Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Elections in our Banana Republic

by Larry Geller

Doug beat me to it with a good article on his Poinography blog on the shenanigans over at the City Clerk’s office yesterday. You can read his account here. Both Doug’s article and mine are based on Richard Borreca’s story in today’s Star-Bulletin.

If Borreca’s story is correct, and there’s no reason to doubt it, Rep. Kirk Caldwell, hoping to run for the City Council seat vacated by Ann Kobayashi, failed to come up with the required 15 signatures by the 4:30 filing deadline yesterday. He needed one more valid signature. After the legal deadline passed, the City Clerk, Denise De Costa, arranged for or allowed a staff member to provide the missing signature. Can you beat that?

This is an example of how things are run in our Banana Republic. If the law is to have any meaning, it looks like Caldwell didn’t make it. His name should not be on the ballot.

There’s more:

On the state side, [Chrystn] Eads said she was standing in line to get her filing papers at 3:50 p.m. but didn't get them until 4:25.

Her friends, waiting to sign her nomination papers, were crowded outside when election officials closed the door at 4:30 p.m.

At first, election officials said Eads could not file, but Hawaii Democratic Party Chairman Brian Schatz told an election official they should "err on the side of allowing people to be candidates."

"The line was backed up and it was not the candidate's fault," Schatz said.

Of course, it was the candidate’s fault. She should have showed up in time. Schatz’ appeal was a good try but should have been refused, IMHO. Instead, again, the law seems to have been violated so Eads could qualify.

If someone files a lawsuit over this, the city will be spending taxpayer’s money to defend the Clerk’s illegal actions. The city should just admit that their clerk acted in error. Of course, then, there could be lawsuits from the other side (sigh).

Finally, the city should be looking for a new clerk, one who can understand the meaning of a legally mandated “deadline.”


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