Oh, joy. It's an election year.
Sob. Burp. Sigh.
Predictions: The Donald will eventually self-destruct and Bernie Sanders doesn't have a prayer. So that leaves Hillary Clinton as the next president.
Moving on to Kauai County, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. has another two years, which makes him irrelevant, both in general, and in terms of this discussion.
Justin Kollar is going to be re-elected as prosecutor. Why? There's no compelling reason to defeat him, and challenger Lisa Arin isn't offering anything better. Plus he's gonna have a little baby to add to his campaign trail appeal.
As for County Council, all the sitting members can run again, and unfortunately, they all likely will. But surely some can — and will — be defeated.
Councilmen Mel Rapozo and Ross Kagawa, the top vote-getters last time, are again assured of easy re-election, as is Arryl Kaneshiro, who has shown himself to be earnest and thoughtful.
But rather than rest on their laurels, it would be nice if they could use their popularity, and four-vote majority, to actually pass some meaningful legislation this year.
JoAnn Yukimura should bow out gracefully. I don't want to denigrate her years of public service, but 'nuff already. It's become painful to watch her in Council meetings, especially when she and Mel lock horns. Net result: She has zero effectiveness. Mason Chock and Gary Hooser are her only pals, and even those alliances are strained, considering how Hooser threw her under the Bill 2491 bus.
Hooser has announced his desire for re-election, but after perusing his most recent blog, it's pretty clear he doesn't give a shit about his job.
Titled “2015 rocked – A short candid review of the good stuff going on in my life during the past year ;)” Hooser's blog post covers, in this order: his kids getting married, crashing the Syngenta shareholders' meeting in Switzerland, serving as president of HAPA, “doing” two Grateful Dead concerts, going to the beach and watching Baby Hoos (Dylan) play soccer on Sunday afternoons.
Only then does he bring up his actual job — serving as an elected member of the Kauai County Council. Hooser offers this description of his term to date:
Had an interesting year on the Kauai County Council. Would not call it particularly productive but it was never dull. Though I tried really, really hard, it seems the 4 man majority that controls the agenda had other ideas. Two of the worst of those ideas was a repeal of the “barking dog ordinance” and new rules forbidding Councilmembers from asking questions during public testimony.
Gee, his enthusiasm for his job is palpable. Yawn.... And let's not forget his contribution to the inanity: the fireplace ban bill.
Why, pray tell, would you want to re-elect someone who admits he's totally ineffective and considers his commitment to the voting public and taxpayers less relevant to his life than watching his adult son play soccer, but slightly more meaningful than eating pecan pie in Georgia?
Hooser also takes credit for what he estimates is a 20% reduction in the seed companies' footprint on Kauai. Oh, yes, Da Hoos is more powerful than global commodity prices. Not.
There's only one reason why Gary wants to be re-elected. Actually, make that two: Easy money and good benefits; and use of the County Council letterhead and title to advance his HAPA agenda.
Mason, meanwhile, took to The Garden Island with a mealy-mouthed, namby-pamby piece about how the Council isn't really working together well. He writes:
Like many organizations, we lack the commitment to building a healthy organization that problem-solves in a collaborative way.
Though Mason uses the universal “we,” it's clear from his piece that he considers himself, a “leadership development practitioner,” above the petty dysfunction of his colleagues. Hence his proposal:
I have suggested that our council convene informally to work through these processes with the hope of bringing clarity, agreement, and action toward how we do business. Instead of governing as a team for the best interests of Kauai, we are in constant competition with each other. This can often result in ineffective political compromises that serve no one.
First, the “sunshine law” makes it tough to “convene informally.” Second, why doesn't Mason start setting a good example by demonstrating his leadership skills day-to-day in the Council? Most of the time, he just sits there like a bump on a log.
And has Mason forgotten his own role in creating the current competitive, dysfunctional climate on the Council? By which I mean his ethically questionable decision to fill Nadine Nakamura's seat on the Council for the sole purpose of overturning the mayor's veto of Bill 2491. His stance undoubtably played well with some voters, but it didn't endear him to Mel, Ross and KipuKai Kualii, who were on the other side of the issue and now comprise, with Arryl, the majority voting bloc.
That leads us to KipuKai, whom I really want to like. But I was uneasy about his ethics the last time he was on the Council, supporting former Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri in her misdeeds while his employer, the YWCA, was getting money from Shay's office.
Now he's involved with Kumu Camp, a downscale visitor accommodation project in Anahola that has irked residents and apparently skirted wastewater rules and regs. KipuKai is one of the developers, along with Robin Danner, who appears to be the author of a lovely missive sent on behalf of the Anahola Hawaiian Homestead Association.
It included an assessment of a state archaeologist's presentation on burials:
One of the smartest briefings we've seen, and totally educational on the burial process, which is not to stop development, but to care for our iwi kupuna when they are found.
Yeah, just dig 'em up and move 'em. No problem.
In fact, the AHHA board decided to notify DHHL and SHPDf inadvertent burials are located anywhere along the northern or eastern coastline, whether on Hawaiian Homes or not, we are happy to develop an awesome re-internment site at Kumu Camp!
I kid you not.
Danner goes on:
Danner goes on:
Kumu Camp Report included a discussion about Pat Hunter Williams continuing her hateful lies about Kumu Camp, and her efforts to close down our campground. Not a pono gal, as she has never come forward to speak with our board, or our President Kipukai Kualii, only to rant falsehoods about our people in blogs and such. Its [sic] clear this non-Hawaiian doesn't know the HHCA very well, and that we as homesteaders we have a right to our trust lands for nonprofit and mercantile purposes. She continues to lie about burials there, spreading misinformation about the Kumu Camp EA, and falsely claiming that there is some type of food operation. The woman is pushing a petition to close Kumu Camp down and to deny native Hawaiians our right to operate the campground. Pilau.
Whoa. And people say I'm harsh. At least I'm accurate — and I put my name behind what I say, rather than hiding behind a community group.
In any case, this association does not reflect well on KipuKai. Will he distance himself between now and the election, or dig his hole deeper?
Ultimately, it all depends on who decides to challenge the incumbents. Chief Perry will soon be retiring from KPD, giving him plenty of time to again hit the campaign trail. Luke Evslin could probably win, but I'm not sure he has the stomach for the job.
Who else is out there?