Ethics examination needed
Thank you for having such a robust First Amendment policy that your opinion page gives all our Hawaii County citizens a daily opportunity to enshrine free speech from, by and for the community. In the age of Trump, that is very meaningful!
In May and June of this year I filed two petitions with the county Ethics Board complaining that I felt two deputy corporation counsel attorneys had acted unethically. I believed that county employee Amy Self had acted unethically when she told WHT that if my landlord, who received federal Section 8 money to help me live here in kupuna housing, allowed me to use legal medical cannabis, he “could lose federal funding.” This to me is a lie, because the federal government leaves it up to the local government and the landlord to decide whether I can smoke legal medical cannabis or not. I sent the Ethics Board a copy of the WHT where she was quoted in Nancy Cook Lauer’s article.
My second petition was submitted because I believed that county employee Kaena Horowitz had acted unethically when he, in my opinion, lied to the federal court saying I had filed a lawsuit against the county claiming that denying me the right to smoke legal medical cannabis in the privacy of my own Section 8 apartment violated my rights under the U.S. Constitution. This was a lie. Nowhere in my lawsuit did I even mention the U.S. Constitution. He told that lie so that the lawsuit I filed against the county in our local 3rd Circuit Court could be transferred to federal court, which is a more friendly forum than state court. The chief judge of the federal court agreed with me and remanded my case back to the 3rd Circuit Court.
When the Ethics Board scheduled my petitions to be heard at board meetings at two different months’ board meetings, I was unable to attend because of illness from having fallen and broken my 79-year-old hip. I, of course, wanted to attend, but was simply too ill to do so. But I had provided the board with the actual written proof of what the county employees had done, so this was not a case of he said, she said. Yet, because I was unable to physically appear in person due to illness, the board simply dismissed the petitions rather than address their behavior.
I raise this issue for the public’s consideration: Does the board exist to give me a personal forum, or to guide county employees as to what is ethical behavior and what is not ethical behavior?
Both county employees appeared at the board meeting. All the board had to do was to swear them under oath and then ask them if they did what I complained about. If they agreed that they did so, then the board could have told them whether their behavior violated the county code of ethics or not. Simple. End of story.
Instead, as the board so obviously did for the two years when it refused to deal with Mayor Kenoi’s unethical pCard behavior, the board acted as though its responsibility was to shield county employees from charges of ethical violations rather than to discipline them for behaving unethically toward citizens.
My question for the community is this: for how long will this bullpucky be allowed before we demand that the mayor and County Council do something to deal with this mess and restores ethical accountability to our county government?