I’ve been seeing the world through “purple haze” lately — the kind left by java plum residue smooshed by the windshield wipers.
But after reading an account of Mayor Bernard Carvalho’s inaugural speech, it sounds like he was on the psychedelic kind when he came up with his 2020 vision for Kauai.
The landfill at Kalepa completed, with 1,000 acres in production because Grove Farm and the state have repaired the irrigation system there? Double-decker hybrid buses packed with people? An “immaculately paved” road to Kokee? A shuttle service from Princeville to Kee, with Princeville Corp. providing the land for parking? Hanapepe and Waimea bustling with customers, but their rural character still intact? The Path running for 15 miles on the eastside? The Kilauea Ag Park producing enough produce to keep a stand open seven days a week?
Ya know, there’s a fine line between visionary and delusional. And given the many issues facing the county, I would have been more interested in learning what the mayor thinks he actually can do, rather than what he imagines. Still, everybody loves a dreamer.
I wasn’t able to hang around and go trippin’ with the mayor, because I had to get back to work. I’d just popped in amid the lei-bedecked, suit-and-tie-clad crowd to learn what the County Council was going to do about its clerk. In a 4-2 vote — with JoAnn Yukimura and Tim Bynum opposed and Nadine Nakamura recused — they chose to retain Peter Nakamura in the job.
Tim still bears a grudge against Peter that stems from his past unhappy dealings with former Council Chair Kaipo Asing, who directs the clerk. JoAnn was pushing to fill the job through an executive search, saying “the process ensures a strong level of professionalism” and could even “save taxpayers money in the long run” by ensuring the candidate is versed in ways to “act cost-effectively, avoid lawsuits and take proactive action.”
But she never explained why, then, she wasn’t also pushing for an executive search to fill the County Attorney’s position, instead of just handing it back to Al Castillo, whose re-appointment, btw, Councilman Mel Rapozo opposed.
As several speakers — Councilwatchers Ken Taylor and Horace Stoessel among them — testified, Peter has been doing a very good job. And as Horace noted, if there’s no problem with Peter, and none has been expressed, there’s no way to justify the expense of an executive search.
Former County Attorney Mike Belles, who is now in private practice, described Peter as “a true renaissance man, an enlightened individual with a varied background.” He also spoke of Peter’s “sheer intellect,” as well as his ethical and moral integrity.
Unfortunately, that integrity has been tarnished in recent months by the absolutely false claim that he “beat up” his former girlfriend — a contention that is especially laughable seeing as how she is a black belt in Akido. This was coupled with the totally unsubstantiated contention that he was the cause of the lawsuit she filed against the county after Al Castillo declined to keep her on as deputy county attorney.
No public disclosure has even been made about the details or nature of her complaint against the county or the settlement, if any, reached in that case. Since all discussions about the case occurred in executive session, any reports about it are either based on information improperly leaked from that session, or are entirely speculative.
Speculation and rumor are a fact of life on this little island, but they’re particularly odious when they’re recklessly presented as fact in an Internet forum right before an election, and when a person’s job is on the line. As the old saying goes, the bell can’t be unrung. The damage that was unfairly done to Peter’s good character can’t be fully undone. But now that he has been reaffirmed as our County Clerk, I wanted to take this opportunity to set the record straight.
I’m glad the Council majority resisted the effort by Tim and JoAnn to oust Peter from a job he performs with extreme diligence and dedication. I only hope that Tim and JoAnn will give him a chance and treat him with the respect and courtesy that he shows the Council, and most especially, the public that he also serves.
As I was leaving the room, I passed Tim and gave him a hug. He assured me it was going to be a great two years, and I hope that's the case. I also passed JoAnn, and gave her a hug, and she told me that the phone call she'd taken right before the organizational meeting, which delayed its start, was related to council business. I told her I was glad to hear that.
The election is over. No one likes everyone who has chosen, and we all have our differences. But as President Lincoln reminded people in his own 1861 inaugural address:
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
Like I said, everybody loves a dreamer.