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posted on Joan Conrow’s Blog

Moving on to other issues, I recently met with Joel Guy, who is very much interested in being of service to the 14th District, or more specifically, in gaining an appointment to the seat being vacated by Rep. Mina Morita, who has been named chair of the Public Utilities Commission. I was left with the impression that he’s passionate about trying to make a difference, and I’ve always been a sucker for idealists.

Joel worked for Mina in the Lege for a number of years, so he shares her political philosophy. What’s more, he not only understands the legislative process, he actually can stomach it, which is an important consideration for any prospective lawmaker. He’s also North Shore born and raised, so he knows well the part of the district that is most apt to be ignored, including its many problems with ice, gentrification, dislocation of local residents and marginal public services.

Council Chairman Jay Furfaro and Councilman Derek Kawakami, who also have expressed interest in the seat, have the capability to serve, but the small problem of a prior commitment. Appointing either of them would leave a puka on the Council that would spark the kind of power plays and contests for control that characterize Kauai politics at their ugliest.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the Council would for sure select KipuKai Kualii, the eighth-place Council candidate, to fill any vacancy. But I just don’t feel comfortable letting them pick whomever they choose.

I can certainly understand why Jay and Derek, after sitting through a few Council meetings with its current line-up, would want to escape the frustrations and tedium of that panel. But they could have spared themselves their present agony by running against Ron Kouchi for the state Senate seat. Since either of them could have beat Ron, they would have ended up in the Lege, where they now want to be, KipuKai would be on the Council, Ron would be back pimping for Kauai Lagoons and we the people would be better served.

Derek has the potential and political machine to one day serve in Congress, and perhaps Mina’s seat will prove to be one stop on that road. Jay, on the other hand, is nearing the end of his political career, and it kind of sticks in my craw to think he would be handed the House seat, especially when he failed to beat Mina when he previously ran against her.

In the end, it’s up to a very small group of people — the precinct captains — to put together a list of three nominees, with the governor having the final pick. And I imagine he’ll be asking Mina who she would like to see carry on her work and be of service to her constituents.

Cole Guy Limahuli

Cole (my son) and I were so fortunate to have been invited up to Limahuli to help plant Kalo. Kawika Winter, director of Limahuli Garden and Preserve

has been a huge influence in the way we operate our company. The generosity of his cultural knowledge is priceless, and serves as a guide to the way we respect the resources and traditions created generations ago. As he says, “We are servants to the Land, the land is not a servant to us”