Union response: Shame, shame, shame
West Hawaii Today has sunk to a new low of hypocrisy and muckraking with your July 19 editorial about Hawaii County Elections Office Administrator Pat Nakamoto by suggesting that Ms. Nakamoto, who was terminated from her position improperly, was acting inappropriately in her public activities by campaigning for different individual candidates.
You say that Ms. Nakamoto engaged in campaign activities during the period when she was terminated and awaiting adjudication of her grievance. However, you fail to mention that during that time, Ms. Nakamoto was without a job or a paycheck, and had no assurance that her grievance would be resolved in her favor, let alone quickly. How is it that you can judge what an unemployed citizen can do on her free time? How is it that we as a community can dictate to this individual, who was clearly fired improperly in a political scam perpetrated by the County Council chair and his lackey, the county clerk, that she concede her personal rights and not support the candidate of her choosing?
The hypocrisy I refer to concerns your comments about how reporters and editors are somehow forbidden from displaying bumper stickers or yard signs for candidates. You go on to say that doing otherwise “is to broadcast partiality and erode the public trust that professional and private interests can and are kept clearly separate …” Gee, Mr. Flickinger, if that were true, you as editor of your paper would never use your editorial page to comment on candidates, and would never endorse any candidates for elective office. But you do, don’t you? As a matter of fact, you and your paper have been highly opinionated about Hawaii politics, and I suspect you’ll hide behind the Constitution to protect your right to comment publicly about politics. Yet you easily dismiss the constitutional right that Pat Nakamoto has to do the same.
Shame on you for falling into the trap and supporting the council chair and his mean-spirited and politically motivated attack on an exemplary county employee. Shame on you for attacking an innocent individual for exercising her constitutionally protected rights. And shame on you for thinking that as someone with the power of the pen, you can get away with a different standard of conduct than the rest of the citizenry.
All Big Island residents can see through your hypocritical criticism of Pat Nakamoto. We’re not fooled by your claim of political independence of news reporters and editors. And we’re surely not fooled by your left-handed attempt to defend the council chairman and county clerk’s improper conduct. All of us are smarter than you think — and I for one am glad for that.