Emails a reminder of lack of leadership
Poor David Ige.
He’s been working so hard lately to try to prove that he’s been working so hard the last four years, holding a bunch of bill signing ceremonies and press conferences to tout various things he says he’s done.
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Poor David Ige.
He’s been working so hard lately to try to prove that he’s been working so hard the last four years, holding a bunch of bill signing ceremonies and press conferences to tout various things he says he’s done. Just when it felt like maybe his re-election campaign was digging out of the abysmal polling numbers behind his challenger Colleen Hanabusa, the whole shameful false missile fiasco has flared up again like a brush fire that was never fully contained.
The false alarm WAS never fully contained.
Ige stubbornly defended Hawaii Emergency Management Agency’s director, Vern Miyagi, until it was clear that public opinion would sink them both; then he cut Vern loose and tried to step away from the mess. When the Kilauea eruption started, the missile mistake started to fade from memory. Ige spent the last two months being very visible, going from campaign events to press conferences (which are often campaign events, to be blunt) to Puna to show his decisiveness and leadership in the eruption crisis that the ailing Harry Kim has pretty much handled on his own (to be blunt again).
But then it came back.
Just this week a trailer for a video documentary about the missile alert was shared all over social media. A local theater is producing a live show inspired by missile alert horror stories.
And then, best/worst of all, the emails.
State emails discussing the false alert were just released to the media, and what a tawdry tale they tell about lousy management, poor preparation, thoughtless procedures and — yup, just like all those snarky jokes — state workers sleeping on the job.
Even releasing the emails couldn’t be accomplished without a big, embarrassing gaffe. All sorts of information was redacted, but the crosser- outter forgot to cross out the button- pusher’s name. Ai-ya!
And it all came rushing back, the fury over the incompetence and Ige’s lame defense of the indefensible and the fact that none of the people in charge seemed to give a rip that folks were so afraid that they were gonna die.
Meanwhile, with only five weeks until the primary, Hanabusa is still jogging at a leisurely pace. For someone who says she wants people to vote for her and not just against Ige, Ige’s missile debacle remains her club of choice. And it’s a great, all-purpose club for deriding weak leadership and halfhearted accountability. But Hanabusa shouldn’t let the club become a crutch. In modern times voters have short memories, and there’s always a new crisis or a fresh outrage to redirect attention. Ige can claim that everything is different at HI-EMA now: new leaders, new procedures and the whole missile-warning kuleana got taken away from the agency. All fixed, and Ige did the fixing. Yup.
Folks are on the lot, kicking tires, but Hanabusa is not closing the deal. “Maybe the old set of wheels isn’t so bad,” they might be thinking. “Maybe we could get four more years out of it.”
Reach Lee Cataluna at 529-4315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.