Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023 |
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• Penetrating the fog
• A safe place
Penetrating the fog
For more than a year, trying to penetrate the fog surrounding the advisory opinion issued by the Board of Ethics to attorney Jonathan Chun in March 2008 and the secret legal opinion the board relied on has been like trying to read small print in the dark of night with only the aid of starlight.
The board gave Chun permission to continue representing clients before county agencies despite the fact that Kaua‘i County Charter Section 20.02(D) clearly prohibits such activities and the fact that the board’s own guide to ethical issues supports the plain meaning of 20.02(D).
Then the voters removed any doubt last year by rejecting a charter amendment that would have exempted board/commission members from having to comply with 20.02(D).
With the release of the legal opinion by the board, we can now view the matter in the light of day and it is possible to see why a new member of the board, an attorney, said the legal opinion is “fatally flawed” and why the Board’s advisory opinion lacks any foundation in the law.
In essence, both are based on the insupportable claim that 20.02(D) must be interpreted and applied within the narrow limits of County Code Section 3-1.7.
The release of the legal opinion highlights two questions. First, will the board and the County Attorney’s office admit the mistakes made in the Chun case and take appropriate corrective action?
Second, how will the Board handle the three ethics complaints filed by Rolf Bieber, each of which alleges a violation of 20.02(D), and what legal advice will the Board receive in connection with the complaints? The board will take up the matter in executive session on June 4.
I hold to the hope that our officials will uphold the plain meaning of 20.02(D), take necessary corrective actions, beginning with a notice to members of government that 20.02(D) will be applied when appropriate, and move on.
Following such a course would have the added benefit of showing that government can acknowledge and correct mistakes without the sky falling and that residents respect this form of ethical conduct as much as they respect mistake-free decision-making.
Horace Stoessel, Kapa’a
A safe place
I was the person who was burglarized at the Po‘ipu condo May 18.
I was really looking forward to my vacation in Kaua‘i because of the fond memories I had as a child. For reasons purely coincidental, it has been the longest gap in time away for me from any of the islands.
I brought along with me my girlfriend who is from another country. I told her all great things about the Garden Isle.
Our first full day in Kaua‘i was all about exploring the beautiful island by convertible, stopping along the way to numerous beaches and towns. We were happy and full of the aloha spirit.
We purchased shaved ice and locally grown fruits along with some groceries to have a nice dinner back at our condo. I even found time to have some short conversations with locals along the way.
Imagine our surprise when we returned to find the condo had been broken into. Gone was my Victorinox backpack and my Apple G4 laptop (I am mentioning the name brands on the slight chance they may be recovered). Later, which was not in the police report, we noticed my girlfriend’s iPod and a flask her father had bought for me that was never used were stolen as well.
I tried to add this to the police report later and told the officer would be left a message. My call was never returned.
The backpack, iPod and flask have some minimal value to me but the laptop was the most distressing. I did not back up my music nor did I have all of my pictures for the past 3.5 years backed up. During most of that time I was on sabbatical and spent time in Mexico, South America and Europe. Gone are my photos of the Amazon River Basin and the indigenous people I had met. Gone, are my memories of a little woman who stole my heart for a time in Mexico. Gone, are my memories of my three months on the beach in Santa Marta, Colombia, and my friends and experiences. In addition, I also lost my personal diary of my adventures that I kept during these travels.
The irony in all this is that I was planning to by a new Apple next month and transfer all this information. The value of that laptop is about $100. It is slow and old.
So, thank you, cowardly burglars who decided to ruin my Kaua‘i vacation. I have a bad taste about Kaua‘i now and can no longer enjoy myself there. We left for O‘ahu a couple of days later and had no problems so I will still refer to Hawai‘i as my favorite state when asked. I really did try to enjoy myself in Kaua‘i after the burglary but the memories of my loss kept creeping into my head. The only time they left was on an amazing hike I had at the state park.
As for my girlfriend, she has obviously come away from her first trip to Hawai‘i with mixed emotions. Unfortunately, she has been telling her friends not to go to Kaua‘i because it is not safe. It’s sad because I really am proud of my country but I cannot argue what she has seen first hand.
As for me, I have been to six of the Hawaiian Islands and I will be returning to five of them indefinitely. Hopefully I can one day erase the bad memory of this circumstance out of my head and return to the only island that rivals the foliage of the Amazon Basin.
I wish good luck to all the good residents of Kaua‘i and I hope you can weather this rash of burglaries the way you have many a hurricane. You deserve to have a secure island for yourself and all of your visitors.
Adam Paler, Aurora, Ill.
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