After mentioning the Supreme Court finding earlier this year that City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle did not have the authority to spend public funds advocating a specific vote on a ballot question, a reader called attention to a bill pending before the City Council to specifically authorize such spending.
BILL 45 (2007) – RELATING TO THE PROSECUTING ATTORNEY. Codifying certain existing powers, duties and functions of the prosecuting attorney, and to address the holding in Rees v Carlisle, 2007 WL 733905 (Hawaii, March 12, 2007), by providing specific authority to the prosecuting attorney to expend public funds to advocate in elections on issues involving crime, crime prevention and the criminal justice system. (Bill 45 passed first reading 5/2/07.)
Testimony can be emailed to the council using this link.
I don’t like the idea of the prosecutor being the primary lobbyist and campaigner for criminal justice related issues using public funds, as it tends to politicize what are already complex and emotional issues. It seems to me that the prosecutor’s office should do just that–prosecute. If Carlisle wants to legislate, he should run for the legislature or the council. Otherwise, he should just do his job.
Now that Maui Community College will be awarding Bachelor degrees to Maui students without construction of a new 4-year campus, you again have to wonder about the decision to move ahead with the UH West Oahu campus and the huge financial drain it represents for the next two decades. If educational needs can be met by expanding offerings through much less costly options, then you’re again left with the uncomfortable sense that West Oahu is a land development issue rather than an educational issue.
Here’s one you might want to add to your list of things to check regularly–Citizen Watchdog is a regular column by Jennifer LeFleur appearing in the Dallas Morning News. LeFleur writes about how access to public records can benefit the public. Recent columns discussed how to check out charities, do-it-yourself background checks, and keeping tabs on your legislators. An archive of LeFleur’s columns is available.
Still on the public records issue, I missed a CNN report back at the beginning of the month on Google’s active participation in pushing to increase online access to state records. The comany is apparently offering technical support to help states overcome hurdles to making their records available. Thanks to BRB’s Public Records Blog for flagging that story.
Thanks to Kehaulani Cerizo and the Maui News for the thoughtful story on the latest development issue to split Molokai residents. It is a very difficult situation to unpack. I’m inclined to support those making a determined stand against development, but on the other side are those (including long-time activitists who I greatly respect) who say they’ve managed to drive a very hard bargain with Molokai Ranch that would provide far more long-term protection for Molokai as a whole if the proposed development is allowed to go forward.
I’m glad that I don’t live on Molokai and have to make that choice.
The Chicago Tribune wrote about Hilo on Sunday. We always enjoy being in Hilo, and Tribute staff writer Toni Salama seems to agree:
“Whenever I come here I feel like a child prowling through Grandma’s attic. I always have the sense that I’ll find a special, forgotten treasure. And I do find it: Hilo itself is the prize.”