Aloha, January 11, 2016
Today, as the president of The Friends of Makakilo, Inc., I sent the following letter to each of the Honolulu City Council Members. As you can see, we are challenging their capability to cast a valid vote on any Rail issue, stating that the huge amounts of donations they have received from supporters of Rail and Ho’opili have made it impossible for them to have the independence of judgment and freedom of choice required to cast an unbiased, ethical, and legal vote. (See these amounts and the percentages at the bottom of this page. See the attachments for listings of all contributions between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2014, with Rail and Ho’opili donors highlighted in yellow.)
We have asked the Budget Committee to defer further consideration of Bill 23 indefinitely.
We are also challenging the validity of the past three Council and Committee votes on Bill 23, based on the fact that no Council Member has declared the support received from Super PACs. It is our contention that the Revised City Charter Article 11 requires this. As examples of this support, Forward Progress, the morph of Pacific Resource Partnership, spent $86,000 to get Carol Fukunaga elected, and $105,000 to get Brandon Elefante elected, and more on others.
Our city government has been corrupted by all of these donations.
Dr. Kioni Dudley
President, The Friends of Makakilo, Inc.
* * * * *
Dear Council Member ______,
Attached is a listing of your reported campaign contributions for the period from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2014. This listing was prepared by Friends of Makakilo, Inc. Highlighted in yellow are contributions we believe to be from entities that profit directly from any positive vote on the Rail or Ho’opili. Because Rail and Ho’opili have been treated in city actions as entwined and completely inter-dependent, we have treated donors who would profit from votes for each as also profiting from the votes for the other, and have included both in our highlighting.
We wish to explain the process through which we came up with our choices on your list. We first highlighted all of the companies, unions, and individuals we recognized as involved with and supporting the Rail and Ho’opili. We then went, line by line, through the rest of your contributors, checking for references to them on the Internet. If we found that an entity was positioned to profit directly from yes votes on Rail and Ho’opili, we highlighted them. For example, lobbyists for Rail were highlighted. Lobbyists for GMOs were not. Realtors on the West side were highlighted. Realtors in East O’ahu and Windward were not. If we could find no Internet references to a person or business entity, we did not highlight them. Great care was taken to include only persons and entities that would profit directly from a yes vote. We have apologized, and again apologize, to all for any mistakes that we have made. We believe, however, that we have been conservative, and that while we may have incorrectly highlighted some entities, there are numerous others which we did not recognize.
We are sending you the listing so that you can look through it yourself.
We do not claim that any of these donations was technically illegal.
We do maintain that the highlighted contributions comprised ___% of all of the donations you received.
We know how difficult it is to get donations from the general public. We believe that Council Members are aware that their large percentage of contributions from these easier sources would go to an opponent in the next election if they voted against Rail or Ho’opili. We believe that the size and the percentage of these contributions and the expectations that clearly come with them present a pressure that is so great that it deprives Council Members of the independence of judgment and freedom of choice which are fundamental requirements for an unbiased, ethical, and legal decision.
We believe that while one or more Council Members might vote in opposition to Rail, none is capable of voting in opposition if his or her vote will determine failure for the measure to pass. We believe that votes cast under such conditions are invalid.
We are aware that another vote on Bill 23 (2015), CD1 - Relating to the Transportation Surcharge, will be required of Committee members at the Budget Committee meeting on Wednesday of this week.
Because it is clear that not one Council Member has the necessary prerequisites of independence of judgment and freedom of choice to cast a valid vote on the extension of the rail tax, or on any other issue concerning Rail, we therefore ask the Budget chair to lay aside Bill 23 (2015), CD1 - Relating to the Transportation Surcharge, deferring the vote on it indefinitely.
There is an additional problem with the series of Council votes on Bill 23. At least five council members have received major campaign support from Super PACs. This support has not been reported in Campaign Spending filings of “contributions” because it did not come in direct contributions to the Members. In fact, it was supposed to have been provided without their knowledge. These contributions were large, however, and the Members are fully cognizant of their value. Council Members know why they received this support. They know what is expected of them. This has created a clear conflict of interest.
Since this Super PAC support is neither solicited or accepted, it is not covered by the exclusion in the Revised Charter of Honolulu, Article 11- section 102.1(a) which reads: “Nothing herein shall preclude the solicitation or acceptance of lawful contributions for election campaigns,” which would allow it to go undeclared. It is an “interest,” and section 103 requires that it be declared before each vote on bills that will directly benefit the contributor. During the last three votes on Bill 23 (2015), and until this date, no Council Member has declared the conflict of interest caused by Super PAC support. We believe that this invalidates their votes in all three cases.
For all of the reasons above, the Friends of Makakilo request the Budget chair to defer indefinitely further consideration of Bill 23.
Dr. Kioni Dudley
as the President of the Friends of Makakilo, Inc.
Cc: Chuck Totto, Ethics Commission
These are contributions for the most recent election, which were received between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2014:
Name Total Amount from Percent from
contributions Ho’opili and Rail Ho’opili and Rail
J. Ikaika Anderson $139,518 $100,668 72%
Brandon Elefante $ 37,322 $ 24,292 65%
Carol Fukunaga $258,321 $104,565 40%
Ann Kobayashi $ 57,136 $ 24,450 43%
Joey Manahan $182,215 $ 83,512 46%
Ernest Martin $451,240 $268,017 59%
Ron Menor $ 48,405 $ 34,650 72%
Trevor Ozawa $183,320 $104,550 57%
Kymberly Pine $160,879 $116,801 72%
It is likely that these amounts considerably under-report the total contributions linked to those that will profit from a “Yes” vote on Ho’opili and Rail, since no employer was listed for most donors, and it was not always possible to identify a spouse, relative, or employee of a principal donor.