Sunday, September 19, 2010

Musings: Surprising and Not

A bright and growing moon was replaced by heavy showers that kept Koko and me in bed later than usual on this quiet Sunday morning. When we emerged, it was into a landscape tamped down by low clouds, which drifted across the Giant and slid down the summit of Makaleha and totally obliterated Waialeale. In the distance, Haupu was obscured by a big rain falling on Lihue.

Koko splashed through puddles and stopped to sniff toads flattened in the road and I munched on guava washed clean by the rain. It’s so nice to be out when the cars aren’t because, as a friend who walked with me yesterday observed, “People drive way too fast.”

Returning home, I checked the final election results on-line, recalling the days when I’d have to drive somewhere to get a newspaper. Or more likely, would have been up late the night before at the county clerk’s office, waiting for results to call in to the city desk. And then there were those evenings of listening to Bill Dahle read the print out on KUAI.

Nowadays, anybody with access to the Internet can find out the results whenever they want, which is what prompted a call from a friend last night.

“No surprises in this election, except Morikawa,” he said, in reference to the way political newcomer Daynette “Dee” Morikawa utterly trounced incumbent Roland Sagum in the District 16 House race. "I just looked at the results on Starvertiser."

“Yeah, and I just checked the results on Civil Beat,” I replied.

I’d heard Roland was running scared, and with good reason, given his stance on the issues, tendency to blow off voters and utter ambivalence about his elected position, which inconveniently cut into his ability to make money as a land use planner and consultant. Still, even all that is no guarantee you won’t be re-elected on Kauai.

The big disappointment, though it wasn’t a big surprise, was Gary Hooser’s poor showing. He came in fourth, trailing three well-known Oahu candidates, with just 9.8% of the votes.

“What was he thinking, crossing over like that?” asked a friend yesterday. “He had no chance over those Oahu guys. Now we’ve gotta suffer with that fucker Ron Kouchi.”

I’m sorry, Gary, but that’s what a lot of folks are saying. I gave you money, I voted for you, I talked up your candidacy and I believed in you, and still do. But why did you abandon us to run in a crowded field dominated by Oahu candidates?

As a result, Ron Kouchi, who couldn’t even get re-elected to the County Council, was handed the Kauai Senate seat by his old pal, Linda Lingle. Now Ron’s a given to win in November, despite the confidence expressed by his opponent, Dave Hamman, in The Garden Island:

”I think I’ve got a good chance. A lot of people don’t like Ron Kouchi.”

Yeah, Dave, but just as many don’t like you.

Well, at least we’ve still got Mina Morita…..

And at least Mufi Hannemann didn’t get in….

And Gary, thanks for all you’ve done. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for your many years of public service. I only wish you were still in office, and I hope you will soon run again.

I wasn’t surprised to see Derek Kawakami come in first in the County Council race. His campaign contribution report shows a lot of small individual donations, which indicates to me he’s got broad community support.

Slightly more surprising was newcomer Nadine Nakamura’s strong showing in second.

“That’s because her brother-in-law counts the votes,” said a friend.

“I’m sure that had nothing to do with the outcome,” I replied, knowing County Clerk Peter Nakamura to be an honest person. Besides, I’ve talked to him previously about accusations that he manipulated results, and he said it would be impossible for him to do so.

My friend, however, remained unconvinced.

“If you can steal the Presidential election, you can steal anything,” he said.

I think Nadine got in on her own merits. She raised a lot of money, and like Derek, most of it came from small individual donations. She’s smart, reasonable and understands the process, which gives her a leg up on some of those now serving. And surprisingly, especially for Kauai, I haven’t heard any stink talk about her at all.

As for the rest of the Council, Mel Rapozo, Jay Furfaro, JoAnn Yukimura and Tim Bynum are in, as I predicted. We’ll just have to wait and see whether Dickie Chang can keep his slight lead over Kaipo Asing, who once again is promising that this will be his last election. It may well be if he can't edge out "Walaau." Isn't that how you usually address Dickie?

And of course the mayoral race turned out as expected, with Bernard Carvalho easily dominating political neophyte Diana LaBedz. More surprising, and interesting, was the fact that 10 percent of those voting didn’t choose either.

No matter who is elected, they have their work cut out for them — assuming they are all indeed motivated by the desire to serve the public. As Mike Levine reported in Civil Beat yesterday, a new U.S. census report shows that median income in Hawaii dropped by more than 13 percent between 2007 and 2009, and the poverty rate increased by 67 percent. Surprisingly, those are the biggest percentage changes in the nation.

It ain't gonna be easy digging ourselves out of this hole.


Anonymous said...

So Tim made it... Michelle must be thrilled. I sure hope you have time to break it down a bit again for the readers about these candidates, it really helps bring info to the voters.

Anonymous said...

You're right about the hole, Joan.

Anonymous said...

I am soooo bummed that Abercrombie won. Happy at least about Kouchi.

Anonymous said...

"that fucker Kouchi".....

Amen, but at least he's not the American Taliban.

Anyone with one eye and half sense knew Hooser had no real shot. Wasting money on that campaign after getting drilled running for US Congress was just vanity. Either Gary's ego far exceeds his prospects or he's getting really bad advice.

Couldn't vote for him knowing he'd left us with Kouchi. Schatz is just as progressive and a lot younger.

Anonymous said...

We've got to stop electing such flaming leftists. Democrats have destroyed the country.

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

"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."

- Theodore Roosevelt

Lani Kawahara

Anonymous said...

It's also refreshing to see proper writing. Wouldn't it be sad if Teddy was remembered using:

r for "are"

gr8 for "great"

2 for "to"

w/those for "with those"

I HATE texting or tweeting writing style unless actually done from a cell phone or restricted to 180 characters.

It is NOT the "new English"

Anonymous said...

"We've got to stop electing such flaming leftists. Democrats have destroyed the country."
Agreed! We need more O'Donnels!

Who wouldn't want this agent of satan in their corner. She is quoted below from Slate,

" I dabbled into witchcraft. I hung around people who were doing these things. I'm not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do. One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar and I didn't know it. I mean, there was a little blood there and stuff like that. We went to a movie and then had a little picnic on a satanic altar."
-- GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell

Anonymous said...

Lani does make a good point.
Its such bad job - with bloggers and more so commenters taking that "you work for me" mentality to extremes - feeling that it is OK to trash anyone in politics, just because they got elected. Common notions of civility get ignored when people write of politicians. Most "normal" people would never want a job that involves taking so much crap from the public.
That said - Joan and Andy for Council in 2012!

Anonymous said...

Well, I gave money, campaigned and voted for Gary Hooser when he ran for the Senate. If I knew that he would run for Lt. Gov. in two years, I wouldn't have given him money or campaigned for him. I probably would have voted for him. But Lani, it's not a "false sense of entitlement". Gary should have been up front about his ambition with his supporters. We gave our time and money because we wanted him in the Senate. Can we get a refund?

Anonymous said...

Gary gave away his ambitions when he got the lasic makeover. that was the only clue I needed to know he wanted to return to the city of lites.
But he showed up on my ethnicity correct check list and I voted for him.