When I turned 21 and registered to vote in Honolulu, I did so as a Republican … but my first vote was for Neil Abercrombie. I was sorry that he lost that election, but I’m more and more convinced he should have lost his most recent one.

Two summers ago Neil the candidate wooed voters on the Neighbor Islands, specifically Lana’i and Molokai with a plaintive message: “I can’t win without you.” So he told us on Lana’i that he was not a fan of Big Wind, and he told Moloka’i that he would restore the “breadbasket” of the state.

And we believed him.

But Neil the Governor has now turned his back on those of us who were so essential to his election by threatening Moloka`i with eminent domain; sending his minions to legislative committee hearings to spread falsehoods (specifically that there is no ratepayer risk to SB 2785, the undersea cable bill); and secretly suspending numerous environmental laws by declaring an emergency when there was and is none.

When Lanai and Molokai started gaining support in opposing the undersea cable, he testified that no community should be allowed to “opt out.” He said it was undemocratic.

But so far this is old news, and no one seems to have been unduly upset by Neil’s imperious manners.

On Thursday (March 26), however, he went too far. Speaking at a Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce event, Neil insulted the host culture of our islands in an unforgiveable way.

Complaining of delay in work on the Queen Kaahumanu Highway, Neil called native Hawaiians “self-designating” and accused them of using native cultural practices they “discovered six minutes ago” to achieve standing. He wants them thrown out of court.

I don’t believe he can explain this away, nor do I think an apology would erase the taint of this monumental insult to Native Hawaiians.

So it’s not too soon to start thinking about a replacement. Neil can’t fool the Neighbor Islands twice, and if he’s right that candidates for state-wide offices need us to win, we need to start looking for a candidate who has some respect for the culture and people of Hawai`i.

I know I’ve voted for him for the last time.

About the author: Sally Kaye, a full time resident of Lana`i, is an editor and
former prosecutor.