Sunday, July 26, 2009

SUNDAY FIRST PERSON SPECIAL

SUNDAY FIRST PERSON SPECIAL: On Thursday Joan Conrow’s post about Wednesday’s Council meeting spurred a comment about Kaipo Asing really hit home.

It came from a self described “locally born and raised, and part Hawaiian” person, signed Miliaulani and mirrors what, though unsaid in this space, must be said in all this.

With all the talk about Minotaurs and Captain Queeg it’s important to set the record straight. Posted below are both Miliaulani’s tome and a response that needs the light of day.

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Miliaulani wrote

Locally born and raised, and part Hawaiian like Kaipo, I have voted consistently for this man for as long as he has been running for office. What I admired about him for many years was the one-man campaign he ran, keeping his spending to a minimum, his integrity unable to be bought. I don't understand what happened along the way, but I do believe the very qualities I admired over the years must still be a part of who this man is. There is no doubt of his love for Kauai and his desire to preserve the specialness of this place, but he has made some obvious missteps. If anything, he needs to be open to new ides, new ways of doing things. Just because things were done the same way for the last 26 years, doesn't means it cannot be improved upon. If other councilmembers are having difficulties with the processes, than it behooves him to listen and implement change that is beneficial to all concerned.

I voted for Lani and want her to be able to do her job just as effectively as Kaipo. She is young with fresh ideas and she is helping to bring County government into this new age of technology. Kaipo should support that and be willing to change with the times. If not, perhaps it is time for him to step down. He has done many good things for Kauai and we owe him gratitude for his years of service, however, perhaps it is time for a change.

I support Lani and Tim's desire for a change in the way the council runs their business. Lani openly admitted that she was somewhat intimidated by Kaipo and so she communicated via written correspondence. Nothing wrong with that and I admire her for saying as much publicly. Being the only woman on the council makes it even more intimidating, especially when both Kaipo and Darryl have talked down to her in a patronizing way in the past. Lani does not deserve that. She is green yes, so the responsibility lies with the seasoned councilmembers to assist in any way possible to help her to do her job, if they are truly 'ohana as Jay said.

Miliaulani

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Andy Parx wrote

Most of us feel the same way Miliaulani. We voted for Kaipo the first time he ran and every two year since (except the year he ran for Mayor). We even “plunked” many times, voting only for him.

That ended for me two elections ago.

He was our hero, fighting against uncontrolled development and administration incompetence. In many ways, he still does.

But he was never really one buck the system and so learned how to work within it even if he wound up on the losing end of 6-1 votes- or 5-2 or 4-3 when he had an ally or two- for decades . No one doubts he still does what he thinks is “best for the community”.

Unfortunately the political system he learned and under which he now leads was built on secrecy and the back room deals of mostly bad people who not so coincidentally had, for the most part, their own personal and financial interests at heart.

Apparently he feels that since he has the best interest of we average, local, working-class people at heart, the methods that worked then to hurt the people can be used to help them- the ends justifying the means.

He’s 73 years old and isn’t going to change how he does business now. He justifies it by thinking he has our best interest at heart- and maybe he does.

But that isn’t enough.

Kaipo will tell anyone who listens- especially new councilpersons- that the key to success is to not “rock the boat” and whatever he has to do to make thing come out “right” is ok, even if he has to violate the spirit- or even the letter- of the rules and laws that provide for transparency and open government.

It’s very sad for those of us who love him.

Time was when there was both a beneficent and a greedy “plantation style” of governing. Both were paternalistic because that was the way everyone operated. But the era of the magnanimous luna are gone, supplanted in large part by the grassroots democracy that fingertip availability of information provides us.

It’s kind of the political equivalent of what happened when the printing press let people read the bible for themselves. We can all read all the documents and reports and get answers to questions directly from the source... we don’t need an intermediary to do that for us anymore.

Kaipo, by remaining the same while times have changed, has become an unacceptable relic of an age when paternalistic “I know best” governance was simply how one led and it was only a matter of “good” people and “bad” people using it to exercise power that mattered.

Kaipo fails to see it is the paternalism itself is the problem. We no longer need or want to have to rely on the vagaries of hoping people will act in our interest.

He thinks that if he has to bend a few rules and even disregard few laws it’s ok because he is talking care of us.

Kaipo was my “hero” on the council for many years and he certainly thinks he is dong the best thing for us all. It’s very sad for all of us, but we can’t stand by and let this happen- we’ve done it for too long because we had no voice on the council, with the exception of when Gary Hooser was there.

Gary didn’t have a “second” but now we have elected two councilpersons who are willing to say the emperor is naked. We need to support them and see to it that Kaipo keeps his promise that this will be his last year of service.

Were this 1976, I’m sure he’d feel the same way.

2 comments:

Brad said...

Glad you highlighted it, Andy. Miliaulani's comments were the best I have seen yet on this subject. One of the Councilmembers involved in this also thought so. Would make a nice letter to the editor of TGI if Miliaulani should see the comments to her comments.

Ace Harbinger said...

"...perhaps it is time for him to step down...perhaps it is time for a change..."

Perhaps we shouldn't hold our breath on this one. I suspect Kaipo and his cronies will simply wait out his term.

Do the math. It's still 5-2.

- A.H.