Wow, what a heavy week. Â Yesterday was Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole’s birthday and the county Board of Ethics ruled 4-1 she violated the Ethics Code. Â Her violation is for giving the thumbs-down gesture to a testifier during the June 16 County Council meeting in which the highly publicized reorganization occurred. Â Also, Â yesterday Curtis Narimatsu, a friend whose historical writings are regularly published here as Dispatches From Curt Â guest columns, has been suspended from his law practice.
According to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) to suspend Narimatsu. Â ODC petitioned the court that Narimatsu received 26 complaints in the last two years, with 14 complaints made this year. Narimatsu agreed to represent clients, accepted a reported $15,535, failed to deposit funds into a client trust account, and failed to communicate with the clients or complete the legal services for which he was hired, ODC reportedly told the court. Â If Narimatsu wishes to comment on his suspension, he is welcome to submit a guest column here. Â The same invitation is extended to Auntie Emily â€” if she would like to comment on the Board of Ethics ruling yesterday, or on any issue that she or the rest of the County Council is facing.Previously I extended an invitation through Council Aide Gwen Kupahu for Emily to contribute writings to this blog, but I’m not certain she actually received the message and knows she is welcome to offer her perspective here anytime.
Joyce Folena and Gregory Smith submitted a total of three ethics complaints against Emily. Â The Ethics Board rejected a second complaint alleging Emily prayed over a testifier during a Council meeting. The third complaint recalls the 2008 Council meeting in which she threw a pen in the course of discussing the proposed West Hawaii Civic Center. That complaint will be taken up at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2009 in the Liquor Control Room in the Hilo Lagoon Centre.
In the case of Curtis, I honestly don’t have enough information to make an intelligent comment. Â Being that on this blog he acts as, not a lawyer but as a historian and interpreter of historic figures â€” sports, cultural and political, I’m inclined to continue running his columns. Â Regarding Emily, well, having worked alongside her as her legislative assistant, I know how much she prides herself on being such a maverick. Â She is strong in her convictions, and that makes her all the more controversial as an elected official. Â I’ve reminded her in the past that she represents a truly diverse district, of not just Christian fundamentalists, but people from ALL walks of life â€” with various religions and ideologies, from hedonism to urophagia. Â More so than any other district on the island I think, the Puna representative must be truly open-minded and indulgent of the diverse personalities. Â As difficult as it may be, Auntie needs to grasp that fact, or constituents who feel disenfranchised by her will continue to take her to the Ethics Board. I feel for Auntie, I really do, because I know she is a tireless worker for Puna. Watching Big Island Video News’ coverage of the Ethics hearing yesterday, I felt a lot of empathy and compassion for her, when she told of how difficult it is to receive such scrutiny and criticism from the public. Â I certainly wouldn’t care to live in a fish bowl, like politicians do.
I have to tell you, honestly, it is difficult for me to offer any reckoning of either Emily or Curtis, in the same week that a certain someone has been hounding me with judgment of criticism about my blog and my reporting and writing, or lack thereof. Â I realize, just like being a lawyer and a politician, a writer must have “thick skin.” But in this blogging life, sometimes, this week especially, I feel like I not only need thick skin, but a bullet-proof vest â€” certainly some kind of protection from the emotional bombs that get dropped or the vomit that spews forth on occasion.
Needless to say, last night, watching The Colbert Report, I found some comic relief in an interview Stephen Colbert had with A.J. Jacobs, author of “The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life As An Experiment.” Jacobs has lived one year of his life heeding the principles set forth in the Bible. Â He got deeply involved in his nanny’s internet-dating experience. Â He tried outsourcing all aspects of his life to India, engaged in “radical honesty” and lived for a time according to George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior. Â I had the biggest laugh all week, watching Colbert interview Jacobs about his experiments. Â After the show, I logged on to my computer and looked up George Washington Rules. Â I urge you to do the same. Â Based on a set of rules put together by French Jesuits 414 years ago, many of the rules are just as applicable today as they were then, and when Washington ressurrected them a couple hundred years ago. Â No. 65: “Speak not injurious Words neither in Jest nor Earnest Scoff at none although they give Occasion.” It would be very difficult to live according to that rule alone, as a blogger in the 21st century, let me tell you. Â No. 110: “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience” â€” well, that one is timeless. Â Without a conscience, you wreak havoc on society.
Thinking about Jacobs and his book, I came to the realization that I am engaged in my very own experiment. Â This blog is my guinea pig diary of sorts. Â I guess I have to read Jacobs’ book to learn at one point he decided it was time to move on to another experiment. Â If not blogging, what would be my experiment? Â Well, as I was washing dishes this morning, I was thinking of two things that surely won’t be on my list (1.) organized religion and (2.) public office. Â On the former, I’ve been there and tried that, and I’m over it. God is my co-pilot all the time, I don’t need to get all wrapped up in going to church. Â My organized-religion experiment will be a chapter in my book some day. Â On running for public office, well, this public life of blogging gives you a real good dose of what politicians have to endure. Â I can’t imagine myself waving on the side of the road to win an election, actually winning, and then as a public servant not being able to truly speak my mind, for fear of being taken to the Ethics Board. Â So, if I wasn’t blogging, what would I do? Well, if my husband would let me, there are plenty of “communities” in Puna that I could join for an experiment. HA! Just the thought evokes laughter. Â I could find a guru in Puna and follow him for some time. Â Oh, wait, that’s too much like an organized religion. Should I join an intentional community, which one would I choose. The raw-food community? No. I would be too concerned about Rat Lungworm Disease. Â The polyamorous community? Â No, my man is mine, I ain’t sharing him. Â The community of jugglers? Â Well, actually, I lived on Belly Acres for nine months at one time, so I already have that one checked off my list. Â Let’s see, do you know about the Essensual community? Â I didn’t know about it myself, until a friend enlightened me recently. Â Sorry, I’m blushing at the thought, I can’t tell you exactly what that group is about, for fear of being attacked by insulted Christians and conservatives who read this blog. Â Suffice it to say, the Essensual community is in Aunty Emily’s district of Puna!
Here I am, wracking my brain, trying to think of a clever experiment. Â I guess I’ll stay with my online guinea pig diary, until I come up with a better idea for an experiment. Â Go ahead, make your comments, whether they be about Emily, Curtis or me, just be sure to ponder George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior like I did. Â Hey, maybe together we can embark on an experiment to daily remind each other of these age-old rules? Hey, I’m cognizant of the fact that I regularly break many of the 110 rules. But I pledge to you right now that I will abide by all the rules associated with eating and drinking, including this one, no. 97: “Put not another bit into your mouth till the former be swallowed. Let not your morsels be too big for the jowls.” I also promise not to talk with my mouth full, as spelled out in no. 98. I also won’t be cleaning my teeth with a table cloth napkin, a knife, or a fork, as stated in no. 100…