by Andrew Walden
Munching on watermelon and other delicious pot-luck dishes at the Pahala Plantation House, about 100 District 6 residents celebrated the sweet taste of victory September 20. Soon-to-be Council member-elect Guy Enriques greeted his hard-working volunteers and told them he was very proud and that they should be proud as well. When the final results came in the next morning, Enriques won with 52.2% defeating incumbent councilman Bob Jacobson by more than 10 percentage points 2,354 to 1,894.
Starting with the 400 people at Enriques’ kickoff rally last winter, hundreds of District 6 residents from Puna, Ka`u and S Kona worked for eight months to make this day a reality. The lessons of this victory can be applied statewide to liberate communities such as Moloka`i which are oppressed by socialist-sponsored gangs of thugs who justify their crimes with unending fountains of politically correct rhetoric.
The Ka`u Listening Project Report, commissioned in September, 2007 by Big Island Mayor Harry Kim documented a community terrorized by Jacobson’s backers. After years of living in fear, Ka`u residents finally reached their breaking point when Jacobson sponsored resolution 169-07 which in its original form would have directed the County to take kuleana plots at Punalu`u beach and also take part of the decaying Sea Mountain resort site. Under Jacobson’s proposal the new county properties would then be placed under the management of Ka`u Preservation led in part by convicted drug dealer Ralph P. Dedman. Dedman’s kuleana plot at Punalu`u was the only one not included on the County’s seizure list.
Victory required organization and strategy and that came from Dylan Nonaka. Nonaka’s day job finds him serving as Governor Lingle’s East Hawai`i liaison. But in his off hours, he designed a system which turned the hard work of Enriques’ volunteers into a solid list of voters pledged to support Enriques at the polls. Almost 750 of these voters showed up to vote for Enriques in the absentee and walk-in voting prior to Primary Day. When the first read came in at about 6:30PM, they gave Enriques a 2-1 lead. Jacobson never caught up.
There is much to be learned from the numbers. Jacobson’s supporters in the HGEA, local media, the Angel Pilago’s mayoral campaign, and the hard left pulled out all the stops but they couldn’t find any new voters. Jacobson’s 1,894 votes in 2008 are almost identical to the 1,912 votes he received in 2004.
Enriques did not win by changing the minds of Jacobson’s cult-like supporters. Instead Enriques and his volunteers worked to bring new voters into the process and to mobilize discouraged voters. Statewide, turnout was 36.8% but in District 6, turnout was over 50% and in Ka`u districts most directly impacted by the reign of terror imposed by Jacobson’s supporters, turnout likely soared far higher. Pahala, in past elections had had one of the lowest turnout rates in the state. When the precinct-by-precinct numbers come out we may find it had the highest turnout on September 20.
The lessons are here for all who wish to learn. The hard left in Hawai`i is a minority with fixed views—few of Jacobson’s core supporters switched even though Jacobson’s KPI cronies were led by convicted criminals and were proposing their own development plan for Punalu`u—complete with blueprints for a so-called “school” and “housing” for “teachers and students”. In spite of all the protestations about Hawaiian rights, few of Jacobson’s core supporters were perturbed to discover that Jacobson had proposed a resolution which would have seized numerous historic Hawaiian-owned kuleana plots and handed over control of them to his KPI cronies. Their politics are not the product of reason but of a delusional cult-like faith.
The campaign was led by a core group of Ka`u residents many of whom were born and raised in Ka`u, had moved to the mainland for a while and then returned. They did not come back to Ka`u in order to place themselves under the thumb of thugs. Not only did the work but they also contributed $1000s from their own pockets to the campaign which was heavily financed by donations from residents of Pahala, Na`alehu and Ocean View.
The hard-left dictatorship over normal people is imposed partly thru physical intimidation but mostly through ideological browbeating. The effect is enhanced through creation of the illusion that normal people are a minority. This illusion is created by hard-leftists who occupy positions of authority in the media, in the university, in K-12 education, in some churches, in unions, in the legal profession, and in the arts. KPI drew in several such people to its list of so-called “experts.”
Enriques and his team of volunteers have shattered the illusion and shown the way out of the trap. The key was to bypass the media and all the phony experts and go directly to 100s of individual voters one at a time
Ka`u residents can expect to continue to be challenged by those who seek to once again silence them -- especially as the Ka`u Community Development Plan begins holding meetings. While KPI is going to lose the $10,000s in financial support given annually thru Jacobson’s office, it continues to receive money from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Development decisions will continue to be governed by the Hawai`i Supreme Court’s decision in Angel Pilago’s 1995 PASH case. PASH provides a mechanism for the legal extortion of developers by phony activists and also provides a system by which developers can buy off opponents.
The challenge is to chart a third path—rejecting the old-boy system of development motivated by tax base and political connections and also rejecting the phony activists who demand millions in settlement payments before allowing development.
Guy Enriques is one of only a very few elected officials committed to this third path. District 6 is lucky to have him.