I saw a recent County Council meeting on TV where they memorialized and honored my friend, nitpicker and county watchdog Glenn Mickens. (BTW, Glenn enjoyed being called a “nitpicker” and “watchdog”) I wish I had been there to testify and eulogize my pal and give my heartfelt sympathy to Glenn’s wife, Ruth.
How many people are honored and memorialized by a group they continued to hound and criticize week after week, month after month, year after year? Although Glenn was known as a county watchdog and nitpicker he was much-loved by not only his friends but his adversaries. Marj Dente said it best at the County Council meeting: “Glenn was not a nitpicker, he was a warrior!”
Glenn and I over the years exchanged 100’s of emails about politics, although on a few subjects we disagreed, such as the multi-use trail, and even the current president. Glenn never name-called and always debated in a civil manner without bullying, name-calling or character assassinations, a lost art these days.
Glenn understood freedom of speech, something we are rapidly losing in this country.
Glenn religiously ended all our frequent email correspondences in his signature style of, “Your pal, Glenn.” When I wrote him back I always signed off in the same manner. I am sure he did this with his many friends.
I first encountered Glenn on TV, like so many of you, since all Kauai County Council meetings are recorded and replayed all week on local government access TV. I once asked Glenn why he never ran for the County Council. “You’re at all the meetings anyhow, with notes, testifying?” His reply was he wouldn’t have all the freedoms he does as a private citizen to speak his mind, and that he did, like one of my favorites in nicknaming the Kauai landfill “ Mt. Trashmore!”
Glenn was a professional baseball player who pitched for a brief time for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and he had the privilege of knowing and playing ball with the great baseball legend Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in baseball history. This may be one of the reasons Glenn was so adamant on trying to get the AJA (Americans of Japanese Ancestry) baseball league to open its doors to all races and genders. Who knows, this may happen someday.
I heard that after 23 years of testimony and using his favorite quote, “ready, fire, aim,” that the county was laying out asphalt improperly, they finally corrected their actions from Glenn’s continued, patient efforts.
Heaven now has Glenn to be their watchdog, not that heaven needs a watchdog. Now there’s something for a civil debate.
Glenn was truly a warrior, but most importantly, to me and so many others, he was a true friend and ‘pal.’
James “Kimo” Rosen lives in Kapaa with his dog, Ivanka Obama, and blogs as a hobby at www.dakinetalk.blogspot.com.