Tomorrow we will learn which political stars have faded, and which have begun to shine, when what feels like the longest campaign in history finally ends. Fortunately, since I don't have a TV and rarely listen to the radio, I've been spared the onslaught of ads and reportage that reportedly drove one tot to tears.
Still, I imagine a few of my readers may feel the same way about my intensive coverage of Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho. Heck, I'm burned out on it, too. As I told a friend while extracting honey on Saturday, “This is a lot more satisfying than writing shit about Shaylene.”
“Then why do you do it?” he asked.
“Because I've just felt like I should.”
I don't have anything against Shaylene personally, because I don't even know her. And I'm not doing it because I'm expecting, or wanting, anything from her opponent, Justin Kollar, should he win. But as I started digging stuff up about Shay, I felt strongly that people should know.
Besides, for a reporter, following a juicy story is kinda like a pig dog following a scent — you just keep going until you either lose the trail, or corner the prey.
So here we are. And tomorrow the voters will decide whether she goes down, or is allowed to root and rut and trample for another four years.
In the meantime, I can't resist passing along a few little tidbits, like the sad story of an eastside man who signed up for the POHAKU program and paid his $200 bucks. When Shay cancelled the program amid scrutiny of the contract and other concerns, he was told to seek a refund from Strategic Justice Partners, which supposedly runs the program. Except Kirk Barrus, president of SJP, isn't returning his phone calls. Hey, maybe Shay's first deputy, Jake Delaplane, could kick down the cash. After all, he is the business agent for SJP.
And in what can best be described as an act of political desperation — some might say suicide — Shay was reportedly attempting to bust Mayor Bernard Carvalho last Friday for allegedly stealing gas, an issue that surfaced this past July.
As I first heard it, Shay and Police Chief Darryl Perry had arrested the mayor. Whoa! Big drama! So I immediately contacted county spokeswoman Beth Tokioka, who replied, “No, they haven't.” But my sources were adamant that something was going down. So I contacted Beth again and asked, did the mayor turn himself in, or is this totally off base?
“No, he wasn't arrested and he didn't turn himself in,” Beth emailed back Friday afternoon. “He's been in meetings or in his office for most of the day and is still there now.”
Meanwhile, I had contacted Chief Perry. On Saturday morning, he emailed this response:
With respect to your question, no, the Mayor was not arrested as you probably know by now. While there has been a tremendous amount of speculation, I cannot comment on any on-going investigation, but what I can do is to assure you and the community that KPD will conduct investigations based on the facts and will not be subject to outside influences or threats that may deter us from seeking the truth. The facts are the facts and are not subject to subjective interpretations. And so we do what we can and treat everyone equitably irrespective of their stature in the community. However, we do not make the final decision on whether or not justice will prevail because we are only one segment of the Criminal Justice System.
Today, I was told that Shay reportedly had sought an arrest warrant, but no judge would sign.
Which brings me to yesterday's newspaper. In a guest commentary, Walter Lewis perpetuated the fiction that Shay and the OPA have been the target of “continuing and apparently coordinated attack by certain members of the county administration, one or two council members and the Board of Ethics.” I imagine Shay would add Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe, among others, to that list.
This prompted “pualoke” to leave the comment:
“Walter is right. Shay has been the latest victim of dirty Kauai politics. It's all about replacing her with the county attorney's hand picked deputy. Don't be fooled. We need an independent prosecutor, not one picked by the administration.”
First, there is absolutely no evidence that Justin was “picked by the administration.” After working in her office, Justin knows first-hand what Shay is all about. Furthermore, though a lot of people wanted to get rid of her, no one else was willing to run.
Second, yes, independence is a great characteristic for a prosecutor. However, Shay's reign is characterized not by independence, but alienation. A prosecutor can't possibly be effective when she has fractured relationships with attorneys, judges and top county officials, been the subject of four EEOC complaints and is currently being sued by a Councilman and deputy prosecutor.
As one attorney described it, “It's like a Disney movie, where it gets all dark at the end, and then the sun comes out and the grass starts growing again and people starting singing some popular song. That's what it will be like at the courthouse when Shay loses. Everybody will be singing and dancing.”