Tuesday, July 8, 2008


BREAKING FROM THE PACK: Scorecard, getcha scorecard here.

Like the story of the various blind men describing an elephant based on which part they fondled we’re trying to make sense of the various reports both verbal and in print coming out of yesterday’s mayoral selection Council meeting and aftermath.

For the ultimate eye witness account - your own- tune into Channel 53 at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

First off, it’s no clearer what Asing’s precise job is today but according to the local newspaper we might glean that the reason Deputy County Attorney Harrison Kawate rarely offers an opinion is that he apparently doesn’t bother to consult the Charter when he does give one.

Nathan Eagle’s report on the meeting in the local paper tells us:

In response to a question from Councilman Jay Furfaro on when this clock starts, Deputy County Attorney Harrison Kawate said the general rule is that the vacancy is created upon resignation.

The individual picked to serve as interim mayor remains a council member until resignation. The appointed person becomes mayor after being sworn into office, Kawate said.

Gee- I knew there was a reason to have a lawyer present... so he can give you a “general rule” without bothering to look at the law books and get the correct information.

Despite Eagle’s misleading and unattributed statement that “(t)he charter is silent on when, or if, the appointed interim mayor must resign from the council” that may be because there is no resigning to be done under the special circumstances described in the Charter we described yesterday.

The Charter does plainly make clear that the person selected by the council becomes mayor at the time of selection, causing the former temporary mayor to be relieved of duties and creating a vacancy on the council as well as starting the 30 day clock to pick a successor.

When read in light of state law banning anyone from holding two elective offices at once it is clear that when Asing was “selected” Mayor he ceased being a Council member at that point in time, not at his convenience.

But on to the important stuff- silly season is apparently here. And if yesterday’s meeting was any indication the parrying this election could get pretty nasty.

In a paranoiac display of what can only be called a perplexing flexing of political muscular naiveté from an astute political veteran.

Without even bothering to find out that Asing had already filed his papers on July 1 (after Baptiste’s June 22 death) to run for Council again, Councilperson JoAnn Yukimura started off the proceedings by trying to get all of the Councilmembers to state their intentions as to whether they would run for Mayor in the special election before they selected a “temporary” mayor... although most observers agree that her remarks were directed to Asing.

Her intended haymaker missed it’s mark so badly that even Asing said he was insulted and caused the tag-team Katzenjammer kids, Mel Rapozo and Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, to score a roundhouse knockdown by feigning shock and dismay that she would- gasp- resort to politics in the middle of the most politically imbued council meeting in memory..

Tom Finnegan’s description in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin was probably the best.

"My intention is to run for election," Yukimura said before the Council vote, then pressed Asing to clarify his intentions regarding the office.

"I feel it would be inappropriate" to take the interim mayor job "in the interest of fairness," she said, suggesting that the same should hold true for Asing.

Asing immediately took offense.

"It's almost like my integrity is at stake," Asing said. "I'm not pleased at the question you have posed. ... It's not really fair."

And he received support from a number of councilmembers.

"To require the elimination of competition ... is self-serving and unjust," said Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho. The voters "deserve an option," she said.

Rapozo, who announced his mayoral candidacy after the meeting, called Yukimura's move "selfish" and said that the best-qualified member should be picked, regardless of political aspirations.

Asing filed papers for re-election to the Council July 1, the day the agenda for yesterday's special meeting was announced.

Yukimura, visibly upset, offered an apology to Asing.

"It was never my intention to call any question on your integrity ... (or) to stop you from running for any office," she said.

Eagle’s account is worth a read too

Yukimura, who was mayor during Hurricane ‘Iniki, said she supported Asing for interim mayor with the understanding that he would not be running in the special election.

“The public and everyone needs to know your intention,” she said.

But she backed down from her stance after receiving sharp criticism from other council members.

Iseri-Carvalho called Yukimura’s question “self-serving and unjust” and said the council should pick the member most qualified to serve as mayor regardless of future political aspirations.

“It’s almost like my integrity is at stake,” Asing said.Knowing he was a front-runner for the interim mayor appointment and could seek election to that job in November, Asing said he still decided to file his nomination papers on July 1 to run one last time for a council seat.

“I feel if I got elected I would have served the community well and that was my goal,” he said. “I’m going to leave it there. You make your judgment or interpretation. I feel that is fair and that is just and I feel a little uneasy that I was put in that position of making that kind of statement to all of you here on the table and all of you in the community.”

Yukimura offered her apologies to Asing, the council and the public.

“I was trying to show that we need to follow certain guidelines and it was never my intention to call into question your integrity,” she told the chair. “And it was never my intention to try to stop you from running for any office that you desire.”

This all begs questions only the most politically sophisticated sophist could pose- “Are you frickin’ insane JoAnn? Do you think we were holding a contest for biggest babooze?”

The phrase “what were you thinking?” doesn’t do justice to Yukimura’s gaffe. She couldn’t wait five minutes to get an idea of where Asing stood. And worse she apparently did it without bothering to check with the office across the hall from hers to see that Asing had filed his papers to run for Council after knowing about the mayoral vacancy. Of course if she did know then we’re back to “then what were you thinking?” times two.

Of course she might have loosened her champ on the bit a little if she had consulted local political observers who for the most part agreed with our oft stated assessment that the most likely scenario was the one that was actualized in Asing aspiring to nothing more than a caretaker, fill-in role at the Round Building, clearing the way for her to run cleanly with no incumbent- as she wanted and would have found out was true very soon.

The most amazing part of her blunder was that she knows Asing as well as anyone and shouldn’t have had to be told by flunkies like us to lay back for a few minutes and see what developed before gnawing on her tootsies.

And she might have also remembered that previous to this year Asing has always filed his papers to run on the very last day of the filing period making his submission a transparent signaling of the very intention she was questioning... something we admittedly should have checked along with the fact that eight people have already filed for the seven-seat Council race as Eagle reported.

As far as who will replace Asing, as we predicted the first name to come up was that of former councilperson Darryl Kaneshiro. As Eagle reports:

But in an interview with reporters afterward, Rapozo said Daryl Kaneshiro, a former council member who nearly won another term last election, would be an appropriate person to fill the vacancy.

Kaneshiro could not be reached for comment at press time.

There is a learning curve to serving on the council, Rapozo said, so it would make sense to have the interim member be someone with previous experience.

Ah Mel, you might not want to use the unpopular “KIUC dodge” just when your decision-making skills and judgment is about to come under scrutiny.

And in case you missed it, although other accounts speculated Big Bernard Carvalho would announce today (with one even quoting his father), Finnegan confirmed that as most thought, it will be at least a three way race with Yukimura, Rapozo and Carvalho vying to be one of two that will be going on to a November 4 election unless someone gets a majority in the September 20 preliminaries.

As to fourth, fifth or for that matter twentieth participant, according to Diana Leone’s report in the Honolulu Advertiser

Councilmen Ron Kouchi and Tim Bynum said they have no interest in the mayor's job. Councilman Jay Furfaro, who has filed to run again for council, wouldn't say yesterday whether he'd consider a bid for mayor.

As we said would probably happen, in deference to Carvalho, Bynum has folded his cards as has Kouchi because he wasn’t in a good financial or political position. But it is a little remarkable that Furfaro would not rule a run out... or in.

Assuming Jay says no, one thing to remember in trying to see who’s sitting in the pole position is the surprise nature of the election. It’s not only causing a readjustment of thinking on the part of the electorate and the candidate but a kafuffle as to who has the political machine in place to pull it off.

That person by far would be Carvalho who as Baptiste’s former campaign director inherits Bryan’s lists and political operatives at the ready and steps right into an underrated apparatus that hasn’t gone anywhere since ‘06.

And after reuniting Sunday at the wake they probably won’t have do much time-consuming recruiting and coordinating to start in on strategies, tactics and political planning.

The one problem for Carvalho is that presumably he might have still had an administration job come December if he didn’t enter the race and now will most assuredly not be re-appointed by an opponent should he lose.

Yukimura still has the local Democratic Party machine in place but it may be a shadow of what it was years ago with an aging core and the lack of vitality and visibility that non-partisan elections have caused the party.

And although she did minimally campaign to win back her Council seat the reason she lost the 1994 election after winning in ‘88 and ‘90 was that her supporters didn’t really take the challenge of the late Jimmy Tehada seriously enough.

She won’t let them make that mistake this time if she can find them quickly enough or if they haven’t abandoned her after her perceived switch from committed progressive advocate to Steve Covey addled political apparatchik.

Does she have the team? She was surely gearing up for the 2010 campaign but pulling all the pieces together for her won’t be anywhere near as easy as it will be for Carvalho who also has long time name recognition among long time kama`aina from his football hero days.

Rapozo? Don’t expect him to have much together on his own but do expect Sister Shay to trim the sails and lend a hand. Her organizing in her first election was stunning for a newcomer and look for them to be doing a lot of campaigning together as September 20 nears.

One important aspect may the “horseshoes/hand grenades” factor- close is good enough as long as you’re second. And under that scenario, with Carvalho in the lead it might set up a vicious battle between Rapozo and Yukimura battle to see who, battered and bruised, torn and tattered, faces off with Carvalho on November 4.

As our friend Joan said before it was apparent Asing was out of the race,

(Asing) has a lot less baggage than JoAnn, who provokes deep loathing in many people, and Mel, who has the Fanta-See Express scandal lurking in his closet.

The same could be said of Bernard.

Will this be the election that breaks all the local “no talk stink” rules? We can only hope.


Our report mentioning Council candidate Christobel Kealoha having lived off island for years was in error due to an error in the article upon which we, in part, based our report. The local paper said today

A Sunday article on page A3 entitled “Kealoha enters council race” should state that Christobel Kealoha, a Kaua‘i County Council candidate, spent the last 20 years of her career with the state Attorney General’s Office working for child protective services on Kaua‘i.

We regret basing on our information on an erroneous report.


Anonymous said...

FSM help us.

Lap Dance Larry, Mayor Moonbeam or Baptiste Mark II.

Is this really the best we can do? Run Jay Run. Or will any of the State House/Senate crowd take a shot?

Anonymous said...

john hoff where are you?

Anonymous said...

john hoff where are you?

Anonymous said...

John Hoff?

I'd prefer Bob the Can Man.

Anonymous said...

Bernard makes Baptiste look like a Rhodes scholar. JoAnn is WAY past her prime and completely out of touch. And Mel is a disgraced cop who reminds me way too much of the "Great Decider:" Don't bother me with the facts, I made up my mind already.

We're screwed. Our only hope is that someone like Bruce Pleas steps up and runs for council. With no money or party support, this is his best shot for elected office with three seats open. Run Bruce run!