Friday, September 19, 2008


(Coming this weekend- Chapters 6 and 7 of KPD Blue)

STILL IN THE DOG HOUSE?: Our prognosticating post on Wednesday has kicked up a hornets nest of disagreement and more importantly uncovered a constituency we might have ignored.

We said

(T)his 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%....

Yukimura... 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 in talking to folks since then we realize now we forgot one essential factor- among the “I’m not voting for any of those creeps” crowd there is a significant “especially JoAnn” constituency.

As always, history is an important indicator of how thing will probably go tomorrow.

In 2002 Ron Kouchi and Bryan Baptiste squared off for mayor. Kouchi had been much reviled by many for years for having never met development he didn’t like, especially hotels and resorts.

And he had been on and later in charge of the council when it was busy approving most of the re-zonings that are now the bane of residents as they are constructed all a once without the infrastructure to support them.

But in ’02 Kouchi not only admitted he had done all this but claimed to be a reborn smart growth and controlled development advocate. His “mea culpa” pulled in many of those who had despised him for years and in fact he depended on their votes.

Kouchi courted them using slow-growth slogans stolen directly from ex-mayor Yukimura’s 1988 campaign when she trounced the establishment pro-development Mayor “Uncle” Tony Kunimura during the campaign that malahini- who didn’t know the candidates and history- referred to as the “vote for the ‘-imura’ of your choice” election.

Baptiste ran a lackluster campaign on ’02 and had hardly a word to say on any of the issues, preferring to run a “he’s one of us” campaign with his “leadership from the heart” slogan... an axiom completed by many with “only because he doesn’t have a brain”..

With a growing “settler” constituency who would vote based on the issues rather than community ties Kouchi seemed to be headed for a victory with his new-found, almost religious, conversion

But he- and we- forgot about the “there is no way in hell I’d ever vote for Ron Kouchi” vote.

We kept hearing it throughout the campaign from those who remembered all too well the literally hundreds of 6-1 council votes with Kouchi and the old boys (and a girl or two along the way) pushing through any project that came before them leaving poor Kaipo Asing in a minority of one in almost every vote.

But we didn’t believe it. Surely they would come to their senses since Bryan was such a obnoxious boob, recent eulogies notwithstanding. (What? Too soon?)

But of course Ron didn’t win and, well, guess what? We’re hearing the same about JoAnn.

Though you would think that with her endorsements and the way Rapozo’s stock has fallen recently she was going to pick up enough votes for second place and a place in the November runoff .

But her negatives, like Kouchi’s, may just be too high.

Many still remember how she pissed off just about everybody on one thing or another during her six years as mayor, something we got an earful of in the past three days.

And even some of her former supporters have gotten thoroughly disgusted with how she’s gotten chummy with developers and given away the store lately to the point that they have also vowed never to vote for her again.

The council election is not the mayoral election. Despite her high vote totals in the last two council elections- which paled in comparison to her traditional first place totals before she became mayor- everyone gets seven votes.

And when the candidates say “save one vote for me” it isn’t just a quaint Kauai-ism. It’s the way you get elected here

Kaipo Asing found that out we he ran in 1998 against then Mayor Marianne Kusaka, The day after his last minute filing we overheard two Democratic Party bosses talking (down by the copy store, hint hint) about how the election was his based on his first place finish in every election since 1988.

But Asing stunningly didn’t even make the primary cut, revising the thinking of every councilperson considering the mayor’s seat ever since.

Perhaps Yukimura didn’t take notice because she was living in Honolulu at the time. And perhaps she didn’t get the significance of Kouchi’s loss in ’02.

In these days of duopolisitc, diminished, almost non-existent democracy and the usual choices between tweedledum and tweedledumber it may not be as important to be liked as it is to not be disliked.

If the un-scientific poll in the local paper is any indication Yukimura will be enjoying at least a two year vacation from public service with nothing but time to think about it all..

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