Mayor Kenoi’s “Public Relations” Staff Quiet on Kama’aina Pumping Scandal

Billy Kenoi: Speechless

Hawai`i County Mayor Billy Kenoi: Speechless

A public/media relations professional is the opposite of a journalist, in that a public relations crisis entails damage control, not damage proliferation. And a journalist by profession is the worst pick to be in charge of public relations. (The most recent example par excellence of a public relations pro is Charlie Sheen’s publicist, who quit because this magnanimous pro could not stomach any more b.s. from Sheen. Or consider Wailuku Drive native sweetie Elisa Yadao now some 55 yrs. old or so, who could not stomach Bishop Estate’s Lindsey et al., and quit abruptly like Sheen’s publicist did. Bigtime news 14 yrs. ago!)

Mayor Billy Kenoi’s hiring of Journalists Kevin Dayton, Bobby Command and Hunter Bishop at sky-high salaries does not fulfill inexperienced wet-behind-the-ears greenhorn Mayor Kenoi’s perpetual craving to hide the facts via hocus-pocus voodoo economics. As pseudonym go lakers tells us….

The County of Hawaii has hired former journalists at huge salaries which they have absolutely not earned by their failure to organize, center and craft Billy Kenoi’s policies, messages and reputation. Hiring journalists as PR reps is a stretch. It’s like trying to turn a mule into a race horse. No can.

But to make these guys Executive Assistants? And to expect them to be not just public relations experts but now directors of the operations of County of Hawaii government? This is a disservice to the voters and tax payers of Hawai`i County.

Kenoi’s Journalists are failures as Public Relations reps. And now we are counting on them to run the nuts and bolts of County government?

What management experience does Mr. Dayton have in supervising operations, advising on government policy and managing people? Where in the government sector or the private sector has Mr. Dayton gained this type of experience or know-how? Does he have a bachelor’s degree in public administration or an MBA?

My understanding… zero experience in running a business, government, or an organization.

What about Hunter Bishop? The new Deputy Director of Environmental Management has no engineering degree nor experience in environmental waste issues…it’s a good thing Frank De Marco has an engineering degree and experience…but Mr. Bishop does not.

Any experience by Mr. Bishop in public relations?

If either did…both Dayton and Bishop should have responded to Flicklinger’s column’s allegations concerning Kama’aina Pumping Service.

The Kama’aina allegations are occurring in his department, reported to the West Hawaii Today by his own department employees in Environmental Management…..right under his nose!

And no comment.

These two are not practicing Public Relations.

Pseudonym go lakers is correct.

Any public relations rep doing his job would have responded to the West Hawaii Today column… Mr Dayton responded to the Iwasaki-Higbee letter two years ago by yanking the contract and sending out a media release….and the public relations professional would have stated to the public that the county would be taking these allegations seriously, would be interviewing county employees, do a full investigation and would follow up and disclose the county’s findings and follow-up with a public statement.

An open and transparent government!

A county government which would not only spend and use our limited resources wisely, but would take VERY SERIOUSLY the supposed breach in public trust being alleged by their own employees.

That is why I see the hot-line put together by Council Member Dominic Yagong as a pro-active measure being we cannot even count on Dayton or Bishop to handle the issue properly because they have failed to do so.

The hot-line would not be needed if the supposed “public relations officials” had done their jobs.

And why would the Mayor’s office terminate the Office of Information and Complaints…move all civil service employees out of the office..and keep only the appointed positions around the Mayor’s office?

No wonder Council Chair Dominic Yagong set up the complaint hot-line when the public now has nowhere to get information and/or file a complaint.

Would Mr. Dayton care to comment or does he rather enjoy blogging about “softball” subjects and issues?

Again…maybe unqualified, inexperienced, and overpaid…no?

Read Curtis Narimatsu's blog here.

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  • Curtis Narimatsu

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

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    http://hawaiitribune-herald.com/sections/news/local-news/kenoi-vetoes-budget.html

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    Mayor Kenoi’s chest-thumper bullying vs. high school grad but Tom Paine Common Sense incarnate Council Chair Dominic Yagong lands Mayor Kenoi in the brig of public opinion.

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    “That’s within their [Council] prerogative” is the sine qua non of legislative authority vs. Mayor Kenoi’s shibai/b.s. about alleged Council usurpation of executive authority. After all, the Council’s authority over appropriations is its legislative function, with the Mayor’s authority over implementation the conjunct executive function.

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    Corp Counsel Link Ashida is the Mayor’s shill/hack who bares groundless points to intimidate our Council, converging with Mayor Kenoi. Mayor’s Kenoi’s authority to reduce his executive branch/administration expenditures in conformity with our Council’s appropriation authority augurs our established checks and balances taxonomy. As Council Chair Yagong correctly says, the “budget belongs to the people [residents],” not to Mayor Kenoi. Our Council has until June 30 to override Mayor Kenoi’s veto, so Mayor Kenoi is putting fear into greenhorn solon Fred Blas to capitulate to Mayor Kenoi’s thug-okole crap.

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    On the open space fund, Council Chair Yagong, noting the charter amendment’s proviso for a minimum of 1% payment into the fund, said the Council’s decision to redirect $1 million would still put 1.5 percent of tax revenues in the fund. And Mayor Kenoi, Chair Yagong said, has talked publicly about the council’s ability to adjust the payment amount.

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    Mayor Kenoi’s so-called slush fund euphemistically worded “budget stabilization” is but a hidden overdraft account for Mayor Kenoi’s antics for re-election, when in actuality Mayor Kenoi’s hidden deferral for health care obligations will cost our County more late charges and bond downgrade rating.

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    Mayor Kenoi’s incredulous classification of “golfers” as a protected template a la race and religion suspect classifications undeniably hallmarks Mayor Kenoi’s utterly foolish and desperate attempt in turn to fool sensible voters and residents. Inexplicably, Mayor Kenoi exalts golfers as a fundamentally protected class.
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    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/16/sports/golf/2011-us-open-golfs-approval-rating-concerns-politicians.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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  • http://www.bigislandchronicle.com/2011/06/10/commentary-hat-tip-to-fire-chief-darryl-oliveira/#comment-79314

    Kevin-

    I’m sure the County employees love Fire Chief Oliveira. Especially the EMTs/fire personnel.

    What about the Tim-Sing family…do they love him?

    What about the Cordero and Kahapea families…do they love him too?

    What about the young mother and her unborn child who was left without a spouse and without a father, respectively, that one of your subordinates killed in Panaewa who was not disciplined initially by the Chief….do they love him too?

    I’m sure the EMTS/first responders love him to death when they know he’s got their backs like he did Kala Mossman.

    The gross ineptness and incompetence in how the Mossman case was handled are that Chief Oliveira promoted Mossman to Fire Captain while a criminal case of this nature was being investigated.

    Rescue professionals are the first responders…if the public cannot have faith in them who can we have faith in?!

    No suspension of Mossman while an internal investigation was on-going, not even an adjudication proceeding initiated by the Chief.

    The department could have suspended him or fired him with a lower standard of proof than there was to convict him (proof beyond a reasonable doubt) in a criminal case.

    No… the County promotes Mossman to Captain, with Captain’s pay (all paid for by the tax payers), and when he gets canned..County now has to use its limited resources to search out another Captain, promote, train and transition the replacement.

    This does not make practical and/or economic sense.

    No investigation was done by the County of Hawaii via the Fire Dept….just turn the investigation over to the County Prosecutor’s Office and we know where that went!!

    90 days in jail (done over a ten year period), ten years probation and a $125,000 fine.

    I wonder if the man who ran over Ted Braxton will be eligible for this type of treatment.

    Or the case concerning former Police Officer Jeff Darrow who was convicted for causing an accident, while under the influence, of killing fellow officer Ken Keliipio who was actually on duty.

    Darrow received no jail time, caused a lawsuit to be filed by Keliipio’s wife against the county (which we all paid for), and is now working in a better paying job at the Planning Department.

    So are these the plans you have for Mossman too?

    Kevin, you bureaucrats, at the County, might approve of Oliveira’s actions but I can you assure many people are furious.

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  • Thomas

    Glad to see Hawaii News Daily follow up on this.

    The administration is keeping its head down and pretending like everything is ok…….Its not, as these post show its smoldering, just below the surface waiting for the oxygen that will ignite it again. The administration has learned nothing, the arrogance we see in the continuing corrupt relationship between the county and Kama’aina Pumping is outragous. For me, as a taxpayer I want this not only stopped I want those responsible held accountable. Something mayor Kanoi has thus far refused to do.

    go lakers is right….This needs to be addressed.

    Thanks for the links they were informative and I thought Jason Armstrong did a great job.

    If the mayors minions want to address this, here is a platform where they are sought out, we want to hear their side. If there is nothing to hide I would think they would jump at the chance to set the record straight.

    We’re waiting…….

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  • So now the Mayor’s Executive Assistant (and public affairs “consultant”) Kevin Dayton is taking offense to Jason Armstrong’s article in Wednesday’s Hawaii-Tribune Herald concerning the Pahoa Transfer Station.

    Hey Kevin, instead of writing a passive-aggressive blog post about Armstrong’s article that is not agreeable with you…why not answer the questions many citizens have concerning Kama’aina Pumping Service and the Mayor’s Office of Information and Complaints being disassembled (which you are rumored to be the present County of Hawaii liaison for).

    Or the budget discrepancy from what the mayor said and press release wrote in July of 2010 and what Armstrong’s article stated.

    These are legitimate questions and we, property owners, have a right for them to be asked.

    Plus, it’s your job as a public official to do so.

    Or do you prefer just popping off at a newspaper writer (who recently won an investigative journalist award for covering the County)?

    Which is not a smart idea when the newspaper writer is covering County of Hawaii government for our only local daily, and no competent public relations professional would start a feud with the only local daily writer covering county government.

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  • Curtis Narimatsu

    Top-down hegemony replete in conventional orgs leaves an observer nonplussed [bewildered/flustered]regarding our horizontal/sideway taxonomy in our federal/state/local divisions of government operations, where it’s “every man for himself” at all divisions/levels of operations, such that sycophants/rastignacs suck up to their lateral division supervisors, essentially as part of a closed club cabal, heedless of perfunctory ritualistic oversight functions at a higher division of operations. Seminal exhibit — FBI purview via our local Japanese American agent. It’s not mind-bending whether a Sen. Inouye shut down its purview, inasmuch its purview was undertaken by our own brethren among the marked recipients.

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  • Curtis Narimatsu

    Pseudonym go lakers broke the news on Kamaaina Pumping to great scribe Nancy Cook Lauer and to courageous WHT editor Reed Flickinger. Of course, go lakers also has sources. Pseudonym go lakers has been abused and mistreated intentionally and recklessly and negligently by our County government, including but not limited to other wrongs committed by various government operatives, including racial pro-Japanese preferences, and go lakers has been retaliated against by our County government, among other wrongs committed by our County government.

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    To their credit, elected Council members led by Chair Dominic Yagong born 1959 are progressive reformers who expose to date Mayor Kenoi’s sleight of hand hocus pocus voodoo economics, not to mention Mayor Kenoi’s talking down abusively to our progressive reformers incl. Chair Yagong, finance head Brenda Ford, & Angel Pilago & Brittany Smart. Pete Hoffmann is not a substantive leader but more an able subordinate. Fred Blas owes his constituents progressive reform & not ole’ boy politics a la our Hilo pro-J*p trifecta of Ikeda/Onishi/Yoshimoto, all 3 being nothing more than shills/hacks for Mayor Kenoi [special interests craving].

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  • Joseppi

    Non-transparent – insulated – bureaucratic cronyism is a valid description of how the county government works on this island.
    Where are our elected Representatives? Pilago, Hoffman….Is Yagong the only one trying to work on our behalf? These representatives should hold press conferences with the news media and expose to the public what is going on. Is it as Kenoi says, “That’s the way it’s always been done” and we’re stuck with the self-serving cronyism. I don’t think so Mr. Mayor.

    This bureaucratic abuse of power has hid for years behind a bureaucratic brick wall of silence. If it wasn’t for the cracks in this brick wall recently opened up by WHT and Flickinger this self-serving racket would simply go on and on. In fact, these bureaucrats could be indicted on racketeering charges, and should be.

    County and state cronyism has saddled the tax payer with astronomical debt to support retired bureaucrats pensions and health care. The tax payer’s house has become the ATM machine for these bureaucrats to fund their ongoing racket of raiding the county coffers for their personal benefits.

    On an island there is not a lot of revenue streams, and the public trough is the biggest revenue generator, which includes the military largess, that is available for islanders to have careers with a living wage. The clever ones with compromised morals have taken advantage of a plantation-like government and need to have their hands slapped.

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  • Let’s also not forget Desiree “call me Moana” Cruz…the Public Information Officer.

    What college did she study at or graduate from and was her area of study public relations? Was it even journalism? Does she have any legitimate professional experience in public relations or even journalism?

    Or do we have an unqualified Public Information Officer, like Noelani Whittington of Public Works, who was actually awarded the Big Island Press Club “Lava Tube” award for sending out a memo to county employees not to cooperate with certain representatives of the media.

    Excuse me….but as a Public Information Officer….it is your duty to communicate and respond to the media and public when there are questions and information asked of you.

    Both of you!

    Is this another political patronage position offered to a person who is completely inexperienced and unqualified to be in this job?

    Did she get the appointment because she rode the campaign bus and waved on the side of the road with a sign, “Kenoi for Mayor” or “Together..we can”?

    If “togeda we can”..why eliminate the Office of Information and Complaints which pushes to the side open transparency in our county government.

    If we are all in this together..why eliminate this office which provides to our community a place to voice their concerns or get information.

    Between Hunter, Kevin, Bobby (who is a good and decent man) and Desiree not to mention Craig Kawaguchi (who is no longer there in the mayor’s office but elsewhere in County government)…the tax payer is footing in the area of half a million dollars a year in salary and benefits and these players have done nothing even remotely close to providing the consultation for the county and their boss, the mayor.

    If they were providing the public affairs expertise…one of them would have stepped up to the plate answering Flickinger’s editorial on Kama’aina Pumping and been the liaison for the community in the Office of Information and Complaints.

    These “public relations officials” should have discussed all policy matters with the mayor to stay on task concerning issues and crafted his message and helped not only to enhance but protect Kenoi’s image.

    Where were these “professionals” when Jason Armstrong of the Hawaii-Tribune Herald wrote an article on Thursday, July 18, 2010 questioning whether Mayor Kenoi did in fact cut the department budgets across the board for all County departments as he suggested in his budget press release and interviews. Armstrong’s article suggested Kenoi was not forthright concerning the budget and that the mayor had in fact raised funding across the board for the majority of the County departments.

    When Kenoi was pressed to comment, he was unavailable for a number of days but was willing to comment on other articles concerning county business, which were not quite as controversial

    None of these four were available to comment for the mayor or protect his image while Armstrong and the article won an award for investigative journalism. http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/sections/news/local-news/tribune-herald-wins-9-state-awards.html

    This think tank of ex-journalists/public relations consultants “no comment” has proven they are continually not up to the task of representing the County of Hawaii and its tax payers.

    Even some of the former employees in the office, subversively, are complaining about the elimination of the Office of Information and Complaints and what this communicates to the public.

    Again it’s our tax dollars spent on rewarding friends and supporters whom I am concerned do not have the professional or learning capacity to do the job for us.

    Or the guts to do what is right.

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  • Curtis Narimatsu

    From: Jeff Iwasaki-Higbee
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    Date: Mon, May 30, 2011 at 2:06 PM
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    Subject: RE: The Kama’aina Pumping Scandal Remains Scandalous
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    To: editor@hawaiinewsdaily.com,
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    rflickinger@westhawaiitoday.com

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    For Curtis Narimatsu & Reed Flickinger

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    I appreciate both of your exposure’s of Riley and Nakasone. Thank You for that.

    A slight time line correction to consider if any more articles are written concerning these two.
    Riley not only started his business while in employment with Eckard Brandes, Inc. he bid against his employer and was terminated after it was discovered.

    After termination he also filed for unemployment and a workman’s comp claim for stress of the situation that he created.

    I verbally told Stanley Nakasone and the finance director of the wrong doing after I found out.
    Eckard Brandes, Inc. formally protested the bid but, did not realize what happen until after the 5 day window for bid protest
    so its claim was time barred.

    However, the issue of Riley bidding and in the employment of the other bidder should have required
    at a minimum that both bids to be thrown out.

    Sincerely,

    Jeff Iwasaki-Higbee

    P.S. don’t forget this guy had the arrogance to run for Mayor.

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    _____________________________________________________

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    http://hawaiinewsdaily.com/2011/05/the-kamaaina-pumping-scandal-remains-scandalous/

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    Curtis Narimatsu on May 27, 2011 at 9:01 pm

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    The independent investigative grand jury counsel is but another bureaucracy of scrutiny where the local prosecutor/corp counsel or state attorney general fails to act responsibly. But Hawai’i does not have such an independent investigative grand jury counsel system. The special grand jury format on the federal level is the analog. Or, as pidgin enunciates, “federalee.”

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_jury#United_States

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    Federal level

    Charges involving “capital or infamous crimes” under federal jurisdiction must be presented to a grand jury under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This has been interpreted to allow the grand jury to be bypassed for misdemeanor offenses, which can instead be charged by prosecutor’s information. Some plea agreements also stipulate that the defendant waives prosecution by indictment. However, the defendant must make this waiver in open court and after being advised of the nature of the charge and of the defendant’s rights. The U.S. Attorneys Manual states that prosecutors “must recognize that the grand jury is an independent body, whose functions include not only the investigation of crime and the initiation of criminal prosecution but also the protection of the citizenry from unfounded criminal charges.” It is not altogether uncommon for subjects or targets of the grand jury’s investigation, particularly in white-collar cases, to request or demand the opportunity to tell the grand jury their side of the story. However, the prosecutor has no legal obligation to permit such witnesses to testify,[15][16] though the Manual warns that a refusal to do so can create the appearance of unfairness.[17] The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure prescribe that a grand jury must have from sixteen to twenty-three members and that an indictment may issue only if at least 12 jurors concur.[18]

    For members of the United States armed forces, an Article 32 hearing is used for a similar purpose.

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    SPECIAL GRAND JURY

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    A special grand jury is one of two types of grand juries that exist in the U.S. federal system. While a regular grand jury primarily decides whether to bring charges, a special grand jury is called into existence to investigate whether organized crime is occurring in the community in which it sits. This could include, for instance, organized drug activity or organized corruption in government. As provided in 18 U.S.C. § 3331(a), the U.S. District Court in every judicial district having more than four million inhabitants must impanel a special grand jury at least once every eighteen months.[19]

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    State level

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    Unlike many other provisions of the Bill of Rights, the Supreme Court has ruled that this requirement was not incorporated to apply to state courts via the Fourteenth Amendment, and states therefore may elect not to use grand juries.[20]

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    County level

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    In the U.S., the states of Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico and Oregon have grand juries at the county level.

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    In California, each county is required by the state constitution to have at least one grand jury impaneled at all times. Grand juries are governed by Title 4 of the California Penal Code, as well as other more general provisions. In addition, grand juries are not subject to the Brown Act.

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    Most grand juries are seated on a fiscal cycle, i.e. July through June. Most counties have panels consisting of nineteen jurors, some have as few as eleven jurors, others have as many as twenty-three (see California Penal Code Section 888.2). Jurors are usually selected on a volunteer basis.

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    These county-level grand juries primarily focus on oversight of government institutions at the county level or lower. Almost any entity that receives public money can be examined by the grand jury, including county government, cities, and special districts. Each panel selects the topics that it wishes to examine each year. A jury is not allowed to continue an oversight from a previous panel. If a jury wishes to look at a subject that a prior jury was examining, it must start its own investigation and independently verify all information. It may use information obtained from the prior jury but this information must be verified before it can be used by the current jury. Upon completing its investigation, the jury may, but is not required to, issue a report detailing its findings and recommendations.

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    The grand jury is required to publish a minimum of one report containing a minimum of one finding and one recommendation. The published reports are the only public record of the grand jury’s work; there is no minority report. Each published report includes a list of those public entities that are required or requested to respond. The format of these responses is dictated by California Penal Code Section 933.05, as is the time span in which they must respond.

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    County grand juries develop areas to examine by two avenues: juror interests, and public complaints. Complaints filed by the public are kept confidential. The protection of whistleblowers is one of the primary reasons for the confidential nature of the grand jury’s work.

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    Most county grand juries in California do not consider criminal matters, though by law they are able to. The decision of whether or not to present criminal cases to the grand jury is made by the county District Attorney.

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    Hennepin County, Minnesota (which contains Minneapolis) keeps a grand jury impaneled at all times. Each grand jury serves a term of four months, typically meets one day each week, and focuses almost exclusively on homicide cases.

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    Circuit grand juries in Kentucky

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    In Kentucky, grand jurors are empaneled in each county, at the Circuit level (felonies only) for a four-month term (three panels per year). During the trial jury orientation for the given four-month term, the grand jurors are selected from the trial jury pool, although the method of selection is not necessarily random. The meetings are twice a month (however, grand juries in more populous counties generally meet more often), with each meeting usually going through 20-30 cases in a four to five hour period. The indictment rate is about 98-99%; the grand jury can broaden (about 1% of the time) or narrow (about 3% of the time) the counts in the indictment as well. Usually, fifteen or so grand jurors are required to report to meetings; the hope is that twelve will show to each meeting, which is the number of jurors required to hear cases (extra jurors can leave). It takes nine yes votes to the question of probable cause to sign a true bill of indictment. Fewer than nine yes votes either causes a no true bill or a narrowing of the indictment (depending on the votes per count).

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    The rules are very similar to the federal process; the grand jury only hears from law enforcement personnel, with the exception of property crimes, where store detectives or actual victims of theft or vandalism are called to testify. The only cases brought to the grand jury are those initiated from the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office (the prosecutor for felonies). For the vast majority of cases, the grand jurors generally only hear a recitation of facts from the police report, crime laboratory reports, and other documentation generated during the evidence gathering process. Grand jurors can ask factual questions of the witnesses and legal questions of the prosecutors. The ability to broaden or narrow indictments does technically allow for grand juries to open new avenues of investigation, although since it is dependent on prosecutors for facts, this is very rarely done. Rules of confidentiality apply to grand jurors, which are similar to the federal rules.

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    Criticism

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    The most persistent criticism of grand juries is that jurors are not a representative sampling of the community, and are not qualified for jury service, in that they do not possess a satisfactory ability to ask pertinent questions, or sufficient understanding of local government and the concept of due process.[21] Unlike potential jurors in regular trials, grand jurors are not screened for bias or other improper factors. They are rarely read any instruction on the law, as this is not a requirement; their job is only to judge on what the prosecutor produced. The prosecutor drafts the charges and decides which witnesses to call.[9] The prosecutor is not obliged to present evidence in favor of those being investigated. Grand jury witnesses have no right to have a lawyer or family in the room, and can be charged with holding the court in contempt (punishable with incarceration for the remaining term of the grand jury) if they refuse to appear before the jury[22] and all evidence is presented by a prosecutor in a cloak of secrecy, as the prosecutor, grand jurors, and the grand jury stenographer are prohibited from disclosing what happened before the grand jury, unless ordered to do so in a judicial proceeding.[9]

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    After a grand jury was commissioned to investigate whistleblowers organization WikiLeaks, grand juries have been accused of being used as an intimidation and persecution mechanism against whistleblowers and anti-war activists.[23]

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    Runaway grand jury

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    Occasionally, grand juries go aggressively beyond the control of the prosecuting attorney. When the grand jury does so the situation is called a “runaway” grand jury.[24] Runaway grand juries sometimes happen in government corruption or organized crime cases if the grand jury comes to believe that the prosecutor himself has been improperly influenced. Such cases were common in the 19th century but have become infrequent since the 1930s.[25]

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    One of the most famous cases was the 1935 Runaway Grand Jury in New York City, which was investigating gambling and mobster Dutch Schultz. Jury members complained in open court that prosecutors were not pursuing obvious leads and hinted that the district attorney was possibly receiving payoffs. Thomas E. Dewey was appointed as an independent prosecutor and would rocket to fame on his prosecutions. [26]

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  • Curtis Narimatsu

    http://hawaiinewsdaily.com/2011/05/the-kamaaina-pumping-scandal-remains-scandalous/#comment-4773

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    Curtis Narimatsu on June 6, 2011 at 8:46 pm
    http://www.westhawaiitoday.com/sections/opinion/columns/pumping-contract-allegations-place-county-knee-deep-muck.html

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    http://www.westhawaiitoday.com/sections/news/local-news/yagong-wants-budget-trimmed.html

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    Great scribe Nancy Cook Lauer’s excerpt –

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    The county has very little say in how much its employees make. All wages and furloughs are set by collective bargaining, with the governor holding four votes and each of four county mayors holding one vote.

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    http://www.westhawaiitoday.com/sections/news/local-news/council-brings-back-transit-fares-it-finalizes-budget.html

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    Scribe Nancy Cook Lauer’s excerpt –

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    Council members earmarked almost $10 million to restore funding to what is called GASB-45, or prepaid health costs for retired county employees. Kenoi’s budget postponed $20.1 million in GASB-45 payments.

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    “We’ve done a pretty good job, not a great job, but a pretty good job to address problems in the budget,” said South Kona Councilwoman Brenda Ford, chairwoman of the Finance Committee.

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    Still, she said, union negotiations are ongoing, and it’s difficult to know whether there will be enough to handle salaries and wages.

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    “I’m still fearful of reductions in force,” Ford said.

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    I thank WHT sleuth Nancy Cook Lauer and her editor Reed Flickinger above. Council Chair Yagong & Finance Chair Ford implored Mayor Kenoi to continue our furloughs, lest we downgrade our bond borrowing rating and pay an additional $4 million or so in interest/etc. for Mayor Kenoi’s pick back on failed outcomes. Mayor Kenoi’s sorry okole excuse which panders to our unions and terminates necessitous furloughs [without continued furloughs, we have clear/present danger of downgrade in our bond rating/more interest tacked on in the millions of dollars via deferred payments] [had Mayor Kenoi continued furloughs alone for HGEA/UPW, let alone SHOPO/firefighters, we would realize some $7 million less on our indebtedness] — pick backs on others — “…. The State of Hawai‘i has declined to make GASB 45 payments, while each of the four counties has made at least partial GASB 45 payments. For the past three years, the County of Hawai‘i has made full payment under GASB 45, making payments of $13.61 million in fiscal 2008; of $14.95 million in fiscal 2009; and $15.7 million in fiscal year 2010. This budget defers the scheduled fiscal year 2011-12 GASB 45 payment, for a savings of $20.1 million. This deferral of payment will in no way affect present or future health benefits of our employees or retirees, and our plan is to resume the GASB 45 payments as the county’s financial position improves.”

    http://www.hawaiireporter.com/moody%E2%80%99s-downgrades-state-of-hawaii%E2%80%99s-general-obligation-bond-rating/123

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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!

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  • Curtis Narimatsu

    http://hawaiinewsdaily.com/2011/05/the-kamaaina-pumping-scandal-remains-scandalous/#comment-4778

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    Curtis Narimatsu on June 7, 2011 at 10:49 pm

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    Here are samples of Mayor Kenoi’s budget shibai/b.s. –
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    Kenoi said he’s not sure there’s enough money in that fund to cover those expenses. But more importantly, he said, the $5.6 million “negative budget item,” leaving it to the mayor to find another 10 percent after three years of budget cuts, is irresponsible.
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    “I already made the tough decisions and handed it to them,” Kenoi said. “They actually increased the cost of government, regardless of the amount they increased it by.”
    http://www.westhawaiitoday.com/sections/news/local-news/council-brings-back-transit-fares-it-finalizes-budget.html
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    The mayor had originally proposed a $367 million spending plan, but the council cut millions in order to partially fund a deferred payment to gasB 45 – a payment designed to pre-fund future obligations the county has incurred to fund retirement health care in the future – a $20 million expense.
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    “It was a thousand pound gorilla,” Council Chair Dominic Yagong said of the looming payment.
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    “I think we’ve dona a pretty good job of addressing that issue,” said South Kona councilwoman and finance committee chair Brenda Ford of the gasB 45 debt. “Are there still problems in the budget as far as I’m concerned, absolutely.”
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    “I withdrew a lot of amendments…” said Ford, “because Mr. Yagong proposed a 5.6 million across the board reduction, that the mayor’s going to have to deal with. He didn’t deal with that before he sent the budget to us. And this council has now dealt with it.”
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    “You cannot expect big savings,” said council chair Yagong, “if everything you are adjusting is to pay a big expense. A 3% difference is because the intention was to deal with the deferral.”
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    On Tuesday, the council added money for police radios, an amendment introduced by Ford.
    Yagong thanked the council, staff and clerk for all their hard work on the matter.
    But in the mayor’s office an hour or so later, the feelings were far from celebratory.
    “Either the council did not know where to cut,” Kenoi said, ”or did not know how to cut, or were afraid to make the difficult decisions to reduce the size and cost of government.
    http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/2011/06/01/video-hawaii-council-passes-budget-mayor-outraged/
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    Council Chair Yagong’s correct budget reduction – same video
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    http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/2011/06/01/video-hawaii-council-passes-budget-mayor-outraged/
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    So when Mayor Kenoi lays off County workers, Mayor Kenoi has only Mayor Kenoi himself to blame, because Mayor Kenoi failed to continue our Friday furloughs, while recklessly blaming our County Council for our County Council’s correct paring down of Mayor Kenoi’s hocus pocus budget. HTH cartoonist Gary Hoff was fooled by Mayor Kenoi’s sleight of hand vs. the public, but the public should not be fooled by Mayor Kenoi’s vituperative mistreatment of our County Council.

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    • Curtis Narimatsu

      a query 2 weeks ago —

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      Is it true that former employees in the Mayor’s office are stating that Kenoi rid the County building of the “Office of Information and Complaints” (where does a community member file a complaint or a grievance now)?

      Is it also true that the administration rid the mayor’s office of most civil servant county employees and filled the office with political patronage employees?

      Who knows about the missing laptop of 2008 or the bar issue at Shooter’s on a Thursday in April of 2004?

      These two issues are not governance issues nor policy setting issues nor a concern whether the mayor is promoting an open and transparent county government nor the question of whether an elected official is surrounding himself with experienced, capable, and accomplished professionals who, after two and a half years, are doing their job well?(which unfortunately for Billy, these selectees are not).

      Someone should discuss these later, the mayor selecting and retaining capable people to work in his inner circle. An example of this would be the appointment of former journalists to key positions.

      The reasoning behind hiring former journalists to work in the mayor’s office would be 1) they have a background in communicating to the public and 2) damage control if there is a public relations crisis that would need to be addressed….why not have the very ex-journalists who investigated these type of stories be the very ones who provide damage control to these type of unflattering county stories in a public relations county government crisis? No.

      Journalism is different from public relations although both are in the communication arena.

      A journalist will investigate stories and issues, interviews a wide range of interviewees/subjects based on the story, digs up and processes a wide range of information and writes news stories based on facts he/she has researched and will do so in as an impartial manner as possible.

      A public relations, county public affairs officer is different. It is their job to educate the mayor and bureaucrats about the role of the mass media and how to use it to work more effectively in communicating to the public and working with media representatives in an effective way, communicate the work of different county agencies, and advise the administration on how to best communicate a decision or program to the widest number of community members.

      But a public affairs professional also advises the mayor on community feedback pertaining to policies and programs that the mayor put forward in order to modify, amend, or whether to continue or discontinue.

      The county public affairs official also serves as an ombudsman and represents and listens to the public and it’s representatives and makes sure issues or grievances brought to it are addressed to the tax payers satisfaction.

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