Monday, March 5, 2012

Musings: Credibility Problems

Dark skies, fog draping the jagged peaks of Makaleha, torrential rains – another four inches overnight at my house — and a temperature reading of just 66 degrees have me feeling like I'm living in Kokee rather than Kapahi. Not that I'm complaining, though the laundry is piling up, my garden is in tatters and it's been a more than a week since I was in the ocean.

A friend called from Haena last night, reveling in the solitude that can be achieved on the North Shore only through road closures, to say, “We love the rain!” I could hear it pounding in the background as he regaled me with tales of thundering waterfalls, swollen streams. “I only called to join forces with you because I know there are probably a hundred times more people crying for the rain to stop,” he said with a laugh.

Like maybe some of the folks at Koloa Camp — apparently one family took refuge for a time yesterday at an emergency shelter, though residents told me flooding is a way of life there. Yet still they want to stay, and on Friday they got the support of the entire Hawaii Senate, with the exception of Sen. Sam Slom.

Calling Grove Farm's plan to raze Koloa Camp “a tragic loss not only to the plantation tenants who stand to lose their homes, but also to the State,” Senators passed a resolution urging Grove Farm to let residents stay past the March 8 eviction date and “engage in meaningful discussions” with tenants to develop alternatives.

Apparently that isn't happening, with Grove Farm's Marissa Sandblom telling The Garden Island:

[M]ost of the tenants are cooperating and that Grove Farm is working with them toward transitioning elsewhere.
“For the tenants who have taken the initiative to find housing, we have offered to reimburse them for moving expenses up to $3,000,” Sandblom said. “We offered to rent one of our Lihu‘e rental units to multiple Koloa Camp tenants. We are also working with one tenant to move their existing house to another property they own.”

But tenants cast aspersions on Sandblom's credibility, saying only one family has moved and no one has been offered cash, a rental or anything else.

Meanwhile, a hearing is scheduled for tomorrow morning on the Kauai Humane Society's motion — “a court document that lays out a case for extortion committed by the prosecuting attorney,” to borrow the words of a commenter. The motion seeks to have Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho recused from a horse abuse case.

I'm wondering if Shay and/or her first deputy, Jake Delaplane, will cancel their trip to Las Vegas so they can defend the office, or if they'll send someone else to argue against the motion.

But allegations against Shay aren't the only nuggets to be mined from the the motion and its signed affidavits. The documents also reveal the kind of petty, intrusive behavior that causes so much ill will toward KHS.

Like the way KHS investigator Jessica Venneman handled a call about possibly abandoned dogs from a woman who had previously made numerous unfounded complaints against her neighbor. Jessica acknowledged that the dog owner felt his neighbor was using KHS to harass him, and she also stated that the man's dogs “were overall healthy and in good shape” and living in clean kennels. Yet she nevertheless admitted to going onto the man's property to check the dogs and leaving water for some.

How does she think she has that right? It's no wonder Shay reportedly felt Jessica lacked an understanding of protections provided by the Fourth Amendment.

And then there was the complaint about a howling dog that was made on Dec. 29, 2011, but Jessica didn't check it out until Jan. 3, 2012. As Shay reportedly said, by that time the complaint was stale and should've been dropped.

But Jessica went anyway and found all was well — the dogs were “sleeping in the kennels... looked healthy and...had water.” But instead of backing off, especially when a resident, who is reportedly Shay's cousin, accused her of trespassing, she started bugging him about whether the dogs had licenses.

Come on. Dogs have to be wearing licenses while sleeping in kennels in their own yards? People have to produce licenses upon demand at their own home? That's a bunch of bullshit. And surely she could see that wasn't the time to be pushing the matter — unless, of course, she wanted to stir things up, which is exactly what happened when the man called Shay who reportedly came down on Jessica.

Truth be told, I don't blame Shay for getting pissed at Jessica over the phone. Based on my own dealings with her, the girl's got a seriously smug and snotty attitude. I got into it with Jessica myself after Paele was attacked by dogs owned by my former neighbor Andy. Immediately after the attack, I called in a complaint to KHS with all the details.

Later that day, Jessica left a message requesting more info, and I returned her call, leaving her with two numbers where she could reach me. She never called back. I called her three more times and finally reached her several weeks later. Things got off on the wrong foot when she vehemently denied that I had called her multiple times. But I really got mad when she told me she had decided to issue Andy a verbal warning rather than a leash law citation because I'd never returned her call with details, so she figured it must not have been serious.

Then she told me I would have to come into KHS to file a written complaint if I wanted her to do anything more. But even then, I would have to show either vet bills or have photographic evidence of Andy's dogs off leash and attacking before she would issue a citation. Needless to say, I felt totally screwed.

But that wasn't the worst of it. As I wrote in a subsequent blog post:

And then I recalled how Andy had previously told me that KHS came out one time to cite him for a leash law violation, but the officer turned out to be his former student, and so she let him off.

Yes, that former student was Jessica, who apparently twice engaged in her own preferential treatment of Andy, even as she reportedly intimated that the prosecutor wanted special treatment for her cousin.

A short time later, I was out walking my dogs when I ran into a friend who started going off about Jessica, and her own frustration and anger about Jessica's laissez faire attitude toward a dog that had attacked and seriously injured my friend's dog. But what made her the maddest was Jessica's smart ass attitude and repeated misrepresentations.

So although the prosecutor shouldn't be involved in personnel issues at KHS, maybe the agency needs to take a closer look at Jessica's credibility and how she is handling herself out in the field.

And then maybe it could revise some of the policies that continually put it in conflict with people who aren't mistreating their dogs, while the true perps run free.


Anonymous said...

Good thing we don't have to depend on our gardens to feed us.
Foodland is looking pretty good after the rains washed away my garden and have probably destroyed the avo flowers.

Anonymous said...

Why on earth does grove farm want to build a subdivision in a known flood zone/wetland area? Sounds pretty stupid to me. People taking a mortgage out at market value will be pissed if they have to evacuate the area during heavy rains like current residents do who have accepted what comes w/ living there.

Anonymous said...

the new houses will be up on stilts. don't have to evacuate

Anonymous said...

No they're gonna use fill from kukui grove hiway project

Anonymous said...

My point being, why there when they obviously have lots of land NOT in flood zone or wetland. That's not what the prefab houses showed. Combined w/ displacement of long time residents...there are other options.

Anonymous said...

Warning Kauai do not ever cross Joan (or Shay for that matter), she will be judgmental and will not let it go. "Judge not lest ye be judged."

Anonymous said...

Are you crazy?! Shay and Jake give up their trip to Vegas on tax dollars?

Anonymous said...

Cousin or not i never expected any special treatment by Shay she is my cousin and apparently most people don't know her as well as family!!! Let me tell you she would have me jailed in a heartbeat if i broked the law!!!! She knows i'm not a dummy and yes i do know the LAW what jessica did was wrong i wanted her arrested but lo n behold no one arrested her for tresspassing why????? Who knows but when i find out i'll be back :-)

Anonymous said...

The zoning code as well as the army Corp of engineers will require a 'material fill' and the open zoning changed to a zoning that requires higher density.

This will require more investment by GF which they have obviously worked into their little spreadsheets. Planning and building divisions via the mayors office guarantees no PUBLIC/government concerns.

Volia, new subdivision, oh I mean CPR DEVELOPMENT.

Anonymous said...

Since when is walking up a common driveway toward a front door trespassing? Was it posted private property with no trespassing signs?

Anonymous said...

Instant access by phone is special treatment.

Anonymous said...

Do you have instant access by phone to your family members? I thought so.

Everytime a friend helps another friend get a job through connections, or a police officer helps out his family, or a mayor pays off his political supporters with a big frivolous road construction contract, that's special treatment. That's the world we live in.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget when contractors buy building inspectors breakfast at tip top.

In plain sight.