In following up on a post I published earlier today, I obtained from the county a copy of the complaint that the ACLU sent to Police Chief Darryl Perry and County Attorney Al Castillo regarding yesterday’s anti-drug rally, which the county officially cancelled but Councilman Mel Rapozo resurrected, supposedly in his capacity as a private citizen.
The ACLU’s specific concern was the potential use of public resources, including the time and labor of County employees, to express partisan political viewpoints. The Feb. 16 letter from legal director Lois K. Perrin also stated that the ACLU believes “Kauai County employees are acting outside the scope of their limited, delegated authority, thus exposing the County to litigation.”
The letter went on to ding the cops and County Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, noting that their powers are limited and set forth by the County Charter:
Notably absent from these articles is any language that authorizes either the Police Department or the Prosecutor to spend public resources to educate the public about issues relating to crime research, prevention and education.
First, the plain language of the County of Kauai Charter limits the authority of the Prosecutor to prosecuting crimes…. The County of Kauai Charter similarly limits the authority of the Police. There is no statutory or other authority that grants the Police Department of [sic] the Prosecutor the power to expend public resources to educate the public on criminal justice issues.
The letter noted, “[i]t cannot be disputed that the overriding purpose of the Rally is to persuade constituents to lobby legislators to vote against the pending bills, HB 1169 and SB 58.” It then went on to cite Rees v. Carlisle to bolster the ACLU’s contention that “neither Kauai’s Prosecutor nor Police Department may engage in the type of activity proposed by tomorrow’s Rally.”
Perrin cited a county press release that quoted Shaylene as saying, in opposition to bills pending before the Lege, “[i]f passed, these measures will result in increased violent crime, economic crisis and a rise in marijuana usage among our children” and stated “police chiefs and prosecuting attorneys from each of the four counties stand united against this dangerous legislation.” Perrin then went on to write:
Such openly biased speech by public officials raises serious First Amendment issues.
Compelled support for speech by a public official using public funds is no less an offense to the First Amendment than compelled support for third-party speech…. The conduct in this case falls toward the end of the spectrum of biased advocacy. And nearly every court that has addressed this issue has found “the use of public funds for partisan campaign purposes improper, either on the ground that such use was not explicitly authorized or on the broader ground that such expenditures are never appropriate.
It would seem the presentation that Shaylene and deputy county attorney Justin Kollar (formerly with the prosecutor's office) made to the County Council during work hours would be similarly questionable, seeing as how it was intended for the same purpose: to persuade the Council and members of the public viewing the proceedings to oppose the legislation.
Friday, February 18, 2011
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I usually like the ACLU, but this is out of control. Their arguments sounds reasonable on the surface but is laughable and quite thin. They would lose in any litigation.
It sure seems like the prosecutor and Kollar (who is not her deputy - he's just another one of dozen or so lawyers who the prosecutor fired and now works for the police) have violated the first amendment - and with LIES to boot.
So outrageous - using out tax dollars to push for laws most people don't want. Forcing government workers to attend things they don't believe in. Using little kids as props. And is anyone calling BS on "Im still going to the rally, but as a public citizen?" Time for ethics complaints.
Love the ACLU on this one! And kudos for county attorney for shutting it down.
Thanks for the correction on Kollar.
Ill always remember Arnold Schwartzenneger in his film, Pupming Iron talking about how great it is to smoke a joint before going to the gym.
Then, as governor, he signed the same type of law that Hawaii is now trying to get passsed. He is sensible.
He repeated over and over how much money the government would save.
But we're told the exact opposite here. It is so obvious that this is about government workers trying to hold on to outdated grant money. Please, how about a little compassion and welcome to the 21st century.
Let's just keep on doing what we've done for the past thirty years. It's worked so well, and we don't need the money for other things.
Justin Kollar is a deputy county attorney. (that title doesn't make him the prosecutor's deputy). And he wasn't fired. But, yeah, thanks for the "correction.".
I drove by the "rally" around 4:30 pm. About 20 keiki and 20 adults and just around the corner...4 cop cars and 4 cops.
And I left the area around 5:15. Three more cop cars in different parking area...not sure what the rally was doing at that point and I really didn't care.
Seems that there is a bit of a difference between testifying in front of the council as a county official and using public resources to stage a rally in favor of an ideological position. The first seems kinda reasonable, the second, less so.
The link to the complaint doesn't work.
Sorry. The link is working now.
Same ol Mel and Shay show.
Find an emotional issue and flog it to death.
Anyone got a count of how many people have been bitten by dogs or been frightened off the cliffs along the walking trail by dogs?
Those 2 are a joke.
Bitten or run off the cliffs by dogs on the path?
I remember reading the Anti-Drug Office and its grant-funded staff wrote RFPs that many youth-based programs were able to respond to and get state and federal funding from, including B&G Club, amounting in several tens of thousands of dollars. You may want to check with Boys and Girls Club about that to confirm.
Well, one of the positive things about this issue being raised is that it caused me to google decriminalization of marijuana and that led to a bunch of sites with cool smoking apparatus (for tobacco, of course). Being an old stoner, it was cool to see how the kids have improved things over the years. BTW, I don't believe the increased potency b.s. That has to be marketing hype! We've been cross pollinating Colombian, Thai, Afghanistan, Mexican and a whole lot of other strains since the seventies, and let me tell you, it's all good! Let it grow!
Had those same people called it an event to educate on the dangers of marijuana but made no mention of the bills, it would have been perfectly legal.
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