The moon, which I saw rise last night, was still up when Koko and I went walking this morning, only now it was in the west, guarded by Jupiter, while the east had become Venus’ domain.
The heady fragrance of mock orange hung heavily in the air, and well before the sun peeked out from beneath its pink quilt, the moon was lost in the dark mass that also buried the summit of Waialeale.
Similarly, attempts by Councilmembers Lani Kawahara and Tim Bynum to change the Council’s rules were buried by a 4-3 vote at yesterday’s meeting, well before the bright light of openness and transparency shone upon that panel.
But who, really, besides the politically naïve, imagined that things would be significantly different after the recent brouhaha, or that “reform” was ever going to be an item on the Council’s agenda?
It brings to mind a conversation I had with a relative newcomer to the island who approached me on Tuesday saying, “Isn’t it great that the Council is going to be more open?” And that prompted me to reply, “I don’t think anything is really going to change,” to which he responded, grudgingly, “Well, maybe not, but at least it’s all out on the table.”
I’m generally a fan of getting it all out on the table, but his comment caused me to muse upon what good was served by that approach in this case, aside from turning the otherwise dreary Council proceedings into a Hoike docudrama. No one really came out looking good, what with the raised voices and tears, and yesterday’s shut down indicated that Lani and Tim have been rendered effectively impotent for the duration of their terms by their bold, if impolitic, move to challenge Chair Kaipo Asing’s leadership.
One longtime Council observer told me that Lani had come off as a fresh new face battling the status quo and the old boy’s network. Then he added, “Yeah, it reminded me of JoAnn Yukimura 30 years ago, and where did that get us?”
Perhaps the recent events will serve to more thoroughly inform some of the newbies of just how Kauai politics work, and how deeply entrenched the system is, so they can drop their dreamy-eyed vision that a) any one of them has a prayer of getting elected and b) any sort of meaningful change or progressive movement will come from that body, at least so long as the voting majority continues to elect the people they do.
I’ve been through five mayors, if I’m not forgetting anyone, and various incarnations of the County Council and Planning Commission. Yet through it all, things have remained pretty much the same: opaque and rife with cronyism.
In other news, 78-year-old Charles Vidinha has been indicted for shooting the pregnant monk seal at Pilaa in May. I was surprised by the vehement comments that followed The Advertiser’s story:
… you are right before a name came out " the person" who shot the seal was the most hated man on kauai.
Mmmm, that might be a bit of a stretch. Then there was this:
What kind of an animal from hell can shoot such an animal?
Like it or not, and this is not my opinion, but a simple fact, as evidenced by this case: Hawaii's got its fair share of really evil, deranged, sick mothersuckers. Like everywhere else. And this guy who shot this animal is one of them. Makes me puke. I'd really love to see this monster jailed for the rest of his life, not just fined.
I never can guess how people are going to respond to environmental stories. Sometimes they’re all for the animals, and other times it’s screw everything but the humans.
In this case, I found it interesting that the U.S. Attorney’s office, in issuing a press release on the indictment, included the line:
Charges in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is
presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Perhaps they sensed the potential for backlash. I was also surprised to learn that the maximum penalty is a year in jail and $50,000 fine. Seems kind of light for killing the most endangered marine mammal on earth.
Two big questions, however, remain unanswered. Why? And was he the same guy who killed the other seal on the Westside?