POSTED: 25 NOVEMBER 2008 - 8:30am

It's Good To Be King

image above: Kaipo Asing channels Elvis Presley and Tom Petty. Graphics by Juan Wilson

[Editor's Note: THis following report emphases the importance of supporting a progressive majority on the Kauai County Council. Had we been able to elect Kipukai Kaulii we would have a different local political landscape. Asing's manipulation of county politics will soon be revealed for the bankrupt enterprise it is. We cannot expect much from Chang or Kaneshiro, but it is tragic that Derick Kawakami has joined the old boy network and lost his way so quickly. We can only hope he is repelled from the path ahead and join the more enlightened world of Tim Bynum, Jay Fufaro and Lani Kawahara.]

Chairs, Committees and Da Hui

by Keone Kealoha 24 November 2008 in

Today showed the true power of running a hui on council. In a rare occurrence (first time ever?), the council was exposed to a public meeting when making their choice of chair, vice-chair and all committee members. It was stunning to watch Kaipo Asing take over completely with a predetermined hui of four and proceed to announce the new committee structures, committee chairs, vice-chairs and new members all with four members completely aware of the decisions and three others left with lots of questions.

Those on the outs: Bynum, Kawahara and Furfaro (top vote getter islandwide and now Vice-Chair) were, at times, completely awestruck as Kaipo continued to move past any and all calls for more dialogue on position choices with a, "If there is no more discussion, roll call".

The hui consists of Asing (Chair), Kaneshiro, Kawakami and Chang and every vote after chair and vice-chair at the mtg was 4-3.
The committee structures and members:

- Preprinted papers were handed out showing the new structures, which was voted on 4-3.

- Same paper but with chairs and vice-chairs filled in were handed out, then voted on 4-3.

- Same paper with all committee members filled in was handed out, then voted on 4-3.

In all committees there are at least three members of the hui and two not in the hui, meaning, that the hui retains a complete voting block on all committees and at the council as a whole.

Committees were (chair, vice - members)

- public safety/energy/igr (kawakami, kawahara - furfaro, chang, kaneshiro)
- ecodev/housing (chang, furfaro - kawakami, kawahara, kaneshiro)
- planning (furfaro, kaneshiro - bynum, chang, kawakami)
- parks/transpo (kawahara, bynum - chang, kaneshiro, kawakami)
- pubworks/elderly affairs (bynum, chang - furfaro, kaneshiro, kawakami)
- budget/finance (kaneshiro, asing - all others)
- committee of the whole (asign, furfaro - all others)

It was unfortunate to watch Kawahara and Bynum ask for some consideration on committee positions with not one word from either Kawakami or Chang throughout the entire meeting, save the exception of an 'aye' or 'no' depending upon which way the hui was supposed to vote. Kaneshiro on the other hand spoke often, mostly supporting reasons for the selections or to push back on any points being made by the minority.

So yes, while change at the national level may be upon us, it appears that business will be run very close to the vest here on Kaua`i. It appears all council members need to have a call, some a call of condolence, others, a wake up call that a divided council is not what is going to best serve Kaua`i in the coming years. The hope remains that some good policy can come out of this divisive style of politicing but that's not usually the case when out of the gate we're playing hardball.

The count is 4-3; whether you take a walk or consider you're self out, the outcome will appear to be the same in every case.