Monday, September 20, 2010

Musings: Political Heat

Talk about the elections is continuing, and likely will even beyond the General as pundits and the public scrutinize how and why folks voted the way they did.

A friend wondered yesterday if Kaipo Asing’s poor showing in the Council race — the perennial high vote-getter came in eighth — was due to what he called “the mean factor.” You know, the way Kaipo has treated Councilman Tim Bynum. His animosity toward Tim is hardly concealed, and maybe Hoike-watching voters got tired of seeing the former Mr. Aloha, whose campaigning is characterized by blowing kisses, gunning for Tim in the Council meetings.

Others have expressed annoyance that Kaipo ran again, when he said he wouldn’t, and still others have said he should have gotten out while he was ahead.

Still, as one reader noted in comments, Kaipo has done a lot for Kauai and the environment, and that shouldn’t be forgotten, especially his tireless efforts to control the proliferation of vacation rentals.

Councilwoman Lani Kawahara, who chose not to run for re-election after her first term, took me to task in comments for yesterday’s post, in which I conveyed disappointment about Gary Hooser's decision to wage a failed bid for Lieutenant Governor — and also expressed appreciation for all he has done:

Aloha, Joan. At what point did u and others begin to believe that u owned gary hooser? At what point did u begin to believe u had a right to dictate how he would lead his life? Should he move on when we say he can ? At what point did u decide that what he has done for Kauai is just NOT enough?

Your false sense of entitlement is disappointing. U say we r "stuck" w/ Kouchi. If we r, as u say, stuck w/ Kouchi, it is not because gary wanted to serve at a higher level. It is because no one else wants to serve at any level at all. You have two years to build name recognition, Joan, to build your base, and start raising money. Anyone can do it, right? If u don't want to do it, find someone with like values who will. It is up to us to find leaders or become leaders. Why don't more people run? Why don't good people stay in govt? Could it b that cheap shots from bloggers and anonymous vicious unfounded personal attacks give good people pause? Pull your papers in two years, Joan and run against Kouchi. Don't forget though, once u run and u r elected- some people might think they own u.

NOT Anonymously,
Lani Kawahara

This was followed by a second comment, in which she quoted Theodore Roosevelt:

"The credit belongs to those people who are actually in the arena...who know the great enthusiasms, the great devotions to a worthy cause; who, at best, know the triumph of high achievement; and who, at worst, fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

I can only speak for myself, Lani, and I’ve never felt I “owned” Gary; indeed, one of the great things about Gary is that I don’t believe he is owned. And of course he has the right to move on whenever he wishes. But politicians aren’t like doctors or teachers or firefighters or others who serve. They depend on our support, our time and energy in a campaign, our money and our votes to get elected. So I do think we the people have a right to express our opinions about political choices a candidate makes, especially those of us who have been (and still are) long time, loyal supporters.

We elected Gary to the state Senate. He chose to vacate that post mid-term in order to seek higher office. Again, he has that right. But you can’t deny that by doing so he created an opportunity for the governor to fill his seat, which she did, with Ron Kouchi. And now we r stuck with him.

I agree, Lani, that it’s up us to find or become leaders. Not all leaders, however, choose to lead in the arena of politics. As for why more good people don’t run or stay in office, well, I can’t answer that, but I'd certainly be interested in hearing any ideas that the readers might have. Politics has long been known as a dirty business, and it’s a job that comes with extremely high exposure. To paraphrase another political quotation, if you don’t like the heat — be it from bloggers, the media, the public, your constituents, other politicians or special interests — get out of the kitchen.


Anonymous said...

You are right about Gary Joan. He is most notably remembered on Oahu for his anti-Superferry stance where the majority there wanted it. He did so much good work as Senator it is a shame that he is out of office now.
I didn't vote for him because I knew he was going to loose with or without my vote. I went w/ Lyla Berg instead. A farmer from Molokai who has worked to protect wahi kapu (sacred places).

I am grateful Mufi lost. He worried me almost as much as Lingle. His treatment of the houseless is unconscionable. Have to appreciate the victories that come our way.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joan -

Lani Kawahara was out of line. We know what you meant. Actually, I'm glad Lani is getting out of the council; she wasn't helpful anyway and got run over too many times.

Keep up the good work, Joan.

Anonymous said...

I am so surprised that Lani has such poor English grammar skills, how disappointing, I thought she was a librarian?

Anonymous said...

"...protect wahi kapu (sacred places"
try wahi pana

Lehua said...

To the last post: wahi pana are storied (pana) and celebrated places. In many cases, wahi pana are sacred places, but not always. It can simply be a place that is known because of a historic event that took place there, etc. On the other hand, wahi kapu are specifically sacred places held in esteem for religious and spiritual purposes. Wahi=place. Kapu=sacred.


Anonymous said...

Would a burial site be pana or kapu.

Anonymous said...

I am certain Gary could read this same blog and RESPOND with candidness and respect, NOT REACT with such lack of grace. Chip on her shoulder?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Lani got a hair up her nose and yes, Iʻm glad sheʻs out because like so many...she does not have what it takes. She sounds like sheʻs pissed she didnʻt stay in.

And sheʻs a little bit wrong about Hooser. Well said Joan. Because we do have a vested interest in someone like Gary because without us!!!!! he would NOT be there. He saw the particular ride he could embark on by getting recognition with the revolutionary style of Kauai and now thatʻs gone.
I believe he committed political suicide and should have been content for awhile. He moved toooo fast. He is not a star yet.
And we did make him that.
So Lani, go back to your texting and settle down with a good book.

irk said...

methinks that certain large demographic feels more comfortable choosing a council candidate with their same skin color and, not bothering to study the elected's voting record is why a sleaziod like TB gets their vote. Sure wish the League of Women's Voters would come out with their voting record and issue stance scorecard before Nov. That is such a GREAT service to voters!

Anonymous said...

Lani missed the point by a mile. No one owns Gary, but many of us expected him to actually do something significant before trying to jump to the head of the line for the big jobs.

Why not run for mayor 2 years ago? With a bit of executive experience you could see him as Governor. With 8 years as a figurehead like Lingle's little doggy Aiona????????? Hardly a real resume boost.

C'est la vie. What now a well paid lobbyist? Ugh. Glad I never gave him any donations once he got his sights set above Senator.

Anonymous said...

when mazie vacates her seat for uncle dan's (u pick'm) senate office; our senator will be right there. purple mohawk and all. ya got my vote gary!

Anonymous said...

A burial ground is a wahi kapu. Naue is also a known wahi pana as many chants and songs have been composed for the area. Within Naue (which is a celebrated wahi pana) are several locations which are known burial grounds. These would be wahi kapu.

John Tyler said...

One thing Lani got 110% right is that she's strong enough character wise to put her name where her mouth is. And until any of us have "walked a mile in another person's shoes" do we have any right to judge a person. I need to remind myself of that when I do it too.

Now Joan could easily make blog comments not possible by "anonymous" posters, instead only people loging in with a screen name/email address visible would comment. You'd take away 95% of the pot shots and judgments that way when people's names have to stand behind their words. So in allowing the anonymous posts she keeps the low road of consciousness available, when she could foster more integrity based comments.

Bravo Lani for modeling your NOT anonymous gutsy posting-- whatever position you take you stand behind.

I appreciate your courage.

Anonymous said...

Joan saw comments to Andy Parx's blog dry up and blow away when he eliminated anonymous commenting and she doesn't want that.

Joan Conrow said...

Andy's blog has nothing to do with my decision to allow anonymous comments. I chose to allow them from the get go, even with all their warts, because I know that many people on this island won't speak for attribution — even if they're not making judgments, pot shots or otherwise taking the "low road" in their comments.

Btw, John, I remember a time when you weren't too keen to have your name associated with a particular incident due to your fear and sense of intimidation. Did it ever occur to you that others might feel the same?