Letters for Sunday — April 16, 2006

• Power struggle continues

• The age of ethics

• What ethics?

• No war against Iran

Power struggle continues

Our Kaua’i county government was basically patterned after the traditional U.S.A. form that most learned in Government 101. Normally this consists of elected or appointed administrative, legislative and judiciary bodies with authority to carry out their distinct designated responsibilities. What has gone wrong on Kaua’i with following those established principles which appear to have served well since the founding of our country?

Many recent meetings (and reports thereon in The Garden Island) appear to be another example of the tendency to overstep boundaries by various government groups in the current concerted efforts to oust Police Chief (K.C.) Lum. Is Lum’s termination really the prerogative of the County Council? Does this fall into the “legislative category” which I understand is the council’s area of government? They appear to be assuming both judicial and administrative powers in this matter. Is the mayor pleased with another council encroachment on his administrative responsibility, since their “dabblings” match his own stated desire to fire the chief? (As a sidelight, do you remember some time back when our locally-elected council voted unanimously to instruct our commander-in-chief to desist in his approach to battling international terror?) And Mayor Baptiste is not guiltless of attempting to exceed his authority by even calling a TV interview in an attempt to intimidate his own appointed Police Commission. Why do so many desire to usurp the Police Commission’s responsibility to hire and fire the police chief? Knowing Carol Furtado personally, I believe that her competent guidance of the commission would reach a proper resolution if left alone to fulfill the task that rightfully belongs in their arena. And it might also reduce the scope of potential lawsuits that appear on the horizon. Of course, the mayor and council members have the right to their individual opinions of our police chief, but they should not be expressing them authoritatively.

I do not know Chief Lum, but from all outward indications he and our “finest in blue” appear to be performing creditably and achieving results in reducing drug abuse and crime in general. And if some of his subordinates are not totally satisfied with his management style, it is rare to find any organization where everyone is truly enamored with their boss. Let them work it out without the public criticism that prevails. Over-running his budget is certainly not a major disaster even if the total county budget must be in balance. Perhaps the budget limits set by the mayor and council were not realistic. Anyway, the overrun was not significant when compared with the total funds allocated to his department.

On a government-related note, two proposals are on the long list being considered by the Charter Review Commission; i.e. 1) Shall council members be required to serve full-time? and 2) Should salaries of council members be fairly increased in the event council members serve full time? Considering the time obviously being spent by the current council on items unrelated to their sphere of responsibility it is not obvious that they need to serve full-time as proposed. Perhaps tending to their own business would reduce their time commitments. Maybe one result of increasing council member salaries would be enticing high-IQ persons to seek this important job, if they can tolerate the constant scrutiny.

Conclusion: even though power struggles have existed since the very beginning of time, it is overdue for it to cease in our local government. Simply follow the established rules!!

  • Murray C. Hudson

The age of ethics

The commission reviewing the Kaua’i County Charter for possible changes asked for citizen input, but the reality is that at least one idea being circulated appears to go beyond the commission’s purview because it would change the way we govern ourselves in favor of ethics. In brief, a government like the county is founded on the idea of “representing” the people-at-large.

However, such governments most accurately represent various special interests, especially business and labor, which control and manipulate the political and economic machinery and impose further imbalance in the form of “majority rule.”

The fundamental truth is that no political system is ethically valid unless it is given unforced, explicit, direct consent and support of the individual.

“Cooperatives” operate on this ethic (even if unintended), and they are efficient as well.

And just as the privately-owned electric utility on Kaua’i was transformed into a user-owned cooperative, so it is that services under the County Charter can be met by ethical user-owned cooperatives specializing in those needs.

A Web site has been set up for discussion: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kauaipubliccooperative. Goodwill to you.

  • Triaka-Don Smith

What ethics?

The manipulation of facts to oust the chief of police took a turn for the worse. The Honorable E. John McConnell as arbitrator submitted on Feb. 23, 2006, a five-page piece of paper called “Hearings Officer Report.” On page 2, first paragraph, the hearings officer recommends that the Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions be attached as Exhibit ‘A.’ Now the ‘not-so-honorables’ filed the Hearings Officer’s Proposed Findings of Fact with Council Services and conveniently the Hearings Officer’s Report is not available at Council Services. The county taxpayers spent about $150,000 to get a report. Some dishonest people try to manipulate public opinion by releasing selected pieces of the arbitrator’s report.

What offends me the most is the arrogance and ignorance of our elected officials when it comes to ethics. Using the words like “fair,” “fairly” and “due process” seems common to those who have no basic understanding what those words really mean. Is it due process to call a Chinese man “Hop Sing” on public record if we cannot call a black person that which is politely described with the “N” word? The vote was a roll call, and we, the county taxpayers, will pay dearly for it.

Apparently one thing is clear: somebody is playing “Dirty Harry,” and every corruption expert can explain what the “Dirty Harry” method is.

I do not question the integrity of the arbitrator. He submitted a report clearly identifying what he ruled on. However, I would like to raise the integrity question of those who split the arbitrator’s report and findings into different documents.

  • Richard O. Stauber

No war against Iran

I implore you to not allow this administration to go to war against Iran and certainly not use any kind of nuclear weaponry.

  • Joan Levy

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.