Wednesday, June 25, 2008

CAN’T YOU HEAR THAT WHISTLE

CAN’T YOU HEAR THAT WHISTLE?: Tin political ears are often the coin of the realm on Kaua`i. It’s a tradition going back at least as far as Smokey Louie Gonsalves, who in the 50’s purportedly, approximately said “people will know what they think about that when I decide and tell them what they think”.

Kauaiians rarely cared in the olden days because the paternalism was so strong that people expected the roguish behavior that recently departed Bryan Baptiste’s father Stan exhibited by running the island as Mayor from a jail cell.

No matter how many times pundits cite “changing demographics”- a code for the exponential increase in the influx of mainlanders- nothing has changed since the first time we heard this during the 1980 elections.

So when Kaua`i Police Department (KPD) Chief Darryl Perry got off on the wrong foot by playing up high-tech abusable cop equipment , jacking up a peaceful sovereignty activist , pledging to “take care of” protesters if the Superferry came back and finally writing a condescending tone-deaf commentary in response to suggestions for instituting community policing techniques, people figured that the anyone upset about the desecration of the burial site at Naue had already been stuck with the proverbial fork.

All that was left was for the cultural defenders occupying the location was to count down the hours to the day of reckoning, scheduled for yesterday at dawn.

It was assumed that this would be the final nail in the coffin, solidifying the impression in the community that this was the official end any illusory “our friends and neighbors on the force” era of policing on Kaua`i and that the interests of money and power were to be protected at the point of a taser and a riot shield.

But they didn’t count on Perry being smarter than the average bear and having a political ear that could serve him well if he ever chooses to exercise it in the electoral arena.

Nothing would have seemed out of the ordinary had he ordered his force to round um up and cart um off in the paddy wagon and give the thumbs up to the construction crew.

Although people would have shaken their heads in disgust we’re used to doing that on Kaua`i. We would have gone on with our lives and perhaps occasionally bemoaned the day that Perry brought us into the era when the department fully served the new plantation bosses as they had enforced the laws made up by lunas since the first commercial sugar cane stalk was plunged into the `aina in Koloa.

No one knows what will happen from here in the courts. Apparently the law Perry cited regarding “desecration (such).that the defendant knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the defendant's action“ has never been court tested, especially as it may conflict with the Burial Council processes.

But the fact that Perry took the chance at angering the all powerful land use lawyer Walton Hong and acknowledged that there are people who Hong and his client know full well have their “sensibilities outraged” speaks as much as the action itself.

It would have been easy for him to say, like the small but growing part of the “haole” crowd - the ones for whom we commonly use the word in conjunction with a certain copulatory adjective- that they’ve been doing this for years so why stop them now.

He could have ignored the obvious desecration of his own people’s culturally iconic bones and no one would have said anything but “well, same as it always was”

Today the progressive, culturally-sensitive haole community is singing Perry’s praises. These are the self-same people who were calling for his job if not head yesterday.

With his action Perry gained a bank-full of political capital in future endeavors. How he spends it could put those that were critical of his previous words and deeds behind the eight-ball for some time to come if he abuses it

Should he seek to spend it allowing the rogue element in KPD to abuse innocent until proven guilty suspects and non-violent activists, the funds could disappear quickly, although he has established enough credit to have a no-minimum-balance account for the time being.

People say Perry’s snatching victory from the jaws of defeat shows that he has a good heart in his chest. Maybe. But what was most useful to him yesterday at Wainiha was the uncommon-for-Kaua`i size of the brain in his head and those uncommonly astute ears.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Always at least one utterly stupid comment to damage an otherwise interesting commentary:

But the fact that Perry took the chance at angering the all powerful land use lawyer Walton Hong and acknowledged that there are people who Hong and his client know full well have their “sensibilities outraged” speaks as much as the action itself.

"All powerful". Good grief. Walton is a 5'-4", 120 lb fellow who basically works as a one man shop. If he were all powerful, Brescia wouldn't still be waiting to build his project after 7 years of tryin.

Where do you get this crap?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

cut n paste comment
from planet kauai:

kudos to chief perry. his intervention has elevated the stakes and has resulted in another reprieve. the issues of who and how many protesters seems insignificant compared to the chief taking the law into his own hands. i'm sure his brother gave him plenty advice on how to play this one. chief perry for mayor!

June 25, 2008 10:32 AM

Andy Parx said...

Are you for real Anon June 25, 2008 11:30 PM? Or just a malahini who's never been downtown?

Walton Hong has a huge staff as does Max Graham. They are arguably the two most pwerful people on Kaua`i especially if you think money and land are power. No one succesfully develops anything here without hiring on of the two of them.

Anonymous said...

Walton Hong is a personal friend and I've used him for writing a will.

Last time I was in there, he had a secretary or two. Lorna no longer works there. She moved over to the Belles Graham shop which is fairly large.

Once again, your emotions get in the way of reality. Address the real point. If Walton were "all powerful" how come there's been 7 years of wrangling?

You're a pin head sometimes.

Andy Parx said...

So you think the Walton Hong era is over?...long live Max? But Max won’t take those screwballs like Brescia and Walton’s still getting success rates with them better than his clients deserve. He’s lost a lot of credibility over some of his recent “victories” but he’s still got the land use approval system wired. Lotta money in government corruption. The key to zoning and zoning permits is to know who’s compromised and how.

That’s power.

Actually I hope you’re right- Walton’s a scumbag. Not that Max is any prize.

Anonymous said...

Andy has obviously never been in Walton Hong's office. As far as I've ever seen, there's him, and a woman at the front desk.

fisking andy said...

"He’s lost a lot of credibility over some of his recent “victories”"

what does that even mean?

"but he’s still got the land use approval system wired. Lotta money in government corruption. The key to zoning and zoning permits is to know who’s compromised and how."

If you knew what you were talking about you would name names. You haven't a clue. It's just more of your conjecture passed off as insider info...as if you have any.

Anonymous said...

You're still a pin head Andy.

Understanding the law better than the nincompoops on the planning commission may indeed be power. But all knowledge can be powerful. Knowing how to push the buttons of the Councilmembers can also have a bit of power. Does it make you corrupt?

I'll ask again. If he's so "all powerful" why did Brescia fail so miserably for 7 years? Why did the shopping center in Koloa end up in a Federal Court?

He's pretty smart, fairly organized and understands the system and its limits. If you confuse that with the power to do unlawful things, that's your own bone head getting you in trouble.