What Would Jesus Do? Vote for Duke, Apparently
State Republican Party Chair Jonah Ka‘auwai has blurred the line between church and state before; in January, while angling for the chairmanship, he told supporters in an e-mail, “God imparted that my ministry is politics.” But this week, Ka‘auwai didn’t blur the line—he obliterated it. In a letter posted on the Hawaii Christian Coalition Web site, Ka‘auwai urged the faithful not to vote for Mufi Hannemann in the Democratic primary (under the assumption that Hannemann would be preferable to his Democratic opponent, Neil Abercrombie), and instead to support Republican frontrunner Duke Aiona, who faces no serious primary opposition.
“Duke will win because the Church has been behind him the entire time operating in the POWER and the AUTHORITY of the NAME OF JESUS!” wrote Ka‘auwai. “If Duke Aiona does not win it will be the burden of the Body of Christ to bear so rather than preparing to have to deal with either Mufi or Neil winning the Church, we should be preparing for Duke to WIN. Neither Mufi Hannemann nor Neil Abercrombie is righteous and a vote for either in the primary or general election is succumbing to fear and advancing unrighteousness!”
After devoting several more paragraphs to bashing Hannemann and quoting scripture, Ka‘auwai closed with this: “As a former men’s pastor and worship leader for 8 years, I am positioned here in the midst of politics to share the truth and expose the conspirators of a very corrupt system no matter what the cost. Too often, we as the Body of Christ are reacting to crisis [sic] like HB444. We need to fearlessly, like David did Goliath, run towards the unrighteous enemy. Duke Aiona’s Campaign for Governor is the Body of Christ’s opportunity to operate in the AUTHORITY and to be proactive. The Primary Election is the first step to bringing back a righteous leader to the highest office in this State…”
There are two ways to view Ka‘auwai’s remarks. The first is that it’s pure, cynical political calculation, that Ka‘auwai merely wants Aiona to face Abercrombie instead of Hannemann in November, since the differences between Duke and Neil—racial, cultural, ideological—will be easier to exploit. Then there’s the possibility that Ka‘auwai really is a Bible-thumping true believer who wrote that letter with a zealous gleam in his eye.
I’ll let you to decide which is more likely—and more frightening.
Council Challenges Abound
No one else pulled papers for Council Chair Danny Mateo’s Molokai seat, but that doesn’t mean he’s running unopposed. Last week, Nellie Laird-Woods of Lahaina filed a petition with the Second Circuit Court, arguing Mateo can’t run again because of term limits. Per the County Charter, no Councilmember can serve “more than five consecutive full terms in office.” Mateo was first appointed to the Council in 2002, after the death of Councilmember Pat Kawano. Mateo was elected to a full term later that year and was reelected three more times, most recently in 2008. So the question boils down to: do five consecutive full terms (the four Mateo has already served, plus the one he’s seeking) and a partial term equal “more than five consecutive full terms”? It’ll be up to the court to answer.
Meanwhile, three other Council contenders have had their right to run called into question over a different but familiar issue: residency. Riki Hokama, who’s trying to reclaim his old Lanai seat, had a challenge against him dismissed on August 25 (the challengers have 10 days to appeal). And, County Clerk Jeff Kuwada confirmed, as of this writing residency challenges against West Maui hopefuls Zeke Kalua and Alan Fukuyama remain under investigation.
Asked if any other challenges have come in, Kuwada replied, with an audible sigh, “No—thank goodness.”
Whale Beached On Maui Dies On the Big Island
On August 16, an 18,000-pound Blainville’s beaked whale beached itself in Kihei and was transported to UH Hilo’s Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility (HCRF). Two weeks later, it died in captivity. Announcement of the whale’s death came just five days after UH Hilo put out a statement saying it was “continuing to make progress in its recovery,” but the animal’s prospects were never good; no captive beaked whale has ever survived long enough to be released back into the wild, and this one was suffering from multiple ailments, including pneumonia and kidney and gastrointestinal diseases.
If there’s a silver lining, it’s that researchers were able to study the reclusive creature up close. “We certainly know more now than we did before,” said HCRF Director Jason Turner. “Hopefully that knowledge will improve the chances of future animals brought in for rehabilitation.”
“If the animal could have survived on the love and heartfelt effort that our volunteers put into caring for him, he’d still be alive today,” added Assistant Director Jennifer Turner. “We even had people driving in from Kona each day to work the 12am-4am shift…we were all devastated when he passed away.”
Let’s Talk Budget
The County budget may not be the most exciting thing to discuss—especially with football season here—but it’s important. They’re spending your money, after all. With that in mind, weigh in at a series of public hearings kicking off Wednesday, September 8, 6pm at the Hannibal Tavares Community Center in Pukalani. The hearings will run through October 15 at various locations islandwide and on Molokai and Lanai. For more info and to peruse a copy of the 2011-’12 budget (fair warning: it’s voluminous), visit www.co.maui.hi.us