Friday, January 09, 2009

Neighborhood Board 5, Season 2

We had our first meeting of 2009 last night, and our first peak at what the coming season might bring. It promises to be more of the same, really, but with a few new cases. I saw some of the same villains lurking in the shadows hoping for a comeback, an old ally returned but he might have crossed over to the darkside, and there are glimmers of hope that one infamous obfuscater might be changing his act and that another might finally be losing her grip.

We started off with the standard, repetitive, complaints that there are homeless living in the park near the rich people. Only it's not phrased like that. It's we are concerned with the public health implications of all those shopping carts and why doesn't the Department of Health do something about them? and What about the tourists? and (courtesy of MM, chest heaving like an aged Scarlet O'Hara) I am just ... worried ... about the maintenance ... of these public lands ... At least she didn't bring up the sacred trust of our beloved queen this meeting.

She's losing it. Even the cops stopped pandering and spelled it out to her and her cohorts: Being homeless is not illegal. And there were times when I heard the other Board members giggling over some of her more ... dramatic ... pauses. Ah, but we will still have a special Executive Meeting to address the homeless issue.

There was relatively little drama over the minutes, although, again courtesy of MM, we will have a special Executive Session to ... discuss ... some of the ongoing ... issues ... with the minutes.

Duke Bainum, who back-doored his way onto the City Council this election, came in person. I tried not to growl when he got up to speak. And at first it was all cliches and platitudes. He's honored to be here, he's humbled, he has a dream team behind him, he's ready to tackle the issues, he's going to drive me insane. I actually worked for members of his family once, and I thought he was one of the good ones (it was a bat-shit crazy and possibly corrupt family). Now I'm not so sure. But he actually addressed the issues with his election, and introduced a measure that would stop anyone else from pulling the same stunt. That was interesting. And he was pro-rail at one point, but then allied himself with the anti-rail people to get back into office, and then seemed to be backing off on that tonight. So: I don't know what to think of this guy now.

Charles Djou, City Council, replaced most of his staff. I don't know the back story on that, but his old staff mostly pandered to the LCD, and the new rep seemed to have his act together. I wonder if this means that Djou is cleaning up his act, and that we'll get less grandstanding and more actual work on the issues. I asked the new guy about Djou's proposal to start the rail project in town rather than `Ewa, and if this was more posturing or if he was serious this time. New guy assured me that this is a serious proposal.

Rail. The Stop Rail people were there. They lost the public vote, both their mayoral candidates went down, even the anti-rail politicians have been backing off (see Djou and , above), but no one actually believes that they're going to stop. Slater & Co. have too much money invested in privatizing our roads. They'll be billionaires if they can stop rail and built their HOT system (a private toll-road that will run above state roads). The only question was, where would they attack next?

Matson went off on a tangent about a sewer bond coming due. "Concerned member of the community" also had questions about the sewer bond. I had never even heard of this, and suddenly all the sketchy characters are talking about it. Then Matson tips her hand: She wants to know how the sewer bond might be affected by the proposed rail bond ... and there you have it. Tom-A-Hawk actually foreshadowed this (see comments on January 6: i've actually been convinced not to support light rail anymore when i look at how much money needs to be spent on infrastructure: keeping raw sewage out of the ocean ... keeping the lights on ...), and I didn't really know where this was coming from at the time. I still don't know how Slater's people intend to play this out, only that it will be another headache and will cost us a lot of money.

So, for a Season Opener, it was ok. We won't have the highest rated show on the island. If we can stop the divas from making themselves the center of every meeting and discussion we might actually get some work done.

No comments: