It has come to my attention that Kauai County Councilman Gary Hooser is displeased with me and my blog.
Gary didn't tell of his unhappiness directly. Instead, he expressed it on Facebook while upbraiding a woman who had commented, on my posting of Sunday's blog:
I was waiting for your post. Whole heartedly agree with each word!!
In his reply to her, Gary wrote:
Criticism intended to add value and improve performance is important and yes for some even well intended criticism is difficult to accept. It is the vitriolic and personal denigration that I have issues with. As you know so very well, certain bloggers have personal agenda's to grind. For whatever reason they use their poison pen to spread rumor and innuendo, and to pound on their subjects real or perceived personal shortcomings - with no intention of "improving performance" but only intending to mock, belittle and break down. These bloggers and the anonymous posters they foster are not hopeful that the performance will improve but rather are hopeful the performer will trip and fall so they can jeer loudly and encourage others to join in the mockery of the performer. I think Hilary Clinton coined the phrase, "the politics of personal destruction". This is what is being done here. To say you "Whole heartedly agree with each word!!" only encourages the personal destruction and adds nothing of value toward improving performance, nor is it intended to.
I have a personal opinion but don't personally and publicly attack and denigrate people by name. I welcome help and support via constructive suggestions delivered in a positive spirit."
Hmmm. I could, of course, avoid naming people. But I happen to believe that elected officials, and those seeking public office, should be held accountable, which is hard to do without naming names. Besides, if I were to refer obliquely to “a Councilman with jowls and a paunch” that actually would be a personal attack, and it would also be unclear as to whom exactly I was referring.
So let's just call a spade a spade, shall we?
In truth, I don't want to help or support Gary or his son, Dylan, because I think that as politicians, they're harmful to Kauai. And I don't want to see them trip and fall so I can mock them, but so they'll be defeated, as they deserve to be. Still, I'm happy to offer some constructive suggestions:
First, stop lying. Like, next time you start to utter that hackneyed sound byte about how the chem companies are suing Kauai for the right to spray poison next to schools, bite your tongue. Because you know that's not why they're suing, and you also know they had already created buffer zones around the schools before Bill 2491 was passed.
Second, stop fear-mongering. Instead of repeating anecdotal evidence about birth defects on the westside, why not ask the state Department of Health to update the birth defects registry? Why not use your position as a Councilman to ask the CDC to come in and do a study? Why not actually gather some quantifiable data and take steps to ease the fear of your constituents, rather than inflame it?
Third, be more inclusive. Remember when we were talking and I said it really put the other Councilmembers on the spot when you dumped Bill 2491 in their laps, and you replied, “Do you think I give a shit?” and I said, no, but it would've made the bill stronger if you had worked with others to craft it? And sure enough it split the Council and the community and made a big, ugly mess.
Fourth, when you draft legislation, go for something that has a chance of withstanding a legal challenge, and that can actually be enforced. Yes, I know that you don't care if Bill 2491/Ordinance 960 is enforced, because, as you told me, “all that matters is getting it passed.” Call me old-fashioned, but legality and enforcement do matter. Unless you're only doing it for grandstanding and personal gain. Which leads me to....
Fifth, trim your ego. Yes, I know you loved leading that parade of red shirts — what is it up to now, 100,000? — on Rice Street last summer, hearing chants of “Gar ee, Gar ee” as you stood triumphant on the Council steps and seeing your name in the national news, but it's really not about you. It's about public service, and making Kauai a better place.
Sixth, teach your followers how to build an effective political movement, instead of misleading them into believing all they have to do is wave their fists and post copiously on Facebook. Help them field candidates who have a chance to win, instead of your kid, a high school drop out and a flaky radio show hostess, all of whom are doomed to lose, leaving your followers with nothing but frustration and political disillusionment.
And Baby Hoos, if you run again, try come up with a solid platform instead of using social media ads to malign your opponent. Negative campaigning and preaching to the choir won't get you elected.
Seventh, think about the consequences of your actions. Yeah, you promoted the hell out of yourself, but you also created a political climate that is giving Grove Farm a grip on the Council so they can rezone to their heart's content. But then, that might help your real estate buddies, right?
Eighth, be transparent. Who is funding the HAPA group you lead, and what is their agenda for the island? What is your relationship with Center for Food Safety, Earthjustice and Pesticide Action Network?
Ninth, be yourself. Like don't change Realtor to “entrepreneur” on your bio.
Tenth, don't try to shut up or shut down the people who know the truth about you and speak it. Because it only makes them ever more determined to shine the light on the darkness.
And that, Gary, is my only agenda.