Monday, April 4, 2011

Musings: Kinda Makes You Wonder

Though I couldn’t see Waialeale, the sky above her was infused with pink and dotted with pearly mushroom heads when the dogs and I went walking this morning. A hen, safely perched in a tree, started making one heckuva racket, and that set Koko and Paele into a whining, barking frenzy of thwarted chicken-chasing lust that had me hoping the people who lived there were already up. In the east, a two-tone curtain of gray and orange hung over the sea, and it wasn’t clear whether it planned to rise or fall.

The political star of Councilman Derek Kawakami is definitely on the rise now that Gov. Abercrombie has catapulted him to the state House to finish out former Rep. Mina Morita’s term. I like Derek and feel he will do a good job, so I’m glad to see him headed for the Lege. Next stop: Washington, D.C. Mark my words.

Still, the slap down that Kauai Democrats gave Mina by failing to nominate her pick, Joel Guy, is all rather curious…

Now the Council has 30 days to pick a replacement for Derek. Let’s hope they pick KipuKai Kualii, the people's choice at number eight in the last election. And let's really hope they don’t do their usual dithering, or else it will go over to Bernard Carvalho, who likely still has a few campaign supporters and failed former department heads and deputies he needs to reward with lucrative positions.

Speaking of which, I noticed Imai Aiu, former deputy planning director and now “special assistant” to the Housing Director (ahem), is asking the Ethics Commission for a ruling on whether it’s a conflict for him to have a side business as a planning consultant. Ya think?

He writes:

“I am proposing that it would seem that with careful project selection and the understanding that this would be a venture limited in size that I could carry out this business without a conflict of interest.”

So nice of Bernard to move Imai over to Housing so he can do planning on the side. Kinda makes you wonder whether Imai was serving the public or currying favor with potential clients while he was working in planning.

And Deputy County Attorney Mauna Kea Trask wants to know if it’s OK for him to star in and narrate a documentary on fishing in Hawaii — to be produced by Teresa Tico. Cause ya know, those county guys have a lot of sick time and vacation they can burn doing side jobs — even when they're already earning more than most every other working slob on Kauai.

Continuing on the topic of ethics, it’s a little disturbing that Kauai Democrats saw nothing wrong with allowing Foster Ducker to both throw his hat in the ring for Mina’s seat and serve on the committee that chose three nominees, including him, for the governor to consider. In fact, they defended it as a long-standing policy of inclusion.

I guess the thinking there is that if you’ve been doing something wrong long enough, it becomes legit, sort of like the way this county approaches land use and zoning violations.

Still, Kauai Dems aren’t the only ones confused about ethics. Consider this from The Washington Post:

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, for example, which led other House panels by hiring six lobbyists this year, is drafting legislation sought by oil and energy firms. At least four staffers on the committee payroll worked for those industries last year.

Richard J. Meltzer, the policy director for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was a lobbyist until 2009 for oil and gas companies, hospitals, insurers, investment banks and nearly a dozen other large industries.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said policy aides are required to disclose any potential conflicts involving former employers, but the need for Meltzer to recuse himself “has not arisen.”

Meanwhile, over in Japan, those in charge of the doomed nuke plant are falling back on that age-old “solution” of the sea as the ultimate dumping ground and diluter, releasing 11,500 tons of highly radioactive water into the ocean last night so they could make room in the storage tanks for even toxic stuff. It kinda makes you wonder what good are regulations if they can be handily discarded in an emergency.

Even as the Japanese government — heck, all governments — claim the dumping poses no “immediate” threat to human health, it turns out that fish ¬— big surprise — are getting contaminated. As the LA Times reported:

Nuclear experts have assumed that radioactive iodine, which has a brief half-life, would become diluted in the ocean and decay too quickly to be detected in fish, but Monday's finding has raised doubts about that, said Ohara.

Kinda makes you wonder just how much they really do know — even as they seek to reassure folks that everything’s fine.

It brings to mind the words of a Cherokee woman who spoke at the intercultural gathering hosted by Kumu Hulu Kehu Kekua at the Taro Patch yesterday:

”The earth is hurting and it’s telling us to take care of it. Fortunately, some of us are starting to hear that message.”


Anonymous said...

Didn't Kawakami support GMO companies on Kauai? Seems like he's the opposite of Mina. Career politicians just gotta go; I have to disagree with you, Joan.

Anonymous said...

Mina was removed "promoted" to admin. taking out her vote. And the N. Shore vote as well.

Anonymous said...

All the whineing and crying. Why don't you guys run for office? Too hard? Can't get elected? More fun beating up on Derik and now blaming Mina or the Gov for "taking away" the NS vote. You like career politicians when they vote your way and fight for your issues, but you of course deride career politicians when they don't support your values. So what is it? Are career politicians good or bad? Mina was there for what, 15 years or so? Hooser was there for 12 years including his stint on the Council. They also were so-called career politicians. So Derik has been there for all of 4 years and you want to beat him up and label him as a career politician too. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Jay manipulated the whole thing. He was on the nominating committee, did not speak up about the Ducker ethics thing, got Neil to throw his hat in the ring, and tried to rattle Joel with his follow up questions in the 10 minute interview. All to stick it to Mina and try to keep Derek from leaving the Council. He succeeded on sticking it to Mina, but failed on stopping the change in makeup of the Council. But, he's not done trying. Watch this Council selection process. Jay will still try to control it...

Re: "Still, the slap down that Kauai Democrats gave Mina by failing to nominate her pick, Joel Guy, is all rather curious…"

BTW, Joan, when you gonna write about Wai Koa and the Pavilion...?