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Hawaii Department of Public Works Spends $20,000 + on Website Hosting and Design Services

Jesus – talk about a waste of tax dollars!  Where is this website???

Contract Title:

Website Hosting and Design Services for Traffic Division and Flood Protection

Consultant:

Hawaii Information Consortium LLC

Amount:

$20,700.00

Contact Person:

Noelani Whittington

Phone No.:

808 961-8787

Add on top of that we, the public will have to pay a fee to this company each time we register our vehicles through them.

Public Works Employee With 15 Traffic Infractions Hits Bicyclist

Ok… Noelani Whittington please explain this one.

How is Chris Michael Domino still allowed to even drive a county vehicle with so many violations?

Hawaii County officials are investigating a county Public Works employee accused of hitting a bicyclist while driving a county vehicle with a suspended license.

Hawaii County Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida confirmed the investigation and arrest of 34-year-old Chris Michael Domino, who faces several charges related to Thursday’s collision…

Records show Domino has been cited at least 15 times for various traffic infractions dating to 1996.

More Here: Big Island Worker Investigated for Collision

Public Works PUBLIC Information Officer Noelani Whittington 2009 LAVA Tube Award Winner

It’s official… I read the newspaper today at work and low and behold… there it was.

Of course I appreciate Peter for filling me in on the scoops on the corrected Press Release that went out… and of course I appreciate my little birds that drop by now and then with their little tid bits of information.

Here is the article in full from the Hawaii Tribune Herald.  I’m posting it in full because I know that soon enough… people will be charged to read this again…  I hate that model of information… Give it free now… but then charge for it later.

Public Works PIO criticized

By Tribune-Herald
Published: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 9:06 AM HST

The Big Island Press Club has selected Noelani Whittington, public information officer for the Hawaii County Department of Public Works, as the unfavorable recipient of the Big Island Press Club’s Lava Tube Award, given annually to highlight the worst violation of government openness in the state.

The Torch of Light Award, awarded for the best example of open government, goes to Gov. Linda Lingle and the Hawaii State Legislature for passing a law to protect newsgatherers from revealing confidential sources.

Whittington “wins” this year for a memo she wrote in mid-November directing employees how to handle media requests. The memo directed employees not to speak to the media, not to discuss the causes of problems and how to stop the photographing or videotaping of baseyards and road projects.

The since-rescinded memo named several individuals — video producer Dave Corrigan, and bloggers Aaron Stene and Damon Tucker — who are not to receive any information from the department. This is despite the Hawaii County Charter requirement that “all persons shall be treated in a courteous, fair and impartial manner.” Whittington ignored the Charter when she wrote, “They are not journalists. They write what they think.”

“We hope that all the ex-journalists now working in the Kenoi administration will encourage a new standard for openness and access to information in county government,” said BIPC President Peter Serafin. “Today, every presidential press release is available to anyone with a computer and a modem — news professional or not. How can any local government justify being less open?”

In 2008 Reps. Blake Oshiro, Kirk Caldwell, Glenn Wakai, Gene Ward and Tommy Waters introduced a journalism shield bill, which the Legislature passed with no “nay” votes, and which Gov. Linda Lingle signed into law.

The Lava Tube and Torch of Light awards are announced each year on March 16, which is celebrated nationwide as Freedom of Information Day on the birthday of James Madison, the foremost champion of openness in government among the nation’s founding fathers.

The Big Island Press Club was founded in Hilo, in 1967.

The Lava Tube and Torch of Light awards have been presented annually since being established on the occasion of the Club’s 30th anniversary in 1997.

NOELANI Was the SOLE RECIPIENT of the Dubious Big Island Press Club’s “2008 Lava Tube Award”

*Update* CONFIRMED

Earlier I posted a blog mentioning that the Entire Department of Public Works received the 2008 Lava Tube Awards.  I believe this may be incorrect.

This was a Press Release that was sent to me by a “Little Birdie” that copied and pasted from a reliable source.

I have heard from a “a different birdie”  that  IT WAS NOELANI… AND NOELANI ALONE that RECEIVED THE DUBIOUS AWARD.

I guess we will just have to wait and see as more releases eventually come out.  I wasn’t at the meeting, so I hope someone who was, can give me the details on this.

*UPDATE* Big Island Press Club Selects Noelani Whittington from the Hawaii County Department of Public Works as the Recipient of its 2008 Lava Tube Award… Re: Bloggers Are People Too

*UPDATE*

My apologies for throwing the entire Hawaii County Department of Public Works under the bus for the following post.  Please see the above post or click here for the correction as Ms. Noelani Whittington, from the DPW, is the sole recipient of this award.

The Big Island Press Club has selected the Hawaii County Department of
Public Works as the recipient of its Lava Tube Award for 2008. The dubious
honor highlights the worst violation of government openness in the state.
In an unexpected twist, the Torch of Light Award goes to Gov. Linda Lingle
and the Hawaii State Legislature for passing a journalism shield law.

Public Works “wins” this year for a memo that Public Information Officer
Noelani Whittington
wrote in mid-November directing employees on how to
handle media requests. Whittington’s job is to improve the flow of
information between the government and the public, who has every right to
know what is going on. Instead, she instructed employees not to speak to
the media, not to discuss the causes of problems and how to stop the
photographing or videotaping of baseyards and road projects.

More egregiously, the since-rescinded memo names several individuals –
Dave Corrigan, Aaron Stene and Damon Tucker – who were not to receive any information from the department. That directive flies in the face of the
County Charter requirement that “all persons shall be treated in a
courteous, fair and impartial manner.” It appears the exception to “all
persons” is bloggers, because as the memo stated, “They are not
journalists. They write what they think.” The freedom to write what we
think is a basic human right, not a reason to withhold information.

Every year since 1997, the BIPC has given a Lava Tube dishonorable mention to the Hawaii State Legislature for its self-exemption from the Sunshine Law. While the BIPC continues to support closing that loophole, this year the club’s Board of Directors chose to recognize the lawmakers for
something they did right.

In 2008. Reps. Blake Oshiro, Kirk Caldwell, Glenn Wakai, Gene Ward and
Tommy Waters introduced a journalism shield bill, which the Legislature
passed with no “nay” votes, and which Gov. Linda Lingle signed into law.

The law is not perfect. The BIPC supports a strengthening of its
provisions in the future and is concerned about the repeal date of June
30, 2011. Yet a weakened shield law is better than nothing, and helps to
ensure the free flow of information to the public.

The Lava Tube and Torch of Light awards are announced each year on March 16, which is celebrated nationwide as Freedom of Information Day on the birthday of James Madison, the foremost champion of openness in government among the nation’s founding fathers. Madison was born in 1751.

The Big Island Press Club was founded in Hilo in 1967. The Lava Tube and
Torch of Light awards have been presented annually since being established
on the occasion of the Club’s 30th anniversary in 1997.

PREVIOUS LAVA TUBE WINNERS:

2007 Board of Education

2006 Kauai County Council, Honolulu City and County Council

2005 Third Circuit District Court Judge Matthew Pyun

2004 State Land Board Chairman Peter Young

2003 State Sen. Calvin Kawamoto

2002 University of Hawaii Board of Regents

2001 University of Hawaii Board of Regents

2000 State Rep. Eric Hamakawa, Hawaii County Councilman James Arakaki

1999 Hawaii County Council

1998 Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano

1997 Hawaii County Councilman Elroy Osorio


My Interview With ESPN Talk Radio About the Blackballing Incident

espn2

@joshontheradio was kind enough to allow me a few minutes on ESPN Talk Radio the other day on his sports show that is broadcast throughout the Big Island.

On today’s episode, we talk about the USA Amateur Boxing event with Anthony Pagan and his boxers, the DPW/Bis Island Blog controversy with Damon Tucker of Damon Tuckers Blog, our Sport Up! Spotlight with Lyle Crozier, including questions on the future of the BIIF, and we go Running with the Big Dog, Wayne Joseph!

“Never Doubt That A Small Group of Thoughtful, Committed Citizens Can Change The World” by Margaret Mead

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTPteuX0jxQ&hl=en&fs=1]

Aaron Stene, of the Kona Blog,  had a pre-recorded interview that was on the following day that you can listen to here 3/12/09.

Oh Great… Now I’m a “Sick Puppy”

Funny man Groucho Marx Andy Parx has been following the Blackballing of bloggers on the Big Island and has posted a few blogs on them.

parx

In today’s blog… I guess I’m “One Sick Puppy“.

Parx blogs:

…The memo reveals a type of paranoia and need for control that is the product of a sick mind and one would think that just the fact that she wrote it down and distributed it would make her position with the county in jeopardy..

Not that she needs to worry about employment- a mind like that would be a valuable asset working in the nuclear power or GMO industry, perhaps defending “clean coal” or something.

Whittington, who continued to BS the reporter after being caught, apparently couldn’t even keep straight which BI bloggers she wanted to ban, even including poor Doug White at Poinography who lives in Honolulu…

More Here

Damon Tucker: AKA ONE SICK PUPPY - Be on the lookout for that puppy with a camera and a blog!

Damon Tucker: AKA ONE SICK PUPPY - Be on the lookout for that puppy with a camera and a blog!

Ethics Violation Will Not Be Filed By Me Against Noelani Whittington of The Department of Public Works

My blog has never been a blog about trying to get people in trouble, or trying to get people pissed off at me.

My blog has always been my own casual observations on things and at times, I blog about things I see in the newspapers or local websites.

Why Noelani Whittington singled out my name, as well as Aaron and Daves name, in a directive aimed at Public Works Employees in an attempt to Blackball us was not only strange, but it was unethical.  Why my name was brought up still baffles me to this day.

As I posted yesterday, I think it may just have been a brain fart to include my blog in with things… But then again, who knows.

I am on the State Advisory Board for the Highway 130 Project and I do remember specifically blogging in August about an attempt by the State People to keep what was happening at our $56 Million dollar Highway project behind closed doors:

…Sticky point in the meeting came when it was mentioned that we were not to mention anything confidential to the media.

I had to put my foot down and say something to the effect of: “Hey… this is a public meeting….etc…. Yadda Yadda…. and I told them about this blog and How I would be writing on my personal Blog about this

I’ve only been back on this island now for less then a year and between the Post Office Incident and now this… I am beginning to wonder if I have a target unjustly on my back?

It has been brought to my attention that what Ms. Whittington did, may be a clear ethical violation and that I might want to pursue something if I chose to.

Noelani’s exclusion of members of the public is a clear violation of the Code of Ethics which states that all members of the public need to be treated in a fair and impartial manner.

Even though she withdrew her earlier directive to Public Works employees,…
…as a county employee she still violated the spirit and intent of the “fair and impartial” clause in the county’s articles…

I understand that I was probably unfairly targeted for some asinine reason… But I’m big enough to say … You know what Noelani… your an IDIOT to have brought me into this for some godforsaken reason.

I’m not going to file a complaint against you… Even though I have been encouraged by others to do so… It would be nice for SOME SORT OF AN APOLOGY BY NOW THOUGH?

However, just because I’m not going to file a complaint, doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t stand up for other bloggers who might in the future.

Sincerely,

Damon Tucker

*Update* PAU… I’ll Be On the Air at 10:45: ESPN Talk Radio to Discuss Bloggers Being Blackballed by the Department of Public Works Today

*update 10:30 am* I’ll be on the air at 10:45

Radio Coverage today at 10:00 am on the Blackballing of Bloggers incident:

espn

I just received the following Tweet from Josh Pacheco of ESPN 1420 AM Radio:

@damontucker It’s going to be on the radio sometime between 10 am – Noon. AM 850 Hilo. Am 790 Kona. Gonna put it on my daily podcast, too.

DPW Noelani Whittington “I’m NOT ROB TUCKER” of PunaWeb! Grubbing and Grading… Hokulia… 1.5 Billion? Other Blogs Thrown Under the Bus

I knew there had to be more to this then was first reported by the Tribune Herald.

With the recent release to Aaron over at the Kona blog of the full memo of what Noelani Whittington actually wrote… we find out that she is really mixed up… adding in PunaWeb, Poinography and the Hawaii Blog into the mix of Blackballed Blogs that was not even reported in the Tribune Herald piece.  (Of course we never get the full story in our local papers but at least they alerted us “Citizen Journalists” as Noelani likes to say… of this stupid directive)

I  think I’ve figured it out and I think I know exactly how my name got tossed into this whole mess with the Department of Public Works blackballing bloggers since I NEVER HAVE TALKED TO THE DPW in phone conversations or e-mail.

These individuals are Aaron Stene and Damon Tucker. Their e-mail addresses are aaronstene@hawaiiantel.net or damontucker@yahoo.com

Their blogs are: Kona blog, Poinography, Puna Web, and Hawaii Blog

Here is the deal… Rob Tucker, Punaweb Moderator/Admin, asks the  DPW for information a lot from what I can tell, and I think Noelani had a Brain Fart and mistakenly thought me and Rob were some how related.

Rob not only runs Punaweb, he is also President of Friends of Puna Future a “Political Action” group, that I’m a member of.

Friends of Puna’s Future (FoPF) is a nonprofit 501(c)4 (applied) organization comprised of concerned Puna residents, businesses and associations working together to lobby for long overdue changes in the Puna district.

He is very active in the Puna community thus her other response:

They will ask for information about:
* Palani Road-why the delays? Mamalahoa by-pass-the Coupe case, opening the entire by-pass, Grace Church moving the utility poles and why the delay?
* Traffic in Puna, anything about Puna and DPW

Do you think I hit the nail on the head with this one guys?

I did see the following posts Rob made on Punaweb, about DPW that could upset them:

The county G&G changes are undertaken separately by Public Works. There appears to be ongoing pressure from the status quo (established building industry and land owners and the folks who insist on the right to destroy their land because they can and they don’t want any regulations) to make the upgrades to the code as complex as possible and in so doing minimize the attention span of the community.

or this:

Some interesting reportage of last night’s public meeting on the G&G ordinance from Kristine Kubat

This whole thread is pretty degrading to DPW as well…

Hawaii County has long been twenty years behind the times……

…One key example was the Hokulia Project in Kona. This $1.5 billion development of gated mansions started out with heavy unregulated grading. Heavy rains caused massive amounts of silt to run off into the ocean and buried a living reef. Not something that you can clean up with a broom and dustpan… Rob Tucker

Things that make you go Hmm…

My guess… Noelani spending to much time pleasure reading my blog and just tossed my name in to give me some extra readers… Thanks Noelani! :roll:

Noelani… don’t take your dislike for “Puna Web” for my blog please!  (By the way… it’s PUNAWEB with out spaces)

Department of Public Works Spokesperson Noelani Whittington’s INFAMOUS Memo(s) BLACKBALLING Me, Aaron and Dave

Kudos to Aaron for posting the following memo’s from Noelani Whittington at the Department of Public Works regarding the Blackballing of Aaron, Dave and Myself.

There are three separate documents.  I separated each of them by lines.

And once again, before reading this… REMEMBER… I HAVE NEVER CONTACTED THE DPW FOR ANYTHING IN MY LIFE!  If there is a public record of me Emailing them as Noelani Claims… I’d really love to see this.  Just another fabrication as I have never called or emailed that office!

And by the way Noelani… My blog is called “Damon Tucker’s Weblog”.  The “Hawaii Blog” is another blog on another island.  Get your blogs straight before you start Blackballing them at least!

————

Policy for procedures for Citizen Journalists

Avoid a citizen journalist?

Citizen journalists are a new breed of bloggers who use the internet to express their opinions about DPW projects.  They are not journalists.  They write what they think

Blogging reaches 120 million viewers daily.

These individuals are Aaron Stene and Damon Tucker. Their e-mail addresses are aaronstene@hawaiiantel.net or damontucker@yahoo.com

Their blogs are: Kona blog, Poinography, Puna Web, and Hawaii Blog

How do we identify them?

They contact us by e-mail using their e-mail addresses. Rarely do they call us.

They never identify or consider themselves as a “citizen journalist.”

Procedure to handle a Citizen Journalist

1. Stop. Do not give out information.

2.      Refer their e-mail inquiries to the Public Information office.

3.      Insert this message, “please contact our public information office at 557-6437 or by e-mail at nwhittington@co.hawaii.i.us.”

They will ask for information about:

  • Palani Road-why the delays? Mamalahoa by-pass-the Coupe case, opening the entire by-pass, Grace Church moving the utility poles and why the delay?
  • Traffic in Puna, anything about Puna and DPW

Issued: November 16, 2008

————————–

Policy and Procedure for Photographers or Videographers on County property

Procedure for filming at base yards and at road projects

1)     Stop them.

2)     Ask them to follow you to your office, or to your car

3)     Call 557-6437.  Public Information will take over from here.

Who should know about this procedure? Supervisors and front desk staff,

Policy

1)     Photographers or Videographers must be accompanied by someone from the Public Information office.

2)     Public Information will check their credentials and verify their assignment with their respective boss.

3)     Public Information limits their access to a specific area and respects the privacy of the staff not to be filmed

4)     The photographers are: Baron Sekiya for West Hawaii Today; Will from the Tribune Herald-, Daryl Lee, free-lancer for KITV, KGMB, KHNL, KHON, and The Honolulu Advertiser.  Daryl also films for DPW on assignment.

5) NOT PERMITTED is Dave Corrigan for Big Island Video news.com

Internal procedure:

Public Information will:

1)     ask the photographer to stop because of privacy issues with staff

2)      that prior arrangements are made

3)     Inform the division chief of the situation then the DPW director

Issued November 16, 2008

Videographers have a new blog, big island video news.com.  Dave Corrigan is the principal behind this operation.

————————-

Remember that media lives for a crisis. They will want to keep it going. Try to make it a one-day story. A crisis throws Public Works into an arena of public opinion, where bloggers, citizen journalists, (referred as social media) and traditional media are the judge and the jury, influencing the readers to form opinions.

Procedure to maintain the crisis:

1.       If you or a staff receives the call.

a.       Take the information; name affiliation, (who are you with?) best number to call you.

b.       What is your deadline?

c.       Citizen journalists will not identify themselves.  In this case, take their name and e-mail address.

2.       Staff refers the message immediately to their division chief.

3.       Division chief calls the Director and Public Information Officer (PIO) and provides details of the situation.

4.       Division chiefs, (if more than one division is involved) the DPW director, or other department directors, PIO and individuals involved meet to get the facts, discuss situation and agree on the best course of action.

a. Anyone implicated in the situation are not to speak to the media.

5.       PIO prepares a statement for the media.

6.       A memo may be generated to the staff to inform them of the situation

What’s at stake? Jobs and the reputations of good people are at stake and at the very worst if the situation continues to fester, public opinion could ask for them to step down from their positions.  It is humiliating for anyone to read in the paper, that punishment should include firing the individuals. We can at least try to minimize some of the damage by acting swiftly.

Negative behaviors that won’t help Public Works — Arrogance, no concern. ●Blame shifting ●Inconsistency ●Little or no preparation ● minimize the impact. ●No admission of responsibility

Establish trust

  • Provide advance information.
  • Ask for input from staff and those involved
  • Listen carefully.
  • Demonstrate that you’ve heard, i.e., change your plans.
  • Stay in touch.
  • Speak in plain language.
  • Bring involuntary participants into the decision-making process.
    • Make public acknowledgement and take responsibility.

Illustrate your credibility:

1.       Prepare to talk openly.

2.       Reveal what the public should know, even if they don’t ask.

3.       Explain problems and changes quickly.

4.       Answer all questions, even those that victims wouldn’t think to ask.

5.       Cooperate with the traditional and social media, recognizing that employees and the general public have a higher priority.

6.       Respect and seek to work with employees and opponents.

  1. The Bottom Line: Act Fast

It is often better to act quickly and make mistakes than to fail to act until it’s too late or the action becomes a meaningless gesture. In fact, solving problems and “winning” in crisis situations is a function of speed, of decision making, of action, of reaction, of collaboration, of swiftly applied common sense. Timidity and hesitation are the parents of defeat.

  • Far more is lost by refusing to speak to the media than is risked by doing so.
  • A vacuum of information breeds media hostility and public loss of confidence.
  • The public trust is affected; and something must be done to remediate the situation.
  • Communicate in ways that meet community standards
  • Don’t discuss cause or fault.

I’m a Person Too… So Why Was The Directive Aimed At Me?

Aaron Stene recently submitted a Letter to the Editor to the Big Island Weakly.  I know he didn’t make the headline in the paper… but I got a kick out of it:

Bloggers are people, too
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 10:29 AM HST
I was thoroughly disgusted to find out that the Hawai’i County Department of Public Works had implemented a directive barring any DPW employee from talking to me, Damon Tucker or David Corrigan. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why they did this, since we all have the highest profile blogs on the island.However, it is still perplexing why Damon Tucker, and to a degree, David Corrigan, were included. Damon has had limited contact with the DPW and simply republishes information which is publicly available off of Hawai’i County’s Web site. On the other hand, David Corrigan was included because he filmed the Hawai’i County DPW resurfacing Saddle Road last summer. The latter is the subject of litigation due to someone in the DPW buying asphalt tack coat from Grace Pacific when they had a binding contract to buy it from HMP Inc.

In my opinion, Noelani Whittington tried to control the flow of information about DPW projects with this directive. But instead it turns into a huge blunder on her part. I’m hoping she gets reprimanded for crafting this illogical and illegal directive.

Aaron Stene

Kailua-Kona

Just a quick correction… I HAVE NEVER HAD CONTACT WITH THEM.

I am still running my contest looking for the best explanation to the question of “Why was I targeted in this directive specifically?

BKNYKANAKA Talks to Noelani Whittington on Blackballing Bloggers… “It Was a Mistake, My Fault, Bad Judgment…”

From what it appears, the Brooklyn Born Kanaka (BKNYKANAKA), has stormed the Department of Public Works in an attempt to see what is going on down there.

In his blog today, “Noelani Speaks…” he mentions the following:

Ok, so the story according to Noelani is…

I asked her if the there was any particular reason why Damon Tucker, Aaron Stene and Dave Corrigan were mentioned- and she said along the lines “it was a mistake, my fault. bad judgement…”

More Here

Noelani… I’m Not Hard to Find… Twitter @ damontucker Email: Damontucker @ yahoo.com “No Spacing”… Er Um I Mean Spaces

I have now gotten two confirmed reports that Noelani Whittington of the Department of Public Works  is interested in talking to me about the Blackballing of bloggers incident.

I’m not a hard person to find.

My email and twitter account is on the bottom left of this blog that she obviously reads enough to attempt to Blackball me for some reason or another.

I find it interesting that someone who was attempting to blackball me from getting public information from her office… when I haven’t ever tried too… Is now attempting to get a hold of me only by phone.

Sorry, I always learned not to give out my number to strangers.  You are welcome to make a comment here, email me at my email address or Tweet with me.

I’m open to having a dialog with her… but I need to let my email server know that I have lifted the ban on her IP Address.  It was only banned for 10 days… I’ve rescinded that because I made a mistake. :roll:

DT