I've been up watching an amazing lightning show since before 4 a.m., and thunder continues to crack, rumble and roll as the rain — nearly five inches in the last 12 hours — keeps on pouring down. I love these displays of nature's might and majesty, though my whining, panting, pacing dogs have a much different view of this storm.
A local friend called me yesterday, upset about some of the views expressed in the comments section of this blog and The Garden Island about the mayor-police chief power deadlock. As he sees it, remarks calling for an FBI investigation and county manager form of government are the racist expressions of the same colonial mindset that had the President appointing the governor while Hawaii was a territory.
“What they're saying is the locals can't rule themselves, so we'd better bring in someone from the mainland to do it,” he said.
Or in other words, some white person, as if haoles and mainlanders are somehow above cronyism, corruption and power struggles. Or more pointedly, as if haoles and mainlanders, through their overthrow of the monarchy and the Big 5's subsequent control of the Islands, didn't themselves set the stage for the kind of government we currently have on Kauai and in Hawaii.
But some folks still seem to think that everything would be fine if only those bad, backward locals re-learned their place and let the more enlightened white mainlanders run things.
You see it in anonymous (of course) comments like this:
First, recall the Mayor and make a rule that his replacment can't be a "local boy."
Or as a frequent commenter to The Garden Island who dubs himself “interesting” noted:
as much as active and long term FBI involvement would be welcome and helpful, fiascoes like this will probably continue until voter demographics change
That prompted the following exchange:
There are more whites than any other racial category on Kauai. How racist of you to suggest that they should leave the island.
...i dont think your reading comp is quite on point. but i might have not been clear. the LAST thing i am suggesting is that transplants leave. on the contrary, more of them would mean less of this kind of nonsense
oh, and if you think lilly white mainland transplants are a majority group, i dunno what to tell ya
Actually, according to the 2010 Census, Caucasians are the majority group on Kauai. It reported the island's ethnic composition as: white persons 33 percent; Asians, 31.3 percent; two or more races 24.9 percent; white persons not hispanic, 30.7 percent; Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 9 percent; and Hispanic or Latino 9.4 percent.
And as for public corruption, a recent study by the University of Illinois determined the dirtiest places in the nation are Washington, D.C., Louisiana, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Florida, California and Texas. Got lotsa white people in power in those states, so I'm not sure that changing voter demographics on Kauai will solve anything here.
What I find interesting about “interesting” — who used to post on this blog as “darwin was really smart” — is that he is good friends with Nicky Michaels, the Southern California developer who, as I reported on PIKO, pioneered the scam of transforming modest beach bungalows along Kauai’s North Shore into lavish mini-resorts under building permits ostensibly issued for “unsubstantial improvements.”
This led to other mainland developers and haole Realtors getting into the act.
So yeah, it's more than a little ironic that we have a mainland transplant bitching about the corrupt county government when his good bud was contributing to and taking advantage of that corruption.
As for the FBI, well, a guy told me on Friday that he had called them, but they're not interested, said it wasn't their kuleana. Call your elected officials at the state and federal level, he was advised.
A county manager form of government isn't going to save us, either, as it would simply turn into another political plum.
Whatcha gonna do?
Well, rather than pine for the good old days of unabashed colonialism, or bash locals under cover of anonymity, keep your own act clean, educate yourself about the issues and the structure of government, speak up publicly about injustices and improprieties and get involved in building your community any way you can.