Category Archives: General

Tardy Darby

Well, we’re still waiting. The storm as been delayed, or perhaps it has fizzled before reaching us. That’s what we thought when we got up this morning to find a light drizzle, a bit of wind now much out of the ordinary, and no sign of the tropical storm that had been impending when we went to bed last night.

Not that I’m complaining. But we do want to now what’s going on.

So I went online.

First, the local weather radar. It shows a band of rain ready to move across Oahu with a few yellow-orange hot spots. But, again, not out of the ordinary.

I think that if you click on the image, you will see an updated version.


But then I checked a different satellite view of the islands. It’s just about the same perspective, but in this view the storm looks much more serious, doesn’t it?


I’m not sure which reality to plan our day around.

So far, we’re being conservative. It’s Sunday, after all, and we don’t have a busy schedule (although we are having friends over for dinner tonight, if they can make it).

Planning ahead

Good advice from a FB post of a friend, Lora Williams Helmer, formerly of Honolulu.

Dealing with my sister’s situation has been a rather rude wake-up call for us. I admit that thinking about such possibilities is depressing, and it’s hard to get motivated to do the work. But then something happens and you quickly realize that the time to get affairs in order is before you desperately wish you had already done it.

People, get Durable Powers of Attorney for each other NOW. And get your end of life wishes stated now. These documents are in place for me and Brian Helmer, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the ability to assume the responsibilities I have now, with our best interests at heart.

Many folks say “what, me?” Well, look at us. Do it. Make your lives easier when the stress is especially high.

State Supreme Court rules against Office of Elections

Hawai’i Supreme Court Rules Chief Elections Officer Violated The Law

For Immediate Release
From the office of Lance D. Collins
July 19, 2016

HONOLULU – The Hawai’i Supreme Court today ruled that the Chief Elections Officers violated state law when conducting the 2012 general election.

The case was originally filed on Maui in 2012 by the Green Party of Hawai’i and seven registered voters from across the state, from different political parties, due to widespread problems at various polling sites across the state – including 57 voters who were denied the right to vote.

The Green Party and individual voters alleged that three aspects of the running of the 2012 general election violated state law Chapter 91, HRS: (1) the formula for determining how many ballots to print, (2) the process for obtaining additional ballots when a precinct runs out, and (3) the procedure for counting a ballot that has been cast in the wrong precinct.

The Chief Elections Officer claimed that those formulas and procedures were “internal management of the agency” and not subject to the public notice and hearing and publication requirements.

Both the trial court and the Intermediate Court of Appeals ruled in the Chief Elections Officer’s favor.

In rejecting the Chief Elections Officer’s defense, however, the Supreme Court noted that the “internal management” exception to formal rule-making is a very limited exception that cannot be used when the regulations “affect private rights or public procedures”.

The Supreme Court ruled that ballots shortages “may result in the deprivation of the right to vote” and so regulations that can cause ballot shortages are not merely the “internal management of the agency.”

Attorney Lance D. Collins said: “This clarification strongly supports the purpose and intent of the Hawai’i Administrative Procedure Act – which is to provide openness and transparency in government.”

Keep an eye on challenge to Governor’s PUC appointment

There’s quite an interesting clash over Governor Ige’s latest appointment to the Public Utilities Commission just prior to the commission’s rejection of the NextEra takeover of Hawaiian Electric.

Former PUC chair and longtime legislator, Mina Morita, filed suit last week challenging Governor Ige’s appointment of Thomas Gorak to the commission.

The Attorney General defended the appointment in a letter to Senate President Ron Kouchi, which has now been issued as an AG Opinion. The defense revolves around the State Constitution’s provision regarding power to fill a “vacancy” in an office requiring Senate confirmation.

A copy of the opinion, now number at Op. No. 16-3, is publicly posted on the governor’s website.

Early this month, former PUC chair and longtime legislator, Mina Morita, presented an opposing viewpoint in several posts at her Energy Dynamics blog.

She points to the specific section of law that provides for the appointment of commissioners to the PUC.

Section 269-2 HRS provides, in part: “Each member shall hold office until the member’s successor is appointed and qualified.”

In Morita’s view, the AG opinion is wrong because it deals with filling a vacancy. However, she believes that there was no vacancy at the expiration of Commissioner Mike Champley’s term because this section of the law provides that Champley would “hold office” until a successor “is appointed and qualified.” In other words, until confirmed by the Senate.

As I understand her position, there was no “vacancy” because Champley did not resign, and the law provides that he would then remain “in office” until a successor is approved by the Senate.

Morita points to two other so-called “interim appointments,” both of which were different because the incumbent did resign prior to the governor’s interim appointment.

In a June 30 post, Morita wrote:

Some have commented on the fact that Commissioner Champley himself was an interim appointment and so was current PUC Chair, Randy Iwase. With regard to Commissioner Champley, in accordance with the constitution, Governor Abercrombie made the interim appointment because a vacancy existed to fill an uncompleted term. The vacancy was due to the resignation and departure of Commissioner Carlito Caliboso. Subsequently, in the next legislative session Commissioner Champley was nominated, and by the advice and consent of the Senate, was appointed.

In the case of Chair Iwase, I submitted a letter of my intent not to seek reappointment in December 2014 and left the date of my resignation open to allow for a smooth transition of the chairmanship when a candidate was selected. The announcement of Randy Iwase was made on Friday, January 16 (the day before a long weekend and before I could start the process of my own termination) and he was placed in position just before the opening of 2015 Legislature on January 21 to be considered an interim appointment. In both cases vacancies were created through the resignations of a Commissioner who did not complete his term and a Chair who was in a hold-over position.

Here, Governor Ige is trying to force a vacancy pushing Commissioner Champley out prematurely and subverting the law and the right of the Senate to advice and consent in the process.


Hawaii PUC Fiasco: An Unfortunate But Great Opportunity For A Civics Lesson“, July 2.

Fallout from Ige’s PUC “Appointment” – An Overview of Day 2″, July 1.

PUC ‘Appointment’ Subverts the Law“, June 30.

Attorney General Opinion 16-3

Meet two more Morning Dogs

Here’s a modest counterweight to all the dismal and disturbing news greeting us on this Friday morning.

Introducing Gidget and Moondoggie, two more of our Kahala Morning Dogs,

Ms. Gidget, on the right, lives down near the corner where our street dead-ends at Kahala Avenue. She has part-time work as a therapy dog, making regular hospital visits. We don’t see her frequently, so it’s a treat when we do run into her in the morning.

And recently she got an adopted brother from “Down Under”.

He was aptly named Moondoggie. That’s him with the bright red harness showing.

You’ll have to look it up if you don’t know where those names come from.

Right now, Moondoggie is still very much a puppy, all happy and jumpy and chewy, but slowly learning to get it all under control, at least on occasion. But what a pair they are!

Kahala Morning Dogs