Friday, January 24, 2014

Musings: Bad Taste

Democracy is alive and well on Kauai, as evidenced by the spate of candidates running for the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative board. Unfortunately, quantity doesn't equal quality.

Here's the line up: Former board member Stu Burley and incumbents David Iha, Phil Tacbian and Peter Yukimura are the good ole boys picked by the Board's nominating committee. The other seven qualified by getting 35 signatures on a petition. Yes, it's that easy. They are Adam Asquith, Neal Chantara, Daniel Erickson, DQ Jackson, Jonathan Jay, Chuck Lasker and Jimmy Trujillo.

Adam and Jonathan circulated the petition for the smart meter opt-out fee vote, which ends on Saturday. Adam was also on the losing side of the last member vote over the Free Flow consulting contract. He sued KIUC twice over smart meters, and on Wednesday lost his bid for an injunction to stop KIUC from collecting the opt-out fee pending the vote. 

Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe found that Adam had met none of the criteria needed for an injunction, and should have included the Public Utilities Commission in his motion. The law is clear that this is not an issue to be challenged in court,” she said.

So the co-op burned well over $20,000 in legal fees on Adam's pro se petulance. The guy's got a Ph.D. Seems he could have read the law if he was intent on representing himself.

I can't knock Adam, Jonathan and Jimmy Trujillo for running — JJ for a second time. As relentless critics of the KIUC board and management, it's good to see them engage in the process at the beginning, rather than blowing off board meetings and PUC proceedings and then bitching about what went down.

Still, it does leave a bad taste to have Adam and JJ announce their candidacy after a lawsuit and petition drive — actions that gave them considerable newspaper publicity.

The three of them also have benefitted from their talk shows on KKCR, where smart meters and KIUC are regularly hammered hard. While it appears all three are taking leave from their shows, as is proper while campaigning — though Jimmy and Felicia Cowden kept hosting, even while seeking appointment to the County Council — they've already used our community-funded radio to further their political aims. This gives them an unfair advantage over other candidates.

And they're still working it. Though Jonathan didn't host his show, he did call in to complain about KIUC spokesman Jim Kelly removing his “Vote No” signs from utility poles. JJ demanded a public apology. But as Jim pointed out, it's against the law to post any signs on utility poles because they're a hazard to linemen. He carries pliers in his truck and removes them whenever he sees them.

There's irony alongside the immaturity. JJ, Jimmy and Adam have all banged KIUC for a lack of transparency and democracy. Yet as Ed Coll points out in the “KKCR Crisis in Demagoguery” series on his new blog, our community radio station has an abysmal track record in both areas.

But since the three talk show hosts benefit from the station's dysfunction, they haven't said a word against it. Jimmy even tried to smear Ed, who is married to Board member Carol Bain, for bringing it up at all, writing on Facebook: “i wondered if Ed posted because of his relationship to the board of KIUC.”

Yes, let's attack and attempt to silence any messenger who might make us, god forbid, look at ourselves.

Speaking of which, it's been amusing to me to watch more of the hypocrisy in action from the pro-2491 crowd. Like the one rabid anti-pesticide/GMO activist who is a chain smoker and lives behind Princeville's park, apparently blissfully ignorant of the chemicals applied in her neighborhood. Or the beekeeper who hates poison in the westside fields, but thinks nothing of tossing it around when she gets rats.

Or blogger Andy Parx, who viciously maligned farmers for trying to orchestrate a — gasp — letter-writing campaign to the Star-Advertiser, even as he actively engages in the same lobbying efforts himself via Facebook.

I guess it's because they alone are good and above reproach, and everybody who doesn't think exactly like them is bad?

Which leads me to a little aloha Friday treat for readers: a link to a classic Twilight Zone episode, “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.” I'm sure some of you will find more than a few parallels with the situation here on Kauai. Just substitute any number of nouns for monsters, and some of our own players for the cast.

One of my favorite lines: Any guy who’d spend his time lookin’ up at the sky early in the morning—well, there’s something wrong with that kind of person.

I won't give away the great ending, but I'll share Rod Serling's closing comments from the script:

The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices—to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy. A thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own for the children . . . and the children yet unborn, and the pity of it is . . . that these things cannot be confined to . . . The Twilight Zone!


Anonymous said...

Joan- Thank you for continuing to bring light to bleak corners of Kauai.
Many people in any office or campaigning for office seem to be doppelgangers of another Rod Serling/Twilight Zone story.
A group of newcomers comes to a town, they do a bunch of speech-a-fying in a foreign tongue, that the residents finally translate, The Philosophy they were going to bring to the people..translates as.."How to Serve Man". The people were ecstatic with these great new forward thinking leaders, until they found out the philosophy was really a COOK BOOK.... Kauai People, broil slowly in a dark room, add no aji-no-moto, put plenny BS sauce...add lawsuits, babes, KKCR, assorted exotic fruits, koo koo berries and celestial nuts...

Anonymous said...

The incumbents are a shoo-in with that crackpot line up.

Anonymous said...

Any info on Chuck Lasker?

Joan Conrow said...

I really don't know anything about Chuck aside from his spirted exchanges with the "red shirts" on Facebook. Though one person did suggest it might be entertaining to see him in a cage fight with Jonathan Jay! ;)

jonathan jay said...

Hey Joan!

Please dis-include me in any and all future versions of "let's you and him fight"

Although I do strive to be entertaining, I am a lover, not a fighter. :)

Towards building a better coop,

jonathan jay

Anonymous said...

I was driving listening to that show and Jonathon sorry to tell you, but you sounded so pathetic taking 15 minutes to rag on the guy for taking down the signs. Telephone poles have a nasty pesticide put on them, why would you even go touch one and put a sign on one, put them on bulletin boards, or store windows, but don't take the high ground here when you said it over and over again. I wanted to shut the radio with Jimmy calling in ragging the same shit, then you and Dave's boring ass commentary. I almost stopped at the station to complain when Jim Kelly called and another well spoken caller said the same things i would have.
You are boring. I wonder if you have a cell phone, a laptop, a microwave?
Frankly KKCR is redundant boring and unless I'm driving, never turn it on anymore. If you JJ were not on the show, why were you on the show, what is the difference?

Anonymous said...

whether its jazz or talk shows KKCR i'd rather listen to adds on pandora telling me how to vote!

Anonymous said...

I'm voting for Adam, Jonathan, and Jimmy to serve as board members.

The 3K people only had a choice to keep their analog meters because they took KIUC to court.

People with smart meters should be asking KIUC to reduce their bills by $10.27 or $10.58 every month since smart meters dont need meter readers.

I will guarantee you that KIUC will not give the smart meter homes that $10 monthly discount. their kids need to eat too even if they are making only 300k.

KIUC has learned from the county of Kauai on how to fleece the people of Kauai. The solid waste added monthly tax per garbage can is a duplication of service like the analog meter readers tax.

If you think that KIUC is in business to help you lower your monthly electricity bill than who's fooling who?


Anonymous said...

Only Adam went to court and everything else you wrote is BS too.

Anonymous said...

Guess 74% of us want the smartless meter people to pay their fare share of cost to keep the dumb meter

Anonymous said...

It's good to know that we still have a sane majority on Kauai.

Anonymous said...

So both the analog metered homes and the smart metered homes get screwed. LMFAO KIUC is a F!@#ing genius for getting an extra $340,000 dollars a year from the analog meters and keeping $3,430,000 from the smart metered homes.

I gues Wallstreet, fannie Mae, freddie mac, Bank of America, the banksters and the rest of them kind of folks Madoff with mucho dinero at the expense of the blind sheep.

Great Job KIUC! Keep up the Good Work.

Anonymous said...

Guess Jonathon jay, Jimmy Trugillo and Adam Asquith cost the ratepayers lots of money in this . Who would have thought that more than the people who opted out would vote in favor? Isn't obvious that the election numbers would model those opt out numbers? But the boys and whatever their agenda is needed to make a big deal. I really wonder their agenda and wish they personally had to pay for the election. To hear JJ quoted as saying he's happy so many people participated, WTF?

Anonymous said...

Talk about a waste of money...thanks Jonathon.

Anonymous said...

Hope people remember when they vote in the board election that two of these posers - Jay and Asquith - just cost us all a lot of money to have this ridiculous election and that the meter is still running on Asquith-related legal bills. Wish Jay and Jimmy and Asquith would find a hobby that I don't have to pay for.

Chuck Lasker said...

Instead of a cage fight with JJ, I'd prefer a positive dialogue without the personal attacks.

Since someone asked, people can learn more about me at I'm typing up my positions as quickly as I can. I'm pro smart meters, I want better Board communication with members, continued pursuit of renewable energy as long as it takes the environment and rates into account, and I intend to pursue more cost-cutting measures to lower rates. I will also seek term limits for board members, which hasn't been an issue, really, until this year, since the coop is so new. New people bring fresh perspectives and new ideas.