Saturday, November 24, 2007

Musings: Meeting of Minds?

Followed that big full moon down the street this morning, toward the mountains, which were nearly clear and bathed in an exquisite silver light that gave everything the magical luminosity of a Maxfield Parrish painting. The scent of mock orange blossoms and a Hong Kong orchid tree — dense with sweetly fragrant purple flowers — contributed to the idyllic scene.

Koko was happy because twice dogs emerged from their yards to play, and I was happy, because how could I be anything else under the glow of such a gorgeous moon? Still, I recognize my own perceptions cause my happiness, and others witnessing the same scene might feel very differently.

And so it is with more mundane matters, like the news. People often tell me they can’t understand how newspapers can publish such different accounts of the same event. It’s a phenomenon I frequently noticed as a daily news reporter, covering stories and reading what the competition had written. Everyone had his or her own take on things, and sometimes even our quotes didn’t match exactly.

I was reminded of that phenomenon when I received a press release from the county yesterday about a meeting that occurred earlier this month between Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi representatives Daren and Dayne Gonsalves (also known as Dayne Aipoalani) and Kauai Police Chief Darryl Perry, Deputy Police Chief Mark Begley, Assistant Chief Gordon Isoda and Assistant Chief Roy Asher.

The meeting was held at the request of Gonsalves the Kingdom’s high chief, to discuss the arrest of him and Robert Pa, the Kingdom’s customary chief, on charges of obstructing government operations during the Aug. 27 Nawiliwili Harbor demonstration against the Superferry. They were also cited with impersonating police officers, ostensibly because of the Kingdom marshal badges they carry. At the time of the arrest, police announced they would be moving against other Kingdom members, as well.

The Kingdom had previously sent out its own press release, which characterized the Nov. 8 sit down with the cops as “a cordial meeting of minds,” while noting: “Needless to say there is a difference in perception between state and kingdom of who owns what and who is breaking whose laws.”

“The police for their part were willing to discuss these matters,” the Kingdom’s press release continued. “Officer Asher stated that there would now be no reason to arrest 'kingdom guys.' They were willing to work the current situation out if stopping short of absolute recognition on their part. The High Chief [Gonsalves] said it was not in his interest to shut down county, state or federal governments, only to exercise oversight authority as the representative of the ‘first people’ and the preservation of their endangered culture, to ensure the well being of future generations of their keiki. He also pointed out that on the badges the police wear is a representative figure of a Hawaiian Ali'i which in fact is representation of himself. He further asked the Police Department to issue an apology for his arrest to be published in the Garden Island to clear his name. They agreed to this.

“The police will now examine the documents presented to them and go through their protocol ‘so as to protect the Kingdom's foundation so no one else gets arrested,"’ The Kingdom release continued. “Chief Dayne also received an E-Mail from Governor Lingle's liaison Loke Kin stating the same thing and calling for further discussion.

“The promise of the Kauai Police and the Office of the Governor to sincerely review these issues perhaps denotes someone is finally listening after all,” the Kingdom’s release concludes.

The county press release, however, tells a rather different story, stating: “[Police Chief] Perry told Gonsalves that he would review the documents and would also ask County Attorney Matthew Pyun, Jr. to review them and provide a determination on their validity. KPD officials told Gonsalves that his presentation lacked supporting documentation. Gonsalves assured them that those documents would be forthcoming, but he has not yet provided county officials with the documents.

“Perry informed Gonsalves that there was no credible reason for an apology, and that the Judiciary would make the final determination on their guilt or innocence," the county release continued.

“In addition, Perry advised Gonsalves that KPD would continue to enforce state and county laws, including the offense of impersonating a law enforcement officer.

“Gonsalves was also told that his badge would remain in police custody as evidence," the county release concluded.

So much for a “cordial meeting of minds,” and Gonsalves hope that “someone is finally listening after all.”


Anonymous said...

No offence, but you need to change the name of your Kingdom. Its sounds ugly.

Anonymous said...

With just a small search via any computer it was easy to find that Atooi was the former name of the island of Kaua'i during the time that Capt. James Cook was making his rounds and spreading his diseases. Only ignorance would call the name Atooi, ugly.

Anonymous said...

They should be re-arrested and charged, sent to trial for seddition and treason and sent to prison.

Hawaii nei USA - then, now, always!

Deal with it.