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:
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.