As the election nears, questions are being raised about why the Kauai Sierra Club has failed to endorse Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura, long associated with environmental issues.
It seems the dissing is due to Club member Judy Dalton, a longtime cat lady who isn't pleased with JoAnn's leadership of the feral cat task force. Advocates of trap-spay-neuter and release are irked that the task force is drafting an ordinance that severely limits managed feral cat colonies.
Judy's feral cat advocacy is in direct opposition to the Sierra Club's stance, which correctly views the critters as the invasive species they are.
Meanwhile, even as Kauai Humane Society Director Penny Cistaro celebrated her retirement party last Friday, Basil Scott, leader of the Kauai Community Cat Project, is getting in a few last licks. He's now pushing a Change.org petition that calls for altering the county's contract with KHS:
We, the undersigned, call on the County of Kauai to change the wording of the current county contract with the Kauai Humane Society from ‘animal control’ of the population by ‘disposal and disposition’ to ‘animal- friendly, pro-life’ wording in order to stop the needless killing of animals.
Come on, Basil. I know you're a fanatic, but do you really, truly believe that anyone at KHS is engaged in “needless killing of animals?” It's such a nasty slap in the face to the folks who make the hard decisions every day while Basil rags on them from the totally unaccountable sidelines.
Because here's the reality, Basil, whether you and Judy want to accept it or not: There simply are not enough homes for all the animals on this island, and some of them are too wild or too aggressive to make suitable pets.
The county has never paid its fair share, and the KHS has been subsidizing the shelter for years. So unless you personally plan to take in all the unwanted animals, quit making humbug for people who are doing the best they can with extremly limited resources.
Maybe Basil should step up and run the shelter if he thinks it's so fricking easy. He could even bring in his good buddy Gary Hooser, who is going to need a new job come December.
And anyway, as Civil Beat reports, nearly 70 percent of those polled on Oahu favor eradication of feral cats, not maintaining managed colonies. I imagine the sentiment is similar, on the neighbor islands.
Meanwhile, attorneys are preparing for next week's Honolulu trial against KCCC Warden Neal Wagatsuma, who is accused of retaliating against a female staffer by firing her after she reported he was subjecting female inmates to psychological violence, sexual abuse and sexual humiliation in front of male prisoners, as well targeting inmate Alexandria Gregg, who was subjected to the degrading treatment.
According to court records in the complaint filed by plaintiff Carolyn C. Ritchie, a former social worker at the jail:
Plaintiff alleges that, in 2009 and 2010, she observed that: the work furlough program for the Life Time Stand ("LTS") housing section of KCCC was limited to men; Wagatsuma psychologically abused female inmates by video-recording "counseling sessions" of female inmates, in which he forced inmates to discuss private sexual matters and watch the screening of sexually violent rape films; and these video-recorded sessions were publicly displayed and shown to other inmates.
Plaintiff made repeated verbal and written reports to DPS Mental Health supervisor Mark Mitchell ("Mitchell"), specifically that: the grillings were cruel and unusual; the work furlough program was discriminatory; Wagatsuma violated inmate rights under [HIPA]; and DPS denied basic mental health services to female inmates.
Wagatsuma allegedly made the women stand in front of male prisoners, including convicted sexual offenders, and describe in excruciating detail all the incidents of childhood sexual abuse and rape they had experienced. The men were allowed to question the women.
The warden also showed extremely graphic and violent pornography to inmates as part of his deviant homespun therapy model, and reportedly required the female detainees to hold up provocative, sexual photographs of themselves as he called them “whores.” He also questioned them about
Wagatsuma maintains Ritchie was filed for just cause after breaking rules.
In dismissing some counts within the orginal complaint, U.S. District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi wrote:
It is not clear to the Court, in particular, from the pleadings that making internal reports of psychological abuse of inmates is, in fact, part of Plaintiff's job duties. While the Court recognizes that the inmates' general psychological health was her responsibility, reporting abuse at the hands of her superior is likely not, and certainly not reporting it to outside agencies.
So whose job is it, exactly, to file a report when the warden is abusing inmates?
The state also reportedly investigated Ritchie's complaints and told Wagatsuma to stop his rogue “therapy.”
But isn't subjecting the women sexual abuse victims in his custody to degrading and humiliating treatment a fireable offense? Isn't practicing therapy without a license a fireable offense?
Why is the warden being allowed to remain a position where he can continue to victimize people?
No doubt Wagatsuma has, in the past, done worthwhile things at the jail. But he went way over the edge with this latest perverted gambit. It's time to move him out of a position where he has direct control over women, especially those who are incarcerated.