It was a pale kind of night, neither light nor fully dark, seeing as how the full moon was suffocated by clouds that brought very little rain — far less than the predicted amount, which had prompted a flash flood watch, which gave Kauai County officials a pretty pathetic excuse, which they later partially retracted in favor of the truth, to cancel an anti-marijuana rally that had prompted the ACLU to file a complaint, the exact nature of which I am still trying to ascertain.
But the officially unofficial show went on, with county drug czar Theresa Koki marshalling the Boys & Girls Club and Councilman Mel Rapozo rounding up a Christian pastor to take an anti-drug stand.
Good grief. No one is trying to get the kiddies on drugs, except the schools that push parents to give their children Ritalin and other forms of legalized speed so they’re easier to control in class.
I only wish Mel, Theresa, County Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho and all the other taxpayer-supported reactionaries would put a bit of energy into restoring funding for the fiscally starved Boys & Girls Club so it can resume some of the after-school programs that are far more effective than rallies in keeping kids away from drugs. But that’s the kind of service that doesn’t garner any headlines.
As for state Public Safety Director Keith Kamita, rather than spending taxpayer money flying to Kauai to incite elected officials, he might want to help the poor, overburdened clerk charged with processing applications for medical marijuana, seeing as how his office is still working on prescriptions submitted back in September. But that’s the kind of service that doesn’t garner any headlines.
Moving on to other issues, I recently met with Joel Guy, who is very much interested in being of service to the 14th District, or more specifically, in gaining an appointment to the seat being vacated by Rep. Mina Morita, who has been named chair of the Public Utilities Commission. I was left with the impression that he's passionate about trying to make a difference, and I've always been a sucker for idealists.
Joel worked for Mina in the Lege for a number of years, so he shares her political philosophy. What’s more, he not only understands the legislative process, he actually can stomach it, which is an important consideration for any prospective lawmaker. He’s also North Shore born and raised, so he knows well the part of the district that is most apt to be ignored, including its many problems with ice, gentrification, dislocation of local residents and marginal public services.
Council Chairman Jay Furfaro and Councilman Derek Kawakami, who also have expressed interest in the seat, have the capability to serve, but the small problem of a prior commitment. Appointing either of them would leave a puka on the Council that would spark the kind of power plays and contests for control that characterize Kauai politics at their ugliest.
It wouldn’t be so bad if the Council would for sure select KipuKai Kualii, the eighth-place Council candidate, to fill any vacancy. But I just don’t feel comfortable letting them pick whomever they choose.
I can certainly understand why Jay and Derek, after sitting through a few Council meetings with its current line-up, would want to escape the frustrations and tedium of that panel. But they could have spared themselves their present agony by running against Ron Kouchi for the state Senate seat. Since either of them could have beat Ron, they would have ended up in the Lege, where they now want to be, KipuKai would be on the Council, Ron would be back pimping for Kauai Lagoons and we the people would be better served.
Derek has the potential and political machine to one day serve in Congress, and perhaps Mina’s seat will prove to be one stop on that road. Jay, on the other hand, is nearing the end of his political career, and it kind of sticks in my craw to think he would be handed the House seat, especially when he failed to beat Mina when he previously ran against her.
In the end, it’s up to a very small group of people — the precinct captains — to put together a list of three nominees, with the governor having the final pick. And I imagine he’ll be asking Mina who she would like to see carry on her work and be of service to her constituents.