A bright and growing moon was replaced by heavy showers that kept Koko and me in bed later than usual on this quiet Sunday morning. When we emerged, it was into a landscape tamped down by low clouds, which drifted across the Giant and slid down the summit of Makaleha and totally obliterated Waialeale. In the distance, Haupu was obscured by a big rain falling on Lihue.
Koko splashed through puddles and stopped to sniff toads flattened in the road and I munched on guava washed clean by the rain. It’s so nice to be out when the cars aren’t because, as a friend who walked with me yesterday observed, “People drive way too fast.”
Returning home, I checked the final election results on-line, recalling the days when I’d have to drive somewhere to get a newspaper. Or more likely, would have been up late the night before at the county clerk’s office, waiting for results to call in to the city desk. And then there were those evenings of listening to Bill Dahle read the print out on KUAI.
Nowadays, anybody with access to the Internet can find out the results whenever they want, which is what prompted a call from a friend last night.
“No surprises in this election, except Morikawa,” he said, in reference to the way political newcomer Daynette “Dee” Morikawa utterly trounced incumbent Roland Sagum in the District 16 House race. "I just looked at the results on Starvertiser."
“Yeah, and I just checked the results on Civil Beat,” I replied.
I’d heard Roland was running scared, and with good reason, given his stance on the issues, tendency to blow off voters and utter ambivalence about his elected position, which inconveniently cut into his ability to make money as a land use planner and consultant. Still, even all that is no guarantee you won’t be re-elected on Kauai.
The big disappointment, though it wasn’t a big surprise, was Gary Hooser’s poor showing. He came in fourth, trailing three well-known Oahu candidates, with just 9.8% of the votes.
“What was he thinking, crossing over like that?” asked a friend yesterday. “He had no chance over those Oahu guys. Now we’ve gotta suffer with that fucker Ron Kouchi.”
I’m sorry, Gary, but that’s what a lot of folks are saying. I gave you money, I voted for you, I talked up your candidacy and I believed in you, and still do. But why did you abandon us to run in a crowded field dominated by Oahu candidates?
As a result, Ron Kouchi, who couldn’t even get re-elected to the County Council, was handed the Kauai Senate seat by his old pal, Linda Lingle. Now Ron’s a given to win in November, despite the confidence expressed by his opponent, Dave Hamman, in The Garden Island:
”I think I’ve got a good chance. A lot of people don’t like Ron Kouchi.”
Yeah, Dave, but just as many don’t like you.
Well, at least we’ve still got Mina Morita…..
And at least Mufi Hannemann didn’t get in….
And Gary, thanks for all you’ve done. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for your many years of public service. I only wish you were still in office, and I hope you will soon run again.
I wasn’t surprised to see Derek Kawakami come in first in the County Council race. His campaign contribution report shows a lot of small individual donations, which indicates to me he’s got broad community support.
Slightly more surprising was newcomer Nadine Nakamura’s strong showing in second.
“That’s because her brother-in-law counts the votes,” said a friend.
“I’m sure that had nothing to do with the outcome,” I replied, knowing County Clerk Peter Nakamura to be an honest person. Besides, I’ve talked to him previously about accusations that he manipulated results, and he said it would be impossible for him to do so.
My friend, however, remained unconvinced.
“If you can steal the Presidential election, you can steal anything,” he said.
I think Nadine got in on her own merits. She raised a lot of money, and like Derek, most of it came from small individual donations. She’s smart, reasonable and understands the process, which gives her a leg up on some of those now serving. And surprisingly, especially for Kauai, I haven’t heard any stink talk about her at all.
As for the rest of the Council, Mel Rapozo, Jay Furfaro, JoAnn Yukimura and Tim Bynum are in, as I predicted. We’ll just have to wait and see whether Dickie Chang can keep his slight lead over Kaipo Asing, who once again is promising that this will be his last election. It may well be if he can't edge out "Walaau." Isn't that how you usually address Dickie?
And of course the mayoral race turned out as expected, with Bernard Carvalho easily dominating political neophyte Diana LaBedz. More surprising, and interesting, was the fact that 10 percent of those voting didn’t choose either.
No matter who is elected, they have their work cut out for them — assuming they are all indeed motivated by the desire to serve the public. As Mike Levine reported in Civil Beat yesterday, a new U.S. census report shows that median income in Hawaii dropped by more than 13 percent between 2007 and 2009, and the poverty rate increased by 67 percent. Surprisingly, those are the biggest percentage changes in the nation.
It ain't gonna be easy digging ourselves out of this hole.