Thursday, August 12, 2010

Kukui‘ula Not Defferred-A Roundup Of Council Decorum

Council loosens Kukuiula project lease conditions

This was the Garden Island Newspapers take on the meeting yesterday. I have a completely take on the last several council meetings, and the last planning commission meeting I attended, and it has nothing to do with the issues that were being discussed. It has to do with the completely embarrassing way that commissioners and legislators have been acting lately. Especially in the Council Chambers.

Yelling, raised voices, essentially calling each other liars, whining, pompous statements, pandering, essentially acting like children, cutting off the general public when they are trying to speak,m shamelessly using public attorneys to help them as individuals to stop another councilmember from speaking, interrupting each other, making faces, walking out of the room, addressing the audience, to cut down another colleague. Its absolutely reprehensible the lack of decorum on this particular council. Yesterday was probably one of the lower points in council decorum history.

The funny thing is none of them see it. But from a general public perspective it looks terrible. I was there yesterday, and literally walked out of the room, be cause I could not stand watching them. It was an utter embarrassment. Other members of the audience were frankly shocked, embarrassed, our outright laughing at their total lack of respect for each other.

When I came back from picking up my daughter at school, guess what, they were still going at it with each other.

I testified yesterday in favor of a 2 week deferral for the Kukuiula bill. But for very different reasons that Joanne did. I feel that Council does everyone a disservice when we do not get complex issues explained in more common man terms so that we can understand the issues better. The Kukuiula situation is highly complex. Of course there is a reason for that. Its actually very simple, if you craft it simply, and state what it is for plainly. But they don't they make It so full of numbers, and other features that it actually seems a lot more complex then it actually is.

This, I have discovered after going to many of these meetings on and off throughout the years when my personal schedule allowed it, is a common maneuvering tactic to actually debase the public knowledge and awareness on issues. It is coupled with the fact that the general public was denied its rights to access from a petrified council who just didn't want to modernize enough to put documents online. That is being deferred to December. But we couldn't postpone Kukuiula 2 weeks so the general public could become aware of what the reasons were for Kukuiula wanting to move now on downgrading the buyback from 90 years to 25.

When Uncle Kaipo brought up the apples and oranges argument, frankly I was a bit disappointed. He compared the New Development in:Kalapaki by the Marriot to Kukuiula. However these units were already build out. they had a 80 year buyback and got theirs reduced. The state has much lower standards. However, Kauai is unique and Kukuiula is unique. And each development must stand on its own and has different criteria. You cannot compare the one with the other.

The issue I had yesterday with Jay Furfaros comments, were that a lot of the general public got to many meetings to fight for those conditions. He made it sound like it was just them that fought for it. Jay also called for a comprehensive housing policy. Well yeah, dud. But will poeple like myself, the meat abd bones of the general public be allowed to participate in that? Not likely. He talked alot about the general plan update. With my coalition being extremely active the last three years, think I will be invited to site at that table? not likely. In fact, they just don't give credit to any of the hard work and testimony that the general public fights for on any issue. In the end they also make it sound like it was all their idea. Sad, isn't it?

Some say I am arrogant, self serving and pretty pompous myself. Nope. I am just like the rest of the general public., We want some credit for having some good ideas. But wait....yesterday some miracles did occur.

Miraculously they did give me some credit for stuff. But it was a small gallery yesterday and they didn't have much to choose from. They needed to praise someone, and an ally somewhere. hence I got some praise on camera. It made me wonder why, since all the other times I have testified, when there were cooler people in the room I never got any. Oh well, guess I shouldn't whine about that, huh? Just be grateful,. take my pat on the head and you know the rest of it. It was a viscous hostile room yesterday, and made everyone in the audience uncomfortable. The planning commission wasn't much better. three against three, and there was some hot contention. But they act way better then the council does. They definitely have a lot more decorum. But not much.

Yesterday, when the issue of Bynums bill came up, it was blaringly apparent they needed to tweak their rules. So, I asked Peter to ask Uncle Kaipo if I could speak. TO his credit he let me. I felt like I was addressing a bunch of rowdy schoolchildren, and I very politely told them that they looked pretty bad when they acted like that., That they have to make equitable rules for doing legislation. If one document needs scrutiny before getting on the agenda, they all do. Not the ones you just don't like. I suggested that all documents should be scrutinized like the state draft bills are. I realized that if this were done, the County Attornies would have already given their approval, and then if they kept getting up and dissented, that would be on their side for not doing their job. Hence we cut the whole "County Opinion" need to essentially zero, since they already would have given it on each bill. I then told them that they need to understand that Tim was just trying to keep the ag package together and moving at the same time. There were three bills for Ag that did not move forewords with the others. Then Uncle said, ok, well I am calling a recess so that they can be read individually if any councilmembers have a problem with what you think is the illegality you can just vote no to put it on the agenda. Darryl was dead set against it and voted no. the rest, voted yes so the three bills went on the agenda. It is anyones guess if they will move through before the next council.

Another point I brought up is if the county attorney doesn't give his opinion in a certain amount of time, a bill automatically moves to the agenda. which is fair, since Tim asked a year ago for it to be scrutinized. Another thing is that at the state level, both staff and the attorneys approve and ok bills, before the Representative or Senator takes it to the floor. It seemed to rub both Tim and Lani the wrong way. You could see the mistrust of both in their opinions. I think Tim was feeling pretty beat up by the council yesterday. And that brings me to my biggest issue with running for council.

If you don't have a spine of steel, don't run. That means, be like Derek. Now Derek, through this whole thing yesterday was calm, cool and collected. But you could hear it in his voice. He was speaking slowly, clearly and politely. That was to keep himself in check. I am sure he was steaming on the inside but he kept his decorum. And I entirely applaud him for that. Dickie as well, did not engage in the hatefest that was going on there yesterday. However, having a spine of steel does not mean straight up, arguing with each other, loudly and rudely to prove how "tuff" you are, and how you can "hold your own" on the council. All that does, is show how easily ruffled you are, and you can't control your emotions. That does not make you come off as a candidate that can "hold your own" and has a "spine of steell". That just makes you looki ridiculous.

As I told Jay yesterday. "You know I miss the days when we the audience members were the rabblerousers, and you people were all calm, and professional and just let us rant. Now, its us that are calm, and you are the ranters." He got a good chuckle out of that, and agreed with me that the council had acted in an undecorous manner. Then, in his closing statements, he thanked the council, for "working together and acting in a decorous manner", Welcome to Kauai politics. Its do as I say, not as I do.

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