We’re coming down to the wire here on the primary, and I got to thinking of how the past plays such a prominent role in the mayoral campaigns of both JoAnn Yukimura and Bernard Carvalho.
Bernard, though a new candidate, is quite literally an extension of the late Bryan Baptiste, drawing political support from his family and financial support from his administration. As Andy Parx notes on his blog:
It doesn’t take a genius to see where most of the old boy support is because Carvalho’s first campaign spending report is in and he leads the cash race collecting a whopping $132 562.41 from July 8 through September 5 of which he still has $46,877. 36
And his list of contributors contains the names of virtually every Kaua`i county department head and a slew of county employees indicating that the old boys know who will put shoyu on their rice.
My neighbor Andy also observed that in Kapaa, anyway, it’s the houses of the “old guard” that have Carvalho signs out front.
So I guess if you’re pleased with the people that Baptiste appointed as department heads, and satisfied with what that Administration has done in six years — which in my opinion is absolutely nothing notable — then you might as well vote for Bernard and hope that he, with no real leadership experience, can hold it together.
Or you can choose JoAnn. Yes, she’s annoyed us all at times over the many years she’s been on the political scene, but when you really look at what the other mayoral candidates are talking about doing — expanding the bus service, supporting ag, building affordable housing — you can’t escape the reality that JoAnn has literally been there and done that.
The Kauai Bus and 1,000 units of affordable housing — more than we've seen in the 14 years since — came out of her six years as mayor, and she started the Sunshine markets, which are one of the very few ways that local farmers can sell their produce. She’s also supported solar hot water heaters, and we’d be in a much better place with solid waste if Mayor Maryanne Kusaka hadn’t come in and dismantled her programs.
For me, the choice is clear. I’ll pick someone who can bring to the office not a ghost from the past, but real live hands-on experience.