Thursday, August 6, 2009

PORRIDGE FOR HIS PORRIDGE BOWL

PORRIDGE FOR HIS PORRIDGE BOWL: The headline in the local paper today says it all: Council kills proposed rule changes.

But did anyone expect anything different?

As we sit here watching the unfolding debacle on the next-day airing of the meeting- another symbol of the Minotaur’s labyrinth that keeps the dark as dark as can be- as Ed Coll detailed in a letter to the editor in today’s local paper- we’re amazed that anyone thought there would be a different outcome, one we foresaw yesterday.

As Joan Conrow remarked today:

But who, really, besides the politically naïve, imagined that things would be significantly different after the recent brouhaha, or that “reform” was ever going to be an item on the Council’s agenda?

Who? We’ll certainly the formerly outraged malihini among us such as blogger Brad Parsons who wrote at his Aloha Analytics site today.

I think the public is ready to move on and hoping that Kaipo is a man of his word, per his statements to keep the agenda open to all Council members.

With all due respect, Parsons- who since he arrived here last year after years of activism on Maui and has done a great job of assimilating some of the political absurdities and Catch-22’s of Kaua`i government and informing other community members- apparently doesn’t seem to have a sense of the pent up rage that has exploded locally, not just among the north shore progressive “settler” community- as our friend Katy Rose is fond of calling them- but among the dismayed and indeed fed up local community across the island.

Because much to the contrary of the “white man’s burden” mentality of those settlers, those who know all too well the history of oppression aren’t stupid and are feeling less and less cowed and more and more pissed-off over the past couple of months now that they actually have at least two if not three members of the council willing to attest to the nudity of the emperor Asing and his sycophantic palace guard.

They’ve seen the issue plastered all over the local newspaper- where today, we’re sure, reporter extraordinaire Michael Levine did as good a job as possible in describing yesterday’s slap in the face of reform given the space he had to report it.

And while it’s likely they will be not among those who will be “lighting up” the letters to the editor page- as Parsons reported one councilmember predicted- it is likely they have long memories of the type of plantation-mentality paternalism that comes with the suppression of democracy the council majority has exhibited.

And yesterday’s actions only cemented the building rage.

As Joan said:

It brings to mind a conversation I had with a relative newcomer to the island who approached me on Tuesday saying, “Isn’t it great that the Council is going to be more open?” And that prompted me to reply, “I don’t think anything is really going to change,” to which he responded, grudgingly, “Well, maybe not, but at least it’s all out on the table.”

Perhaps the recent events will serve to more thoroughly inform some of the newbies of just how Kauai politics work, and how deeply entrenched the system is, so they can drop their dreamy-eyed vision that a) any one of them has a prayer of getting elected and b) any sort of meaningful change or progressive movement will come from that body, at least so long as the voting majority continues to elect the people they do.

The positive in all this is that not just the locals who know what the score is but Joan’s “newbies” can’t avert their gaze from which side of the labyrinth gate the remaining councilmembers are on.

Anyone who thought that Derek Kawakami or Dickie Chang were anything but hacks and shills for the Minotaur are certainly no longer so deluded. And Council minority “leader” Jay Furfaro’s reported support can’t be a bad sign although his past wavering leave any predictions about the future still in flux.

Some will wait for leadership from Tim Bynum and Lani Kawahara in maintaining the fight for democracy, open government and transparency. Others will wait for the other shoe to drop when, not if, the rights of the public and even councilmembers are trampled upon once again.

But the coals are still glowing hot and tinderbox is getting drier every day.

Though elections might seem a long way off, Joan’s dreary observations notwithstanding anyone who has the gumption to stand, sword drawn and enter the domain of the half man/half bull would be well served to start preparing for November 2010 so we can turn that 3-4 into at least a 4-3.

We’ll have more on the particulars once we have a chance to witness the debacle for ourselves but for now, if the past two weeks are any indication, the outrage and backlash against the majority is what will inform the story yet to be told and that can’t help but build after yesterday’s repudiation of the rights of the people of Kaua`i.

2 comments:

Brad said...

Andy and Joan,

I don't actually believe much has changed, but I'm giving KA the benefit of the doubt. At one point during the Council meeting yesterday KA made a statement that did seem genuine and I decided at that point to give him the benefit of the doubt and see if things really do change, particularly with regard to the openness of the Council Agenda. I also like what Derek said, time will tell, and they can always come back to evaluating the rules if things do not change. As for the level of public interest, I'm judging that on the fact that in the morning session there were only about 10 people there and most of them were there for not having The Path on Wailua Beach. After lunch only about 5 people came back for the rest of the day including the Advisory Committee and Rule Change. Five people tells me the public is tired of it for now. Keep in mind unemployment now on the island is 11% going on 12%, and will go higher in the Fall. I think that is what the people are worried about now. So Andy and Joan, I ain't no naive malihini. I've been in Hawaii for 15 years. I'm just trying to give KA the benefit of the doubt. Anyway, the real problem's not the County Council, it's the Planning Commission. Kama'aina dat.

ma·li·hi·ni

* Pronunciation: \ˌmä-li-ˈhē-nē\
* Function: noun
* Etymology: Hawaiian
* Date: 1914

: a newcomer or stranger among the people of Hawaii

Dr Freddy said...

Brad......you have not been here long enough. IF you give Chairman Asing more slack on his chain.....you will get bit. Never turn your back on a chained pitbull.

Its nice to think nice things and hopeful thoughts, but until the gang of 4 is deposed ....its more of the same......smoke and mirrors!