Saturday, November 6, 2010

Musings: Keep to the High Road

It rained all night, or at least it was raining every time I woke up, and also this morning, although it broke just about the time Koko and I went out walking. Behind us, the Giant had a scarlet aura, which was transformed into a blast of golden-pink light by the sunrise, while before us, thick, creamy-white falls flowed down the face of Makaleha. Mist clouds blew through the pastures and the trees shook off their drops and the water flowed downhill, forming rivulets and ponds alongside the street.

“Now this is the kind of rain we need,” I enthused to my neighbor Andy, when Koko and I encountered him on the road. He agreed, and said that even with the recent deep rains, the stream below his house was not yet flowing. After this long dry spell, it takes a while for the `aina to restore itself, recharge.

With a new mix of members, the County Council has a chance to shake off its negativity, restore its dignity and emerge recharged as a panel of elected officials prepared to serve the people and strengthen our community.

And from the comments that Councilmembers Jay Furfaro, Mel Rapozo, Nadine Nakamura, Derek Kawakami and Dickie Chang made when they called into my radio show last Thursday, it seems they’re all ready to work together and keep things on a higher plane. I asked all of them what sort of tone they expected on the Council this term, and they all agreed they thought they could work together well, in a respectful and civil manner. Only Councilman Tim Bynum hedged his response, saying that he would have to wait and see.

Derek talked about the need for members to check their egos at the door, and become better listeners, not just talkers. He also said good qualities in a Chairman include fairness and the ability to remain focused, and I think we can all agree with that.

Derek also made it clear he doesn’t want to be Chair, even though he was the top vote-getter, saying that as the youngest child in a big family, he’s learned to wait his turn.

More telling was his comment that he is “happy to serve at the national level” representing Kauai as a member of the State and National Association of Counties. From the first time I met Derek, I felt he had the potential to serve in Congress, and perhaps that’s where his career will take him.

By taking himself out of the running, that pretty much paves the way for Jay, who often played the role of Council peacemaker, to serve as Chair. That is, unless JoAnn Yukimura, who declined to call in because she was taking some off to rest, recharge and reflect following the election, decides she wants to run the show.

The Councilmembers also were in agreement that the main issues facing the County this next term are land use and economic development. Newcomer Nadine brings some special expertise in both areas, seeing as how she's been involved in the Important Ag Land process and just completed work on the Kauai economic development plan, which looks to go beyond tourism and build capacity in health and wellness, science and technology, culture and the arts, food and agriculture and sustainability practices.

So after hearing the Councilmembers talk about cooperation and shared goals and respectful civility, I was feeling pretty optimistic, or at least hopeful that we might not see a repeat of the negativity and divisiveness that turned off so many Councilwatchers this past term. In fact, it put me in such a benevolent mood that I even told Tim Bynum that I knew I’d been hard on him, but I was granting everyone amnesty, giving them all a chance to start with a clean slate.

His lasted less than 24 hours, ending with the publication of a blog post yesterday that relayed, without question or substantiation, Tim’s assertion that his current problems with the county planning department have absolutely no merit and instead were a political dirty trick orchestrated by County Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho and Councilman Mel Rapozo.

Blogger Andy Parx, breathless over he termed an “exclusive interview” with Tim, writes:

Bynum declined to say how he knew of Iseri and Rapozo’s involvement.

Yet we’re supposed to believe it, just because Tim and Andy say so. So much for Tim's supposed devotion to accountability and transparency.

Shaylene, in a comment left on Andy’s blog, writes, in part:

Mr. Parx,
 Your statements are completely erroneous. It is very irresponsible to print matters that have no factual basis. A simple phone call to me could easily have corrected your inaccurate information. I hope in the future, you do your due diligence to verify information before misleading the public for the purpose of tainting my character.

I can’t help but wonder at the timing of it all, most notably, why Tim didn’t speak up before the election, if what he is saying is indeed true. I gave him the opportunity to make a comment well before I first wrote about the incident, but perhaps he’s found Andy to be a more unquestioning channel.

But the really sad thing is how Tim consciously chose to start the Council term on a nasty, negative note by levying some pretty serious charges against Mel and Shay, a former Councilwoman, without providing any proof.

As I’ve mentioned before, Tim likes to play the victim, but he is the one who engages in polarizing actions. And in this case, his decision to deliberately pick a very public fight with Mel speak volumes.

One can only hope that the other members of the Council will, by taking the high road themselves, isolate Tim in his dysfunctional, even paranoiac antics.


Anonymous said...

I was wondering when you were going to comment on Andy's blog...Tim is showing his true colors so soon after the election. way to make enemies and insure continued conflict on the council. He's a whiner and a talker...which is why no decidedly local precinct voted him on top. Where's the collaboration? Why didn't
he respond to you before? He had opportunity to set the record straight months ago. His story about Shay & Mel reeks of similar tactics he used to bring up harassment allegations against Kaipo at the timing that he and Lani chose to raise the issue. Psychological manipulation. More like white man speak with fork tongue than great white hope.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, maybe it's you being played by one side. Or maybe.both you and Andy.

Anonymous said...

Um, wasn't your post on Tim without substantiation too?

Anonymous said...

If Tim's building plan was approved by the county and his son and daughter in law were living there, why was he cited? Sounds politically motivated.

Joan Conrow said...

My report on the incident was based on public record information from the planning department. Tim did have a use permit. The question was whether that use had changed, as the complaint alleged, thus requiring an inspection to find out.

Anonymous said...

Joan said it was public record. If it is what Tim said it is why take so long to explain the facts? Sounds more like a matter of playing his cards to his advantage. He just set up himself for a contentious beginning w/ Mel. No wonder he hesitated to commit to civility.

Anonymous said...

Wait, Andy had a correction. The domestic involved a family friend and the friend's boyfriend. Was she renting from Tim or visiting? Can he have a rental unit? Is that what the permit was for?

Anonymous said...

So who's gonna be council chair? And for gosh sakes don't say Tim...

Anonymous said...

I am not as optimistic as you are Joan. If optimism could cure ego clashes and bad governing, then I would jump on that bandwagon.

Question being: "Are these folks on the council the best and brightest we have?" Not!

Are they really qualified to run anything as large as the issues we have on the island before us? Not!

Isn't this just a case of popularity and who has the most money to run ads on TV and radio?

All the smart people don't run for office, because they know better. So we have people with inflated egos who are backed by special interest groups with money who do not represent the people. The people's people can't win elections!

I will stay hopeful, but not optimistic.

Dr Shibai

Anonymous said...

"Are they really qualified to run anything as large as the issues we have on the island before us?"
Name a place that you would consider governed by those who are enlightened to your standards. Then move there.
If not then allow the the majority of the island make their choices, help them succeed in their vision.

coast haole said...

First....... here here, I wholeheartedly second anonymous 7:05's comment.
I have been following this blog for a while now and Parx's and am a little surprised by the polarization that has shown up. I haven't really liked Bynum and can't really say why accept that noisy barrel johnny come latelys annoy me. That being said, as a 35 yr resident I will still consider myself a haole resident as opposed to a local haole as I wasn't born here. But anyone and everyone has a right to be here if they want, hopefully they can embrace the local culture and fit in. As I have read these blogs lately it was a little dismaying to hear how Tim did the "rich buying ag land" thing to build his home with the extra unit etc. etc. And now with the ongoing bruhaha over it all I got the old phone book out, looked him up and googled his address. You gotta be kidding me!! It's up in the homesteads, Wailua. They been building residences up there non stop since I've lived here and some people are trying to paint that into the same picture as what is going on upon the north and north eastern shores. I guess that just goes to show bloviating (sp) gas baggery isn't the exclusive domain of the politicians.
I wonder if this will post?!?

Anonymous said...

Setting aside local politics, here's what we really should be worried about:

This council personality conflict bitch slapping is interesting if you like analyzing the behavior of roaches.

Anonymous said...

Wailua has some good ag land. UH experiment station is up there. I've bought some of the sweetest pineapple from a farmer who grows other crops as well. The point is he got his and now he's made it possible for corporations/speculators who don't live here let alone farm to get theirs.

Anonymous said...

"You gotta be kidding me!! It's up in the homesteads, Wailua. They been building residences up there non stop since I've lived here and some people are trying to paint that into the same picture as what is going on upon the north and north eastern shores."

Wailua Homesteads has ag and residentially zoned land. If it's zoned ag, it should be used for ag. If it's not good for ag, it should be rezoned. The County doesn't enforce the zoning code, so people have been using ag land for everything but farming. If you're familiar with the Wailua, I'm sure you've seen real farms in between the faux farms.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that's true, the UH agricultural station is up there, where they removed tons and tons of very contaminated soil some years back. It is where the UH developed Agent Orange, a very toxic defoliant used in the Viet Nam war, was field tested.
I personally enjoyed some very fine mushrooms from the area that used to grow in abundance in all the now mostly gone pasture land.

Anonymous said...

And the rest of Wailua Homesteads is unsuitable for farming? The pastures are still there. Maybe the shrooms sent you to another plane of consciousness from which you never returned.

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for Tim. It's hard watching a grown man acting like a big cry baby. It is also hard to see him so desperately trying to get sympathy from everyone. It is almost like a child trying to get attention from his mother by acting out. It is so funny that he is claiming things in public like Kamalani playground. I worked on that project and his involvement included sitting in his car while we all worked and joining us for lunch to give us a pep talk. Amazing. Leadership Kauai is lucky to have given him the boot. I bet he is going to be the Vice Chair with Furfaro as Chair. It is going to be hilarious. This council with the exception of a few is going to be a circus. Tim will continue to be elected because people here are easy to fool. He is a pathological liar.

Anonymous said...

There is no wheres the the amount of pasture land still in pasture from 30 yrs. ago. It's called the homesteads because that's what people (locals mostly) did. Built houses, subdivided land to sell and make some $ and allow families to grow and make a nice abode. And plenty transplants moved in up there too.
Up Kuamoo and along 581 to Olohena has changed a lot, but big deal, every place changes. Where would you, anonymous 2:08 pm, suggest the people of this island build their homes? Or maybe they should all vacate so a bunch of organic haolebeans can live their garden of eden fantasy. I'm all for agriculture and sustainability, but the Wailua homesteads is just that, homesteads. Check the election results again and then reread the comment from anonymous 10/6 7:05 pm. Kukui Grove was once in agriculture, so boycott the place.

Anonymous said...

Along 581, you mean where Tim's house is? If you're in favor of ag and sustainability, you wouldn't be touting the urbanization of Wailua.

Anonymous said...

I got mine but you can't have yours. Typical mainland attitude.

Anonymous said...

The council as I see it is shaping up something like this.
Joann and Jay will battle for chair. Kawakami will continue to gain the respect of everyone in the community while jealous council members try to play nice but at the same time try to undermine him. But this won't be possible since he, as the youngest has more sense in his head then any of them. He will stay out of the main battles, setting himself up and also paving the way for a bright political future in much higher office.
AS Nadine will continue to more then likely take a lot of hits out there for being related to Peter, which has absolutely nothing to do with her ability to govern and legislate, and Chang tries to decide which side of the fence he will be on, and how many hours he has left until he can finally go home for the day and the continuing disappointing actions of Tim will more then likely elevate, hopefully ending in a refusal to run next year ala Lani Kawahara style that leaves us with precious little to hope for on the council.
As for Jay I am sure he will be thrilled with council chair. He can expect to go no higher in public office. Problem with that is that if everyone thought that Kaipo was contentious as chair, Just wait until Jay gets that happy little gavel in his hand. You can bet he will be bloviating and bloviating and also probably bloviating.
That leaves Mel. Who is probably gonna be in attack mode against Joann and TIm as they try to shut down any legislation. Joann will try to run the show, although as humbly as possible, but she won't be able to wrangle the council her way I will predict more then half of the time.

Anonymous said...

Why do people keep buying this BS that Kawakami is some peace maker?

he's still Mr. Big Save and was the 4th vote to let Kaipo play tin horn dictator. No vote, no dictator.

Kawakami is not clean here.

Anonymous said...

Tim's an a---ole. He'll be the next one we kick out.