Richard Minatoya has been named special prosecutor in Councilman Tim Bynum's misdemeanor zoning violation case after Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho's entire office was recused for conflict of interest.
As you may recall, Minatoya was a Kauai County Councilman from 1994-96 before becoming first deputy for former Kauai Prosecutor Craig DeCosta. He's now a deputy prosecutor on Maui. And I'm left thinking, of all the prosecutors in the state, the Attorney General's office chose one who is not just a Kauai boy, but one with political connections?
Or maybe I'm being overly cynical. Covering politics does that to you.
Meanwhile, the county Charter Commission last night killed a proposed charter amendment intended to clarify that the mayor does not have the power to discipline the police chief. Although the County Council doesn't have to finalize its proposed charter amendments until August, county staff were telling Charter Commission members they had to decide last night which measures they want to put on the ballot. So they choked under the pressure and caved — even though the only person who testified against such an amendment was the mayor's top assistant, Gary Heu.
Councilman Mel Rapozo urged the Commission to adopt the amendment, saying that given the mayor's current interpretation of the Charter, he could exert power even over elected officials. Council Chair Jay Furfaro said the Council has its own resolution on the issue, but was waiting to see what the Commission did. And now we'll be waiting to see what the Council does...
Interestingly, the Charter Commission had asked for — but was not given — a copy of County Attorney Al Castillo's opinion that supposedly authorized Mayor Bernard Carvalho to first suspend Police Chief Darryl Perry on Feb. 1, and then place him on leave. The police commission immediately voted to re-instate Perry, but Carvalho would not allow his return until March 12.
So fascinating how the County Attorney works. When he wants to give information, folks don't want to hear it, but when people want the information he's given, he doesn't want to release it.
The Charter Commission also wisely nixed Shay's request for an amendment that would have removed her budget from the mayor's oversight. I don't think anyone in their right mind would want to give the prosecutor's office more discretionary power right now, especially over money.
Which brings to mind a couple of things that jumped out at me from Shay's budget session with the Council last Friday, aside from the high drama over stifling public questioning about her POHAKU program. When asked how her deputies have fared, given the rapid turnover in her office and the 58 months that prosecutors positions have been unfilled, Shay replied:
“If attorneys are not able to keep up with working 50 to 70 hours a week and deal with the emotional trauma of having to deal in court every day, they are people just not fit for that job.”
Why should people have to work 50 to 70 hours a week and face the stress of court every day just because Shay can't keep her office fully staffed?
I was also amused when Shay revealed she had wanted her own "protocol officer," but personnel reworked the position. It's bad enough that Bernard hired a valet, but now the prosecutor wants one, too? Of course, such an employee would presumably be paid less than Shay's first deputy Jake Delaplane, who currently plays the step and fetchit role.....
Oh, and after someone left this comment:
what about the County's "Executive Protocol Officer" Sean Texeira getting wasted at a party on county property, getting in a accident, abandoning the vehicle and opening up the county to liability issues should he have harmed someone?
I followed up with the county spokeswoman Beth Tokioka and learned:
I believe this comment is referring to an after-hours gathering that happened on County property last September. Because it happened on County property, disciplinary action was taken, but I can’t share with you those details as they are a personnel matter. As for anything that might have happened off County property – I have no record of that.
And then there was the pointed exchange between Shay and Tim, who finally had the chance to directly address his nemesis. After Shay claimed she had fired “several, oh more than several” deputies for “dishonesty,” she went on to say: “If you are a dishonest person you do not deserve or should be a member in an occupation being paid by the public in the prosecutor's office, and I agree with that, too.”
This prompted Tim to ask: “That criteria would apply to anyone in your office?” To which Shay replied, “About being dishonest? Of course.”
There you have it.
Btw, I did offer both Jake and Shay equal space to respond to the concerns laid out in my post about POHAKU, but I haven't heard anything back.