Council Chair Yoshimoto underestimated the public ire. He says"WE need to move past this". No, time YOU learn about "leadership"
If you were the Chair of the County Council and you had deceived other senior members on the Council and deceived the public, what would you likely say after you pulled off a coup? Here is a likely possibility: “We need to move past this.”
Guess what Yoshimoto is suggesting the day after his successful coup: “We need to move past this.”
For those who have not been following this soap opera drama, you may ask what I mean by "being deceitful". Foremost I point to Yoshimoto’s initial claim that he was not involved in this effort to oust from key leadership positions the three senior Council members who are not in his clique- Ford, Yagong, and Hoffmann. Then, contrary to that assertion, we find out that he -with his clerk Kenny Goodenow - went to Hoffmann’s office before adding the three “coup” resolutions to this week’s agenda, and he told Hoffmann “I have 5 votes already (to oust Ford and Yagong)”. He wanted to know if Hoffmann would go along with this plan, in other words “play ball” on his team. Clearly whatever Hoffmann said was not satisfactory because when the revised agenda was stamped at 10:30p.m. that same day, one of the changes to the Council agenda called for the removal of Hoffmann as Yoshimoto's vice chair. The key word that got my attention here was the singular pronoun “I”. Yoshimoto said “I already have 5 votes ..".(or words to that effect) . Well I did not need this explicit confirmation he considers this coup “his” to know HE was, and is still, the leader of this coup. However for him to say “I already have 5 votes...” makes his ownership of this coup – plain as day.
Here is what I conclude to be a second deception. At the Council meeting, Hoffmann said it is J Yoshimoto’s call to oust him as Vice Chair. Hoffmann then asked Yoshimoto to tell him first what he has done wrong. IN otherwords, Hoffmann was asking for a little accountability before he was ousted. [.....All on the Council knowing the decision as to who is Vice Chair is really the Chair’s choice, and certainly the chair would not leave that determination to the suggestion of a freshman member of the council ...Freshman “Fresh” Onishi was the named sponsor of the resolution to remove Hoffmann.] So what was Yoshimoto to say? Clearly he did not have a good answer, and so he belches forth an outright falsehood --- saying on Wednesday Pete had told him he no longer wanted to be Vice Chair. Pete counters that response with an "absolutely not so" kind of reply. Really Chairman J don’t think we the public are so gullible to believe Hoffmann decided against continuing as Vice Chair, and you were just going along with Hoffmann's decision.
Keep in mind, that as Hoffmann or someone else pointed out, only months ago Yoshimoto had called Hoffmann a “good leader”. In fact, following the December 2008 selection of Hoffmann as Vice Chair, Yoshimoto had brought attention to his choice of Hoffmann, explaining he was being an inclusive leader promoting a one island - one ohana approach – consistent with Mayor Kenoi's "together we can" mantra.
Another questionable statement by Yoshimoto: Finally, at the Council hearing, when Yoshimoto was explaining the rationale behind his vote to remove Hoffmann he went on ..and on.. about how he wants Emily to have an opportunity to take on this leadership role as Vice Chair, that this is simply about opportunity and the benefits of change and opportunity for all.
Well if that is really was what this council reorganization were all about, it would not have been planned and maneuvered in secret and sprung on the current Vice Chair only days before the vote. Instead, if Yoshimoto were acting in good faith and really believed what he was saying about the importance of providing Emily with this leadership opportunity, the logical course of action would be for him to resign, allow Pete Hoffmann to take over as Chair, and graciously thereby provide Emily the opportunity to be Vice Chair (at his rather than Hoffmann's expense).
IMPORTANT QUESTION: Now why would J Yoshimoto risk his political future engaging in this kind of toddlers-in-a-sandbox power play? Probably he thought, if he did it fast enough and behind the scenes enough, he would get away with it and we would all, as he put it “move past this”. And consistent with a “get over it” attitude, the Hawaii Tribune Herald came out with a milk-toast review of the Council hearing mixed with a hodgepodge of ancillary news. [The Tribune Herald headline on Wednesday the 17th should have instead been something like: 50 OR MORE MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC FROM EVERY DISTRICT TESTIFY AGAINST THE YOSHIMOTO ORCHESTRATED HILO-SIDE COUP: THE PUBLIC IS OUTRAGED! ]
Frankly, I don’t believe Yoshimoto expected the public to find out about the change in Council agenda and to so clearly see this childish power play for exactly that. But Instead Yoshimoto and his buddies were repeatedly scolded by their constituents. I here give a rough quote of what was said by one of the many very articulate speakers: Megan Issac-Magdalene”:
This is a funeral dirge. This is the final stoke Chair Yoshimoto.
Chair Yoshimoto, when you started
to change the Council rules, that was the beginning of this effort. We are all here to tell you this is a
mistake in your leadership. I really want you to make the correction within yourself and turn in the other
direction...There are a lot of people out here who are very upset with what you are doing.
--Mr. “Fresh” Onishi -- you are fresh -- you need to sit and observe and learn.
--Mr. Enrigues: You are not ready to take on this leadership; you were supported by many developers; you need to
earn our trust that you stand on your own.
---Mr. Ikeda: we need you to exert some leadership and integrity;
--Ms Naeole: We have always supported you, but we ask you to stand on your own.
The majority of the residents will not support this.!
So again I ask myself why Yoshimoto would want these three council members out of leadership positions, considering he has the votes to nullify any legislation they propose-- whether they are chairs, or not chairs, of any committee? My guess: In my opinion Yoshimoto sees this concentration of power as a step towards his political future options, showing his supporters he can stand up against the potential opposition. Some say Yoshimoto wants to be mayor after Kenoi, and therefore will do what he can to kowtow to Kenoi and please his financial backers – including the infamous Hilo-side backroom dealer Jim Arakaki and friends. So before that mayoral quest – or some other future political goal –becomes general public knowledge, it certainly would be good to sweep out of the way any potential competition. So who on this island has the standing, experience, and support to challenge Yoshimoto in any election? Right you are if you said: Yagong, Hoffmann, and Ford.
I suggest, as did Megan Issac Magdalene, that J Yoshimoto look within himself and make the appropriate correction that is consistent with pono and integrity. Perhaps it would help if everyone involved read Rosa Say’s book “Managing with Aloha”. Start with chapter 14: “Alaka’i” (leadership). Rosa Say explains about the Hawaiian value of “alakai”:
When you are one who aspires to be a leader, you must constantly ask yourself one central question:
Why would anyone choose to follow me? . . . The answer must be because they believe in you and
admire the path you have chosen, and they believe you will guide the right way for them as well. You have
what it takes to capture their belief and you deliver what it takes to honor it. You are willing to be an
authentic and vulnerable leader, and you eagerly will shoulder the responsibility that comes with leadership.
(at page 170)
^A melodious thrush and some other residents from Waimea