I went down to the Lihue Business Association meeting this past Thursday morning to "talk story" with the two mayoral candidates who are left standing after the prior week's primary. And different they surely are. Bernard Carvalho is a former football player, the head of our parks and recreation department, and has served the county for 23 years. Joanne Yukimura was mayor during Hurricane Iniki, and has served for fourteen years on the county council. Joanne is a Stanford graduate and a really, really intelligent woman.
Joanne clearly has a cogent understanding of the issues and the political experience yet Bernard had the support of the former mayor, Bryan Baptiste, who suddenly passed away not that long ago. Bernard constantly stated at this breakfast meeting that his style of leadership was inclusive and that he was an good listener to hear what the people wanted. Yet, like so many politicians, and even the presidential debate last night, when the people at the roundtable asked questions, it did not seem like they were heard. Now i admit, I'm an auditory guy, and thusly, very literal. However, when someone tells me he is a good listener, and demonstrates his inability to discern the information, I have cause for concern.
Each candidate sat around a table of business people for around 20 minutes, then switched to the other table. Someone asked Joanne Yukimura,
What are your thoughts on the role of county regarding decreasing cost of our energy.
She answered: We need to create a plan for the island. Create a roadmap for energy independence. Big Island has done their plan already. We must figured out what are the opportunities and what are the obstacles. Like Stephen Covey says, “What is our end in mind”. Everyone will have a kuleana. KIUC( our electric utility) will have a role. County will have a role and so will business. We could have a United Way type meter to show our progress. We need to place incentives in the right place and disincentives for bad behavior.
I'm not sure if Joanne can win as she is clearly the underdog. If she does not, I'm not sure the county of Kauai will be making any paradigm shifts any time soon.
Both candidates talked about "smart development". I hope they know what that means. A lot of islanders would probably agree that there has been a lot of "dump development" on Kauai. To maintain the rural quality, the development must be clearly managed. Right now, the entire economic system is taking care of that. In the future, once this mess is behind us, developers will one day come roaring back I am sure.
Ron Margolis, RA, CDPE, ABR Hawaii Life Real Estate Services 808.346.7095 email: firstname.lastname@example.org