As I See It: Time for an accountability test

Who’s responsible here?

Governor: Vetoed a unanimous legislative bill to regulate civil-asset-forfeiture, a despotic practice that violates the Fifth and 14th Amendment protection of due process. Hawaii’s abuse is appalling. We rank 40th. Three other states have outlawed it so far. It looks like pandering to law enforcement at the very time when Honolulu Police and Oahu Prosecutor corruption have been exposed and the Department of Public Safety can’t keep prisoners inside. On again off again policy regarding demonstrators on Maunakea. Isn’t it his job to enforce the law? Hundreds are out of work because he doesn’t. What is the policy?


Mayor: Ask him a question and he will tell you a story, again, usually about his idealistic vision for Maunakea. He delegates everything else to the deputy mayor. Coconut wireless said he campaigned promising the unions 400 new positions. So far 430, but can’t keep transfer stations open.

DLNR: It seems like they are at the center of half the controversies in Hawaii and accomplishing nothing. Their stewardship of our parks, in a tourist economy, is disgraceful. Maybe the problem is they are grossly underfunded by the Legislature.

Legislature: They voted unanimously to regulate civil asset forfeiture; the governor vetoed it. Will they be cowed, or stand up? Passed a collection of vague Vision Zero bills that seem to be designed to make streets safe for people who don’t drive and won’t accept responsibility for their own vigilance. In California they call it Zero Vision and say fatalities have increased not decreased as promised.

Environmental service: Can’t keep the transfer stations open, blaming the union contract which was negotiated by the “State of Honolulu.” If a worker calls in sick, they must telephone qualified employees in order of seniority, what happens if the most senior worker does not answer the phone? Can’t they figure out a website or phone tree to speed this up?

The International Telescope Committee: Has done a horrible job of making the cultural connection of study of the stars, to Hawaii nei, whether you call it astronomy, astrology or Kilo Hoku. They interviewed a few kumus and made some excellent adjustments, but unfortunately, none of their publicity ever mentions it, let alone emphasizes the importance of the study of the stars to the culture. They publish and republish artists conceptions of a telescope on the summit, and stuff that makes their investors happy.

Opponents of TMT: Exercising a right protected by the U.S. Constitution, a right they probably would not have under a monarchy. By blocking the highway, they violate the spirit of the Law of The Broken Paddle, the oldest law in Hawaii: Don’t interfere with travelers, as well as American law. Historically the peak is very sacred, but the rest of the sacred mountain is being subjected to much worse indignities like quarries, that ought to be the focus. They have been misinformed by both sides about the proposed location, history and many other facts. Maunakea will be here after we’re all gone and natural forces will make changes.

Media: If it bleeds it leads, violence sells, even if it misleads. Easily misinterpreted images don’t help. Why do the national media do everything they can to help a certain offensive politician they oppose? He is a master of getting free publicity and the national media give it to him by printing his name, face, and every brain fart tweet. He plays the media like a juke box with a slug jammed in the play switch. OK, he is president, but don’t print his tweets over and over. Do they really want to reelect him?

The unions: Putting seniority privileges ahead of protecting all members or the public.


Us: Who cares what actors and media celebrities think? Do not base your belief on what politician X says or what politician Y said, look it up. It’s so easy with Google, Snopes and Wikipedia.

Ken Obesnki is a forensic engineer, now safety and freedom advocate in South Kona who writes a biweekly column for West Hawaii Today. Send feedback to