Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Musings: Sounds Like Politics

A sheet of gray blowing southwest offered a warning that rain was on its way, but by then, Koko and I were already on our way, headed mauka, where the clouds were darker still. Before I saw it or felt it, I heard it — that distinctive low rumbling of an approaching shower. But it was spring-like in its gentleness, dampening, but not drenching, and it accompanied us home as a red and gold glow filled a gap in the eastern sky.

There’s a notable gap in the list of three Democratic candidates sent to Gov. Abercrombie, who will choose one to fill the House seat vacated by Mina Morita when she became chair of the state Public Utilities Commission.

Yes, the name of Joel Guy — Mina’s former legislative aide and her personal top choice for the job — is glaringly absent.

Surely, Susan Wilson, Jay Furfaro and the other members of the committee knew that Mina wanted Joel to carry on her work. Surely they knew that Joel is a mirror-like reflection of Mina’s values and vision. Surely they knew she would have wanted Joel to at least be in the running.

Instead, they nominated Derek Kawakami. No surprise there. That was a given.

And Neil Clendennin, a North Shore physician who advises drug companies and proved his political hardiness by heading up JoAnn Yukimura’s last Council campaign. OK, fair enough.

And Foster Ducker.

“Who’s that?” I asked the person who told me the news. “What, are they just trying to make it easy for the governor to pick Derek?”

Not only is Foster Ducker a political unknown, he’s a Realtor with North Shore vacation rentals.

But far more troubling is the fact that Foster served on the committee that interviewed the candidates, which means he had unlimited time to promote himself to the other reviewers, while being privy to his competitors resumes and answers. Seems like all that gives him more than a leg up.

What’s more, he was also allowed to vote.

“Doesn’t that seem unethical, or at least questionable?” I asked my neighbor Andy when I encountered him on my walk this morning.

“It sounds like politics,” Andy said. “But it’s not the kind of politics we like to think of as being associated with the Democratic Party. We like to think that’s the sort of thing the other party does.”

Speaking of politics, I’m going to continue shamelessly promoting my new site, PIKO. In my first post, I illustrate how one clever developer — and unfortunately, he’s not the only one — transformed a simple beach cottage into a palatial mini resort under a building permit issued for “unsubstantial improvements.” And why? So he could skirt the requirements for elevating a structure in the flood zone, potentially putting the vacation rental guests at risk.

I’ll be getting into that issue, with its quirky twists, sobering ramifications and questions about why the county allowed it, in subsequent posts.

As one commenter astutely noted:

Corruption or incompetence, you decide.


Anonymous said...

yes, unfortunately, politics as usual; for joel he'll have to wait until derek's ascension to the throne is complete. neil (and residents of dst 14) have no choice but to select DK. sausage making at it's finest.

Anonymous said...

Among the three candidates, Dr. Clendennin is clearly the best choice. But he would be so much more use to society by helping people with cancer, his specialty. Kawakami is becoming a career politician which should be foiled; I hate career politicians. An Ducker is a complete yahoo of a choice - no way should an advocate for illegal vacation rental units get into office. I trust Mina's judgment, we should consider Joel.

As far as your other blog Joan, I just don't get it. Why two blogs instead of this one?

Joan Conrow said...

Dear Anon 8:32,
I just wanted to do something different, and showcase my work in another way. I'm hoping that as I add articles, PIKO will become a searchable, one-stop resource on the many topics I've covered over the years -- uncluttered by the often inane comment string that follows so many KE posts.

But I didn't want to give up KE, because it's fun and a satisfying form of personal expression.

Anonymous said...

This is too freaky:


Dawson said...

Joan, congratulations on PIKO!!

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention, he also headed up JoAnn's abysmal Mayoral campaign of 2008. It was a given that she would win the recent Council race, and truth be known, Neil was gone a lot during key points of the 2010 campaign working on his non-political consulting. Anybody who knows Neil, knows that he don't know campaigns.

Re: "And Neil Clendennin, a North Shore physician who advises drug companies and proved his political hardiness by heading up JoAnn Yukimura’s last Council campaign. OK, fair enough."

Anonymous said...

Neil's got degrees, but outside of drug research and architecture he's not even as sharp as Derek. More to the point, Neil wouldn't be listening to constituency as he thinks he 'knows it all.'

Interestingly, picking Neil would deny a change in the make-up of the Council. If Derek were picked, then the there will likely be a significant change in the make-up of the Council, such as the next vote getter being appointed - KipuKai - thus possibly changing the make-up of the Council toward the activists. So by Neil running for this office, for which he is 'overqualified,' he is very likely working against JoAnn, if he is appointed. What's the intentions there?

Neil probably intends to call in his chips with Brian Schatz for his work on the Obama campaign, but will Brian have that much influence over Abercrombie to pick a more suitable candidate like Derek Kawakami? We shall see.

One thing we can PROMISE, if appointed, Neil will not win re-election in 2012. THAT'S A PROMISE.

Anonymous said...

People here seem to know some of these nominees well...

Well, you know who ought to write a letter to Abercrombie about Neil, ex-wife Mary Clendennin. Oh yeah, imagine she could give a good assessment about character, or lack thereof.

Anonymous said...

I thought Kaipo Asing was the "next highest vote getter" and thus would be more in line to replace Derik?

Anonymous said...

Furfaro got his good buddy Clendennin to run to hopefully reduce the likelihood of the change in the make-up of the Council, so he can keep things on a relatively conservative agenda. Furfaro doesn't want to end up on the losing side of a bunch of 4 to 3 votes for the rest of the term. Clendennin is doing Furfaro's bidding over JoAnn. That's the really good dope.

All of it will be for not if Derek gets appointed anyway as a better fit for the State Rep. Office.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:31:

Nope, KipuKai outpolled Kaipo. In fact, that was the real stunner.

Anonymous said...

Derek is qualified, Neil? Nope, the other unknown, nope.
and ya know what, i sure hope they appoint Kaipo,

Anonymous said...

I think Derek should stay right where he is! We need him on the Council!
Joel Guy is absolutely perfect to fill Mina's position! A fine, talented young man who is looked up to by both young and old on our island. Foster's ok...and Neil's ok....but Joel Guy is stellar!

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:31:

They stiff armed Joel. He was not one of the 3 nominees. There are Democrats in the County trying to get a redo of that. If no redo, then Derek is the most appropriately qualified nominee for the State Rep. opening.

Anonymous said...

From Andy's blog with the proper edit:

"Which is why we urge you to call (808-586-0034) fax (808-586-0006) or contact (http://hawaii.gov/gov/contact/contact-gov) Governor Neil Abercrombie and ask him to appoint Derek Kawakami to the open 14th House District seat."

Anonymous said...

Mahalo 6:40! I just sent an email to Governor Abercrombie, saying the Joel Guy should absolutely be on that list. I personally believe Derek should stay right where he is (we need him on the Council), and neither Foster, a realtor, nor Neil, a relative newcomer, should be the one to fill Mina's shoes. Joel, born and raised here, and a very community involved guy, was Mina's assistant, and her obvious choice!

We want Joel Guy to fill Mina's seat! SEND EMAILS to the Governor Abercrombie and let him know how we feel!

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is don't you people know how to use roundup to get rid of that encroaching material.

Eye dropper + drill = dead heliotrope in no time.

Anonymous said...

Well, hope for the tsunami then. Once those lots are scraped clean, they won't be able to re-build without meeting code. Just hope nobody dies.

Self managed, $125K might have bought 1000 ft2 with simple finishes in 2002. That looks like $500K+ to me. Haigh isn't the sharpest tool in the drawer and I doubt anyone bothered to actually go review what got built. I vote willful incompetence

irk a mouse said...

just another "inane comment string"

Anonymous said...

perhaps emailing the gov would be helpful and pointing out the flaw in the selection process. it's just not right to have mr ducker sit on the selection team while he's an active candidate for the position.
and so the question must be asked why would the opinion and recommendation of mina not be strongly considered. the omission of her choice raises many questions.
neil and foster are not even in the same league as JG as far as community involvement and connection w/the northshore. i'm sorry but being a precinct captain or a losing campagn manager does not trump the recommendation of the outgoing representative. what is the REAL reason for joel's exclusion? politics as usual?
here's the next connundrum, kipukai or kaipo? hopefully they wont compromise and select darryl k again. dicky chang the swing vote again : )

Anonymous said...

Yes, this selection process sucked!
Joel Guy has so much support - it's a shame he didn't even make the short list, and it may or may not be be too late. We'll see - Still,be sure to let the governor know we don't like the selection process and that Joel is our choice.
However, if Joel doesn't get "reconsidered" for this position, one thing is for sure; We can still look forward to him doing great things! Aloha

Anonymous said...

District 14 is a lot more than just the North Shore. Its about time the rest of the district get some attention. No offense to Mrs. Morita but I don't really know what she has done for Kapaa lately.

Anonymous said...

Foster Ducker? What the duck? Why not Daffy?

Anonymous said...

Joel Guy, born and raised here, Hanalei School and Kapaa Hi grad and U of H attendee, has been involved with the betterment of this community for his entire adult life. Anyone privy to his resume would be impressed with his history and devotion to community service... all without pay!

We hear endless wordage about "making a difference"
and here is someone who actually does. Yet when the votes are in, the good old boys win and status quo rules.

The Democratic Precinct leaders should be ashamed of themselves.

Anonymous said...


Once again, you failed to tell ALL the facts to progress "your" agenda..

Fact being, Joel Guy also worked in the vacation rental business a few years back under Lauren Angulo (currently with Bali Hai vacation rentals).

Does this make Joel a bad guy like Foster? NO!

Joel is an outstanding asset to our community as is Foster.

While you bring up valid current issues in our community, your constant defamation of character and inability to view all sides of an issue make this blog of yours nothing more then "granola entertainment" for me.

I truly feel sorry for you and hope some day you'll get off your pedestal and do something constructive with you're talents..

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to find out who was serving on the panel. This whole thing has been shrouded from not only the public eye. But from the whole democratic party. I heard that most of those on the panel were from the north shore so it is surprising that Derek made the list. Look I think it's great that Mina made a recommendation but let's not forget that it is not her seat. We the people own the seat and maybe we should have a special election. I am sure that all the candidates are great but nobody really knows who Foster Ducker or Joel Guy is outside of Hanalei. Nobody knows who Neil Clenddinin is either. And I thought Kawakami is a westside boy. If so his name should be removed from the list since you have to reside in the district. District 14 is a lot bigger than just Hanalei. Look you have two North Shore residents on the ticket. Do the people of the 14th district really want all the names to be from the North Shore? In fact, I wish JoAnn Yukimura submitted her name. She would be a great choice.

Anonymous said...

How telling that the Precinct Leaders of the Democratic Party would totally ignore Mina Morita's choice for her replacement.

Hasn't Mina been in this office for over a dozen years, wasn't she ELECTED by the PEOPLE over and over, wouldn't she know who would be best suited to do the work required by this office?

I certainly hope we all remember the actions of this nomination committee when we go the poles in the next election.

And, yes, let's bombard the Governor with emails
voicing our concerns in this matter. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. (This was still a democracy last time I checked!)

Anonymous said...

March 30, 2011 9:51 AM

I love granola. A healthy, hearty, satisfying food.

You can always go get an egg mcmuffin if you don't like what's on the menu here.

Anonymous said...

Sandy Thomas is the President of District 14-1.

Susan wilson is vp

Barbara Robeson is 2nd VP

District Council Rep is Jay Furfaro

Foster Ducker is President of 14-2
Sandra Wright is VP

Carl Wright is Council Rep

14-3 is Rogerlynn Kanealii
Paul Weil VP
Council rep is Francis Dinnan

14-4 president is Betty Matsumura
Secretary is Nadine Nakamura

Doesn't sound like the good ole boys to me??? Hey maybe Neil Clenndinin and Tucker Foster did better.

Anonymous said...

DK is good in an elected position, he seems to listen and promulgate appropriate legislation but what was his experience/credentials again?

Anonymous said...

"Do the people of the 14th district really want all the names to be from the North Shore? In fact, I wish JoAnn Yukimura submitted her name. She would be a great choice."

1) yes, that is the district location, the North Shore and one of the most sensitive areas of the island. So yes, it would be appropriate that the representative KNOW their community and its individuals - living there full time makes a difference.

2) she doesn't live in the district

Anonymous said...

If Kawakami gets in, ALL four of Kauai's representative would be of Japanese descent, Kouchi, Morikawa, Tokioka, and Kawakami. We need representation not lop-sided politics.

Anonymous said...

They're all part Hawaiian, too.

Anonymous said...

Yeah we don't need anymore succesful Japanese people.

Anonymous said...

What don't you all get?
The North Shore is for sale.

Anonymous said...

Where does Kawakami live?

Anonymous said...

nice post joan, look forward to talking story w/you this afternoon on KKCR. congrats and best wishes on your new blog.aloha aina,....jt

ps granola and fresh fruit sis agreat way to start any day : )

Anonymous said...

Kawakami lives somewhere in Kapaa. We see him walking his daughter to school everyday and at church. He coached my niece's soccer team. Didn't know much about him until this last election. My niece made it a point to tell our whole family and all of her friends to vote for him. I am glad we did. It's refreshing to see a young, emerging leader who carries himself with respect and respects others. I am sure that the other two candidates are good too unless if what I have been reading about is true. Not sure how someone could be given such an unfair advantage. Good luck to all of them.

Anonymous said...

Word on the street, Derek got it. Time to start pushing KipuKai for the open Council seat.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, tough luck, Neil.