Monday, August 3, 2015

Musings: Caterwauling

The coyotes have been coming around lately, circling in close, their spooky chorus of howls, yips and barks rousing me from sleep, waking primal memories of that age-old dynamic of predator and prey.

I'm in New Mexico, where coyotes hunt bunnies, cats and prairie dogs, and crows clean up the road kill.

On Kauai, the natural order is all screwed up. Endangered native birds are hunted by introduced cats, rats and barn owls. Wild cats and chickens are killed by cars, then ground into the pavement or left to bloat alongside the road. And the Kauai Humane Society staff routinely euthanizes an unending stream of kittens — offspring of the estimated 15,000 to 20,000 wild felines that roam its forests and shores.

It's an ugly state of affairs that some folks would rather not face. So they've been caterwauling about the agency's euthanasia policies, blaming an “insensitive, inefficient” director and morally challenged staff rather than the real culprits: an ignorant populace, a feral cat population that has spiraled out of control and their own romantic notion that even a crappy life is better than death.

On Wednesday, the County Council will decide whether it wants to wade into that conflict when it considers a resolution to spend $150,000 on an audit of KHS.

It's disappointing, because that money could be much better used for spay-neuter and other animal welfare programs. Plus it shows the Council is catering to fanatics who are trying to impose a no-kill philosophy on what is now appropriately an open-door facility.

Council Chair Mel Rapozo, who introduced the resolution, might think an audit will get the crazies off his back. It won't. The no-kill extremists attacking KHS and director Penny Cistaro won't be happy until they control the shelter and burn Penny at the stake for the murder — sob —of two Salt Pond kittens.

Over the past few months, the local newspaper has published a spate of articles and letters from disgruntled employees and residents who have made a number of outrageous allegations against Penny and KHS. 

Most recently, it was Christopher Schaefer — who last surfaced to fight smart meters — claiming Penny actually prefers to kill animals rather than employ other, less costly measures.

Like, say, cast a magical spell that gives them all forever homes in paradise.

Let's look at the facts.

About 80 percent of the animals that come into KHS are picked up as strays. About 74 percent of the dogs are returned to their owners or placed in new homes.

Some 86 percent of the animals euthanized by KHS are either unsocialized feral cats or unweaned kittens.

Does that sound to you like an animal hater's murderous reign? 

The no-kill proponents, though trying to claim the moral high ground, are hiding their own dirty little secret, which is this: No-kill facilities can exist only because open-door facilities conduct euthanasia. No-kill facilities cherry-pick animals, accepting only those likely to be adopted. The rest are turned away. 

As for feral cats, their “solution” is to spay-neuter the ones they can catch and pretend the rest don't exist. Those that are fixed are released into poorly managed colonies — some of them near native bird nesting grounds — where they are given food, but otherwise left to fend for themselves against cat fights, disease and cars.

If the Council wants to get involved, it should step up and start dealing with the feral cat issue. After all, the county funded the work of the Kauai Feral Cat Task Force, which called on the Council to:

Pass a comprehensive animal control ordinance that sets a goal of zero feral, abandoned and stray cats on the island by the year 2025.

Uh, so what are you guys waiting for? 2024?

Still, if the Council is keen to conduct an independent audit, how about taking on the Planning and Building departments?

I mean, it's not like they've actually reformed or anything since the Abuse Chronicles outlined all their misdeeds two years ago. The TVR/B&B/homestay issue is still a mess at Planning, and Building is still giving out those bogus “unsubstantial improvement” permits that allow folks to expand ground floor structures in the flood zone.

Might be something worth looking into there. If you dare.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Too much people are making money in the Planning dept and elsewhere to be audited.

The county only cares about the loot. $200 Million dollar budget for a 70K population so that means every person on Kauai costs roughly 3K a year for county services. That's roughly $250 a month per person.

If I don't need none of the counties watered downed over saturated services then where can I get my rebate at?

Anonymous said...

Did you see that in Europe they just declared the cat a dangerous invasive species and are on an all-out mission to kill the feral colonies. Or the study that the average feral cat kills 5-7 native songbirds per DAY!

It sickens me that the government will jail me if I do not give it a large part of my income, and then it dares to spend $150,000 on an audit of a non-profit that it meagerly supports. Try audit building and planning first!

Sometimes I really like Mel, but when it comes to spending my money on stupid political shit, he is up there with Bynum when he gets emotional. Try remember for once it is not your money - it is ours.

All that money and time spent bashing the KHS could be so much better spent. What, exactly, have the cat crazies done to fix these problems? They catch a few strays and take them to KHS for spay! From here, it looks like they spend most their time trying to tear something down instead of doing something. Why can't the crazy cat people apply for a grant for the same 150k to save as many cats as possible?

I'm so sick of the crazy anti-everything loudmouths convincing our politicians to do stupid shit. How about appropriate the $150k to KPD for investigating TVRs or reef bleaching or for substance abuse treatment for wayward vice cops or to to get an environmental prosecutor at OPA? Or that's like 2 or 3 salaries at a drug treatment facility.

No, lets use this $150k of tax money to hire an over-priced Oahu accountant to crawl up the Humane Society's ass. Just F'n great, Mel. Really?

Are we so bored here that the enemies here are the Farmers, the Humane Society and BnB's?

Anonymous said...

The County and specifically the planning department are toothless. They do nothing when countless people violate the Bnb/TVR laws. It is so easy to detect these rule breakers: go to airbnb or homeaway or any internet search. They (planning) have sent out some letters, and then did nothing about it. They scare no one.

It is amazing to me that the big corporations who run the hotels don't pressure them due to all the lost profits.

Anonymous said...

The $150K is what the county has available for all audits. It wouldn't be spending the whole amount on just the KHS audit.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is anything wrong to audit KHS. KHS receives a lot of money from tax payers and I myself am curious about where the money from the County and their fundraising events are going. Mel has been diligently trying to get their budget the past few years and they refuse. it's the same with giving money to the kauai marathon...the question is, how is it being spent? I agree the price of $150,000 for an audit is ridiculous, but if we're giving them $100,000+ a year for services we have a right to know.

Rory Flynn said...

Having just read the draft Kauai bill, I'm appalled that allegations against the Kauai Humane Society are cited as they are. They are allegations, not confirmed findings. It's nasty and unnecessary to put such language in a bill. Simply citing "community concerns" is all that's needed. I was also shocked by the proposed $150,000 for independent "forensic" studies. By whom? And why so much? Years ago, when I was tasked to review animal control for the Hawaii County Council's Legislative Auditor's Office, I was aware that literature review and staff site visits to shelters were insufficient. No matter how diligent I was, I was a layman.

I proposed that we bring in the National Animal Control Association (NACA), found $12,000 in unspent funds, and wrote an RFP. To my amazement, NACA performed the site audit for that amount of money. Their excellent audit was done by their national director, Johnnie Mays, who I found to be highly motivated, professional and competent. He was assisted by an equally competent lady whose name I plain forget. They identified many shelter deficiencies -- though nothing that awful. Mays concluded, in tandem with the Legislative Auditor's report, that the Hawaii Humane Society was woefully underfunded and understaffed. He proposed the idea of "differential licensing" with much higher pet registration fees for non-neutered pets as the only way to even begin to reduce feral cat and (lesser) dog populations. (Dr. Sterrett Grune, the DEA-licensed veterinarian attached to the Hawaii Humane Society, estimated that the feral cat population on the Big Island exceeded 200,000.) The NACA study included a draft ordinance to implement differential licensing. However, the Council was skittish of upsetting pet owners with higher fees. Nothing came of it. Since then, the County's animal control budget has tripled in less than 14 years.

Communities that have successfully wrestled with ever increasing animal control budgets and feral animal populations -- King County, Washington is one -- have stepped up to the plate. They have adopted stronger animal control ordinances and budgets that enable humane societies to do the very difficult work they do. Casting blame is easy. Real solutions are harder. Whole communities need to reflect on the problems stemming from negligent pet ownership and summon the will to change course.
It takes political courage.

Joan Conrow said...

Thank you, Rory. I also was appalled at the language in the resolution. Surely Mel, as a former cop, knows the difference between allegations and facts.

As for Anonymous 12:31 and his/her claim that "Mel had been diligently trying to get their budget the past few years and they refuse," I found it in about 30 seconds on their website in their audited financial statement.

Anonymous said...

@11:26 am -- Right on!!

Anonymous said...

There are no fiscal conservatives on this Council. They voted for a 20 million dollar tec center "for da kids" with a 2 million dollar a year (over 5 thousand a DAY) operating budget.

Anonymous said...

I second the 11:26 comment ... if Joan if its right , and it right on KHS web site, who is spinning the lie that "Mel had been diligently trying to get their budget the past few years and they refuse"

This reeks of slimy politics.

Anonymous said...

Somebody's county relative trying to CASH in Thats why they go for the over bid.

Haven't you people learned yet!!!!

Someone trying to get PAID for their semiannual Las Vegas spending county cash spree Vacay.

You all been duped by the call for an audit, consultant, contract bids, secretary of a secretary of a secretary positions and also county customer services positions.

Some family member or friend trying to get theirs like the Princeville Shuttle, 150K for a three month scheme.

Robin Fools

Anonymous said...

What families going get the JOBS???

We already know. Stop Pretending like its for the kids and all. It's another scheme to create jobs for more family and friends that aren't qualified for the Kauai jobs indeed county jobs posted.

Probably going have grounds workers, facilities workers, janitors and customer service positions. Fricking CLASSIC way they create a county welfare program fr their families to rob the piggy bank and raise taxes on the people of Kauai who have real jobs that they are qualified for.

Get these crooks out of office. Yah heard me

Anonymous said...

I have known Mel for years and consider him a solid person. Recently tho' it seems Mel has developed a strong case of Hooseritis and Furfaroism. A rare combination of Bloviating Hyperbole coupled with Knee-jerk reactionism and Do-any-thing-to shut-up the mobs. The tendency for our political aristocrats to put forth BS bills just to look concerned is bunch of Horsesh*t.
C'mon Mel, just take a walk thru the Humane Society and peak your beak into the back of the house. The reality of their job will bite you and you will appreciate the hard choices the maligned Penny must make. Leave her alone and let her do the work.

But Mel, Joan has made a good point. AUDIT the Planning Department. This department has some of the finest and smartest workers the County could imagine. Somehow Mike Dahlig, has taken the Planning Department into gestapo land. The workers still try to assist the public, but Mike keeps producing nonsensical and confusing rules.
Mike has made the simple Building Permit process so complicated that one must hire an attorney. He is so immersed in his own power that he is really hurting the people. But Mike is a dream for JoAnn, Da Hoos and his faithful lapdog Mason. There will be fewer homes built for the regular Joe citizens. All development is bad.
Mel- You have the power to do many things. You have three fine Council members, who care and respect the people..why not do some good for the citizens? Ya gots da power, use it.
Take three pills of humility and one Joan Conrow Common Sense Walk-on-the Beach and your Hooseritis/Furfaroism will go away. Don't be so full of yourself. You are a good man caught in bad f*ckin' disease. We all put our pants on one leg at a time.

Anonymous said...

http://kauaihumane.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Kauai-Humane-Society-Audit-2014.pdf

The above link will take you to KHS financials.

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks, 2:58. People can also click on the highlighted text in my comment and it'll take you right there.

Anonymous said...

Joan,

that is hardly a detailed budget as the county's budget is. it does not show line items nor does it show how much staff are getting paid. it doesn't indicate a budget for training, travel, gas, vehicle repairs, etc. The "budget" you referred to college level student in beginning accounting can type up in a day. I'm looking for specifics like the county budget.

-12:31

Anonymous said...

Joan,

Also, if you listen to the past budget meetings, Mel specifically asks for a detailed budget showing salaries, etc.. You specifically ask for salaries from county departments, why is it wrong for mel to ask for that same information from your beloved KHS?

-12:31

Anonymous said...

Mel and his group of 4 have the votes to do so much yet they do so little. Who they gonna blame in 2016? Come on Mel get Kagawa back in line and show some leadership! Ross gonna bring all of you down with his foolishness.

Anonymous said...

Is there some statutory authority for the County to audit a private charity? Outside of contracts with the county? Why, no. So this is all nonsense. The AG is now authorized as of 2013 to audit nonprofits for donations and application of the same to charitable activities. It is not a open ticket. There is no fraud expressed here. There are policy differences. The outrage is the.cost to adopt animals now and the BS people who do want to adopt have to go thru. That does not need an audit that needs to be condemned.
And as an animal adopter, I agree. Wipe out the feral cats.

Anonymous said...

5:42 kagawa is the toughest m-f er in history of Kauai council. Representing the locals. Just watch the next election results. Hooser, Yukimura, and Chock going be crying like babies. Go get Um Ross no stop, keep slamming those 3 donkeys.

Manuahi said...

@5:52 - I believe the Council has the right to make their financial contribution of our tax dollars contingent upon receiving whatever financial information they deem necessary. A budget with specifics and breakdowns is not unreasonable. KHS admin should be doing it already for themselves. Otherwise, it's fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants fiscal management.

Anonymous said...

August 3, 2015 at 10:33 PM Our Council's "fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants fiscal management" is general policy. The KHS is a small amount, important, but manini compared to the blatant gushing of funds in actual County Departments. The County would be BROKE if property values didn't increase and the property Taxes go higher. If a Hurricane hits, tourists stop coming or other economic fiasco, there will be lower property values and the County would be BAnkrupt. FACTS.
The County relies on high tax assessments. Ridiculous. All of the County's beans are in the fickle real estate market.

Anonymous said...

5:57am,

So you're saying that giving KHS over $100,000 is SMALL?! If you're honestly saying it's unreasonable for the Council to ask how MY FCKING MONEY IS BEING SPENT AT KHS, you must be really rich to not give a rats ass about how $100,000+ of TAX PAYERS MONEY IS BEING SPENT.

-12:31

Anonymous said...

what's the big deal with the audit? It's common business practice, more than justified in this case.
With an annual outlay of three quarters of a million dollars in public funds, random audits make sense.

Anonymous said...

Why come there was no audit during the county furlough days? When in all actuality there was a surplus of 45-60 million dollars. That money was fleeced and spent to cover up the FRAUDULENT furlough. Why come Mel is not auditing the Princeville Shuttle? 150K for a 3 months operation to strong arm Northshore businesses to help front a personal business. The county could have paid a taxi company or PUC to make those runs at around 3K a month and that program would have lasted for 4-5 years with 150K. But NO, so where did the money go to? Yes to the Mayor's family/friend. This was a RACKET to extort money from Northshore buisnesses/hotels in a white/blue collar criminal way.

Anonymous said...

11:16am

You obviously don't pay attention to county business. Mel DID inquire about the shuttle and it was struck down this past budget session, IT DOES NOT EXIST. Furlough is long gone, get over it, what's lost is lost. It's the present and the reason why mel is inquiring about the budget is to prevent or prolong misuse of county funding.

7:58am is absolutely right! random audits makes sense.

Anonymous said...

County gives the humane society $760,000, not $100,000.

Ellen Jones said...

KHS gives Mel and the council quarterly reports on how county monies is being spent down to the penny. At the end of the year, they get the year end report, down to the penny. They do an ongoing audit if you just look at the reports. Release these reports to the public if tax payers are that concerned about the money. The council already has it. What more do they really want to see?

Anonymous said...

$700,000?!!!!!

Anonymous said...

It takes taxpayer money to waste taxpayer money.

Anonymous said...

2:02pm,

where can we get copies of these quarterly reports? I'm curious if they are the same as the annual (basic, no line items), or if they are detailed as Mel has been asking the past few years to include salaries, vehicle expenses, etc.

-12:31

Anonymous said...

It does not mean a crime(s) weren't committed and also you cannot exempt people from their responsibilities.

If you all keep on letting people get away with these kinds of fraud, waste and abuse then things will no improve on Kauai ie the traffics situation that has been identified 30-40 years ago.

Someone or all dept heads has to be held accountable. We the citizens of Kauai don't pay taxes so these incompetents that run the Wild Wild west county of Kauai can keep on getting away with public fraud, waste and abuse.

The shuttle came up because they were asking for county funding and not because their was an attempt to identify that the whole thing was a scam to deceive the public and the Northshore businesses.

Don't ACT like the people don't know what's really going down.

I can school all you all and you gonna learn you some before you leave before you thinks you know some. Yah heard me

Anonymous said...

3:31 bahaha

it wasn't a scam, it was a testing phase to see if it would be worth making it a regular thing. the results were clear, NOT WORTH IT, which is why the council axed it. school us??! ROTFLMAO!!! like i said, you obviously don't listen to the council meetings.

Anonymous said...

What an IDIOT excuse Hahahaha test phase after it didn't even go through a bidding process.

Even if that was the case, there were already 2 taxi cab companies already on the Northshore willing to facilitate the TEST PHASE.

You JOKERS are real CLOWNS over there in the family reunion bldg either known as the county bldg. Never in my lifetime had I ever saw that parking lot that filled. Not even when there was Woolworths's GEMs and big save.

A scheme is a plan of action to accomplish a goal. This may or may not be 'legit'.

A scam is a set of actions meant to deceive or defraud.

Thus a scam is a scheme, but a scheme may or may not be a scam

Anonymous said...

50K a month for a test phase? 150K for 3 months?? I got a place on Kauai where the county can dig for oil or gold. Now it's gonna cost the county a consultant fee of 200K is the county willing to TEST that personal idea (business) out?

Anonymous said...

5:19 pm

you obviously don't go to Kee or other tourist attractions very often on the north shore. YOU'RE THE IDIOT to think 2 frikin taxi cabs would be enough to shuttle hundreds of people on a daily basis...moron

Anonymous said...

So many audits we're done but no improvements..gas audit, payroll, etc., but what do we expect from incompetent administration. The mayor has no clue. It is the husband and wife team of the Rapozos, the real brains in the county. Just ask those who left or retired.

Anonymous said...

It want just 2 taxi cabs!!!! It was 2 taxi companies that have a fleet of 5-7 vans that could seat 6-8 people. So that's 30-40 people every trip and if you multiply that by a 7am-7pm shift, that would be min 360-400 in a day and if you ran multiple trips in an hour ten you would double or triple that amount.

I don't believe that the quote on quote Princeville Shuttle TEST phase shuttled hundreds a day for the 3 months.

Obviously you want to cover it up like the Gas theft oops I mean the county gas test phase program that over 14K gallons of gas were stolen. Maybe if the county put out to the public that the gas just dissipated into the atmosphere and that's why it went missing, would have been more believable than just pleading the 5th.

Anonymous said...

The Brains??? I'll challenge them to a game of scrabble and the rules are no 1-2-3 letter words can be used.

Anonymous said...

Call it as it is... A scheme, a scam, help fund a family/friend business through tax dollars, but a test phase is just disingenuous.

You county welfare recipients really believe that the people of Kauai are really that stupid???

Anonymous said...

You can't be department heads if you are not brainy.

Anonymous said...

You are definitely not from Kauai and or don't know anything about Kauai's Nepotsim.

I was really shocked and awed on the outrageous lengths it has gotten on Kauai.

It's almost unbelievable but Holy crap it's reality here on little ol Kaua'i.

Anonymous said...

The county should not fund tourist buses, the industry should. Each hotel should have their own buses, that they pay for. Of course, since the county allowed the entire island to be the resort destination, nothing will work.

Anonymous said...

Holy shit! Another term for the mayor? No fucking way!!!