Friday, February 7, 2014

Musings: Limelight and Darkness

The adage, “you get what you pay for,” certainly seems to ring true with Teri Tico's offer to defend Kauai County pro bono against the chem companies' lawsuit over Bill 2491/Ordinance 960. 

I mean, what kind of attorney apologizes in advance for likely losing the case? And in the process, tells a little fib in order to pre-emptively blame the client?

Because surely Teri knows that an attorney's opinion belongs to the client — in this case, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. — so his decision to make it public couldn't have been an “unauthorized release” as she falsely claims in today's issue of The Garden Island.

And if she's actually read the very detailed complaint, then she also knows that it goes well beyond the issues and concerns raised in the county attorney's opinion.

But why let the truth cloud an attempt to bask in the limelight?

Speaking of which, Maui attorney Lance Collins left a blog comment expressing his surprise at the “vitriol” and “xenophobia” some Kauai folks had directed at him for challenging the county's pro bono procurement process:

I have assisted many people and groups across this state (and internationally) in my years as an attorney and this is the first time that my status as a resident of a different island has ever been made an issue.

Mmmm, perhaps that's because those people and groups requested his assistance, whereas he waded into our muck unaffiliated and uninvited. Or so he claims.

Still, it seems likely that the county's decision to extend the definition of pro bono to include all costs, as well as services, won't fly. In which case, the administration will go back to its list of vetted for-hire attorneys and start racking up the big legal bills — just in time to enrage voters preparing to cast their ballots for a new Council.

Speaking of which, KipuKai Kualii, still smarting at being passed over for Mason Chock in the huli huli hustle to fill Nadine Nakamura's seat, is first out of the block in the Council race. Compared to some of the incumbents, he's looking better by the minute. And for now, he has the limelight all to himself.

Kauai politicians, meanwhile, were apparently kept in the dark about Senate Bill 172, which would turn Niihau into its very own county. Or more accurately, a little colony of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, with Bruce Robinson continuing in the role of king. Seems like a heavy-handed way to push through fishing restrictions. But then, it's the sort of thing one would expect from Sen. Clayton Hee, who seems to fancy himself a legislative god, with other lawmakers apparently willing to sell him their souls.

What's next? Creating the County of Lanai, under the jurisdiction of wind-harvesting HECO?

Though the Legislature continues to stumbles along in the darkness, as is its way, Hawaii residents are seeing the light when it comes to cannabis. A recent poll, commissioned by Hawaii’s Drug Policy Action Group, finds that:

Today, 77% of Hawaii voters think that jail time is inappropriate for marijuana possession, an increase of 8 percentage points over 2012.

Furthermore, 66% of voters are in favor of outright legalization for adult use (an increase of 9 percentage points over 2012).

A large majority of 85% of voters continue to support Hawaii’s medical marijuana program (up 4 percentage points from 2012) while support for a dispensary system so patients do not need to use the black market to find their medication increased sharply to 85%, a 7 percentage point increase over 2012.

A number of bills addressing the medical marijuana law — including proposals to authorize dispensaries — have been introduced and referred to committee, while a slew of bills dealing with decriminalization and legalization, including two carried over from last year, are also pending.

Unfortunately, and discouragingly, none of the cannabis bills have been scheduled for hearings, which means they may never see the light of day. 


Anonymous said...

Free? Why bother with free when it's taxpayer money?

Anonymous said...

How about the County of Ka`ula? It would be the only county in the world to have the distinction of being both a seabird sanctuary and a target island.

Anonymous said...

if the extended definition of pro bono to include all costs is wrong, why not just redo it without the problem part? are you suggesting the extended definition of pro bono with the problem part was done for political gain by the mayor? like instead of redoing the pro bono request without the extended definition, he is going straight to the list of vetted for-hire attorneys just to enrage voters preparing to cast their ballots for a new council? and where is the county attorney in all this? didn't he know this would be a problem? i know we grumble but his office can't be that stupid, right?

Anonymous said...

“I've never really wanted to go to Japan. Simply because I don’t like eating fish. And I know that's very popular out there in Africa.”
― Britney Spears

County Council action plan.

Anonymous said...

To me it seems the Pro Bono offer was put out there by the admin just like it was offered. We'll cover the county, don't worry.
The offers did not say we will donate our services period. It seems the guys like Earthjustice and CFS never really intended to have the counties back, but to put the county in a very uncomfortable position.
I was dumbfounded watching Gary at the last council meeting, why on earth would he want to change the focus of the EPHIS from health and environment? Who's bread is he buttering if he is not on the side of health? I am so confused by Gary and Tim's actions. Why are they throwing the health study under the bus , and Hooser did not even vote in favor of the Ephis study cause he didn't get his amendment through. It was the most confusing council meeting where Mel and Ross were properly concerned about health and the environment, and Tim and Gary were wanting environmental justice,not health to matter most, hello first prove the health implications and then the case for environmental justice has some meat. Somethin smells like stinky fish.

Anonymous said...

The nicest thing I can say about KipuKai is that he is a mixed bag. I would not vote for him again after the way he conducted himself, when he was on council.

Anonymous said...

So Lance Collins files a protest to the appropriateness of the pro bono offering which, if sustained as a valid protest, would put a stay on the procurement process. Meanwhile the formal complaint by the seed companies goes unanswered with a short window to respond. If there's already a list of attorneys that had been previously approved by the county, they could select special counsel and get someone to respond to the lawsuit. Ironically, the procurement protest by Mr. Collins could prevent the County from having and representation in time to respond. While both Hooser and Collins deny they are working together, I doubt those in the know are convinced that Gary and Lance just coincidently shared a ride to the northshore charter commission meeting to discuss voter districts. That leads to the greatest irony of all. Gary Hooser, the champion of bill 2491, could be preventing the county from putting forward any defense by trying to get his buddies Teri Tico and Peter Shey the "pro bono" plus costs contract with the assistance of Lance Collins. How do you think his "tiny fist" brigade would feel if the courts overturned the new county law because the county could not put forth any representation with Al Castillo's office conflicted out and the special counsel request stuck in a procurement protest? Not that Gary's shortsightedness is anything new.

Anonymous said...

Good to know we can all rest easy knowing that any personal attacks on Teri Tico's character or legal talents have nothing to do with her having committed the unpardonable sin of owning a home on the beach, or being in favor of issues you're opposed to. I seem to recall Richard Nixon having his very own enemies list too...

Anonymous said...

11:09: the protest has stayed the process. maybe Joan can ask her lawyer friends for some clarity but i assumed the federal lawsuit process stops while the county goes through the process of getting an attorney including the protest process. it would be crazy if courts would punish the government for having to follow the law. otherwise it's like it would open every government that has to use the procurement process to a real disadvantage in court.

Anonymous said...

1:21 The lawsuit moves on with or without representation. The county will likely ask Marjorie Bronster for an extension, but that only buys a little time. It is quite possible that the extension may come and go before the procurement protest has been resolved ... leaving the county, well SOL. Egos and political posturing may end up flushing all the hard work of the 2491 supporters down the drain. I'd love to see Gary and Lance explaining this "oops moment" to Sol Kahn and the Babes for Biotech. Heck, even Chava Greenlee might snap and crack Gary upside the head for this boner tactical move.

Anonymous said...

11:09 the protest has not stayed any process other than the hiring of a defense team. Has anything been filed to ask the court for a stay while the protest is an issue, no.

Anonymous said...

Blah blah blah . . . Oops . . . Blah blah blah . . . Cha ching . . . Blah blah blah . . .

Anonymous said...

wouldn't you like such a place for yourself? if i had an infant, this woman describes the best place for him/her to begin his/her life---clean, fresh! There are places like this on Kauai owned by people who take care of their health and the land they live on.