Wednesday, September 17, 2008


AND DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME: As detailed here twice recently- as well as in other Hawai`i blogs and even (gasp) to some extent in the mainstream press- it appears that vote totals this Saturday will not even be recorded much less counted at the precincts or anywhere else on the neighbor islands.

A lawsuit on Maui has been filed but judges have been consistently ruling against anything that will change this year’s un-official, official election procedures no matter how arbitrary and capricious... although the case is on appeal.

And so, as has been ubiquitously reported, one potential screwup-waiting-to-happen is that the votes will go directly via phone lines from the electronic voting equipment “cards” to the State Capitol for counting without even being recorded first, leaving room for all sorts of mischief.

But PNN has learned today that Kaua`i votes haven’t been tabulated or even recorded on island in the last 10 years and have rather been electronically transmitted to Honolulu for tabulation and first release.

In answer to PNN’s queries as to whether, as usual, the county would hand out the totals to the gaggle of reporters and campaign operatives that usually gathers at the county building on election eve, Deputy County Clerk Ernie Passion said they haven’t done the tabulations here at least since he got here in 1998.

Rather they’ve let the machines send them to Honolulu where they were electronically shipped back here and printed out for the gathered.

This doesn’t mean they ever had the required Chapter 91 Administrative Rules for the procedures, as attorney Lance Collins states in the Maui lawsuit. It just means they’ve been doing it illegally for a long time now.

Those who want to be among the very first to get the vote totals on Saturday can click here and bookmark the site. Then on Saturday around 7 p.m. you can go there and keep hitting “refresh” to get the up to the minute results.

And speaking of telling people where to go, this Saturday’s Special Mayoral Election appears to be a two way race between Bernard Carvalho ad JoAnn Yukimura for first place with Mel Rapozo trailing badly according to the PNN’s coconut-wireless totally-not-based-on-anything-but-a-hunch poll.

Our guess is that Carvalho will come in with about 40% with Yukimura coming in at about 35%, Rapozo around 20% and Rolf Bieber pulling in about 5%.

It doesn’t take a genius to see where most of the old boy support is because Carvalho’s first campaign spending report is in and he leads the cash race collecting a whopping $132 562.41 from July 8 through September 5 of which he still has $46,877. 36

And his list of contributors contains the names of virtually every Kaua`i county department head and a slew of county employees indicating that the old boys know who will put shoyu on their rice.

Click on the contributors list for an eyeful especially the fact that the identification of the people giving him money for the most part is sorely lacking... not that the others have any more details.

Carvalho has taken the Rose Garden approach so far and seemingly successfully when you look at his list of supporters which includes many Democratic Party stalwarts that supported Yukimura 20 years ago as well as the big business biggies that Ron Kouchi drew in his losing campaign against Bryan Baptiste in 2002.

With Baptiste’s Republican machine still in place and working side by side with the entrenched Democratic operatives Carvalho will be hard to beat and a low turnout Saturday could even put him over the required 50% needed to avoid the November runoff.

Yukimura’s report indicates the campaign is struggling financially but has received a boost in recent days and weeks as more and more local grassroots and community organizations have endorsed her.

The question is if she can turn out the vote,, especially the “I’m not voting for any of those creeps” crowd.

Her spurt has seemingly whip-sawed her past Rapozo as many of her disappointed old friends and supporters found nowhere else to go if they hope to dislodge denizens of the recesses of the county-insiders’ bunker.

But she is in serious money trouble if she keeps Carvalho under a majority with a slightly negative case flow after somehow spending $73,616.65 already.

Yukimura’s list of contributors from 7/17- 9/5 – like Carvalho’s and Rapozo’s 7/16- 9/4 list have a dearth of the required employer and industry information the campaign filing laws require if possible.

But for those who recognize the names the trends are pretty indicative of Rapozo and Carvalho’s old boy network support vs. Yukimura’s comparatively grassroots support

The bright spot money-wise for Yukimura might be that the listed donations were received before the Sept. 4 filing deadline which preceded many of the endorsements from the likes of the Sierra Club, the Kaua`i Museletter and even surprisingly enough PNN. And many of her contributors have not “maxed out” at the $2000 limit as many of Carvalho’s developer,. government and real estate contributors.

As to Rapozo’s filing Rapozo he’s sitting flush having collected 67,106.45 with 27,460.24 in cash left.

The question is, what is he saving it for.

He’s been hurt by various factors including the Yukimura surge and the publication of the book KPD Blue where voters were reminded- or in some cases first informed- of his involvement in the infamous “lap dancing at the station house” incident in 1995 which led to Rapozo’s ousting from the Kaua`i Police Department.

As a frequent administration critic Rapozo has relied on his image as a fighter and crusader to clean up county government and this strikes at his core. It’s what has distinguished him from both Carvalho who IS the embodiment of the Batiste reign and Yukimura whose compromising “no talk stink” persona has emerged in her six-year-council-seat stint and political comeback after being ousted from the mayor’s seat in 1994.

But when all is said and done Rapozo probably lost the election with his high profile blogging fight against the “dog path”.

By the time he came to his senses and stopped his blog not only had he lost votes but, because Carvalho was the administration official who actually banned the dogs on the bike path, the hurt was doubled because all his votes went to Yukimura who was careful not to get too involved in the issue too much except in her typical “make everyone happy” manner.

For many dog enthusiasts this is a one issue election now and they didn’t just turn to Yukimura but did so, well, enthusiastically.

And in the final analysis since Rapozo and Yukimura are essentially sharing the anti Baptiste/anti-Carvalho vote, JoAnn is picking up virtually every vote he loses. That may even be enough to push her into a virtual tie with Carvalho assuming Rapozo’s support is, as it appears, in free fall.

We urge anyone undecided to click on and check out the list of contributors for each candidate if you want to know who the candidate “represents”. It’s far more informative than things like the local newspaper’s regurgitation of old articles, fluff questions, useless information and splashy advertising that tried to pass itself off as an voters’ election guide this past Sunday.

All in all it’s been quite a boring race with all four candidates’ platitudes and stump-rhetoric replacing hard stands on the issue. That and a distinct lack of the usual sign-stealing charges smear campaigns and the like is disappointing to any political junkie.

But if it turns out as we predict there should be a pretty good two-way race to November 4.

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