Kenoi’s ethics bill needs more work
There was a letter to the editor published on May 13 regarding the ethics bill proposed by Mayor Billy Kenoi. The letter described the advantages of not allowing companies owned by county employees or their families to contract with the county.
The merits of the part of the bill dealing with employees and their families contracting with the county is arguable as indicated the council’s lengthy discussions.
The part of the bill that has not been discussed openly, except by the council, is the part that would not allow any county employee to disagree with or take any legal action against the “interests of the county.”
Any ordinance which does not allow a county employee to disagree with the county and seek to prove the point in court is violating the basic constitutional right of free speech and the right to seek redress by the judicial branch of the government.
This is the basis on which America was founded. That basis is free speech and the right to discuss any difference of opinion with others. It also includes the right to take an issue to court in order to have an independent branch of the government hear the arguments and make an independent interpretation of the issue.
To make matters worse, there was no definition of the “interests of the county,” nor any guidelines as to who is to determine if the “interests of the county” are being violated. Theoretically, any person could stop almost any discussion and threaten legal action against anyone having an opinion different from theirs because it is claimed to be against the “interests of the county.”
The council is charged with the responsibility to make laws (ordinances) by which this county is to be governed. The threat of legal action — if anyone deems the speech or actions of a council member to not be in the “interests of the county” — would cause a chilling effect on all discussion or disagreement. This would result in the council not being able to do the job it was elected to do for the public.
All other county employees would also be at risk at any time they said or did anything that could be construed as not in the “interests of the county.” This could destroy the valuable feedback county employees provide that can help give better service to the citizens of this county.
I agree that good ethics are central to any good working relationship, business or government. Giving up basic American rights is never a good idea. In fact it sounds unethical to me.
I’m hoping that the County Council will see the errors in this particular bill and either amend it or defeat it with the hope that it will be returned at a later date without giving up basic rights.
A big thank you to veterans hospitals
In response to news media coverage of veteran’s hospitals allegedly delaying care and falsifying records, I must say that the tremendous good the Department of Veterans Affairs has done and continues to do must not be disrespected.
Gen. Eric Shinseki is to be praised for his leadership of such a beneficial and vast organization.
My personal experience beginning in 1970 on my return to the United States from military service in Southeast Asia until today has only been of prompt and thorough health care given in a kind manner.
If other communities enjoy half the care at their VA clinics we veterans receive at our clinic up on Waianuenue Avenue, they are being served very well indeed.
So many veterans join me in saying thank you to you nurses and doctors and staff of our little clinic. Thank you for taking care of us.
William D Cesaletti