Why cough medicine won’t cure our broken legislature

Hawaii's legislature has become a refuge for semi-slick white-collar criminals: while Sen. Sharon Moriwaki (Waikiki District) exchanges sketchy out-of-the-sunshine messages with a minor DLNR Administrator, the senate president and speaker of the house tell us they're disappointed about a court ruling forcing them to obey the Constitution

Meanwhile, Rep. "Wrong-Way" Har ducks another bullet as courts, strangly, unsure of her guilt



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As much as we like to complain about them, it's not easy being a legislator. You're always in the hot seat. You're constantly faced with having to make difficult decisions about controversial topics that are sure to anger one side and please the other. You're both the villain and the hero, the crooked and the virtuous, the discerning and the dummy. This is certainly not a job for the faint of heart.

But there's a silver lining: as a legislator in Hawaii, you can get totally blitzed and drive the wrong way down one-way streets and never have to worry about the blue light behind you; or you can snub Hawaii's State Constitution as an annoying inconvenience whenever it suits your needs; or you can form interesting new relationships with those needing special favors, even if those relationships are criminal and those favors will harm the very same people who voted you into office — or you can do all of this stuff, and more, simultaneously!  How cool is that?

The perks turn out to be a soothing salve for the pain: $60k a year, work six months, the other six months work at your real job except for the few minutes a month you spend on auto-blasting a glossy email flyer out to your constituents with a photo from when you were in high school in the upper right hand corner — reminding them of who to vote for when reelection rolls around. Your hot-air-balloon of an email should auto-regurgitate how much you care about all the stuff that your constituents told you that they cared about — you don't really, and neither do your lobbyists, but it's a nice touch.

And heck, if you wanted a little excitement in your life you could become a convenience store robber. Imagine how much you could rack up with convenience store robberies . . . and you'd never have to worry about the inconvenience of jail time (when the cops show up, just tell them that you became disoriented after you'd polished off a bottle of cough medicine).

The State Legislature has become a haven for Hawaii's white-collar criminals

To the State's demise, Hawaii's legislature seems to have become a refuge for white-collar criminals. Once you're in the fort you can do whatever you want. Think not?

Just ask Senator Kouchi, president of the Senate (representing all you nice folks over there on Kaua'i and Ni'ihau) and Rep. Saiki, Speaker of the House (McCully, Kaheka, Kakaako): these two were disappointed and confused about how to proceed with lawmaking, according to their own ramblings, after the Supreme Court ruled that the legislature is not allowed to hear unconstitutional legislation anymore (kudos to The League of Women Voters of Honolulu and Common Cause Hawaii).

Oh pooh . . . now what? 

And it turns out that they've been passing illegal and unconstitutional legislation for years. The only remaining remedy now will be in the form of a class-action lawsuit to force the legislature to repeal every single piece of legislation, over the past ten years, that was introduced and passed unconstitutionally. There were so many.

The list of crimes seems endless. Senator Sharon Moriwaki, Waikiki District, has managed to cleverly expose herself — the grammar, spelling and punctuation of her leaked email suggesting attendance at one of Sharon Har's infamous AnyPlace Lounge chug-a-lug parties — in a sketchy scheme involving an out-of-the-sunshine collusion with con man Ed Underwood . . . something about a shady plan to hand over public properties in her district to salivating private multinational corporations. 

Moriwaki, a former condo gestapo leader, wants to sanitize her district so that it looks more like a condominium recreation center than it does a community. Her legislation in support of that cause, SB795, has so far resulted in still more homelessness for her very own district, something about which she swore on a stack of bibles to her constituents that she would do something about. She got caught when one of her dicey emails accidentally ended up in the inbox of Hawaii Ocean News editor, Katherine Lindell. You'd struggle to make this stuff up.

And now the news of Representative "Wrong-Way" Har's drunk driving charges, dismissed as if the whole thing never happened. This legislator was obviously drunk . . .  please . . .  she was driving the wrong way down a one-way street in a car that smelled like a pub full of Jack Daniels aficionados. But the courts here in Hawaii, with great presence of mind and an equally great sense of humor, decided that there wasn't enough evidence to convict her.  If nothing else, you've got to appreciate this for the entertainment value.

And then, how many other drunkard legislators were over there at the AnyPlace Lounge chug-a-lugging with Wrong-Way and ending up having to drive home, um, sensory impaired?  And then what about that anonymous tip about Sen. Kouichi, and others partying with Har, paid for courtesy of lobbyists who may have needed a few little favors. 

As George Carlin used to say . . . "It's a big club, and you ain't in it!"

The simple reason why there is no cure for our very broken legislature is that there are no effective checks and balances in our system of government — Hawaii's government is incapable of policing itself

Truly, the Legislature is the sweet spot and refuge for aspiring white collar criminals, and the simple reason why there is no cure for it is that there are no set-in-stone checks and balances in our system of government.  The attorney general's office under Clare Connors' watch, for example, turned out to be nothing more than a rubber stamp pat-on-the-back wink-nod stage in the lawmaking process even though every potential piece of legislation had to be vetted by her office — twice.  She ended up getting schooled by the recent Supreme Court decision condemning the avalanche of unconstitutional legislation flowing out of the capitol over the past decade.

Similarly, potential legislation crosses the Lt. Governor's desk as well.  There is much to suggest that Josh Green, our part-time Lt. Governor, never even looked at pending legislation.  Now he wants to be your governor — presumably part time.

In Honolulu, the Feds just arrested three city council members.  A similar Federal investigation at the State level should budget for several school buses to cart away the guilty, especially if it includes the DLNR.

(Watch here as the DLNR's top con completely owns our legislature.)

The problem with all of this is that these are the very same folks who make the laws that control your lives, take money from your wallets, and decide on what will happen to your kids' future.

Think about that for a minute.

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