Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Musings: Scrambled

It was a nail-biting few hours as the election returns came in, with two Kauai County Council incumbents finally losing their seats in the face of tough competition.

It seemed too good to be true when the first print out knocked four incumbents out of the game. And sure enough it was, with the final returns scrambling the results to resurrect two of the fallen.

After placing in the bottom four for the first two print-outs, Councilman Gary Hooser barely squeezed into seventh place at the end, pushing Chair Jay Furfaro out of the running. Councilman Tim Bynum, Gary's longtime ally, also lost his seat, taking a dismal twelfth in a field of fourteen.

Veteran politician and Council incumbent JoAnn Yukimura started out poorly, but steadily improved her standing as the ballots were counted, ultimately taking fifth place. And Councilman Mason Chock pulled himself way up from a poor primary showing to take sixth. Now that he's been legitimately elected, he can start working to overcome his sleazy start in politics. 

Incumbents Mel Rapozo and Ross Kagawa took first and second place, respectively, followed by newcomer Arryl Kaneshiro and former Councilman KipuKai Kualii.

So now they have a solid majority on the panel, with Mel likely headed for the position of Council chair.

Though Arthur Brun and Police Chief Darryl Perry, in their first bid for political office, scored in the top seven for the first two returns, they dropped down to ninth and tenth place, respectively, by the time all the ballots were counted.

Still, it was a very close race between seventh and tenth place, with just 181 votes separating Darryl and Gary. The spread was much greater between elected Councilmembers, with Mel beating Gary by nearly 5,000 votes. 

Mayor Bernard Carvalho easily defeated challenger Dustin Barca, a surfer and MMA fighter who ran on an anti-GMO platform. 

Over in Maui County, the anti-GMO initiative squeaked through, by a vote of 51 to 49 percent, though the “no” side was ahead most of the night. Monsanto, Dow and others raised some $8 million to fight the initiative, which is almost certainly now headed for court.

Just like the Hawaii County anti-GMO law, which is currently under judicial review, and the Kauai GMO/pesticide regulatory bill, which was overturned by a federal court. It's hard to see how the Maui initiative will prevail, given the judge's ruling that the state, and not the counties, is empowered to regulate GMOs and pesticides.

And tomorrow, the Council will be taking up a proposal by Ross and Mel to repeal Kauai's invalid law, giving the anti crowd, Tim and Gary yet another chance to grandstand and make unsubstantiated claims.

Though it's clear the anti-GMO crowd has lost a majority on the Council, and now brings up the rear, it was not as soundly repudiated as the first print-out had promised.

Which means the social and political polarization of Kauai will continue. Just like on the national scene.



Anonymous said...

Let's hope Mason can salvage his political career by decisively moving out from under Gary's shadow. I'm sick knowing a handful of votes could have removed that charlatan Hooser from his seat. Hopefully now that we'll be getting a strong Chair (Rapozo), Gary won't be able to be as destructive. I must say I was generally happy with the overall results, except for having two more years of "da Hoos".

Allan Parachini said...

It is worth noting that Barca pulled FEWER votes in the general election than in the primary. It is amazing that this slow motion tearing asunder of much of Kauai's collegiality has been done by a sort of movement with no leader of intellectual stature or credibility.

Anonymous said...

The vote is over.
Name recognition or issues?
We are set for 2 years.
At least Tim Bynum is out, there is hope for the County.
And now that the disappointing windbag Jay is gone, maybe the new Council Chair can keep meetings on point.
Arryl is a smart kid. Kipukai is a real community man.
Mason may now be able to come into his own...he got more votes than his Master, Gary.
Maybe Gary can take JoAnns place as the blatherer and JoAnn can become a little more action oriented.
Looks like JoAnn's giant tax hike is dead.
And maybe Kipukai will be the real power, with his more moderate positions.
Hopefully Mel, Arryl , Kipukai and Ross will be able to tackle the Budget, Roads, Landfill, Rehab, Sewage Treatment etc. The Council is split....4 who want to fix things and 3 who want to talk about things.
Go Mel, go Ross, Go Arryll, Go Kipukai...you 4 can make real change.
Congratulations to all, we rely on you.

Anonymous said...

If Tim got re-elected Ripleys Believe It or Not, would do a whole section on Kauai. Called, Filling Your Pockets in Paradise or The Stupidest Voters in the World?

Anonymous said...

Its no surprise Mel, Ross, and Kaneshiro smoked em. The sheeple needed someone to vote for, and solid peeps like Nadine and Derek gone, they were the only ones left. Aerial seems like a good guy. One termer for sure.
The biggest shocker is Kipukai, He ussually couldn't win if the whole rainbow coalition flew over from Hulas and voted. Now he is 4th? Congratulations. Still a huge surprise with his choice of female "cumpa's' (Robin and Shay).
Jay is toast. No surprise but sorta sad after all the years of being a dick, its a bummer he couldn't have gotten kicked in the nuts for the last 2 years of his political life with Mel as leader.
God love em all for getting in the ring.

Anonymous said...

Joan- with your inimitable style and unparalleled writing ability.
Have you ever thought of delving into 1-Why has the County budget exploded over the past 4 years? or
2- How in the World can the Planning Commission be working under the Notion that "the citizen must have permission to do something written in law before they can do it." Which contradicts basic American rights and freedom.
Also- why does the Planning Director make his personal opinions known on the Commission table, influencing votes and that he RUNS the Commission. In the past the Planning Chair ran the meetings and the members made the motions.....now it is all by actual employees of the County and not the lay members.

Kip Goodwin said...

The paradox is that Joan devotes a column to the dire UN climate change report, even quoting James Martin, "There are huge vested interests with massive financial reasons for not changing course...", then turning right around and promoting those same vested interests right here at home, Syngenta and the rest that are enablers of high emissions industrial agriculture.
I know, I know; it's better to let a compromised and over burdened agency in Honolulu and execs in a boardroom in Indianapolis or someplace to tell us what and how much chemicals are dumped on Kaua`i. I'll take local control over local health issues every time.

Joan Conrow said...

Please do not misrepresent my position, Kip. I am not promoting Syngenta.

The paradox is that you are focusing on agricultural emissions while ignoring the much greater emissions from tourism.

Anonymous said...

Amen Allan!

Kip said...

Would you not agree that the 4 chem/seed companies operating here plus Monsanto enable fossil fuel intensive industrial agriculture with their pesticide-seed packages? And when you devote a column to promoting a candidate who works for syngenta well then there's the appearance of promotion, you know?
Just got back from the Council meeting. Mel and Ross immediately at the outset announced their intention to receive their own bill. All a political grandstanding stunt. A packed chamber plus the spillover crowd outside put their day on hold to attend the meeting for nothing. Ross flaked out on all the testimonies. Both of them didn't even stay around for the vote. With public servants like these, what could go wrong the next two years?

Dawson said...

Allan Parachini said:

...It is amazing that this slow motion tearing asunder of much of Kauai's collegiality has been done by a sort of movement with no leader of intellectual stature or credibility.

Dismaying and disturbing, but not amazing, when one considers the psychological appeal of demagoguery.





Anonymous said...

I voted for Mel. Mel, if you are reading this, keep calm. Be fair. Listen carefully, don't argue in public. And don't raise taxes, kill the GMO bill and appeal, stop obsessing over silly distractions. And keep the damned clock and speaking rules as written. We are sick and tired of 12 hour meetings.

Anonymous said...

I don't know that I'd blame Mel and Ross or anyone else there. Taking today's crowd and testimony as a whole, it was the same faces delivering the same message that is as unvaried and monotonous as it was a year and a half ago. More of the same from the same would most likely test anyone's tolerance. And besides, maybe the bill will re-appear in a new form under new management in a re-organized Council where hearings will be conducted with more attention to the rules, common civility and the time consumed minus the overtones of vigilantism. That alone would be something many of us could appreciate. We have all heard too little at too great length from too few people claiming to speak for too many of us on this. I'd argue the proof of this is in yesterday's numbers.

Anonymous said...

4:43 "And keep the damned clock and speaking rules as written."
Right on.
Jay let people get off topic and drone on and on. A good Chair, may appear harsh by cutting people off, but it must be done. A clear announcement that testimony will be ONLY on the topic, or you will be cut off. Any Council person can call point of order, if there is an off-point blabbermouth.
The near mob today....must realize actions and elections have results. It's that gol-durn democracy kinda thang.
The overturning of 960 is the best bill to come forward in months.
Time to heal....invite Big Ag to a Kumbayah session and work it out. It's only about the dust anyway.
Please Mason, get off your knees, you had more votes than da Hoos. Stand up. Become all you can be. Da Hoos pushed "plunking", and that plunk weren't for you. There ain't no friendship with "I am only for myself" types. Look to ALL of the people for inspiration. Da Hoos is locked into his own tube. You can break away and be free. Cowabunga!

Anonymous said...

Kip in the next two years you will see your friend Hooser suffer being a looser. His next radio ad can say "choose the loooose". Redshirts common have some class those hairy underpits were disgusting. Stinky stinky gmo.

Anonymous said...

Who wants to listen to the same thing over and over and over again? Politicians and little kids who like Frozen. The first 150 times just isn't enough.

Anonymous said...

God bless the county. Four more years of pure hell. Enough of this GMO. I hope the new council will not be rubber stamping but a watch dog to the Carvalho's arrogant appointees. I trust Mel, Ross, Kipukai and Arryl to do their work.

Anonymous said...

I believe industries needs to be regulated. Deregulation put this country into a depression. We have seen auto industries, financial industries, and health insurance industries run wild. I believe another depression looms in the near future because the politicians and industries have learned how to be rewarded for failing.

In the GMO bill, Gary and Tim was sorta correct but screwed it up.

Gary and Tim had evidence that they had communicated to the GMO companies about a database showing what chemicals are being used/sprayed, what are their toxic index, how much was being used/sprayed, and other details that pertains to community health and safety concerns. Which are more than legitimate questions. What Gary and Tim has said was that for over a year the GMO companies refused to report the data that the county council requested. The county council has duties and responsibilities of keeping a community informed and also keep the communities health and safety safe guarded. People who raise concern deserve the right to know.

They should have done due process and line their ducks in a row. Once the GMO companies refused, the county should have went to state and federal agencie and requested for assistance to solve the problem before creating a GMO bill. If both the government and state weren't successful in enforcing laws and conducting adequate testing then the county have ammo to create a bill. The bill would have shown wrong doing instead of hearsay.

The bill would have held more weight had Gary, Tim and others went this route instead like nitpickers always say "Fire, ready, aim".

This would have substantiated due process of creating a bill to protect the people who are concerned with the health and environmental effects of GMO RUP use/spraying.

Anonymous said...

Joan, I've known you for more years than I'd like to admit and I always admired good reporters and investigators. I have not agreed on all your musings but the majority were spot on. (Two years ago you said Ross Kagawa did not have a chance.) On many issues I tried to get my point across to council members but for some reason it did not interest them. I'd like to send you several topics to help enlighten the people and possibly improve the county.

The first issue is about voter turnout. The percentage of voter turnout versus registered voters is misleading. About twenty years ago we used to have over 80% turnout. The purging procedure was changed from a two year cycle to a four year cycle and I think it is that way until now. Election officials made that change to enable voters to continue voting even if they missed voting the year before. During that time they even got the state to pass a same day re-registration law. Prior to that if you moved from your district and did not register before the deadline, you couldn't vote on election day. I'm sure if you investigate the current purging procedure you will be able to enlighten your fellow reporters.

Anonymous said...

"So now they have a solid majority on the panel, with Mel likely headed for the position of Council chair."

Talk about divisive rhetoric...who the hell are "they"? The pro-gmo party? I thought that the council members were elected to represent all the people.

Anonymous said...

Joan, also on purging of voters, during the 70's and 80's an average of 20% of voters were purged during the two year cycle. We have a large amount of transient residents and part time residents that register to vote especially on presidential election years. During the 70's and 80's ninety per cent of high school seniors were registered to vote. The transient voters and seniors accounted for the 20% purging every year. Now with the four year cycle, nearly 30% of the registered voters are no longer here. Therefore the reported 57% voter turnout used by reporters is inaccurate. The state used to provide the actual number of voters purged every year. Another statistic that the state used to provide is the plunking analysis for the county council which also provides for interesting discussion.

Anonymous said...

Joan, why not check what was the matter with a former deputy county attorney who is suing the county for harrassment and discrimination? And what about the county auditor? What happen to his lawsuit against Jay and the council? What about the gas theft controversy?