Monday, November 7, 2016

Musings: The Alternatives are Worse

I lost faith in the judicial system when OJ got away with killing his wife.

I lost faith in the “progressive” movement when it adopted totalitarian tactics to fight GMOs.

I lost faith in the electoral system when Florida's hanging chads gave Dubya the presidency.

But still, I value the rule of law as the cornerstone of democracy. I respect freedom of speech, even when it's wrong. And I always vote, even though I'm never 100% happy with my choices.

Just like I offer sincere congratulations when people get married, even though most end in divorce.

Why? Because the alternatives — including despair and cynicism — are worse.

And also because I'm a student of history. I'm familiar with those periods (still ongoing) in human evolution when people — and animals — had no rights, when the 1% held even more sway than it does today, when so many were denied the vote.

It wasn't all that long ago, as my boss at the Alliance for Science writes, that Elizabeth Cady Stanton launched the suffragette movement with the Declaration of Sentiments:

She challenged her status of no right to vote; no representation in government; being “legally dead” if not married; no right to own property; no right to divorce; little access to higher education; subordinate positions in the church; no ability to control her own reproductive well being.

We're making progress, but too many women still live under this level of oppression. Including right here in the US of A:

So I keep showing up to participate in the process, flawed though it may be.

But I also try to keep it in perspective. I've got friends who can barely eat and sleep, due to their anxiety over the presidential election. Others have written folks off because of their political views. I've got colleagues overseas who are likening America to Germany in 1932-33.

Take a deep breath now. It's just an election. And somehow we'll deal, whatever the results. Though I know a lot of Maui folks are worried about the kooky "Aloha Aina" candidates getting in and wreaking havoc there.

Which leads me to Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser, who is holding on by his fingernails.

A reader recently shared his prediction for the Kauai County Council election:

Unfortunately, I am betting on Hooser getting lucky. A number of people who did not vote in the primary are now voting for Hooser thanks to the work and amount of money he was able to spend. Besides those who are Hooser people, there are a number of people who do not like the way Rapozo and Kagawa are running their agenda and so are voting for Hooser for various reasons in an attempt to stymie Rapozo and Kagawa. I think besides Mason, Kipu Kai is also vulnerable.

After the primary, I thought the general race would mainly be about Mason. At this late date, I have changed my mind. The top 5 are easy — Kawakami, Kaneshiro, Kagawa, Rapozo & Brun (Kaneshiro & Kagawa are interchangeable as far as who gets more votes). For the final 2 seats, Hooser, Yukimura, Kualii, Chock & Apalla (not necessarily in order) are the contenders!

Yes, the six and seven slots are definitely up for grabs, and Hooser has raised and spent staggering sums in an attempt to secure one of them. According to the most recent campaign reports, Hooser raised $104,728.93 and spent $104,068.62, leaving him $3,436.60 in the hole. (He started his re-election campaign in debt and still has unpaid expenditures.)

Much of his war chest came from the same people, giving multiple times. Anti-dairy activists Bridget Hammerquist and Eileen Kechloian are up to $900 and $2,000 respectively. Surfrider's Gordon LaBedz and Carl Berg have given $500 and $200, respectively.  John Harder's tally now stands at $800. Kauai Garden Cottages has given a total of $1,100, while Kauai Dreams Realty is up to $850. Mark Sheehan of Maui's anti-ag SHAKA has contributed $400. Contractor Rob Brower is up to $300, as is Big Island Sen. Russell Ruderman.

Since he took ninth in the primary, Hooser has spent $39,525.65, nearly all of it on advertising.

So it's possible he may well be able to buy himself a seat.

Especially when compared to Mason Chock, who raised $17,978.54 and spent  $17,715.09.

And JoAnn Yukimura, who raised $50,731.80 and spent $58,711.20.

Then there's KipuKai Kualii, who raised $36,068.33 and spent $34,671.36.

Now compare that to shoo-in Derek Kawakami, who raised $62,283.98 and spent $90,728.36, leaving him with a deficit of $11,352.82. Why did he spend so much when his election was assured?

Mel Rapozo raised $35,255 and spent $39,593.34, leaving him with a surplus of $11,882.96.

Arthur Brun also has a surplus ($9,574.18) after raising $50,592.59 and spending  $38,140.27.

Arryl Kaneshiro, meanwhile, has a whopping surplus of $50,317.23, after raising $63,357 and spending $50,975.95. (He started with $37,936.18 in his campaign coffers.)

Ross Kagawa also has an impressive surplus —  $25,540.22 — after raising $47,656.20 and spending  $31,871.84.

Which brings us to newcomer Juno Apalla. She raised $15,421.23 and spent $15,889.29, ending with a deficit of $468.06.

I understand that some folks are looking for someone to keep an eye on Mel and the boys. If that's your goal, consider Juno. She's young, she's eager, she's decent, and she brings a important perspective as an immigrant from the Philippines. When I asked her why she decided to run, I got this unusual, and refreshing, response:

I am curious to disprove my hypothesis that the government isn't working for me, therefore I will not work with the government. Yes, I held on to the hope that the government still worked for the people, yet hardly found any evidence or reason for how it does. I wanted to understand the reasons why I felt disenfranchised by and from the political process. Simply, I didn't believe that my government worked for me, and did not want to give up trying to believe that I matter to my government, which sent me into a spiral of dissenting thoughts like if I have a crooked government here at home, why would I choose to stay when there may be other governments out there that actually works for the majority of the people. The syndrome of looking for a greener grass pasture elsewhere. 

This attitude poisoned my ability to wholeheartedly dive into and participate with the events in front of me, especially here on Kaua'i. By going through the process, I am a witness to many reasons as to how and why my government does not work for me. 

However, most importantly, I also became a witness to the reasons why and how my government DOES work for me, and most importantly, I learned that it does not work WITHOUT me. That means the missing factor all this time was me. I was absent in the discussions that shaped government. I could be doing more to serve the greater good. We all could be doing more. It does not work without you. It does not work without our citizens, individually and collectively. That's why our government "feels" broken.
Yes, we all could be doing more. But the least we can do is vote — and wisely, with an eye toward the future.


Anonymous said...

Hooser is not the devil. Complain about something real. Yawn.

Anonymous said...

Seems like some people don't approve of Ross and Mel. Think about it. They both voted against all tax and fee increases and the pay raises for the administration. They both voted against bill 2491, while being chastised by "the masses", only to be proven right. They have held the administration's feet to the fire on a daily basis. The Council, under their leadership, has been the most efficient that I've seen in a very long time. Yes, Joanne isn't happy, but this isn't about Joanne. It is about being fair to all. This Council has been a complete contrast to the last one, giving the people a much more pleasant environment to participate. Joanne and Gary are dissatisfied with the current leadership, but that is to be expected. They can't get their way anymore. They have to play by the rules. And this is a good thing for the people of Kauai. Mel has been completely fair and open with the public. As a casual attendee of their meetings, I have witnessed this firsthand. In speaking with the staff, they fully support the current leadership. Ross and Mel are good for this Council. Let's keep them there. They are the true voices of the people.

Anonymous said...

For any still undecided, KIpu Kai deserves our support. He managed to maintain respect for all during a contentious 2 years on the council.

Anonymous said...

I don't see any data that leads you to these election forecasts other than the amount of advertising spend and primary results. It seems to be a promotion piece for Juno without looking critically at the positions and qualifications of other candidates.

Anonymous said...

Looser's not the devil. But a liar and a community divider. That's just the facts that I HOPE will not let him back in. Money talks and BS walks (I got BS), but that's a lot of money your pall owes to a bunch of people. Now who's the person being bought.

2491 has to end. We (Kauai) have to move on. Without Looser, we will. With him, we won't because behind the curtains, he's still active with this movement.

Like this blog says. VOTE. the results will be what it will be.

Good luck all!

Anonymous said...

Here's what's real, 7:14 AM:

We have a lot of issues that need to be dealt with competently and fairly by our government officials. We don't need self-serving, duplicitous puppets with power and authority to make our lives miserable.

Anonymous said...

Why do you report Hooser donations of $300 from private individuals and not the thousands A&B is giving to the Super Six? Plus DOW and Syngenta donations to same group. Why are you silent on Ethics charges against Kualii in connection with his leg request for money without disclosure? Why not report on Derek's gambling connections? So much shit available on the Super Six and you focus on Hoosers manini donors. Lots of them but amounts given are small though the my do add up.

Anonymous said...

The only problem with Apalla is that the POwERS on Kauai support her so people should by now know what that means.

You can talk the talk and write nice warm things but she won't bite the hands that feed her.

Manuahi said...

For all those who pay taxes....Hooser gave you all the finger when he collected G.E. taxes from his customers and pocketed it. He is a thief with no morals. And this is who you want to re-elect? It speaks more about you than it does him.

Anonymous said...

Later the same person will write about Bynum even though he's not on ballot or haven't served the last term.

Then they will write about voting local and how great they've made Kauai and what they do to perseve Kauai.

The sheep is a mere consequence for the herder.

Joan Conrow said...

@9:18 I reported the Hooser donations because he raised and spent the most dough, and I was noting his money came from repeat donors.

I've already reported the A&B donations.

And unless I missed something, DOW hasn't given any money, and Syngenta gave $750 only to Arthur.

Anonymous said...

I wish there was more media and support behind Dr. Norma Sparks. I think she would be a big asset to the council, especially in reeling in the budget. She has more experience with government management than any other "new" candidate and has no ties to the "good ol boy" network. No disrespect to Juno, she is young and has prowess, but I think if elected her voice will be small in the council due to her limited resume.

Anonymous said...

9:51 a.m. Nah, the guy is out. we're talking about the last one to get out.

Mason is local / Hawaiian and we would rather have him that Looser. Plus, we support the guy that Looser would step over / stomp on just to get back in.

That's why Mason has always come in higher that the Looser.

Even plunking for Looser, Mason still had come in higher that Looser.

And voting for the local isn't about making Kauai great again. that's a national slogan. Voting Local is a vote on stopping the new wave of missionaries telling how we should live aloha.

Hope this still come true in this general election. But only time will tell.

good luck!

Anonymous said...

Mason is a broke dick slave. That used his baby momma to set up a person. He's a puppet and votes whatever Joann and Gary tells slave to vote.

Voting local is stupid as to how county and state use nepotism as their right to select county and state employees.

The best qualified should be selected, no matter if they're local or not.

Voting local has gotten nowhere but raised taxes for fraudulent county hirings and also bogus contracts to fleece the federal tax payers to fund their family and friends.

Anonymous said...

'I wish there was more media and support behind Dr. Norma Sparks. I think she would be a big asset to the council, especially in reeling in the budget. She has more experience with government management than any other "new" candidate and has no ties to the "good ol boy" network. No disrespect to Juno, she is young and has prowess, but I think if elected her voice will be small in the council due to her limited resume'

no support from the 'good ol' boys' either. ms sparks is too experienced and too intelligent to sit next to kagawa, kaneshiro & others. they want a less formidable female than joanne, not one who's as experienced, qualified and educated like Norma Sparks. why someone would vote for Arthur Brun or Juno Apalla over her is hard to fathom but hey, Donald Trump is trending up these days! good luck and god bless america; we're gonna need it!

Anonymous said...

That's the kind of person the county and state doesn't want elected. The voting public is swayed because most of them are inbreds for their power hungry families that want county jobs so the need an in to get in and the way to go is through the council and admin.

Norma would be an excellent choice but she is over qualified for the council and mayor positions. She'd be a good candidate for Govenor.

All you have to do is watch the Kauai channel and listen to the way these people speak and you all would understand that Kauai doesn't have the brightest people representing them on council or at the Mayor's office.

And if another multiple DUI bus driver boards and drives another county bus; I will file suit against the county for public fraud. There's no way a drug addict or alcoholic should be driving a Kauai bus.

This is why it's no longer a status or achievement to be a county or state employee. The anemos have take over the farm.

Anonymous said...

Norma Doctor Sparks cannot win when she receives praises from the likes of Mickens, Tayor, and Rosa. God help Glenn Mickens when Walter Lewis passes away. He hasn't had an original thought since before his baseball days. Even the catcher had been telling Mickens what to pitch all his adult life. At least he's good at taking orders.

Anonymous said...

After reading you comments about Gary Hooser, I'm sending him MONEY! Thanks for letting us know who to support - just about anyone you oppose.

Joan Conrow said...

@1:17 -- As the old saying goes, a fool and his money are soon parted...

Anonymous said...

11:15 A.M. You are correct. but if 7th, 8th, and 9th place are those 3, and Apalla cannot jump over 3 people to get to the 7th place.

Then we have to chose between 7th, 8th or 9th place. I say pick 7th. He's Hawaiian. broken dick or not! he's better than a liar / community divider / selfish person and fresher that the 8th place person.

11:32, 1:00 p.m. and 1:07 p.m., you may be correct. But statistically where she sits, it's a hard time to put your support for a person to jump over 5 other candidates to get to 7th place.

not in this 2016 race can this jump happen. that's just the mathematical facts.

Good luck tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I also am voting for Hooser. He is the only person strong enough to keep Mel and Ross from running amok in the County candy store. Kipukai is too timid and too much a follower. Brun has potential but he has a learning curve and will be a follower for the first year at least. Derek will do his best to stay out of any/all controversy so he can remain clean for the 2018 Mayor's race and Kaneshiro is still a pup and there is no way he will challenge the Kagawa/Rapozo big dogs. He will be powerless to do much but he will make a good watchdog so I say vote Hooser!

Anonymous said...

Joan, Hooser ain't winning nothing, the locals control this island and he ain't getting the local vote. Even a lot of Haoles hate him. Soon we'll see :)

Anonymous said...

1:56 don't forget to vote for Joann and Mason also. two more watch dog's.

That should work.

Anonymous said...

2:28 two more donkeys who voted to pass the Invalid Bill 2491. No thank you I will not be voting for all 3 of them!

Anonymous said...

3:37, i'm 2:28. I have a hidden message for 1:56 to pick up on. I voted for the 6 pack plus 1.

In 24 hours will tell what the voting public decided.

Anonymous said...

Joan "So it's possible he may well be able to buy himself a seat."

Previous to this statement you consistently said Hooser will not be reelected. Now it looks like you are hedging your bet. Plunkers like me got you backtracking and practicing the ole Texas two-step in case your previous predictions fall flat?

Like voting we are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.

Anonymous said...

Some of the peeps on this blog seem to think that Mel and Ross are the power hogs on the Council.
Nope. Each person on the Council is equal. And Mel even allows every weird notion that JoAnn, Mason or Da Hoos dreams up to be allowed on the floor instead of tabling it. Mel could and should table many bills etc. , but he is too much into the full light of the sun thing.
JoAnn and Gary are famous for having discussions that would provoke any Sunshine Ordinance. Moonshadowed legislators.
JoAnn is a nice lady, but her argumentative style has cost many votes.
Da Hoos is just an angry, whiny arrogant guy. He don't got no respect.

Any person who feels that roads and housing are important to the island is misguided if they cast a vote for JoAnn, Gary or Mason. These three are a kumquat of no local housing, no PMRF, no roads and forget the locals. These three want Kauai to be a bike-pathed, green zoned, Coffee Cafe and Boutique Shoppe island.
They are in the hands of wealthy NS part timers who are against any development or housing. Of course, the locals are needed to mow the grass and clean the house, but otherwise....these three are the worst for enabling the local population to thrive.

Oh and for the limp-wristed double-douchbaggete double-latte at 9:51............these three need to to go the Bynum way..and that is called un-elected. Shucks...Bynum actually has affected the County more than Gary because he is now the Paragon of the new Kauai Ideal...sue for anything and get big dough.

Anonymous said...

ha, andrea browers daddy gave 300 to on a million plus dollar ag property in papaa .....only 300 ??? cmon rob put another zero behind that at least if you want the hoos to waste your money, home garden and bannana trees actually aint farming bad boy

Anonymous said...

joan, i knew john aana and his sister donna since the early 70s and their grandparents were still working the taro back then and john was working it too so he is a long time west side farmer.

Anonymous said...

8:30. John Aana picked his side, he chose Hooser and the Haoles. The westside is still dominated by good people who put Locals first. They don't accuse without proof, facts, or evidence. We'll see after tonight how powerful John is on the westside.

Anonymous said...

Attention all you dreamers "Hooser is out!" Tonight, he will follow his fellow Haole Tim Bynum into political retirement. Prediction, 10th place, behind Kipukai 6th, Chock - 7th "shit", Joanne - 8th :), Juno -9th :) good try next one get chance, and Mr. 2491 himself, aka God, Gary Hooser -10th, Norma - 11th, Bernabe - 12th, and Richard - 13 round it out. No no GMO go all move back to where you came from.

Anonymous said...

JoAnn is going to beat Gary and Mason. She raised a lot of money since the primary and she's got the connections.

Anonymous said...

When you say that all "move back to where you came from". Do you mean only caucasians or should the Filipino, Japanese, Chinese and those from Portugal and other parts of the world also leave and go back to where they came from? Are you saying only Hawaiians should stay here? Or only proGMO people should stay here? Please explain your ignorant self. You sound like Ross Kagawa on steroids.

Anonymous said...

The Kawakami's owe her for blocking big box stores so they could sell big save at a higher price than what that garbage grocery store was really.

Always BET on the Yellow.

Anonymous said...

12:54 the races you mentioned came here and didn't try to change things. They made Hawaii the great place it is. The transplants came here and changed it for the worse.

Anonymous said...

With the newly elected Council, maybe they can address the homeless, ice problem instead of smoke, cats, barking dogs. Address the challenging issues that affect the people. Homelessness and the druggies. Someone got beat up and murdered in Hanapepe. "Watch, Make Study" are not answers.

Anonymous said...

Tell that to the Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands who were the first to reach the Hawaiian Islands. @2:57

Anonymous said...

"Locals" @2:09 conviently leave that out of the argument