Saturday, January 30, 2010

Musings: Wondering

A couple of things in the news got me wondering, like the articles about the Ka Loko dam settlement that appeared in the print version of The Garden Island and the on-line edition of The Advertiser..

It seems the county’s share of the $25.4 million settlement is $7.5 million — with insurance picking up all but $250,000 — and the state will pay $1.5 million.

Both articles quoted Kauai County Attorney Al Castillo as saying the county was prepared to go to trial, but felt the settlement was in the best interest of the county, then went on to report:

Castillo said the difference between the state's portion of the settlement and the county's had "little to do with culpability, and instead reflected financial realities and state law regarding immunity."

Something’s not right here. Doesn’t the state have insurance, too? And does this talk about “financial realities” mean that the county now has deeper pockets than the state?

What about former Mayor Maryanne Kusaka, who told the county inspector to lay off in his investigations of Pflueger’s illegal grading at the dam? Will she be charged for the $250,000 that the insurance doesn’t cover? Will she ever be held accountable for her deeds? Is the desire to spare her one reason why the county decided to settle out of court? (As my neighbor Andy, ever alert to irony, noted, The Garden Island carried an article about Kusaka right below its story on the dam settlement.)

And if the county has insurance and the state is protected by laws regarding immunity, why are the planning commission and Burial Council so worried about a lawsuit from Joe Brescia?

Then there was the “breaking news” piece in The Advertiser about the House deciding to again bag the civil unions bill.

For some reason, the only comment from anyone that the article contained was a prepared statement from gubernatorial hopeful Duke Aiona:

"This is a temporary victory that only seeks to delay a meaningful decision on traditional marriage," said Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, in a statement released following the House action. "The State Legislature will continue to play political hot potato with the institution of marriage until the people of Hawai'i are allowed to vote on it once and for all."

Why is he quoted? He’s not a member of the House or Senate and has nothing at all at this point to do with this issue, save use it to make political hay, with the Advertiser buying right in.

The Garden Island also ran Duke’s comment, with this rather lame and confusing rationale:

Aiona would assume the full powers of the governor — including the veto power — if Lingle were to travel outside the state, and some lawmakers have conjectured she might have done just that if the House had passed a civil unions bill.


Anyway, it’s disappointing to see the House again stall this issue, with Rep. Jimmy Tokioka among those still kowtowing to the fundamentalists:

Based on the responses from residents in District 15 on Kaua‘i, the overwhelming sentiment was a request to vote no,” Tokioka said, pointing to language in the bill that made constituents worry it could impact their traditional marriages.

Rep. Mina Morita, however, pegged it exactly right in her blog post:

To say that I am disappointed and ashamed on what happened on the House floor would be an understatement. I believe the public, whether one was for or against civil union, deserved a definitive closure on this issue. I have been clear where I stand on this issue. I support civil unions. The posturing on this bill, by not correcting a defective date and all the procedural maneuvering, has been shameful. We were not leaders today.

And finally, The Maui News carried a story that contained a comment from A&B about the future of its sugar operations there:

In a statement, the company said it would continue sugar operations through the end of the year, but that the company's fate beyond 2010 would depend on a "favorable outcome" in water cases pending before the state Commission on Water Resource Management, as well as HC&S' ability to increase its sugar-production levels.

So how is that a big landowner can get away with so blatantly resorting to blackmail, holding 650 jobs as hostage to get its way in a landmark water decision?

Just a few things that got me wondering.....


Doug said...

I am not a lawyer.

AFAIK, the state does not have (or need) insurance. The state is said to be "self-insured." Every year the legislature passes a bill to pay plaintiffs whatever damages were imposed against (or agreed to in settlements by) the state since the last year. Most (all?) ministerial actions taken by the government are immune from monetary damages, but the Kaloko lawsuit was basically a tort action.

I was not aware that Kauai County has liability insurance and a deductible of $250,000. It would be interesting to know if/how much the premium for that policy will change after this.

Anonymous said...

maryanne kusaka is getting away with murder. how can she sleep? this is one of the most disgraceful acts i've witnessed in more than 30 years on this island.

Anonymous said...

Why did Maryanne Kusaka tell the county inspector to lay off investigating Pflueger's illegal grading?

Anonymous said...

"Will she be charged for the $250,000 that the insurance doesn’t cover?"

-- would be nice to put a scare in her at least

"why are the planning commission and Burial Council so worried about a lawsuit from Joe Brescia?"

-- one would imagine the insurer and the insured periodically review current and threatened litigation. supposed to work that way at least. if insurer has issued guidance / instructions on a given threat or live case, you usually needed to adhere to it, give it some sort of deference. im of course guessing as to the particulars of joe b (and maybe the county policy does not even cover that sort of thing? is it a general umbrella policy? different claims / actions are covered - like negligence - but other types of cases, other types of "alleged wrongs" are not?). a legit question tho; should be answerable, esp as "liability" is so often noted as an excuse for this and that

"It would be interesting to know if/how much the premium for that policy will change after this."

-- agreed


Anonymous said...

"Why did Maryanne Kusaka tell the county inspector to lay off investigating Pflueger's illegal grading?"

That's a very good question. Bribery? Payoffs? Pflueger is her buddy?

Anonymous said...

disappointed w/rep tokioka, spineless fer' sure. no cajones, just pandering to voters. i hope he gets some challenger in the next election to call him on his lack of leadership. par for the course w/him. what did he do to get elected in the first place?

Anonymous said...

"what did he (Tokioka) do to get elected in the first place?"

Well being SPINELESS and BRAINLESS seems to be an unbeatable combination!

Anonymous said...

"fundamentalists"? You think a majority of Hawaiians are "fundamentalists"? Ad hominem much?

SMelman said...

"Majority of Hawaiians"?

No, neither a majority of "Hawaiians" nor a majority of "Hawaii residents" are "fundamentalist".

But neither do a majority of Hawaii residents oppose civil unions.

Mina Morita is a legislator of integrity. We know where she stands on most issues and most times, it is on the side of compassion and wisdom. What does Tokioka even stand for anyways?

If he and his girlfriend support traditional marriage, maybe they should exercise that choice in their own lives rather use their political positions to deny that choice to others who ARE willing to make a commitment.

Anonymous said...

Whether Morita stands on the side of wisdom on most issues is a debatable matter of opinion. (Many disagree). I haven't seen any polls on civil unions. Who knows if a majority supports or opposes them?

Anonymous said...

Civil Unions is the civil rights issue of our time. What does history say about thoes who voted against the civil rights bill, the voting rights bill etc. If we waited for a majority to express values and moral courage there would still be Jim Crow laws in the South and women might not be able to vote. Jimmy is aligned with the conservative democratic majority in the House lead by Calvin Say, so he has to do what Say says. Mina is independant and has personal integrity and follows her own mind.

Anonymous said...

Everybody's pet legislation is "the civil rights issue of our time."

Anonymous said...

A couple of comments.

1. I heard Maryanne wanted a spot on the Kauai Museum Board of Directors, right after they have had several individuals questionably creatively using the funding of the museum. Interesting.

2. Duke Aiona is supposed to be a Mormon. Mormons are not allowed to do things like oh say picket, grandstand and politick on a Sunday. He also did not want "The Rock", Dwayne Johnson to play Kamehameha the Great in a movie that was top be filmed here, because he is not Hawaiian. Yeah, dumb head, he is Samoan. Polynesian. Just like Kam, who was Tahitian. Get a Grip!

3. James "Konane" Tokioka left his wife Beth of many years, for a nail manicurist whom he is regularly seen with.

4. *(see #2 and #3) what the hell are these guys doing talking about family values?

5. These United States are about to become a Theocracy. Don't believe me? Just look at how people cow towed and bent to the scary brownshirts...errrr...I mean white shirts at the capitol.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter if a "majority" want civil unions. It's the right thing to do.

Dawson said...

"If we waited for a majority to express values and moral courage there would still be Jim Crow laws in the South and women might not be able to vote."


Kolea said...

I wish people would stop use "Anonymous" as their handle. It disrupts debate.

One of the Anonymouses ("Anonymice"?) wrote "a couple of comments."

"2. Duke Aiona is supposed to be a Mormon."

Uh, no. Not sure what "supposed to be" means here, but you are in error. Dukie is a St. Louis grad and a Catholic.

And 3, Jimmy Tokioka may have a "manicurist" girlfriend on Kauai, but he has another girlfriend on Oahu, with "whom he is regularly seen." Without mentioning names, the Oahu girlfriend is also in a position to decide public policy on this issue and opposes civil unions.

In the real world, "traditional marriage" in the US has long included the practice of men having girlfriends on the side, frequenting strip clubs, etc.

As forr majority opinion and support for civil rights, the historical record is pretty disturbing. The US Supreme Court threw up laws prohibiting inter-racial marriage in 1967 in the famous Loving v. Virginia case. Because the suit was brought against Virginia, people may assume VA was an isolated backwater at the time. No, 16 states banned inter-racial marriage at the time and had their laws invalidated.

Gallup polled Americans in 1968 and found 72% OPPOSED inter-racial marriage. Now, 40 years later, almost everyone is ashamed of that attitude and is glad we have evolved. Including members of the SAME born-again churches which had been bulwarks of racism at that time and now oppose civil rights for gays. Totally oblivious of the role their their ministers had played just a few short years ago.

Kolea said...


"the Supreme Court threw OUT laws prohibiting inter-racial marriage...."

(The recent SCOTUS ruling on Corporate Free Speech made ME throw up, so that's probably the source of my Freudian slip.)

Anonymous said...

some pretty sound commentary up there


Anonymous said...

Got to love the jack Mormon's from Idaho in Haiti. So caught up in salvaging the souls of children they have overlooked the laws and feelings of the country.
These type of baptists are also scavenging the children of Kenya who have lost their parents to AIDS. They are fed and clothed in exchange for indoctrination.

Anonymous said...

Oh you are so right!! I am sorry. I erred..oopsie!! It is not Dukie who is the Mormon, it is Mufi who is the Mormon. Dukie is the Catholic who wants to outlaw a womans right to choose, and outlaw birth control. Right. Sorry. Mufi is the fake "democrat" who wants to grandstand on a Sunday against his own religion, then call out family values. It is hard to tell these religious extremists from each other sometimes. My bad.
Also, just to set the record straight, three former Mormon Bishops have left their wives over the last several years on Kauai alone, including a former politician. Further, Christian Taliban extremists will be taking over the country soon. You were warned. Just a thought to ponder.
Oopsie on the who the current flavor of the month is for Tokioka. Doesn't matter who his current girlfriend is, he is still a cheating husband, who left his wife with small children, one who is handicapped, and that is not family values.
Expect more theocratical interference with government as the days, months and years move along. If you do nothing, you get the government you deserve.

Kolea said...

I think exposing the names of anonymous posters on a blog which allows for anonymous or pseudonymous post is inappropriate, so long as those posting are not abusive.

I would urge Joan to delete the comments naming other posters.

I would also urge people to post under a consistent alias when possible. It helps keep us all accountable to SOME degree and facilitates exchanges in a way "anonymous" does not.

Obviously, it is Joan's blog and she is th proer one to decide how best to structure the interaction on this blog.

Joan Conrow said...

"I would urge Joan to delete the comments naming other posters."


"I would also urge people to post under a consistent alias when possible. It helps keep us all accountable to SOME degree and facilitates exchanges in a way "anonymous" does not."


Kolea said...

My Gosh, what prompt service!