Today is the day the County Council is supposed to get the briefing on the prosecutor's questionable POHAKU program that the County Attorney has been wanting to give for weeks now.
But since it will be delivered in executive session, we the people won't hear it unless the Council — or more accurately, the members who are not actively protecting Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho — can figure out a way to bring the details into the light of day.
One way to do that would be through grilling Shay about her department's budget. Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura, who was prevented from asking the prosecutor about POHAKU at the surrealistic April 20 budget session, said at the time she wants Shay to come back and publicly answer questions.
But Shay has already informed the Council that she refuses to answer their questions about the Office of Prosecuting Attorney's (OPA) budget unless she has a special attorney to represent her.
So the Council will either have to approve her budget with their many questions unanswered, or kick down the dough so Shay can hire her own attorney, a process that could easily be stretched out past the deadline for adopting the county budget.
Can you spell evasion? And how many other department heads get to skate on having their budgets scrutinized because they've done something potentially illegal and so require legal representation? I'd say sure, she can hire her own attorney, so long as it's Craig DeCosta, Dan Hempey, Mark Zenger or another one of her many nemeses.
Of course, the Council could empower the County Attorney to conduct a thorough investigation into whether Shay and her first deputy, Jake Delaplane, violated the state procurement law and county ethics code when they set up POHAKU. But given that a Council majority didn't even want timely information on the county's potential liability in this matter, that's rather unlikely.
In the meantime, Shay today managed to get yet another promo piece in The Garden Island — her third in 10 days. This one is about her “senior fraud presentations,” a thinly disguised ploy to campaign on county time. With the AARP, Kauai Agency on Elderly Affairs and Kauai Senior Law Program, as well as KPD, all providing fraud alert services to seniors, it's really a stretch to think the supposedly overworked prosecutor needs to chime in, too. But seniors are a captive audience at the senior centers, and they vote, so they're easy targets for, you know, fraud.
While we're on the topic of the so-fine-as-to-be-essentially-invisible line between OPA promotional activities and the prosecutor's re-election campaign, check out the flyer the OPA sent out for the April 23 “kalo dedication ceremony” held at Babylon, aka the cop shop. It features the very same taro graphic that appears on the orange and black re-elect Shay banners posted around the island. Sure looks like a blatant use of county funds to promote a political campaign.
Meanwhile, Justin Kollar, who is running against Shay, may go down as the first politico in history to receive no — as in zero, zilch, nada, none — negative cracks in The Garden Island's comments section. Yup, in the 19 comments posted on an article about his campaign, nary was heard a negative word about Justin, though his opponent received a drubbing.
But will this actually translate into victory for Justin at the polls? Well, as “interesting” noted:
unfortunately, this guy is about to get introduced to the power of local-style mass-extended-family voting patterns
My own thought is that it's going to take more than a worthy opponent to dislodge Shay from the prosecutor's office, which is why some people are sweeping so feverishly to keep that dirt under the carpet.