Monday, June 30, 2008


Editors vs. police chief

by Larry Geller

Today’s Advertiser editorial discusses the certainty that iwi will be discovered along the proposed Honolulu transit route. They don’t qualify it, of course, with anything like “should the project not be defeated on the November ballot.” But nevermind. They did choose to diss the Kauai chief of police, though:

Most recently, a Kaua'i homeowner who passed the reviews by the island burial council and secured the permits nonetheless was told to halt construction by Kaua'i Police Chief Darryl Perry, who cited burial desecration law. Since the homeowner had followed council direction to leave the burials in place and decided to build above them on post-and-pier supports, this decision is utterly incongruous. [Honolulu Advertiser, 6/30/2008]

“Utterly incongruous?” It was surprising, but also refreshing. Utterly refreshing.

As an astute blog reader, you may have been following this issue on one of the local blogs. Journalist Joan Conrow recently wrote, quoting in part an article from The Garden Island (italics):

Looking forward, KPD Assistant Chief Roy Asher said the issue will be addressed by the judicial system. “It’s in the courts now, which is where it belongs,” he said.

Yes, that is where this issue belongs. And how much wiser of the Chief to put it into the system this way, rather than through an untold number of trespassing cases that, aside from all their drama and angst and potential for conflict with the police during arrests, would allow construction to continue while they wend their way through court.

So what’s incongruous to an editor is wise to many of the people who live there. Chief Perry may still have figured incorrectly with regard to his interpretation of the statute, but as the above indicates, the courts will sort it out. And it’s about time. If you click on the first link in this post you’ll be taken to a DLNR web page that will be at least an introduction to the issue of grave desecration. I know that there are more and better discussions out there, but that page is not a bad start I hope. Perry skillfully avoided a confrontation that would have fractured the community. I think he has earned respect through his action and that’s better than cracking heads on behalf of a developer (which is a more accurate description than “homeowner” for a serial house builder).

I suppose the Oahu point of view is that developers and related interests are always right. Could the fact that they are also advertisers have any influence on editorial judgement?

Elsewhere in the paper is an article about how many high rises have been given height exemptions. You’ll also recall that a transit stop is suddenly being considered for Mapunapuna just because a developer wants it, never mind whether it’s good for the community or for ordinary non-developer people like you or me.

Could the fact that developers and related interests are big campaign contributors have any influence on mayoral or councilperson judgement?

Sometimes I wish I had a few million dollars to test this out. How many editorials, congressmen, legislators or city council people could I buy with, say, just $1 million? Would it be a better investment to concentrate on local government, or should I spend my money at the state or federal level?

If I just scattered money around the halls of the State Capitol, say a few hundred thou in $20 bills, would I have to report that as campaign contributions? I could split it up into $25,000 chunks and every Tuesday, say, hire Abba to follow behind singing “Money, money, money” as a kind of signal for them to rush out of their offices and grab what they can. Oh, what a spectacle it would be!

Is the thought of paying for laws or opinions any more “utterly incongruous” than what Chief Perry did? And please, no one tell me that commercial media or politicians are independent of those who keep them in business.

Well, I can dream. I can also dream of the day when we have something like popular democracy to replace the influence of corporate and elite money in our government, and a press that would never, ever, act as cheerleaders for war. Or for burying beautiful Hawaii under concrete and asphalt, for that matter.


" How many editorials, congressmen, legislators or city council people could I buy with, say, just $1 million? "

Superferry spent about $350,000, if I recall. So for a million, you could almost get three laws that subordinate the interests of humanity and gut our environmental law to ensure your new endeavor's profit.

Even more, the objective Advertiser columnist would then write things about your business like, "seemed as (or more) ecologically sound as any other ship in the islands" and call it a "a jaw-dropping feat of nautical engineering." Advertiser 6-27-2008.

Hmmmm, paying Advertisers influencing a for-profit paper called the Advertiser? Do you think?

And the public schools don't teach the kids to question such things. No, just teach, swallow, regurgitate and pass standardized test.

Gotta go read Candide again. Back to the garden. Repeat, back to the garden.

Chief Perry made wise use of a little known statute. In fact he gained quite a bit of political goodwill with the people of Kauai which he will no doubt use on another issue. The Advertiser Editorial Board can go to *ell. Aloha, Brad

Today Brescia is quoted (in TGI) as saying “The law was obviously designed to punish those persons who desecrate burials without authorization.”

That may be the funniest quote I’ve heard in a long time. Where exactly do you go to get a permit for that?

Though “they” keep saying that it is “in the courts” now, it isn’t- and won’t be.

I don’t know how you “challenge in court” a police officer’s telling you that if you do “X” you will be arrested for “Y” without getting arrested. If were to yelling in the middle of the night and an officer said “stop that or I will arrest you for disturbing the peace” I can’t stop and “go to court” the next day to contest his determination the night before.

If Brescia wants to go up there with a shovel and get arrested then the matter would be in the judicial system.

"And please, no one tell me that commercial media or politicians are independent of those who keep them in business."

I'm shocked, shocked to find that corruption is going on in here!

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