Sunday, July 26, 2009

Musings: Demented

Koko and I returned to our old haunts for a walk this morning, an excursion prompted by running into my former neighbor Andy at Sen. Hooser’s campaign kickoff last Sunday.

It was the first time we’d seen each other since I moved, and we said, in near unison, “I’ve missed you!” with Andy asking whether I’d run into anyone on my new walking route who was intellectually stimulating.

Fact is, I haven’t run into anyone to walk with in the mornings, intellectually stimulating or otherwise, and Koko hasn’t met anyone who gives her head rubs and dog biscuits, so we agreed to get together sometimes and share a walk and talk, which we did on this hot and muggy morning.

I’ve been feeling a bit homesick for my old neighborhood, so it was nice to see the mountains from that particular perspective again, and to meander along the grassy shoulder of a country road nearly devoid of traffic. But mostly, it was great to chat with Andy, and our conversation ran the gamut before settling on a topic that seems to be on the minds of many: What’s happened to Kaipo?

We were referring, of course, to Council Chairman Kaipo Asing, who has been exhibiting behavior that seems uncharacteristic for a man long viewed as Mr. Aloha.

I didn’t attend last Wednesday’s council meeting, or watch it on Hoike, so I can’t say if Andy Parx’s recent blog post portraying him as Captain Queeg is accurate, although it was entertaining, in a tragic-comic sort of way.

But I have witnessed some dramatic changes in Kaipo’s behavior since I first saw him in action on the County Council 22 years ago. At that time, Kaipo was a true maverick and a darling of the anti-development crowd. He ran one-man, low-cost campaigns, and rather than hold sign, he blew kisses to motorists. Even though he was usually on the losing side of Council votes, he was gracious and warm to his colleagues and politely attentive to members of the public who came to testify. I always thought of him as kind, and he was very open with me as a reporter.

Then came the big sell-out. Kaipo wanted to develop land overlooking Alekoko (Menehune) Fishpond, and his plans required Council approval. They went along, and after that, so did he, either voting with the majority or casting a vote in opposition without comment. It seemed to me he’d lost his fire, and even though he was subdued, he was still gracious and polite.

In more recent years, however, he’s become increasingly dictatorial, secretive, aggressive, rambling and abrupt. While he did lead the charge against illegal vacation rentals on the North Shore, and has taken other actions that harken back to the old Kaipo, his personality has changed.

My neighbor Andy shared the story of a friend we have in common who has been a longtime Kaipo supporter. But she swore she’d never vote for him again after he treated her and others very rudely when they came to testify on some matter.

“Kaipo never used to be like that,” Andy said. “What happened?”

I suggested that perhaps it’s the onset of dementia, and relayed the story of a friend whose mother, a sweet, accommodating, well-mannered, 70-year-old Midwesterner, has become increasingly aggressive, antagonistic and argumentative. She’s extremely critical and easily irritated, to the point of getting quarreling with guests at dinner parties.

Her account prompted me to ask, incredulously, “Your Mom is doing that?” because, like Kaipo’s snapping, it seemed so out of character.

My friend believes her mother is suffering from Sundowner’s syndrome because she seems to get more confused and irritable as the day wears on.

And I’ve watched a good friend of mine, who is now 76, go through dramatic personality changes that have caused him to become irritable, fixated on certain ideas, delusion and forgetful. His son took him to a doctor, who issued a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s related dementia.

I’m not a doctor or a psychologist, so I don’t know if that’s what’s happening to Kaipo. But he is 73 years old {correx: he's 79 this year], and it’s a very common condition associated with aging:

About 13% of Americans over the age of 65 have Alzheimer's and half of those over age 85 will develop Alzheimer's -- or a closely related dementia. 

Health analysts estimate that in just five years the number of Americans with Alzheimer's will jump to 7.7 million and by 2050 the number is projected to more than double to 16 million.

It’s something to consider, and perhaps it will prompt us to look upon the recent spectacle of the County Council meetings with a bit more compassion. After all, we baby boomers could be next.

On a bizarrely related note, Ian Lind had an interesting post yesterday about the current status of the Superferries and the link between Adm. Tom Fargo — the former Superferry President and CEO — and Sago Systems, the vendor of a suicide bomber detection system for the state’s harbor passenger terminals. My, those HSF guys do have their fingers in an awful lot of pies.

Ian also reveals that the Department of Homeland Security, which funded the detection system nixed DOT’s request for unmanned aerial vehicles and infrared sensors, noting:

Apparently the Harbor Police wanted their own Predator drones, which could have been deployed against Superferry protesters.

Now that’s really demented.

And for those who have asked several times in the comments section of a recent post on the planning commission’s reversal of vacation rental permits that were denied, with more reversals set to come: “So when IS the next meeting?” the answer is 9 .m. Tuesday, July 28. You can check out the agenda here.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

thoughtful write up RE Asing


as to "DOT’s request for unmanned aerial vehicles and infrared sensors, noting:

Apparently the Harbor Police wanted their own Predator drones, which could have been deployed against Superferry protesters"

-- is there a DOT or other document to back that up? if proven, that would prob confirm every boogie man suspicion of many people (as well as show DOT and harbor cops are operationally and politically retarded)


dwps

Miliaulani said...

A case can be made for term limits for councilmembers. We do it for the Mayor, why not the Council? Continuity is good but 26 years? Something to consider.

Joan said...

dpws, if it's confirmation you seek, check out page 7 of this document,which Ian linked to from his post.

Anonymous said...

ya looks like talk of getting a UAV (a drone). is there a need for this on oahu? heck if i know. pmrf? if they say so

but just about any asset could be used RE any SF protesters, obviously

to see a UAV procurment request and raise the spector of it being used against SF protesters... to take one thing, stretch it, twist it, and suggest it could mean X... reminds me of what the bush admin would do

perfect example of why kauai / HI far left is just as stupid as the far right neo cons. both are to be avoided


dwps

Anonymous said...

Hello???? We have term limits for Councilmembers on Kauai. Shows how much you know.

Anonymous said...

"Apparently the Harbor Police wanted their own Predator drones, which could have been deployed against Superferry protesters"

Protesters. Don't be caught in the lurch! Start building your own drones now see: http://diydrones.com/

This is a Kauai Committee for Self Defense Public Service Announcement

Anonymous said...

We have term limits for councilmembers.

I did watch a part of the council hearing and I notice that Tim has a tendency to talk to the camera instead of to the other councilmembers. Maybe he's addressing the public in the back but I think he's getting ready to run for another office.

Some folks tend to get less patient with age but I think Kaipo being chairman of the council and the responsibility and criticism that come with the job has taken more of a toll. I still have a lot of aloha for him as I remember all that he has done - all the stands that he took and continues to take against overdevelopment. He still runs one man low cost campaigns, wears the same clothes that he's worn for years and drives old cars. He is as unpretentious as they come and it's not an act.

I remember when he developed that property and I remember Cheryl Lovell Obatake saying words to the effect that she was glad to see a Hawaiian that was able to give land to his kids. I was, too.

Anonymous said...

And while Kaipo has been getting all this attention, ditto and much much worse should be said for the positively inept planning department and commission. I watched it on TV this week, and could not believe the BS they pulled.thank you for sharing tuesday's agenda, yes, I'll try to go and see the commission in action. I hear the new commissioners are more of the same, just say yes types. No facts needed, laws, what? planning doesn't need to follow them, council always approves fat $$$$ for attorneys to represent the bungled commission.But the catch is, they scare the commissioners, and tell them if you don't listen to the county attorney, you are personally liable. So what volunteer wants that?Better to just go along. Executive session? Wonder how many there will be on Tuesday?

Anonymous said...

what is going on at the planning commission? bizarre by their standards

Anonymous said...

Tim was addressing the people in the audience, it was bigger than usual and he spoke to them directly saying you should expect etc.

Brad said...

Interesting post, Joan. In the back of my mind I had been thinking the same thing about Kaipo, that this seems to be some sort of aging mental health issue. Your objective report on dementia and related mental ailments and the similar behavior patterns to this is enlightening. I think you could be right about this. All the more reason for him to resign the Chair and follow through on his mention to make this his last term. It's unfortunate that he has to put people like Lani through something like this.

Also appreciate your review of Ian's lastest post on the Superferry, Sago Systems, and DOT. I had missed the part about the aerial surveillance drones. I went to the link you provided, and yeah, it's there but was rejected. Also checked out the link to private sector drones that one of your readers commented on/posted. It's shocking that somebody in the government thought they might need drones to deal with the surfer protestors the second time around. Bunch of reactionary idiots. Glad it was beat on the flaws in Act 2 instead. Thankfully did not have to deal with the crackdown in May that would have come when they planned to reestablish service to Nawiliwili, prior to the Supreme Court decision being handed down.

You are right, demented on both points.

Looking forward to your investigative report on horizontal drilling for water... ;)

Brad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miliaulani said...

Hello???? We have term limits for Councilmembers on Kauai. Shows how much you know.

I meant that there should be a limit to how many terms one can serve, as in the Mayor's Office where one is restricted to 2 four year terms.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Miliaulani, the councilmember who is unable to speak to Kaipo in person now wants you to start communicating with him on her behalf by having you write letters to the editor. Either that or it's the humble, sincere guy sitting next to her.

Larry said...

Predator drones have been tested on the US/Canadian border, possibly in preparation for deployment on the US/Mexico border. I recall that someone proposed drones for surveillance on protests in NYC but was rapidly put off. Whoever that was, was simply ahead of her/his time. Another proposal for NYC was surveillance from a blimp.

Anti-shake technology for TV cameras has made incredible leaps over the years. Now the camera can zoom in at football or baseball games for detailed closeups. During the protests around the Olympic torch making its way to China, video from helicopters of demonstrations was closeup, clear and practically shake-free.

So if the drones didn't fly over Kauai that time, they might be available in the future. Each protest is an opportunity to "test" the technology.

Anonymous said...

"Each protest is an opportunity to "test" the technology."


. . . and test counter measures.

Cel phones seemed pretty effective as early warning systems in Somalia against Black Hawk helicopters as I recall.

Anonymous said...

That's a cruel title.

Anonymous said...

How quick to judge. Alzheimer's? How much of this judgement is based on bits of others perceptions? People like Brad Parsons who has no idea how much Kaipo has done for this island. He couldn't, Brad wasn't here when the boating issue was in full force and Kaipo led a very unpopular charge. Or a number of other issues you experienced first hand.
Joan, I bet if you sat through every council meeting this year you would have a different perspective. Brad just moved here, he should stick to counting tourist cars and reporting to Tim. Yes Kaipo should probably get up to speed on the web world, but when a council member praises Jay Furfaro as there mentor, and lets Dickie direct her relationship skills, I think Kaipo is the wrong person to write a column about.
If I read a post by Joan from 1985 and one from 2009 would there be a change in the tone? What if you were writing about Haena Iwi and Breischa for 25 years, would you find it a little frustrating when someone comes in and trys to fix the situation, with good intentions and modern tools, but never ask you in person what they could do to help?

Anonymous said...

That's a cruel title.

Yes, but consistent with this blog's narrow-minded and arrogant attitude that anyone who disagrees must be demented or evil. Occasionally people leave comments that reveal that the persistent negativity puts off some who basically agree with the blog's politics but get sick of the unrelenting smug attitude.

Joan said...

To Anonymous (of course) July 28, 2009 8:31 AM: So I suppose you keep reading because you like to be unhappy? Have a nice day! :)

To Anonymous July 27, 2009 11:28 PM, the title was pulled from the line "Now that’s really demented." in reference to the Harbor Police seeking a predator drone and was intended to show there's a difference between truly demented behavior and those who suffer from dementia.

And to Anonymous July 28, 2009 7:53 AM, you've got a point. Thanks for bringing that up, esp, in regard to the assumptions by newbies, which I plan to address in a future post.

Anonymous said...

So I suppose you keep reading because you like to be unhappy? Have a nice day! :)

Who said anything about being unhappy? I keep reading because it is a never-ending source of unintentional humor ;)

Anonymous said...

"blog's narrow-minded and arrogant attitude"

-- "arrogant" does not seem to be an accurate descriptor, in my view


"I keep reading because it is a never-ending source of unintentional humor ;)"

-- id :)


dwps

Miliaulani said...

"Yes, Miliaulani, the councilmember who is unable to speak to Kaipo in person now wants you to start communicating with him on her behalf by having you write letters to the editor. Either that or it's the humble, sincere guy sitting next to her."

I don't intend to submit my post as a letter to the editor. If I do any follow up at all with my sentiments it will be to Kaipo directly as I believe he deserves the opportunity to respond to me personally and not via the press.

I don't know what Council person Brad is referring to but its pretty presumptious of you to assume it is either one of them.
At least Brad stands by his words by posting his name. More than I can say for all the brave anonymous posters.

Me ke aloha,
Miliaulani

Anonymous said...

We delight in knocking other people down. We can say it's about something else, like good government or fighting racism or whatever, but deep down, we enjoy taking shots at others. We also like to hear so and so is bad or so and so f-ed up, whether it's on TV or on the radio or the internet. Yeah, there might be a little bit of empathy for the victims but mostly it's the finger wagging that give us the buzz. And there's no shortage of bad things being done, so it's a renewable resource of sorts. I guess that's a nice balance, people talking s--t and people loving to hear s--t.

Anonymous said...

We delight in knocking other people down. We can say it's about something else, like good government or fighting racism or whatever, but deep down, we enjoy taking shots at others. We also like to hear so and so is bad or so and so f-ed up, whether it's on TV or on the radio or the internet. Yeah, there might be a little bit of empathy for the victims but mostly it's the finger wagging that give us the buzz. And there's no shortage of bad things being done, so it's a renewable resource of sorts. I guess that's a nice balance, people talking s--t and people loving to hear s--t.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean "we" white man?

Anonymous said...

Gunga Din, after all that I've done for you, how dare you. You ingrate!