Caldwell Lays Golden Eggs?
From www.Djou.com October 9, 2016
Below is an editorial from today's Honolulu Star Advertiser written by political commentator David Shapiro that neatly summarizes our community's core problem with City government - a mayor who works for himself, not for the people.
As aptly pointed out by Shapiro, "[u]nless [Caldwell] lays golden eggs, what could he possibly provide in an hour a month that’s worth $299,000 to Territorial other than political influence?"
And, it's not just the fact that the mayor works at a bank earning $200,000-$299,999/year by exploiting his public position for exceptionally lucrative private gain:
- "[O]ne of Caldwell’s duties is to head the committee that sets pay for bank executives, while Honolulu Civil Beat has reported that said executives donated at least $25,000 to his mayoral campaigns." (see article here)
- Caldwell has also taken $1 million. in campaign contributions from rail contractors just as the City rail project goes billions over budget and falls years behind schedule (see article here).
- Caldwell's senior campaign aide 'volunteers' for his campaign, but then gets tens of thousands of dollars in City contracts (see article here).
- Caldwell bullied the City's ethics director into resigning after an investigation into his fundraising practices (see article here).
As the great parliamentarian Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Are we going to sit on the sidelines and do nothing? Are we okay with unethical behavior as long as it's not technically illegal? Or, do we take a stand and demand that our government leaders act ethically and responsibly?
All we have to fight back against this corruption is you. Will you help us today? We are just 9 days from absentee ballots being mailed to voters and 30 days from Election Day. Every contribution you make will be used immediately. We may lack the deep pocket resources of special interests that fuels our opponent's campaign - but together we can send a message that we expect our government leaders to be ethical and accountable to the people.
Please stop by our headquarters and help us with phone banking registered voters to encourage them to vote, help us with sign waving, and/or call or email your friends and family to let them how critically important it is for them to vote. With your help, we can win this fight to restore honesty and accountability to our City government.
Honolulu Star Advertiser, Volcanic Ash Commentary, 10/9/16
‘No conflict’ doesn’t mean mayor’s bank post is ethical
By David Shapiro
Mayor Kirk Caldwell denied at a recent debate with opponent Charles Djou that his post as a director of Territorial Savings Bank, which pays him $200,000 to $299,000 a year according to his financial disclosure, constitutes a second job in addition to his mayoral role that pays $164,928.
He described the lucrative bank position he’s clung to tenaciously against charges of conflict of interest as more of a service than a job, like he was helping out a community group.
How could it be a job, he asked, when he puts in only an hour or two a month for the bank?
Question to him, then: Unless he lays golden eggs, what could he possibly provide in an hour a month that’s worth $299,000 to Territorial other than political influence?
The mayor has pinned his defense of the dual income on advice from the Ethics Commission that there’s no conflict of interest because the city has no deposits with Territorial.
But to say there’s no conflict under the city’s narrowly construed ethics code doesn’t necessarily equate to it being ethical.
Neither the mayor nor the Ethics Commission has offered examples of other Hawaii chief executives on either the city or state level who have mixed such rich outside positions with their public jobs.
In the debate, Caldwell turned the question into a commercial for his bank, saying critics are “denigrating the good work of Territorial Savings. … Their sole purpose is to put people into their homes; 95 percent of their work is single-family, residential loans.”
Which means the bank and its clients have a strong financial interest in everything the city does related to housing — planning and zoning, property taxes, building codes and permits, roads, rail and public works, among others.
And Territorial officers and clients have well-paid-for opportunities to whisper their concerns into the mayor’s ear that few others enjoy.
No conflict of interest?
According to Territorial’s annual report, one of Caldwell’s duties is to head the committee that sets pay for bank executives, while Honolulu Civil Beat has reported that said executives donated at least $25,000 to his mayoral campaigns.
No conflict of interest?
Instead of the city Ethics Code’s wiggly definitions, let’s go with a simple definition of ethics from late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart: “Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do.”
Does the mayor’s Territorial tap dancing live up to this?
Even without the Territorial money, Caldwell and his wife, Bank of Hawaii executive Donna Tanoue, had joint income of at least $864,000 in 2015 and owned millions worth of stock from their banks.
How much does he need before city taxpayers who provide him a reasonable salary get his full attention with no question of conflict?