As Hurricane Iselle bears down on the Islands — curious, how the ones that have hit all start with an “I” — the question is both how much damage it will inflict, and how it will affect turnout in Saturday's primary election.
On Kauai, it could affect the race between Democrat Rep. Jimmy Tokioka and challenger Dylan Hooser. Though initially the contest seemed a slam dunk for Jimmy, he's apparently feeling a bit of heat as the vote draws nearer, taking the unprecedented step of personally asking people to vote for him, and their friends and family, too.
As I've stated earlier, the voters in that district will lose no matter who they pick. Jimmy is a good ole boy to da max, while Dylan is a tepid political novice who already has a pile of enemies at the state house due to the intense antipathy toward his father, former Senator and current Councilman Gary Hooser, and Dylan's own “shame” banner tactics there earlier this year.
Speaking of Gary, he's barely campaigned, though it's unclear whether it's due to indifference or arrogance. He can't possibly want another term on the Council, especially since he's ready to capitalize on his anti-GMO agenda as director of the nonprofit HAPA. If he's defeated, it will play right into his victim rhetoric, as in the big bad chemical companies succeeded in driving him out.
Uh, no. If Gary loses it will be because his fellow citizens have had it up to here with his grandstanding and self-serving antics at the expense of the county's social fabric and coffers.
Because isn't that what this election is really all about? Determining just how big the "silent majority" really is, and just how powerful the “red shirt” contingent that pushed through the pesticide/GMO regulatory Bill 2491/Ordinance truly is?
I'm predicting Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. will handily defeat Dustin Barca, newcomer Arryl Kaneshiro will show in the top seven, Arthur Brun will do well and Councilman Tim Bynum will be pushed out.. Councilman Mason Chock is also going to have trouble holding on to his seat, in large part due to the sketchy way he got appointed — the secretive, "you're only in if you'll vote to override the mayor's veto of 2491" action that is now being challenged in court by the seed/chem companies.
Speaking of which, it was disappointing to see Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura oppose changing the Council's process of filling a vacancy. Picking the eighth-place candidate from the last election may not be the best bet, but how can JoAnn honestly say the Council has a process that works, when its actions with Mason caused such huhu and raised questions of illegality?
I'm still off-island, and hoping Kauai is spared the wrath of a hurricane. But just in case, as an Iniki veteran, I offer this tip: bring your screens inside. Flying debris does a number on the mesh, and the mosquitoes were fierce in the hot, humid, wet aftermath of Iniki.