Monday, April 28, 2008

Musings: No Mea Culpa

The moon was a perfect half, gleaming in a blue and cloud sky that quickly blushed pink in anticipation of the sun’s arrival, when Koko and I went walking on this sultry morning.

Accompanied by the steady drone of bees, who start work well before the birds, we passed a mango tree heavily laden with small fruits, lychee already turning red in a pasture, a stand of spider lilies, whose fragrant blooms I gathered into a bouquet, a papery yellow jackets’ nest, deserted by its former inhabitants, and two of Koko’s dog friends, who rushed out into the street to greet us.

Returning home, I dug for a while in my yard to accommodate a taro patch that wants to keep expanding, then scanned my neighbor’s newspaper, where an AP story quoted a real estate agent whining that the vog is unraveling her real estate deals in the Big Island’s Ka`u District. It’s hard to have sympathy for realtors, especially those selling land down slope of an active volcano.

I do, however, have a great deal of sympathy for Anahola resident Hale Mawae, who was roughed up by the cops and arrested for trespassing and resisting arrest when he questioned why he couldn’t walk on Hanalei Plantation Road in Princeville, which most people would consider a public road.

So I was glad to read in Andy Parx’s blog that the KKCR Board of Directors, whose staff grossly overreacted and called the cops in the first place, apparently won’t be pressing charges against Hale.

However, I was dismayed by the mealy-mouthed "no mea culpa" letter that the Board sent to prosecuting attorney Craig DeCosta. It states, in part:

On the afternoon of January 3, 2008, the Kauai Police Department responded to a request for KPD’s presence to ensure that KKCR’s facilities, which are located on private property, would not be threatened by any activities that might occur as a result of a “call to action” that was planned by some members of the public at KKCR’s facilities.

In the course of events that followed, one of the members of the public, Mr. Hale Mawae, was arrested. The Kekahu Foundation Board of Directors has no knowledge of the events surrounding Mr. Mawae’s arrest, and has no grounds to offer any opinion on that matter. We do, however, strongly disagree with any assertions that have been made to the effect that the Kekahu Foundation’s Board, management or staff had any hand in the events that transpired between Mr. Mawae and the KPD.

Nonetheless, the Kekahu Foundation Board of Directors does recognize that many of the parties who participated in response to the “call to action” may have believed that they were acting in pursuit of the public interest, and that misinformation and miscommunication may have contributed to the misunderstandings on the part of many parties. Therefore, we believe that it would be in the general interest of the entire community for an amicable resolution to be sought in regard to the events that occurred on January 3. To that end, the Kekahu Foundation Board of Directors wishes to inform you that the Board does not desire to pursue any legal actions to which the Kekahu Foundation might be entitled in connection with the events of January 3, 2008.

No, the management and staff played no role in this at all — except for locking the gate to the KKCR facilities — a violation of FCC regulations — and calling the cops to begin with. It was a gross overreaction on their part, and Hale ended up getting burned.

It’s no small matter when you cause someone to be arrested unnecessarily, which in this case also led to Hale being injured, taunted and harassed by the cops, deprived of his personal property, required to post bail and forced to appear in court, where Judge Trudy cited him for contempt and issued a bench warrant for his arrest, even though he was in the courtroom, because he refused to acknowledge the proceedings of the western court and go stand where he was supposed to.

So after jerking Hale around for a while — the Board could have made this go away months ago — they finally say, “oh, never mind,” without an admission of any culpability, much less a long overdue apology to Hale.

Andy goes on to chronicle in great detail the events at KKCR that surrounded last winter’s suspension of programmers and their subsequent reinstatement. I don’t agree with all his assessments, but the letter from the Board makes it quite clear that it’s business as usual at KKCR, where staff member Donna Lewis, who freaked out, locked the gates and called the cops in advance of any threatening action — I mean, come on!! — was merely reassigned to website duties.

And now we’re being urged, during the current pledge drive, to donate money to the station with the promise that members will have the chance to elect three measly representatives to this dysfunctional Board over the next two years. Gee, what a deal. At this pace, long overdue change is gonna be a long time coming.

That said, I'm still going to call in to give some money during Ka`iulani's show. Boycotting the station, as Andy suggests, merely lets the losers take all.


Anonymous said...

Hale didn't get burned. The cops told everyone they would have to move to a public location. Everybody did. Hale returned, the cops told him to move on or face arrest, he didn't, they arrested him. It's nobody's fault but his own. He gets arrested from time to time. Whose fault is it? C'mon.

Anonymous said...

Well, if it's okay with you that a person gets arrested for "trespassing" on a public right of way used daily by the public, and the only difference between his actions and those of the people driving and jogging along that road is that he was exercising his first amendment right to freedom of assembly and expression, then it appears you have pretty low expectations for our society.

Anonymous said...

Well, if it's a "public right of way" then he wouldn't be "trespassing" at all and the police would have no right to arrest him. but something tells me that's not the case.

Anonymous said...

The fact that a well known hot head was there at the demonstration and he was willing to mix it up with the cops when they told him to move to a public place seems to justify the station in calling the cops in the first place. It doesn't sound like they overreacted to me. It sounds like the prudent thing to do.

Joan Conrow said...

First, there was no demonstration; second, Hale is hardly a "well-known hothead;" and third, he didn't want to mix it up with the cops. He was merely trying to clarify why he was being asked to leave from what most people believe is a public road.

Yes, he's been arrested before, but he was never prosecuted for any of those charges. So please stop trying to make it out like he's a trouble-maker with a criminal record. He's not.

Anonymous said...

And the police arrived at the scene a good twenty minutes at least before they confronted Hale.

One of the programmers at the station that afternoon, Bill Rash, arrived while we were standing around talking and according to reports I heard weeks later, he went into the station claiming that there was an angry mob harrassing him at the gate. None of us had even spoken to him or done any more than look his direction.

Donna Lewis apparently took his word for it, so he is partly responsible for this mess himself. Isn't there a law about making a false police report?

Also, to reinforce what Joan says above: Hale is a brilliant and talented young man who cares deeply about defending his community. I don't know where this picture of him as a derelict is coming from, but it's just trifling!


Anonymous said...

It's either private property or it isn't...there is no wiggle room. If is isn't, he could sue for false arrest. If it is, he doesn't have a leg to stand on.

My rule is never, ever (esp in LA) mess with the cops. Do exactly what they say at all times as meekly as possible. Never question them.

He could have been tasered.

If so, it would have served him right. Prosecutions or not, an arrest record is an arrest record...not a good thing to have.

If you want to protest get an ACLU lawyer...don't get yourself arrested or anywhere near that line of fire.

Just dumb.

Anonymous said...

My rule is: always question authority.

Anonymous said...

My rule is: learn the rules and profit from them.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it wonderful that taro just can't be contained. It has a need to expand from it's base and explode into whatever part of the garden that welcomes it. It will not respond like other plants when pulled from its bed. It does not wither and shrink when separated from it's brethren and even the tiniest bulb will take off and yield its fullest when reattached to its earth mother.
It is no wonder that the kanaka maoli revere this beautiful plant that provides such abundance and sustenance. A plant that survives the harshest of treatment yet continues to give. You can tear it from the ground, you can lop off any amount, any part, allow it to dry or try to drown it but it will almost always come back and provide more than what was originally planted. This plant embodies the spirit of aloha and the spirit of Hawaiians. This plant will tolerate the worst and give back plenty, just like the kanaka, just like Hale. Aloha Aina

Anonymous said...

First, if people are "exercising their first amendment rights" on a "public right of way" then there is a demonstration. Local activist Ed Coll was there with a video camera. Why? To film a demonstration. Duh.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I understand what difference it makes whether it was a "demonstration" or not. Our purpose was to go to the radio station at our regularly scheduled time and attempt to discover why we were "pre-empted" without explanation and request that we be allowed to broadcast the program we had prepared. A few supporters agreed to accompany us as witnesses, and because there had been so much rumor-mongering in the weeks leading up to this, there was a consensus that events should be video-taped.
As such, we were exercising our rights to free speech and assembly, whether one would consider it a "demonstration" or just a group of people approaching the radio station to ask questions. If anythinything, we were "demonstrating" our concern for community radio.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the difference matters either. In either case the station was concerned about disruptions and reasonably and prudently called the police just in case. No harm in that. The fact that one individual managed to get himself arrested justifies the station's concerns and actions.

Joan Conrow said...

"This plant embodies the spirit of aloha and the spirit of Hawaiians. This plant will tolerate the worst and give back plenty, just like the kanaka, just like Hale. Aloha Aina"

You get 'em! Thanks for sharing that.

Yes, Hale will triumph even over the reactionary types like anonymous 7:47 a.m. who think it's OK to call the cops even if there's absolutely no problem — other than the one manufactured by their own fearful minds.

Anonymous said...

It's a strange mindset that thinks it's ever NOT ok to call the cops.

Anonymous said...

What on earth is so strange about the idea that people can work out their differences without the intervention of armed authority figures? Is it strange to think that our default setting should be one of trusting in our own capabilities to handle strife and dissent on a face-to-face level? This idea that dissenting people should be monitored by the cops to make sure they don't get out of control is very disturbing to me.

Anonymous said...

It's ok to work out your problems if you can. It's also ok to call the cops if you're uncomfortable or unsure of the other's intentions.

Anonymous said...

This Hale idiot intentionally gets himself arrested, adding to his "impressive" list of arrests "for the cause".

I don't see Katy or Joan getting themselves arrested to make that "noble" point.

That kitchen too hot for you? Not committed enough?

Come on...rise to the Hale standard if you admire him so much!!

Andy Parx said...

It is well established law that you cannot invite the public, unrestricted, onto your “private property” and then arrest them for the act of being there. But Kaua`i cops have been doing this since plantation days and don’t seem to be- or don’t want to be- aware of the law. I once had to challenge that policy, very politely, and “won” when Ho`ike held a public meeting on their property and then called the police to arrest me for being there. But I managed to talk to now-retired Det. Wes Kaui and explain the law and after an hour of that I was not arrested. But then I had agreed not to video tape our conversation

The real reason Hale was assaulted was that he was video taping them talking to him which they hate. He was lucky it was pre-taser. I asked him to pursue the case, get a ruling of illegal arrest and sue the County. But Hale preferred to plead “Sovereign”. I think that’s a very courageous decision because Hale understands the implications.

And you can bet your bottom dollar that the tape that was in the camera with a record of everything- still being held by KPD- won’t ever be able to be viewed.

The “Confederacy of Dunces” at KKCR is still out of control- a “Toole” of the white business North shore community.

Anonymous said...

Oh, was KKCR having an open meeting on their property where everyone was invited? No? Right then. Big difference.

Anonymous said...

Actually, you can invite the public onto your private property and then ask them to leave (all or selected ones), thus totally or partially restricting access for whatever time you choose.

As long as they are asked to leave and leave,there is no problem. If they are asked to leave and do not, they are trespassing.

"Trespassers will be prosecuted and/or shot"

I'm good with that.