Ashida Plays Politics with County Council

By Curtis Narimatsu and Go Lakers

Lincoln Ashida

Lincoln Ashida, plastic wrapped for your protection.

Mayor Billy Kenoi’s veto of the County of Hawaii budget for 2011-2012 was made possible by Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida’s handy declaration of its illegality.

The way we see it, Ashida is abusing the budget process for partisan purposes by undermining the new majority on the Hawai`i County Council.

Through his action, Ashida has made it abundantly clear that he does not want to work with this Council. In our opinion Ashida has been derelict in his duty as the County’s chief attorney to counsel, advise, and support the elected representatives of the Council. We see him as trying to sabotage their work and sully their reputation with the public .

Maybe the county employees (present and retired), unions, special interests, the construction, real estate, and financial contributors to their election campaigns might see this as Ashida doing his due diligence. But the majority of our island voters are either bewildered and shocked, or seething angry over this unproductive and costly preemptive legal strike by Ashida.

Now the NEW MAJORITY has no other choice but to respond….with better Honolulu attorneys touting a better legal analysis, which will give the county council members and public more peace of mind.

All at a cost to the tax payer.

Just like the infamous 2009 County Council reorganization that cost the tax payer so much in time and money due to the West Hawaii Today lawsuit, started by Ashida.

If the budget process was illegal than why did Ashida not voice his “legal opinion” during the public County Council hearings? Ashida sat in all council hearings. Ashida was present in the council hearings as the budget was drafted and amended 4 times. Ashida said nothing, did nothing, and was either ignorant, indecisive, or one-sided in his legal analysis.

No ethical senior public servant should be so biased as to manipulate the legal process for his own political gain and personal agenda.

Ashida shows his true colors time and again: There’s the Jimmy Arakai extended term issue; Maile David election campaign impediment and threats of prosecution by Ashida when she ran for office in 2010 against Kenoi and Ashida’s crony incumbent and now former council member Guy Enriques; the poor advice to the then majority council on the 2009 reorganization; his belligerent trash talk about HMP in backing Public Works on the Saddle Road tack coating before shelling out $60k in tax payers money to settle the suit against HMP. (Incidentally, Stanley Nakasone was not only involved in the change of procurement vendor in this HMP case and was reprimanded for it by Public Works director Warren Lee,  but he was also involved in the Kama’aina Pumping Service scandal.)

Ashida could care less about holding county employees accountable and liable for their actions, or what type of legal predicaments he would put the County of Hawaii tax payers, or how bad it hurts the reputation of our elected and appointed county officials, or what it cost the tax payer — as long as it fits in to his personal and political agenda.

And the tragic thing about his politically motivated cases is that Ashida is either losing these cases, or they are being overturned at a higher court, or he ends up paying out a settlement…all with our money.

Ashida was Mayor Billy Kenoi’s worst appointment and he has got to go.

The majority of Big Island residents have no confidence in him.

As far as the budget veto, someone ought to remind Billy Kenoi that the County Council’s authority over appropriations is its legislative function, while the Mayor’s authority covers implementation as the conjunct executive function.

Mayor Kenoi’s incredulous classification of “golfers” as a protected race and religion undeniably hallmarks his utterly foolish and desperate attempt to fool sensible voters and residents.

The Mayor’s authority to reduce his administration’s expenditures in conformity with our Council’s appropriation authority fits well with the established checks and balances of our political taxonomy. As Council Chair Yagong correctly says, the “budget belongs to the people,” not to Mayor Kenoi.

Our Council has until June 30 to override Mayor Kenoi’s veto.

UPDATE:

Hawaii County Counsel Resolution 88-11: RETENTION OF SPECIAL COUNSEL

Read Curtis Narimatsu's blog here.

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  • Thomas

    Andy having lived here for 30 years, 25 of which Ashida has served in legal capacities of one kind or another for Hawaii county I have good reason to question Lincoln’s motives and the quality of his opinions. He has history that is relevant in the context of how it relates to his legal opinions to the council. Lincoln Ashida’s history is one of seriously faulty opinions issued for political reasons going back years that have come back to hurt us time and again. His opinions in the past as in this case seem to be based on political alliances more than on the law. In this case I believe he was present during 4 different council hearings where the council discussed the budget yet never once that I could find did he voice any concern that there were legal issues with the councils amended budget.

    He could of averted the whole thing by simply advising the council he had concerns about the legality of what was being discussed but chose to remain silent and allow the council to go forward unaware of his opinion. Why would he do that?

    Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida on June 23, 2009 issued an opinion prepared for the Office of Information Practices regarding Hawaii County Council Member’s Sunshine Law violation as they related to the power play by some of the same players here to reorganize the county council leadership. The opinion was pure political B.S.

    Here is a link to that opinion

    http://www.bigislandchronicle.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/lincoln-ashidas-june-23-2009-opinion.pdf

    Lincoln Ashida’s opinion that the Sunshine Law violation was inadvertent, and not an intentional violation of the open meetings law was resolved when judge Ibarra ruled the law was violated.

    “It is clear that a quorum of councilors discussed resolutions regarding selection of board officers pending before the board, prior to, and outside of, the June 16, 2009 public meeting….” – Judge Ibarra’s order

    http://www.hawaiifreepress.com/main/ArticlesMain/tabid/56/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/949/categoryId/42/Sunshine-law-gets-teethmdashCouncil-reorganization-ordered.aspx

    In the end Ashida settled the lawsuit and I believe it cost the county a $50,000.00 settlement on top of what Ashida was paid and spent on this. The worst of it was the council was side tracked by this for months and had to reorganize again in a rush after the judge ruled against Lincoln, that interfered with county business for some time not to mention the loss of public confidence.

    In another opinion issued for a political buddy on term limits. Jimmy Arakaki was allowed to serve on the council illegally because of an Ashida opinion. This was pure politics.

    When the voters adopt a charter amendment to limit officials to four two-year terms, you would think that the government and the effected officials would obey it.

    Here is a story on that one

    http://sterlingpoints.blogspot.com/2008/09/citizen-forces-government-to-obey-law.html

    In Hawai’i County (the Big Island), the voters adopted such a limit in the 1996 election. In 2004, a long time political boss, who had already served more than 4 terms, filed nomination papers, again. Several citizens sued to block the appearance on the ballot of the long-serving politician, James Arakaki. One of those citizens is my brother-in-law Matt Binder of Kealakekua. The circuit court ruled for Arakaki.

    But a couple of days ago, the Supreme Court of Hawai’i, in a 4 to 1 decision, ruled for Matt and the other plaintiffs. It is shocking that it took the court almost FOUR years to rule!

    In other words Jimmy Arakaki was able to subvert the charter and serve on the council illegally based on a political opinion from Ashida and a long time Hilo judge. By the time the Supreme court reversed the decision his term was up and him and Ashida accomplished their agenda and undoubtedly had a good laugh.

    I will leave you with one final one from the last election when Lincoln tried to prevent a candidate from running for office against another of Lincoln’s political buddies. Ashida and Ken Goodenow

    Judge Hara Rules In Maile David’s Favor

    http://www.bigislandchronicle.com/2010/09/09/commentary-judge-hara-rules-in-maile-davids-favor/

    Third Circuit Court judge Glenn Hara ruled today in Maile David’s favor, asserting she has a constitutional right to seek the Council District 6 seat.

    Hara inquired from Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida as to the purpose of the 90-day requirement, and he could not offer an explanation.

    Here is what Lincoln said.

    http://www.bigislandchronicle.com/2010/08/26/hawaii-news-%E2%80%94-the-maile-david-story/

    He was trying to help Guy Enriques who lost to Brittney Smart but if it been Guy the opinion almost certainly would have been different. I don’t know about Kauai these days but that’s how things are done here and Lincoln has been a part of it for 25 years.

    So having a second opinion on our budget from an attorney that is not issuing opinions for political reasons but instead on the merits of the law makes sense in this case.

    Sherry Broder is a good choice for that second opinion and if she was going to do it for free we should have took her up on it. Even if it cost us $8,000.00 considering whats at stake it would have been money well spent based on Lincoln’s past opinions that put politics ahead of the people of Hawaii county.

    There is more to this than meets the eye………..

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    • go lakers

      If Mr. Ashida felt so strongly about his legal opinion, than why not allow council to hire another attorney for a second opinion instead of saying he would “fight it tooth and nail.” Ashida has made disastrous legal decisions, rulings, advisement’s, and decisions that have cost the tax payer and held up council legistlative business, like the infamous reorganization of 2009 .

      Ashida does not only just act in his own interest politically but does not conduct himself professionally as a statesman.

      And the attorney the county council was going to hire was Sherry Broder..one of the best Human Rights attorneys in Hawaii, won a a $2 billion dollar settlement against the former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos regime for abuses of his people (just settled for $10 million), won a big settlement against heptachlor, won another big settlement for the Dana Ireland family, was the OHA attorney and the former President of the Hawaii Bar Association.

      In fact, Broder was considering doing it for free…until Ashida fought it while being enabled by Kenoi and supported by the four other council members.

      I would take Broder’s opinion over Ashdia’s.

      This would be like comparing a Ferrari to a Ford Pinto.

      Also, Andy, are you a practicing attorney?

      One of the contributors to this story was licensed with the Hawaii Bar Association and a practicing attorney for over 30 years in Hilo, Hawaii who knows Ashida and has seen Ashida practice.

      If you are not an attorney , than you are another Joe like me with an opinion.

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  • Curtis Narimatsu

    Mayor Kenoi’s budget veto stands? To be or not to be [meaningfully beneficial to the public], tis’ the question, dear patrons.

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    • Thomas

      Just remember who owns this (budget) next year when the shortfall will be even worse……..Will they take responsibility for that??? Its their budget but will they accept the results it produces as their own (not likely)? I for one will be there to remind them……The mayor with the help of Lincoln subverted the budget process (IMO)and Fred Blas made it all possible…….Whatever happens now those three own it….They wanted it, they got it, it will be interesting to see them pointing fingers at everyone but themselves as things go from bad to worse….

      As the swing vote here, Fred is second only to Billy for the outcome the budget produces. The impact this will have on all of us belongs to them now….Lincoln is Lincoln his record speaks for itself no surprise there….This whole thing exposes the self serving political culture that has permeated Hawaii county for so long. Its this same culture that led to the Kama’aina Pumping Scandal, Bulldozer gate, rejection of the voter mandate issued by the lowest law enforcement priority, Mossman walking for killing Tim Sing, the police cheating scandal, Jeffery Darrow being hired back by the county, The Mathison murder cover up and on and on…..

      Fred, Billy, and Lincoln in there actions are perpetuating the very culture that has enabled all these outrageous abuses to thrive in Hawaii county for so long…

      Fred Blas has shown his allegiance…..He is playing for the Kanoi old boyz……Was there really any doubt???? He has made his bed, chose his fate, now he has to live with it….

      He avoided debates and public forums at all cost (that was a huge red flag)now we know why and where he stands………That will not work next time Fred…

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  • Curtis Narimatsu

    Mayor Kenoi’s PR damage control top paid exec Kevin Dayton actually posed the open-ended questions to ex-solon Keola Childs, whose answers are linked in the previous comment. Mayor Kenoi’s top paid execs from the newspaper industry are clueless on stamping out the truth [no typos here!]! Goodness gracious blessing to us all 😉 !!

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    Mayor Kenoi does NOT let the public know that our County Council pared $10 million from our GASB 45 carryover to meet our payment obligations, and yet Mayor Kenoi loudly tin cans [with tiny pebble inside the otherwise empty tin can]/wahanui ignorant HTH cartoonist Gary Hoff’s 6/5/11 spoof that our County Council actually exceeded Mayor Kenoi’s budget by $44 Gs. Sheez, get with it, Mayor Kenoi & misinformed Gary Hoff! As are a few misinformed commenters at BIC.

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  • Curtis Narimatsu

    Link Ashida’s rastignac aberration to humiliate & pontificate vs. our County Council and its Chairperson — sadly for Link shall derail Link’s aspiration to be appointed to a judgeship, much less derail Link’s immediate election run for prosecutor [elective office enables Link to distance himself from Mayor Kenoi in case Mayor Kenoi loses re-election, albeit Link’s huge flame-out last hurrah 8 days ago for inexperienced/unqualified Mayor Kenoi as Link’s adieu to disengage from Mayor Kenoi’s desperate attempt to stave off formidable opposition for next year’s mayor’s race re-election campaign. It is not inconceivable that Link’s thrashing vs. our County Council was to pre-empt/save face for Link with the potential Council outcome to resolve in “no confidence” vs. Link, the tome being Link’s ultra-mindful/wary focus on Council deliberations, which is why it is counter-intuitive that Link would wait till Link & Mayor Kenoi dropped the fallacious gauntlet on our Council last week, leaving our Council no choice but to rectify the harm inflicted by Mayor Kenoi & Link Ashida in concert with each other. No matter the cabal, Link Ashida did himself in on this maxima culpa.

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  • Curtis Narimatsu

    http://www.bigislandchronicle.com/2011/06/19/commentary-council-members-seek-special-legal-counsel-regarding-budget/#comment-80903

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    Hawaii County Counsel Resolution 88-11: RETENTION OF SPECIAL COUNSEL

    A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE RETENTION OF SPECIAL COUNSEL BY
    THE HAWAII COUNTY COUNCIL TO PROVIDE LEGAL OPINION REGARDING
    1 FORM ANDOR LEGALITY OF BILL 29 DRAFT 4 THE PROPOSED
    OPERATING BUDGET FOR THE COUNTY OF HAWAII FOR FISCAL YEAR 2011
    2012 AS ADOPTED BY THE HAWAII COUNTY COUNCIL ON JUNE 1 2011 2 THE
    VETO MESSAGE FOR BILL 29 DRAFT 4 AS TRANSMITTED BY THE
    HONORABLE MAYOR WILLIAM P KENOI DATED JUNE 2011 15AND 3 THE
    LETTER BY CORPORATION COUNSEL LINCOLN TS ASHIDA TO FINANCE
    DIRECTOR NANCY CRAWFORD DATED JUNE 14 2011 REGARDING BILL 29
    DRAFT 4
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    Mayor Kenoi sadly and fallaciously has thrown down the gauntlet, so our County Council has no choice but to rectify the harm caused by Mayor Kenoi’s wasteful malicious maxima culpa.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mea_culpa#Origin

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  • Curtis Narimatsu

    http://hawaiinewsdaily.com/2011/03/spending-spree-waha-nui-mayor-billy-kenoi/

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    White collar crime denotes and includes government influence peddling, political spoils, graft, & corruption, not marijuana prosecution!! Our Prosecutor professes low priority on marijuana prosecution, yet concedes no prosecution on white collar crime.

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    1962-born Link Ashida’s tour de force for Mayor Billy Kenoi born 1968 [Billy’s gaffe after gaffe mark Billy as a failure, including but not limited to fiscal fiascos — http://hawaiitribune-herald.com/articles/2011/03/18/local_news/local02.txt
    http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/articles/2011/03/16/local_news/local03.txt
    ] accomplishes for Link Ashida 1) an elective win for Link as prosecutor; 2) a viable public profile for Link even if/when Billy loses re-election for mayor next year. Link’s being quieted by HND/BIC commentators who are critical of Link’s rubbernecking/obsession for adulation/ego-stroking despite Link’s plethora of miscues/vanity follies — distanced Link from Mayor Kenoi, which gave Link time to regroup w/last week’s thunderous but fallacious set-up for humiliation vs. Council Chair Yagong & our County Council. Sadly for Link, our County Council’s budget appropriation is not an unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive branch of government, but instead a designated specific appropriation.

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    Link has no inclination to deviate from the status quo that crucifies as “white collar” criminals our otherwise law-abiding marijuana smokers, and that refuses to target itself — ergo, actual government profiteers [including public sector medal poppers/supervisors]. Alleged improprieties
    ramping up well over a million dollars as an utterly conservative tally just by one lone alleged miscreant — County supervisor Randall Riley’s Kamaaina Pumping drywell maintenance?

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    Besides, doesn’t our prosecutor refer cases to our U.S. Attorney’s office/State AG’s office when our prosecutor declines jurisdiction?

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    Paul Newman handsome and younger than Link as deputy prosecutor Mitch Roth is, and with our radically new demographic of 34% haole ethnic majority minority impelling anti-buddahead-dominated government establishment status quo/inertia/entropy — albeit haole lethargy to vote on election day — only antiquity’s Rip Van Winkle/Rumpelstiltskin prophesize an easy Link Ashida buddahead/kama’aina[longtime local resident “host-like culture”] win over Ben-Hur/Hilo provost marshal Mickey Marcus template Mitch Roth. http://hawaiinewsdaily.com/2010/12/mickey-marcus-you-won%e2%80%99t-believe-your-eyes/

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    That is, if Mitch runs vs. Link/others. Will Mitch dispense with status quo’s odious Modern Inquisition and institute progressive reform? Only time shall tell. Make-up calls to rectify the past are history’s seminal events [Earl Warren’s unanimous Brown v. Bd. of Education decision in 1954, the greatest case in U.S. Supreme Court history, to make up for Earl Warren’s internment of loyal Japanese Americans WWII][bi-sexual Eleanor Roosevelt’s admonition to hubby FDR to give equal dignity to females, thence FDR’s appointment of top females][Rev. Hung Wai Ching’s formation of the 100th Batt./442nd infantry to make up for Pa-kay Hung Wai’s beating up the biggest J*p kid on the block in Hung Wai’s teenage shanty slum Emmaville mauka/upland of today’s Governor’s Mansion]/etc.

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    http://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2011/05/29/our-civil-service-systempublic-employee-unions-reinforce-mediocrity-bloated-government/

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    http://hawaiinewsdaily.com/2011/06/mayor-kenois-public-relations-staff-quiet-on-kamaaina-pumping-scandal/

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  • Curtis Narimatsu

    Link Ashida on the County payroll/dole since his school days over a quarter century ago.

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    Link says that police and prosecutors are not legally required to make adult personal use of marijuana their lowest enforcement priority.
    The voter initiative simply provides our police and prosecutors this option if they so choose.

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    http://hawaiinewsdaily.com/2010/12/fluid-progressive-like-maile-david-vs-retrograde-orthodoxy-like-link-ashida/

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    Jimmy Arakaki served for 16 yrs. on our County Council, from 1990-2006, with 8 yrs. as its chairperson. Our 1996 Charter amendment on term limits of 8 yrs. limited Arakaki to serve up to 2004, but our Supreme Court only ruled on this in 2008, 2 yrs. after Arakaki left office. Aaron Chung & Curtis Tyler both opted out from running for re-election when their 8 yr. limit came up in 2004, noting that the people had spoken via the 1996 Charter amendment to limit Chung/Tyler to serve only until 2004.

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    But Arakaki was part of the ole’ boy network who opted to retrench his power via re-election which extended his stay illegally for another 2 yrs. from 2004-2006, during which time Arakaki chaired over his divisive politics of West Hawai’i trash, road, development [Arakaki shamelessly promotes development to increase our tax revenue to avert our County’s fiscal bankruptcy brought on by former Mayor Kim & perpetuated by Arakaki’s little boy Billy Kenoi], & a plethora of other issues for which Arakaki was devoid of authority to preside over.

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    Just the same, the Maile David candidate residency issue was a futile exercise in retrograde banishment of an eligible candidate for public office, an anachronistic provision on the books since 1962, half a century ago, when canard laws against miscegenation or interracial marriage and against fornication [shacking up] still were on the books. Such matters odious to the rights of liberty retained by the people of the United States, including the right of geographical mobility in Maile David’s case 9 months ago, and including the right to time-limit solons to avert graft and corruption which ripen as time goes on as in Jimmy Arakaki’s anti-will of the people case 7 yrs. ago, do hot button and divide America into 2 definable polarities — progressives like Maile David of her candidacy and Aaron Chung/Curtis Tyler of their term limits — vs. retrograde old orthodoxy stanchions/prop-ups like Lincoln Ashida in both the Maile David & Jimmy Arakaki cases.

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    The rich man [Mayor Kenoi’s special interest sycophants/rastignacs] and Lazarus [our silent majority] —

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    Now there was a certain rich man, and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, living in luxury every day.

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    A certain beggar, named Lazarus, was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Yes, even the dogs came and licked his sores. It happened that the beggar died, and that he was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.

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    The rich man also died, and was buried. In Hades, the rich man lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far off, and Lazarus at his bosom. He cried and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue! For I am in anguish in this flame!”

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    But Abraham said, “Son, remember that you, in your lifetime, received your good things, and Lazarus, in the same way, bad things. But now here he is comforted and you are in anguish. Besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, that those who want to pass from here to you are not able, and that none may cross over from there to us.”

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    The rich man said, “I ask you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house; for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, so they won’t also come into this place of torment.”

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    But Abraham said to him, “They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to Moses and the prophets.”

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    The rich man said, “No, father Abraham, but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.”

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    And Abraham said to him, “If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if one rises from the dead.”

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    – Luke 16:19–31

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    • Thomas

      So its clear Licoln’s position is – ‘the tax payers and voters are good enough to take a pay check from for twenty five years but not to be listened too or obeyed when they vote for what they want our representatives to do’.

      Thank you Curtis for taking the time to answer my questions.

      It a rare event for “the people” to feel so strongly about something to go through the burdensome initiative process to get a law they can not get from their representatives….

      Lincoln and the other county officials that take our money but refuse to take our direction should be fired or recalled…….just who do they work for?????

      Who do they think they are that they can defy our political process and law making.

      The arrogance is easy to see when spelled out as go lakers and Curtis have done.

      This old boy cronyism, white collar crime, and corruption has all but bankrupted Hawaii County.

      Thanks again. Even now they act with arrogance in their continuing self serving actions. Forcing the council to seek outside legal services over the budget.

      If Lincoln doesn’t reverse himself and forces this into the courts, I believe he should resign or be terminated……

      The last thing we need is another lengthy court battle based on political alliances….

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  • Joseppi

    Thanks, you two, for fleshing out this incompetent bureaucrat.
    Guess what game Obama and Bohner were playing when they got together to talk about cutting social services…..

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  • Buddah Bely

    Excellent article Curtis, I knew Lincoln was bad news for the citizens of Hawaii, but you put things in an understandable comprehensive package! Mahalo and I will share with my friends.

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  • Thomas

    What an eye opening and informative article. I have a couple of questions.

    How long has Lincoln Ashida been on the taxpayers tab?

    Did Lincoln issue the opinion that the county doesn’t have to obey the voters on the lowest priority for cannabis ordnance that they overwhelmingly passed?

    The same voters that pay him, the prosecutors,and the police that arrest kids, old men, and medical patients even when they have a state issued blue card. What does all that cost us? I know they pad their budgets with fed dollars for each arrest and prosecution, while Hawaii county tax payers are on the hook for all the resulting residual cost. It looks like his opinion on that one is damn the tax payers and voters, my friends are profiting off these arrest. Don’t get me started on man power aspects of this. How many man hours are spent on these marijuana cases while we can not even provide police protection.

    If he wants to work for the feds or the state good riddance, he sure has never represented the taxpayers or voters of Hawaii county as Curtis so eloquently has pointed out.

    At least Ashida is an equal opportunity offender, he offends a wide array of taxpayers/voters.

    Is this the kind of representation our mayor should cite when subverting the legislative function of the council?

    That golfer thing really bothers me, I do not golf and can barley feed and cloth my family because of the economic conditions that exist in Hawaii county.

    Most if not all of those golfers have it better than me right now. I am not taking any government assistance or pension. Its not right for the mayor to take money from me so his friends can go golfing.

    Anybody that has been to the Hilo Muni course knows a lot of those golfers are retired state or county employees.

    I thinks it great they have time to golf, but I am working 7 days a week and really can not afford taxes or fees so they can golf. You want to golf great, pay for your self.

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