Regarding the KIUC debacle

SOURCE: Ken Taylor (
SUBHEAD: Let’s see if our current leadership actually abandons all hydroelectric projects as Mr. Proudfoot warned.  

By Vince Cosner on 16 June 2011 in The Garden Island -  

Image above: Everard Proudfoot, a grumpy hobbit of the shire. From (

The sleeping giant isn’t fully awake yet, but he’s starting to stir all right. Members from all over our island are voicing their concerns about the upcoming KIUC vote on hydroelectric power. If you feel your options were honestly and fairly presented beforehand, all you’ve got to do is vote your conscience.

But if you weren’t satisfied with how they conducted themselves recently or simply disagree with the direction they’re taking, please vote “No” upon receiving your ballot. If the “No’s” ultimately prevail, then let’s see if our current leadership actually abandons all hydroelectric projects in the future as Mr. Proudfoot, KIUC’s attorney, warned.

Actually, I’d be more worried if Mr. Proudfoot was in charge of KIUC, but he’s not. He was just honing his “bullish” style of character, but trust me; he’s just full of himself and trying his best to scare us into voting “Yes.” In reality, he’s a little short on substance but tall on yarn. Should hydro project abandonment actually occur, we could always put people on the Board that are more inclined to move it forward. Problem solved. We might want a new attorney while we’re at it.

Right now, I’m more concerned about how KIUC is going to count the blank or undecided ballots. I hope they count them as “No’s” as in other elections. I truly wish we could all step back, take a moment to actually discuss our game plan with more clarity and proceed to get hydroelectric power on this water rich island in the best way possible. If using the FERC is that “best way possible,” then KIUC should have considered pono methods of expressing themselves versus the methods they chose. But it’s too late now.

The ballots are on their way, and we have to remember some cold hard facts right now. The job of the KIUC Board of Directors is to chart the course of the company, then get out of the way. The CEO takes over and decides how to get there. So who’s really responsible for getting us in this predicament? It can’t be Mr. Asquith. He just wanted to discuss the game plan for making hydroelectricity on our grid a reality and you just can’t do that with only three minutes.

Anyone involved in a high school debate competition knows that. It can’t be their attorney, Mr. Proudfoot. He was just there to support their CEO and Board Of Directors because that’s what he does. So that leaves their CEO, Mr. Bissell, the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Tacbian, the directors themselves or all of the above. But aren’t they just doing their jobs? I think their first mistake was trying to emulate the Kaua‘i County Council style of taking testimony from its community members.

But there’s no back and forth permitted or even encouraged in that style of meeting. If and when an exchange does occur, the questions flow from someone on the committee to the one testifying, not the other way around. Is that what you expected at your KIUC membership meeting? It would have been more productive had a professional facilitator been used to organize and prioritize member concerns. To expect an outcome other than what we got that night would have been kidding ourselves.

I used to provide facilitator services for Kauai Electric while still employed there back in the 90s, but I don’t know what happened to that practice since it changed to KIUC years later. And why can’t one member surrender his/her time to another? What’s the big deal? What if you asked a question knowing the answer you received was flat out incorrect and you had the data to prove it. Could you get it done in your remaining 1.25 minutes? I doubt it.

We’ll have to organize a tag team style of questioning if they do it this way again. I think we were either intentionally set up to fail or the leadership talent over there is seriously questionable. I miss Randy Hee.


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