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.


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