The Kauai county manager proposal is finally dead.
Councilmembers on Wednesday voted to receive a proposed charter amendment that would have stripped power from the mayor and given it to a Council-hired manager, while also broadly expanding their powers and extending their terms.
Why? Not because it's an inherently bad and expensive idea promoted by a few disgruntled nitpickers, and a wild power grab by the Council. No. That makes too much sense. It was nixed only because state law would require a manager be selected under the full civil service selection and hiring process.
Which means the Council couldn't hire/fire the manager and control him/her.
So of course they're not interested, with Councilmembers saying, in effect, if we don't get to do the hiring, what's the point?
Meanwhile, as Councilmembers JoAnn Yukimura and Gary Hooser attempt to legitimize unpermitted homestay operators who have already been told to pack it up, some of those folks are now facing criminal charges.
The Office of Prosecuting Attorney yesterday filed cases against homestay/B&B owners Bill and Cathy Cowern, Darcy Summer, Patricia Enderlin and John and Lorna Hoff, charging them with zoning violations and unsworn falsification, both misdemeanors.
Over on Oahu, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has appointed mediator/facilitator Peter Adler to that city's ethics commission, pending approval by the city council. I mention it only because Peter is the guy who is running the Joint Fact Finding Group on Kauai pesticides, a process fraught with questionable ethics, bias and the resignations of a third of its members.
But hey, it was awfully smart to release the JFFG's bloated “draft report,” with its many references to activist-funded unpublished studies and unsubstantiated health claims. Even though the final report, due out later this month, is supposed to be revised to reflect the many concerns raised by the public and seed companies it targets, it will be hard to dial back the misperceptions perpetuated by the draft. It's gotten tons of publicity — most recently in the Hawaii Business magazine article on pesticides, which gives much ink to the proposed recommendations and says the report “suggests a way forward on the issue.”
Oh, yes. A way crafted by the very same people who pushed the anti-GMO legislation through in the first place. Because even though the discussion is now framed as “concerns about pesticides,” let's not forget it's all based in an attempt to destroy GMO agriculture in the Islands.
I thought about the Hawaii anti-GMO movement as I cruised around the fertile Willamette Valley in Oregon yesterday, enroute to a string of waterfalls that rival those in the Islands. We passed fields full of Christmas trees, nursery plants, grass being grown for seed. But nobody in Oregon is bitching about using farmland to grow non-food products.
It's only in Hawaii that you hear that sort of nonsense, thanks to non-farmers like Councilman Hooser who try to claim that growing seeds somehow isn't really farming. Oregonians are smart enough to recognize that non-food crops are valuable agricultural exports, and a desirable alternative to urbanization.
Why is it that Joan Conrow and KE are the only way to get news on Kauai?
One woman, one pen, one island , 60,000 people in the dark. Only KE stands as a light.
Fast forward to November. The ballot stares at you with several of the same old tired faces. Shucks, we have JoAnn matured from a John Lennon bespectacled bike rider to a cranky old lady. Hippie to Grandma. The years have not done much to her Don Quixotesque agendas. This one lady has added years to County procedures by yakking away.
How many decades does Kauai have to elect these self serving people. What have they really done? Oh wait, sent the military home after Iniki when the Navy offered to power up the island from a ship. Stopped all road improvements that Val Knudsen and Billy Fernandez offered up. Two major jam ups and she still sits in control of our lives.
We deserve the politicians we elect, so when you sit in traffic, BLAME JoAnn, Da Hoos, Ron Kouchi, Shucks even blame Derik Kawakami, he may be new, but what HAVE ANY OF THESE PEOPLE done to improve our lives? Da Hoos is special in this morass, he deliberately turns people against each other, lies, tax cheat etc...and still his smarmy mug is all over the GI and the Council. Can we really elect such people?
We are aging together, a bunch of old folks that re-elect the same shysters and self-serving career politicians to office. And they control us more and more every year.
They Swear to serve the people of the island, but in reality they only serve themselves with big fat pensions, power and a life of trivial pursuits. Kauai gets nothing, except for crowded roads, potholes, more rule and regulations, more laws and an ever increasing presence of Government in our lives. Government in our lives to penalize and confine us, not to liberate and free us.
Joan, great post. But I think you mean John and Lorna Hoff (not Huff). The same John Hoff who is a perennial candidate for any office on Kauai, always griping about political corruption. I think he's also pulled papers for Council this year. Yeah, that John Hoff. Throw the book at the jerk.
Thanks for the correction, 8:17.
@8:10. You forgot Ross "let's lowers recruit standards for cops and firemen so my local braddah friends can pass the test and get jobs" Kagawa.
"Government in our lives to penalize and confine us, not to liberate and free us."
Kauai council and planning department are very similar to what was seen in fascist Spain, and I know I was there.
Beware - do not buy property on Kauai. That is how the government gets its hooks into you here.
What, you mean if Council can't pick their stooge to be the manager to micromanage the County to death then they do want the position anymore? Watching this year's budget on Ho'ike, it's absolutely amazing how many councilmembers think they can assert their will to make the mayor and his staff kowtow to their whims. Council does control the purse strings but those strings are not attached to appropriations once made ... although year-after-year they continually to make the funding conditional. Kipukai and Ross don't seem to grasp that simple fact. I do appreciate that they are cutting some of the more discretionary expenses in the budget and will hopefully fund more road improvement projects with the savings. Unfortunately, this Council blew it big time on not approving the GET surcharge. That will ultimately limit the County's ability to respond to potential increases from any non-controllable expenses (lawsuits, unfunded mandates, underfunded pensions, and to some extent collective bargaining). Property taxes, TAT, and user fees are all that will be available.
Like, times a thousand.
Regarding your remarks on the TAT and taxes.
It all started with hurricane Iniki. When Kauai was declared a disaster area, the Governor increased the TAT to a flat rate $ 20 million annually to help Kauai rebuild. Our legislators fought hard to keep the temporarily allotted $20 Million for as long as possible. Well, all good things came to an end a few rears ago and now we are back to a percentage appropriation. The " TAT Distribution to Counties , 237-6.5 " states that up to June 30th fiscal year 2016 Kauai will receive 14.5% of $103 million and beyond 2016 it drops to 14.5% of $93 million. So my thought would be our legislators did what they could, which was far and beyond what it should have been. The County also needs to realize that getting back what we used to have ( $20 mil) is more than likely not going to happen. They need to budget accordingly regarding the loss, or find some other creative revenue generation sources.
It is time for the administration and council to start firing people. We need more concrete and asphalt and less useless DOT personnel, consultants and sustainability mainland fruitcakes who can apparently wring money out of our council and mayor like a car salesman.
8 years ago the Kauai county budget was at 120 million and today it's 200 million and nothing significant has been done in those 8 years.
700 county employees under Kusaka and now 1500 Kauai county employees and still nothing of significance has been accomplished.
9 million dollars for Hardy street and the county has 1500 county employees and that street in front of the county, state and Wilcox school is overgrown and under maintained.
If you drive in that area you will see that dumb assness of that CASH in project. There's a cross walk almost every 5-10 ft. It's like a pacman maze and whoever was the engineer must have not graduated because if you look at the roundabout at Kapaa and chiefess/Safeway Lihue, you'll be able to see the difference.
9 million dollar waste and the county thinks by taking more of everyone's money that they can do the job and spend our money better than we can.
All of these county clowns needs to be gone election time. Remember the trash can cost us $6 prior to these current council members then after elections they triple to cost to $18 a month on the same solid waste collection fees that they collect in property taxes. This is a quadruple tax increase.
I will guarantee everyone on this island that as soon as these same bastards are reelected, they will come up with another hidden triple tax.
Where is the 200 million dollars going to each and every year that the budget has risen by 10 million since this mayor has been in office?
Below is an article that shows the correlation of what's happened to the union and what's going on in the county of Kauai.
Embattled head of electrical workers union accused of misusing union money
May 12, 2016 06:24 PM
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The embattled head of a Hawaii electrical workers union is being accused of using union money on personal first-class travel, hotel accommodations, and to pay for his son's attorney fees in a felony case.
Meanwhile on Thursday, in a bizarre move, IBEW Local 1260 leader Brian Ahakuelo said he would not be retiring from the organization after all. The 55-year-old business manager had announced Tuesday that he would retire in response to the chapter being placed in trusteeship by its international parent.
Ahakuelo decided to return as numerous accusations against him and his family are coming to light.
On Thursday, the Washington, D.C.-based international union sent a document to its 3,000 Local 1260 members, alleging that Ahakuelo abused his position and misused union money.
Eight of the allegations involve airfare for trips to Las Vegas, Miami, and Washington D-C. A lot of it was for first-class travel. One trip included seven members of Ahakuelo's family.
The documents also detail the large salaries that he and his family members got from the union.
As the union's business manager and financial secretary, Ahakuelo earned over $200,000 a year. His wife made more than $100,000. And his son and daughter-in-law were also on the payroll.
That's mean they would have to quit/fire themselves.
The county of Kauai thinks they know how to spend your hard earn dollars better than you guys know how and that's how the county of Kauai illgally funds a personal business by a personal friend of the mayor in the Princeville shuttle at over $150K for a 3 month scheme. The Mayor is Robbing the Good and given it all to family and friends. IMPEACH and INDICT
Ok genius who should be fired? Keeping in mind the applicable union contracts and civil service laws...
yeah, elected officials. stop using the TAT as an excuse to cover abysmal management of County finances. No more TAT money coming period. Do what you are elected to do. Take care of Kauai with resources available. We're spending more than we're taking in. Living within our means is the name of the game. Plenty promises from people running as usual. Amnesia sets in as soon as elections are pau. Plenty talk about cutting fat from County government. Year after year its all talk, talk, talk. How can we fix our terrible roads and poorly maintained bridges, when funds are siphoned off for raises, stupid project by Wilcox school., $2mil for Rice street, creating more and more walking paths and bike lanes no body uses. We can't fix our roads yet there's no end of money to hire expensive consultants , transplant planners/engineers whose intention is to narrow roads, snarl traffic, all for of a small population lobbying for more bike lanes and walkways. Walkable Streets is a expensive hoax perpetrated by the County on the citizens of Kauai. .Waikomo road striping and one way is a good example of a pie is the sky project that must be shelved. Stop unnecessary spending now. Channel available funds to satisfy the most urgent community needs. Do your jobs for once.
@ 5:02PM - look at the attached report on TAT prepared by a working group established by the legislature - http://files.hawaii.gov/auditor/Reports/2015/SCFWGFinalReport.pdf
page 1-10, Exhibit 1-3. this shows how much TAT has been collected over the years and how much the state has carved out starting with the "Convention Center Fund" in 1995, later adding "Tourism Special Fund", and finally really boosting the amount that goes into the State "General Fund". No where in the report does it reference Hurricane Iniki as the basis for the amounts allocated to the counties.
On page 1-6 *In 2011, the Legislature continued to address budget shortfalls by increasing
revenues from the TAT to the State. To accomplish this, the Legislature passed a
measure that limited TAT revenues deposited into the TSF (Tourism Special Fund) to no more than $69 million, and capped TAT revenues to the counties at $93 million. In its Conference
Committee Report, the Legislature stated that the measure was intended to
temporarily increase and preserve the amount of state revenues derived from the
TAT, calling it a necessary component of the package of legislation aimed at
addressing the State’s extended economic crisis.*
Basically, now that the State has capped the counties share of TAT, they are not willing to lift the cap. This is despite of the fact that the cap was meant as temporary, and that the State has now used these funds for land acquisitions. The most recent acquisition included a parcel that had our Senate President, Ron Kouchi as a previous investor.
Something stinks really bad...
Talk is cheap. Everyone and their grandma believe that being one politician is easy and they gotta be perfect
Everyone illegally hired. If you were hired by the county of Kauai and cannot show proof of education and experience in your job title then you are not qualified.
This means you were illegally hired under fraudulent means. You cannot be represented by the union if you haven't shown or proved that you have the credentials to fulfill your duties and responsibilities.
9:37 Don't rehire after a retirement.
The politicians allowed us to be ruled by public unions. These unions will destroy all government. Eaten from within.
Government workers are our family and friends. We need these workers, but the system is corrupt.
The County typically has 2 times a many doing a job compared to the private sector. Case in point, at least one of every fireman or police makes in excess of hundred thousand per year, plus bennies and Yuge retirement.
I support Gary and JoAnn and I wish they would work towards fixing the budget.
At the rate we are going rents will go up at least 200 dollars per month (due to prop tax) and taxes double every 7.
Privatize ALL County services, except police and fire. privatize schools, roads, accounting planning, engineering....privatize everything.
@ 10:40 pm
You can vent all you want but......the past is the past, what we need, is to look at what we have when budgeting and not what we had or might have.
We have to face reality. The State is not going to increase our TAT taxes, but they will decrease it to 14.5% of $93 million or another cut of $1.45 million in 2017. You can't run the County based on what we used to have and just keep spending like a drunken pirate. It's going to be interesting to see how we balance the budget this year. The question is, if we don't curtail spending, who will pay?
Joanne and her crack policies and taxes have driven up rents and stalled housing.
The counties of Maui, Kauai and the big island should SUE the state for TAT cap to be lifted. The counties representatives are Oahu slaves.
The state of Hawaii is broke(n) because it's just as incompetent as the counties.
Nepotism and fraudulent hiring is a huge part of the degradation and regression that we are facing from government inefficiency.
9 million for hardy street mess? Who stole all that money? Fuck the corrupt unions in the state of Hawaii that are apart of multinational criminal organizations.
I thought the Hardy Street improvements were over the top. Having lived with it for a while I really like the green and the slowed down traffic. I think that the round about at Wilcox is a huge improvement.
Lots of people were crossing all over the place by the state and county building anyway. It takes a little getting used to the flashing lights but change happens.
Do I think we should increase taxes to expand the program, absolutely not. Do I think we should spend a dollar to get 5 federal dollars for the next expansion? Definitely, money well spent.
"We deserve the politicians we elect, so when you sit in traffic, BLAME JoAnn, Da Hoos, Ron Kouchi, Shucks even blame Derik Kawakami, he may be new, but what HAVE ANY OF THESE PEOPLE done to improve our lives? Da Hoos is special in this morass, he deliberately turns people against each other, lies, tax cheat etc...and still his smarmy mug is all over the GI and the Council. Can we really elect such people?"
"@8:10. You forgot Ross "let's lowers recruit standards for cops and firemen so my local braddah friends can pass the test and get jobs" Kagawa"
"8 years ago the Kauai county budget was at 120 million and today it's 200 million and nothing significant has been done in those 8 years.
700 county employees under Kusaka and now 1500 Kauai county employees and still nothing of significance has been accomplished."
All this bitching is why we need a county manager.
10:35, where do we get the $1 to gain the $5 federal . Raise taxes, defer critical repairs and what else. The logic "lets do it because its a good deal" and not " lets do it because we have a $200 mil backlog" is why we are where we are. Save the fluff for when we have a huge surplus.
Remember the county of Kauai had a 50-60 million surplus but fraudulently spent it to push for the faux furloughs.
Lots of Shibai has happened under this mayor and council members that were in council back during the faux furlough days.
How many roads could that 50-60 million surplus have built or fixed? How many roads could the 9 million for that hardy st over grown maze fixed or built? And now the county wants to waste another 10 million on Rice at so it looks as stupid as hardy st.
This Mayor, admin and council should be drug tested because they must be smoking the Hawaii Life Pakalolo.
You all want to know how the county can save money?
Fire all the people who stole from the Kauai gas theft ring. Fire all the county employees who falsified their leaves. Fire all the employees who used illegal purchases on their Dept Pcards. Fire all their who don't have the qualifications that their job titles ask for. Guarantee 500+ county employees would be fired. Lots of theft going on in the county government. Yes if you were one of the many who were hired and not interviewed until 1 year after hire date, that means you were and still are stealing from the county and you were fraudulently hired.
Fixing Rice St isn't fluff. That road is a disaster and if the Feds want to eat 80% of the cost of fixing it that is a great deal and frankly we're lucky our planning dept has it at together enough for us to get it.
@ 11:58 am
I agree , if the county only has to pay 1/5 of the cost, they are doing a great job!
If they were using 1/5 of the cost for actual new roads and or upgrades maybe, but beautification, nah!
Where and when will the new landfill be built?
Ask anyone who has applied for a civil service (non-appointed) position with the county in the last 5 years and they will tell you that the county is following the letter of the law as far as enforcing MQs, requirements, and drug tests, etc. it's actually pretty tough to get even an entry-level job without having all your ducks in a row these days. As it should be.
1:12pm so who's left? I agree, fire all. The mayor first and his good for nothing appointees.
you mean fixing Rice street by reducing driving lanes from 4 to 2, less than 5 years after it was widened from 2 lanes to 4 at a cost of several million dollars. Rice street is in better condition than 85% of all county roads. What disaster you talking about. why fix something that ain't broke.
"it was awfully smart to release the JFFG's bloated “draft report,” with its many references to activist-funded unpublished studies and unsubstantiated health claims. "
This may be a little awkward to point out... but weren't YOU the first person to release it? How did you get an early copy anyway?
@6:05. Obviously, I wasn't the first person to release it, or I couldn't have gotten a copy, since I didn't write it. As for how, a good reporter never reveals her sources.
Why leave out 2 audits from a third party showing that there has been fraud, waste and abuse at almost every county dept.
Only the good county employees should be left for they are the pillars of this island.
Get rid of all the phony family and friend cronies.
The only places that normal work done every year is Northshore and poipu areas.
The county of Kauai caters to the affluent and screw the working class.
That's what they did in Lihue by the old mill bridge. Shaved the hill and laid down concrete then broke the concrete and shaved the hill again. It took them nearly 5 years to complete a 3 mile stretch.
What you mean there's no Union THEFT/CASHING IN for a 1/5 ratio from federal and county dollars going on around here?
So that means that these greedy unions create problems so they can prolong a job and collect a 1/5 ratio from Feds and county? How many million were stolen there like the Wailua bridge original bid of 9 million turned out to become 50 million dollar final cost
Can spend plenty money in Vegas after that scheme. Oh yah no forget about the Christmas bonuses and the votes come election time.
There's a whole bunch of rhetoric about Mayor Carvalho's fat budgets and nepotism. The Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) are available online at http://www.kauai.gov/FinancialReports/ItemId
If you actually take time to read these audited reports, you'll see that the employee count went from 1,052 in FY01 to 1,279 in FY12. The more recent CAFR's are not available but I don't think it's going to show 1,500 and clearly there wasn't just 700 under the Kusaka administration either. Spending also didn't increase as rapidly as has been cited either. In FY10, the operating budget was $154.1 million and this year's budget was $188.8 million a change of $34.7 million or 22.5% or 2.8% per year over eight years.
If your really dig a little further, you'll see that the largest percentage increases have been in the budgets for the Prosecutor's Office, Council Services, and Auditor's Office ... all of which do not fall under the auspices of the Mayor. Police and Fire got massive collective bargaining increases with hidden raises like standard of conduct pay, rank-for-rank, and all kinds of pay differentials. These departments literally saw their budgets double in less than ten years, mostly because of shrewd collective bargaining negotiators. What's sad is because the unions were so greedy, the modest 2.8% per year increase in the operating budget came at the expense of cutting many maintenance projects, including parks, roads, and county facilities. They are way behind in technology and have an understaffed IT division. So much deferred maintenance but no will to raise taxes or fees to catch up. Only willing to make these raises to feed the existing employees salaries. If we continue down this road, there will be failures to our roads and bridges that could have been prevented. Killing the GET bill was an incredibly stupid decision, but nobody is accusing Rapozo, Kagawa, and Kualii of being Kauai's brain trust. And Hooser, well Gary is just kowtowing to get votes by taking the easy position of not raising taxes.
I encourage the fact checkers to research the online budgets and CAFRs to look at the real numbers as opposed to the ongoing rhetoric on the size and cost of government services. Public safety (Police, Fire, and Prosecuting Attorney) is where the budget has expanded.
@10:12, Was the old mill bridge a County or State project? I thought that the highways are all State roads.
Wilcox school has nothing to do with the Kaua'i County.
The work by the old mill is a state project. Wailua Bridge was a state project too.
prosecuting attorneys budget is bloated.
the salaries there are redek.
they even have a dog now. waste waste waste
They're not paying for that dog. The handler pays for food and vet bills out of her own pocket and Assistance Dogs Hawaii pays for liability insurance.
4:24 you're stupid the difference between the TAT and the GET is that the residents pay majority of the GET. Great job by the Council of standing up to the balls less State Legislature. Who created the $100 million backlog? The previous Councils? Who was on them ? Yukimura, Kouchi, Tokioka, Kawakami, Rapozo? Why should the present Council clean up their shit now? Force the legislature to clean up the mess they created or vote their asses out!
9:17am Don't forget previous councils had Furfaro, Bynum, Hooser, Kawahara, Kaneshiro, Asing, and all the Mayors too, Baptiste, Kusaka, Bernard, where was the priority of fixing roads people? You put it all on this Council and the public to clean up your mess now? Get real, more wasted money for the Mayor to hire Hopeless do nothing's ? Pass on the GET and more County Waste. Stupid idea, vote Yukimura, Chock, Kaneshiro, and Hooser out.
They are paying a huge attorney salary for dog handling during work hours. Its a waste of a prosecutor. Unless that dog can teach them how to prosecute.
No, they aren't. They paid a one-time handler training fee.
not the school you idiot. the road infront of the school, lolo
Listen. The current administration will be in office 10 Years. It's their job to reduce the backlog. Yes the past guys were responsible for helping create the mess. But we can't do nothing about that. Our current leaders will make about $1 mil each over 10 years. The buck stops with them. Why do they fund pretty projects when the important stuff goes undone.
They're getting 141 million from the state for backlog and Yukimura wants more money from every one.
It was done by local unions and I saw local Kauai guys working in that project for 3 years until the Feds got involved and got the mainland guys to finish the job.
It would have probably taken 10 years or more if the local unions and workers were to finish the job.
Yeah and who started the over paying of these rookie DPA's? ShayMel.
His is what they get elected to do. The current council hasn't done a damn thing and they want to put the blame on the previous council.
It's apart of your duties and responsibilities and if you ain't got the nuts to do it then quit.
Hardy St has over 10 crosswalks going towards Rice st. Holy moly what a crock a shit.
4:35. You're the loser, put your name in the hat for council you fucking clown. What's your damn name you coward.
Let me guess. You people are angry.
What's interesting, is Glenn Mickens is still ragging and pushing for a county manager in today's Garden Island, LTE. He must have took lessons from JoAnn.
Vote for people you can trust. Ride the roads and avoid the pot holes. Eat food that you know is safe from E-Coli. Kauai is very special place, keep it special. If you want to change it because it is not to your liking, then move to somewhere that is to your liking. Leave us be. We were fine before you got here.
Another good house slave laughing at all the field slaves.
What Bozo no can handle the truth? Get to work you lazy no neck bastard. You fools in council haven't done a damn thing this past 2 years. The hold overs from before haven't done anything positive the past decade. Oh but you all sued yourselves to raise property taxes and created hidden triple taxes on the working class.
County Manager would work if he/her duty is to manage to county and not have a dictatorship. The county council made an obscene proposal because they don't want it to get to ballot. Every one on Kauai is FED up with this Mayor and his cronies.
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