Monday, October 6, 2014

Musings: Slates and Blocs

As the election nears, Kauai County Council candidates are taking the unusual step of forming political blocs.

Saturday night's “meet and greet” with the “Super Six” — incumbents Mel Rapozo and Ross Kagawa, newcomers Arryl Kaneshiro, Darryl Perry and Arthur Brun, and former Councilman KipuKai Kualii — marked the first time I can remember a group of candidates banding together to support one another.

Mel and Ross — top vote-getters in the primary, respectively — discussed their family connections with KipuKai, and they both made it clear the divisiveness that is currently stymying Council business will continue unless they are able to form a majority.

Meanwhile, as I reported last week, Councilmen Gary Hooser, Tim Bynum and Mason Chock are linking with hopefuls Felicia Cowden and Tiana Laranio under the “Keep Kauai Alive, Only Vote for 5” bloc — a single issue movement focused on pesticides.

The blocs reflect the exact same dynamics of “North Shore vs the rest of the island” and “locals vs newcomers/haoles” that drove the fight over the pesticide/GMO Bill 2491 (Ordinance 960).

And people — mostly the “red shirts” who pushed Bill 2491 — still love to claim the island isn't polarized and divided. Uh huh. Right.

Lately I've been hearing that westside seed company workers don't feel safe going to the North Shore, just as I've heard that some North Shore folks don't feel comfortable unless they're openly backing mayoral hopeful Dustin Barca.

Why? Because there's a certain thuggishness involved with Barca and his campaign, just as there was with the 2491 movement he led, though many of the supporters are desperately trying to downplay the intimidation, threats and mob action that characterized that ugly episode.

As just one example, one of the “red shirts” made a visit to the restaurant where Mel's teenaged daughter works so he could tell her that her father is an asshole because he didn't support the bill.

How could that ever be considered appropriate?

Interestingly, neither Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura nor Chair Jay Furfaro are included in either bloc. That's largely because they were viewed as fence-straddlers on the 2491 issue, though both voted in favor of the bill and the appeal, and both voted to bring Mason Chock onto the Council to override the mayor's veto of the bill. Their actions failed to appease the bill's supporters, and also alienated many of the bill's opponents.

Still, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see both re-elected, partly because they're viewed as middle-of-the-road. As longtime figures on the Kauai political scene, they also have the advantage of name recognition. In a recent guest editorial in The Garden Island, Jay opined that Kauai was in danger of losing its institutional memory — an oblique way of soliciting votes for Council veterans like himself.

Dustin, meanwhile, remains a non-starter among all but the die-hard 2491 crowd. A case in point was his comment at a recent forum, where he proclaimed that he didn't give a rip about the jobs held by 600 Kauai residents in the seed fields.

He has apparently abandoned even the pretense of trying to find other work for the employees — a phony gambit presented during the 2491 debate — and reinforces the totalitarian mantra that it's the "red shirt" way or the highway. No co-existence will be tolerated or allowed.

But he really showed his superficiality and inability to think things through when he asked Mayor Carvalho, “Is a job worth a life?”

Guess that means he's opposed to tourism, too, because look at how many people have been killed in drownings, helicopter and plane crashes, and rental car wrecks on the island. That's an industry where there actually are bona fide certified fatalities, as opposed to allegations of harm.

But then, Dustin is all about sound bytes, not substance.

Dustin also claims he has no personal gain from going after the chem companies, but that's not true, either. He's milking his anti-GMO stance for all it's worth to promote himself. As a has-been fighter/surfer, he has to remain visible somehow to get the sponsorships that pay his bills, like his recent deal with RVCA.

Still, Dustin is more like an annoying gnat than a serious candidate, and he's going to get duly swatted in the general.

The Council race is where the action is. 

A friend recently sent me an email with a proposed slate of candidates:

Theory: don't give either side too much power.  Mason Chock, Arryl Kaneshiro, JoAnn Yukimura, Ross Kagawa, Jay Furfaro, Mel Rapozo, and I guess Darryl Perry, for lack of another choice. Or even Bynum.

To which I replied:

Bynum? No fucking way. He has got to go.

He responded:

It's still fluid, but I'm roughly in that mode. Almost every one of these folks has negatives of one sort or another, but among these 14 candidates, that's hard to avoid. I certainly don't want either side to have veto override power. And I don't want complete idiots, the character-flawed or true believers running my county.

If you had to pick a slate, where would you go?

Hmmm.... It's a lot easier to be clear on who I for sure don't want — Tim and Gary — than who I do. 

So I'll put it to the readers: What's your slate? And why? 


Anonymous said...

Being one Haole, I should vote for the Bynum/Hooser/Chock group. They are for the land and water, first and foremost.
But I am trending toward Rapozo/Kagawa/Perry/Kaneshiro. The Rapozo group seems to put faith in the Kauai's people first. To them, it is the people that make Kauai a special place. Granted they know the wonders of Kauai's mountain and sea, but they care for the people.
And it really is the people that make Kauai, Kauai. Even when stuck in traffic, drivers let others merge, a wave of a hand and a smile. People still say hello to strangers...and help in any situation. Kauai is a friendly place.
The Hooser types seem to have a religious fervor in their actions. There is no compromise, many of these supporters will flat out tell you that the people are not important. I saw Pat Gegan at the Council pushing for the little trash can in the "pay as you throw" dilemma - His arrogant behavior exemplifies the average Fistee. Pushy, no compromise, disrespectful and if given a chance would tell you how to live every faction of your life. This is as thay say "a typical f*ckin Haole and deserves a one way trip to the airport" A pompous ass. I learned to get a long over here 45 years ago, some people never learn.
The Hooserites will pass more laws, rule and regulations. They will tax everything to gain their agenda. They will parse out tax code sections to target property uses that can hurt any of us.
The fact that the Hooser/Bynum proclaim they lowered taxes for HOMESTEAD owners and ignore the fact that their bills will have raised taxes on RENTERS by 100 to 300 average per month shows their pandering. Also the Hooser/Bynum types are digging dirt on all candidates from their past....and never bring up that Gary was a REALTOR and DEVELOPER (4 projects all hi-end), his kid was a subject of a long drug investigation, arrested and let free on a technicality and Bynum's boy flat out stole, resisted arrest and was sent to prison.....if you can not take care of you own house, do not take care of mine. I am sick of the religious nuts, do-gooders and people who tell me how to live.....

Anonymous said...

I'm embarrassed by my community. North shore people have become even more judgementsl & openly rude to all those who do not match a certain "personality type."
I thought it was bad prior to this GMO battle, but it has become exponentially worse. And, after 28 years of enduring this shit, I'm happy to say I am finally moving to a friendlier community.

I will be in the Rapozo/Kagawa/Perry/Kaneshiro camp as well.

Anonymous said...

Slates? Does that mean lock step voting when they get elected? Kauai is so tense because of the us versus them mentality and it's not getting better.

Anonymous said...

My slate is also for mixed government and the continuation of gridlock. Council cannot be trusted to do things right, so tie 'em up in gridlock.
My slate:
Rapozo: He was wrong on plastic bags but otherwise makes sense.
Bynum: Counters Rapozo. The cancel each other out. Pro-gridlock votes.
Hooser: Gets in for trying.
Kanishiro: Give new guy a try.
Chock: Give new guy a try
Yukimura: Keep her in - institutional memory and she always helps keep the gridlock. Less Council does the better.
Kagawa: Seems to actually listen to both sides in2491. Not buying in to the farmer v. haole sound bite. Maybe Furfaro instead - toss up.

Perry no. Too many KPD issues. No get elected by hanging onto Mel's pant leg.
Cowden no. Too lightweight.

Unknown said...

It’s really disappointing to see blocs forming on both sides. Dialogue and disagreement are as integral to the political process as compromise and agreement. Which is the beauty of non-partisan elections.

Does anyone know which candidates have actively endorsed their slate and which have are merely being endorsed? Those of us who fear demagoguery should commit to not voting for any candidate actively endorsing a full slate.

Anonymous said...

My Roster, (and I voted for 2491 and 960 so my roster may come as a complete shock to everyone)


I based this on things Other then the 2491 issue.
I had many reasons for excluding some, like Hooser, who I feel would be better suited to HAPA, and also to take a much needed break and to move on to better things, Yukimura has lost her touch and her once magical gifts of oration. Tim although I support him on some things, his health is clearly not good, and his frustration has reached critical mass. Time to take a political breather. Felicia does not have the tough skin to survive council chambers. I see her as a "Chang-Kawahara" type, who after getting in realizes it is totally insane and says "OMG this is so not for me!" Kipu is an absolute solid no from me, due to his issues with the Hawaiian Community in Anahola, and his support of Robin Danner. He will have no love from Anahola this political season.
So, why am I voting for certain people? I have known Mel for decades, and if there is one thing he is, it is a straight shooter. I may whole heartily disagree on things, but he isn't afraid to dissent and he has no fear on that council. Those are two things that I admire. We need dissension on the council. Not war, like we have now. So again, my roster is based on everything else but 2491 which I think is how we 2491 supporters have to look at this years lineup.
Ross. For me, he is still a kid wet behind the ears, but I have watched him, and feel that he will either grow into the chair or get frustrated and move on. He has a lot of great potential, he is still relatively young, and should be given an opportunity to show that local heart he is so proud of more. He can be worked with.
Perry. there has been controversy with him, but there has been personal controversy with other council-members as well, (Mel is a prime example). I think he should be given an opportunity. He may feel the same way as the "Chang-Kawahara" types, and say wow this sucks and isn't for me, but I feel he should be given the chance.
Laranio. Fresh blood, a greagt alternative to yukimura, she is young, born and raised, and enthusiastic for the job. She could be a calm breath of fresh air on the council. I say lets give her a shot and see what she can do.
Chock. Oh I can hear you all screaming bloddy murder now. But I have my reasons. First I have known him a long time. he is really a great guy. But here is the real reason I have him on my dream team. BEcasue if he can get legitimately voted in, I think we can move on from how he got on in the first place, and let him do his thing. he too, is young, and bringbs fresh ideas, if he could have half a chance to think on his own steam. Which is why my roster does not include Hooser, Bynum, or Yukimura. That is the best way to dispel all of this other stuff with him. Let him have a crack at it.
Arryl Kaneshiro. Oh wow now the other side is gonna yell at me, but hang on gang. Arryl may have some strikes against him on some fronts, but lets also give him a crack at the chair. GMO is not the only issue on Kauai, and honestly this young guy is talented, and he may come in real handy and vote in ways none of you would ever expect, and may surprise us. I say let's also give him an opportunity to do something else then just support GMO's. Let's see how he does on other important issues.
And last but not least, the only person to survive from the old guard with me is Papa Jay. I know, I know but frankly he did a pretty good job during the whole 2491 thing, and Papa Jay, as the senior member, of my roster will bring that nostalgic rhythm to the council that we need. He is a pretty wise guy, when hes not being a wise-guy, and like I said in another post no one can wield the gavel like he can.
Well, I think that's a pretty fair roster, giving every one a shot and sending some incumbents home to take a breather.
Seems fair to me.
Well, thats my lineup. Shocked ya all, huh?

Anonymous said...

Blame, blame, blame! Why is it okay for the six to band together and you attack the other group. Kinda sad---whatevas at this point, let's get his over with! Whoever gets in the council will make mistakes and do some good---it's dangerous to have too many of the same kind!

Anonymous said...

The chemical companies are on record saying that no jobs would be lost with the implementation of the ordinance. Why is that a question being raised?

The jobs help by the seed companies with direct employment adds up to 600, but these are not "kauai resident" jobs. More then 60% of these jobs are temporary positions. Am I the only one who was at the hearings? Many of those employees are migrent field workers. Kauai Coffee does it too!

Anonymous said...

Arthur Brun is a felon with a bad temper.

Darryl many sexual harassment cases were filed during his time as chief?

Laranio is out of the picture and she didn't even try to give it her best effort.

It is sad that Chock and Kaneshiro are being lumped into this mess, in any other circumstances, they might have been decent county council members.

I have little faith in any of the candidates.

Anonymous said...

The Rapozo comment on plastic bags.
He was only looking out for the best interest of the people. It was for food safety. Everyone forgets that politics sometimes goes before common sense and safety. There are confimed spikes in E. coli infections from reusable bags and other food borne illness. It is important to however spend the money to educate people to wash the reusable bags when this bill was put together, but that didn't happen.

Anonymous said...

My choices:

DeCosta might make this list...Chock needs to "man up" and stop appearing to be a Furfaro puppet.

I'll add Yukimura, but only if she condense her long-winded remarks at Council meetings

Absolutely NOT these:
Hooser ("the loser")
Bynum (shame for suing us)
Furfaro (time to retire, Jay)
Cowden (her shirt's too red)
Kualii (I just don't trust him)
Laranio (waaaay to inexperienced)

Anonymous said...

We started with such a good Council. Too bad it all went to hell.

Joan Conrow said...

"Many of those employees are migrent field workers."

Yeah, screw 'em. The poorest of the poor, the immigrants on green cards supporting relatives in the Philippines. No, they don't need jobs.

What an elitist mentality!!

Anonymous said...

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity" -Martin Luther king Jr.

I was disappointed also at barcas disrespect and arrogance towards Mayor and not really answering any questions. But not surprised. Just repeating the same old narrative that he blasts all over social media. Hard to watch.

Regarding council members:

Arryl Kaneshiro (super qualified, educated, young, great example to the kids, Kauai boy, the list goes on...)

Billy Decosta (educated, experienced, a teacher, all around great man and excellent choice, local)

Mel (straight shooter, not afraid to lead)

Ross (speaks for the people, ask the right questions and is not afraid of looking or sounding stupid. everyone appreciates his voice on council, local)

Still unsure of the last 3.

As long as it's not Gary, Tim, joanne, Cowden or Laranio. Oh and I can't vote Mason either. Unfortunately Last year ruled him out as a positive choice for Kauai's future. Probably not Jay too. Although I would vote anyone over Gary.

Anonymous said...

Right from the start this red shirt/blue shirt issue was all about those that work for the seed companies as not being human. As such it is OK to treat them as something less than human. In fact, they are agents of Satan (as in "Monsatan") and so do not even deserve our sympathy as we cast the whole lot of them off of the island! Because of this, no method is too egregious in accomplishing the goal of ruination of the seed companies. In fact, if that were to happen, it would be a mighty victory for those of us who are sacred and pure!

Nice people! Way to go Kauai!

Anonymous said...

Yes, exactly, they are not Kauai residents. The argument is being framed that 600 jobs for 600 kauai residents and their families will be lost at the exit of the seed companies. The industry impact to our economy is not as big as the companies want us to think.

Anonymous said...

What are you talking about? It helps supports the economy of westside. You must not have been here after sugar was pau and Waimea was dead

Anonymous said...

My first vote, perhaps only vote, goes to Jay Furfaro for his experience, ability to herd a fractured council, courtesy with sometimes rude public comments, etc. I still believe Mason Chock could be a good councilmember. Forming these alliances is the beginning of bad governance for Kauai, so I will not vote for those who cannot look at the County's issues and concerns with an independent thought. I intend to find out which Council members instigated this idea.

Anonymous said...

Here's mines:


No way yo Hooser and Bynum... And really what has Mason done since getting a free pass?

Anonymous said...

We are being ruined by taxing, crazed nut cases. As for the fence sitters, they also are the problem. They have morphed into lifetime political parasites. They know Bynum and Hossier are spouting nonsense. Yet they allow it to happen.

Anonymous said...

I understand, the six candidates were interviewed on Saturday and it should be aired on Ho'ike and Wala'ao for a week starting tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

The begining of bad governance for Kauai started when the seated Council formed an alliance and the voice of the people went unheard.

Anonymous said...

Laranio has confessed to being ignorant of government and would still be apathetic if it wasn't for Tim Bynum. It's on her website bio. You should read it before voting for her just because she's brown. It's amazingly stupid. She admits to having never registered to vote if Tim Bynum hadn't told her too. So she goes from not voting to running for council? Easy target Tim? Groom much tim? I guess you can expect that from a manipulative psychologist. Also, she is proposing to use hawaiian ceded land to house non Hawaiians and to have them grow food on it. Those are our lands!!! Keep your ignorant hands off! That's all I vote from me! Laranio is a vote for Bynum and Mason is a vote for Gary. Ceded land is being illegally and inefficiently controlled by the state. Go back to school Tita! You have too much to learn. We Hawaiians are a literate and intelligent people listen and learn first before you attemp to lead.

Anonymous said...

Chock and Laranio

Anonymous said...

Crooks, liars, racists, egomaniacs and idiots. At least we have choices.

Anonymous said...

Laranio has not shown up for any of the forums. Why would anyone consider someone who's obviously not serious?

Anonymous said...

i set out with the idea that i will vote for Kipukai----i changed my mind due to his association with what you call the Super Six! I want independent thinkers, those who will stand on their own two feet with an agenda that will create a better Kauai, not tow to the stance of others cuz they are lead vote getters. Are they to become the bullies of our county, if elected? Kinda scary! Well, it is October, just in time for Halloween--Trick or

Anonymous said...

It's not that the island isn't divide. Sure there is division but its ALWAYS been that way. It has especially been that way since hurricane Iniki. You are all fooling yourselves if you believe the GMO thing introduced divisiveness. was the incident at Polihale about GMO? No, its always been divisive.

Anonymous said...

Excellent question Luke Evslin! Thats the kind of digging that is required to accurately critique the value of this. I have not seen ay of the 5 block endorse the block. It was framed by others and none of the candidates campaigns. On the other hand the "Super" 6 all attended an event together so it would appear, unless they have stated otherwise that they have endorse the block.

Anonymous said...

The super six was made up by Steve Kaui and his friends. If you look into Steve, you will find an impeccable honest man. He decided to do this on his own. The six are running their own campaigns for themselves, any help is welcomed, like any other union endorsement. It's a very simple strategy to get Hooser, Bynum, and Chock out. Have a nice day, we'll see who wins on Nov. 4th, that's the beauty.

Anonymous said...

Mr Luke Evslin's, your comments are well received. But let me clear the air. Fact: The six candidates had absolutely no involvement in the selection of the " Bloc Six". The six candidates were selectively chosen by a number of different Organizations, Business men, Business Women, Kupuna Matriarcs, Kupuna Patriarchs and Kupuna Caucasians. They were chosen by the people of Kauai who want to see Kauai remain Kauai. In all fairness no other candidate was harassed or singled out negatively, but all were considered. And as for the Saturday night function, it was a private event hosted and paid for by one family. The function was a meet and greet the candidates.

Anonymous said...

Luke of course the "fab 5" support their bloc. They will take any endorsement they can get.

Anonymous said...

Luke, are you alleging that these candidates conspired with the community that endorsed them? What about the dozens of endorsements from other organizations? Do you think that candidates conspited with them also? I think you're reading way to much into this. The people are fed up. Look at Bynum and Hooser in today's paper. Another attempt to single out ag companies. Why? Political grandstanding, that's what that is. They were behind the very expensive 2491 fiasco. Personal agendas. They were responsible for removing the property tax cap, and raising taxes. The people are not stupid and they are finally coming together to say "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!"

Unknown said...

Anonymous 3:09,
The question that I asked above was this:

"Does anyone know which candidates have actively endorsed their slate and which have (sic) are merely being endorsed? Those of us who fear demagoguery should commit to not voting for any candidate actively endorsing a full slate."

I'm not singling out either side-- but it's important to clarify which (if any) have endorsed a slate as opposed to which are merely being endorsed. As Council-member Rapozo said in his closing remarks at the last council forum: "there’s a lot of history of organizations endorsing candidates… people have the right to do what they want in America." Organizations (business, community, PACs, etc) have a right to endorse any slate they want. What worries me is when candidates also endorse a slate.

According to 9:22 (regarding the five) and 12:53 (regarding the six), we can all rest assured that no candidate has endorsed a slate.

(At six mentions in as many sentences, I think i've used up my quota of the word slate for the day.)

Anonymous said...

The eyes of the people are crystal clear.

Anonymous said...

Old Chinese saying, "the eyes of the people are crystal clear". We the people need less taxes and better fiscal responsibility.

Anonymous said...

The forum in Waimea told a different story--Perry, Kualii stated that they were in line with Rapozo and Kagawa.
I have a hard time believing that the Kupuna Matriarchs and Patriarchs didn't want Chock at the Super Six event. He has strong Hawaiian values and is a gentleman. The guy has class! He is one to get people together to solve problems, he has not been nasty and as far as i can see, tries very hard to keep civility at council meetings. I have seen him take jabs from Kagawa, but he mans up and goes on by being civil.
We need people with compassion and life affirming practices in this time of chaos.

Anonymous said...

8:02 why would the super six want Hooser butt kissing chock? Are you serious? You must be a redshirt.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous at 8:27 am,
"Being one haole" is reinforcing a stereotype that is as decisive as any of the issues you poorly articulate. As a HUMAN I hope you use whatever limited faculties you have to vote the way you see fit.

Thanks for sharing the link at the bottom of your post as it shows the backstabbing and corruption that was in the PA's office when your good friend Shay was figuring out ways to cost the taxpayers of Kauai millions to get revenge on those who don't share her bigoted views.

Anonymous said...

I think Billy DeCosta could surprise people and offer an enticing addition to the "six". Wish he'd take money to expose the whole island to his style and mantra.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that Laranio has withdrawn from the 5 bloc.

Anonymous said...

8:02 pm said .......
The forum in Waimea told a different story--Perry, Kualii stated that they were in line with Rapozo and Kagawa.

Every single voting individual should be in line with Rapozo and Kagawa if tax reform and fiscal responsibility is important to them. If you prefer chaos then you have every right to vote your conscience.

Anonymous said...

Oh and inline with another candidate is not an endorsement.

In last nights gubernatorial debate Mufi and Duke were in line on a few issues does that mean they are endorsing each other?

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that some of the new candidates are in line with Kagawa and Rapozo. Those two need help. Thank you for stepping up to help the two councilmen that speak for the people.

Anonymous said...

It seems since some of the council played poorly in the sand box, it is necessary for the council members to find others and work to help they make it to the table or we get stuck with another 2 years of dysfunctional government. Say what you will, but this council is dysfunctional.

Anonymous said...

The new faces in the council will be Arryl and Kipukai. Hooser will be reelected.

Anonymous said...

Barca will not make it easy for Carvalho.The mayor has to work really hard to get reelected. Personality is not enough.

Anonymous said...

Kipukai is not a new face. He was a councilmember before, and before that got appointed when someone else left the council i forget who. and no one squacked then.

All the Hawaiians are mad at him right now, so he will get votes from non locals only

Anonymous said...

10/09/2014 8:47 p.m. Squawking about the appointment of Kipukai, that time Kipukai was 8th in the county council elections. That’s why there was no squawking back then. His appointment whether people agree with it or not, it was done respectfully and honorable.

As far as all the Hawaiians are mad with him right now. Not all of them are mad, that's just a general statement, if you take a poll, you won’t get 100% against his county council election.

Why wouldn't Hawaiians not vote for him, we should! It's backward thinking to not support Hawaiians (sovereignty) when that person can really benefit us in a political position. Sure people don’t agree with his views, but he’s someone who we can talk to so we have a voice in government.

It’s like, oh this Hawaiian is trying to get ahead, let’s knock him back down so he cannot get ahead of the rest of us. We have to embrace our own people, then we can have him to help ALL OF US. That’s a selfish statement to make about a Hawaiian who served on the county council in the past.

Think about it. I hope you can look beyond today.

Anonymous said...

@8:47 PM

You don't have to be Hawaiian to be local. Born and raised, you're a local. Your statement tells me that you have been on Kauai for a very short period.

Kipukai would make a great Council member and will receive many local votes and non local votes.

Anonymous said...

@5:01 PM,
Very respectful and intelligent comment.

Anonymous said...

Billy De Costa - I no like be silly. His ideas on land use make sense. He has a sense of humor and integrity. He'd show genuine hard work and humility.
Darryl Perry - He knows how the executive branch works, and he knows their dirt. Seems like an asset in the council.
Joann Yukimura or Jay Furfaro experience and desire shape future for one more term
Kipukai Kualii - Independent thinker, approachable, he has aloha
Mason Chock - who else of his generation? Give him a shot.
Mel Rapozo - He diplomatically calls bullshit (on the admin) when he sees it. And he's seen a lot of it.
Felicia Cowden - She has the potential to be open minded and to offer a badly needed female perspective