State Auditor Takes Shots at Sheriff Division
The state Sheriff Division is “hampered by ineffective leadership” and “lacks guidance and direction” according to a report released last month by State Auditor Marion Higa, who isn’t known for pulling punches. The Sheriff Division is part of the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and is tasked with “formulating and implementing state goals and objectives for law enforcement programs”; basically, they’re the overarching police body in Hawaii. More from the report: “Inadequate law enforcement training, issues pertaining to equipment, and an absence of procedures related to the staffing and service of the courts have raised questions regarding the safety of the public, the courts, and the deputy sheriffs themselves.” Lack of funding is an obvious culprit (one example cited in the report is the fact that 69 bulletproof vests still hadn’t been replaced months after their expiration date), but Higa also blames “vague constitutional language, a broad interpretation of statutory authority, and the consolidation of functions previously deemed incompatible,” including, “drug enforcement, illegal immigration, homeland security, fugitive arrests, criminal investigations, eviction proceedings, and traffic enforcement.” So how does the department respond? An indignant denial? A promise to clean up the mess? Though he didn’t dispute any of the facts, DPS head Clayton Frank told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that Higa’s conclusions are “an overstatement of the day-to-day reality.” I feel better—how about you?
Lingle Backs Akaka Bill Changes. Will Native Hawaiians?
Gov. Lingle was for the Akaka Bill before she was against it—and now she’s for it again. Her latest about-face came after Senators Akaka and Inouye met with Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett and agreed to amend the bill, limiting the authority of the Native Hawaiian governing entity it aims to establish and upholding the ultimate authority of state and county government. Lingle now says she can “strongly support” the bill. “I sincerely hope [it] will become law in 2010,” she added. If it does, and it’s far from a sure thing, it will mark the end of a decade-long battle. Of course, portions of the Native Hawaiian community already opposed the bill; now that Lingle’s gotten her way, it will likely receive even less support from the people it’s ostensibly trying to help. Ah, political ironies.
Na Wai Eha Case Flows On
Last month, after the state Water Commission handed down its decision in the Na Wai Eha contested case, Earthjustice attorney Isaac Moriwake called it a “miscarriage of justice” and promised it “will not stand.” Whether the second statement is true remains to be seen, but this week Earthjustice appealed the ruling—which restored far less flow than environmental and Native Hawaiian advocates hoped and restored no water to the Iao and Waikapu streams—on behalf of Maui Tomorrow and Maui-based Hui o Na Wai Eha. This fight started in 2004, a fact Moriwake noted in a release announcing the appeal. “If justice delayed is justice denied, a six-year wait for some leftover trickles is an insult to justice,” said Moriwake. “We will not rest until justice, and the waters of Na Wai Eha, flow.”
Maui Gallery Sued Over Beatle Memorabilia
Money can’t buy you love, but it should buy you authentic John Lennon collectibles. That’s the contention of a Wisconsin man who says Maui-based Celebrities Fine Art—which has galleries in Wailea and Lahaina—sold him fake Lennon sketches and a microphone supposedly used by the former Beatle to record the album Imagine that was actually manufactured years later. According to a lawsuit filed July 2 in federal court, the man, David Petersen, sent the sketches—purchased in 2007 and 2008—to a document expert who determined that the ink used in at least one sketch “was not in existence at the time when Mr. Lennon purportedly made [it].” The suit also says the microphone was made in 1977, six years after Lennon recorded Imagine. Petersen is seeking at least $131,285 in damages. Reached for comment this week, gallery owner Gerard Marti said he believed the items were genuine when he purchased them from a California dealer and that they came with certificates of authenticity. “I’ve been in business 17 years, and this is the first time I’ve had this type of problem,” said Marti. He said if the items turn out to be fake, he will refund Petersen’s money and seek damages against the California dealer (who Marti didn’t name on advice from his attorney). In the end, he said, “We’re going to find out the truth.” Jacob Shafer, MauiTime