Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Musings: Pay the Piper

The promise of free legal services to defend Kauai County's controversial pesticide/GMO regulatory law has been relegated to the realm of feel-good fantasy, alongside Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.

Like most myths, it was perpetuated for a purpose: lulling a poorly-informed populace into believing Councilman Gary Hooser's ego-driven foray into poor policy-making would have no cost and a happy ending.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the county attorney is asking the County Council today to approve $75,000 to hire special counsel to launch a defense against the chem companies' lawsuit. The county is required to respond to the 70-page complaint by Friday.

Another bill asks the Council to move $500,000 into the special counsel account “for several other ongoing cases, and in anticipation of future needs,” according to county spokeswoman Beth Tokioka.

Returning to the land of make-believe, attorneys like Teri Tico, Peter Schey,  Earthjustice's Paul Achitoff and Center for Food Safety's Andrew Kimbrell lobbied hard for Bill 2491. It's a great law, they said, and we'll be right there to defend it. Here are the letters from Schey, Kimbrell and Achitoff outlining their original unconditional offers. Schey even specifies "without charge to any party."

The County Administration played along, duly giving pro bono attorneys a chance to step up to the plate, even as Maui attorney Lance Collins, supposedly driven by his deep concern for lawyerly ethics and the sanctity of our County Charter, filed a protest against the freebie procurement process — the day before pro bono proposals were due.

Ultimately, only Tico and Schey, director of the California based-Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, submitted a joint pro bono proposal, with Tico slamming Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. in the process.

Yesterday, the Administration slammed her right back. In rejecting the Tico-Schey offer, the county found the pro-boners were non-responsive to the bid requirements and “did not have the requisite qualifications and experience for the job.”

That's nonsense,” sputtered Tico, who apparently thinks her provincial personal injury practice on par with the chem companies' heavy hitters — attorneys like former state Attorney General Margery Bronster, land use shark Paul Alston, Nancy Bryson, an expert in biotech, agricultural and federal regulatory law, and John A. Bryson, who litigated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) on behalf of the Justice Department.

Actually, what's nonsense is Tico's claim to The Garden Island that the “county wanted her to disclose every law firm she has every worked with, as well as every case she has been involved in” over 38 years of practice. 

In truth, the required disclosure was quite a bit narrower (emphasis in the original):

A list of projects of similar scope for public agencies or private industry, including corrective actions and other responses to notices of deficiencies undertaken and completed within the last five (5) years (including dates); owners of the projects and the scope of work performed; the names of up to five (5) clients who may be contacted, including at least two (2) for whom services were rendered during the preceding year.

But Tico isn't the only truth-challenged attorney in this fairy tale. In the same article, Collins told TGI:

The county’s secret request for lifting the stay on procurement last week while not informing my office seems to suggest bad faith on the county attorney’s part.

In fact, it was no secret, since the special counsel procurement request was placed on the very public County Council agenda, which was published last week. What's more, notice was emailed to Collins yesterday morning, at least six hours before TGI's reporter would have been calling for comments.

Meanwhile, Collins is pressing on with his protest, though the pro bono procurement process is effectively moot. A pre-conference hearing on his appeal is set for Friday. He now plans to file a motion to freeze the procurement process pending the resolution of his protest, which could extend beyond that day.

No worries, Collins cavalierly claims. The federal judge will let the chem corps complaint slide until my manini, and now irrelevant, issue is resolved.

The County Attorney's office sees it differently. In a Feb. 6 memo to the finance director seeking to move forward to review the pro bono offer and, if it's not satisfactory, secure special counsel, first deputy County Attorney Jennifer Winn wrote:

The risk of harm to the County should special counsel not be in place by the scheduled answer date [Friday] could be substantial and irreparable. 

So whose interests would be served by the delay that Collins is seeking?

Though most of the coverage has focused on Collins' claim that it's unethical to require pro bono attorneys to pay court fees and other costs, he's also challenging the county's long-standing interpretation of the charter.

Collins claims our charter “leaves hiring of special counsel and the scope and terms solely to the County Council,” not the administration. In other words, he thinks the same Council that overturned the mayor's veto of Bill 2491 should now be deciding who defends it, and how much they're paid.

Yet we're supposed to make-believe he's acting solely on his own, as an attorney interested only in process, not politics, personalities or publicity.

Don't get me wrong. I love fairy tales, myths and make-believe. 

But Kauai residents need to shake off the spell that's been cast over them, abandon the fantasy that Hooser is a dragon slayer and face reality: we're getting sued by some of the most powerful corporations on earth over a bill that is more frog than prince. And there ain't no white knight in this or any other kingdom that's gonna ride in and save us. So open up the treasure chest and prepare to pay the piper. Because "poof" — the pro-boners have vanished in thin air.


Anonymous said...

Reality - in the land of liars, pontificaters and egos.
Atty fees for a dinky l'il lawsuit are about 300K, with insurance companies always trembling wanting to settle. The County atty fees and investigative costs will be milyuns, maybe each of the milyun fister fistees can fork over a buck or 2 and finance the county. There ain't no insurance and all lawyer bills and any settlement will be hard cash.
Speaking of lawsuit money. The Council went into Secret Mission session to discuss the county insurance company settling the TIM BYNAM baloney lawsuit against the county....rumors are he gets $750K, not bad for having a rental that looks like a rental, smells like a rental, is a rental and oh no, it really isn't a rental and there was no rice cooker or other kitchen kine stuff. Shaylene attorney Richard Wilson, stressed, they want their day in court, they will press the lawsuit.....Timmy will get his dough, the County continues to be run by a guy who sues for BS, will not stand by the charges he made, and the Big Fat Liar gets hunnerds of thousands for lying, from the TAXPAYER. Integrity defined.
So we sit, the frenzied li'l fistees are strangely silent, the county gots no money, we gots days to answer a lawsuit,,,,,this is Federal baby, not some cheesy li'l court, this is the real deal, with big boy judges and a soon, a jury, pro'ly made up of all haoles from Oahu, who could give a flying frisbee over the shrill threatening antics of a bunch of well meaning, but thoroughly deceived outside island flotsam of flyin' fisters. Time to smoke a doobie, where is dealin' Dylan Hooser? I gots to get high on some Kauai Electric.

Anonymous said...

Repeal the Law. It has already cost us too much. The writing is on the wall.

Anonymous said...

How many years will it take to add man made global warming to your list of fairy tales?

Anonymous said...

Teri Tico's "provincial" law practice has more than held it's own against any number of heavy hitters. If she's provincial, what does that make you?

Anonymous said...

Will the last remaining person on Kauai who hasn't been called a liar or had their motives attacked by Joan Conrow please turn off the lights?

Anonymous said...

You are assuming the lights were ever on. Kauai is trying to find the switch.
Joan is trying to turn the lights on.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for turning the lights on. Just turn them on without resorting to character assassination.

Anonymous said...

Not to hijack the blog, but CHARACTER is just what Joan is revealing ( or lack thereof)

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks 3:27. It seems 3:19/2:53 has a much looser definition than I of both character assassination and truth.

Anonymous said...

3:27. It's fair to say that those who routinely engage in personal attacks concerning the character and integrity of others also reveal something of their own character. The goal is intimidation. Who wants to go up against a 24/7 blogger who gets half the population of Kauai reduced to giggling like schoolkids in anticipation of Joan slamming someone? Turning on a light? I'd say it's more about shutting down dialogue.

Anonymous said...

3:27 On 99.9 percent of issues I am on the other side of the fence from Joan. I think she is a bit of a Commie and perhaps she has a pet GMO free unicorn in a cosmic rainbow beehive.-But-
Your idea that Joan "gets half the population of Kauai reduced to giggling like schoolkids" may be close to the truth, no one knows how many people read this blog, but it is definitively read by many.
If a person goes into politics, is a crooked government employee, yanks the the public, lies, cheats, or uses the arsenal of public money, power and/ or prestige for their own benefit, they deserve to be skewered.
Joan focuses on salient issues and if there is baloney, she will make sure it is Kosher.
This blog makes a difference. The politicians are wary, because they know that whatever Joan's resources are, she is usually correct.
Whatever you think, there is plenny pilau in the Council, and if Joan creates manini pilikia, it is a good thing.
Then again, there is that frustrating little First Amendment, which really was created out of a million fists.

Chuck Lasker said...

My only disagreement here is your statement, "But Kauai residents need to shake off the spell that's been cast over them, abandon the fantasy that Hooser is a dragon slayer and face reality." The vast majority of Kauai residents had no such fantasy and were well aware of how bad 2491 was. The only people who need to abandon their "manifested reality" that is not reality are Hooser's groupies who mistake being loud with being righteous.

Anonymous said...

"If a person goes into politics, is a crooked government employee, yanks the the public, lies, cheats, or uses the arsenal of public money, power and/ or prestige for their own benefit, they deserve to be skewered."

I couldn't agree more. For that alone, we all need a Joan Conrow in every community. But Joan is going far beyond that. She's engaging in personal attacks on non-politicians who do things like write letters to the editor or who are active members of the community. In other words, engaging in vendettas against anyone she disagrees with. I believe that it is intended to bully and intimidate and silence anyone who disagrees with her. The power of the pen. When you get too wrapped up in your cause, your view of your opponents can easily be warped. Everyone becomes a bald-faced greedy liar.

Anonymous said...

Time to smoke a fatty, mellow out.

Anonymous said...

Funny how people are complaining about personal attacks and intimidation when I've seen it a thousand times by red shirt groups like the Babes Against Biotech and Hawaii GMO Justice Coalition. They are free to attack people's character as they claim but others opposing them are not allowed it. The same free speech you use to criticize and attack can very well be used against you. Tasting your own medicine isn't so good is it?

Anonymous said...

2014.02.12 - 16:32 and 17:56,
I don't see Joan as shutting down dialog so much as she is slapping down stupid. And, no, she is not bullying, intimidating and silencing those who disagree with her. Rather, she is pointing out factual deficiencies and logical flaws in the public statements made by the red-shirted Hooserites, criticizing their disingenuousness, and questioning the effectiveness and appropriateness of their tactics.

No doubt, her biting wit and sharpened pen hurt. However, what separates "character assassination" from "holding people accountable" is backing up statements with facts. You may have missed it given that fistees have an aversion to facts, but Joan includes citations.

Though it pains me to help you out, you really would be better off internalizing her critiques. After all, by her own admission she remains an opponent of the seed companies (for no good reason mind you). Keep her on-side and once y'all are through this rough patch she may let you ride her GMO-free unicorn (17:12)!

Thanks for the comic relief (Full Disclosure). That had me chuckling for days. And, the second paragraph in Pay the Piper is exquisite: neither a wasted nor missing word.

Anonymous said...

Watching the streaming Council meeting yesterday and I couldn't help but laugh at the babbling hypocrites on our council. Not to mention the "angry woman" Shaylene Iseri making her pre-election cameo to blast the County Attorney's office for spending so much on outside counsel before likely launching her bid for a seat on council in this year's election. I mean come on. The reason the County Attorney's office needs the additional money is because these same jokers (council and Shaylee) are the ones that have run up the cstly legal tab. Bynum, Pasion, 2491, and a number of employee complaints against the former prosecutor. Maybe council should have their own legal budget if they continue to recklessly put their political agendas ahead of the best interests of our citizens. Yes it is time to "pay the piper" in more ways than one.

Anonymous said...

Shaylene complaining about the County spending money on outside counsel? SERIOUSLY! How much money has she cost the county? Has it hit 1 million yet? No Shayme.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Shaylene complaining about the County spending money on outside counsel? SERIOUSLY! How much money has she cost the county? Has it hit 1 million yet? No Shayme.

February 13, 2014 at 6:02 PM

She knows that most of the voting public is the old timers. They don't have access to a computer let alone the internet, so they do not know all the crimes she has committed.

TGI is not going to report it then you have not been on Kauai that long. If it is published than her political career would have been over when she lost the bid to become a 2nd term tyrannical DA.

Those who have been burned by her, needs to come out in full force against her attempt to reclaim power on the county council.

Larry said...

Wait a sec... did anyone not know that the County would be sued over the new law? I'm on Oahu and obviously not completely in touch with things Kauai, but still... I assumed you would be sued. It's inevitable.

In our system of democracy, if a jurisdiction bans same-sex marriage, they get sued. If they permit same-sex marriage, they get sued. A state legislator over here will happily spend as much church money as he can gather to fight the new state marriage equality law right up to the Supreme Court.

From my distance, it seems to me that you are sorting out how to defend your law. And that will happen. Somehow.

Or let them spray your homes and schools with pesticide. You had a choice and you made it. Now, take a breath of fresh air and decide if you like it.

It's unfortunate that large companies and rich individuals can spend as much as they like to control our government at any level, but if we don't defend the laws we want then we will not have them, they will have laws that they like.

I guess what I am saying is that there is a choice to be made--figure out how best to defend the law or breathe what they want you to breathe. Usually, the jurisdiction defends using its own council or hired council, on its own budget. But whatever.

Anonymous said...

Hear me out folks...! Shaylene will be elected in the council this year. Get used to it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Larry, It would have been far easier if the council passed a real bill that really protected the children and was written well enough to withstand the legal hurdles, but this thing we got is a poorly written hard to defend law that does not protect children. It was written for a class of one, like the superferry, and not so kosher.

Anonymous said...

Walter Lewis and Richard Wilson believe that Bernard Carvalho should be removed from office for refusing to answer questions posed by the investigators during the few audit. Funny that they didn't make the same claims when Shaylene refused to answer questions posed by the Council.

Anonymous said...

4:32 and 5:56 = Dylan Hooser

Read letter to editor The Garden Island

Anonymous said...

why can't you all get over Shaylene? Whoa, carrying your grievances, anger regarding her must make you tired and irritable-----let go, free yourself from your own horror!

Anonymous said...

7:02 re: Dylan Hooser

If you step into the public arena on the skirt tails of Daddy, when you have NO credentials, except a Daddykins, ....either, take the heat, shut up or go into your room and fill yer bong.
not personal attacks, just the facts.....

Anonymous said...

Drug charges against Dylan B. Hooser, 21, state Sen. Gary Hooser’s son, were dropped yesterday in Hanalei District Court.

Anonymous said...

7:02. Ha! You nailed that. Dylan has found his new angle, even though he doesn't care to follow his own advice. So easy to see through the bs.

Anonymous said...

7:49 Daddy Hoos got off the tax cheat charges- with a small penalty.
Boy Hoos gets off on a "technicality"
Bless me lucky stars- ain't Amerika good?
Big daddy Hoos has been crying for borderline criminal activity for years(and many of his munchkin followers broke the law) in Superferry and GMO protests. Facts, Ma'am just the facts. Rainy morning day doobie time, where's a dealer when you need a dealer? Then off to work.

TheOldTechnician said...

It's Kitzmiller vs. Dover, all over again !

Oh,the inanities !

Anonymous said...

Old Tech- maybe Darwin here or maybe Creationism, or maybe just the ol' fruit not falling far from the tree.
As the great Nancy Pelosi said and Kauai followed, you have to pass the law, in order to know what's in it.
But law is still law and when your aspiring law makers and existing lawmakers do not obey law and control the law enforcers, woe to the poor schmoe, just trying to put a little rice in his bowl. GMO free or GMO rice, no matter.

Anonymous said...

I always wondered why the Council was so deferential to two activist groups (EJ and CFS) who make their living by suing governments, while ignoring the advice of public scientists, academics and legal experts.

It seems Kauai was the latest battleground in the perennial war between EJ/CFS and any kind of industry. The local folks were played like pawns by the battle hardened and bitter EJ/CFS, little thinking they were being used to merely to score political points, to be later abandoned.

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, there is no scientific evidence that pesticides are causing the health problems, but many people insist pesticides are indeed the problem. So my question is, What happens if we ban/restrict pesticides, lose the industry and jobs in the process, and the health problems continue? Or is our goal just to get rid of industry, regardless of finding the actual cause of the health issues?

Anonymous said...

Its like in 1984 and Big Brother wants you to know that bug spray is good for you.

Anonymous said...

I'd get over Shaylene if she stopped running for office. Until then, what happened to the investigation into her use of a county vehicle to go bar hopping?

Anonymous said...

Tico's quote in the GI evidences poor reading comprehension skills. Not that a lawyer would need that...