Wednesday, July 21, 2010


FOOT FAULT: It’s not like we hadn’t heard the rumors over the past few months but seeing it in black and white (as it were) last night and reading Lani Kawahara’s aloha letter in today’s newspaper was still a kick in the gut.

Personally, though her decision is understandable, it’s still hard to take the fact that we’ll be going through another two years period of writing about self-serving blowhards without any breath of fresh air with which to compare and contrast it.

Despite what many think we have a lot of emotional investment in local government and politics so learning that the first real public- as opposed to self- servant on our council since Gary Hooser had indeed decided she couldn’t negotiate keeping her job as the Head Librarian at Kapa`a Library and her council seat.

There’s more than meets the eye in her statement that:

At this point in my life, I have decided to resume my service to the community as a librarian, facilitating access to information and lifelong learning. This was a very difficult decision to make.

The fact remains that what it came down to was choosing one or the other, especially after budget cuts and then furloughs caused the library to be short staffed.

We’ve taken on all the idiotic free-lunch wing-nuts who insist that elected officials- both statewide in the legislature and locally on our council- should be actually taking pay cuts rather than, as we’ve maintained, be given full time positions with salaries that are commensurate with the job.

There’s reasons aplenty for leaving- or not even venturing into the political arena but it shouldn’t have to be a decision as to whether one can afford to do so.

And there’s reason’s aplenty for paying for full-time legislators and chucking this part time scheme under which we’ve been laboring.

First ethically it is always a conflict of interest when someone in office has to take an “outside” job. Most- or we would venture to say all- must have an incredibly supportive boss to take off the time required to do the part time job. For state legislators that’s about four months straight and for councilmembers it’s at minimum a couple-a-three days a week- and weeks on end during budget times.

And no one in business is doing that for nothing.

That leaves the jobs to either the idle rich or those whose bosses gain an advantage from their employee’s status- just look at how many work as “consultants”, especially in the state legislature.

It also means that anyone else must make a choice often having to consider giving up a career in which they have invested decades in order to get a job that runs for two years at a stretch.

And do so at a severe cut in salary.

What that does is encourage the despised “career politician” because once you give up your job it’s often impossible to reclaim it.

We look down the list of council candidates and see either the same old faces that have failed us in the past or unknowns who are most likely clueless wanna-bes and can only think “you get what you pay for”.

The one notable exception is Rolf Bieber who, because he has a job that permits him to make his own hours, is the exception that proves the rule.

The literally poverty wages offered to our councilmembers and state legislators is responsible for the corrupt, ethics-free government we all bemoan.

Ain’t that a kick in an area just a little lower than the gut.

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