal bills — just in time to enrage voters preparing to cast their ballots for a new Council.
Speaking of which, KipuKai Kualii, still smarting at being passed over for Mason Chock in the huli huli hustle to fill Nadine Nakamura's seat, is first out of the block in the Council race. Compared to some of the incumbents, he's looking better by the minute. And for now, he has the limelight all to himself.
Kauai politicians, meanwhile, were apparently kept in the dark about Senate Bill 172, which would turn Niihau into its very own county. Or more accurately, a little colony of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, with Bruce Robinson continuing in the role of king. Seems like a heavy-handed way to push through fishing restrictions. But then, it's the sort of thing one would expect from Sen. Clayton Hee, who seems to fancy himself a legislative god, with other lawmakers apparently willing to sell him their souls.
What's next? Creating the County of Lanai, under the jurisdiction of wind-harvesting HECO?
Though the Legislature continues to stumbles along in the darkness, as is its way, Hawaii residents are seeing the light when it comes to cannabis. A recent poll, commissioned by Hawaii’s Drug Policy Action Group, finds that:
• Today, 77% of Hawaii voters think that jail time is inappropriate for marijuana possession, an increase of 8 percentage points over 2012.
• Furthermore, 66% of voters are in favor of outright legalization for adult use (an increase of 9 percentage points over 2012).
• A large majority of 85% of voters continue to support Hawaii’s medical marijuana program (up 4 percentage points from 2012) while support for a dispensary system so patients do not need to use the black market to find their medication increased sharply to 85%, a 7 percentage point increase over 2012.
A number of bills addressing the medical marijuana law — including proposals to authorize dispensaries — have been introduced and referred to committee, while a slew of bills dealing with decriminalization and legalization, including two carried over from last year, are also pending.
Unfortunately, and discouragingly, none of the cannabis bills have been scheduled for hearings, which means they may never see the light of day.