Tuesday, August 24, 2010


WHY WOULD YOU?: While Will Rogers said he never met a man he didn’t like, in a political sense he might have meant that he never met a man he didn’t agree with- at least once.

So like the pre-digital broken clock that’s right twice a day we weren’t surprised when the now infamous email from Ed Case showed up in our inbox (apparently he got hold of a Maui Superferry list a while back) calling Mufi Hannemann the “most dangerous politician in a generation” and the “clear choice of a political machine (which has) practiced the politics of division, exploiting rather than healing differences of race, origin and economic status”.

Case himself has been turning stomachs for his own Mufi-like outsized ego for years now but we couldn’t have put it more succinctly.

But what it reminds us is just how few candidates there are this year that we can actually consider voting for much less endorsing.

Our ruminations over the past few weeks have left us with the worst taste in our mouth in years when we look down the list of wannbes whether for our local Kaua`i County Council race, our state senate and two of the three house races or the statewide races- not to mention the U.S. congressional choices.

With the exception of Gary Hooser in his race for Lt. Governor and Mina Morita’s run for re-election to the state house we can’t think of any candidates to actually vote “for” while the list of those to vote “against” is extensive.

It’s particularly disappointing when someone like Councilperson Lani Kawahara gives up on politics after one term because of the personal toll of dealing with the slings and arrows of elected office. It sends a signal to those considering throwing their hat in the ring to, as the large letter above the steep steps at the entrance to the county building equivocally say, “Watch Your Step”.

Maybe it should say “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here”

With voters’ “gimme-gimme-gimme services but don’t tax me and while you’re at it pay yourself a pittance” attitude toward those we expect to solve all our problems it’s no wonder we’re stuck with the traditional “lesser of two evils” after creating an enclave where only the evil dare to tread.


vegreef said...

Thirty years ago when I was a grad student I was horrified to learn that about 160 years ago, the U.S. Congress quadrupled its members' salary. The stated reason was to combat corruption ( ie: if they got paid a lot more, they wouldn't be so tempted to sell/trade their votes.) So cynical, I thought.
Older and wiser now, I see that was probably necessary and and realistic.

Similarly, today's Kauai council members sign on for a supposedly part time job for something like 35K (more or less) per yer. In reality, the job is full time and would command a salary north of 100k in the open market. No wonder more talented people don't run. I know several people who would love to run, but are unwilling to make that kind of of money. Factor in the added drag of a large chunk of G.I. and blogosphere commenters willing to publicly defame and personally thrash any politician whenever s/he votes the "wrong" way, and it really limits the pool of potential candidates.
For most, the shit that these pols take just isn't worth the power they get, especially with the weak salary they draw, thus limiting the candidates to the truly power-hungry (they very types who should not be in power) and the very rare do-gooder (who rarely lasts ... Gary H. or L.K. for example).

Andy Parx said...

Actually vegreef, with recent raises the current council salary is now $58,000/yr. That may be enough for a single person but assuming one has a family it means that a second job is still necessary. But at that level with just a little bit more it could made “full time” with no outside employment permitted, allowing for much stricter conflict of interest provisions.

Right now in actual workload it’s by no means a “part time” job and it takes an “understanding boss” to be able to work a full time job along with council work. That usually translates into employment where having a councilperson working for you is, in and of itself, a benefit. That explains why so many legislators (state lege too) work as “consultants” where they may do little or no work at all but their position pays off for the employer.

Factchecker said...

Yeah, why would you?

Hey Andy, check out the donors on the two links below. There is an additional story here to be written. Some of the donors MAY BE HHH funds recipients:

Brian Schatz was Democrat State Party Chair from May 2008 through Dec. 2009.

During the first half of 2009, Schatz raised for his personal campaign committee $91,250.00 https://nc.csc.hawaii.gov/Report/Public/20090731105622CC10522SA.html
During the second half of 2009, Schatz raised for his personal campaign committee $118,708.72 https://nc.csc.hawaii.gov/Report/Public/20100119123925CC10522SA.html
That is a total of $209,958.72 in 2009 Schatz raised for his personal campaign committee while the State Party Chairman and before formally declaring his Lt. Governor candidacy. In the first half of 2010, Schatz raised an additional $160,181.26 for his personal campaign after resigning the State Party Chair.

The Democratic Party of Hawaii started 2008 with $26,973.47 cash on hand. Schatz took over in May 2008. By Sept 5, 2008, the Party had $68,211.20 cash on hand.

From the State Party Convention in May, 2008 – Sept. 5, 2008, the Party took in $65,402.00 in contributions. From Sept. 6, 2008 – Sept. 20, 2008, the Party took in $6,660.00 in contributions. From September 21 – October 20, 2008, the Party took in $8,155.07 in contributions. From October 21 – November 4, 2008, the Party took in $10,544.00 in contributions. From November 5 – December 31, 2008, the Party took in $14,596.36 in contributions. That is a total of $105,357.43 the Party took in during 2008 under Schatz’s Chairmanship.

During the first half of 2009, the Party took in $48,579.00 in contributions. https://nc.csc.hawaii.gov/NCFSReport/Public/20090731232236NC20037SA.html
During the second half of 2009, the Party took in $38,283.00 in contributions. https://nc.csc.hawaii.gov/NCFSReport/RPT2010/20100804085223NC20037SA.html
That is a total of $86,862 the Party took in during all of 2009 under the rest of Schatz’s Chairmanship.

Schatz oversaw a total of $192,219.43 raised for the Party during his Chairmanship. At the end of Schatz’s Chairmanship, the Party had $15,082.34 cash on hand.
At the same time, Schatz raised a total of $209,958.72 in 2009 alone for his personal campaign committee (an undeclared candidacy) during his Chairmanship of the State Party, more than twice what the Party raised during the same period under Schatz’s direction.

Schatz was on a PERSONAL mission in 2009. It should be clear where Schatz’s priorities lie.

Wondering said...


Was also wondering. The donors to Brian in 2009, a lot of them are for $1000 or more and are generally not the type of donors who would just blindly give to an undeclared candidate. It begs the question, did they understand they were giving to the campaign committee of an individual, or were they under the mistaken impression that they were giving to the State Democratic Party? What did the promotional material look like that they were mailed asking for their contribution? Was that material clear that it was a contribution for an individual, or were there pictures and wording such that it could have been misunderstood to be a solicitation for the State Democratic Party?

Just wondering.