Wednesday, July 9, 2008


GET A MUZZLE: After hearing and reading about and getting rather rabid over Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura’s politically suicidal meltdown during Monday’s special Council meeting to select a new Mayor we heard from someone who said maybe we- and the press- had it all wrong and unfairly portrayed the drama.

But after watching the meeting on TV it was perhaps more astonishing than reported because Yukimura had an opportunity for an “out” but persevered to clarify her self-serving insistence that Asing “declare (his) intentions” and pledge not to challenge her in the upcoming election.

After watching Yukimura’s first statement to open the post-public testimony part of the meeting we were thinking that maybe our friend was right.

She started out by reading an announcement of her own candidacy for the mayoral special election and actually stated that she herself would not be in the running for the temporary slot saying “it would be inappropriate” and would give her an advantage.

So far no problem. But then she went on to raise some eyebrows by saying “It’s about fairness in not giving any candidate in the special election an advantage.”.

Well still it could be interpreted as referring to her decision although it was getting close to the line of trying to set that standard for all.

Then she ended with a seemingly separate statement saying “I do want to encourage you Mr. Chair to consider the appointment.”.

Well if one wanted to be chartable you could look at it as two statements, one of which could be seen as a proclamation of her intent to run in the election and the other saying that rather than try to take an unfair advantage of incumbency she would support Council Chair Kaipo Asing for the five month temporary stint- leaving intimated but not stated that maybe he should consider not running in the election after taking the empty mayor’s job.

Then there was some discussion among councilmembers about whether others should choose one or the other-selection or election- but not both. Tim Bynum supported JoAnn’s thoughts but Mel Rapozo, Ron Kouchi and Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho said they disagreed with JoAnn saying essentially that everyone should be free to do either, both or neither depending on their aspirations. They all supported Asing’s selection in the upcoming vote.

At that point it was an issue on the table but far from being contentious it was a civil discussion on a real and politically core question of whether it would be “fair” to be temporary mayor and at the same time run in the election for the two year term.

We were beginning to wonder- did the press play this up too much- where was all the vexing and venom? Did the papers try to play it as a battle royal and somehow force Yukimura to apologize for something that could be seen as having been taken out of context- something she never meant?

But never underestimate Yukimura’s most persistently cited character trait- her inability to put the kibosh on the piehole and shut her yap.

So then came the words that perhaps doomed her campaign even before they stopped echoing in the Council chambers.

Looking directly at Asing and saying she would support him for the fill-in slot, in adamant and no uncertain terms she said “I will be voting with the understanding that you will not be running in the special election. We need to know what your intentions are.”

That was the opening Mel “the humble servant” Rapozo needed and he won the political play of the day award by “defending” Asing from Yukimura’s attack calling it “unfair” and “pretty selfish” and saying to Asing “I would encourage you not to answer the question”, convincingly espousing “shock, shock” that at a table of seven politicians choosing which one would move on to higher office that someone would stoop to playing politics.

We’re flabbergasted too....that someone like Mel could pull it off without himself and everyone else doubled over in laughter.

From there Yukimura once again compounded the blunder and again tried to defend herself by saying she had asked his intent “only out of a guideline of fairness I thought was appropriate”. begging the question that crystallized the situation- “fair to who? You?”.

Then Asing, speaking on the subject for the first time, either feeling or feigning a deep personal wound, gave a humble “et tu Brute” inspired speech saying things like “it’s almost like my integrity is at stake” and that it was “not fair to ask me to answer a question like that”.

He then went on to say he had already decided to run “one more time” for council before Bryan Baptiste’s death and saying to Yukimura in essence what we said yesterday- if she had waited to hear what he had to say or bothered to ask the clerk she’d know he had already filed his papers to run for Council again- and filed them after the Mayor’s death.

That brought a slew of comments including some tactful yet scathing attacks from Rapozo and tactless yet more personal and effective wounds from surrogate Iseri who really lit into her long time nemesis.

There was a reason Yukimura was described in the press as “viably upset” by the developments.

She “apologized” replete with emotionally-tinged long pauses every few words trying to find the words to apologize while even still combatively protesting that she “was trying to (long pause) show that (long pause) we need to follow (long pause) certain guidelines”, going on to say it was not her “intention to question (Asing’s) integrity” and that “it was not my intention to stop you from running for any office”

Some apology. I’m sorry, I didn’t intend to have this blow up in my face like an exploding cigar.

A couple of other notes. According to Iseri, Rapozo has also filed papers to run for council although presumably that was done before Baptiste’s death. Can you change your filing and run for mayor instead? We’ll be trying to find out.

And on the subject of the dual offices for Asing we described yesterday, one member of the public did bring up the plain meaning and words of the Charter indicating that, the person “selected” by the council becomes mayor at the moment the vote concludes and that the vote caused a vacancy on the Council as well as the mayoral slot.

However that was ignored, as are most things that question either the propriety or authority of Asing and “his” Council. Asing refused to recall the County Attorney to discuss the actual law, not just what “general practice” called for as the CA had previously based his analysis.

That’s galling to many especially given that this process was anything but routine and it’s described quite clearly in the Charter- which one would think trumps “general practice”

Why should we be surprised these day when administrators consider constitutions- whether federal, state or local- to be of use only in a “we ran out of toilet paper” emergency. Now that Kaipo is a true administration head his years of ignoring our county’s constitutional “Charter” as the “administrator” of the council have prepared him well for his new assignment- should he chose to accept it. This county will self destruct in 10 seconds

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