Friday, July 11, 2008


SNIFFIN’ IT OUT: Our childhood hero liked to say, “we all know how painful that can be.”.

And so we were polled by SMS Research Wednesday night regarding politics on Kaua`i.

Boy did they get the wrong number.

There were four candidates on their list for mayor, including the three announced candidates and Ron Kouchi, who interestingly has not only not stated whether or not he is or is not running but has not, like Jay Furfaro, said he will not announce or has not decided what his decision will be.

We asked about Bruce Pleas and the woman said “who”?

So Bruce wasn’t conducting the polls. Though they would not identify who they were polling for we did ask if it was a commercial marketing or political poll and were strangely enough told marketing.

But it wasn’t about denture-paste or armpit-sweat.

Another question was if we were a Democrat, Republican or independent. When we said “Green” we were answered with “huh?”

“Green- like the Green Party, ya know?”

“Oh, independent.”

“No, Green. If you don’t put down Green I’m gonna put down the phone.”

“OK- Green.”

They obviously didn’t- or more likely couldn’t- pay her enough to deal with us.

The obligatory age, race and length of residency questions were also asked although interestingly enough there was no income question.

Anyway they did ask about the biggest “issues” but didn’t give multiple choices and rather asked us to fill in the blanks. We were up to issue # 8 before she told us that was enough.

That open-ended issue-identifying type question sounds, from our experience, more like an internal campaign type polling call but they said they were SMS and although the call was from an “unknown number” a callback did elicit an answer identifying “SMS”.

They also asked about the 2nd Congressional District posing Maize Hirono against perennial Republican candidate Roger Evans. Now it was our chance to ask “who?”

We thought then it might have been a Republican Party sponsored poll.

But to figure out who would be polling we really have to ask who can afford one. The first-asked Hirono question could have been a ruse to disguise the nature of the poll, something marketing companies routinely do to “throw off” the call recipient.... that’s why they get the big bucks.

We have to look to the war chests. JoAnn’s got one and Ron’s got one... and that’s it. Though this year’s filings aren’t in yet both could have around $20,000 based on 2007 numbers and past performance.

Mel’s appears to be barely solvent but he’s gonna get his especially if he keeps $1000 contributions from Washington D.C. lobbying PACa like the American Resort Development Association, unlike Kouchi and Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho who returned the money... although if he keeps getting fined for filing late like he did in 2007 he’ll be $50 poorer each time.

And Bernard’s gonna get more. But for a campaign that hasn’t raised a nickel to poll now doesn’t make sense. There're yard signs and brochures to print and cash-only media buys to lock-in.

But Joann’s been collecting a tidy bundle readying for 2010 since she re-entered politics in 2002. Could she be getting cold feet? Could she see the Council leadership changing and want to grab that as a stage for a 2010 run?

Whoever’s poll it is would have had to have ordered and paid for it before Monday’s Council Chamber performance.

It would make sense that that could be why JoAnn pressured Kaipo he way she did. If he had said he would run in the special election she could have ended the meeting by saying that in deference she wouldn’t challenge him, coming out rose-smelling and in line for the chair- especially if Mel and Shaylene were going bye-bye too- and a free-TV-promoted run in 2010.

The combination of the short mayoral term and the short fuse on the present economic downturn could doom the winner in a quick turnaround election especially if the winner has run on a platform of keeping the same incompetent appointed department heads- as all seem so far to be saying they’d do.

For anyone looking to 2010, the issue of “county government incompetence” is bound to be as central an issue as it is now for many Kauaians. It could look like pretty good pickin’s for anyone looking for to a wedge issue once the blinders come off and the current post-mortem gleam of the Baptiste administration fades.

Carvalho could just be unbeatable in this atmosphere and a loss for the ambitious could pin the loser tail on any donkey who fails in ’08.

Yukimura can only run and win as the anti-Baptiste candidate. If she is skilled enough it’s possible she can do it without driving away those who worshipped Bryan but who aren’t tied to anyone who has had a full time mayoral-appointed job for the 14 years since JoAnn left the mayor’s office.

Is she polling? Nah- it was Ron. He doesn’t just have a campaign war chest, he’s got a storage locker. He just wants to see if there’s any chance at all or whether to sit tight, collect more money and let the others beat each other up and wait a short two years..


Honolulu Advertiser Capitol reporter Derrick DePledge is blogging again joining City Hall correspondent Peter Boylan at “The Notebook”. It’s a great place for the political junkie looking for background.


Doug said...

You have inserted the wrong link for DePledge's blog, and I don't see any such blog at the Advertiser to provide you the correct link.


Anonymous said...

If it's Ron he's delusional. He got smoked in 2002 by the ABR vote turnout.

Hard to believe that Carvalho could end up as the least worst candidate just like Bryan.

Anonymous said...

If it's Ron he's delusional. He got smoked in 2002 by the ABR vote turnout.

Hard to believe that Carvalho could end up as the least worst candidate just like Bryan.

Andy Parx said...

Oops- must have failed to copy it right

Derrick's blog is at

Anonymous said...

I got polled last night on Kauai. There was one tiny question about the ferry in my poll, would I support it even if all environmental issues were addressed? But it did seem like SMS was combining questions from several of their clients.