Clayton Dela Cruz, island head of Local 142 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), went to the front of the union’s Hardy Street headquarters to prop up a fallen campaign sign.
Then, he noticed ashes on the ground. Overnight one day last week, someone deliberately torched the campaign sign of the late U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink (D, Neighbor Islands, rural O’ahu).
And nearly set the building on fire in the process.
Of nearly a dozen signs on the front lawn of the ILWU building across from the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall, only Mink’s was set afire.
And Dela Cruz has no idea why. He called the Kauai Police Department, and a report was filed for criminal property damage.
The ILWU has another Mink sign, but Dela Cruz won’t pound into the ground for fear the same person might burn in again.
As standard procedure in an election year, the ILWU proudly displays yard signs of candidates it endorses for elections.
On the front lawn now are signs for County Council candidates Daryl Kaneshiro, Ernest Moniz, Jr., Maurice “Joe” Munechika, Raymond “Ray” Paler, Melvin “Mel” Rapozo and JoAnn Yukimura.
Sharing yard space at the ILWU building are signs in support of Democratic mayoral candidate and County Council Chair Ron Kouchi, state Senate candidate and current Councilmember Gary Hooser, gubernatorial candidate and Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono and running mate state Sen. Matt Matsunaga, as well as state House incumbents Mina Morita, Ezra Kanoho and Bertha Kawakami.
ILWU support of Mink remains even after her death earlier this month. If she is elected posthumously at the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 5, two special elections will be held – one to select someone to serve out her remaining 2002 term, and another to choose someone to fill her four-year term effective in early 2003.