The rain that came in the night, and left, was back and looming as a charcoal smudge on the horizon when the dogs and I made an early trek to the beach this morning. Squalls split off and headed north, and then the gray mass started moving toward us, turning white as the first drops hit the water, then us.
Now that the rain has literally cleared the air, it seems timely to clear the air in a figurative sense, too. So let's start with the complaints that Darla Abbatiello-Higa made against KPD, since they threw the county into such an uproar and the investigator's report is the sole item before the Police Commission in a special meeting this morning.
I don't know what the report says, because it's confidential, and even though the county has more leaks than the S.S. Minnow, as one friend astutely observed, nobody has leaked it yet, at least not to me.
But I have learned what Darla alleged in her complaints, and sorry to disappoint the more prurient among you, but it has nothing to do with sex. Seems Darla wanted to transfer to a different division, Assistant Chief Roy Asher said no, Darla pushed and Roy made his index fingers into a X. Shoots, for all the drama you would've thought he'd dragged his finger across his neck...
As for Assistant Chief Ale Quibilan, his alleged offense was saying one of Darla's Explorer Scouts looked a little momona. As in fat.
Anyway, Darla took her gripes to Chief Darryl Perry, who suggested mediation, which she refused. He then asked her about the Explorer Scouts program, as he was in the process of preparing the county budget. She apparently took his inquiry as a threat that if she didn't go for mediation, he'd cut funding for her program, so she added him to her complaint.
Since the county has no Human Resources Department, county administrators advised the Chief to hire an outside investigator to check it all out. The procurement process requires three bids, so Assistant Chief Mark Begley was assigned to work on it. He supposedly was busy with other stuff, then took off nearly the entire month of December, so the process got delayed.
Darla, apparently feeling like her internal complaints were being swept under the rug, then went directly to Mayor Bernard Carvalho. The rest, as they say, is history, and it's still being played out. The Police Commission, using $10,000 allocated by the County Council, has hired special counsel to bring suit against the Mayor. Commissioners want a judge to determine whether Bernard actually had authority to suspend the Chief, who had decided, with the approval of the police commission chair, to work from home to protect himself from further complaints.
And now — get this — the Council is being asked next week to approve another ten grand so the mayor can hire his own special counsel. I could be wrong, but it seems that if County Attorney Al Castillo gave the mayor that shitty advice, he ought to be the one to defend it.
Meanwhile, Begley and his captain, Hank Barriga, have been out on medical leave all this time — leave that was approved not by their boss, the police chief, but by the mayor's assistant, Gary Heu. Yeah, seems the two men coincidentally fell ill right after the Chief returned to work, and Begley was facing an administrative review for insubordination. As you may recall, Begley was the one who refused the Chief's direct orders to return his gun, badge and other gear when the Police Commission had told the Chief to go back to work.
Gee, when it's all said and done, how much do you suppose this sandbox saga is going to cost the taxpayers?
Moving on to other matters, John Burger, the Navy-paid environmental shill, I mean coordinator, at PMRF, felt compelled to clear the air about a MoveOn.org petition that's being going around in opposition to the Navy's plans to beef up ocean training around Hawaii and California. In an email sent out to the Kauai Conservation Alliance, John sought to reassure everyone the Navy isn't really going to “deafen 15,900 whales and dolphins and kill 1,800 more," as the petition claims.
Seems the Navy actually wants to kill 300 marine mammals every year, and harm the hearing of another 1,900. Thanks for clearing that up, John. I feel so much better knowing only 300 animals will be needlessly killed and another 1,900 harmed so the Navy can wage war on Hawaii nei.
Btw, folks, did you know that as part of this ramped up training, the Navy also plans to use Kaula Island, that haven for sea birds near Niihau, for live fire training? And operate its giant Osprey helicopters here on Kauai? That's why it kinda made me gag when I read those letters to the editor from the chumps who were raving about all the aloha that PMRF shows the community by staging a free fireworks show. Boy, some people can be bought off cheap.
And finally, county spokeswoman Beth Tokioka sent me an email to clear the air following my post yesterday about Tommy Contrades getting fired from his position as manager of Capital Improvement Projects. First, she noted that the Council, not the mayor, approved the position. Which is technically true, but Bernard dreamed it up and asked for it. Then she wrote:
Second, although the Mayor was grateful for Tommy's hard work over the past two years in getting the CIP program management initiative off the ground and laying a solid foundation on which the program can move forward, he decided to take the position in another direction. We spoke to Tommy and he agreed to allow us to disclose this information in order to dispel any rumors that he left on bad terms. He also asked us to convey that he enjoyed his tenure with the County and was very grateful to the Mayor for allowing him to be a part of his team.
No doubt. Where else would he legally have made $90,000+ for each of the past two years?