Thursday, June 26, 2008


A DAY AT THE DOG RACES: With the death of Snow White, the Seven Dwarves of the Kaua`i County Council posturings now outwardly resemble Alphonse and Gaston while in their hearts they plot to succeed the sovereign.

And it seems the play’s the thing in which they’ll capture the crown of the king.

Tragedy or comedy it’s bound to entertain.

The tidbits we got from the paper today include these

Yukimura, who served as mayor from 1988 to 1994, said she agrees the decision should not be rushed.

Bynum said whomever is selected to fill in the interim should allow the mayor’s initiatives currently in the works to proceed and avoid using the position to make dramatic changes.

Iseri-Carvalho, who is running for county prosecutor, has said Asing has seniority and is well-qualified to serve as mayor.

Rapozo has told media outlets that he supports Asing for the job, but is interested in the position if the chair does not want it.

So what does that tell us? That we were probably on the right track in our Tuesday analysis. The fact that JoAnn wants to wait shows she has the ambition but not the votes. She needs time to allow some things to play out and alliances to shift.

Right now they’re all awaiting for Kaipo Asing to pull the trigger or get off the throne. They all have to show deference even though they don’t really have any, like Iseri intimates. Kaipo “ain’t saying” because he wants to be the king maker not the king and more important for him, he wants a done deal more than he wants anyone specific.

That could be JoAnn whom he would probably love to get rid of on the Council because of the exasperatingly long winded and tedious way she has them all looking at their watches as she chops hash, makes hash and rehashes again every point of minutia grilling administration officials and then letting them off the hook. Her rambling “thinking aloud” can make anyone yearn to watch actual sausage-making.

And she knows she doesn’t have the votes now but needs to have the two-two-two alliances we described Tuesday to shift or crumble.

Mel is on the mainland now and returning soon and he doesn’t want to play Hamlet and get home to find out Uncle Kaipo became King already. But no Dane is he because it isn’t revenge he seeks but the crown itself.

Rapozo most likely doesn’t know Asing will say no, or at least doesn’t know for sure but wants to hurry the process and line himself up as the one who wants it most if not deserves it. The current set up favors him if a speedy resolution is in the stars, Horatio.

Bynum isn’t smart enough to be anything but transparent and has always seen himself as the heir apparent- although perhaps not so soon- and has shown it in his persistent support for Batiste regardless of the advisability of the proposal or policy, having ridden Baptiste’s coattails into office in the first place. His vote is first for Kaipo, next for himself and next for whomever tricks him into giving it to them.

With the Shay-Mel and JoAnn-Jay coalitions the tightest alliances the most likely peelable votes are from the Kaipo and Ron partnership, because respect for having done the job of chair is their strongest bond.... and that’s really nothing.

But we can’t forget the bond of hatred. The two of them are the two dominant opposing forces in politics over the last 25 years. Kaipo was the “1” in al those 6-1 votes against all the development Ron-guys crammed through the Council in the 80’s and 90’s.. But just the same they’ll most likely vote the same... if not together.

Another reason Yukimura wants to wait is that she probably thinks that her biggest ally for the last 25 years, Asing, would give her his vote if she asked for it.. Even though she might not be right, in her mind it’s too soon to show her ambition and possibly embarrass Asing or put him on the spot to the point where he will support someone else.

But the big question is how incumbency will help in November and it is really not as clear as most would think. It depends on how hard the succession fight is. If it gets down to using strong-arms and paybacks to pry and peel off votes from coalitions the new mayor will no doubt be getting a televised mouthful of “why haven’t you done- here’s what I would have done” Council meeting programming... round the clock.

And, the temp Mayor won’t be there to defend him or herself. Starting an administration and immediately running for re-election could be a recipe for being jobless on December 1.

Jay Furfaro might have it if he wants it... eventually. He also needs things to evolve because he needs to be seen as a compromise candidate or it will seem like they all agree he’s the best- perhaps the only- administrator among them. If that’s the public perception no one will be able to come back and challenge him in November...or maybe for another 10 years

That could be another reason his “ally” JoAnn wants to wait. If she is seen to be “forced” to vote for him she could come back to back-stab him by opposing him in the fall. She also remembers his years as a Republican Party stalwart.

If it happens fast and as an Asing-brokered done deal and Mel wants it more and doesn’t piss-off or embarrass anyone by begging for it too hard he could probably have it... assuming no one wants to be seen fighting for it that hard.

He’s taken the first step by being the first to publicly declare. Now any challenge is a challenge to him.

But if they don’t want to give Jay the deadly advantage of an incumbency and competency combination and Mel doesn’t grab the ring on the first go around, you just might see the rise of Tim Bynum whom they think could never win in November, if for no other reason than that it’s doubtful Kaua`i would elect a “s-f haole” mayor.

No one expected a mayoral election this year so everyone’s regular plans are being changed in a wink. That means that as each person’s thinking evolves they need to remember that the thinking of the others is in flux too.

Given the sunshine law and established Office of Information Practices (OIP) recommended policy it should be an extremely entertaining summer.

Though there is what OIP calls a “loophole” to allow closed organizational meetings for selection of leadership positions among “councilpersons-elects” who haven’t officially taken office, the OIP “strongly recommends” open meetings in those situations and certainly doesn’t exempt selecting a replacement Mayor from open meeting requirements, a situation which is certainly not specifically listed in the eight exemptions in HRS 92-5(a)

But given the utter disregard for the sunshine law the Kaua`i Council is famous for watch for that Asing brokered done deal to come sooner rather than later.

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