Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Isaac Choy - Sum Good Gai"

Rep. Isaac Choy (left) and Rep. Roy Takumi (right) on Opening Day 2009

Manoa, University, Moiilili & McCully residents are urged to actually read the February issue of Rep. Isaac Choy's newsletter which should be arriving in mailboxes soon. (It's also available on this blog - see community newsletters.) It's pretty funny. And, he writes it himself.

It's also a candid, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, perspective on a freshman's first legislative session. Here are some excerpts:
"The heat is on here at the square building on Beretania Street. From civil unions to the budget cuts. People express their feelings with cute colloquial rhetoric: "We are going to take you out", "we're retired and we have nothing better to do than to wave signs and make phone calls" "the biggest mistake of my life was voting for you", "don't even think about it".

"It’s so much fun being a politician. I have come to the conclusion that being forthright and honest is not all that great. I now understand why you can never get a straight answer from a politician. I have to work on that skill set. It's a lucky thing we get the big bucks for being here."

"Pay raises for us legislators is a subject that causes some concerns for many citizens. I still feel legislators are grossly under paid. The hours are long, it is a full time commitment, and it’s a pretty stressful job. It seems that you can never make a decision that is agreed upon by everyone. "

"Having representative government is still the best in the world. The ability for people to express themselves freely is something that is taken for granted too often. When we see our young men & women fighting to protect this right we should thank them, because being an American is being able to speak freely."

1 comment:

Ted said...

When Rep. Choy was running to fill the seat left vacant by the Caldwell filing debacle, I found the sense of humor displayed in his campaign materials quite refreshing. Now that he is my Rep. and I read his remarks on civil unions in his second newsletter, I think his nickname should be "Sum Dum Gai," not "Sum Good Gai."

In a weak piece of analogy, he seemed to think it odd that "We are willing to put a rail project on the ballot because it will cost us five to six billion dollars, but we are not willing to put a subject like civil unions on the ballot." Not surprising for an accountant, I suppose, but that is like comparing apples to oranges.

Raising the funds necessary for rail takes money from everyone in Honolulu. Civil unions takes nothing from anyone and bestows a limited set of rights, compared to marriage, on a minority of the community. In fact, it ratifies a distinction made in 1998 that discriminates against that minority in the community, even though they are like us in almost every way except one.

That battle is over, for now. Civil unions are a small way to let the minority overcome the majority's fears and show that they, too, have hopes, dreams, families, and lives based on long-term, profound, and meaningful relationships. It was easy for me; I got married and had kids. It's not easy for them; justice denied to them, is justice denied to us all.

So, Rep. Choy, try think less like an accountant and more like a person. By comparing money to marriage or civil unions, you have shown yourself to be "Wun Dum Gai."