Editorials for Tuesday — September 23, 2003

• John Barretto

• Sign holding


John Barretto

John Barretto was a man of the people, and a man for the people.

He’ll be remembered for his contagious smile and steady resolve in fighting for what he believed in.

John’s “manao” (one of his favorite words) was deep and wide, and used to creatively solve Kaua‘i’s problems, and in offering advice to all who asked.

During his career on the County Council, John was a maverick who spoke his mind and didn’t care much for formalities and stodgy thinking.

His solution to Kaua‘i’s abandoned car problem was years ahead of his time, and it worked. Crushing cars for off-island shipment at his Auto Aid plant in Ahukini was one man’s solution to a major problem. Political and economic forces put an end to that dream turned reality, but John never gave up, moving ahead onto new projects.

John was also at home on the ocean, and was a boat captain before entering politics.

His fiery style was at its apex in his run for mayor in 1986 against incumbent Tony Kunimura. Running as a Republican, at a time when the Republican Party was a fraction of the size it is today on Kaua‘i, and in Hawai‘i, John’s personal resolve saw him through a very nasty campaign that threatened to unseat long-time political pro Kunimura. In the end, John lost, but maintained his position in the community as a contrarian to the established political system.

John will be missed by friend and foe, and will be long remembered as someone who put Kaua‘i first in what he did and believed in.


Sign holding

The administration of Mayor Bryan Baptiste and Kaua‘i minister Pastor Roy “Rocky” Sasaki are joining forces Thursday in staging an islandwide sign holding campaign aimed at showing that the community is behind the ongoing war against the use of “ice” and other illegal drugs on Kaua‘i.

The plan follows similar efforts on the Big Island and on O‘ahu, and is sure to draw hundreds of people holding signs to sidewalks and fields along Kuhio Highway and Kaumuali‘i Highway.

The sign holding is set for the day after the simulcast of filmmaker Edgy Lee’s new documentary “ICE: Hawai‘i’s Crystal Meth Epidemic” on the serious damage use of the drug is doing to communities and individuals across Hawai‘i. The show airs from 7 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday evening on every major Hawai‘i TV channel.

Lee’s documentary is bound to be an eye-opener, and should show a side of life in Hawai‘i that visitors and many local residents are unaware of. The “ice” epidemic is a threat to our social fiber and to the safety of our homes, businesses, schools and parks.

Everyone is advised to watch the special presentation.

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