OK, now we know why failed Council candidate and KKCR talk show host Felicia Cowden mounted a smear campaign against Charter Commission nominee Allan Parachini.
“Nobody asked me [to serve], and I understand the Charter,” she sniffed at yesterday's confirmation vote, which passed 6-1. Only Councilman Gary Hooser was opposed, because Allan dared to publicly criticize his campaign to pass the pesticide/GMO regulatory Bill 2491.
Oh, and Allan — a longtime journalist — makes Felicia “uncomfortable” when he attends KKCR programming meetings, apparently exposing by his mere presence her profound inadequacies as a talk show host.
“Why is he there?” she asked. Of course, it's a public meeting about a publicly-funded community radio station. “But why is there? What does he want?”
Mmmm, maybe some accountability, professionalism and balance among the talk show hosts who have turned Kauai's community radio station into their own personal soapboxes?
Felicia then went on to claim that Allan “put out half-truths” and “knows how to twist the conversation that causes that stiffness in the spine.” Ahem.... Where's that mirror when you need it?
Allan's other heinous crimes? Well, according to Felicia he — gasp — entered Facebook conversations that caused "discomfort and divisiveness" among the anti-GMO crowd, and he worked in LA and Chicago, “urban centers with a really intense type of community,” whereas “Kauai is more gentle. We have a culture here of being polite.”
Well, we used to. Until da Hoos, Felicia and the other "fistees" turned it upside down in their mob-like quest to pass anti-GMO legislation, while giving Gary national exposure in hopes of advancing his political career.
But according to Gary, it's not polite to publicly question a politician's motives — even when they're so blatantly self-serving — so long as the politician self-deludedly believes he's serving the public.
“If we think we have problems filling committee positions today, it's going to be harder tomorrow,” Council Chair Mel Rapozo observed, noting that most people won't want to endure such ugliness for a position that demands hundreds of hours of volunteer service.
Now that Allan has been confirmed, and Buzzfeed has issued a correction (at the very bottom of a long story) clarifying that its allegations claiming he'd violated employment confidentiality were never substantiated or verified, let's hope The Garden Island devotes as much space to clearing Allan name as it did to trashing it.
Councilman JoAnn Yukimura, meanwhile, reminded us all why Mel imposed a strict time limit on Councilmember yakkity-yak. After she gave a 16-minute presentation supporting the call for a GE tax surcharge to fund public transportation, and spoke again, she wanted a third chance to speak to address comments made by Councilman KipuKai Kualii.
Mel said no, and JoAnn resisted. Mel again refused to grant her additional time, saying the Council — though not JoAnn and Gary — had approved rules that prohibited Councilmembers from speaking more than twice on an item.
“The rule is here for a purpose,” Mel said. “Otherwise we go on all day long.”
JoAnn then challenged Mel's ruling, prompting a three-minute recess to consult the rule book. When they re-convened she said, “If I had been allowed to speak I would've been done by now.”
“If we follow the rules we're not going to be where we are right now,” Mel responded.
The Council voted 4-3 (with JoAnn, Gary and Mason Chock opposed) not to let JoAnn speak again. Then Gary, with a big smirk, used his second chance to speak to ask JoAnn to respond to KipuKai's comments, which she did.
Then JoAnn wanted to speak yet again, and Mel said no. JoAnn again appealed his ruling. “I”m glad that people are watching, because this is getting really silly,” Mel said.
So once again the Council voted 4-3 to follow its rules, which meant JoAnn had to can it.
Now this is precisely the kind of pettiness that arises when people believe that rules and a majority vote shouldn't apply to them. Yet ironically, Gary and JoAnn are the ones who constantly evoke the democratic process.
In other actions, the “agronomics” bill championed by Gary and former Councilman Tim Bynum is officially dead. Gary predictably failed to muster sufficient votes to override the mayor's veto of the measure, which would have allowed lands cultivated in seed and experimental crops to be taxed at a higher rate.
Only JoAnn was kind of on his side, casting a silent vote that expressed displeasure with the veto, without actually opposing it.
It's fascinating to watch these two becoming allies, even though Gary has burned her so many times.
And the Hawaii County Council voted 5-4 yesterday to appeal the judicial ruling that overturned its anti-GMO bill on the grounds that it was pre-empted by state authority. Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety offered to do the legal work for free, prompting a commenter on yesterday's post to aptly note: “They won't stop until pre emption is case law in Hawaii.”