***Commentary*** Auntie Emily’s Ethics Violation On Her Birthday, Curtis’ Suspension, And My Own ‘Guinea Pig Diary’


Emily Naeole

Wow, what a heavy week.  Yesterday was Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole’s birthday and the county Board of Ethics ruled 4-1 she violated the Ethics Code.  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.  Also,  yesterday Curtis Narimatsu, a friend whose historical writings are regularly published here as Dispatches From Curt  guest columns, has been suspended from his law practice.

Curtis Narimatsu

Curtis Narimatsu

According to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) to suspend Narimatsu.  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.  If Narimatsu wishes to comment on his suspension, he is welcome to submit a guest column here.  The same invitation is extended to Auntie Emily — 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. Read more

***Commentary*** The Flushing Remonstrance And Other Aspects Related To Mixing Religion And Politics

This week when I had the occasion to see Helene Hale at the Pahoa High and Intermediate School gymnasium groundbreaking, I asked her what she thought about the Hawaii County Council shenanigans.  The 91-year-old laughed, noted the article in this week’s DaKine about Joyce “Bearded Lady” Folena and Gregory Smith’s Board of Ethics complaint against Emily, and recalled her own experience with the couple as a politician over 20 years ago.  

Helene Hale used to be on Emily’s Kupuna Council, a group of kupuna from different aspects of Emily’s life who advised her on a regular basis.  But after Helene told Emily bluntly that she should not be making any public references to religion, Emily dismissed her from the Council. Had Emily listened to her kupuna rather than dismiss her, Bearded Lady and her partner would not have an ethics complaint against Emily today. 

To her credit, Emily has always been candid about her zealotry and forthcoming about being a “prayer warrior.” She has been nothing short of honest with the public about her religious beliefs. As a reporter for one of the island’s two dailies, I quoted her references to scriptures and “Akua” during the 2006 Hawaii County Council campaign.

Now that Emily is in public office, however, she must concede that she represents people who may not necessarily be devoted to Akua or a specific sect of Christianity that believes Jesus Christ is Lord. As we all know, Hawaii is a multi-ethnic community, in race and in religion. 

In Puna especially, for the cheap land that has attracted all walks of life, there are plenty of experientialists that, among other traditional beliefs, refuse to accept any aspect of Calvinism. Read more