Hawaii Opinions

Hawaii I love you, but you’re bringing me down (Part 1: Corruption)

Not everything is sunny in the Aloha state

Hawaii, it’s a struggle to love you. I feel like I’m dating a girl that’s way out of my league who cheats on me constantly. I love you unconditionally, I don’t ask questions, and I believe everything you say because you’re just so damn good to look at. You promise that things will get better, that you’ll change. Housing will become affordable, the rail will be completed, there will be more business opportunities, your state officials will stop the corruption and tap-dancing on the law, and even though I know in the back of my mind these are lies, I believe you. I put up with your shit because of how beautiful you are. But after 4 years, I’m finally fed up. Under all that beauty there’s a real ugliness.

It’s not that I hate you, it’s just hard to survive here. For the first 2 years, I was convinced I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. The islands are awe-inspiring in their beauty and the people are some of the kindest and most hospitable I have ever met in my life. There’s also camaraderie in the struggle that bonds us all together. Everybody is compromising in one way or another, whether it be living in a small, A/C-less apartment because of the rent and house prices, working for way less money than we could be making on the mainland, or exclusively buying Kirkland brand products. Despite these issues, I fell in love with the Aloha spirit for countless reasons and it helped me become a better person.

I’ve met best friends that I’ll have until I die (or they die). But they keep leaving, and as the ranks thin, I’m starting to focus too much on your problems. They were minor annoyances at first, now they’re glaring issues that are impossible to ignore.

I will admit some of this is because I chose to live on a rock 5,000 miles away from civilization. I get that. Some hardships come with the territory. But a lot of the problems we face in Hawaii, at least in my opinion, could be fixed or at least remedied somewhat. Unfortunately, a lot of the people we elected to fix these problems are much more interested in lining their pockets and handing out favors than helping the people of Hawaii thrive.

Loyalty and Trust over everything

The Hawaii state government just released a dashboard that tracks their progress for the year and surprise, surprise, they’re exceeding all of their goals! Good news, right?  Maybe if they were ambitious goals, but they set the bar embarrassingly low so they could sandbag the numbers and go “progress!” It’s not surprising, after the year they’ve had they are desperately trying to regain some public trust.

One of the first things I did here was go to the Kapalama DMV (AKA the worst place on Earth) to get my Hawaii state drivers license. I had to go back 3 times, and each time I was told something different. It was infuriating because I spent 10 collective hours in the DMV but it taught me my first lesson about how things work here: there are a lot of rules, nobody knows exactly what they are, and they are enforced selectively depending on who you are.

I know several people who have started businesses here, and they have all emphasized that one of the keys to success is how well connected you are in the local community and who you know in the Hawaii state government. The lines between friends and associates are constantly blurred, and how deep your roots are in the local community usually correlates with your success. Hawaii is one of the most regulated states in America when it comes to business which makes it extremely difficult to turn a profit and pay decent wages unless you know how to skirt regulations or ease your tax burden. It’s not a question of if you play the system, it’s a question of “how much?”. And in order to do that, you need strategic relationships built around trust.

And not only trust, loyalty is equally important. When I first started working in Honolulu, it took a lot of adjusting. I pivoted my career to marketing which means working with a lot of different vendors. And when those vendors missed deadlines or delivered shitty work, I would suggest we hire new vendors but I quickly found out that was a big no-no. Despite my constant questioning I never got a straight answer as to why other than “this is a small island” and “we need to maintain this relationship”. That didn’t make sense to me. If they’re not good at their job, why keep paying them? I couldn’t comprehend relationships being more important than performance, especially in business.

When I left that job my company acted like I was stabbing them in the back. Even though they refused to match my new salary. They thought we were Ohana and leaving for money was a betrayal. Shit, they even called my new job to complain about “poaching” me even though I was hilariously underpaid and applied to the job myself. If you take care of me, I’ll take care of you, and if you cross me, you are dead to me. The work culture is antiquated and also reflective of how things function throughout the state.

This recent wave of scandals prove corruption isn’t a rarity in Hawaii, it’s the norm. But are these a few corrupt outliers or is this how things have always been?

Which brings me to the corrupt local government, specifically power couple and habitual lawbreakers Katherine and Louis Kealoha. I’ll briefly overview their laundry list of crimes and associated cover-ups but you can read about it in exhaustive detail here and read the full court filing here.

Ebersole and Kealoha

He must have really wanted that car

They were breaking every law imaginable because who was going to hold them accountable? Themselves? They had the keys to the kingdom. And they had enough good will and clout built up with local city officials to sweep it all under the rug.

In addition, Katherine was in charge of managing her family and family friends’ trusts (the Puanas and the Taitos) which she promptly drained to finance her lavish lifestyle. When this destroyed their credit, she opened more than 30 accounts and lied on a bunch of loan applications to keep the party going. When the Puanas were understandably like, “What the fuck?” Katherine and Louis framed Gerard Puana for stealing their mailbox. The subsequent trial was the start of their downfall. Messing with the mail is a Federal crime, and once the Feds got involved their house of cards started to crumble.

Lastly, Katherine constantly attempted to cover up her mistakes by emailing Hawaii News Now as an “informant” with bogus information from her co-workers’ email addresses. I add these details not to emphasize what an awful person she is, that’s abundantly clear, but to show just how little she was worried about being caught. She thought she was untouchable.

This isn’t a few rogue cops or one corrupt city official, this is the Chief of Police and Deputy Prosecutor of Honolulu. The leaders we trust to run our public institutions and keep us safe.

And this wasn’t two people acting alone, Keith Kaneshiro (Honolulu’s head prosecutor) is now under investigation for lies stemming from the Katherine Kealoha debacle. He was caught because he helped Katherine dismiss a speeding ticket for her electrician. Yes, they both risked their careers and freedom to save her fucking electrician $200 and a few points on his license. They’re prosecutors, they know exactly how illegal it is and they still did it. It’s beyond brazen.

Kaneshiro

At least that electricians’ insurance premiums didn’t go up. That’d be the real crime.

Two of Kaneshiro’s cohorts, deputies Chasid Sapolu and Janice Futa, are also being investigated for helping Keith cover up his misdeeds and intimidating witnesses. The obvious trail of evidence and clumsy cover-ups these geniuses left behind is staggering. For people whose entire job consists of knowing and enforcing the law, they’re terrible at circumventing it. They thought they could circle the wagons and tell a few lies like they usually do and the Federal government would go, “we’ll just take your word for it”. The problem is, these investigators aren’t from Hawaii, and they don’t care about how connected you are in the local community.

How deep does it go?

As far-reaching as the Kealoha case is, it’s just the beginning. Remember the Honolulu Rail? I briefly touched on what a boondoggle this project has become when I was complaining about traffic. I’m a strong believer in “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”, and at first, all of the construction issues seemed to point to a government that just wasn’t designed to handle a project of this magnitude. But, yet again, it goes much deeper than pure incompetence.

Honolulu_rail_project_construction_in_Waipahu_near_Fort_Weaver_Road_2015-07-29

Projected completion date: 3005

This week, the Federal government subpoenaed 30,000 pages of documents, then hit them with a second subpoena, and then a third as part of a criminal probe into rail construction operations. If you’re unaware of just how bad it’s gotten, the project has ballooned from $5.1B to more than $9B and it’s completion has been pushed back to 2025 (it was supposed to be working already).

The 18 consultants they hired to fix things who have done absolutely nothing so far have been paid an average of $500,000 in yearly salaries. Also, many of the officials on the project have been bribed by construction companies to secure some of the contracts. In addition, a lot of the real estate they purchased to build the rail was bought suspiciously over market value. And much of the documentation and communications that would absolve city officials of any wrongdoing is conveniently missing or being withheld. This is going to get much, much worse and may become another “bridge to nowhere”

HART officials

Footage of HART officials

We shouldn’t be asking why the Kealohas or the HART officials would commit these crimes, we should be asking why they thought they could get away with it so easily. How did this happen for so long undetected? Why did it take the Feds to put a stop to it? Is there any oversight in the Hawaii state government?

Short answer? It’s simply how business is done in Hawaii. The Kealohas were successful public leaders that were trusted and respected throughout the community. If Katherine’s shockingly retarded move to get her electrician off his speeding ticket tells us anything, it’s that they valued loyalty over everything, even their freedom. Katherine was still trying to protect her people even when she knew she was fucked. It’s the only understandable and somewhat admirable thing about her.

The Federal government shined a spotlight on how the system works in Hawaii and what they’re finding ain’t pretty. Rampant corruption that reaches every corner of the state government. Nobody is as corrupt as the Kealohas, but they’re all complicit in one way or another. It’s the only way this would have gone “unnoticed” for years and years. Not all of it is nefarious, many people are just trying to make a little bit more money to survive here or protect their work Ohana. Very few people in the government are actively trying to hurt the people of Hawaii, but they still do through their collective actions.

What now?

At what point is it too much? When are we going to be fed up? And even if we do get fed up, is it fixable?

The Kealohas and their network of conspirators will be brought to justice. The Feds aren’t the type of people to just “let things go” as Donald Trump is currently finding out. But who really loses in this scenario? Us. We’re stuck with decades of higher taxes to pay for a rail that may never be completed and the potential of losing billions in Federal funding because the people in charge can’t be trusted with it.

What’s even worse is it shakes the public’s trust in the government. It’s not that people got in trouble it’s who got in trouble. These were people elected to leadership positions, not a few rogue cops that took bribes then got caught. You’d think people would be angry, protesting, calling for their heads. People are angry, but there’s a widespread apathy about issues like this in Hawaii. Everybody feels powerless to fix anything when this has been the norm forever.

For a state government that loves to impose rules, they sure hate following them. Hawaiian congressmen including Brian Schatz, Mazie Hirono, and Tulsi Gabbard love to bash Donald Trump for being a corrupt asshole that lacks morals or leadership while failing to address what’s happening in their own backyard. They’d rather pass some national headline-grabbing legislation than actually fix the systemic corruption that pervades every corner of Hawaii’s political system.

And what about Mayor Caldwell? Governor Ige? The men elected again and again that continually turn a blind eye to these issues. When given the choice between making the hard decisions that will actually help Hawaii in the long run or maintaining a corrupt system to get re-elected, they always choose re-election. They are beholden to a system they no longer control. Being swept along like twigs in a river, unable and unwilling to take a stand. We need leaders who can bring Hawaii into the future, not keep it in the past.

Maybe the Federal investigations will force people to action, clean house for us and get rid of the worst of the worst. But the culture will remain. It’s going to take a leader, or a group of leaders, to stand up to the accepted norms, piss off the entrenched politicians and do what’s best for the people at the cost of their careers. Or maybe this is just “how business is done here” and people like the Kealohas are going to pop up every once in a while because it’s so easy to take advantage. Either way, the people that live here deserve better, and they deserve leaders who are going to use the Aloha spirit for good, not evil.

Part 2: “Paradise Tax” coming soon. 

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70 comments

      1. Truth to power. My biggest questions are how long is the Hawaii Bar Assosication going to take to disbar Kealoha and Kaneshiro if they are convicted and how many of their cases are going to be overturned or thrown out because it is tainted. Also how many criminal cases did Kealoha and his wife have influence on asahe come up through the ranks of HPD and she was a prosecutor. Problem with former Chief Kealoha is that he has been on the good olde boys network long enough to have run through commands and control of a couple of districts and more then a few high profile and low profile units directly and indirectly. The problem with this is that Kealoha had direct influence over CIU, CID, CRU, so which questoonable arrest cases went forward with Shakey grounds and got pled out. Also which cases came back down from Kaneshiro and Kealoha to be beefed up through through CIC via CIU and strong armed through CRU. Lots and lots of strings on this knot and only one way to untangle it cut it down the middle.

    1. Glad I am not the only one that feels like I want to leave as soon as possible. Just not the place I moved to 25 years ago. I love Hawaii and the people but dang enough is enough!

      1. Thanks Karen. Hawaii is an incredible place but we need to hold our city officials accountable otherwise things will continue to get worse.

    2. I called them on it when the rail started. The contract was not a contract – it was a no ended change order. The rail didn’t have a route. This gives time to massage corruption to the cronies. Just like the drugs. The politicians and their friends all get to be the “legal” drug dealers and make fortunes while the sheep get high on the rode to hell.

  1. Mr. Mann-

    First & foremost.
    I couldn’t even finish your article due to the choice of verbs & nouns in your grammar.

    In paragraph 12, 4th bullet point, you state, “While this was all going on, Katherine was banging a local fireman named Jesse Ebersole.”
    You couldn’t have chosen a more tasteful verb than “banging”?

    Then as I was scrolling through the article to get to the comments sections, I read the word, “retarded”.
    In paragraph 23, line 5, word 3.

    I take a deep offense to that word, as I am the mother of a special needs medically complex 5yo little girl with a diagnosed cognitive level of a 12 month old.
    I know my opinion is moot. But just try to use more sensitive words when explaining someone or their actions in your future pieces.

    I’m almost positive your work would be looked at in a different light.

    Respectfully yours,
    Kellie C.

    1. Hi Kellie,

      As a mom, I understand how you feel about labels. Those have been triggers for me in the past. For me, it was when people called others “crazy” or “nuts” because my children struggled with anxiety or depression. What helped lend perspective for me was realizing that those words weren’t used in the context of someone struggling w/mental illness. In this piece, the author wasn’t referring to someone with cognitive limitations. I’d take more exception had he been writing about individuals with those challenges. That being said, I understand where you’re coming from. I don’t expect what I’m saying will change your mind, but I’m hoping it might take some of the offense and sting. Take Care.

    2. Kellie C.

      Reading your comment made me realize how incredibly easily hurt people are here.

      If you were to look at the reasoning for him using the terminology “banging”, you would understand that the way he was using it was with intent to create an emotional response. Often times when speaking with other readers that you’re trying to keep engaged, authors of pieces like this tend to look for ways to capture the specific audience that is reading it.

      It’s funny that you chose to read a piece called the overly opinionated and then had a pretty high opinion about his grammar and use of verbs.

      Furthermore your concerns of the word retarded comes with your own personal disapproval of the word that doesn’t necessarily mean that your interpretation is correct. See the word retard is defined as “(a) delay or hold back in terms of progress, development, or accomplishment.” It seems that the author was for lack of a better phrase, using his words. The quote in question for your deep hurt was this

      “If Katherine’s shockingly retarded move to get her electrician off his speeding ticket tells us anything, it’s that they valued loyalty over everything, even their freedom”

      He use the word correctly in the correct context.

      As someone who grew up raised by two police officers and being in the middle of watching these people rise to power. I think that perhaps what you’re missing is that the behaviors in which they have shown is clearly heinous and needs to be addressed and hadn’t been addressed for entirely too long.

      C

  2. Couldn’t agree more with everything you said. It’s funnt as I feel this is what Trump is doing by trying to change a broken system and he is getting lynched for it. There has to be a paradigm shift in the way people think and they need to remember that government officials work for the people not the other way around.

    1. Change a system? Political change should be based on careful thought and deliberation, not hatred and impulse. The system he’s attempting to destroy is based on the Constitution and he’s proven to be just as woefully ignorant in that area as he is in everything else. He’s inciting hate, decimating the economy, disregarding our longstanding international allies, pandering to foreign leaders with abysmal human rights records, engaging in blatant nepotism, and making a mockery of our scientific community. “government officials work for the people….” The documented statistics of the time he spends golfing or on his properties combined with the hours of “presidential time” vs. actual work is pathetic. Of course, it’s probably better for our country that he spends as little time “working” as possible. I say the above as someone who’s voted for George HW Bush, George W. Bush, thought Reagan was amazing, and would’ve voted Republican had Jeb Bush been the nominee. Trump is an ignorant, entitled, narcissistic, grifter. He has no respect for the Office, the Constitution, the military, or our country’s proud history.

      1. I’m in the Miltary and I love Trump. Can you please elaborate on how he is ruining the economy? My IRA’s are through the roof. How is he promoting racism? No one calls me racist terms on the streets. Should we go to war because one dumb American couldn’t follow the rule in North Korea and ended up in the worst prison he could of been sent to. You be surprised how many people support the President while you’re the one spewing lies and hate……now back to Hawaii’s corrupt politics.

      2. I disagree with everything you stated except for Trump is Narcissistic, just like most Presidents are.
        Trump loves America and it’s freedom provided by the Constitution.

    2. The very definition of corrupt is a guy who funnels lots and lots of taxpayers dollars to his own businesses, are you kidding me ? Its simply amazing how effective the koolaid is.

  3. I think this was a fine article, timely & perceptive. I don’t feel he has to bow to the “speech police”. It becomes wearisome to always police ones writings & speech because someone gets offended! Suck it up, Buttercup!!

    1. You are absolutely right. If you consider the obscenity of the events he is talking about, his language is quite reserved. That Kealoha woman is a monster, pure and simple. I mentioned in a comment I was a patient at Puana Pain Clinic. It was like a movie, outrageous.

  4. Very well said!! I too wonder what it will take to clean house…..where I’m from the left hand knows what the right hand is doing, it keeps it honest and real. Hawaii is a one-armed bandit!

  5. THANK YOU FOR THIS. Born and raised in Hawaii, it is disgusting to me how politicians have behaved, and habitually continue to behave. PLEASE shine some light on the unbelievable amount of unsolved murders on the island of Kauai. Do a little digging…it will shock you. So sad to see the island of my birth become a haven for murder, no one does anything.

  6. I’m a victim of Keith Kaneshiro’s random law enforcement approach. You can blame it on me, since they offered me to plead no contest to a mutual affray charge, pay $1000 and stay clean for six months to get it dismissed. I did all of those things, except agree to pay $1000 because I was attacked. Instead, I went to court and Kaneshiro’s deputy let a witness and my attacker lie to a jury. I ended up with a $285 fine, six months I sailed through cleanly, and a loss of over $100k in salary from jobs I was rejected for because of my “criminal record.”

    Keith Kaneshiro’s office does not operate from a place of integrity. I don’t care about money. I care about integrity. I will die in peace, because I maintained my integrity. That said, the end result is that Molokai is short the $100k I would have spent on my home and for the people I love.

    That said, brother, Hawaii is far and away the best place in the USA. Our collectivist mindset and spirit of aloha beats hell out of da mainland.

  7. Wow, clear and precise! Love how you portray your thoughts, more power to you. You and Michael Kitchens from Stolen Stuff Hawai’i can give this state some recognition and clarity on good vs evil.

  8. Thank you Keith. You have addressed everything that has been on my mind for a long time. I was born and raised in this once beautiful Aina and it is now being destroyed by corruption, greedy politicians, unrelenting taxes for everything so they can ” balance the budget” because no more money.
    Why dont they get the money from all the so called “trusted” people who stole our tax payers monies so they can live their lavish lifestyles while leaving us to struggle just to provide for our family. Our KAPUNAS suffer, our children suffer and families move to the mainland or end up on the streets homeless.

    The justice system is a joke. The laws are made where the innocent suffers but the perpetrator is almost untouchable. The perpetrators have long lists of offenses on record but they still roam the streets. Our lack of
    simple justice attracts outsiders to come to our Aina to do their sex/ slave trade, to further their drug trafficking etc.
    From our governor, mayor,prosecutors, chief of police and many more ARE just a bunch of DUMB, CROOKED, CLOWNS.

    Our Aina was stolen 100 of years ago
    and till today it is still a victim. There are sooo many issues that are wrong..

    THANK YOU KEITH for addressing the problems that is occurring.You have hit almost every issue that has made our Islands the way it is now. It is no longer a Paradise.

    I wish I could write like you but am not a very good writer.
    I once made comments about our ex- chief and his ” adorable” wife, the rail,
    the underlying problems of the states budget etc on face book but somehow it was deleted. I guess they did not like what I said.🤨
    🌺🌺🌺

  9. Respect the views, issues and comments. What solutions or choices are out their in your opinion would work to bring our ohanas a chance to elect the right people/person to lead this beautiful girlfriend.

  10. Thank you you covered a very interesting topic. Although, it’s the same everyelse on this world.
    As European I just wonder a lot about the crappy work which is done on the islands. That’s just one of the aspects I wonder about in the 21st century. I’ve been coming here twice a year the last 20 years. I love the melting pot and I think that is the best about Hawai’i. Everyone should come the and see how people from all ethnical backgrounds live together.

  11. If you wanted to write a thoughtful piece about corruption in local politics, you could have done so without whining about your experience at the DMV or whatever your personal experience at work is. It is almost as if you are cherry-picking news items to make you feel just in your opinion that Hawaii isn’t great because it isn’t how “you” think it should be. Look at all the comments above agreeing with you because it is a no-brainer to agree that the situation with the Kealohas is bad. But because everyone is giving you kudos for making such a BOLD STATEMENT (/sarcasm), everyone is ignoring the real spirit of your piece – that Hawaii is some uneducated place that could benefit from more mainland influence. It’s good that you are “fed up” – Southwest has some really good deals on flights today so you should be able to afford to leave! Impeccable timing, my friend!

    1. That’s not true at all. Hawaii deserves better leaders, I never said mainland leaders. The corrupt nature of the government means the situation gets worse for everybody. I love it here, I just know it could be better with people in charge who don’t deal drugs to the local community or steal taxpayer money. Also the “If you don’t like it, you can get out!” argument is really stupid. It’s the same thing Republicans did in the early 2000s when people opposed the Iraq war. You can hate me because I’m not local or from here and had the audacity to speak up about corruption in Hawaii but you can’t deny what I’m saying is true.

      1. Nah, just speaking the truth. This article does a great job of portraying the ways in which the hard working people in Hawaii are confronted with barriers (even when trying to make life better for themselves). I’m usually the one throwing up the flag when someone hates on my Hawai’i but this is the straight up truth. Truth hurts. But it is the truth nonetheless. This is the narrative that is surfacing and it is about time! Imagine what those that have gone before us had to endure when living in this kind of regime. So much shaming, blaming and humiliation. And they were taught not to say anything about it, so this is refreshing! I am not less Hawaiian for agreeing with the truth, so for those of you who want to hide behind ethnocentrism to perpetuate dysfunction, bumbai you learn.

    2. I didn’t get the impression that the author thinks mainland influence would solve Hawaii’s problem. That’s the last place I’d look for help in clearing corruption. We need leaders vested in the well-being of our state and residents over their political agenda. A leader should first be a servant, yet that model has been sorely absent in Hawaii and the rest of our nation. I’m going to agree that our culture has an ingrained belief to keep doing as we’ve always done. That might’ve been wise in the distant past, but in doing so now, we’ve allowed our politicians and leaders to create their “kingdoms” and assume the belief that they are above laws the everyday folk need to follow. It’s infuriating and sad. The only ones prospering in our state are the foreign and mainland investors.

    3. Born and raised Hauula, now in Kaimuki. Pretty accurate article just pointing out the issues. We work long hours and underpaid. I went school on the mainland for college and worked up there 40 hrs a week then moved home to do the same job. Pay is 40% less and I work 60-80 hours. Same job just less pay more work. For the working class, das the price we pay to live here. Working class people here are great as he says. We all going through same issues so no one cares what kind car you get everyone’s jus trying to make it.

    4. Aaron, Hawaii doesn’t need more mainland influence, Hawaii needs honesty, integrity and follow the rule of law. Mainland could use the same.

  12. I often joke that New Mexico (where I live now) and Hawaii where I used to live and still love dearly have so much in common… You could pretty much write this same article here. We have a boondoggle project much like the rail project you have, funded by the same federal money, and so messed up. So much beauty, so many lovely people and yet……

  13. This is one of the most truthful and blunt accounts of life in Hawaii that I’ve ever read. No state is perfect, but perhaps being as isolated or insulated as Hawaii is magnifies how convoluted, antiquated, and corrupt our systems are. It’s shameful and embarrassing. Thank you for being so plain spoken about the elephant in the room we locals have ignored as we do the loud, drunk uncle at family parties. No more “that’s just the way it is!”

  14. Great article. I have been saying the same thing but not so eloquently. I will be looking forward to Part 2.

  15. Thank you for speaking out. I was born and raised in Hawaii before moving away at age 35. It will always be home. The things that you describe have ALWAYS been the case just maybe not on such a large scale. A man who had moved from Chicago to Honolulu told me that the islands had the machine politics of Chicago beat by a mile. This was in the early 90s. I think the plantation mentality of blind loyalty (or fear) of leaders is a large part of it. And the cronyism is so rampant on such a small island. Too bad that there is no industry or business growth and everybody has to move away. Coming home is bittersweet for me because everything is such a big fat mess. So sad.

  16. Loved this. Unfortunately dont know if things will change. The government is so big especially with all the union backing. It’s so unfortunate and down right sad.

  17. The only thing wrong with the article is that Kaneshiro is the head prosecutor and the fireman is the fire chief. I feel bad starting out with corrections. Because you have put together an exceptional dialogue here that sums up most everything I have been saying for the last 7 years here on the Big Island. And though I’m not bad with a pen, my hat is off to you sir. From your down to earth human flow to your biting, spot on humor. It is a great work from all angles. I was a patient at Puana Pain Clinic. And have seen the mess here from top to bottom. Story after story from neighbors and acquaintances, people everywhere. When school teachers tell you the police are crooked, you know you have a problem. Thanx again, you have done our community, and the human race a favor. Robert Heinlein would be proud of you, I know I am.
    Aloha! Robert Bowen

  18. Your comment about plantation mentality blends with my thoughts of antiquated attitudes someone else mentioned. The fear of superiors and the authorities is seen more as you go back through history most everywhere. Mainlanders over 30-40 years of age remember an America that was strong in it’s individual rights and lack of cowing down to authority. That is what the Declaration of Independance and the Constitution are all about. But people who live or lived under controlling institutions we see in other countries come here and bring with them their fear of the authorities. It sounds rather prejudiced, but some past immigration resistance was due to this. It is wrong, and so is Hawaii for not elevating their citizens and newcomers to the real American condition of equality among people, and leaders working for, not over, the citizenry.

  19. Well, on the same note you should look into the two plus year long road construction project in Waimanalo that is just over a mile long. Probably big kine corruption there too.

  20. Aloha Keith,
    Your article is on point and thank you for putting into words what many of us are feeling.
    Your description of how things work:
    One of the first things I did here was go to the Kapalama DMV (AKA the worst place on Earth) to get my Hawaii state drivers license. I had to go back 3 times, and each time I was told something different. It was infuriating because I spent 10 collective hours in the DMV but it taught me my first lesson about how things work here: there are a lot of rules, nobody knows exactly what they are, and they are enforced selectively depending on who you are.

    Is very similar to many peoples experiece with DPP. The level of frustration and anger only grows because there is a refusal by DPP management to communicate with the users of the system. These are well educated architects, engineers, drafters and permit routers who are the principal users of the system and if you complain about anything, you are dismissed as a complainer and your projects probably receive more scrutiny and red tape than those who are well connected and know people working in the department. I can assure you that crappy drawings get ushered upstairs and then pushed through the system because someone knows somebody. The somebody even gets paid big bucks to use their connection to help get permits expedited through.

    So to say people are angry and fed up is an understatement.

    You forgot that the City’s Corp Counsel also got a letter of interest and she went on admin leave right away.

    Because there is no affordable housing and things are so corrupt with little hope of getting better makes me want to leave pronto even after living here for 35 years.

    It’s like cheaters prosper here but if you don’t you have little chance of making it here.

  21. Corruption occurs in counties and states where democrats are the majority party. It even occurs at the federal level. That is why President Trump is cleaning out the swamp in D.C. dems have had control of State of Hawaii for about 6 decades now. Everything got worse. Infrastructure, homelessness (somebody is making money under the table with all those condos that have been built in Kakaako/ Ala Moana within the last 5 years), and finance. Citizens keep on voting democrat here. They don’t realize that it doesn’t get worse than it is and refuse to believe that Conservatives can make things better here.

  22. The feds that are looking into President Trump are liberal, unelected bureaucrats….aka “the deep state.” Look at what they did to Sharyl Atkisson.

    1. Robert Mueller is a Republican, a law and order Republican, the type that Republicans used to support. Heʻs investigating what might be the most corrupt and anti-American administration ever. I wonder why heʻs the bad guy now?

  23. Great Job and hit it spot on !

    I grew up in hawaii on both the west side and east of Oahu. I was always self employed from the time I graduated high school. I believe that Hawaii is not the same as it was 20+ years ago and because of the high cost of living, some people there have no choice but to do whatever they have to, just to survive. If that means corruption, stealing, gauging, whatever…people are going to do what they have to just to survive. It’s a sad story and yes it starts with the government leadership and works its way down the ladder to the rest civilian population.

    I’ve since left Hawaii and happily live in Austin Texas, it’s an eye opener when you see accountability, and a balanced government. Blew my mind at first, now it’s just the norm how well Texas is managed and my family loves living here.

    Hawaii is a great place to visit but not to live for the middle class (unless you stay connected) lol

    Great Job !!! Looking forward to the follow up !

  24. Great writing….look into our Mayor Kim over here and the handling of the eruption. Same garbage,different island.

  25. This article says what all of us have been thinking for years now. So glad someone said it out loud for us. This should be blasted state wide on the sirens at the beginning of each month instead of that awful sound they play. I’d say the state of Hawaii’s political system is a disaster so it should qualify as a warning right?

    I wouldn’t change a thing. Aaron, you must work at the DMV. No wonder your offended. This article is a threat to your way of life and all the people you hand pick to mess with when they are just trying to register and pay outrageous fees every year just so they can drive from home to work and back five days a week and then some. Did your aunty or uncle get that job for you? Special, ah you!

    Looking forward to part 2. Thank you Keith, keep um coming!

  26. I’m impressed with this article and thankful that you see the truth. Too many people or should I say “sheep” just follow the masses with their heads down. I totally support Trump! I’m glad you are awake. Looking forward to part two. Thumbs up Mr. Mann!

  27. Sure I get it words, to me it’s the overall meaning of da whole article that sums up our situation, banging may bother some sorry….u feel offended. Sometimes words need to be used to wake u up in case you dozed off.

    With anger in your veins you want to find other words that upset you. Then of course you pay closer attention. I think that is the subliminal message that seems to have worked for many readers. Bottom line we LOVE Hawaii with or without offensive words, NOW how to DEAL with OFFENSIVE POLITICIANS.

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